Tonnage Soars
The American Trucking Associations said its seasonally adjusted Truck Tonnage Index surged 14.6 percent to an all-time high of 164.2 in December. The previous high point was December 1999, at 157.2. December’s jump followed a revised decrease of 6.5 percent in November. The index has grown from a base of 100 in 1993.

N.D. WIM Scales
North Dakota has installed four weigh-in-motion sites and plans to add eight more this year. The change is the result of state legislation requiring enforcement efforts to move from fixed scales to mobile enforcement. The current WIM scale locations are: I-94 eastbound, west of Belfield; U.S. Highway 85, northbound, south of Bowman; U.S. Highway 281, northbound, south of Ellendale; I-29, northbound, near Wahpeton. The remaining sites are: U.S. Highway 2 eastbound, near Williston; I-29 southbound, near Joliette; I-94 westbound, near West Fargo; U.S. Highway 52 southbound, near Portal; U.S. Highway 83 northbound and southbound, near Washburn; U.S. Highway 2 eastbound, near Rugby; U.S. Highway 85 northbound and southbound, near Watford City; U.S. Highway 52 northbound, near Buchanan.

Cell Phone Ban
New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey signed a bill that makes New Jersey the second state to ban handheld cell phone use while driving. The bill specifies that the law is only enforceable if a law enforcement officer stops a driver for another offense, such as a traffic violation, according to the state assembly’s website. Tickets are $100 to $250; the driver loses no points off his driver’s license for the offense. New York passed a similar law in 2001 that fines first-time violators $100. Washington, D.C., also has a cell phone law that goes into effect in July.

Interstate Cooks
If you enjoy cooking your own meals while away from home, Truckers News may spotlight your recipes in a special section of this magazine as well as in an upcoming cookbook. The recipes must be able to be prepared using appliances and cooking utensils you can carry inside the cab of the truck. To be considered, send your recipes to Truckers News, c/o Jeff Mercurio, 3200 Rice Mine Road N.E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35406, or via e-mail to jmercurio@randallpub.com. You can also go to www.truckersnews.com and use our online form to submit your recipes.

Swift Buys Mexican Carrier
Swift Transportation Co. has acquired an additional 51 percent interest in Trans-Mex Inc., giving Swift 100 percent ownership of the Mexican truckload carrier. The purchase price for this 51 percent interest was $31 million, consisting of $11 million in cash and 942,155 shares of Swift common stock.

Love’s Inks Pegasus Deal
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores has signed an exclusive agreement with Pegasus TransTech to offer Pegasus’ Transflo Express truckstop scanning service. Love’s, which operates 147 travel stops and convenience stores across 18 states, will join Pilot Travel Centers, Bosselman, Davis Oil and select Rip Griffin locations as anchors of the nationwide network of Transflo Express-enabled travel centers offering their fleet customers same-day access to delivery documents. The addition of Love’s locations will extend the Transflo Express network to more than 370 travel centers across the U.S.

Transportation Index
The federal government will produce a monthly transportation index that will measure the health of the industry and is expected to become a leading economic indicator, announced U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta Jan. 29.

Mineta said the Transportation Services Index will be released this month. It will join other economic indicators such as employment and consumer prices.

The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics is administering the index. Government agencies and trade associations such as the American Trucking Associations and the Association of American Railroads will supply the data for the index.
More information on TSI is available at www.bts.gov.

TA Selects Chevron Coolants
ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants announced that its Chevron brand has been selected as the “preferred” coolant by TravelCenters of America. Chevron-branded coolant products will be used in TA service bays and for on-shelf sales including Delo Extended Life Coolant, Chevron Heavy Duty Coolant/Antifreeze and Chevron Supreme Antifreeze.

NATSO Award
NATSO’s 2004 chairman, Roger Cole, received the truckstop and travel plaza association’s first-ever Hall of Fame Award at NATSO’s annual convention in January. Cole, president of Highway Service Ventures, Inc., has been involved in the travel plaza business all of his adult life. Formerly the Distinguished Member Award, the Hall of Fame Award is intended to recognize members whose participation in community, industry and the association brings honor to and serves as a source of pride for the travel plaza and truckstop industry.

Kenworth Parts Facility
Kenworth Truck Company’s dealer network expanded to nearly 300 locations in the U.S. and Canada with the opening of a parts facility in Ardmore, Okla. Initially, the 12,400-square-foot MHC Kenworth-Ardmore facility will offer Kenworth parts. Sales representatives will call on customers in the area, and the facility will offer delivery service. The goal is to grow into a full-service operation within a year, according to the company.

International Down Payment Offer
International Truck and Engine Corporation announced a “Down Payment Match” program with the purchase of an eligible International truck or tractor. The new program offers customers up to $2,000 toward their down payment on eligible new International 4000, 5000i, 7000, 8000 or 9000i Series trucks. The program is valid on up to 10 vehicles per customer and is available through International dealers until April 15.

Toll Increase
After Aug. 1, Pennsylvania Turnpike motorists will pay an average toll increase of 42 percent. The turnpike commission unanimously approved the hike Jan. 20, which is expected to allow the state to double capital spending on road improvements through 2014. The average trucker would see an increase of 5.3 cents per mile, and passenger vehicles would pay 1.8 cents per mile more.

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