Log Book

| April 30, 2009

Orozco Sanchez was hauling grain on Oct. 28, 2008, on Highway 392, north of Greeley, Colo., when an SUV suddenly crossed the center line and crashed head-on into his tractor-trailer rig. Orozco Sanchez quickly jumped from his cab and went to the other vehicle.

With flames beginning to surround the vehicles, he saw two girls, strapped into their car seats and crying, and a woman up front who was not moving. Working with a passer-by who used a fire extinguisher to fight back the flames, Orozco Sanchez rescued the two girls. Their 27-year-old mother died in the crash.

“Jorge’s quick thinking and bravery will be reflected in the lives of these two girls, just 1 and 4 years old, in years to come,” says Joseph Copeland, vice president of Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. “His heroics and those of the truck drivers honored through this award are truly inspiring.”
- Staff reports

Event shows green trucks
The green movement, with its evolving and increasingly stringent regulations, is “a tidal wave and it’s only getting bigger coming at us,” Rusty Rush, president and CEO of Rush Enterprises, told attendees at a Go Green event, hosted by Rush Truck Centers and Peterbilt.
The day-long event, held April 1 at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., drew about 160 fleet customers.

It showcased Peterbilt vehicles featuring alternative technologies designed to lower emissions and improve air quality while reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil and taking advantage of domestic resources such as natural gas.

Attendees heard presentations on the latest green technologies from Peterbilt, Cummins, Eaton and Westport, along with details on available grants and tax incentives to encourage fleets to convert to greener equipment. Guests also had the opportunity to test drive Peterbilt’s greenest vehicles, including the Model 386 heavy duty hybrid, which is still in development.

The Model 386 hybrid features a 400-hp Cummins ISX engine; Eaton Fuller Ultrashift transmission; 60-hp, 30 lb.-ft. electric motor and a 340-volt DC electrical system. Through fuel savings and idle reduction, Peterbilt hopes to achieve 15 percent better fuel economy than a diesel-powered Model 386.
- Linda Longton

FMCSA tightens policy on fines
Motor carriers likely will face maximum penalties more often under a new enforcement policy that took effect April 1.

In a March 30 Federal Register notice, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a supplemental policy that will change how it now will implement Section 222 of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. Section 222 requires FMCSA to assess maximum statutory penalties if a person or company is found to have committed a pattern of violations of critical or acute regulations, or previously committed the same or a related violation of critical or acute regulations.

Until now, FMCSA has defined “pattern of violations” and “previously committed the same or related violation” as three cases closed with findings of violation occurring within the last six years. The “three strikes” also could be two cases that have closed followed by a third case in which violations were discovered during a compliance review or similar audit.

In recent years, both the Government Accountability Office and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General have faulted FMCSA’s approach toward implementing the 1999 legislation. For example, GAO recommended a “two strikes” policy and a meaning of “pattern of violations” that is distinct from repeated violations of the same regulation. OIG recommended that FMCSA count all acute and critical violations discovered during a compliance review.

FMCSA also is adopting a “two strikes” policy that is similar to the existing “three strikes” policy. FMCSA will apply maximum penalties in cases where an acute violation is discovered during an investigation within six years of a previously closed case that contained a finding of violation of a critical or acute regulation in the same part of the federal motor carrier or hazardous materials regulations. FMCSA will apply the same standards under the “two strikes” policy as it did under the “three strikes” policy.

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