Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, June 13, 2023:
South Dakota fuel haulers get HOS waiver
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on June 10 issued an emergency declaration related to low inventories and outages of certain fuels, waiving hours of service regulations for certain fuel haulers.
The declaration waives Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for truck drivers transporting gasoline, jet fuel, propane, ethyl alcohol and natural gas into or within South Dakota.
“Although hours of service have been temporarily suspended for commercial deliveries, companies may not require or allow fatigued drivers to make deliveries,” the order says. “All other road safety and vehicle compliance regulations still apply.”
The waiver is effective through the end of the emergency, or until July 9, whichever is sooner. A similar waiver for fuel haulers in Nebraska was extended last week through Sept. 4.
I-80 weekend closures planned for later this summer
Drivers who frequent I-80 in California’s Bay Area need to plan for four separate weekend closures of the eastbound and westbound lanes of the interstate between Hercules and Crockett later this summer.
The closures will occur on four different summer weekends between mid-July and early September. The 55-hour weekend and 105-hour holiday full highway closures will enable Caltrans to perform major pavement repair work on I-80 in Contra Costa County. One traffic direction on I-80 will be worked on at a time.
Three weekend closures on eastbound I-80 are tentatively scheduled on the weekends of July 21, Aug. 4 and Aug. 18. Eastbound I-80 will be closed and traffic detoured beginning at the eastbound I-80/SR-4 interchange in Hercules. Closures will tentatively start Fridays after 9 p.m. and conclude on the following Mondays no later than 4 a.m.
Eastbound travelers can detour by exiting onto eastbound SR-4 and continuing to I-680 Northbound and reentering I-80 East in Fairfield. I-780 will also remain open.
Caltrans will share additional details, detour information and specific times with the public as soon as they are available.
A 105-hour full highway closure of westbound I-80 is tentatively scheduled on Labor Day weekend starting on Thursday, Aug. 31 and concluding on Tuesday, Sept. 5. Westbound I-80 will be closed and traffic detoured beginning at the westbound I-80/I-780 interchange in Vallejo.
Caltrans said the full weekend and holiday closures are necessary for worker and public safety during the work. Caltrans will perform major pavement rehabilitation work on the two center traffic lanes in both the eastbound and westbound directions of I-80. The roadway has become worn and in need of major repairs due to decades of high traffic use.
Parts supplier adds another heavy-duty distributor
Hinton Transportation Investments (HTI) -- the holding company for New Life Transport Parts Center, Martec International, Road Equipment Parts Center and Pace Transportation Services -- announced the acquisition of U.S. Trailer Parts & Supply, Inc., a Chicago-based independent distributor of heavy-duty trailer parts.
The purchase, HTI said, will increase the footprint in the greater Chicago and Milwaukee area and complement HTI’s existing distribution in the region. HTI completed the acquisition June 1.
“HTI greatly values the legacy of relationships built between people over the years," said CCO Dan Millar. "Due to their unique position and history in the market, U.S. Trailer Parts & Supply will continue that legacy as a standalone business unit of HTI in the greater Chicago area.”
Driver named Highway Angel for helping motorist during medical emergency
Scott Allen, a truck driver out of Omaha, Nebraska, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for stopping to help a driver experiencing a medical emergency in an intersection. Allen drives for ABF Freight out of Fort Smith, Arkansas.
On April 14 around 10 a.m., Allen was driving on his route in Columbus, Nebraksa, in stop-and-go traffic. He noticed a Chevy Silverado truck moving very slowly at an intersection after the light turned green. Other motorists attempted to go around the moving vehicle.
“She was going 3 or 5 miles an hour,” Allen said. “I’m like, there’s something wrong with this person -- I noticed she was leaned over the console in her truck.”
After safely parking his unit off the road, he alerted other motorists while running to the car to see if he could help the woman in the vehicle. Another car pulled over to help also.
“There were dark-tinted windows where you could barely see her, but when I looked through the windshield, I could see her leaning over the console, and I knew there was a medical emergency,” Allen said.
Allen believes the young woman, in her 20s, was having some sort of seizure. He and another motorist were able to get her vehicle stopped and prevent it from being struck by other vehicles. The woman in the vehicle didn’t know her name or where she was going. Allen dialed 911, and an ambulance was able to get her the medical attention she needed.
“When you come across this and you see someone in danger, my nature is to stop and try to help them,” Allen said.