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The water's getting hotter and hotter for truckers buying diesel
The Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy reported that the average on-highway price of a gallon of diesel was up 2.6 cents to 2.297 for the week ending May 16.
WASHINGTON — The boiling frog is an anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive.
The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.
The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of threats that occur gradually.
Trucking’s answer to the boiling frog is the rising diesel prices.
For the most part, the increases over the past weeks have been blips — three cents here, two cents there, a few tenths of a penny here.
There have been a couple of big bumps, for sure, but for the most part since the price started going up in late February, the price burner is getting hotter and hotter and hotter to the point one wonders if the industry is headed back to $3 a gallon diesel, something not seen since December 2014.
As for the current price, the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy reported that the average on-highway price of a gallon of diesel was up 2.6 cents to 2.297 for the week ending May 16.
Every region of the country showed an increase for the week with 5.7 cents on the West Coast minus California being the largest.
The Central Atlantic was smallest with eight tenths of one cent.
The overall average price is still 60.7 cents a gallon for the same week last year.
A man drove a pickup truck onto the grassy area of the National Mall and claimed he had anthrax Tuesday afternoon. (Courtesy NBC Washington)
WASHINGTON — A man drove a pickup truck onto the grassy area of the National Mall Tuesday afternoon and claimed he had anthrax, prompting road closures and an investigation.
Just before 3 p.m., a man parked his white, four-door truck in the middle of the grassy area of the National Mall near 3rd Street and Madison Drive. The man claimed he had anthrax — a serious infectious disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A Hazmat team from D.C. Fire and EMS Department responded to the scene to assist, and the man was taken into custody by D.C. police.
Prior to the incident, the man — whose name has not yet been released — had called U.S. Capitol Police to tell them he had been exposed to anthrax, said U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Rose. Also, he let police know he collected what he believed to be anthrax and that it was with him in his truck, Rose added.
The man was swabbed and checked for anthrax and the test came back negative, Rose said.
“He was clear of any infection, and just to be clear, there’s no threat to the public from this man; he’s not threatening us in any way,” Rose said.
The man told officials he saw the substance being spread on a field in Virginia, thought it was a threat to people and collected it to warn others of the danger, Rose said.
D.C. Fire spokesman Doug Buchanan says the man is being described as mentally disturbed.
The investigation is causing some road closures. Both 3rd and 4th streets are closed in the area.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City police are investigating the death of a man after he was run over by a semi-truck near I-435 and Front Street.
According to authorities, the male's body was found in the parking lot behind Flying J.
Police were called to the truck stop around 5:15 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Officials say a white male, who may have been homeless, was sleeping under a semi-truck before he was crushed to death.
KCPD is treating this as a hit and run, but it may be possible the driver didn't know someone was under the semi-truck.
Police confirm the victim had white, gray, slicked back hair. They said he was about 5'9" and walked with a cane.
People like Josh Foster, who works next door to the Flying J, said they were shocked to find out about the death.
"To get run over early in the morning would be a horrible death. Poor guy, I'm praying for him," said Foster.
Other truckers told 41 Action News the driver should've walked around the vehicle and checked under the mud flaps to have prevented this situation from happening.
The victim has not yet been identified.
WASHINGTON, DC — Nowhere to park that rig? No problem. Beginning late summer, truck drivers who need to stop, park and rest will be able to use a free mobile app called Park My Truck to find available parking spaces with the touch of a button.
The smartphone app is a response to findings from organizations like the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), which ranks truck parking management as “one of the industry’s Top 5 most pressing concerns.”
All but 11 U.S. states have recorded issues with parking space availability for trucks.
“Federal and state governments have spent decades and millions of dollars researching truck parking and testing technology-based approaches to counting available spaces, but not one of these efforts has yielded nationwide data about parking availability,” said Lisa Mullings, president of the National Association of Truckstop Owners, known as NATSO.
Today’s Trucking has made inquiries into whether the new Park My Truck app may include Canadian locations, but has yet to hear back.
Developed by the Truck Parking Leadership Initiative, of which ATRI, ATA and NATSO are key members, the app’s makers are working
“We are still many millions of dollars and years away from implementing an electronic system that can count parking nationwide,” Mullings added. “The problem is that drivers need information now. We don’t want to allow our pursuit of a perfect solution to prevent us from implementing a good solution today.”
The truck parking issue has become so pervasive that in March ATRI began asking drivers to keep 14-day parking logs to help document the true extent of the problem. Drivers will also log the amount of time lost in their duty day if they parked before running out of hours simply to secure available parking. ATRI hopes to release its report on the truck parking diaries in August.
“Access to safe truck parking is a critical issue for the trucking industry,” said ATA president and CEO Bill Graves. “It is important for America’s professional drivers to have access to safe parking so they can get their required off-duty rest.”
While parking availability is a critical issue for the trucking industry, so is finding safe and well-lit parking sites, particularly at night. In 2009, truck driver Jason Rivenburg was robbed, shot and killed while looking for parking. His killer was apprehended and the incident led to the creation of Jason's Law, which aims to enhance truck driver safety.
A truck driver is dead after a UPS semi-tractor slammed into a median wall on the Tri-State tollway early Tuesday morning in suburban Western Springs.
Just after 2:30 a.m., the truck driver was traveling in the southbound lanes of I-294 near 47th Street when the vehicle hit the median and flipped over, police said.
Video showed the cab of the UPS truck completely demolished in the accident before the driver was pulled from the wreckage and pronounced dead at the scene.
UPS Freight confirmed the driver killed was an employee of the company.
"UPS is saddened by the loss of our Freight driver who was involved in an incident last night," the company said in a statement. Our condolences go to his family and loved ones. We are cooperating with local authorities as they investigate the incident."
Illinois State Police were still on the scene hours later trying to determine what caused the fatal accident. The roads were wet Tuesday morning, but it's unknown if the weather was a factor in the crash.
By 6 a.m., the accident was still causing massive backups with lanes blocked in both directions of I-294.
The coroner’s office has yet to release the identity of the victim.
Truck spotted by tipster not one being sought in road rage case, deputies say
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The search for a shooter in the killing of a 44-year-old truck driver in Duval County spread to other Florida counties Tuesday.
Alachua County deputies were called to investigate a truck matching the description released by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office after a tip was called in to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The tip, which led deputies to the Pilot truck stop off Highway 301 in Waldo, did not turn up the truck being sought, but investigators encourage citizens to keep their eyes open and keep calling in tips.
“Unfortunately, it turned out to be not the one, but we would rather go check those out and have them be excluded then have somebody say, 'Oh, I don't want to call and get involved. That's probably not the right one,'” said Sgt. Art Forgey of the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.
George Guerrero, from New Jersey, was shot just before 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon on I-10 eastbound west of Chaffee Road in what Jacksonville police described as a road rage incident.
"As an adult, that’s what he loved. He lived for driving trucks and if you saw pictures of him, on any social media or any pictures that people had of him, it’s with his dog and his truck," Guerrero's sister, Malissa Kunz, told News4Jax.
Homicide detectives working the case described the big rig they were looking for as having a dull orange cab pulling a 53-foot white trailer. On Tuesday, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office released a stock photo of the make, model and color of the cab that police locally and along interstate highways around the southeast were looking for.
"In this case, this photograph could be very helpful because they do have a color and a make and a model of the type of truck. Now, they may not have the trailer information, but they do have the tractor," Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst, said.
Homicide detectives said the shooting took place after the shooter's vehicle started tailgating Guerrero's tractor-trailer, which had moved to the left lane to avoid construction. When Guerrero moved back into the right lane, an orange semi pulled alongside and appeared to bump the victim’s rig. The victim's truck then veered off the highway and drove into the woods. Police said Guerrero was shot as the second semi passed him.
When Guerrero was found dead in the cab of his semi, the Florida Highway Patrol was called believing the crash resulted in a traffic fatality. Troopers called the JSO when it turned into a homicide investigation.
"Normally, truck drivers are very respectful of each other, allowing each other to pass and do certain things. They sort of have their own language, and they communicate differently, and they're very cooperative with each other," Smith said.
Kunz said what happened to her brother was senseless.
“I think he’s (the shooter) a coward. I think he is disgusting," Kunz, said. "He has sickened and hurt this entire family. He took someone that was loved, cared about, that loved people, loved life and he needs to turn himself in and face the fact the he killed somebody.”
The Florida Highway Patrol has issued an alert to other law enforcement agencies along I-10 and I-95 north and south and alerted commercial vehicle weigh stations in the area. The big rig may have damage to the passenger side.
If a truck fails to stop at a weigh station, that's a red flag and either FHP or Florida Department of Motor Vehicles enforcement officers will track them down.
The owner of a small Texas trucking company, whose semi was commandeered without his knowledge by the Drug Enforcement Administration in a botched drug sting, has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear his case for damages to his truck. He is also asking for police protection from retaliation by the Zetas Cartel who were involved in the drug sale.
His case was recently dismissed by a federal appeals court in New Orleans leaving the Supreme Court as his last option.
Read the full story: Feds not liable for truck damaged during botched drug sting.
During the 2011 incident in Houston, not only was Craig Patty's truck damaged but his driver, Lawrence Chapa – a confidential informant for the DEA – was killed and a sheriff's deputy was shot and wounded by a plainclothes Houston Police officer. Four men were convicted in Chapa's death.
Patty is seeking up to $6.4 million in damages but stated on several occasions that he was more interested in letting the public know about how the DEA operates – without regard for citizens' property and rights, he says. Many of the documents surrounding the case were sealed from public view. He is also seeking police protection as the drug cartel may believe he was in on the raid and could seek vengeance.
Lower courts have so far sided with the government arguing that federal agents acted within their rights to use discretionary action during their operations and this includes placing a confidential informant in the driver's seat of truck without the owner's permission or knowledge and not having to pay for damages to the truck.
MassDOT Communications Director Jacquelyn Goddard tweeted this photo of the wrecked dump truck. ((MassDOT/Jacquelyn Goddard))
BLANDFORD - A dump truck driver was airlifted with serious injuries after he left a paving job on the Massachusetts Turnpike with his dump body still up and struck a bridge.
A Massachusetts state trooper at the Westfield Barracks said the 4:45 a.m. accident is still blocking most of the eastbound side of the turnpike and causing serious delays, but the left lane has been reopened.
The eastbound side of the highway had been closed for a helicopter to land and transport the man to Baystate Medical Center. He was in serious condition, the trooper said.
The truck struck the North Street overpass in Blandford after leaving the construction site. The impact tore the dump body off the huge 10-wheel truck and caused it to rollover. The man was trapped in the cab and was airlifted about 45 minutes after the accident, the trooper said.
Cleanup from the accident is likely to take much of the day. In addition to trying to remove the damaged truck, environmental officials will have to oversee the fuel cleanup and the bridge will have to be inspected.
The truck was from a Lane Construction crew, the trooper said.
CHICAGO, Ill. — The distinguished career of 95-year-old Abe Samuels of Labelmaster is coming to an end.
Samuels is retiring, Labelmaster announced, after 40 years with the company.
Samuels was the developer of the Spacemaster flip placard system that allows trucks and tankers to easily display signage that indicates the presence of dangerous goods (DG) on board, so critical to alert first responders to any potential hazards if an accident occurs. His design was simple and flexible – and that’s the beauty of it. In addition to working every week, he also travelled on business while in his mid-90s.
The Spacemaster that Samuels developed went on to become the standard in the industry used by most of the top carriers.
Labelmaster said that they will hold a retirement celebration for Samuels on May 26.
API approved two new diesel oil standards, FA-4 and CK-4, in early 2016.
WASHINGTON, DC — A new special Service Symbol Donut will help the public identify the recently approved API FA-4 diesel engine oil designed to protect next generation diesel engines, the American Petroleum Institute (API) announced.
API approved two new diesel oil standards, FA-4 and CK-4, in early 2016.
The new donut features a shaded section to differentiate API FA-4 diesel oils from CK-4 oils. The API CK-4 Service Symbol Donut will look the same as the current CJ-4 Donut.
“API is introducing a diesel engine oil category for use in truck engines designed to meet 2017 model year on-highway greenhouse gas emission standards,” said Kevin Ferrick, senior manager for engine oil licensing. “The FA-4 donut was developed to help truck owners who need FA-4 oils easily recognize the oil and distinguish it from CK-4 oils.”
Tesla is getting into trucking. At least his first name is.
The Nikola Motor Company, a Utah-based startup, has unveiled a compressed natural gas-electric hybrid semi aimed at disrupting the long-haul trucking industry the way the Tesla Model S did the car business.
The company is run by Trevor Milton, a former executive at dHybrid Systems, which developed a CNG system for tractor-trailers that’s now owned by Worthington Industries. Along with Faraday Future, Nikola is the latest automotive outfit named after an electrical pioneer to seemingly appear from the ether.
The truck, called the Nikola One, has been developed in secret for the past three years. It features a 150-gallon dHybrid storage system stacked behind its cab that fuels a turbine generator, which charges a 320-kilowatt-hour battery pack that drives six motors, one for each wheel. In this way, it works much like a diesel-electric locomotive.
It’s not a conversion vehicle. The truck’s chassis was engineered specifically for the project and features a unique independent rear suspension system designed in conjunction with automotive component supplier Meritor.
The series-hybrid drivetrain puts out 2,000 hp and 3,700 lb-ft of torque, Milton said in an interview, and it gets 10-15 mpg – about twice the fuel economy of a typical 500 hp, 1,650 lb-ft diesel tractor. As with most hybrid and electric vehicles, it has regenerative brakes that charge the batteries on downhill stretches, helping contribute to its claimed 800-1,200 mile range between fill-ups.
The plan is for Nikola to build a nationwide network of refueling stations to support its customers, similar to Tesla’s electric supercharger network. Nikola owns its own CNG wells and will sell the fuel for the equivalent of $1.50 per gallon, but the first 5,000 buyers of the $375,000 truck will get 1 million miles’ worth for free.
Though only renderings of the vehicle have been released so far (a working prototype will be shown by the end of the year), Milton says several fleet operators have been involved in its development, and Nikola has many orders in hand. He says the company is well funded by a group of very wealthy private investors and companies working across multiple industries. He promises to provide more information on them soon.
As for when you might start to see the sleek semis on the road, Milton expects to begin full production at a facility in Utah within 24 to 36 months.
But you might get dusted by another Nikola vehicle – a 520 hp all-electric 4x4 side-by-side that can run underwater – off-road before then. The four-seat Nikola Zero UTV is being designed with 14.5 inches of ground clearance and 20 inches of suspension travel. Its on-board computer can operate each of its four motors independently to maximize grip and handling, depending on the situation. Solar panels on the roof keep its 12-volt battery charged so its systems don’t need to draw from the main drive battery, which has a 100-150 mile range.
Milton, an avid off-roader, likes the idea of an emissions-free UTV that can rock crawl or blast through the desert with equal ease, and doesn’t have any transmission belts to break, a frequent and inconvenient occurrence among UTVs. Priced at $42,000, the Zero costs about twice as much as a conventional high performance UTV, but Milton says Nikola has already received more deposits than expected and aims to start deliveries within 18 months.
An XPO spokesman replied that “This was obviously a publicity stunt by the Teamsters. We have excellent relationships with our employees and the owner-operators who serve our customers. Our drivers and the owner-operators we do business with are aware that we pay them more than their union counterparts in other companies. The Teamsters will have to look elsewhere for a way to solve their declining membership problem.” (The Trucker file photo)
GREENWICH, Conn. — XPO workers, Teamsters representatives and union representatives from the U.S., France, the UK and Belgium Wednesday expressed various grievances with the company and called for “solidarity” with XPO workers across the globe here at a rally outside an XPO shareholders’ meeting.
Primary among workers’ complaints is that they’re being misclassified as independent contractors when they’re employees, said California XPO port driver Edgardo Villatoro. “They say we are independent but in reality they treat us as employees.”
On the other side of the coin, Juan Cepero, a Miami port driver protested that full-time employees are made to sit at home while their jobs are given to subcontractors.
XPO freight driver Ross Mason of the UK said he had come “to make XPO understand” that they’re “dealing with the unions as a global union. We won’t put up with being divided” by country.
An XPO spokesman replied that “This was obviously a publicity stunt by the Teamsters. We have excellent relationships with our employees and the owner-operators who serve our customers. Our drivers and the owner-operators we do business with are aware that we pay them more than their union counterparts in other companies. The Teamsters will have to look elsewhere for a way to solve their declining membership problem.”
Teamsters spokesman Galen Munroe said unions in the U.S. and Europe were concerned that XPO was growing too fast to provide decent services for its workers, plus workers were being labeled as independent “when there’s nothing independent about them.” The union alleged in a news release that “persistent misclassification” has caused “company wage theft in excess of $200 million.”
XPO Logistics completed its acquisition of Con-way Inc. last October and in January this year cut 160 LTL positions, although the company said most were administrative.
According to a Teamsters news release, after purchasing Norbert Dentressangle SA in France, XPO promised not to lay off any workers for at least 18 months but soon after broke its promise.
Thierry Mayer, an XPO driver and representative of Confederation Generale du Travail or CGT in France, said the brief attendance at the shareholders’ meeting “confirmed our worries [that] financial interests trump human interests in this company.”
In response to a reporter’s assertion that according to XPO, its drivers were paid such good salaries they didn’t want to join a union, Villatoro said port drivers make $28,000 a year before taxes and must pay for rent, fuel, insurance, repairs and associated costs out of their own pockets, are not paid for all their work and are seldom paid for delays.
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