Dallas flooding snarls area interstates | FedEx Express driver's big national truck-driving championship win

Image from drivetexas.org shows flooding along I-30 in Dallas, Texas.

Trucking news and briefs for Aug. 22, 2022: 

Flooding in Dallas snarls I-30 traffic

The Texas Department of Transportation is warning drivers that heavy rains have caused sections of I-30 near Dallas to flood and become impassible, that the flooding may continue, and that if you approach what looks like flooded streets, to "turn around, don't drown."

The heavy rains continued into Monday, with flood warnings in effect throughout the region and shocking videos and images coming out every hour of flooded streets and submerged cars as conditions snarled Monday morning's commute for thousands. 

Local authorities across Texas encouraged drivers to check traffic and road conditions on drivetexas.org as well as avoid high water. The Dallas Police Department released a partial list of closures. 

Big Rig Coffee aims to give back one cup at a time

A new coffee company plans to donate a dollar to the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund for every bag of coffee sold in an effort to honor the men and women behind the wheel in the trucking industry. 

The company's founders, Gabriel Massey and Hunter Wilson, both active duty service members in the U.S. Air Force, said the idea for Big Rig Coffee came to them during the pandemic. In the early days of COVID, Wilson noticed his father, a company driver for Pepsi, not feeling the outpouring of love to so-called "essential workers" in the economy.

"I don’t think Hunter’s dad said anything, you could just tell from facial expressions," Massey explained. "We were deployed during that time, and we just said, 'Dude, in the military, we get our thanks.' And firefighters, police, nurses especially all get their thanks." A relative few, they felt, were routinely recognizing American truckers.

Yet "without them," Massey added, "there wouldn’t even be food on the shelves."

So Massey and Wilson forged the partnership with the St. Christopher fund, whose mission is to support truckers and their families in the event of health issues, to raise money and awareness for supporting drivers. 

Massey said he and Wilson have since spent time at truck stops selling the brew he describes as a medium roast with grapefruit and oaky notes. Massey hopes to get the brand in major stores and truck stops soon, but until then he invites drivers to look out for their tent at truck stops and to stop by and share stories and opinions from the road. 

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Massachusetts FedEx Express driver wins ATA's National Truck Driving Championship

Roland Bolduc, an East Longmeadow, Massachusetts-based driver for FedEx Express, won the 85th American Trucking Associations (ATA) National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC) in Indianapolis, Indiana, according to a release from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems. 

The 2022 NTDC took place from Aug. 16-19, and Bendix sponsored the Grand Champion Award, presented to Bolduc.

Bolduc, a driver with more than 2.5 million safe driving miles and 40 years in the trucking industry, beat out a field of 408 drivers with nearly 730 million combined accident-free miles. Bolduc, competing in the sleeper berth category, also won the Bendix Grand Champion title in 2017 and was named an America’s Road Team Captain in 2000, according to the company. 

“It’s a thrill for us at Bendix to congratulate Roland on his remarkable achievement,” said Bendix Director Fred Andersky. “All the competitors in this year’s championships deserve our thanks and praise for the excellence they bring to their jobs every day. The NTDC shines a deserving spotlight on these outstanding professionals, their supportive families, and the indispensable role they play in helping to keep roadways safe for all of us."

[Related: Meet the 10 Small Fleet Champ finalists]

Carrier-Transicold moving to new standard refrigerant

With significantly reduced global warming potential (GWP), new-generation refrigerant R-452A will be the standard for new Carrier Transicold transport refrigeration units in North America beginning later this year, the company said. Carrier's truck/trailer refrigeration units have been able to utilize the refrigerant since 2017, "and it has been available as a customer-specified option for several years,” said company Senior Manager Bill Maddox.  

Beginning in October, R-452A will become the standard refrigerant for all Carrier Transicold models that currently use R-404A.Beginning in October, R-452A will become the standard refrigerant for all Carrier Transicold models that currently use R-404A.

The timing of the transition will help California customers placing orders for 2023, the company said, given the California Air Resources Board (CARB) this year approved a measure requiring all new transport refrigeration units placed into service in 2023 to use a refrigerant with a GWP of less than 2,200. In 2025, Canada too will require refrigerants with a GWP of less than 2,200 in new transport refrigeration units.

Previously, there was a significant cost differential between the new and traditional refrigerants, yet over the last several years that has diminished with changing demand and refrigerant production trends, helping to encourage adoption of the more sustainable R-452A.

Maddox added that some customers may consider switching refrigerants for units already in service, noting that with relative ease customers can transition newer existing equipment from R-404A to R-452A. Any late-model Carrier Transicold system that currently includes an electronic expansion valve simply requires a software upgrade along with purging the R-404A and replacing it with R-452A. On Carrier Transicold truck units and older trailer units that use a mechanical expansion valve, the valve will require a manual adjustment or, in some cases, replacement based on the age of the model.

[Related: New standard refrigerant for Thermo King units]