The American Driver
From Drivers - For Drivers
What's News - March 2007
OOIDA denies Natso allegation about ‘hot fuel’ research
A group of truck stop owners, fuel marketers and motor carriers have formed a coalition to
fight efforts seeking temperature-compensating fuel pumps, claiming that OOIDA
disseminated bad data on the topic of “hot fuel.”
Arkansas loose load bill dies; CDL drug check advances
A bid to get tough with anyone who fails to cover certain loads of loose material in the back
of trucks in Arkansas has died while a separate effort to create a database to track drug test
results of perspective truck drivers has moved onto the governor’s desk.
Deal struck on Virginia transportation bill
Spurred on by concerns about what might happen during the upcoming fall elections,
lawmakers in Virginia appear poised to end years of wrangling over a long-term
road-building plan.
Trucker tells police he was forced to drive 300 miles at gunpoint
David Reid told police that a man put a gun to his head and forced him to drive nearly 300
miles from Alabama to Louisiana on Wednesday, March 21.
Florida House OKs bill to allow for private leasing of toll roads
A bill that would allow the Florida Department of Transportation to lease most toll roads in
the state to private entities is halfway through the statehouse.
Gephardt advice includes toll roads in Nevada
Tolls would be the “least onerous alternative” to raising fuel taxes in Nevada to build roads,
according to former presidential candidate Dick Gephardt. And if you’re wondering what the
former House majority leader is doing in Nevada, he’s now working for the private sector.
Virginia governor signs bills to address road safety
A couple of bills in Virginia intended to address highway safety concerns have been signed
into law by Gov. Tim Kaine. The new rules take effect July 1.
New traffic rules OK’d in Utah
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. signed a bill into law that includes several provisions intended
to make the state’s roadways safer. A provision to boost vehicles speeds, however, was left
out.
New York trucker awarded $170,000 in false arrest case
A federal jury has awarded a Rensselaer, NY, truck driver $170,000 for being falsely
arrested and prosecuted in connection with an incident seven years ago.
Oil companies’ request to combine ‘hot fuel’ cases puts suits on hold
Fuel retailers and oil companies have asked a panel of federal judges to consolidate
numerous lawsuits relating to “hot fuel.” As that process plays out over the next two months
or more, individual lawsuits against those companies will slow to a standstill.
Amendment delaying entry of Mexican trucks faces veto
A bill that includes a provision to delay the Mexican motor carrier “pilot project” already faces
a presidential veto – and it hasn’t even passed the Senate yet.
Colorado toll road bill meets demise, once again
A retooled effort in the Colorado statehouse to increase regulation of toll roads in the state
has once again been sidelined.
Retread bill dies in Florida
In Florida, a bill that would have outlawed the use of retread truck tires has died because of
lack of support.
Bid to split speeds in Oklahoma fails
Large trucks traveling through Oklahoma can continue to drive at the same speed as all
other vehicles. A bill in the state’s House of Representatives has died that sought to reduce
truck speeds in certain areas of the state by 15 mph.
Independent truck stop owners accuse Comdata of violating antitrust laws
Two independent truck stop operators have filed antitrust lawsuits against Comdata Corp.,
saying the fuel card provider undermines rival fuel card companies’ ability to compete and
gives price advantages to the larger truck stop chains.
Rock-throwing trucker sentenced to prison time
Trucker Glenn Rogers Junior of Elyria, OH, who threw chunks of iron ore at oncoming cars
because he said they wouldn’t dim their high beams, has been sentenced to a two-year
prison term.
TWIC program off to rocky start
The Transportation Worker Identification Credential program kicked off Monday with
enrollment at one Delaware port.
U.S. senator from California tackles ‘hot fuel’ issues
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, is convinced that it was pressure from big oil companies
that swayed a manufacturer to withdraw equipment designed to ensure fairness at the fuel
pump.
Indiana governor pulls toll road proposals
Citing public opinion, Gov. Mitch Daniels told legislative leaders in Indiana to withdraw
proposed legislation to clear the way for two privately run toll roads in the state.
Trans-Texas Corridor draws more opponents
Another grass-roots group – Citizens For Responsible Government – has sprung up in
Texas in opposition to the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor. The group is based in Victoria,
TX, a city of about 60,000 people located on Highway 59 north of Corpus Cristi, TX.
Effort rekindled to end split speed limit in Illinois
For the third time in recent years, legislation offered in Illinois calls for bringing an end to
split speed limits on the state’s interstate highways.
Stiffer fines for chain law violations advances in Colorado
A revised version of a bill in Colorado that would boost fines for truck drivers who fail to
chain up during bad weather is moving forward in the state’s House. The state also allotted
$2.5 million to build and expand new Interstate 70 chain-up spots.
ACE enforcement delayed at several border crossings
U.S. Customs has pushed back two deadlines – including one scheduled to kick in
Monday, March 26 – for the enforcement of mandatory use of the ACE program by truckers
hauling cargo across the U.S. border in Washington, North Dakota and Arizona.
Texas Senate OKs greater truck enforcement
The Texas Legislature only meets in regular session once every two years, but when the
legislators do gather in Austin, they churn out quite a bit of legislation for consideration.
Several truck-related bills have received attention in the statehouse during the current
session.
Diversion of Indiana toll lease interest money quashed
A bill has been sidelined in the Indiana Senate that sought to mark $60 million in interest
from the Indiana Toll Road lease for use on local road and street work during the next two
years.
SD tax revenue to stay in highway fund
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds vetoed a bill that would have moved fuel tax revenue away
from the state’s highway fund and into a fund used for soil and conservation programs.
E. coli attorney favors federal oversight of produce industry
Defending victims of food-borne illnesses – like E. coli – has been attorney Bill Marler’s
primary focus since 1993, now he has a new perspective on how hauling potentially
contaminated loads of produce and the lack of federal regulations affects truckers.
Feds push tolling plan on state legislators
Officials from the Federal Highway Administration met with state and local lawmakers in
Connecticut this week to urge them to adopt a tolling plan that would implement higher tolls
during times of higher traffic congestion.
Poll shows NJ residents oppose toll road lease or sale
A poll released this week by AAA Clubs of New Jersey found that more than half of the
motorists surveyed are opposed to the leasing or selling of the New Jersey Turnpike to a
private contractor.
Florida bill could authorize toll road lease
A bill is on the agenda for Florida’s House of Representatives this week that, if approved,
could pave the way for highway privatization in that state.
Toll rates, congestion among concerns along Texas Highway 121
City officials in the suburban area north of Dallas are questioning TxDOT about toll rates
and congestion associated with a proposed extension of State Highway 121.
Still no agreement on who should oversee produce industry
While U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials have admitted that growing and packing
practices for fresh fruits and vegetables needs to improve, they went on to say they favor
voluntary guidelines that would allow the produce industry to regulate itself.
Connecticut bills address road safety issues
A bill moving through the Connecticut statehouse is intended to improve safety for drivers
on Avon Mountain. The bill is one off several efforts put before lawmakers this year that are
relevant to trucks operating in the state.
Tractor-trailers targeted in three shootings
Three tractor-trailers were targeted in recent drive-by shootings in St. Bernard Parrish, near
New Orleans.
Effort to study I-80 improvements canned in Wyoming
A bill has been put to rest in Wyoming that sought to establish a select panel to study how
to maintain Interstate 80 in the state.
Indiana hearings draw toll road opposition
A hearing this week generated opposition and debate about a proposed tolled bypass of
Indianapolis.
OOIDA member talks trucks with state senator
Fed up with all of the talk of privatization in his state, OOIDA member Leroy Layser of
Lebanon, PA, decided to do something about it.
Some Arkansas highway speeds could be on the rise down the road
Gov. Mike Beebe has signed a bill into law that could result in all traffic traveling 10 mph
faster along some highways in Arkansas.
Minnesota bill offers incentive to install idling reduction devices
A bill in the Minnesota House is intended to minimize the need for truck drivers to idle their
trucks.
Washington state bill would change intrastate truck rules
Unsafe trucking companies are the subject of a bill moving through the Washington
Legislature. Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest Park, has introduced a bill that would make it
easier to shut down trucking operations in the state with faulty trucks and people who drive
them recklessly.
FDA recalling potentially contaminated pet food
If you’ve got a four-legged companion in your rig, take note – there may be some very bad
stuff in your animal’s food.
Wisconsin grants offer big opportunities for small-business truckers
For the second year in a row, the Wisconsin Department of Commerce is planning to hand
out $1 million to truckers to purchase anti-idling technologies such as auxiliary power units
– and OOIDA wants to make sure its Wisconsin members and Land Line readers again get
in on the action.
Toll money likely won’t go toward schools in Kansas
A proposal by Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to use a large turnpike toll increase to pay for
building upkeep at state universities appears to be dead in the water.
Peters persistent with privatization pitch
U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters continues to pitch two themes – that federal
highway dollars are rapidly drying up, and that privatization is the alternative.
Indiana Toll Road joins E-ZPass system
The private operator of the Indiana Toll Road will use E-ZPass for its electronic tolling
collection system, which is scheduled to be implemented in the fall of 2007.
Trucker recuperating after fall from Tennessee bridge
Authorities in Anderson County, TN, say a trucker is recuperating after surviving a 17-story
fall earlier this month.
Arkansas trucker killed when another trucker bails out
A 28-year-old Arkansas trucker, Charles Inloes Junior, was killed Friday when his truck was
hit head-on by a straight truck whose driver reportedly jumped out of just before the collision.
Port of Oakland launches RFID program
The Port of Oakland has begun a voluntary pilot program in which some truckers are
attaching radio frequency identification tags to their trucks.
ATA pitches truck-only highways during congressional hearing
The National Transportation Commission heard testimony in Washington, DC, Monday on
how to reduce congestion and fund our highways in the future and one of those testifying
was American Trucking Association President Bill Graves, who called for a new initiative to
establish freight corridors to reduce congestion.
Wisconsin grants offer big opportunities for small-business truckers
For the second year in a row, the Wisconsin Department of Commerce is planning to hand
out $1 million to truckers to purchase anti-idling technologies such as auxiliary power units
– and OOIDA wants to make sure its members and Land Line readers again get in on the
action.
Group needs help hauling hay to farmers
Farmers in Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico may need your help. The Fellowship of
Christian Farmers is looking for drivers who can haul loads of hay from the Midwest to
ranches where feed supplies have been devastated by winter storms.
Trucker stunt man has role in new movie
A movie that opens in theaters across the country Friday features a key stunt performed by
Mike Ryan, the Hollywood stunt driver who also races Class 8 trucks up Pike’s Peak.
Watch those spring weight restrictions
In many parts of the country, spring has sprung – and when the ground thaws in the
northern tier states, weight restrictions are put in effect.
Texas trucker told trooper coughing fit caused fatal wreck
A coughing fit rendered a trucker powerless to control his rig this week, resulting in it
ramming into five parked cars, killing one man.
Speed limiter, EOBR comment deadlines coming up soon
Truckers who want the feds to know what they think about speed limiters and electronic
on-board recorders are running out of time. Speed limiter comments are due March 27 and
EOBR comments are due April 18.
Trucker fired, billed by carrier after woman’s suicide attempt
Robert Polkamp was disappointed that his company fired him three weeks into his stint as
a company driver for USF Glen Moore, based in Carlisle, PA. But the 20-year veteran of
trucking was absolutely stunned one week later.
Unicorn wasn’t driving after all
A lot of fun was poked yesterday at a story out of Billings, MT, where an alleged drunken
driver who crashed his car supposedly told police officers that a unicorn was driving.
Produce industry still missing the point with self-regulation
While there appears to be an agreement in the produce industry that new food safety
standards for produce are needed, the debate is heating up over whether a market-based
approach or enhanced government oversight is the best route to prevent future food-borne
illnesses.
Fuel additive is one way to reduce emissions in troubled Texas region
Sometimes adding one thing can help take something else away. That’s the simplest way
of explaining the strategy behind a new biodiesel additive coming to market in East Texas.
Montana man’s magical mystery tour
Apparently, when you already have five drunken-driving convictions, you’ll try almost anything
to get out of a sixth.
Fire department says trucker died after driving into oil well, igniting blaze
Truck Driver Todd Welch, 35, of Bakersfield, CA, was identified as the driver in California,
who died after he drove into an oil well Monday, March 12.
Utah governor OK funds for roads, study
The Utah Department of Transportation is in line to receive a hefty infusion of money, thanks
to lawmakers’ endorsement of a $510 million budget increase for the agency.
Advocacy group sues FMCSA for Mexican truck info
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is being sued by a group that says the
agency has refused to make public information regarding the plan to allow Mexican trucks
into the U.S. on a so-called “pilot” basis.
Stiffer fines for chain law violations rekindled in Colorado
A Colorado state lawmaker, Rep. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, is renewing his effort to boost
fines for truck drivers who fail to chain up during bad weather. Lawmakers cited a lack of
safe places for truckers to pull over as one reason for not advancing the previous effort.
Kentucky governor expected to OK speed limit increase
The Kentucky Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow the state to raise
the speed limit on rural interstates and parkways.
Judge dismisses Virginia toll road lawsuit
Two Virginia residents have been attempting since January to stop the transfer of the Dulles
Toll Road to the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority. However, a judge dismissed
their lawsuit on Friday, March 9.
Indiana lane restrictions bill fails
A bill has died in the Indiana Senate that sought to keep slow-moving traffic out of the left
lane on the state’s multi-lane highways. It included a provision to restrict trucks to the far
right-hand lane on highways with three or more lanes.
U.S. Rep claims corruption, scheming in Mexican pilot program
Rampant bribery of public officials is commonplace in Mexico, and that should call into
question the authenticity of any official documents provided by Mexican truck drivers,
according to U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR.
Some truck bills advance, others stall in Colorado statehouse
Legislation in the Colorado General Assembly is focused on certain trucking companies
that operate in the state.
Maryland bills seek to increase fuel tax rate
A couple of noteworthy state lawmakers in Maryland are calling for a boost to the state’s fuel
tax rate to help fill the void for needed transportation dollars.
Toll talk rises in Tennessee
With the state struggling to pay for needed transportation work, legislation in Tennessee
would authorize tolling as a method to pay for road and bridge work in the state.
Public hearings set on proposed tolled bypass around Indianapolis
Public comments about a proposed tolled bypass around Indianapolis will be accepted at a
series of upcoming field hearings in Indiana.
U.S. Representatives seek audit of cross-border pilot program
Two influential members of Congress are asking the U.S. Department of Transportation’s
Inspector General to make a thorough study of the planned cross-border pilot program
involving Mexican trucks.
Toll talk fills the air in Arizona Senate chamber
Lawmakers in the Arizona Senate are debating legislation that would open the state to
more tolling options.
Logging truckers converge on Olympia, WA
About 40 logging truckers parked their rigs on the grounds of the Washington state capitol
in Olympia on Wednesday, March 7, to lobby their elected representatives.
Trucker wins lottery jackpot
A trucker has won half of a $390 million lottery jackpot. That lucky man was 52-year-old Ed
Nabors of Rocky Face, GA, who says he’s going to use part of his winnings to buy some
lakefront property and do a lot of fishing.
Vancouver port clogged with containers
In Canada, the Port of Vancouver has expanded its hours of operations so that truckers can
help get rid of a big backlog of containers.
Bonds sought for road work in Arkansas
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said early this month he might support a highway bond program
this year after all. At the same time, a bill filed in the state Senate would allow for a ballot
issue to authorize $575 million in bonds to cover road repairs.
Bill to clear Florida’s left lanes hits roadblock
A renewed effort to keep most drivers out of Florida’s fast lanes has again hit a stumbling
block.
Ontario fuel supply still strapped weeks after refinery fire
The largest market for diesel fuel and gasoline in Canada has been running on “E” for
nearly a month.
Trucker sues Chicago police officer over road rage, excessive force
A Chicago police officer, Jerome Finnegan, is being sued for allegedly forcing a trucker off
the road and attacking him on the side of the Stevenson Expressway – and Land Line has
learned it’s not the first time the officer has been accused of abusing his authority.
Investigation finds unqualified cops in 30 states
The term “rookie cop” has taken on new meaning, according to an investigation by The
Associated Press.
New nuke detectors being tested
Tests are being conducted in Nevada this month on a new generation of radiation detectors
– but their price tag may keep them from ever being widely used.
Bill to limit cell phone use advances in Washington
A bill that would require drivers in Washington state to keep their hands off the phone is
moving forward in the Senate. The bill isn’t the only effort in the statehouse to curb
distracting activities while behind the wheel.
Texas state senator blasts privatization proposals
Texas lawmaker Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, says awarding contracts to private toll-road
builders is not worth the long-term costs to taxpayers.
Toll talk fills the air in Arizona Senate chamber
Lawmakers in the Arizona Senate are debating legislation that would open the state to
more tolling options.
Truckers win overtime case in Washington
The Supreme Court in Washington state has handed a victory to truckers who’ve been
missing out on overtime pay.
Texas bills would impact trucking rules
Several bills of interest to the trucking industry are drawing consideration from lawmakers
in both chambers of the Texas Legislature.
Bills in Texas would disrupt toll road privatization
Texas lawmakers have introduced bills in the state Senate and House to disrupt proposals
for privatized toll roads – including the Trans-Texas Corridor.
Giuliani sells consulting firm to Macquarie
Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has sold his consulting firm to the
Australian company involved in the 75-year lease of the Indiana Toll Road and the
privatization of other U.S. infrastructure.
Trucker acquitted in Washington state’s first securement case
A trucker has been acquitted in what was reportedly the first jury trial under Washington
state’s unsecured load law. A jury found Wilfredo “Jesse” De Jesus innocent of first-degree
failure to secure a load, according to The Associated Press.
Public, lawmakers invited to duke it out over Illiana Expressway
A grassroots organization fighting against the construction of a proposed privatized toll road
called the Illiana Expressway has organized a legislative forum Saturday, and the public is
invited.
Public forum scheduled on two Florida toll road projects
Transportation officials have scheduled a two-day public forum in Northeast Florida to
discuss two proposed toll roads being combined into one project, which could be built with
private-sector funds.
Truck-related legislation considered in Montana
Several bills of interest to the trucking industry have drawn consideration this year in the
Montana Legislature. Among the efforts still before lawmakers is a bill that would generate
additional revenue for the state’s roadways.
Virginia transportation bill heads to governor
With time running out on the regular session, lawmakers in the Virginia House and Senate
were able to reach agreement on a long-term transportation package. The plan that was
crafted by key members from both chambers would allow $2.5 billion in borrowing for
roads, rail and transit projects.
ACE set to begin in New York, Michigan
Truckers who cross the Canadian border into New York or Michigan will be required to file
their manifests electronically beginning May 24.
Breach of contract alleged in amended ‘hot fuel’ lawsuit
New Jersey plaintiffs involved in a federal lawsuit about hot fuel have expanded their case
against fuel retailers and increased the number of states in a call for class action.
Toll road north of Austin now open
A toll road built with bond money is now up and running in Texas.
Washington wants to revamp CDL testing after audit
The state of Washington has decided to revamp its commercial driver’s license application
process after several audits revealed third-party testers were approving applicants faster
than they could test them.
Arkansas bill would offer tuition credit for aspiring truckers
A leading state lawmaker in Arkansas wants to reimburse students for training in the
trucking industry.
‘Real ID’ plan gets two-year delay
The Department of Homeland Security has decided to cut states some slack on
implementing the so-called “Real ID” program.
Illinois bill intended to block any hand-off of tollway
Several Republicans in the Illinois statehouse have introduced a measure intended to
block any effort to sell or lease the state’s tollway system.
Legislation in Missouri focuses on trucks; road safety
Several bills of interest to truck drivers are drawing consideration in the Missouri General
Assembly.
State police say company driver was over hours before fatal wreck
Rhode Island State Police investigating a fatal crash say the trucker involved was past his
HOS limit. They have turned the case over to the FMCSA for further review.
Missing birth certificate leaves trucker’s perfect record on roadside
James Calloway understands that truckers are required by the federal government to
submit to and pass background checks before being issued hazmat endorsements for
their commercial driver’s licenses.
New Jersey Turnpike could go to pension fund
State lawmakers who don’t like the idea of turning over the New Jersey Turnpike to private
investors have come up with an unusual alternative. They propose that the state pension
fund – with $70 billion in assets – take over the turnpike.
California toll road hits environmental roadblocks
Planning for the Foothill South Toll Road has hit enough obstacles to cause a construction
delay until at least 2011.
New rules of the road OK’d in Utah, minus effort to speed up all traffic
The Utah Legislature has approved a bill that no longer includes a provision to allow drivers
to travel faster. It does include several other highway-safety related provisions.
Lawmakers stall bills on chain-up penalties, private toll road restrictions
A bill in a Colorado House panel to boost the fines for truck drivers who fail to chain up has
been sidelined. Lawmakers cited a lack of safe places for truckers to pull over as a primary
reason for not advancing the legislation.
Kentucky House approves headlight bill
The Kentucky House unanimously approved a bill that is intended to aid truckers during
times of poor visibility. It has been forwarded to the Senate for consideration.
Texans call for repeal of proposed toll network
Even without the existence of a state-of-the-art network of toll roads and railway lines
paralleling Interstate 35, hundreds of Texans still made it just fine to a public hearing at the
State Capitol in Austin.
Texans call for repeal of proposed toll network
Even without the existence of a state-of-the-art network of toll roads and railway lines
paralleling Interstate 35, hundreds of Texans still made it just fine to a public hearing at the
State Capitol in Austin.
Foreign company may build Florida toll road
A foreign company, the Plenary Group, has been named as the number one contender in a
bid to build a toll road near Tampa, FL.
South Bay Expressway tolls will be $11.25 for trucks
The builder and operator of a private toll road in the San Diego area has announced that
truckers will pay three times more than four-wheelers to use the road.
Truck-related bills advance in Indiana statehouse
A handful of bills making their way through the Indiana General Assembly are of particular
interest to truckers.
Effort to boost speed limit in Kentucky advances
The Kentucky Senate has approved a bill that would raise the speed limit on the state’s
rural interstates. Gov. Ernie Fletcher supports the plan.
Fuel shortage continues in Ontario
The fuel situation in Ontario, Canada, is getting desperate, and for carriers in the area, it’s
only going to get worse unless something is done soon. That’s the word from the Ontario
Trucking Association in response to a fuel shortage that began in mid-February, following a
fire at an Imperial Oil refinery in Nanticoke, Ontario.
Indiana House approves lease money for local roads
The Indiana House of Representatives approved legislation Monday, Feb. 26, that would
earmark $60 million in interest from the Indiana Toll Road lease for use on local road and
street construction projects.
 
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