January 2013

MOST WANTED. The American Trucking Association (ATA) praised the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for releasing the “Most Wanted List” of transportation safety improvements according to a recent ATA press release. Identifying a number of areas of shared interest in highway safety, ATA President and CEO Bill Graves specifically cited the NTSB’s identification of the dangers of impaired and distracted driving. The NTSB also endorsed active safety technologies such as lane departure warning systems, stability control, and collision warning systems which the ATA endorses.

BE CAREFUL. Truckers and energy drinks go together like cake and ice cream. You can’t walk through a truck stop without passing by displays of several of the best known brands, both in small bottles and large. Recently, Senator Dick Durbin appeared on the Senate floor to request that the FDA investigate potential health risks associated with energy drinks after reports of multiple fatalities after the consumption of one of the most popular brands. Here’s the scoop, while we can’t say there is or is not anything harmful in energy drinks, we can report that most medical professionals including the Mayo Clinic have reported that 200-300 milligrams of caffeine daily is a safe level for most adults. A cup of strong coffee averages about 100 milligrams and a 2 ounce container of a well-known energy drink has about 207 milligrams. No one has concluded that energy drinks are directly responsible for fatalities, but it gives us an opportunity to remind drivers to use common sense when it comes to caffeine in general and energy drinks in particular.

SMOKIN’ BURGERS. AN interesting story out of California this week. A researcher at the University of California Riverside concluded during a study of commercial charbroilers that an 18-wheeler would have to drive 143 miles on the highway to put out as much mass particulates as a single charbroiled hamburger patty. Besides identifying a widely ignored emissions source, the study illustrates how far engine advancements have come responding to EPA and CARB imposed emission limits…

TRUCKERS VITAL TO STORM RELIEF EFFORTS. By the time you read this, Hurricane Sandy will be a while past, but its good to know about the contribution trucking made to the relief efforts. Companies such as Crete Carrier Corp. and U.S. Xpress among others were vital in coordinating the staging of strategic supplies in the right places before and after the storm. By working with stores such as Walmart and Lowes, truckers were able to move generators, water and other relief merchandise to strategic locations. Other companies hauled health supplies and meds into the stormed ravaged areas.

DOT PITCHES IN. Not only have truckers helped with storm relief, but the Department of Transportation announced that it has made $13 million available for immediate road repair jobs.

FROM CBS NEWS. A story picked up out of Sacramento’s CBS affiliate mentioned how victims of downsizing, especially those who were employed by Hostess and Comcast, are turning to trucking as a new career. With all of the talk of a shortage of drivers looming, the time may be right for a career in trucking. Many truck driving schools across the country, including the school in the Sacramento story are reporting a surge in enrollment. Now let’s hope we can keep everybody safe!

Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known. -Garrison Keillor