Todd Dills

Toll 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 subject. 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 ...

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Michelin Iphone, Android roadside service apps join Blackberry functionality

The further CSA gets in ongoing rollout, the more critical repairing noncritical vehicle defects is going to get for both owner-operators and company drivers, potentially counting as they do against the former's safety ranking in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC and the latter's employment history. More and more, service shops and OEM parts manufacturers are making it easier to efficiently obtain quick service. Today, Michelin Americas Truck Tires joins a few with its announcement of service-locator/emergency-breakdown-assistance applications functional ...

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Revisiting the oil bubble, as diesel continues up, up, up

In the July 2008 issue of Truckers News, I reported on huge and speculative, long-only investment positions in commodities markets then contributing to the dramatic rise in crude oil and other commodities prices. Oil topped off at an historic high of near $150 a barrel that month, and if you were around trucking then I don't need to tell you what that did to diesel prices. Well, it seems that investor speculation in commodities indices, driving ...

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Got snow?

Here in the Southeast (though in Nashville I'm approaching the region's northern edge), it's been uncommonly wintry this week, as you can see from this pic, taken at the Love's on Trinity Lane at I-65. Further South, things have been much worse, though, evidenced in part by Myrtle Beach, S.C.-based driver Vernon Cook's 24-hour wait at an I-285 junction with I-75 reported on by the Associated Press here. You can be certain he wasn't the only ...

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Fair or foul?: A trucking story on Onion satirical news site

Sandwiched between satirical headlines like "Fully Validated Kanye West Retires to Quiet Farm in Iowa" and "Virgin Mary Statue Crying for No Good Reason" today on TheOnion.com was this one: "Modern-Day Cowboy Rides 18-Wheeler Full of Entenmann's Products Westward." Satirical newsmag The Onion has long been known for its lampooning of the mainstream press and, by extension, the dedicated members of its audience, and this story, about a trucker named "C.J. Hoppel," likely fictional, who hauls ...

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‘Recognition from the DOT': uShip’s viral parody of ‘Social Network’ movie trailer

Perhaps you've seen it. The Social Network film about Facebook's founding told the story of company cofounder Mark Zuckerberg's success "taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online." The film's trailer, which pairs a choral version of Radiohead's "Creep" with scenes from the film, was expertly parodied by the folks at uShip with the title "The Shipping Network," a funny little vid originally put together by company staff for their annual Christmas ...

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‘American Trucker’ premieres on SPEED channel Feb. 24 — with a familiar face

Imagine my surprise when, upon clicking over to a YouTube preview of SPEED's upcoming "American Trucker" series, I came upon a familiar face within the first several seconds. That face was Sparta, Wis.-based Paul Sagehorn (pictured here with his father, Craig), owner-operator of two classic pop-culture Kenworths, one employed in the filming of the Movin' On TV series in the 1970s, the other, more recent acquisition (and which I've written about extensively in the past ...

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Hats off for heroes at Fort Sam Houston. . .

My Truckers News Exit Only column this month details the long efforts of Marten Transport driver Candy Bass to grow a program she designed several years ago to send a positive message to wounded veterans of U.S. wars -- namely, that American truck drivers haven't forgotten about them. This year the annual program of hat donation, as I detailed in the magazine and in a previous post to the blog here, at upward of 1,500 ...

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Skydiving to the ark: A Channel 19 2010 ‘Year in Review’

It's been a banner year for dramatic, contentious, weird and/or humorous trucking news here on the Channel 19 blog. I can't possibly predict how 2010 will be remembered years down the line, but read through the lens of this blog, well, it was nothing short of tumultuous, containing the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. (Readers, an informal poll, if I may: what is the most memorable among the Channel 19 posts or ...

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Truck Centers Inc.: ‘We have a winner’

Remember the "12 Days of Truck Centers Christmas" sweepstakes I posted on back in late November? Well folks, we have a winner, the Illinois-headquartered dealer network reports. Or "winners," I should say, as the grand prize winner was chosen from a month's worth of daily giveaways to drivers from 12 different states stopping into any of seven Truck Centers Inc. Daimler Trucks stores, receiving daily prizes. The grand prize winner received a prize pack valued ...

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