Trucking central

| March 07, 2006

This year’s Mid-America Trucking Show will showcase everything from a new entry in the Class 8 field to workshops that help drivers take home more money.

More than 75,000 trucking industry professionals are expected to gather at the 35th Annual Mid-America Trucking Show to share information and entertainment.

An anticipated 1,000-plus exhibitors will cover more than 1 million square feet at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, March 23-25, show organizers say. The crowd is expected to be even bigger than last year, when 75,650 people from all 50 states and 43 foreign countries attended the show.

Inside the show
Attendees can tour exhibits from major truck, trailer, tire and truck part manufacturers; oil and additive companies; trucking publications; companies looking to recruit new drivers; and much more. The Internet and Technology Center will showcase the latest advances in the industry, and The Expediter Experience is dedicated to expedited trucking.

At Overdrive magazine’s free Partners in Business workshop, Jeff Amen and Richard DeForest, owner-operator consultants for American Truck Business Services, will share tips they’ve used to help more than 20,000 owner-operators increase their earnings. The workshop will run from 2-4 p.m. March 24, and topics will include ways to increase revenue, how to evaluate the most profitable loads, cost-cutting tips and recent trends in owner-operator pay, mileage and fuel surcharges.

MATS also offers a series of free seminars on each day of the show, featuring such topics as Roadside Inspections and Truckers’ Legal Rights.

Entertainment
One of the highlights of MATS is the free Trucker Appreciation Concert, sponsored by Kenworth, on Friday night. Past performances include Kid Rock, Mindy McCready and Alabama. This year’s performer had not been announced at press time.

On Saturday night, alternative rock band Nickelback will perform a concert at Freedom Hall, adjacent to the show. Nickelback has had No. 1 hits with its songs “How You Remind Me” and “Photograph,” and their latest CD All the Right Reasons is still near the top of the Billboard Top 200. Chevelle and Trapt will also perform. Tickets for the concert are available for sale at the box office and at Ticketmaster outlets.

Bill Mack, the XM Satellite Cowboy, will host his show live from MATS all three days of the show and will be signing autographs when he gets off the air on Friday afternoon. Bluegrass singer Big Al Weekly will sign autographs Friday from noon to 4 p.m.

Country music star Aaron Tippin will sign autographs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on opening day of the show at The Midnight Trucking Radio Network booth in the lobby. Attendees can also register at the booth for $1,000 cash to be given away Saturday afternoon at the end of the show.

For attendee and exhibitor information, as well as more information on the show, log on to www.truckingshow.com

The Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center is located a mile south of downtown Louisville at the junction of I-65 and I-264 and offers more than 26 acres of parking, some with recreational vehicle hookups.
-Rachel Telehany and Kristin L. Walters


FMCSA’s Sandberg Resigns
The top official of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Annette Sandberg, has given notice of her resignation, said Duane DeBruyne, the FMCSA’s deputy director of communications.

DeBruyne confirmed that the resignation is slated to take effect March 1.

Sandberg has been FMCSA administrator since August 2003, taking office four months after the agency published its revised hours of service rule. Hours issues have occupied much of her time since.

Before leading the FMCSA, Sandberg was chief of the Washington State Patrol and a deputy administrator at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The American Trucking Associations gave Sandberg a “job well done” in a goodbye press release.

“She and her team of safety professionals consistently demonstrated a willingness to openly examine motor carrier concerns and issues while maintaining the highest commitment to highway safety,” the release said.

The ATA noted that during Sandberg’s tenure, the injury rate from crashes involving large trucks dropped 13 percent, while the fatality rate from such crashes dropped to the lowest point since the U.S. Department of Transportation began keeping records in 1975.
-Lance Orr


America’s Traveling Truck Show Rolls Out in April
America’s Traveling Truck Show will stop at 20 Petro Stopping Center locations across the nation this spring and summer, beginning in Wheeler, Calif., on April 4.

Each three-day show will open from 1-7 p.m. daily and will feature truck makers, carriers, product and services providers, and entertainment.

The tour will end in Weatherford, Texas, the week before the Great American Trucking Show, which starts Aug. 24 in Dallas.

“We’ll have a delineated area in the back parking lot with the truckers, and we’ll roll in exhibits,” said Randy Schwartzenburg, executive director of ATTS. “This is a great opportunity for us to take trade shows to the trucking professional instead of requiring them to make their way to a convention center.”

The show is operated by Randall-Reilly Publishing, publisher of Truckers News and owner of GATS.

Attendees with a valid CDL can register to win a Trucker’s Dream Package and cash prize.

For information on ATTS, visit this site.

Show Dates/Truckstop Locations
April 4, 5, 6/Wheeler, Calif.
April 11, 12, 13/Las Vegas
April 18, 19, 20/Kingman, Ariz.
April 25, 26, 27/Milan, N.M.
May 2, 3, 4/Amarillo, Texas
May 9, 10, 11/Oklahoma City
May 16, 17, 18/Joplin, Mo.
May 23, 24, 25/Effingham, Ill.
May 30, 31, June 1/New Paris, Ohio
June 6, 7, 8/Stony Ridge, Ohio
June 13, 14, 15/Carlisle, Pa.
June 20, 21, 22/Bordentown, N.J.
June 27, 28, 29/Ruther Glen, Va.
July 5, 6, 7/Mebane, N.C.
July 11, 12, 13/Florence, S.C.
July 18, 19, 20/Atlanta
July 25, 26, 27/Bucksville, Ala.
August 1, 2, 3/Jackson, Miss.
August 8, 9, 10/Shreveport, La.
August 15, 16, 17/Weatherford, Texas
-Lance Orr


Carriers Optimistic About Year Ahead, But ’07 Technology a Concern
This year will be a “continuation of the hot market we’ve enjoyed for several years,” Jim McReynolds, Caterpillar general manager, on-highway engines, told attendees Jan. 23 at Heavy Duty Dialogue in Las Vegas.

Continued economic growth, low interest and inflation rates and strong carrier profits all contribute to the rosy outlook, he said.

Ninety-five percent of fleets said business in 2006 will be as good or better than last year’s, and half said freight will increase, said McReynolds, citing results of a survey conducted by FCC Equipment Finance, a Caterpillar company.

Most fleets said capital equipment budgets will stay at present levels, while 25 percent said they will increase.

At the same time, 75 percent said truck pricing will increase; one-quarter said these increases will be significant. Estimates are that truck prices could go up another $10,000 in 2007, McReynolds said.

Looking toward the introduction of new low-emissions engines in 2007, many fleets responding to the survey said they will deal with higher truck prices and operational costs by extending trade cycles.

When selecting engines, reliability and fuel economy are fleets’ biggest concerns, McReynolds said. “Some 2002 engines have not performed lately,” he said. “The more complex engines get, the more fearful the market becomes.” Customers will rely on those who have taken care of them in the past, he said.

While all engine makers have had difficulty getting trucks with ’07 technology into customers’ hands, fewer problems are expected than with 2002 engines because engine makers have had more time to prepare this time around, McReynolds said.

Another challenge is the availability of ultra low sulfur diesel to use in testing, he said. Some customers are paying up to $4.35 per gallon for ULSD, and Caterpillar has subsidized customers to help them test, McReynolds said.

Experts predict ULSD will have 1 percent less energy content than traditional diesel, which will result in about a 1 percent fuel economy penalty, McReynolds said. How the fuel will perform in cold weather and how it can be stored to avoid contamination are other concerns, as are infrastructure and supply challenges faced by petroleum companies, McReynolds said.

Faced with these challenges, fleets are doing the same thing they did before the introduction of the 2002 engines, McReynolds said: Pre-buying trucks with existing engines and buying used, to delay as long as possible buying the new technology. “This puts added pressure on the parts and service aftermarket,” he said.

A shortage of about 45,000 technicians will contribute to the problem, McReynolds said. At the same time, dealers and repair shops will need to be large enough to take advantage of economies of scale in training, equipment, insurance, etc., “in order to work on these expensive new trucks,” he said.
-Linda Longton


International Brings Back PayStar Name
All International Truck and Engine’s 5000 Series trucks will now go by the name PayStar, the company announced.

International introduced its trucks and tractors under the PayStar name in the late 1970s to fit in with the company’s Transtar, Fleetstar, Loadstar and Cargostar truck lines. Several of International’s most respected severe service vehicles carried the moniker until 1998, when they were re-named the 5000 Series. These included the 5500, 5600, and 5900.

“We have a number of customers who still refer to our 5000 Series trucks as PayStar long after we removed the badging,” said Bill Sixsmith, marketing director for International’s severe service vehicle center. “The International PayStar name is what the customers want to see on the sides of their trucks.”

The new International PayStar lightweight mixer packages, unveiled at this year’s World of Concrete show in Las Vegas, feature a lighter weight design that allows customers to haul more payload and still meet federal bridge formula limits, the company said.

The PayStar 5500’s lightweight design and 12-inch frame allows customers to haul 10 yards of concrete legally, a 7.5 percent payload increase over the previous design, the company said. The 5600 model can haul 11 yards legally, a 6.8 percent increase in payload capacity.

The new PayStar is lighter primarily because of the new 330-hp Cummins ISL engine.

The PayStar won’t be International’s only “Star” truck. International will unveil its new 2007 Class 8 tractor, ProStar, in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.
-Lance Orr


Cummins Unveils 2007 ISL for Vocationals
Cummins introduced its 2007 ISL for the vocational market Jan. 17 at the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas.

The new model adds cooled exhaust gas recirculation technology and an integrated Cummins particulate filter to meet the 2007 emissions standards.

The engine will also feature a simple crankcase ventilation management system to eliminate oil carryover from the engine, Cummins said. The average vocational truck will need to replace the low-cost Enviroguard coalescing filter at every third oil change, the company said.

“The ISL has the lightest weight of any engine in its class and is available with peak horsepower up to 365 hp,” said Chuck Goode, Cummins specialty markets director.

The engine boasts 1250 pounds-feet of torque, Cummins said.

A new option allows mixer operators to monitor the engine oil level from inside the cab, eliminating the need for daily manual inspection, Cummins said.

The engine also features an enhanced High Pressure Common Rail fuel system, which delivers higher injection pressures for lower emissions and will continue to feature the variable geometry turbocharger, which adjusts airflow to increase vehicle performance. Fuel efficiency is increased while maintenance intervals remain unchanged, Cummins said.
-Lance Orr


OOIDA Challenges
Hours Rule in Court The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has filed a court challenge requesting review of the new hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers.

OOIDA has petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the regulations.

OOIDA initially petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for two changes to the current hours-of-service regulations on Aug. 29, 2005. The current regulations are set up in such a way that if a trucker chooses to split up the required 10 hours of off-duty time, one of the two periods must be at least eight hours. That eight-hour rest period stops the 14-hour maximum on-duty clock. The other two off-duty hours can be taken at another time – either in the sleeper or out – to fulfill the 10-hour off-duty requirement, but they do not stop the 14-hour clock.

“We were simply asking that those two hours would also stop the clock, that the driver could take those off duty and not count against his working time,” says Jim Johnston, OOIDA president and chief executive officer. “We think it’s common sense, because it’s consistent with the 10-hour off-duty requirement.”

The other change OOIDA requested involved the split sleeper-berth provision for team drivers. Under the current HOS regulations, team drivers have to take a minimum of eight consecutive hours off in the sleeper berth. One driver must remain in the sleeper berth, and during that time, OOIDA argues, the other driver is pressured to drive at least eight hours in one stretch while the other driver is off duty.

“That’s impractical for most team operations,” Johnston says. “We initially petitioned the DOT to retain what was then the current sleeper-berth exemption, which allowed the drivers to take sleeper-berth time in whatever increments they wanted, as long as no period was less than two hours.”

FMCSA denied OOIDA’s petition for reconsideration Dec. 5, 2005. The association then decided to take the matter to court.

“We’re also looking forward to other industry interests joining with us in this case,” Johnston says. “The California Trucking Association has already indicated that they would like to piggyback on our suit, since procedurally they were not allowed to file a suit on their own.”

FMCSA acknowledged that most team driver operations would have to change their scheduling practices but said the rule change was needed to ensure that drivers could obtain seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

“The studies relied upon by the Agency and cited at length in the final rule do not support driver claims that short, but more frequent, periods of rest are just as good at preventing fatigue as a single extended sleep period,” FMCSA told OOIDA. The agency added that research shows that most individuals require seven to eight consecutive hours of sleep every day to maintain proper mental and physical functioning.

“There is no doubt that a driver is temporarily refreshed after a shorter period in a sleeper berth – that is why so many sleep researchers recommend naps – but without an extended sleep period of 7-8 consecutive hours, a driver will begin to accumulate fatigue,” FMCSA said.

On the rest issue for solo drivers, FMCSA questioned the relevance of an OOIDA member survey regarding the 2003 rule that concluded that drivers felt pressure to sacrifice breaks in order to maximize work within the 14-hour driving window. The 2005 rule is significantly different, and the survey didn’t focus on sleeper-berth drivers, the agency said. In any event, since the two-hour break for sleeper-berth drivers is mandatory, “there is no question of incentives or disincentives” regardless of whether the 14-hour clock is stopped, the agency said.

OOIDA currently is awaiting a response from the court to decide how to proceed next.

FMCSA has declined to comment on OOIDA’s litigation.
-eTrucker Staff


Schwarzenegger Supports Truck Lanes
New truck-only lanes are part of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed $107 billion investment over the next decade to improve the state’s transportation system.

Schwarzenegger outlined his plan to lawmakers Jan. 5 in his annual State of the State speech. The governor’s office expanded little on the truck lanes, although it appears likely they would be toll lanes.

The state’s population is expected to grow as much as 30 percent over the next two decades. “Half a century ago, our predecessors faced exactly the same challenges, but they still planned for our future,” he said.

The plan calls for reducing congestion by 18 percent by 2016 through building 1,200 miles of new highway and high-occupancy lanes in the most congested regions and adding 600 miles of mass transit.

Schwarzenegger’s plan describes public-private partnerships to “complete projects such as high-occupancy toll lanes, regular toll lanes, truck lanes and freight movement facilities where a predictable revenue stream will be created to re-pay capital investments.”

The Reason Foundation, a widely-quoted libertarian think tank that has advised Schwarzenegger, last year called for a new state tolling and public-private partnership law.

The foundation proposed truck-only toll lanes from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports through San Bernardino and up Interstate 15 to Nevada. A truck-only toll lanes project that would link the Port of Oakland and the Silicon Valley with Interstate 5 via Interstate 580 was also advocated.
-Jill Dunn


FYI
NATSO Chairman
James Goetz, president of Goetz Companies, will serve as the 2006 chairman of NATSO. Goetz Companies owns a Petro Travel Plaza in Portage, Wis., and Goetz has been a NATSO member for 20 years. Goetz’s ascension to chairman will mark the second time NATSO has elected a second-generation chairman. His father, James Goetz, led NATSO in 1997 and 2002. He will replace Roger Cole, who was the 2004 and 2005 NATSO chairman.

Time Zone Changes
The U.S. Department of Transportation is moving eight of 17 Indiana counties to the Central Time zone. The Indiana counties of Daviess, Dubois, Knox, Martin, Perry, Pike, Pulaski and Starke will move from the Eastern to Central Time zone beginning April 2, when the nation switches to daylight saving time, according to the final rule set to be published in the Federal Register Jan. 20. Nine other counties that asked the department to make the change, including Carroll, Cass, Fulton, Lawrence, Marshall, Sullivan, St. Joseph, Vermillion and White, will remain in the Eastern Time zone.

Certified Schools
The Professional Truck Driver Institute has certified three new schools in Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin and recertified two Texas schools. The newly certified schools are Baker College in Cadillac, Mich., and Schneider Training Academy in Green Bay, Wis., and Dallas. The recertified Texas schools are ATDS in Elm Mott and Houston Community College Northeast Commercial Truck Driving Center in Houston.

Share the Road Sponsors
Michelin Americas Truck Tires has joined Mack Trucks and Chevron Delo as a sponsor of the American Trucking Associations’ Share the Road highway safety program. Share the Road has been delivering the trucking industry’s safety message to major traffic-choked cities and media markets across the country since 2000. At each event, million-mile, accident-free professional truck drivers simulate real life highway situations to illustrate their car-truck safety lessons.

New Love’s
Love’s has opened a new Travel Stop location in Hutchins, Texas. It is located at I-45 at the Fulghum Road exit. This is Love’s 118th location and the second one scheduled to open in 2006.

Sterling Donation
The Sterling Truck manufacturing plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, donated $20,000 to support CPR teaching programs at local high schools. Sterling partnered with ACT Foundation of Canada in the endeavor.

America’s Road Team Nominations
The nomination process for the American Trucking Associations’ 2007-08 America’s Road Team has begun. The deadline is Aug. 31. Application forms are available from America’s Road Team at 2200 Mill Road, Alexandria, Va., 22314, by fax request at (703) 684-5718, or by downloading from this site.

Business Award
Diesel fuel additive manufacturer Power Service Products has been named Texas’ fastest growing family-owned business of 2005. The company is one of nine family businesses that was recognized in November at the 16th annual Texas Family Business of the Year Awards in Waco, Texas.

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