Back on the Road winner gets a Volvo

Robert Snyder and his daughter, Savannah, stand next to the Volvo VNL 670 he won through Arrow Truck Sales’ Back On The Road competition.Robert Snyder and his daughter, Savannah, stand next to the Volvo VNL 670 he won through Arrow Truck Sales’ Back On The Road competition.

Robert Snyder’s run of tough times ended March 26 when he was announced as winner of Arrow Truck Sales’ Back On The Road 2010 campaign, presented by Volvo Trucks North America.

Snyder, of Dunnellon, Fla., receives a 2007 Volvo VNL 670, courtesy of Volvo, a one-year work agreement with Heartland Express and other products and services.

“My dad isn’t like most fathers, husbands, or even like most guys who are going through hard times,” wrote his teenage daughter, Savannah Snyder, who nominated him for the award. “He constantly puts everybody before himself. Money is tight and our family is struggling.”

Financial problems began for Snyder, an 18-year driving veteran, when fuel became expensive and later with the onset of the recession. He became an owner-operator seven years ago, but was leased to a fleet that failed to pass along an adequate fuel surcharge.

As loads became scarce the last few years, Snyder found his career no longer provided for him, his daughter, and his disabled wife.

One breakdown away from losing his livelihood, Snyder has continued driving his 14-year-old truck with more than 1.5 million miles.

“I know receiving the 2007 Volvo VNL 670 from Volvo Trucks North America and a job with Heartland will help me provide my family with the life they deserve,” Snyder said. He looks forward to spending more time at home, allowing him to fish with Savannah and see her play tennis matches for her high school team.

The award’s other prizes include:

• X One tires from Michelin

• TriPac auxiliary power unit from Thermo King

• Monthly $500 fuel cards from Pilot Travel Centers

• Business consulting tools from ATBS

• Insurance from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

• A three-year/300,000-mile warranty from National Truck Protection

• One year’s worth of filter products from Genuine Volvo Parts

• Custom truck paint job from Dickinson Fleet Services

• Truck accessories and fenders from Minimizer Products

• Memory foam mattress from SleepDog Mattress

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• Paint from Sherwin-Williams

Snyder “is doing everything he can to make it through the recession,” said Carl Heikel, president and CEO of Arrow Truck Sales. “We are proud to give him this opportunity of a lifetime.”

For more information on Back On The Road 2010, visit www.backontheroad2010.com.

— Max Heine

Short Hauls

THE COMPANY OPERATING South Bay Expressway, a 10-mile toll road near San Diego, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize debts, but state and company officials say they expect motorists to be unaffected by the filing. South Bay Expressway L.P., AKA San Diego Expressway L.P., filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court March 22.

GINA ANGSTEN, a driver for Duplainville Transport, has been named the newest driver in Freightliner Trucks’ Slice of Life program. Angsten and the original Slice of Life drivers – Henry Albert, Kurt Grote and Dick McCorkle – will receive 2010 Cascadia trucks to drive for the next year. Angsten and the others blog about their experiences at www.SliceofTruckerLife.com.

THE TRUCKLOAD CARRIERS ASSOCIATION named Marten Transport driver James McDowell, Danny Carmichael, a driver for Trucks Inc., and Flying J driver Peter Pearce as Highway Angels. On Dec. 17, 2009, McDowell walked into a truck stop in Kenly, N.C., saw a girl who was choking and removed a chicken bone from her throat. He then gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Carmichael was nominated for helping a motorcycle accident victim who was severely injured on Aug. 3, 2009. On Feb. 9, Pearce pulled an accident victim from her overturned car and stopped blood flow from a gash on her head.

Peterbilt 348Correction: Peterbilt 348

A story in the April issue on the Peterbilt 348, “Durable by design,” contained photographs of a different truck. A corrected version of the story, including this photo and others, appears in the digital edition under the magazine section of OverdriveOnline.com. Overdrive regrets the error.

Highway Hero named

Junichi Shimizu received a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond for helping to save the lives of three people.Junichi Shimizu received a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond for helping to save the lives of three people.

An Oregon truck driver who helped save the lives of three people involved in a fiery traffic accident, including a driver who was trapped in his burning vehicle, was awarded the 2009 Goodyear North America Highway Hero.

Junichi Shimizu, of Gladstone, Ore., accepted the award and a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond June 25, in Louisville, Ky. Shimizu was selected along with three other truck drivers as finalists for the 2009 award.

On Feb. 20, 2009, Shimizu, a driver for Chipman Relocations, witnessed a vehicle cross the centerline on Highway 12 near Fairfield, Calif., and strike an automobile in front of his truck. The auto spun into the ditch, and the other vehicle then hit his tractor twice before bursting into flames.

Shimizu called for assistance and then headed to the burning vehicle. He and another motorist freed the driver and carried him to safety. The driver of the other car died, but Shimizu removed two injured passengers.

— Staff reports


FMCSA proposes texting ban

As expected, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing a detailed, explicit ban on texting by commercial motor vehicle drivers while operating in interstate commerce. The proposal would impose sanctions on drivers and would bar motor carriers from allowing their drivers to text while driving.

Drivers convicted of the texting ban two or more times would be subject to temporary disqualification – at least 60 days for the second offense within three years and at least 120 days for three or more offenses within three years. In addition, each violation of the ban would subject a driver to a civil penalty of up to $2,750.

FMCSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking follows regulatory guidance issued Jan. 27 that interprets an existing regulation governing “additional equipment and accessories” to prohibit commercial motor vehicle drivers from using electronic devices to text. The proposed rule would establish more detailed, binding requirements and would allow the opportunity for comment.

The agency acknowledged in the NPRM that many carriers have invested significant resources in electronic dispatching tools and fleet management systems.

“This rulemaking should not be construed as a proposal to prohibit the use of such technology,” FMCSA said. Neither should the proposal be construed as prohibiting the use of cell phones for purposes other than texting, the agency added.

For information about the proposed rules go to https://www.regulationroom.org/.

— Avery Vise

Agency posts carrier safety data

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has begun posting inspection data as part of CSA 2010.The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has begun posting inspection data as part of CSA 2010.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has begun posting carriers’ Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 performance data.

FMCSA said this preview is in advance of full implementation of CSA 2010, which has been delayed until Nov. 30. The disclosure is expected to improve safety by effecting early compliance and providing opportunities for motor carriers to become better educated on the new Carrier Safety Measurement System. The data are available at http://www.csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov.

Spokesperson Candice Tolliver said that FMCSA is incorporating the feedback received from the CSA 2010 pilot states, and that a Federal Register notice will address the CSA 2010 implementation timeline and data preview for carriers.

The American Trucking Associations says that while the preview will include carriers’ safety events (roadside inspections and crashes) and resulting violations, it will not reflect carriers’ scores in each of the Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs).

FMCSA also announced that beginning Nov. 30, motor carriers and the general public will be able to view more complete CSA 2010 safety data, including scores in each of the BASICs.

ATA says that FMCSA on Nov. 30 will begin issuing warning letters to deficient carriers, but will not utilize the full range of CSA 2010 interventions.

— Avery Vise

Daimler projects new truck orders

With the trucking industry showing some early signs of recovery, Daimler Trucks North America executives say the company has enough orders to fill its production schedule through the first half of 2010.

“We are also seeing customers expand their focus from the cost of the new 2010 emissions technology to the long-term value and payback of selective catalytic reduction,” says Mark Lampert, senior vice president for sales and marketing for DTNA. “And with fuel prices edging up, the return on SCR improves.”

In 2009, DTNA and its Daimler Trucks parent reduced capital expenses to respond to a dramatic collapse in revenues, but it maintained research and development spending, says Andreas Renschler, head of the worldwide Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses organization. “We did not cut back on our product plan. In fact, we actually increased our investment in R&D.”

With the economic crisis coming to an end, “we’re launching the biggest product offensive in our history,” Renschler says. “Over the next four years, we will practically renew our entire product portfolio. In the next 24 months alone, we have 140 market rollouts of new vehicles and major components.”

Meanwhile, trucks that achieve 10 miles per gallon will be a reality over the next 10 years, Martin Daum, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, told supplier company executives last month at the 20th annual Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association Breakfast and Briefing in Louisville, Ky.

Fuel efficiency will become increasingly important, he said, citing U.S. Department of Energy estimates of $3.89 per gallon diesel by 2014. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions mandates dating to 2002 have added more than $20,000 to the price of a new truck, they have not provided value for customers, he said.

— Linda Longton and staff reports

Short hauls

WHEN WERNER ENTERPRISES driver Dave Nelson decided to help a stranded motorist on Feb. 10, he saved the life of a 7-year-old girl who was not breathing and had no pulse. Nelson pulled the girl from the car and began CPR. He learned Vicki Carter had a heart murmur, just like his own daughter.

FOR-HIRE TRUCKING ADDED 600 jobs in March over February, and the job losses for February were revised downward by 1,300, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Trucking employment in March was down nearly 64,000, or 4.9 percent, from March 2009.

AMERICA’S MARINE HIGHWAY, a new initiative of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is designed to move more cargo onto waterways. Under the program, DOT’s Maritime Administration will identify rivers and coastal routes that could be used in place of congested roads.

LANDSTAR SYSTEM, the nation’s largest owner-operator carrier, reported a 17 percent increase in first-quarter revenue to $548 million, up from $469 million a year earlier. Net income was $17 million compared to $14 million.

TRANSCORE’S ANNUAL Broker Benchmark Survey shows that after a tumultuous 2009, freight broker numbers are stabilizing. Respondents moved an average 990 loads per month, which was similar to last year’s survey.

Congressmen urge NAFTA changes on trucking

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and 77 other members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter on April 13 to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk asking they renegotiate the section of the North American Free Trade Agreement that opens U.S. roadways to what the congressional delegation described as “unsafe” Mexican trucks.

“Mexico has no meaningful system for commercial driver’s licenses, drug testing or hours of service,” DeFazio says. “This is a trade agreement that threatens the safety of the American public. Mexico has no right to use tariffs to force unsafe trucks with exhausted overworked, underpaid drivers into the United States.”

DeFazio says objection to the Bush administration’s cross-border trucking program predominantly was due to Mexico’s less stringent regulations on hours of service, vehicle safety and driver training and licensing, all of which poses a threat to the traveling American public. Congress repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected the cross-border program because it failed to adequately protect Americans from unsafe Mexican trucking standards, DeFazio says.

DeFazio says the only workable solution to the current gridlock on the issue is to renegotiate the section of NAFTA that requires a commitment to liberalize cross-border trucking.

“Mexico’s regulatory standards and enforcement on trucks aren’t even remotely equivalent to what we have here,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. “To open the border at this time is insanity from both an economic standpoint and safety.”

LaHood and his Mexican counterpart met April 12 in Monterrey, Mexico, to discuss a broad range of transportation issues, including the next steps of the cross-border trucking program. The countries agreed to establish a working group to consider the cross-border trucking program.

— Staff reports

Feds reject Pennsylvania I-80 tolling

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said he will call the General Assembly together at an unspecified time to address transportation funding after federal officials rejected the state’s application to toll Interstate 80.

A Rendell spokesman said the Federal Highway Administration rejected the state’s application because “their interpretation is that it would be using funds from tolls for other projects other than I-80,” such as transit projects.

The Legislature passed Act 44 in 2007, which called for I-80 tolling and additional revenue from the Pennsylvania Turnpike to fund road work and public transit agencies across the state.

— Jill Dunn

Forecast: Driver shortage looming

Beginning this year and continuing into 2012, there will be a shortage of truck drivers, the result of a modestly growing economy and tighter government regulation of drivers. In turn, the shortage will create trucking capacity problems.

That was the forecast Noel Perry, managing director and senior consultant at FTR Associates, presented April 8 at an FTR online freight outlook seminar.

Perry noted carriers have cut overhead by removing trucks from service and laying off drivers, and have been slow to restore it. “It’s almost certain that as the marketplace expands, even slowly as we’re forecasting, there will be a driver shortage,” Perry said. “If there’s a driver shortage, that means there’s a truck shortage.”

Perry estimated the driver shortage could be close to 200,000 this year and could grow to about 400,000 in 2011 and 2012. The economist forecast trucking growth of 4 to 6 percent over the next three years, a good growth rate compared with average figures for the last 30 years but conservative when measured against previous upturns, during which growth in some quarters reached 10 percent or better.

Perry said the capacity shortage will result because the demand for drivers will exceed the system’s ability to provide drivers.

— Max Kvidera

Cummins: 2010 engines meeting fuel goals

Cummins’ 2010 heavy-duty diesels are making good on the company’s promise to deliver at least 5 percent better fuel economy than their 2007-compliant emissions technology, the company says.

“A half-dozen to a dozen fleet owners are reporting double-digit fuel economy increases,’ says Jim Kelly, Cummins vice president and the retiring president of the Cummins engine business.

Over the next decade, the key competitive question for engine suppliers will be who can deliver the best fuel economy, says Rich Freeland, who is succeeding Kelly.

— Staff reports

Highway happenings

CALIFORNIA. Construction on 71 miles of I-80 between Colfax and the Nevada state line will continue into November. Check www.getacross80.com for updates.

COLORADO. Repair work is scheduled for completion by May 15 on I-70 between mile markers 124 and 125 which has been closed since March 8 because of a rockslide.

CONNECTICUT. Construction is expected to be completed by May 8 on I-95 southbound between exits 19 and 17 in Westport.

IOWA. The state has imposed a ban against texting while driving. For adult drivers, using a handheld cell phone or texting is a secondary offense that allows law enforcement officials to ticket drivers if they are pulled over for another offense.

NEW YORK. The State Department of Transportation will not restrict trucks longer than 45 feet from seven state routes in the Finger Lakes region, as once proposed.

NORTH DAKOTA. Traffic is restricted to one lane during construction on one mile of I-94 eastbound in Mandan. Speeds are reduced to 45 mph and a width restriction of 17 feet is in place until July or August, the state DOT said.

WASHINGTON. Beginning June 10, a new law takes effect that makes texting or cell phone use while driving a primary offense with a $124 fine. Dialing a cell phone isn’t considered texting under the new law.

WEST VIRGINIA. A new law limits idling to no more than 15 minutes per hour for diesel-powered vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds. The rule starts June 11 and carries fines between $150 and $300. Trucks will be exempted from the time limit rule when temperatures are below 40 degrees or higher than 75 degrees as long as they are parked legally.

Groups urge biodiesel tax credit renewal

Truck stop trade group NATSO and other industry partners on April 12 urged Congressional leaders to reinstate the biodiesel tax credit, effective Jan. 1, 2010, to ensure a healthy biodiesel market for producers and consumers.

Since the biodiesel tax credit expired, U.S. biodiesel production has plummeted by more than 80 percent, according to NATSO. The $1 per gallon blender tax credit makes biodiesel cost competitive with conventional diesel fuel. The expiration of the tax credit, coupled with sagging consumer demand, has caused many producers to shut down or severely scale back production, NATSO said.

— Staff reports n

Mark your calendar

MAY 15: GREATER CINCINNATI CHAPTER 10th ANNUAL TRUCK SHOW, American Truck Historical Society, Howard Trucking, Fairborn, Ohio, [email protected], (937) 878-6154.

MAY 21-23: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SHOW TRUCKS/Eau Claire Truck Show, Carson Park, Eau Claire, Wis., Bo Trout at (734) 323-3397.


JUNE 4-6: NAST/7th ANNUAL GREAT LAKES TRUCK SHOW, Cabela’s Sporting Goods, Dundee, Mich.

JUNE 11-12: OAK GROVE TRUCKERS JAMBOREE, Oak Grove Petro, Oak Grove, Mo., oakgrovepetro.com, (816) 690-4455.

JUNE 17-19: THE GREAT WEST TRUCK SHOW, Las Vegas, (888) 349-4287, www.greatwesttruckshow.com.

JUNE 25-27: NAST/CHARLESTON TRUCK SHOW, Charleston, S.C., Lucas Fry at (843) 819-0318.

JULY 8-9: WALCOTT TRUCKERS JAMBOREE, Iowa 80 Truckstop, Walcott, Iowa, iowa80truckstop.com, (563) 284-6961.

AUG. 13-15: GREAT SALT LAKE KIDNEY KAMP TRUCK SHOW, Thanksgiving Point, Utah, Lehi exit 284 from I-15, (800) 877-1320.

 AUG. 26-28: THE GREAT AMERICAN TRUCKING SHOW, Dallas, (888) 349-4287, www.gatsonline.com.

SEPT. 17-19: RICHARD CRANE MEMORIAL TRUCK SHOW, St. Ignace, Mich., Ed Reavie, (906) 643-8087.

NOV. 12-14: MECA SOUTH FLORIDA TRUCK SHOW, Medley, Fla., Eric Garcia, (305) 884-2028.