Overdrive Staff | June 02, 2011

THREE HOUSEHOLD GOODS moving companies face fines of $25,000 each after a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforcement sweep in March in nine cities. The companies are Guardian Moving & Storage of Los Angeles, Lightning Van Lines Inc. of San Leandro, Calif. and Viking Moving and Storage Inc. of Oakland, Calif.

U.S. Xpress driver wins a Freightliner

Scot Hays, a driver with more than 17 years of experience with U.S. Xpress Enterprises, received a 2007 Freightliner truck after being named the first grand prize winner of the company’s Idle Reduction Sweepstakes.

Hays reduced his idling to about 5 percent during the first quarter to qualify for the prize drawing.

Hays was chosen in a random drawing from among 150 top qualifiers in the contest. The company will make payments on the truck for two years, and Hays has agreed to become an independent contractor leased to the carrier during that period.

“This is the greatest thing that has happened in my career,” said Hays, a member the U.S. Xpress Million Miler Safe Driving Club. “I was blown away when I heard my name called as the winner of the truck. I have talked to several contractors over the years here, and I know that I am going to have the support to be successful. I can’t wait to get started.”

U.S. Xpress President John White said all the top qualifiers received cash prizes for their efforts during the contest, which will be repeated quarterly. “Through our Idle Reduction Sweepstakes, U.S. Xpress has been able to create an additional focus on cutting down engine idle which also offered a valuable business opportunity for our drivers,” he said.

— Staff reports

Groups debate bills for heavier trucks

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa joined Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), safety advocates and family members of highway accident victims May 3 to endorse the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act. The legislation would restrict the size and weight of commercial trucks on U.S. highways.

SHIPA also would extend the freeze on truck size and weight limits on the interstate system to also apply to the National Highway System. The bill’s supporters, which include the Association of American Railroads, argue that large trucks are more dangerous to drive and damage highways and bridges and that heavier trucks will only accelerate highway and bridge wear and tear.

The Teamsters point to a recent nationwide poll that found that 89 percent of the general public strongly opposes larger trucks. The union also notes that half of the nation’s bridges are more than 40 years old, with one in four structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

The American Trucking Associations, which supports competing legislation that would allow states to increase weight limits on interstate highways, responded. “In the two years since ATA unveiled its 18-point safety agenda, a comprehensive approach to addressing both primary and secondary causes of highway crashes, these alleged ‘safety’ groups have not made a serious proposal to address trucking safety,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “Their fix is to arbitrarily cut working hours to advance labor’s agenda, and further restrict truck size and weight to advance the railroad’s agenda.”

The Senate Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2011 (S. 747) would give states the option to allow tractor-trailers weighing up to 97,000 pounds access to its interstate highways, provided owners equip trucks with a sixth axle to preserve braking distances and pavement wear patterns, and agree to pay a supplemental user fee. There’s an identical House bill, H.R. 763.

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