The American Driver
From Drivers - For Drivers
What's News - October 2008
Fuel surcharge legislation alive in both chambers of Congress
Truckers hauling loads for the Department of Defense can soon rest assured that if a fuel
surcharge is paid on the load, they’ll get the surcharge if they bought the fuel – thanks to
legislation recently passed by Congress.
Bang or fizzle? “Clean Truck” plans kick off at L.A., Long Beach ports
The twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach launched their clean truck programs
Wednesday, Oct. 1, although the fight over the Teamsters-influenced emissions plan doesn’t
appear to be ending any time soon.
Pennsylvania Turnpike will not be leased this year
A $12.8 billion bid by a Spanish-American consortium to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike has
expired and is no longer on the table.
Still time to comment on state road truck ban in New York
A proposed regulation by the New York Department of Transportation to force truckers off state
roads and onto the New York Thruway could be the nail in the coffin for some truckers already
struggling to pay high taxes and fuel costs in the state.
Arkansas proposals would open roads to mini-trucks
With cost of fuel still forcing drivers to find ways to save money, more consumers are looking for
vehicles that are smaller and smaller. As a result, more truckers soon could be sharing certain
roads with the increasingly popular mini-truck.
California bills finalize transit questions on ballots
In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gave the go-ahead for revisions to two transit
initiatives to be included on the November ballot.
Wisconsin county won’t adopt idling restriction this week
One Wisconsin county’s proposal to adopt a California-style idling restriction won’t be
considered until at least Oct. 16.
 
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'Bailout' to provide excise exemption for APU purchasers
It's been called a bailout, a giveaway, and a way of avoiding an economic recession among
other things, but the $700 billion congressional plan being considered this week would also
benefit some truck drivers. The legislation, HR6049, includes an exemption to the excise tax on
new APUs when they are bought with new trucks.
Trucks barred from eastbound I-275 bridge over Ohio River
On the Kentucky-Ohio border, heavy trucks are now barred from using the eastbound Interstate
275 bridge over the Ohio River. Trucks are still allowed on the westbound span of the nearly
30-year-old bridge.
Pilot to offer urea at pumps
Officials with Pilot Travel Centers say the chain is going to start offering diesel exhaust fluid,
also known as urea, at the pump. It hopes to have the product available at at least a third of its
325 truck stops by mid to late 2009.
Lower speed limit begins Oct. 15 on 52 miles of I-80 in Wyoming
Truckers and four-wheelers who travel Interstate 80 in Wyoming will soon see a
10-mile-per-hour drop in the speed limit on one 52-mile stretch. The state is lowering the limit
from 75 to 65 mph between Laramie and Rawlins for the winter because the area is prone to
blizzard-like conditions and fatal crashes.
Tolls removed from British Columbia highway
A highway in Western Canada that was built with toll revenue is paid for and the tolls have been
removed, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell has announced. Tolls collected since
1986 have paid off the $848-million price tag for the Coquihalla Highway connecting the city of
Hope to Kamloops, British Columbia.
Road funding options discussed in South Dakota
A crunch on available funding for road projects in South Dakota has officials there exploring
what options might be available to ease a shortage of available dollars. Some said that the
South Dakota Department of Transportation and local governments must make better use of
their existing funds before more money is made available. Data made available to the
lawmakers showed that 36 percent of possible fuel tax revenues are diverted for such uses as
Highway Patrol operations, snowmobile trails, the State Radio system and aeronautics
projects.
CVSA seeks to educate CMV stakeholders on use of EOBRs
Electronic on-board recording devices continue to be a hot topic of conversation throughout
North America. In an effort to address issues revolving around EOBRs, the Commercial Vehicle
Safety Alliance has scheduled its first ever symposium on the subject for Dec. 1-3 at the Hyatt
Regency in Minneapolis. For more information, or to register online, click
here. Early
registration rates apply through Nov. 21.
Vetoed: California bill to ban pets on drivers' laps
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill late last month that was intended to
encourage pet lovers to keep their animals off their laps while at the wheel. Meanwhile, a
lawmaker in New Hampshire is pursuing a similar effort.
Convoy for a Cure scheduled for Oct. 18 in Ontario
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Canada, and female truck drivers there have
come up with a creative way to use their driving skills to raise money for breast cancer research.
Voter registration deadline approaches in many states
With Election Day less than five weeks away, the deadline to register to vote is approaching in
several states. Each state has a different deadline for voter registration, but in many states, you
need to register at least three weeks before Election Day. With this year's general election on
Nov. 4, the days are numbered to ensure an opportunity for potential voters to cast a ballot.
Truck ban could cost truckers $10 million in NY; comments due by Oct 10
There are only a few more days to submit comments on the proposed regulation by the New
York Department of Transportation to force large trucks off state roads and onto the New York
Thruway. However, truckers still have a few more days - until Oct. 10 - to comment on the state's
DOT plan. Comments can be e-mailed to
TruckRegComment@dot.state.ny.us or mailed to:
DOT Commissioner Astrid C. Glynn, New York Department of Transportation, 50 Wolf Road,
Albany, NY 12232.
California may seek $7 billion loan; Maine may cancel road projects
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger warned recently that California is running out of cash and may
soon need a loan of as much as $7 billion from the federal government. State officials in Maine
are feeling the same pinch. They say they may have to start canceling road projects if they can't
issue bonds quickly.
Public hearing set Oct. 10 on New Jersey toll increases
Public comments are making a difference in New Jersey where officials are planning to change
their toll increase proposal for the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. Turnpike
officials announced on Monday, Sept. 29, that they scheduled a public hearing in October to
present an alternate plan and receive comments on it. The hearing is scheduled from 9 a.m. to
noon, Friday, Oct. 10, at Turnpike Authority headquarters, 581 Main St., Woodbridge, NJ.
New York considering wide use of public-private partnerships
New York Gov. David Paterson has created a commission to study the possibility of leasing the
state's infrastructure and other assets, such as public parks and beaches, to private investors.
Paterson's executive order to create the commission on Thursday, Oct. 2, has truckers
wondering how far the governor will go to toll more roads and bridges or lease valuable assets
to profit-driven companies.
Port officials to Governator: We've got authority for cargo fees
Oakland native and rapper M.C. Hammer might have said "Can't touch this," to summarize the
latest comments from Port of Oakland officials about their planned cargo fee plan. California
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently vetoed a measure that would have allowed a maximum of
$30 per 20-foot equivalent of shipping container. Despite Schwarzenegger's veto, the Port of
Oakland "will move forward" with its cargo fee, said Marilyn Sandifur, a spokeswoman for the
port.
Governor wants to abolish Massachusetts Turnpike Authority
For nearly a year, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has said he would like to abolish the
state's Turnpike Authority and combine various transportation functions into one agency. Patrick
called for just that on Thursday, Oct. 2, when he unveiled a plan for sweeping changes in
various sectors of state government.
 
IRS announces that per diem rate remains unchanged for 2009
Officials with the Internal Revenue Service announced recently that the transportation workers'
special standard per diem rate will remain at $52 for 2009. The 80-percent deduction rule will
also remain unchanged for 2009.
House T&I Committee kept focus on trucking interests, officials say
The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has kept trucking interests in
mind during the past two years as it tackled issues that included the Mexican truck pilot
program, road and bridge funding, and fuel prices. "The T&I Committee had a very active
schedule this year," said Mike Joyce, director of legislative affairs for the Owner-Operator
Independent Drivers Association. "They've addressed a number of critically important issues to
the trucking industry. They've considered our viewpoints."
Trucks adjusting to Clean Trucks Program, say Port of L.A. officials
Officials with the Port of Los Angeles say implementation of the Clean Truck Program is moving
along smoothly, at least relative to the massive undertaking the emission and security plan has
become. "Our terminal operators reported compliance rates of 97 percent to 99 percent. Just a
handful of truckers were turned away at the gates for not having concession stickers," said Arley
Baker, a spokesman with the Port of Los Angeles.
Trucker cleared in deadly crash; judge saw no evidence of inattention
A Canadian trucker who broadsided a bus of oil field workers, killing six and injuring 21, has
been acquitted of dangerous driving that resulted in death. The Canadian Press reported that
the judge said she saw no evidence that 35-year-old Inderjit Singh Virk was inattentive.
Indiana effort would toughen teen driving rules
In hopes of making the state's roadways safer, Indiana state lawmakers could soon consider a
bill that would toughen teen driving restrictions. A legislative study committee created to look
into teen driving restrictions met recently to discuss possible changes to the state's teen driving
rules. The options brought up for consideration include making young drivers wait a little longer
to get behind the wheel, and further nighttime and passenger restrictions.
CARB fines refrigeration firm $35,550 for emissions violations
The California Air Resources Board recently fined Millard Refrigerated Service of Omaha, NE,
$35,550 for air pollution violations at its cold storage facility in Mira Loma, CA. CARB said its
inspectors found the company "failed to submit data" showing emissions from its transport
refrigeration units, violating the state's TRU regulation.
Bus crash in northern California kills 10, injures 38
The California Highway Patrol says a charter bus that overturned in northern California Sunday
night, Oct. 5, was operating with an invalid Texas license plate and registration. Of the 43
passengers, most of whom were Laotian, eight died and dozens were injured in the crash.
Convoy for a Cure scheduled for Oct. 18 in Ontario
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Canada and Rachèle Champagne has come up
with a creative way for female drivers to use their driving skills and raise money for breast
cancer research. Champagne is organizing Canada's first-ever all-female convoy, scheduled to
start at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Cornwall, Ontario.
Drivers will then convoy to the 730 Truck Stop in Cardinal, Ontario. Click
here for more convoy
information.
National diesel average drops 8.4 cents to $3.875; fuel shortages lessen
After inching up one-tenth of a cent a week ago, the U.S. Energy Information Administration
reported on Monday, Oct. 6, that the nationwide average has dropped 8.4 cents to $3.875 per
gallon for diesel. Fuel shortages seem to be lessening in the Southeast after weeks of short
supplies following Hurricane Ike. If you are traveling in the Southeast and you spot
astronomical prices still being posted for fuel, the U.S. Department of Energy is urging people
to file complaints. Click
here for more information.
Button, Hart elected to full positions on OOIDA Board
Although the country's election scene is currently dominated by the race to the White House, it's
ballot time, too, for members of the nation's largest trucker association. During the fall meeting
of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Board of Directors on Oct. 1-4 in Grain
Valley, MO, directors voted to fully seat Terry Button of Rushville, NY, and Howard Hart of
Spokane, WA.
HOS exemption extended for fuel deliveries in the South
For truckers who are delivering emergency fuel-related supplies in six southeastern states -
from Louisiana eastward to the Carolinas - the federal exemption from hours-of-service rules
has been extended to Oct. 15. Truckers providing relief in Arkansas are exempt from the rules
until Oct. 11. To see a copy of the exemption declaration, click
here.
Trucking forecasts gloomy
The economic forecasts for the trucking industry that are coming out of an American Trucking
Association conference in New Orleans are fairly gloomy.
Vetoed: California port container fee bill
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that sought to generate $400 million annually
from shippers at ports in the state, siding with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The measure - SB974 -
called for the collection of $30 fees on every 20-foot equivalent unit passing through the Los
Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland port complexes. Port of Oakland officials, however, said they
"will move forward" with their planned cargo fee increase.
New York governor signs bill to prohibit "zone pricing" for fuel
A new law in New York calls for fuel companies to be fined for pricing gasoline and diesel
higher in certain areas. It takes effect Nov. 25. Gov. David Paterson signed a bill into law to
prohibit establishing price zones based on demographics. Fuel companies found in violation
would face fines up to $10,000.
Truck company owners killed in Michigan
Authorities in Michigan say two men are in custody in connection with the deaths of a husband
and wife who owned a small trucking company in Howard City, north of Grand Rapids.
British Columbia removes tolls but stings truckers with carbon tax
Having tolls removed from a major route in British Columbia, Canada, has taken some of the
sting out of the cost of operating a trucking business in that province, but there's still plenty of
sting to go around.
Three owner-operators to test new Freightliner Cascadia
Three owner-operators with diverse backgrounds and operations will each get their own 2009
Freightliner Cascadia to drive for 12 months and blog about their experiences online. Henry
Albert, owner of Albert Transport Inc. of Statesville, NC; Dick McCorkle, who works for Perkins
Specialized Transportation in Noblesville, IN; and Kurt Grote, who works for John Christner
Trucking in Sapulpa, OK, will drive the Cascadia in day-to-day operations and blog about it on
www.SliceofTruckerLife.com.
Energy department predicts diesel will average $3.91 per gallon in 2009
There may be some good news for cash-strapped truckers as retail diesel prices are projected
to drop 10 cents per gallon to average $3.91 in 2009, the U.S. Energy Information
Administration reported on Tuesday, Oct. 7.
Toll proposal in New Jersey still hurts truckers, officials say
Even though transportation officials in New Jersey revised their toll increase proposal, trucking
officials are still concerned that the increases will hurt the industry while transportation officials
divert millions of dollars to a mass-transit tunnel project. Under the initial proposal released to
the public in September, New Jersey Turnpike Authority officials called for an increase of 50
percent in 2009, another 50 percent in 2012, and 10 percent in 2023.
Michigan bills would shield physicians who report unfit drivers
The Michigan Senate overwhelmingly approved two bills intended to shield doctors from
lawsuits based on their decisions about reporting unfit drivers. Sen. Dennis Olshove,
D-Warren, is the sponsor of a legislative package that would allow doctors to notify the
Michigan Secretary of State's office about unfit drivers without fear of being sued. Doctors would
not be required to warn the state about drivers whose physical or mental conditions make them
unfit to drive.
New California law is intended to reduce pollution from vehicles
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill into law that taps truckers and others
to help reduce pollution. The new law authorizes the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution
Control District to increase certain motor vehicle fees to as much as $30. The revenue would
be used to develop "incentive-based programs" to achieve state and federal air quality
standards.
Homberger Trucking Co. in Huron, OH, closes
After 58 years in business, the Homberger Trucking Co. in Huron, OH, is shutting down. A
decline in manufacturing in the area - along with fuel costs, increased competition and a soft
freight market - led to the owners' decision to close.
Kentucky lawmaker dies when his pickup rear-ends tractor-trailer
In Kentucky, a state lawmaker died Monday night, Oct. 6, when his pickup truck slammed into
the back of a tractor-trailer that had stopped for construction on Interstate 65 northeast of
Bowling Green.
Driver in fatal bus crash not licensed in California
More information came out Wednesday, Oct. 8, on Sunday's chartered bus crash in northern
California that killed eight people and injured dozens more. The Associated Press reported that
- contrary to initial reports - 52-year-old bus driver Quintin Watts was not licensed to drive in
California.
CARB fines company $43,000 for truck emissions violations
The California Air Resources Board fined the largest U.S. distributor of industrial and specialty
gases for skipping annual emissions inspections on its California fleets. Airgas Inc. - a
distributor based in Radner, PA - will pay $43,000 and guarantee that employees responsible
for emissions inspections will attend a mandatory class and document inspections to CARB
during the next four years.
FedEx begins operations in Mexico
FedEx says it has begun delivering in Mexico under the name FedEx Express Nacional.
Fed lends AIG $38 billion, buys stakes in banks; debt clock out of digits
The taxpayer bailout is getting bigger. On Tuesday, Oct. 7, it was revealed that insurance giant
AIG spent $440,000 on a spa retreat shortly after getting an $84 billion government loan bailout.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced that it will lend AIG another $38 billion.
Arizona Judge tosses out OOIDA member's laptop case
One OOIDA member won't have to pay a fine for having his laptop computer mounted near his
driver's seat after all. On Thursday, Oct. 9, a Cochise County Circuit judge dismissed the state's
case against OOIDA member Gerald Cook of Amarillo, TX.
ATA carries suit forward to stop port concessionaire program
The American Trucking Association has filed arguments to continue its lawsuit against the
Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach over portions of the ports' Clean Trucks Programs. The
ATA believes the port programs' concessionaire provisions violate federally protected interstate
commerce. The concessionaire system is a taxi-style system that requires companies to meet
a list of requirements before they can access the ports.
New York bill would toughen rules for snow-free vehicles
With the New York Legislature scheduled to return from break Monday, Oct. 13, a bill could
come up for consideration that addresses concerns about sheets of frozen precipitation falling
from atop moving vehicles. Truckers found in violation would face fines between $450 and
$1,250. Non-commercial drivers would face fines between $150 and $850.
Some California toll bills hit; others miss
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently handed down his decision on a handful of bills that
address tolling in the state. One bill establishes the Otay Mesa East Toll Authority and gives the
authority authorization to issue bonds and collect tolls to build state Route 11 and a new port of
entry in San Diego County.
New Jersey officials to vote Friday on toll increases; still time to comment
New Jersey Turnpike Authority officials are scheduled to vote Friday, Oct. 10, on proposed toll
increases. OOIDA is encouraging its members to comment because tolls are proposed to
more than double on the turnpike by 2012. For example, a $26.55 toll to run the entire length of
the turnpike is proposed to increase to more than $57 by 2012 according to turnpike officials.
Anyone wishing to comment on the proposed toll increases can send an e-mail to
info@turnpike.state.nj.us. Officials will accept written comments until noon on Friday.
Comments due Friday on New York plan that could cost truckers millions
New York truckers only have one more day to submit comments on a proposal from the state
DOT that would force them off state roads and onto the New York Thruway. Comments are due
on Friday, Oct. 10, on the proposed regulation that could cost truckers an estimated $10 million
more a year in fuel, toll and operating costs, according to a study conducted by the state's
Department of Transportation. Click
here to read the draft of the DOT's proposed plan.
Comments can be e-mailed to
TruckRegComment@dot.state.ny.us.
Diesel drops a dime; oil flirts with $80
We end the week with the price of diesel fuel down 10 cents from Monday. Oil was trading at
around $81 a barrel today, $66 below its record high.
DOT promotes freight movement by waterways
U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Thomas Barrett has announced the next DOT plan to
combat congested highways: "America's Marine Highway Program," an initiative to take more
freight and people off the highways and onto ships and river barges. Barrett said that a new
barge line in Norfolk could remove more than 4,000 trucks from Interstate 64.
Multiple crisis plans floated
The U.S. stock market has lost 40 percent of its value since reaching its record high one year
ago. And one share of Ford Motor Co. stock cost $2.08 on Thursday, Oct. 9, compared with
$7.50 a share five years ago.
Fuel rationing could continue a few more weeks for truckers in Alberta
Truckers already experiencing lean times in the wake of rocky economic conditions are facing a
new challenge this week - fuel rationing - in the province of Alberta, Canada. As of Friday, Oct.
10, several of the major refineries in Western Canada were shut down because of scheduled
routine maintenance, but unexpected production problems have amplified the fuel shortage
there.
New York bills would kill some tolls
With the New York Legislature preparing to return from break Monday, Oct. 13, several bills of
interest remain active. One bill would eliminate a toll plaza from Interstate 95 while another
would remove a separate toll facility. Assemblyman George Latimer, D-Rye, is the sponsor of a
bill that would require the New York State Thruway Authority to stop collecting tolls at the New
Rochelle toll plaza on the New England section of the roadway.
CARB deploys enforcement officers to ticket truck idlers
California-based trucks and visiting long haulers should take note: Officials with the California
Air Resources Board say the grace period for stricter idling regulations is over. CARB officials
stated in a news release that the agency has sent staffers out on the road "this week" to
enforce recently enacted idling limits throughout the state, including the five-minute limit for
commercial trucks.
IRS after California trucking firm for taxes, attempted bribery
A federal grand jury recently indicted three brothers who ran a California trucking business for
allegedly withholding $2.5 million in taxes, in addition to previous charges of trying to bribe an
Internal Revenue Service officer.
California OKs authorization of GPS installation on windshields
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill allowing drivers in California to take
advantage of technology intended to help with navigation. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2009. The new
law, previously SB1567, allows global positioning system devices to be affixed to vehicle
windshields in specific locations.
Sen. Boxer hints at 'false' testimony from EPA chief
The final months of President Bush's administration doesn't mean an end to partisan
statements between Republicans and Democrats, and the two-year battle about California's
proposed emissions limits for cars and light trucks is no exception.
Comment period ends on New York plan that could cost truckers millions
The New York DOT had already received more than 600 comments a day before they were due
on the state's proposed regulation that would force truckers off state roads and onto the New
York Thruway. Jennifer Post, spokeswoman for the NYDOT, told Land Line late Thursday, Oct.
9, that the 612 comments the agency had received so far will be analyzed during the next few
weeks.
Police say Mendenhall concocted two death plots from behind bars
Prosecutors say former truck driver Bruce Mendenhall tried to orchestrate two different sets of
murders through two inmates he'd met since being charged with the murder of a Tennessee
woman last summer.
Bus driver cuts off truck; 14 passengers injured
In Northfield Township, MI - just west of Detroit - 14 members of an Amish church group were
injured Thursday, Oct. 9, in a bus crash. The Associated Press reported the 13-seat bus was
carrying 21 people. Police say the passengers were on their way to a funeral in Ohio.
HOS exemption set to expire Oct. 15 for fuel deliveries in the South
For truckers who are delivering emergency fuel-related supplies in six southeastern states -
from Louisiana eastward to the Carolinas - the federal exemption from hours-of-service rules
was extended to Wednesday, Oct. 15. To see a copy of the exemption declaration, click
here.
Convoy for a Cure set for one week from Saturday in Ontario
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Canada, and Rachèle Champagne has come
up with a creative way for female drivers to use their driving skills and raise money for breast
cancer research. Champagne is organizing Canada's first-ever all-female convoy, scheduled to
start at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Cornwall, Ontario.
Drivers will then convoy to the 730 Truck Stop in Cardinal, Ontario. Click
here for more convoy
information.
Button, Hart elected to full positions on OOIDA Board
Although the country's election scene is currently dominated by the race to the White House, it's
ballot time, too, for members of the nation's largest trucker association. During the fall meeting
of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Board of Directors on Oct. 1-4 in Grain
Valley, MO, directors voted to fully seat Terry Button of Rushville, NY, and Howard Hart of
Spokane, WA.
Early snow hits mountain states; portions of I-15 closed
Truckers hauling in the mountain states saw slippery conditions during the weekend as snow
fell in areas from Utah to Montana and into Saskatchewan, Canada.
Fuel woes continue to plague truckers in Alberta
For more than a week now, truckers like Dan Dickey of Chilliwack, British Columbia, have been
scrambling around to find fuel. That’s because supplies to some of the “cardlocks,” aka
unmanned fuel stations, in the province of Alberta, Canada, are being rationed and have run out
of diesel because of scheduled maintenance and unexpected production problems at Western
Canadian refineries.
New Jersey toll increases will subsidize mass transit rail
Truckers and other highway users who pay tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State
Parkway will subsidize a mass transit rail tunnel. Following a public hearing on Friday, Oct. 10,
the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s Board of Directors voted to more than double the toll rates
on the turnpike and parkway by 2012 to pay for a capital plan that includes $1.25 billion for the
Hudson River tunnel to New York City.
Massachusetts Turnpike sued over EZ Pass, Fast Lane price differences
A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority regarding a
difference in what motorists pay in tolls, depending on whether they use the EZ-Pass or Fast
Lane system.
Ask Jeeves? Why not ask TSA for TWIC deadlines
Hundreds of U.S. ports will soon be requiring truck drivers and others to flash their
Transportation Worker Identification Credential cards, and the federal government has created
a searchable database linking specific ports and their deadlines. At
www.tsa.gov/twic, Web
surfers can enter port names and find out when the port they visit will be requiring TWIC cards.
New York bill would ban text messaging for drivers
When the New York Legislature returns from break Monday, Oct. 13, one bill that could come up
for consideration in the next couple of months would ban so-called “texting” while driving. The
bill in the Assembly Transportation Committee would make it illegal to type, read or send text
messages while at the wheel. The Senate has already approved it.
Canadians set to vote in federal election Tuesday
A major focus in the Canadian federal election set to occur on Tuesday, Oct. 14, is just how
many seats in Parliament the Conservative Party will control. Canadian Prime Minister and
Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper called the election last month in an effort to win a few
more seats and gain a majority government.
OOIDA’s efforts recognized by public relations professionals
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been honored with two silver
awards from the Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America. One was given for
the “Truckers for Troops Telethon” and another for a project challenging the U.S. DOT’s cross-
border trucking pilot program with Mexico.
GM board cool to merger with Chrysler
The Board of Directors at General Motors Corp. doesn’t think much of its management’s talks
with Chrysler LLC about a possible GM buyout.
Kilcarr, Brady join 'Lockridge Report' weekly on Sirius
Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 15, "The Lockridge Report" on Sirius Satellite Radio's Road Dog
Trucking Radio Channel will feature a new weekly segment with two truck editors from a
popular truckingmagazine.
High winds drive California fires; close some roads
In southern California, 70-mph winds are driving at least three wildfires that have killed at least
two people and burned more than 10,000 acres from San Diego to Los Angeles. Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Monday, Oct. 13, in Los Angeles and Ventura
counties. Click here for current highway conditions in California.
Pennsylvania OK's 'anti-idling' rule
A new law in Pennsylvania is intended to reduce unnecessary idling of large trucks throughout
the state. In most instances, drivers idling their trucks while sleeping or resting are exempt
from the rule. It takes effect Feb. 9, 2009. Idling rules already are in place in Allegheny County
and the city of Philadelphia.
OOIDA says judge was on the mark tossing driver's AZ laptop case
An OOIDA official says a recent legal victory for truck drivers with laptops in their cabs was
consistent with limits as defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Rest area improvements cause slight inconveniences in Washington state
In an ongoing $8.5 million effort to improve rest areas in Washington, the state's Department of
Transportation is warning truckers of some upcoming inconveniences.
New California laws impose more ignition interlocks
Two bills signed into law by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are intended to increase
the use of ignition interlock devices for drunken drivers. "California currently is among the most
lenient of states regarding extreme drunk drivers," Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, said in
a written statement. But that no longer is the case, Oropeza said.
C.R. England to install 'Mobileye' smart cameras in entire fleet
C.R. England, the Salt Lake City-based carrier, says it's going to install new safety technology in
its fleet of more than 3,500 trucks.
National diesel average drops 21.6 cents to $3.659
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting a significant drop - 21.6 cents - in the
price of diesel to put the national average at $3.659 for this past week. The national average
price is still 62 cents per gallon higher than during the same week in 2007, according to the EIA
report filed on Tuesday, Oct. 14. This is the first week since March that all nine regions are
reporting diesel averaging below the $4 mark.
Gainey Transportation files Chapter 11; owner vows drivers will be paid
Citing the international financial crisis as the major contributing factor, Harvey Gainey, owner
and president of Gainey Transportation out of Michigan, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection. Gainey, who started the business in 1984, told Reed Black on Land Line Now that
the firm is continuing to operate and that company drivers and owner-operators will be paid.
Arizona restricts trucks, certain trailers on roads near Prescott
The Arizona Department of Transportation has announced several ongoing restrictions and a
few temporary bans on truck traffic in the Prescott district. Also, Yavapai County has load
restrictions on Williamson Valley Road northwest of Prescott. There are also two bans on wide
loads because of construction, DOT spokesman Bill Williams told Land Line. More information
is available at
http://www.azdot.gov/prescottprojects.
Lower speed limit now in effect on 52 miles of I-80 in Wyoming
As of Wednesday, Oct. 15, truckers and four-wheelers who travel Interstate 80 in Wyoming are
subject to a 10-mile-per-hour drop in the speed limit on one 52-mile stretch. The reduced
speed limit will remain in effect until April 15, 2009.
I-275 bridge over Ohio River not a quick fix; truck ban continues
Kentucky transportation officials say a ban on truck traffic and lane closures will remain in effect
into November on the Interstate 275 bridge east of downtown Cincinnati. Trucks are still
allowed on the westbound span of the nearly 30-year-old bridge. To get to I-275 in Ohio, trucks
can use northbound I-471 to northbound I-71 to I-275.
Louisiana legislators pursue accelerated road funding
Two Louisiana state lawmakers are calling for the state to accelerate plans to increase funding
for transportation. State law approved earlier this year gave transportation funding a 10 percent
boost in the fiscal year that started July 1. The $42 million amount will increase to $255 million
annually by 2012 and $320 million annually by 2014. Some lawmakers say the plan takes too
much time.
Canada re-elects Conservative government
Voters in Canada re-elected the Conservative Party to lead the federal government on Tuesday,
Oct. 14. Election Canada reported on Wednesday that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the
Conservative Party won 143 seats, or 46.4 percent, of the 308 seats in Parliament. Click
here to
view the official Election Canada Web site.
All-female Convoy for a Cure set for Saturday in Ontario
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Canada, and Rachèle Champagne has come
up with a creative way for female drivers to use their driving skills and raise money for breast
cancer research. Drivers can register the same day as the event. Click
here for more convoy
information.
Great Dane announces 'temporary' layoffs; 175 workers remain at plant
Officials with trailer manufacturer Great Dane say they are laying off 108 workers at the
company's Terre Haute, IN, plant this Friday, Oct. 17.
New Jersey lawmakers and truckers blast toll plan
Republican lawmakers in New Jersey are challenging whether the state can divert turnpike
funds to a mass transit rail tunnel. State Sen. Phil Haines, R-Springfield Township, is among
those who say no, the state should not be allowed to do it."No toll revenue can be used for any
transportation project other than a highway project," Haines said told Land Line on Wednesday,
Oct. 15.
Some big carriers report upswing; YRC announces layoffs
In spite of generally rough times in the trucking industry, several big carriers are reporting
healthy third quarter earnings. Officials with J.B. Hunt, Werner Enterprises and USA Truck
reported more profitable third quarters for 2008 than in 2007. One huge player in the industry,
though, lowered its earnings predictions this week for the third quarter. Corporate officers of
YRC lowered the predictions because of general economic concerns and lower freight
volumes and prices.
Police confiscate questionable food from box van at routine traffic stop
A routine traffic stop at a weigh station near Ionia, MI, turned in to anything but routine recently
after authorities found potentially tainted food products in the back of a truck. Michigan State
Police Traffic Safety Division Sgt. Brad Banks said the truck was originally stopped for being
overweight for the International Registration Plate on the vehicle, but that officers found a series
of problems once they interviewed the driver and took a closer look at the contents inside the
truck.
Police say limping truck caused fatal crash
A police report reveals that advice to a trucker to limp his rig to a service center on a flat tire led
to a rear-end crash that killed two FedEx team drivers. The crash that killed Federal Express
Ground team drivers Tony Sifford of Hillsville, VA, a member of America's Road Team with 2
million safe miles, and Rodney Palmer of Martinsville, VA, occurred shortly after 8 a.m., Sept. 24
on a stretch of Interstate 20 near Ruston, LA.
California winds abate; roads reopen in fire areas
Firefighting efforts in southern California are getting a boost now that strong Santa Ana winds
have died down. As of Thursday morning the California Department of Transportation was
showing all major highways in the area open.
Texas lawmaker wants to rescind rule for immigrants' driver's licenses
A state lawmaker in Texas wants a new policy to be rescinded. It requires immigrants to prove
they live legally in the country before they can obtain a Texas driver's license or identification
card.
New Jersey bills would expand 'move over' rule
Multiple bills under consideration in the New Jersey statehouse are intended to make
roadways safer for emergency personnel and other highway users. New Jersey law already
requires motorists to yield the right-of-way when an ambulance, police vehicle or fire truck is
approaching with lights and sirens activated. Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Denville, is the sponsor of
a bill that would also clear the path for oncoming vehicles that have blue emergency warning
lights.
Driver in California bus crash wasn't drunk or on drugs
In California, the toxicology reports have come back, and prosecutors now say the driver in a
deadly bus crash was not drunk or on drugs.
It's in the hole! Golf fundraiser to benefit driver health fund
Everybody needs a hand up sometimes when it comes to medical expenses, and truck drivers
are no exception. The St. Christopher Fund has been set up to help drivers who can't afford
healthcare, and the organization's leadership wants to establish an annual golf tournament to
raise money for drivers' medical expenses. Truck drivers and anyone who is willing to
participate may play at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Landmark Golf Club at Avalon Golf
Club in Lenoir City. Truck parking is available.
Maine Turnpike tolls to increase ahead of schedule
Maine Turnpike Authority officials voted this week to increase tolls a year ahead of schedule in
order to keep up with declining traffic volumes and a shaky economy, officials said. The
Turnpike Authority Board of Directors approved a resolution Thursday, Oct. 16, to increase
revenue by $20 million, or 23 percent, starting in February 2009 instead of waiting for a
scheduled increase in 2010.
Pennsylvania's anti-idling rule set to take effect in February 2009
A new law in Pennsylvania is intended to reduce unnecessary idling of large trucks throughout
the state. In most instances, drivers idling their trucks while sleeping or resting are exempt
from the rule. It takes effect Feb. 9, 2009. Idling rules already are in place in Allegheny County
and the city of Philadelphia.
Michigan joins states with 'enhanced' driver licenses
Michigan joined four other states this week in announcing an "enhanced" driver's license
designed to meet increased federal security rules. The new license will allow residents to
cross the U.S.-Canada border without having a costlier U.S. passport.
New California law is intended to curb sprawl, emissions
With the intention of slowing the increase in emissions, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
signed into law a bill to implement the nation's most comprehensive effort to reduce sprawl.
The first-of-its-kind rule is intended to reduce global warming emissions by drawing up
regional plans to reduce miles driving by commuters. Also, most transportation funding will be
routed solely to "smart growth" projects.
California enforcing smoke inspections for fleets of two or more trucks
The California Air Resources Board recently fined a Fresno, CA-based farm service company
$114,000 for failing to inspect its truck fleet during 2006-2007. CARB fined Western Farm after
the agency concluded the company did not comply with the state's Periodic Smoke Inspection
Program. The periodic smoke inspection program requires owners and operators of all
California-based trucks and fleets of two or more heavy-duty diesel vehicles to annually inspect
the smoke opacity of their vehicles that are four years older than the model year of that vehicle's
engine.
I-65 offers biofuel stops from Indiana to Gulf of Mexico
Interstate 65 has become the first "biofuels corridor" in the U.S. Thanks in part to a $3.1 million
grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, B20 biodiesel fuel and E85 ethanol blend are
available along the full length of the highway from Gary, IN, to Mobile, AL.
Wyoming DOT seeks upgrades to improve winter safety on I-80
In Wyoming, where more than 70 percent of the car and truck crashes on Interstate 80 happen
in the winter, the state Department of Transportation is recommending new climbing lanes,
more snow fences to prevent drifting, and more guard rails in the medians.
Transportation ballot initiatives address funding needs
Election Day is a little more than two weeks away. While national and state races are drawing
the lion's share of attention throughout the country, there are ballot issues in several states that
are also of great significance for truckers and others who rely on highways and other roads.
Land Line recently took a look at several transportation-related initiatives on ballots across the
country. Here is a sampling.
Find out how the candidates voted before you cast your vote
On Nov. 4, voters across the country will cast ballots on many important races and issues.
Voters with a photographic memory know all there is to know about elected officials' voting
records. For everyone else, a little help with where to get legislators' voting records is a big help
in terms of becoming an informed voter. Among the Web sites with good information are
The
Washington Post, Project Vote Smart and the sites for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.
Trucker Buddy names Doug Driscoll new executive director
Trucker Buddy International recently announced that Doug Driscoll will be the organization's
new executive director. Driscoll was selected by the organization's board of directors. A 35-year
veteran of the trucking industry, Driscoll built a small fleet as an owner operator over 10 years
and still holds a CDL. He will run Trucker Buddy from its new headquarters in Gig Harbor, WA.
All-female Convoy for a Cure set for Saturday in Ontario
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Canada, and Rachèle Champagne has come
up with a creative way for female drivers to use their driving skills and raise money for breast
cancer research. Drivers can register the same day as the event. Champagne is organizing
Canada's first-ever all-female convoy, scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, at
the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Cornwall, Ontario. Drivers will then convoy to the 730 Truck Stop in
Cardinal, Ontario. Click
here for more convoy information.
Golf fundraiser to benefit driver health fund set for Wednesday, Oct. 22
Everybody needs a hand up sometimes when it comes to medical expenses, and truck drivers
are no exception. The St. Christopher Fund has been set up to help drivers who can't afford
healthcare, and the organization's leadership wants to establish an annual golf tournament to
raise money for drivers' medical expenses. Truck drivers and anyone who is willing to
participate may play at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the Landmark Golf Club at Avalon
Golf Club in Lenoir City. Truck parking will be available. For more information, click
here.
CVSA schedules nationwide safety blitz for Oct. 19-25
Truckers who drive unsafely and four-wheelers who drive unsafely around trucks will be the
targets of an enforcement blitz beginning this weekend. Click here for more information on
"Operation Safe Driver."
New York forced to review truck ban after feds challenge plan
The New York State Department of Transportation is revising a plan to force heavy trucks off
state roads and onto the New York Thruway after receiving word recently from the Federal
Highway Administration that the proposal would be challenged under federal regulations if
made into law.
Trucker helps rescue beaten mentally-disabled man, then disappears
An unknown truck driver may have saved a disabled man's life earlier this month. Police
reported that Justin Hamilton, a mentally disabled man from Lakeville, MN, was severely
beaten Oct. 10 and 11 by four men he thought were his friends.
Homeland Security issues update on TWIC enrollment
The latest report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security states that more than 500,000
people have enrolled in the TWIC program so far. More than 80,000 of those are truckers.
Jury selection to start in trucking firm killings in Ohio
Jury selection was scheduled for Monday, Oct. 20, in the trial of man who allegedly shot and
killed two managers of a trucking company on Aug. 8, 2007, in Perrysburg Township, OH.
North Carolina trims road spending because of revenue declines
Officials in North Carolina have decided they cannot afford to give roads as much attention as in
the past when it comes to repairs and fixes. To help, a statewide study group is looking into
ways to generate revenue for road and bridge work. Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett of
the North Carolina Department of Transportation has enacted 6 percent spending reductions,
The Charlotte Observer reported. The $50 million cut is in reaction to declining tax revenue.
Ohio Turnpike will have E-ZPass next year
Truckers with E-ZPass will be able to use their transponders on the Ohio Turnpike as soon as
fall 2009, officials said. Ohio is currently the only northern tier turnpike between Illinois and the
East Coast that does not currently use the E-ZPass electronic toll-collection system. The
E-ZPass system in the Northeast uses a universal transponder for the 12 states in the network
there.
New Michigan laws intended to improve work zone safety
Gov. Jennifer Granholm has signed two new laws that provide stiffer penalties for injuring or
killing another person in Michigan construction zones. The new rules took effect immediately.
Massachusetts governor to slash $1.1 billion from budget
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has implemented a plan to cut the state budget by more than
$1 billion and to enact spending controls. Patrick is calling on various state departments,
including transportation agencies, to make more cuts on a voluntary basis. Patrick has not
ruled out merging the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority with other transportation agencies into
one transportation department, but that proposal was not part of a fiscal action plan he
released to the public on Wednesday, Oct. 15.
Free health fair this week at PDMD clinics; free flu shots while they last
Truckers who'd like to have their blood pressure checked, have their hearing tested, or get a flu
shot can do all those things and more for free this week. The four Professional Drivers Medical
Depots clinics are hosting health fairs Monday, Oct. 20, through Friday, Oct. 24, with free
wellness exams and other services. Free flu shots will be available as long as supplies last.
CVSA enforces nationwide safety blitz all this week
Truckers who drive unsafely and four-wheelers who drive unsafely around trucks are the targets
of an enforcement blitz this week. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and law enforcement
agencies have teamed up for "Operation Safe Driver," which began Sunday, Oct. 19, and runs
through Saturday, Oct. 25.
National average price of diesel continues to drop
Truckers are breathing a little easier at the pumps these days as the national average price for
diesel continues to fall. In the past two weeks, the national average has dropped nearly 40
cents per gallon.
Feds to challenge LA port’s clean truck program
The Federal Maritime Commission voted Wednesday to seek a court order to halt portions of
the clean truck program at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
State officials urge Congress to increase transportation funding
An association representing state transportation officials is calling on Congress to increase
transportation spending by 91 percent over the next few years. The American Association of
State and Highway Transportation Officials, representing officials from all 50 states, says
federal transportation spending should be increased from the 2005 mark of $286 billion to
$545 billion in the next surface transportation reauthorization bill.
Wyoming legislative panel nixes talk of tolling I-80; DOT presses on
The brakes have been applied to a plan to impose tolls on travelers using Interstate 80 in
Wyoming. The Legislature's Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Interim
Committee had been looking into whether to give tolling authority to the Wyoming Department
of Transportation.
Georgia committee scraps tolled lane proposal
Transportation officials in Georgia scrapped a $1.6 billion bid by a private firm to build and
manage tolled lanes on the Georgia Route 400 in Atlanta. Despite the rejection, tolled lanes
remain part of the overall plan to battle congestion in the region, officials said.
Indiana lawmakers eye tougher teen driving rules
In hopes of making the state's roadways safer, Indiana state lawmakers next year are expected
to consider a bill that would toughen teen driving restrictions. Vehicle crashes are the leading
cause of death among people aged 15 to 20 in Indiana and across the nation. During a 10-year
period that ended in 2004, nearly 900 died as a result of crashes involving teen drivers in the
state.
FedEx drivers win millions in compensation
About 200 FedEx drivers in California have been awarded nearly $14.5 million after a court
determined they were wrongfully classified as independent contractors instead of employees.
Highway Patrol reports bus in fatal California crash was not inspected
According to California Highway Patrol records, a bus that was involved in a multi-fatality crash
had not been safety inspected or permitted because the owner failed to report that the bus was
in use.
NAFTA trade up in August from 2007; trucked imports lag
Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free
Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico , was 4.5 percent higher in August
2008 than in August 2007, reaching $72.3 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation
Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Election Day: County questions address transportation issues
On Nov. 4, many counties across America will have questions on ballots that address a wide
array of topics. Land Line Magazine recently took a look at transportation-related initiatives on
county ballots that are of particular interest to truckers. Included here is a sampling of what was
found.
Toll increases boost Macquarie's earnings
Toll increases woven into the long-term leases for the Indiana Toll Road and Chicago Skyway
have helped Macquarie Infrastructure Group of Australia turn a profit so far this year, officials
said.
U.S. Department of Justice opposes L.A. port plan
The ongoing political drama at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has drawn a new
participant: Uncle Sam. The Department of Justice recently filed an amicus brief in support of
the ATA's legal challenge of the ports' concessionaire plans.
Virginia legislation addresses mileage-based tax, toll tax break
Among the legislation filed for consideration at the Virginia statehouse during the 2009 regular
session are bills that address funding sources for transportation work. Delegate David
Poisson, D-Sterling, is the sponsor of a nonbinding measure that asks for a study by a joint
subcommittee to determine the desirability and feasibility of replacing the state's fuel tax with "a
mileage-based fee predicated on vehicle-miles traveled in Virginia."
Minnesota bridge collapse leads to 179 claims from victims, families
A law panel in Minnesota has received 179 claims from victims and the surviving families of
victims of the August 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35 bridge in Minneapolis. The panel has
four months to conduct hearings and determine settlement payments from a $36.6 million fund
set aside after the tragedy by the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Airborne wheel critically injures trucker on I-10 in El Paso, TX
A 36-year-old trucker was critically injured on Tuesday, Oct. 21, when a wheel came off another
vehicle and crashed through the windshield of his truck, hitting him in the face and chest.
CEO says APU-maker IdleBuster will return after 90 days
Cash flow problems and the recent credit crunch have shaken firms from Wall Street to Main
Street, and also have prompted one APU-maker to temporarily shutter its manufacturing
facilities. Wade Gordon, the company's industry liaison, told Land Line Magazine that service
contracts that drivers have for oil changes through another party are still valid, and maintenance
or repair bills covered by the company's warranty will be repaid.
Kenworth, Peterbilt, Navistar roll out hybrids
In diesel hybrid news, Kenworth officials announced they are supplying a new T370
diesel-electric hybrid truck for the Quebec Winter Olympic Games next year. The Class 7 truck
will be used to shuttle equipment and supplies to athletic venues in the three host cities.
Canadian truckers launch Christmas food drive for needy
Employees at Rosenau Transport - which is headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta - are in the
Christmas spirit early again this year. The company has announced the launch of this season's
"18 Wheels of Christmas" campaign to collect food to distribute to the needy.