What are your top trucking concerns? | New Orleans accident frauds: Latest charges, sentences

Updated Sep 14, 2023

Editor's note: The original version of the brief in this post titled "Trail King recalls 30 years of trailer add-ons" incorrectly described the defect that prompted the recall. The error stated that a result of the defect could be detachment of "the  pin-on axle or pivot extension" mentioned in the story -- that is not the case, however. Only detachment of shims is a possibility. The brief below has been updated to correct the error.

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Aug. 28, 2023:

ATRI wants to hear your top trucking concerns

The American Transportation Research Institute on Monday launched the 2023 Top Industry Issues Survey, which each year asks trucking industry stakeholders to rank the top issues of concern for the industry, along with potential strategies for addressing each issue. 

The survey can be completed here through Sept. 29.

Now in its 19th year, ATRI’s annual analysis not only ranks the issues overall but also provides insights into how critical topics are ranked differently by motor carriers and truck operators. The report also allows stakeholders to monitor issues over time to better understand which issues are rising, or falling, in criticality.

“I encourage my fellow drivers to take a few minutes and complete ATRI’s Top Industry Issues Survey,” said Ken Duncan, an America’s Road Team Captain and professional truck driver for Walmart Transportation. â€śWhether your top issue is truck parking, driver compensation, detention, traffic congestion or something else, it only takes a few minutes to make your voice heard and for us collectively to let the industry know what drivers are most concerned about.”

The results of the 2023 survey will be released Oct. 14 as part of the American Trucking Associations Management Conference & Exhibition to be held in Austin, Texas. 

[Related: Operators' top 2022 concerns drown out fleets still worried over a 'driver shortage']

ATRI's survey allows respondents to rank their level of concern. Based on the top issues named by operators with last year's survey, find a selection in the following snap poll question from Overdrive. If you had to name your absolute No. 1 top area of concern in trucking, which one would you choose? 

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Two more sentenced, five charged in New Orleans staged accident scheme

Two more individuals have been sentenced in the ongoing fallout from the bust of a staged-accident fraud scheme in the New Orleans area, while five more have been charged in relation to the case.

Lois Russell, 63, of Gibson, Louisiana, was sentenced April 20 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Russell was sentenced to five years of probation.

Court documents state that Russell conspired with others to stage a crash with a tractor-trailer, resulting in the victim trukcing and insurance companies paying out $272,500 for fraudulent claims.

Another individual, Larry Picou, 57 of Gibson, was sentenced in May to five years of probation for his role in the scheme. He was also ordered to pay $200,963.59 in restitution.

Picou reportedly falsely claimed he was a passenger in a car that was struck by a tractor-trailer in May 11, 2017, when in fact, he and others conspired to intentionally collide with a truck. After the intentional collision, Picou and his other co-conspirators made a false police report, lied in depositions, and filed fraudulent lawsuits falsely claiming that the tractor-trailer was at fault.  This scheme caused the insurance company for the carrier to pay over $140,000.00 in settlement funds.

[Related: After the worst happens: Nuclear-verdicts threat rolls downhill to small fleets, owner-operators

Finally, on Aug. 10, five more individuals were charged in the case. Antoine Clark, Dimitri Frazier, Shirley Harris, Adonte Turner and Tiffany Turner were all charged for intentionally staging accidents. According to the indictment, Clark and Harris intentionally collided with a truck on April 24, 2017, in the area of I-10 near the Crowder Boulevard exit in New Orleans. The indictment also alleges that on Nov. 13, 2017, Frazier, Adonte Turner and Tiffany Turner intentionally struck a tractor-trailer in the area of I-10 near Paris Road in New Orleans. 

All five allegedly made false police reports, filed fraudulent lawsuits, lied during deposition testimony, and sought unnecessary medical treatment in furtherance of their fraudulent claims.

They were each charged with one  count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Clark and Harris were also charged with two counts of wire fraud. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of five years for the conspiracy count and 20 years for the wire fraud counts.  Upon their release from prison, each defendant can be placed on a term of supervised release for up to five years and fined up to $250,000 per count.

[Related: Eight more sentenced in staged-accident scheme targeting trucks]

Navistar recalls International HV, MV models for Dana driveshaft issue

Navistar is recalling approximately 624 model year 2023 International HV and MV trucks in which the driveshafts can break under certain loading conditions.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents, driveshaft supplier Dana Incorporated has recalled the driveshafts due to its use of nonconforming material in its production processes. As a result, the specified driveshafts do not meet specification and can break in certain high loading conditions.

International dealers will replace the driveshafts, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Oct. 16. Owners can contact Navistar's customer service at 800-448-7825 with recall number 23520. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-587.

Trail King recalls 30 years of trailer add-ons

Trail King Industries is recalling certain Flip Axle (TKFA), Pin-on Axle (TKPA), Air Boosters (AB), and Air Booster Extension (AB EXT) trailer add-ons due to an issue that could potentially result in the shims that transfer weight between the trailer and the pin-on axle detaching.

The recall includes approximately 5,641 model year 1992-2023 TKFA, TKPA, AB, and AB EXT units in which the shims that transfer weight between the trailer and the pin-on axle may detach if the air line or air suspension lose compression.

Trail King said the affected trailers use additional pin-on axles or pivot extensions installed at the rear of the trailer to extend the trailer’s load-carrying capacity and more evenly distribute weight over the trailers’ axles.  The additions are attached to the trailer by lower pins and use shims to compress against the trailer at the top. The shims are used to transfer weight between the trailer and the pin-on axle.

If an airline or the air ride suspension under the trailer or pin-on axle experiences a sudden failure (struck by road debris, for example) and becomes disconnected, the pin-on axle or pivot extension could suddenly lose compression with the trailer allowing it to shift suddenly. In this event, while there is no loss of control of the trailer, the shims could become loose and ultimately dislodge from the connection point.

Dealers will install new shims, tether and hardware to tether the shims to the pin-on axle or pivot extension, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Sept. 8. Owners can contact Trail King customer service at 1-800-843-3324 with recall number TK202301. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-578.

Yokohama recalls severe-duty all-position tire

Yokohama Tire Corporation is recalling approximately 6,992 504C severe-duty tires in size 11R22.5 16H. A defective belt cushion splice may allow air to leak into sidewall.

An air bubble in the sidewall may cause a rapid loss of air pressure and loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

Yokohama said the recalled tires were manufactured between June 27, 2022, and Dec. 4, 2022.

Dealers will inspect and replace the affected tires, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Oct. 2. Owners can contact Yokohama's customer service at 1-800-423-4544. NHTSA’s recall number is 23T-005.

[Related: It's official: Nikola truck fires prompt battery-electric recalls]

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