July 2013

CONFIDENCE UP. Consumer confidence, the index of consumer’s attitudes towards spending, beat expectations in April indicating that the economy is on a sold upward trajectory. According to Reuters, the consumer index is at its highest level in five years, along with a higher confidence level in labor market indices. Considering that consumer spending accounts for the largest portion of the U.S. economy, this is good news for the trucking industry, and should translate to increased

tonnage for the foreseeable future.

OHIO GOES TO 70 M.P.H. Starting July 1, the speed limit on some rural interstates in Ohio moves up to 70 m.p.h. Bringing the state in line with 24 other states who allow all vehicles to travel at least 70, the Ohio Department of Transportation recently identified the affected stretches of highway which include:

• Interstate 70 from the Indiana border to the Wheeling area, excluding Dayton, Columbus and Zanesville;

• Interstate 71 from the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge to the Cuyahoga/Medina County line, excluding Columbus;

• Interstate 75 from just outside Toledo to north of Dayton, excluding Findlay and Lima;

• Interstate 76 from just outside Akron to west of Youngstown;

• Interstate 77 from outside Canton to the West Virginia border; and Interstate 90 from outside Cleveland to the Pennsylvania border.

According to the ODOT, signage posting the new speeds will not be revealed until July 1. Several other changes, such as increases from 60 to 65 m.p.h. on certain outerbelts will also go into effect.

ILLINOIS NEXT IN LINE? The Illinois House voted 85-30 in May to send a bill to the governor proposing that the speed limit be raised to 70 m.p.h. on rural highways. Nevada has a bill in house to increase speeds to 85 m.p.h.

COLLAPSE. According to a recent story from the Associated Press, thousands of bridges around the U.S. are “one freak accident away from collapse.” With the recent collapse of the Interstate 5, the nations highway infrastructure has once again become under increased scrutiny. While the I-5 collapse in Washington may have been a fluke, some officials have reported that an oversized truck clipped a steel bridge truss prior to the collapse. The most famous recent failure was the Minneapolis collapse on I-35 which killed 13 people in 2007. A report in 2002 indicated that about 30% of the bridges in the country were rated as structurally deficient or obsolete.

WHAT’S HOT, SOCIAL CHATTER. A quick perusal of some trucker’s social network sites reveals a lot of chatter over EOBRs, exemptions from the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the news that diesel exhaust has been listed as a cancer-causing agent by the World Health Organization. More news next month.

Humility is not thinking Less of Ourselves, but rather thinking of Ourselves Less - C.S. Lewis.