For the Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95 and I-395), Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895) and Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695), the cash toll for five-axle trucks increased from $12 to $18 on Jan. 1 and will go to $24 on July 1, 2013.
For the Harry W. Nice Bridge (U.S. 301) and William Preston Lane (Bay) Bridge (U.S. 50 and U.S. 301), the cash rate rises from the $15 to $36 by 2013.
— Staff reports
December strong for trucking jobs
The for-hire trucking industry added 5,100 new payroll employees in December, the most in one month since March, according to preliminary numbers the Bureau of Labor Statistics released.
The gain comes on top of small upward adjustments for October and November.
Compared with December 2010, trucking employment is up by 40,100 jobs, or 3.2 percent. The number of trucking jobs, just under 1.3 million, remains 157,200 jobs, or 10.8 percent, below peak employment in January 2007.
The BLS numbers for trucking reflect all payroll employment in for-hire trucking, but they don’t include trucking-related jobs in other industries, such as a truck driver for a private fleet.
— Avery Vise
TRUCKERS FOR TROOPS campaign by Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association raised $73,560 for care packages for military personnel overseas, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shell Rotella donated $5,000.
TRAILER NET ORDERS increased in November to 28,393, according to ACT Research. The monthly order volume is the strongest since March 2006.
Safety board urges total cell phone use ban
The National Transportation Safety Board recommended banning all U.S. drivers from using mobile phones or sending text messages, even with headsets or portable speakers, to prevent distracted-driving crashes.
Systems built into cars and global positioning systems wouldn’t be affected nor would passengers. Phones could be used to call 911.
NTSB announced its recommenda-tion during a hearing detailing its investigation into an August 2010 crash in Gray Summit, Mo., in which a 19-year-old pickup driver sent or received 11 text messages in 13 minutes before hitting the rear of a tractor-trailer. Two school buses collided with the stopped trucks. The pickup driver and one bus passenger were killed, and the truck driver and 37 other people were injured.
NTSB’s recommendation would have to be adopted separately by each state since states have authority over driver behavior. States should adopt electronic-device bans and support the laws with aggressive enforcement like they have with seatbelt use and drunk driving, NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman said.
Fatal accidents caused by distracted operators have increased in all modes of transportation, including trucks, planes, trains, boats, buses and private cars and trucks, Hersman said. The use of phones by operators is so prevalent that securing call records and the devices themselves is one of the first steps investigators now take after accidents, she said.