News From The Industry

MEDIUM-DUTY CATERPILLAR

Caterpillar’s C9 shows plenty of power on a grade and good acceleration.

ACERT engine tests well Caterpillar’s new C9, employing the company’s ACERT emissions-reduction technology, gave a strong performance during recent on-road and off-road tests in medium-duty Sterling dumps.

In the dirt, the Sterling exhibited excellent maneuverability; its 45 percent wheel cut with 22.5 rubber made the heavily laden dump nimbler than expected. The available torque makes turns in soft earth much easier.

While other engine manufacturers chose exhaust gas recirculation technology to meet tighter emissions requirements by Oct. 1, 2002, Caterpillar is meeting new standards with a combination of air and fuel management systems, electronics and diesel oxidation catalysts. Caterpillar officials also say the technology will enable the company to easily upgrade for meeting the 2007 emissions standards. The strategy has allowed Caterpillar to maintain high horsepower ratings and strong torque throughout the product line.

All ACERT products are in-line, six-cylinder engines. However, the C7 and C9 do not use the twin turbo with an intercooler, which is used in engines rated C11 and higher. All engines use variable valve actuation to control air volume at various engine loads and speeds. Electronically controlled split injection allows more complete fuel burn at lower peak cylinder temperatures.

Caterpillar introduced its ACERT engines when it released the C9 in January. The C7 was released in June. Cat used its existing 3126E as the basis for the C7 and changed engine designations to match higher displacement. Thus the C8 becomes the C9, displacing 8.8 liters with horsepower ratings between 275 and 400. Comparable ratings above C9 have increased by 1 liter.

The 550-hp C15 will be the top hp-rated engine to be released this year. Caterpillar spokesperson Chuck Timmes says Cat plans to top its line with the C16 early next year. Cat is taking orders on the C15. The C11 and 13 have not been certified yet, but plans are to release the C13 in October and the C11 in December after they are certified.

– Tim Barton

OVERDRIVE WINS EDITORIAL AWARDS

Overdrive is one of the nation’s top 10 business magazines, according to American Society of Business Publication Editors.

Overdrive, along with sister publications Commercial Carrier Journal and Truckers News, received 16 national and regional awards from ASBPE.

“We’re thrilled that our peers in the publishing industry recognize the high quality of industry, journalistic and design expertise that our editors and designers bring to each magazine,” says Jeff Mason, vice president and group publisher of Randall Publishing’s Trucking Media Group.

Overdrive finished in the top 10 for the Magazine of the Year competition. Overdrive received the national Gold Award for best table of contents, designed by Art Director Tim Cooper.

Overdrive was also recognized for a special section on used trucks, an article on idle-free technology and informational graphics.


AMENDMENT WOULD FREEZE TRUCK LENGTH, WEIGHT

A Senate transportation committee passed a six-year highway reauthorization bill, which included language freezing current motor vehicle lengths and removing state authority to set tractor-trailer length standards on roads designated as part of the National Highway System.

The bill also deletes the right of states to determine tractor-trailer length standards for the 156,000-mile National Highway System.

The American Trucking Associations and the Association of American Railroads support the provision. Other bill changes include:

  • Amendments to modify hours-of-service requirements for commercial driver’s license holders transporting agricultural commodities and farm supplies and to exempt drivers of utility service vehicles from requirements for operators of commercial motor vehicles.
  • An amendment to establish a uniform motor carrier registration system.
  • Amendments to require background checks for Mexican and Canadian hazmat drivers and to require trucks manufactured abroad to meet domestic standards.
  • – Jill Dunn


    CITIZEN GROUPS PROTEST HOURS RULE

    Three citizen groups have petitioned federal court over the final rule for hours-of-service issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

    Public Citizen, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, and Parents Against Tired Truckers filed a petition last month in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia requesting that the court review the rule, which was issued April 16.

    The groups charge that it increases truckers’ driving time by more than 20 percent and cite research indicating that working longer hours decreases alertness and performance. FMCSA estimates fatigue is a primary or contributing cause of 15 percent of all fatalities involving trucks, the groups say.

    The petitioners also challenge the rule because it does not require on-board recorders. Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen and former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said in a statement that the new rule worked truckers harder and violates FMCSA’s mission of safety. “The new rule is a formula for more truck crashes, more deaths and more injuries,” Claybrook said.

    Earlier this year, Public Citizen and labor groups won a separate lawsuit against FMCSA in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The groups charged that the Bush Administration did not meet environmental law requirements when it announced that the U.S.-Mexico border was open for Mexican truckers to do long-haul trucking in the United States. The agency had appealed the court’s decision and lost.

    -Jill Dunn


    BILL CRIMINALIZES FATIGUE-RELATED FATAL WRECKS

    The New Jersey Assembly overwhelmingly approved a bill that would criminalize driving while fatigued and could result in vehicular homicide charges if a fatigued driver causes a fatal accident after 24 sleepless hours.

    The legislation defines fatigued driving as driving after being deprived of sleep for at least 24 hours. If signed by the governor, fatigue-related vehicular homicide will be classified as a second-degree crime, carrying a maximum penalty of a 10-year sentence and a $100,000 fine.

    The legislation, known as “Maggie’s Law,” is named for Maggie McDonnell, 20, who was killed in 1997 by a driver who admitted to being awake 30 consecutive hours. That driver was subject to only a $200 fine because there was no specific fatigued driving law.

    Similar legislation has been proposed elsewhere, including New York.

    – Jill Dunn


    EPA, ENGINE MAKERS AGREE ON TESTING

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Engine Manufacturers Association have agreed to produce a manufacturer-run, in-use emissions testing program for heavy-duty diesel engines built in 2007 and later.

    The program will document diesel engine exhaust emissions via portable onboard measurement equipment, the EPA says. The agency will provide guidance on the testing to engine makers. Originally, the EPA wanted a program in place by next year but agreed to the later date and said a pilot program for 2005 and 2006 model years would let the EPA, the California Air Resources Board and the manufacturers become experienced with the in-use portable equipment and protocols.

    Emissions regulations will tighten significantly in 2007. The agreement settles outstanding lawsuits filed by the EMA against the government. The agency will publish regulatory provisions for the manufacturer-run program within a year.

    -Jill Dunn


    OOIDA SUES OVER ALLEGED LEASING VIOLATIONS

    The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has filed suit against Allied Holdings and its subsidiaries for alleged violations of federal leasing regulations.

    OOIDA filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against Allied and two wholly owned subsidiaries, Allied Automotive Group and motor carrier Allied Systems Ltd.

    An Allied spokesman did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

    Two OOIDA members leased to Allied Systems are also seeking declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief.

    OOIDA is also asking for a preliminary injunction to keep Allied Systems from using equipment OOIDA says Allied Systems does not own. The group is seeking class action certification.

    OOIDA has sued several carriers over allegations of violating federal leasing laws in recent years.

    – Jill Dunn


    GATS OFFERS GIVEAWAYS

    Attendees registering online for The 2003 Great American Trucking Show can win prizes from now until the opening of GATS.

    The 5th annual show is scheduled for Sept. 26-28 at the Dallas Convention Center. Truckers who register through www.gatsonline.com are automatically entered for monthly giveaways, including VIP seating for the Tracy Byrd concert, sponsored by Volvo, passes to the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Dallas and meals at other Dallas eateries.

    Other GATS features: on-site truck parking, free educational seminars, special pavilions and Overdrive‘s Pride & Polish competition.

    For more information, call (888) 349-4287 or visit www.gatsonline.com.


    DAIMLERCHRYSLER PUTS DETROIT DIESEL UNDER FREIGHTLINER

    In a move that further consolidates truck and component manufacturers, DaimlerChrysler will bring Detroit Diesel underneath the direction of sister company Freightliner.

    The transition is part of a restructuring at the largest truck manufacturer in the United States, but also adds to a growing vertical integration of truck and component makers. Rainer Schmueckle, Freightliner’s president and CEO, says Detroit Diesel will fall under his control as part of a corporate effort to save money and streamline the truck-building business.

    “Previously, DDC reported through the Powersystems Business Unit, based in Stuttgart,” he says. “The Powersystems unit has been wound up and its functions folded into different structures. All of this will serve to strengthen the Freightliner brands and businesses and further increase our capabilities to bring world-leading technologies to our customers.”

    DaimlerChrysler bought truck manufacturers Sterling and Western Star in recent years. After it added Detroit Diesel three years ago, most truck makers stopped offering Detroit engines.

    While consolidation leaves truck buyers with fewer options, truck and engine makers say such moves will improve truck reliability and reduce production costs.

    Freightliner customers will still have a range of components to choose from, “including engines and others from third-party suppliers,” Schmueckle says. Though DaimlerChrysler Commercial Vehicles Division “will be seeking some standardization, regional variations will remain. There is no global truck being developed.”

    – Sean Kelley


    YELLOW BUYS ROADWAY FOR $1.1 BILLION

    Yellow Corp. will buy Roadway Corp. for $966 million, creating one of the world’s biggest shipping companies. Yellow will also assume $140 million in debt, bringing the total cost to $1.1 billion.

    Kansas-based Yellow, a less-than-truckload carrier, said in July that it will pay $48 per share for its Akron, Ohio-based rival. Roadway will become an operating entity under Yellow-Roadway Corp., as the new company will be known.

    The move follows Consolidated Freightways’ bankruptcy announcement last September, which sent more business to large LTL carriers, such as Yellow.

    The companies’ combined revenue for the 12 months ending in March was nearly $6 billion. The companies expect to save $45 million by the end of their second year together and $125 million after five years.

    Bill Zollars, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Yellow, will hold the same titles for Yellow-Roadway. James Staley, Roadway president and chief executive officer, will continue to head Roadway.

    The Teamsters Union questioned the merger, which will affect thousands of its truck drivers, but did not immediately challenge it. Little job loss among field sales and operations is expected at either company.

    – Staff reports


    RANDALL BUYS TRUCKERS NEWS

    Randall Publishing Co. bought Truckers News from NATSO, a national trade association representing truck stop owners. Randall has produced Truckers News for NATSO since 1999, and the magazine will remain NATSO’s official publication.

    “Winning the contract to publish Truckers News on behalf of NATSO was one of the proudest moments in our company’s history,” said Mike Reilly, Randall president and CEO. “This purchase is the next logical step and serves to further solidify our relationship with NATSO and its members.”

    “Randall Publishing has been a great partner, not only in terms of publishing, but also through their legislative efforts,” says Bill Fay, NATSO president. “This purchase is a win-win for both parties.”

    Randall also publishes Overdrive and Commercial Carrier Journal and operates eTrucker.com.


    SHORTH HAULS

    TWO TRUCK SHOW partners have split. The California Trucking Association will move the International Trucking Show, which it owns, from Las Vegas back to California in 2004. The show will be held in September instead of its usual June date. Independent Trade Show Management, which CTA had contracted to produce ITS in recent years, will now launch The Truck Show in Las Vegas, June 10-12, says company owner Roger Sherrard.

    NATIONAL TRUCK DRIVER Appreciation Week will be celebrated by the American Trucking Associations and its affiliates Aug. 24-30. The week will follow the National Truck Driving Championships in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 19-23.

    IDLE YOUR TRUCK more than three minutes at New York City’s Hunts Point Produce Market after Nov. 1 and you could end up with a $250 to $875 fine. City law forbids trucks and buses from idling for more than three consecutive minutes, except when loading or unloading, or when processing something, such as cement. To enforce the law, the market will hire two additional officers. Hunts Point partnered with Sustainable South Bronx and the New York Power Authority to install 32 truck electrification bays at the market. IdleAire Technologies is providing the equipment.

    PILOT TRAVEL CENTERS purchased one of the nation’s largest truck stops, the Giant Travel Center in Gallup, N.M., 120 miles east of Albuquerque on I-40.

    INTERNATIONAL Truck and Engine Corp. says it will combine a diesel particulate filter and a NOx adsorber to meet the new emissions standards for its 2007 engines. The strategy will also include better oil consumption control, exhaust gas recirculation and drivetrain efficiency, say officials Patrick Charbonneau and Xingun Gui. The 2007 standard requires a further reduction in particulates of approximately 90 percent and a reduction in NOx emissions to 50 percent of today’s levels.

    HOWES LUBRICATOR is looking for submissions in its third Trucker’s Song Writing Contest. One grand-prize winner will receive a free trip to Nashville and other prizes. Three runner-up prizes will also be awarded. Contestants must have a current CDL to participate. To enter, send a copy of the lyrics and a tape or CD including the melody to: Howes-Truckin’ Bozo Song Writing Contest: c/o Sound Control Studios, 2824 Dogwood Palace, Nashville, Tenn., 37204. For complete details, visit www.howeslube.com or call (800) GET-HOWES. The contest ends Aug. 31.

    THE CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE is considering a bill that would require hazmat vehicles to be equipped with a global positioning unit and a device that allows a peace officer to disable the truck. The bill would affect haulers of hazardous and radioactive materials and flammable and combustible liquids. It is opposed by the California Trucking Association. Violating the provision would be a misdemeanor.

    INSPECTORS MADE more than 55,000 commercial vehicle inspections over three days in June as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s 16th annual Roadcheck. The inspectors placed 24,171 CVSA decals on vehicles found to be free of critical safety defects and placed 23 percent of vehicles out of service for mechanical problems. Five percent of drivers failed inspection.

    CHEVRONTEXACO GLOBAL Lubricants will sponsor the Texas Motor Transport Association’s Mobile Classroom and Driver Simulator through 2005. The simulator can serve as a training classroom for fleets or as an educational opportunity for four-wheelers to learn about trucks’ blind spots, turning space and stopping times. It can simulate weather changes, equipment failures and various tractor-trailer configurations. More information about the simulator is available at www.tmta.com.

    FORMER DRIVERS of Consolidated Freightways will still receive their pensions even though the defunct carrier can no longer pay up. The federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. took over employee and retiree pensions for the bankrupt company. PBGC will send trusteeship notification letters to active and retired CF workers. Information about the CF pension plan is available at www.pbgc.gov/consolidated or by calling (800) 400-7242.

    AN OHIO TRUCKER was scheduled for sentencing Aug. 1 for his role in assisting al Qaeda in planning potential terrorist acts in the United States. Lyman Faris, 34, of Columbus, pleaded guilty to a two-count charge in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., says U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. The charges are providing material support and resources to al Qaeda and conspiracy for informing the terrorist organization about possible U.S. targets for attack. Faris, a naturalized U.S. citizen, could receive a maximum of 20 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

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