The American Driver
From Drivers - For Drivers
What's News - May 2007
California tanker truck company loses license
The California trucking company that operated a gasoline tanker truck that exploded in flames
and caused a freeway ramp to collapse in Oakland has lost its license to haul gas.
Tolling bill with moratorium advances to Texas governor
The Texas House forwarded a compromise transportation bill to Gov. Rick Perry that would
impose a moratorium on most new private toll roads in the state for two years.
Oklahoma lawmakers seek redo to ‘speed trap’ law
Just when former “speed trap” towns in Oklahoma thought they could get their ticket books
back out, legislators in the statehouse opted to undo an effort granting police that authority.
Short-sell specialist compares Macquarie to Enron
A well-known Wall Street investor who warned of the collapse of Enron Corp. before it
happened says toll-road investor Macquarie is showing some of the same trouble signs.
Wisconsin grant reimburses up to 70 percent of idle-reduction equipment
Truckers headquartered in Wisconsin can apply to be reimbursed for idle-reduction
technology through a $1 million grant aimed at collecting field tests of the equipment.
Highway deaths down slightly; alcohol-related fatalities up
Traffic deaths on U.S. roads and highways were down just slightly in 2006, compared to the
previous year.
Inventory up, but fuel prices stay high; Bush promises veto on gouging bill
Just when you thought you’d heard it all – in terms of excuses for high fuel prices – here are
two more.
Illinois police target I-55; ‘Click it or Ticket’ in full force
Lots of states are planning big law enforcement campaigns during the Memorial Day holiday
weekend.
Does Flying J dispute with Visa begin with credit card interchange fees?
In 2005, American consumers sent more than $30 billion to Visa, Mastercard, and the banks
that back their credit and debit cards through interchange fees – a process one advocacy
group says is purposefully kept secret.
Nevada has new truck registration law; ports of entry bill still alive
With the end of the regular legislative session in Nevada less than two weeks away, time is
winding up for several bills of interest.
Mayor of Montreal favors tolling inbound traffic
The mayor of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, wants to toll vehicles that travel into the city by road,
bridge or tunnel.
Flying J halts use of Visa cards for truck diesel Friday
The Flying J will no longer accept Visa credit and debit cards for diesel purchases at truck
pumps beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 25.
Oklahoma ‘speed trap’ towns can write tickets, again
Law enforcers in small towns in Oklahoma once tagged with the label of “speed traps” now
can get their ticket books back out. With revised language, a restriction has been stripped from
the books that kept those traps in check.
Pennsylvania governor takes hits in privatization debate
State lawmakers in Pennsylvania are questioning whether the governor’s hiring of financial
consultants to advise the state on public-private partnerships was legal, especially since the
Legislature has not yet enacted legislation to enable such partnerships.
Canada restricts importing of California leafy greens
Produce truckers who haul into Canada should pay close attention to a new requirement the
Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced earlier this month regarding the importing of
leafy green produce originating from California.
North Carolina bill would pitch in to pay for toll road
An effort in the North Carolina Senate would support construction of a toll road in western
Wake County. It would be the state’s first toll route.
Revised bill could block toll road proposal in California
A proposed toll road through a California state park will not get preferential treatment from
environmental restrictions and other laws like the developers were hoping, a state
assemblyman vowed this week.
Accident claims life of top show truck competitor
A trucker well known for consistently winning show trophies with his dark red and black
extended-hood Peterbilt, “Rollin’ Thunder,” died in a non-highway accident in Maryland on
Friday, May 18.
(Our deepest condolences to the Testerman family)
ACE becomes mandatory in Michigan, New York; Idaho, Montana next
Beginning Thursday, May 24, Michigan and New York will join the border states that require
pre-filing of electronic manifests at ports of entry.
Flying J says Visa chose its way out of truck diesel purchases
Lisa Dyer and husband Toby Dyer spend about $50,000 every year on diesel for their
company, T&L Transport.
Two truckers arrested in Indiana truck hijackings
Indiana state police say two men who were arrested Saturday for allegedly hijacking three
tractor-trailers loaded with metal are truck drivers themselves.
Oregon bills limiting toll roads die
Two measures in Oregon have died that would have restricted the use of toll roads in the state.
Missouri bill would extend authorization for deadly force
An effort to expand gun rights in Missouri has been forwarded to Gov. Matt Blunt’s desk.
Rail strike creates truck slowdown in Canada
A week-old strike by 3,200 rail workers in Canada is leading to delays for truckers who are
trying to pick up intermodal freight.
Officials admit NJ pension fund owns stock in Cintra and Macquarie
New Jersey’s pension fund owns about $190 million worth of stock in two private toll road
investors – Cintra of Spain and Macquarie of Australia – who may someday bid to lease state
assets.
TSA unveils TWIC prices, enrollment options for port workers, drivers
Truckers who enroll in the Transportation Workers Identification Credential program can’t pay
with cash or a personal check, but the federal government does accept Visa and Mastercard.
Active hurricane season predicted
With this year’s hurricane season officially set to start June 1, two leading forecasters are
predicting a more-active-than-normal season.
Iowa trucking company executive faces prison for fraud
A trucking company executive is facing up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in U.S.
District Court to bankruptcy fraud.
Illinois senators bid to end state’s fuel sales tax
In an effort to fend off record-breaking fuel costs, a bill in the Illinois Senate includes a
provision that would end the collection of a sales tax on motor fuels sold in the state.
Pennsylvania bill would split speed limits, ban trucks from left lanes
A bill in the Pennsylvania Senate would require truck drivers to travel 5 mph slower than they
do now and stay to the right on certain highways in the state.
Toll road bills advance in Tennessee
With the state struggling to pay for transportation work, legislation on the move in the
Tennessee statehouse would authorize tolling as a method to pay for new road and bridge
work in the state.
Architect of Indiana Toll Road lease resigns
The man who engineered the financial aspects of the Indiana Toll Road lease is resigning his
position as state budget director.
Lawmakers demand more fuel economy for big trucks
By 2011, manufacturers of heavy trucks could be required to increase fuel mileage by 4
percent each year for the following 20 years.
Bill would allow suing OPEC
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, May 17, approved a bill that would allow
the U.S. to sue OPEC nations under anti-trust laws for colluding to set oil prices.
Bill would close energy tax loophole
A bill introduced in the U.S. House on Thursday, May 18, would pull the plug on a tax loophole
for the big oil companies.
Tolling bill gains approval in Texas House
The Texas House overwhelmingly approved a bill Thursday, May 17, that includes a two-year
moratorium on most new private toll roads. It now heads to the Senate for approval of changes.
Visa no longer everywhere Flying J wants to be
Beginning in late May, it seems customers will no longer be able to use Visa credit cards at
Flying J outlets, a Utah-based truck stop chain which Forbes Magazine recently dubbed “the
largest retail distributor of diesel fuel in North America.”
Canada's truckers not sold on tolling as a congestion fix
Joanne Ritchie, executive director of the Owner-Operators' Business Association of Canada,
said truckers in Canada generally oppose toll roads and that there aren't many toll roads to
speak of.
New Washington law targets unsafe intrastate trucks
Unsafe trucking companies are the subject of a bill signed into law by Washington Gov. Chris
Gregoire. It will make it easier to shut down trucking operations in the state that have faulty
trucks and people who drive them recklessly.
Mexican official vows to continue fight to open U.S. border
Top officials in the Mexican government plan to lobby the U.S. Senate to kill a bill already
approved by the House that would delay the Bush administration's cross-border pilot program.
Tolls proposed for I-540 section in North Carolina
A Raleigh-area planning authority approved a plan for tolls to pay for a new section of
Interstate 540 in Wake County, NC. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has the
final say on the funding method for the proposed $800 million section.
Lawmakers push for fuel tax holiday in Connecticut
With the potential for fuel prices to reach $4 per gallon this summer, House and Senate
Republicans in Connecticut are calling for a temporary suspension of the state's per-gallon
tax on motor fuels.
Effort to widen gap between car and truck speeds dies in Oregon
A bill in the Oregon House that would have widen the speed gap between cars and trucks to
15 mph on the state's rural interstate highways is history – for now.
Tennessee resolution urges widening of I-75
Several lawmakers in the Tennessee statehouse would like to see a busy stretch of Interstate
75 between Chattanooga and Knoxville widened to improve safety and reduce congestion.
Federal judge grants class-action status in Wal-Mart discrimination case
A federal judge has granted class action status in a lawsuit accusing Wal-Mart of
discriminating against blacks who've applied for over-the-road trucking jobs.
Nearly half of Homeland Security's $445 million grants to go to ports
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently handed out $445 million in grants to
strengthen ports and transit systems against potential terrorist attacks.
Feds allege Alaska legislators accepted bribes from oil producer
An Alaska state representative and two former legislators have been arrested and indicted for
bribery and conspiracy charges after the men allegedly traded votes for money and jobs from
a major energy-producing company.
Effort to expand truck enforcement advances in Texas
A bill moving forward in the Texas House is intended to allow more local police to enforce
truck rules.
Fuel tax increase struck down by Minnesota governor
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty wasted little time Tuesday, May 15, to veto a nickel-per- increase
in the state's fuel tax.
Comdata chief axed for allegedly sharing insider info
The head of Comdata Corp. has been dismissed for allegedly leaking confidential information
to a group of stockholders who are battling for control of the payment-processing company.
New Mexico waives weight limit on Kansas-bound loads
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has ordered the state DOT to waive load limits on trucks that
are hauling relief shipments to Kansas.
Truck-related bills OK'd in Indiana
A couple of bills that have wound their way through the Indiana General Assembly are of
particular interest to truckers – one would eliminate a trailer registration fee and the other
would open more roads to trucks.
Feds, lawmakers demand better fuel economy; big trucks on list
Fuel economy standards haven't changed as much over the years as emissions standards
have, but that could change if a bill in the Senate Commerce Committee becomes law.
Officials fear second Canadian rail strike
Canada could be headed for its second railroad strike of the year, now that talks between
Canadian Pacific Railway and its maintenance workers have broken off.
Michelin files ‘look-alike' tire lawsuit
Michelin Tires has filed a lawsuit against a Chinese manufacturing group that it says is
exporting look-alike tires to the U.S.
Florida fires continue to close roadways
Truckers using Interstates 75 or 10 in northern Florida faced the possibility of intermittent
highway closures Monday because of smoke from wildfires.
Kansas, Oklahoma join Missouri in disaster relief with regulation waivers
In light of recent storms and flooding throughout the Midwest, Kansas and Oklahoma have
joined Missouri in temporarily suspending some of their regulations that govern truck traffic in
the those states.
Poll: Pennsylvanians oppose turnpike privatization
A new poll finds that two out of three Pennsylvania residents oppose the idea of leasing the
state's turnpike to a private company.
Policy watchdog group says oil companies gouge consumers
A Canadian watchdog group is blasting oil companies and gasoline retailers for allegedly
gouging consumers to the tune of millions of dollars.
Diesel prices continue to ease
Bucking the trend set by rising gasoline prices, national prices for on-highway diesel have
seen four consecutive weeks of slight decreases following a spike to an average of $2.88 per
gallon in mid-April.
Speed trap bill advances in Tennessee
A bill that is intended to thwart speed traps in Tennessee's smallest towns is moving forward
in the state's House.
Carrier lends a hand to homeless OOIDA members in Greensburg
Michael and Sharyl Terryn were among three OOIDA member families to lose a home in last
week's E-F5-rated tornado in Greensburg, KS.
High prices, hot fuel on the agenda for federal hearing
U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-OH, is demanding answers from seven major oil companies
about rising fuel prices.
Georgia DOT considers truck-only toll lanes
If you run in Georgia, take note – the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know your
opinions about a proposal for truck-only toll lanes.
Effort to curb ‘hot fuel' likely doomed in Texas
An effort in the Texas House that would make sure consumers in the state get what they pay
for at the fuel pump is likely dead. A similar effort is sidelined in Missouri.
New Oregon laws are of interest to trucking; other efforts remain active
Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed two bills into law intended to be used as an incentive to reduce
idling and boost fines for violating out-of-service orders. Numerous other bills related to
trucking continue to draw consideration.
U.S. DOT: trucking industry on a slight rebound
The trucking industry is on the rebound – at least to a degree – according to analysts at the U.
S. Department of Transportation.
REAL ID Act faces mounting opposition
Privacy advocates continue to build a coalition of groups challenging a proposed plan for a
national identification system, dubbed the REAL ID Act.
Biofuel producers want more tax subsidies
Biodiesel producers strongly believe an existing $1-per-gallon federal tax subsidy is
necessary seed money to grow the industry.
Missouri lawmakers advance bill focusing on truck rules
A bill moving through the Missouri statehouse includes several provisions of interest to truck
drivers. It also would bring state law in line with some federal rules that were part of the 2005
federal highway funding legislation.
Effort to cap fuel sales tax dies in Indiana
A bill has died in the Indiana Senate that called for changing how the state collects taxes on
fuel. If it had been approved, state government would have lost as much as $45 million
annually in revenue.
Missouri waives HOS for truckers providing relief efforts
To expedite relief efforts needed because of flooding and damaging storms in Missouri,
Kansas and Iowa, an emergency declaration issued by the state of Missouri suspends
enforcement of some regs in that state.
Virginia toll fines mount for the guilty – and the innocent
The $7.6 million camera system on a Virginia toll road is supposed to snap photos of vehicles
violating the electronic tolling system and send them a citation through the mail.
Michigan bills would boost fuel tax rates
Bipartisan legislation in the Michigan House looks to increase the state’s per-gallon fuel tax
rates to generate more than $1 billion in new funding each year for road work.
California highway collapse prompts call for hazmat reform
A gasoline tanker truck fire that caused the collapse of part of a major highway interchange in
Oakland, CA, has prompted a U.S. Senator to call for stricter hazmat rules.
California Senate approves bill to ban high-tech driver’s licenses
A bill in California that would prohibit the use of radio frequency identification devices in driver’
s licenses passed the state’s Senate. The devices aren’t used by the California Department of
Motor Vehicles, but they are legal.
Texas bills with eye on trucking rules advance
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed a bill into law intended to curb unsafe trucking operations in
the state. Several other bills of interest continue to draw consideration in the statehouse.
Connecticut bills to address road safety issues die
A bill in the Connecticut statehouse has died that was intended to improve safety for drivers on
Avon Mountain. Two other bills relevant to trucks also have died.
Miami to build port tunnel
The Florida Department of Transportation named a consortium headed by an Australian
investment firm as the preferred bidder to build and operate a tolled tunnel for Port of Miami
traffic.
Former trucker now a sister
People leave the trucking industry to pursue a lot of different careers, but not many can say
they drove a Freightliner and then a Mack up and down the east coast for a year before
becoming a Catholic nun.
Time to schedule that three-day fishing trip?
It’s time to mark your calendars – the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced
June 5-7 as the dates for this year’s International Roadcheck inspection blitz.
I-29 reopens in Iowa as storm batters Carolinas’ coasts
While this past weekend’s deadly tornadoes in Kansas continue to make headlines, severe
weather is continuing to cause problems in other parts of the country.
Regional authority bids on Dallas toll project
Not so fast, Cintra.
PierPass diverts 5 million truck trips
The PierPass off-peak program at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has diverted
more than 5 million truck trips from peak daytime hours to nights and weekends in the past
two years.
OOIDA to give small business truckers’ perspective on idling
OOIDA Regulatory Affairs Specialist Joe Rajkovacz has been asked to give the trucking
industry’s perspective on idling at this year’s Tri-State Idle Reduction Conference in Illinois.
Truckers tell of carnage, survival after Kansas twister
Velda and Darrell Wadel are accustomed to tornado warnings. You get that way when you’ve
lived your whole life in Kansas.
Truckers who used TEI as broker may have cash claim
Some drivers may get paid for hauling for the shuttered Trucker’s Express Inc. after all.
Poll says New Yorkers oppose proposed road use fee
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed $8 fee for driving into Manhattan isn’t sitting
too well with motorists.
Diesel prices down while gas prices remain higher
As gasoline prices continue to rise, the national average price of diesel fell a few pennies for
the fourth consecutive week.
Former trucker may own Pollock painting
If you saw “60 Minutes” on Sunday, May 6, you saw the story of 74-year-old Teri Horton.
Trucker wins big money in scratch ticket jackpot
Trucker Jose Galarza from Queens, NY, got an unexpected bonus this week when he won the
Monopoly Scratch N’ Win jackpot worth $250,000.
Suicidal man steals truck, leads chase before jumping into river
Police in New Jersey are waiting at a suicidal man’s bedside to question him, just days after
he survived a 90-foot jump into the Hudson River.
Florida Legislature OKs bill that includes authorization to lease toll roads
A bill headed to Gov. Charlie Crist’s desk would allow the Florida Department of
Transportation to lease most toll roads in the state to private groups.
Florida commission votes no on toll road study
Landowners pushing for the construction of the Heartland Parkway, a new 150-mile tolled
highway linking Orlando to Immokalee, received a setback this week, when a county
commission voted against authorizing a feasibility study.
Food fight: Congress, others weigh in on self-regulation
Despite the increasing number of food-borne outbreaks tied to leafy greens and other
produce, the produce industry stands behind its position that self-regulation is indeed the best
answer.
Freightliner ready to roll out Cascadia
Freightliner is rolling out a new Class 8 model called the Cascadia that not only promises
3-percent better fuel economy, but was built with bigger truckers in mind.
Michelin hikes tire prices
Michelin Tire has joined the growing list of tire manufacturers who are raising prices.
SUV driver killed as good Samaritan, truckers stop abusive boyfriend
Two truckers stopped to help a pregnant woman who was being assaulted on the side of a
New Mexico highway last week.
Alabama House advances truck weight bill
A bill halfway through the Alabama Legislature would loosen weight requirements for certain
commercial vehicles in the state.
Temporary toll ban moves to Texas governor
The Texas House voted 139-1 Wednesday, May 2, to give final approval to a bill that is
intended to buy the state more time to review the effects of handing over roadways to private
groups. The vote cleared the way for the bill to move to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk.
Two California toll roads could merge
A shotgun wedding isn’t likely to happen this time as two county-run toll roads in California
prepare to merge.
Food fight: Truckers still left holding the bag
While the produce industry has rolled out the proposed Leafy Greens Good Agricultural
Practices for leafy green handlers to follow, these “practices” do not address recall or disposal
procedures for a key element in the food supply chain –the truckers – who are responsible for
hauling the majority of the nation’s produce across the country and into the marketplace.
Stiffer fines for chain law violations moves to Colorado governor
The Colorado Senate has approved a bill that would boost fines for truck drivers who fail to
chain up during bad weather. The state also will allot nearly $2.5 million to build and expand
new Interstate 70 chain-up spots.
Corzine seeks citation, pays fine
How often do you hear of someone asking to be fined? According to Bloomberg, that’s what
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine did on Wednesday.
Petro raises funds for USO
If you’re a fan of the chicken-fried steak at the Petro’s Iron Skillet restaurants, there’s a good
excuse for you to order it again.
Fourth Annual Tennessee Truck Show is on for May 11-12
It’s too soon for an accurate forecast, but Vicky and Joey Holiday are hoping for sunny skies for
their Fourth Annual Tennessee Truck Show, planned for May 11-12 at the Tennessee State
Fairgrounds in Nashville.
ATA reports tonnage is up
The total number of tons of freight moved by truck in March was up slightly compared to a year
ago, according to the American Trucking Association.
DHS finally using stolen passport database
Nearly two years after the information was made available to it, the Department of Homeland
Security has decided to start using a massive database that can flag stolen passports.
GAO to DHS: coordinate TWIC and related background checks
Two years ago, Michael Zanella received a letter in the mail saying he needed to pay $97 and
be fingerprinted to keep his hazmat hauling endorsement. The OOIDA member from
Columbus, OH, complied and spent three half days submitting biometric data before receiving
a letter certifying his hazmat status until 2010.
Food Fight: Weaknesses within the food supply chain exposed
For several months now, OOIDA and members of Congress have been questioning whether
the produce industry should be allowed to regulate itself, and while a growers’ representative
told Land Line that he understands why truckers are frustrated, he said growers still believe
the best approach is a voluntary one.
Alabama bills tackle issue of steel coil ‘fall-offs’
Several bills of interest to the trucking industry have been offered in the Alabama Legislature.
Those efforts include legislation that address steel coil “fall-offs.”
Legislation in Missouri focuses on trucks; road safety
Several bills of interest to truck drivers continue to draw consideration in the Missouri General
Assembly as the end of the regular session approaches.
Trucker shot on I-40 in New Mexico
Police in Albuquerque, NM, are trying to figure out who shot a trucker on Interstate 40 Monday
morning, and why.
Mexican truck driver found guilty for importing $3.5 million in cocaine
Six months after Pennsylvania State Police found more than $3.5 million worth of cocaine, a
truck driver and his Mexican friend face between six and 15 years in prison.
Long Beach sees protest impact; LA reports business as usual
Truck traffic at the Port of Long Beach was noticeably lighter Tuesday as many Hispanic
drivers took part in immigration rights demonstrations and protested working conditions at the
ports.
Toll talk falters in Nevada
Despite being told that public-private partnerships could help the state cope with funding
shortfalls to get needed road work done, Nevada state lawmakers haven’t warmed up to the
scheme.
Audit shows TxDOT exaggerated the numbers – again
The Texas state auditor has concluded that transportation officials used inflated numbers
when they reported an $86 billion funding gap for highways and transportation projects.
Temporary toll ban nears passage in Texas; governor poised to veto
The Texas Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Monday, April 30, that is intended to buy the
state more time to review the effects of handing over roadways to private groups. It now heads
back to the House for approval of changes.
Tolls could help pay for improvements to portion of U.S. 17 in Virginia
Gov. Tim Kaine has signed a bill into law that could use tolls to help pay for improvements
along U.S. Route 17 in the city of Chesapeake.
Mexican toll road crumbles, privatization still the talk
Proponents of highway privatization use efficiency as one of their supporting arguments. But
try selling that to motorists and truck drivers in Mexico, who pay up to $70 U.S. for a round trip
on one formerly private toll road that is filled with potholes.
California law will require all reefers to be 2002 or newer
Long-haulers of produce have more to worry about in California than E. coli and the expiration
of cargo – their reefers could be expired as early as next year.
Trucking company owner forged notes to bank
The owner of a Pennsylvania trucking firm, John F. Brandt, has been sentenced for defrauding
a bank.
Tanker fire collapses highway
Investigators say it appears tanker truck driver James Mosqueda of Woodland, CA, was
exceeding the 50 mph speed limit when his rig crashed and exploded into flames on an
approach to the Bay Bridge in Oakland, CA, early Sunday.
Feds charge 22 for Mexico-run fake ID ring in Chicago
The U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency has reported that a crime
organization brazenly sent multiple vendors to various Chicago street corners during set shifts
to sell kits of false identification records including Social Security cards, driver’s licenses,
green cards and other documents.
Corzine release from hospital Monday
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was released from the hospital Monday, two-and-a-half weeks
after being critically injured in a wreck.