News roundup, May 22: ELD maker Samsara lays off 300 people, 18% of workforce

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, May 22, 2020: 

Samsara lays off 300 employees
ELD provider Samsara said this week it is cutting roughly 300 employees, which the company said is about 18% of its total workforce. Samsara CEO Sanjit Biswas, in a blog post on the company’s website, cited the economic downturn as the reason why. The company had staffed up last year to prepare for growth in 2020. No longer expecting that growth, the company was forced to reduce its headcount, Biswas said in an internal memo circulated to Samara employees on Wednesday.

The cuts were most severe in the European market, which Biswas called “frontier areas.” Cuts to North American workforce were narrower and focused primarily on administration and support staff.

Samsara’s cuts follow cuts by another ELD maker, KeepTruckin’, who laid off roughly 350 employees in March, about 20% of its workforce. Likewise, Continental last month announced it was shuttering its ELD line, the VDO Roadlog.

Daimler launches new finance options on certain Freightliner, Western Star trucks
Daimler Truck Financial has launched a new finance program that allows certain Freightliner and Western Star truck buyers to delay first payments for 120 days, along with down payment allowances of up to $5,000, or $7,000 Canadian.

The Keep the World Moving finance program will run through July 31. Eligible trucks include the Freightliner Cascadia, M2 and SD models; and Western star 4700, 4900 and 5700 models.

Customers who purchase model year 2020 and older units can defer the first payment for 120 days combined with a down payment allowance from $3,000 to $5,000, or $4,200 to $7000 Canadian. Customers who purchase eligible model year 2021 trucks can delay the first payment for 90 days. Used truck purchases may be eligible for a 90-day delay option.

NEW KENWORTH SALES/SERVICE IN INDIANA | Palmer Trucks’ dealership operations in Louisville are expanding with the opening of a new parts and service location in Southern Indiana. The new dealership, Kenworth of Sellersburg, will be located at 1503 Avco Blvd. in Sellersburg, Ind., with initial hours from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. The store’s limited-services opening was scheduled for this past Monday, May 18, in line with Palmer Trucks’ social distancing and precautionary guidelines. The store is tentatively scheduled to offer full services on Monday, June 1, and features a fully-equipped shop and amenities for customers traveling along I-65 in Southern Indiana. Located across the river from Louisville, the facility sits west of Exit 7 on I-65 near TRP of Sellersburg, which Palmer Trucks opened in 2019. Palmer Trucks has experienced record growth the past several years; with 10 full-service locations, a leasing division, a fabrication shop and TRP parts stores in Indianapolis, Northern Kentucky and Sellersburg.NEW KENWORTH SALES/SERVICE IN INDIANA | Palmer Trucks’ dealership operations in Louisville are expanding with the opening of a new parts and service location in Southern Indiana. The new dealership, Kenworth of Sellersburg, will be located at 1503 Avco Blvd. in Sellersburg, Ind., with initial hours from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. The store’s limited-services opening was scheduled for this past Monday, May 18, in line with Palmer Trucks’ social distancing and precautionary guidelines. The store is tentatively scheduled to offer full services on Monday, June 1, and features a fully-equipped shop and amenities for customers traveling along I-65 in Southern Indiana. Located across the river from Louisville, the facility sits west of Exit 7 on I-65 near TRP of Sellersburg, which Palmer Trucks opened in 2019. Palmer Trucks has experienced record growth the past several years; with 10 full-service locations, a leasing division, a fabrication shop and TRP parts stores in Indianapolis, Northern Kentucky and Sellersburg.

Future TA truck stop in Tennessee expected to boast 300 truck parking spaces
TravelCenters of America announced this week it has signed a franchise agreement to open a Petro Stopping Center in Monteagle, Tennessee, which is expected to open in the first quarter of 2021.

The new location is expected to add more than 300 truck parking spaces. Restaurants planned for the new Petro include Papa John’s, Bojangles’ and Betty’s Kitchen, with amenities including a barber shop, fitness center, driver’s lounge, laundry facilities and pet wash.

The Monteagle location will be TA’s 11th travel center in Tennessee.

Trucker named Highway Angel for assisting at accident scene
A Michigan-based truck driver has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for stopping to help a couple after they crashed during icy conditions.

Frank MartinFrank Martin

Frank Martin, a driver for Veriha Trucking, saw a large four-door pickup losing traction on the icy road and sliding side to side. He watched the driver lose control, hit the median and skid off the road.

“He went tail end over front end and when he got to the bottom of the ravine, he then went side over side,” Martin said. “I pulled over and called 911 as I was running across the road.”

Martin then climbed up on the driver’s side of the truck and opened the door. The driver was pressed up against the passenger, pinning her against the passenger door.

“His seat belt was jammed, and we couldn’t get the latch to release,” Martin said. “I asked if they were hurt or bleeding, but they thought they were okay. I could tell they were scared.”

He went back to his truck to grab a blanket for the couple while they waited on emergency personnel, who arrived 25 to 30 minutes later.

For his willingness to help, TCA presented Martin with a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decals. His employer also received a certificate acknowledging their driver as a Highway Angel. EpicVue sponsors the TCA Highway Angel program.

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