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leg of Florida's Turnpike goes cashless
Toll collection on the 47-mile Homestead
Florida's Turnpike is going cashless this month, meaning users can
either pay using SunPass or have a bill mailed to them through the
toll-by-plate photo system.
"If you happen to get on the Turnpike, and you do not have a SunPass
account, we have an alternative method that's called toll-by-plate.
When you go under the gantries, a picture of the license plate, front
and back, is taken and an invoice is sent to the registered owner of
Invoices are mailed out on a 30-day cycle and there is an
administrative fee of $2.50 that accompanies each invoice.
aero-maker adds distributors
SmartTruck, a manufacturer of trailer
added two distributors, Trudell Trailers and Midlands Carrier
Transicold, for its UT-6 Trailer UnderTray System. The UT-6 system has
shown up to a 10 gain in fuel efficiency in standardized SAE tests,
according to the company, and it is included in the EPA SmartWay
program's verified aerodynamic technologies list.
no-idle system adds Webasto heater option
The Nite no-idle system from Bergstrom is
the Air Top 2000 ST auxiliary heater from Webasto Product North
America. The combined product will be available by the end of the first
Webasto's Air Top 2000 ST produces 7,000 Btu and can operate for 20
hours on a single gallon of fuel., according to the company. The unit
weighs 5.7 lbs and is CARB-approved.
bill would impose idling restriction
A proposed rule to crack down on the
trucks is up for consideration at the Vermont statehouse. OOIDA
leadership encourages truckers in the state to be involved in the
Violators would get off with a warning. Repeat offenses within one year
could result in up to $150 fines while subsequent offenses within one
year could result in up to $500 fines.
The Department of Motor Vehicles would be authorized to adopt rules
authorizing longer idling times when "circumstances exist when such
idling is reasonably necessary."
Examples of circumstances that would warrant additional idling are to
operate defrosting, heating, or cooling equipment "to ensure the health
or safety of the operator or passengers."
can provide feedback on HOS rule free of charge
Pegasus TransTech is providing truck
drivers a free
offer feedback to the Dept. of Transportation on its proposed
hours-of-service (HOS) regulation changes.
Customers of the company's Transflo Express truckstop scanning service
can use that service to send their letters free of charge. Letters are
available at every Pilot, Flying J, and Love's truckstop location. ...
trailer aerodynamics pay off
..."MVT's experience, based on 8-million
miles of use,
confirms that trailers without tails waste 5 to 6 of every gallon of
diesel consumed at highway speeds," said Andrew Smith, CEO of
ATDynamics. "Extrapolated to trucking as a whole, MVT's experience
indicates the industry could save $2 billion annually in fuel costs."
"Of course, it comes down to getting our drivers to drive the truck
right to achieve these fuel savings," Ray pointed out. "However,
through many changes we've made to our trucks and trailers, added to
efforts by our drivers to operate our tractor-trailers in the most fuel
efficient way, we have trucks in our fleet that are now getting 11
reports saving 60,000 gallons of fuel using TrailerTail technology
...To date, [Mesilla Valley Transportation
president Jimmy] Ray says 650 trailers in the Mesilla Valley fleet have
been outfitted with TrailerTail rear-drag panels and have driven over 8
million highway miles since last summer. "According to our studies, the
addition of TrailerTail panels to a trailer works out to a fuel economy
gain of 4/10s of a gallon of fuel per mile. That figure rises to 8/10s
of a gallon per mile when you combine a trailer tail with side skirts."
wins fatigue inspection case
A federal judge has ruled Minnesota State
during a 2008 fatigue inspection violated a trucker's rights against
unreasonable search and seizure.
In May 2008, officers pulled over Stephen K. House, owner of Eagle
Trucking Enterprises, for a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Level
III inspection during a FIST patrol event. FIST is an acronym for
fatigue impairment, seatbelt violations, and other traffic violations,
which is checked mostly through these inspections at weigh stations.
Law enforcement placed House, a trucker of 32 years with at least 3
million accident-free miles, out-of-service for 10 hours. ...
all comes back to the driver
"Of course, it comes down to getting our
truck right to achieve ... fuel savings." -Mesilla Valley
Transportation executive vice president Jimmy Ray
It's a maxim that I've heard over and over in recent weeks when the
subject turned to the topic of improving the fuel economy of trucks:
without a good driver behind the wheel, operating the vehicle in the
most fuel-efficient manner, all sorts of technological advances can be
for naught in the end.
Jimmy Ray, executive vp with Mesilla Valley Transportation, pointed
this out yesterday during a press event held at the 2011 Technology
& Maintenance Council's annual meeting (held this year in
Tampa, FL). In fact, his company goes so far as to award a brand new
Harley Davidson motorcycle EVERY QUARTER to the drivers that achieve
the best fuel economy.
Don't think that achieves results? Well, Ray told me that the drivers
who end up winning this quarterly contest are getting OVER 10 miles per
gallon with their rigs - with some exceeding 11 mpg. And the money the
fleet save from the fuel-sipping habits of its drivers more than pay
for a few Harley's every year.
SmartTruck honored by magazine
Greenville-based SmartTruck, a supplier of
products to the trucking industry, was honored Tuesday by Heavy Duty
Trucking magazine for producing one of its Top 20 Products of 2010.
The SmartTruck Trailer UnderTray System, introduced in October 2010,
provides a fuel efficiency gain of at least 7 percent for the base
model, with the full trailer system delivering more than 10 percent
gains in fuel efficiency, according to Society of Automotive Engineers
increase of 12 for Bridgestone, Firestone truck tires
Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions has
announced a 12
increase for its Bridgestone and Firestone brand truck and bus radial
tires, effective immediately.
bill would toughen snow-free vehicle rule
As a large portion of the nation is being
engulfed by a
significant snow event, a Pennsylvania state lawmaker is pursuing
legislation that is intended to encourage car and truck drivers to
clear snow and ice off their vehicles.
Pennsylvania law allows police to ticket violators between $200 and
$1,000 if the wintry precipitation causes serious injury or death.
any Horror Stories About New Jersey's Snow and Ice Removal Law?
The New Jersey Motor Truck Association
reports it has
fielding one horror story after another of the lengths to which some in
law enforcement are enforcing the state's new snow and ice law, and is
asking for further documentation to present to government officials.
One truck driver that had picked up a trailer that had about 3 inches
of snow accumulated on the roof was stopped by the officer and issued a
ticket. As the driver attempted to leave, the officer told him to
remove the snow from the roof of the trailer. The driver contacted his
office and was told he could go two blocks to the company that leased
their vehicles and they would remove the snow from the trailer.
But the officer advised the driver that if he didn't remove the snow
and ice from his roof immediately, he would be arrested. The driver
advised his company, and they called a customer in the area that
dropped off a ladder and shovel for the driver. The officer proceeded
to watch as the driver struggled to the roof and remove the snow.
According to NJMTA, the law does not require the truck driver to remove
the snow and ice from the roof. The law also says that if you are going
to a snow removal facility, you should not be ticketed. The law also
places the burden on the person controlling the equipment during the
storm. In this case, the customer had the responsibility to remove the
snow, not the truck driver.
rebate for OOIDA members on sleeper purchase
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn.
purchasing a new Kenworth truck with sleeper will be eligible for a
falls on new scale house inspection technology, opens on EOBRs
...the pilot program the scale house is
wireless roadside inspection (WRI) technology...
The upshot is not all bad, of course, assuming those added inspections
are mostly of the clean variety. With WRI, geofencing is utilized to
create areas in which a hauler's on-board device is automatically
pinged upon entering, registering an inspection of the driver's hours,
license and registration credentials immediately. The geofenced areas
could be a weigh station, for sure, but also a company terminal or
other location, where "virtual inspections" with no violations could
then impact a carrier's CSA measurement system percentile rankings in a
say EOBR Technology WILL NOT make Highways Safer
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers
which represents small business truckers and professional truckers.
Today, have responded to the announcement today by the U.S. Department
of Transportation proposing a rule to mandate electronic on-board
recorders (EOBRs) for interstate commercial motor carriers.
"EOBRs are nothing more than over-priced record keepers," said Todd
Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOIDA. "This proposal is actually
another example of the administration's determination to wipe out small
businesses by continuing to crank out overly burdensome regulations
that simply run up costs."
rolls out new rewards card to protect transaction history
A spokesman for Pilot Corp. says the
program now requires user names and passwords for the information to be
accessed. While this would have been helpful in a recent
well-publicized case involving a Pilot card being used to verify a
truck driver's log, every little bit helps.
OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz says two important
factors come into play in [company driver Jody] Scott's case.
"The first part of this is about supporting documents," Rajkovacz said.
"Drivers do have an obligation when asked for supporting documents that
if they have them on them, they should present them to law enforcement
because they are an agent of the motor carrier. But if a driver does
not have them, it's not a violation because the obligation is specific
to a motor carrier and not a driver. The reason is, a driver's got to
turn in paperwork to get paid."
The second part, he said, is about driver privacy and the techniques
used by law enforcement to obtain information.
"What is permissible?" Rajkovacz asks. "Roadside enforcement certainly
has the right under the guise of safety to get in and check for certain
items; exhaust leaks is one of them. That does not permit them to go on
a wild goose chase and tear apart the interior of a truck unless a
driver gives them permission."
RULES: Minnesota fatigue program violated Fourth Amendment
In what the Owner-Operator Independent
legal team calls a "major victory," U.S. District Judge Donovan W.
Frank ruled the Minnesota State Patrol's use of CVSA Level III
inspections to determine fatigue violated truckers' Fourth Amendment
OOIDA and its member plaintiff Stephen K. House filed the lawsuit
against the Minnesota State Patrol and individual officers on May 13,
2009, on behalf of truck drivers placed out of service after members of
the patrol consulted a checklist and arrived at the conclusion the
drivers were "fatigued."
bills address left lane use, snow on trucks
A Virginia House bill would limit trucks
to the right on
certain stretches of interstate. Another bill would mandate that snow
and ice be removed from atop vehicles.
The subcommittee this week handed down a decision on another noteworthy
bill. Lawmakers opted to essentially kill an effort that sought to
enable officers to pull over drivers whose vehicles were not cleared of
snow or ice.
Sponsored by Delegate Jeion Ward, D-Hampton, HB2399 called for
violators to face as much as $1,500 fines.
Cox called it a "bad bill" that is impractical for commercial vehicles.
Taylor agreed with that assessment. He questioned how rules like this
could be enforced.
"There is too much interpretation in efforts like this. Is an officer
going to get up on the truck and try to eye ball how much snow or ice
is up there? That isn't right," he said.
usage reports added to GPS tracking
A new integration of GPS vehicle tracking
and fuel card
reporting is now being offered by FleetMatics. The company said its
FleetMatics Fuel Card Reports software combines the FleetMatics'
vehicle-tracking applications with fuel-card reporting to help users
reduce fuel usage, track mpg, identify fuel card non-compliance, and
correct fuel-wasting driving behaviors. It will also monitor a fleet's
"This new software enhancement further demonstrates our commitment to
offering clients breakthrough technological solutions that translate
into direct cost savings for our customers," said Jim Travers,
hope to influence West Virginia toll proposal
It came together on short notice and was
only a handful
trucks, but Monday's convoy in opposition to a proposed tolled U.S.
highway in West Virginia had the same impact as if it were 100, trucker
Scott Cadle said.
Cadle, a life member of OOIDA, helped lead truckers and area residents
first to a meeting of the West Virginia Parkways Authority to speak
their opposition to a tolled U.S. 35, and then to the state capital to
meet with lawmakers.
"We expressed our opinion that we didn't want the toll road," Cadle
told Land Line Now.
For starters, Cadle says, the toll rate is excessive at $1.21 per mile
for five-axle vehicles.
"They're charging you for about 14 miles of new road, and $17 to go
across is completely ridiculous...."
to release "super-single" and new steer tires in 2011
Yokohama Tire Corp., the North American
Yokohama Rubber Co., expects to release new wide-base single tires and
a new steer tire in 2011.
[Dan King, senior vp of sales & marketing for Yokohama said]
"... Some fleets truly believe it will save them overall costs because
it reduces the weight on the vehicle and has tremendous fuel
efficiency. Other fleets do not like the risk of having one tire go out
causing more downtime. Others do not want the expense of the conversion
and don't believe it's a payback. We're definitely watching it
OKs Swift chargeback fees
Swift Transportation is not required to
amount of its chargebacks to owner-operators that represent markups or
administrative fees as opposed to actual costs, a federal appeals court
confirmed Jan. 20.
Swift changed its lease agreements in 2008 to disclose that chargebacks
would include.... Afterward, Swift's settlement statements then listed
those items but did not disclose....
toll rate may not be enough in Austin
Officials in Texas are toying with the
idea of reducing
on the State Highway 130 toll road east of downtown Austin as an
incentive to get more trucks to use it. But would a 25 percent
reduction be enough to entice truckers to use the roadway? One OOIDA
life member says no.
A five-axle truck currently pays $29.32, or $25.60 with a TxTag, to run
the full length of the SH130 as a bypass of I-35 in downtown Austin.
may help fuel economy
Gordon Murray Design and Shell research
to develop a lubricant to help increase fuel economy, potentially by
more than 6 percent across multiple vehicle ranges.... The ultra low
viscosity 0W-10 motor oil...increased 6.5 percent in fuel efficiency.
follow through with final increase to meal tax deduction limit
OTTAWA, Ont. -- The federal government has
with its promise to ramp up the tax-deductible portion of meal expenses
for long-haul truckers to 80.
The new meal tax deduction allowance took effect Jan. 1. The limit has
been gradually increased each year since 2007 and brings the total in
line with that enjoyed by American truckers.
To qualify for the tax deduction, drivers must be away for at least 24
consecutive hours and transporting goods beyond 160 km from home. The
vehicle must have a GVW of greater than 11,788 kgs.
'smart' roads could zap snow, ice
...America's harsh winters cost the
of dollars each year in snow removal equipment, weather damage to
streets and vehicles, extra days of school and revenue lost to closed
Scott Brusaw, a 53-year-old electrical engineer in tiny Sagle, Idaho,
thinks he has a solution. So far, he's generated interest from the
federal government and General Electric in his idea for a solar-powered
roadway made from super-strong glass, instead of conventional asphalt
or concrete. ...
Building and maintaining "better, faster and smarter" roads to improve
safety, increase taxpayer value and to remain competitive in the global
economy are some of the reasons behind the Federal Highway
Administration's commitment to innovation, said agency Administrator
The FHWA gave Brusaw a $100,000 contract and the agency is supporting
other smart road research across the nation. Virginia Tech is looking
at using machines called piezoelectric generators to convert the weight
of truck traffic on pavements into energy that powers nearby lighting
Senate panel votes to oppose toll increases
A New Jersey Senate panel has advanced a
bill to roll
future toll increases. Tolls were intended to be a revenue source for a
now-defunct tunnel plan.
The Senate Transportation Committee voted 3-2 on Thursday, Jan. 20, to
approve a bill that would cancel toll hikes on the New Jersey Turnpike
and Garden State Parkway slated to begin next year. ...
Truckers and other drivers have been paying more since 2008 to access
the roadways. Tolls for heavy commercial vehicles to travel the full
length of the turnpike were increased from $26.55 to $37.15 to help pay
for the Access to the Region's Core tunnel project.
doubles oil-change intervals
Fleets can double mileage between oil
current spin-on heavy-duty oil filters with a direct replacement from
Wix Filters that features an all-new proprietary media. The WIX ecoLAST
oil filter does not "dope, modify or use slow-release chemicals,"
according to the company, but rather sequesters acids created in engine
oil by the combustion process to extend the life additives in the oil.
The filter works with conventional and synthetic oils in engines using
biodiesel, LNG and gasoline, as well as standard diesel fuels.
ban oversized loads from thruways
Trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds
will not be able
drive on interstates in Vermont and Maine. A one-year pilot program
that permitted heavier-than-normal trucks on the interstates expired on
Dec.17; as a result large trucks are forced to drive through small
towns and on secondary highways to get to their destinations.
Xpress orders 1,000 SmartWay certified trucks
U.S. Xpress, based in Chattanooga, Tenn.,
new Peterbilt 587s, the truck maker announced. Peterbilt's new Model
587s have been certified as fuel-efficient by the Environmental
Protection Agency's SmartWay program. The 587 has an aerodynamic design
made for long-haul operations, ...
Cargo theft rose in 2010
FreightWatch International reported cargo
rose by 4.1 percent in 2010 to an average of 75 cargo theft incidents
per month, the most ever recorded.
"To address these cargo theft issues, we have seen companies utilize
additional layers of security to mitigate risk," said Barry Conlon,
chief executive officer of FreightWatch. "The increase in protection
combined with a decrease in total shipping during 2010, primarily due
to decreased global demand, has forced cargo theft gangs to become more
aggressive and increase active targeting of unprotected loads."
diesel price surges 7.4 cents
In one of the sharpest increases in recent
national average retail price of diesel increased for a seventh
straight week, soaring 7.4 cents to $3.407 during the week ended Jan.
17, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information
Bendix spring brake boasts high strength and light weight
Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB)
has released a
spring brake that is calls weight-optimized and corrosion-resistant for
"best-in-class durability and performance."
"In engineering the EverSure spring brake, we created a high-performing
spring brake that is significantly lighter and, at the same time, more
robust than others on the market," said Mark Kromer, chief engineer -
actuation/slack adjuster products, for BSFB. "The new spring brake,
like all Bendix products, meets the strictest standards for performance
In addition, the brake's lighter weight leads to the "best vibration
resistance in the industry. Lower vibration levels help prolong the
life of the spring brake and supporting components," said Bendix.
Elixion engine oil is a low-viscosity SAE
5W-30 oil that
protect against cold temperatures and works toward meeting 2014
efficiency and emissions standards, the company says. The oil meets
CJ-4 specifications and, the company says, offers a fuel economy
improvement of up to 4 percent. ...
a fuel efficiency breakthrough
"We expect the efficiencies to continue to
modifications are made and new simulations are conducted." -Sal
Scuderi, president of Scuderi Group, after fuel efficiency gains of 25
to 36 were identified via computer models developed by the Southwest
Research Institute for his company's new engine designs
I've written about the Scuderi Group's revolutionary engine designs in
this space before; designs that the company claims produces up to 80
fewer toxins than a typical internal combustion engine while posting
big gains in fuel efficiency - all done without expensive
Jersey lawmakers want tolls rolled back
A battle is brewing at the New Jersey
governor's office and some leading lawmakers. The tussle is over what
should be done about increased tolls that were billed as a revenue
source for a now-defunct bridge plan.
Truckers and other drivers have been paying more since 2008 to access
the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. Tolls for heavy
commercial vehicles to travel the full length of the turnpike were
increased from $26.55 to $37.15 to help pay for a commuter rail tunnel
under the Hudson River. Another increase is slated for 2012.
Initiates Market Tests of Nitrogen Enriched Diesel
Shell Oil Products U.S. is launching a
market test of
Nitrogen Enriched Diesel, extending the company's exclusive "Nitrogen
Enriched" advanced cleaning system to diesel fuel. The fuel has been
proven to reduce fuel consumption in an extensive test of heavy-duty
vehicles, Shell claims. It will be available on a trial basis starting
January 31, 2011. ...
evasion = life sentence for Chinese ag hauler
After public outcry over the severity of
the life prison
sentence handed down to a hauler of agricultural commodities for
evading road tolls in China, the Chinese government is reportedly
revisiting the sentence and has put court officials who handed it down
under investigation themselves, according to this AP report on the
The hauler, Shi Jianfeng, had apparently gotten around $560,000 U.S.
worth in tolls by running two trucks with fake military license plates.
Military trucks are exempt from tolls in China, AP says.
groups join forces to fight fuel price rises
[LogisticsManager.com] The Freight
the Road Haulage Association, are joining forces to campaign for fairer
The bodies have joined the FairFuelUK Campaign which aims to have the
fuel duty rise planned for April scrapped and for the Government to
intervene and stabilise fuel prices. ...