Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Oct. 26, 2020:
New Jersey-based trucker effectively shut down by FMCSA
A New Jersey-based truck driver was effectively shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration after he fled the scene of a fatal crash.
According to FMCSA’s order, Quentin Campbell was driving westbound on I-90 in Monroe County, New York, when he made an illegal U-turn and was struck by an eastbound passenger vehicle. Both occupants of the passenger car were killed. Campbell then completed the illegal U-turn and fled the scene, FMCSA adds.
He was subsequently arrested by New York State Police Officers and charged with two counts of manslaughter and one count of leaving the scene of a fatal crash.
Three plead guilty in staged-accident fraud scheme
Three individuals have pleaded guilty in the ongoing staged-accident fraud scheme in Louisiana that targeted truck drivers to bilk hundreds of thousands of dollars from fleets and insurance providers, according to Eastern District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser.
Roderick Hickman, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Bernell Gale of Raceland, Louisiana, and Troy Smith of Houma, Louisiana, each entered guilty pleas to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud.
According to the plea, Hickman, along with four individuals who have been charged, intentionally collided with a tractor-trailer in New Orleans. Hickman allegedly fled the scene with Damian Labeaud, who pled guilty to a previous indictment in the same scheme.
In a separate accident, Gale, Smith and two other passengers participated in a staged accident in which Labeaud fled the scene, and the passengers reported to police that someone else had been driving and that a tractor-trailer struck their vehicle.
According to court documents, the passengers were referred to attorneys who paid Hickman and Labeaud to stage the accidents. In some cases, the attorneys allegedly knew the participants were uninjured but referred them to medical providers for treatment to increase the value of subsequent lawsuits. In these cases, trucking and insurance companies paid out $277,500 in fraudulent claims.
Mack announces upgraded engine, aero systems to boost fuel efficiency
Mack Trucks announced a new version of its 13-liter MP8HE engine that improves fuel efficiency by up to 3% compared to the current MP8HE. The upgraded engine is now available for order.
The upgraded engine uses Mack Energy Recovery Technology, which captures waste energy from the engine’s exhaust, converting it back into mechanical energy delivered to the engine crankshaft as additional torque.
Mack Anthem models spec’d with Mack’s new extended chassis fairings and the Mack HE+ efficiency package, which includes the revised engine, now deliver up to a 13% improvement in fuel efficiency compared with a baseline Anthem model, the company says.
The Mack HE+ efficiency package bundles the MP8HE engine, the Mack mDRIVE automated manual transmission, Mack Predictive Cruise and a plethora of aerodynamic enhancements for increased fuel efficiency. The HE+ package can also be combined with Mack’s all-new extended chassis fairings, which smooth airflow around the rear axles to deliver an additional 0.5% improvement in fuel efficiency.
The next generation Mack MP8HE engine will continue to be offered in 415 and 445 horsepower ratings with 1,760 and 1,860 lb.-ft. of torque, respectively.
Mack is also now offering the option of a factory-installed FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit system on Anthem highway models, further boosting fuel efficiency by up to 2.23%. The systems can be used to complement the Mack HE+ package.
The FlowBelow system is an aerodynamic system designed to reduce aerodynamic turbulence as air passes over the rear axles of a tractor. It combines center and rear fairings with wheel covers to improve fuel efficiency. Each of the components can be easily removed for quick maintenance and service access.
The FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit is available in black or white on Mack Anthem 6×4 and 6×2 tag configurations. Wheel covers are available in black, white and chrome.
Preventing air line fitting cracks: Tech tip
The October edition of the Tech Tips newsletter from the Phillips company (access a full archive of the monthly publication via this link) offered recommendations on preventing cracks in air line swivel nuts, which can result from “missteps made during the install process. Cracks can result from over-tightening when trying to obtain a complete seal if an air leak is detected in particular swivel-nut adapters.”
Phillips recommended against use of old adapter fittings when make a new air line installation on the tractor, as “the connection may not seat properly,” with problems compounding down the line as attempts to tighten become overtightening and cracking.
Second, “For proper seating,” the company wrote, “move the air line slightly up and down and side-to-side when tightening. After installation, spray a little bit of soap and water on the connection to check for leaks. If bubbles form, loosen the swivel fitting and tighten it again.”