Archive for September 2012

Birmingham Food Truck Industry Problems

Birmingham food truck rules weeks, maybe months away after council delays latest proposal

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Proposed regulations on Birmingham’s growing food truck industry continue to simmer — possibly for a few more months — with the Birmingham City Council again delaying action on an ordinance.

The council this afternoon delayed the vote after several members questioned the fairness and legality of the 17-page document. The ordinance from the Public Safety Committee would set regulation on approval, location and times for the growing number of mobile food vendors ranging from Mexican cuisine to cupcakes.

However, council members, including Carole Smitherman, who is a lawyer, said the proposal was problematic because it conflicted with federal constitutional commerce protections. Smitherman called the rules, which included creating an approval committee and limiting the trucks to specific districts away from brick-and-mortar restaurants, heavy-handed and a strangle on businesses.

“I find that this is an equal protection violation,” Smitherman said. “You can’t treat one business one way and another business another way.”

Finding that balance has been the challenge, said Councilman Johnathan Austin, the committee’s chairman. The council will again discuss the rules in a committee meeting next week. Austin later said a revised ordinance should be ready for a final vote no later than November.

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Millions of Dollars Owed to Tollway by Vehicle Owners

Tollway takes top toll violators to court – Is This Unfair or Reasonable ?

This is an interesting story from the Chicago Tribune.  A Sandwich plumbing company has racked up more than $60,000 in unpaid tolls and fines, according to the Illinois Tollway. A day care center in Maywood owes more than $19,000. A trucking company in Streamwood has ignored repeated demands that it pay $152,000.

These amounts, according to lawsuits filed this month in Cook and DuPage counties, are just a portion of the millions of dollars the tollway says it is owed by vehicle owners who use the toll roads but refuse to pay for the privilege.

The tollway took those companies and dozens more to court to force them to pay the money the tollway says they owe, about $1.8 million, as of last count.

That’s small change compared with the $300 million in unpaid tolls and fines the tollway says deadbeats have avoided paying since 2001.

To put the number in a more meaningful context for the average motorist: $300 million is more revenue than the tollway anticipates taking in this year from the controversial 87.5 percent toll hike that went into effect Jan. 1. All told, the agency expects to reap $973 million in toll revenue this year.

The agency’s legal crackdown has the support of many tollway users, but some wonder why it didn’t come sooner.

“It’s time for them to pay up,” said Tyree Gee, 24, who takes the tollway from Hyde Park to his job in Hinsdale. “I am surprised they haven’t cracked down on these companies sooner. Why did it take them so long? That’s just ridiculous.”

Although “open-road tolling” has eliminated much congestion on the tollway system, it allows scofflaws to bypass toll plazas and gates — assuming they aren’t deterred by the prospect of being hounded by collection agencies or having their license plates suspended.

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Kansas Motor Carriers Association Makes Donation to Kansas Highway Patrol

Trucking organization donates child safety seats to KHP

This is good news.  The Kansas Motor Carriers Association on Tuesday made a donation to the Kansas Highway Patrol in an effort to protect the most vulnerable people on highways: children.

KMCA donated 105 child safety seats to the patrol as part of Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs Sept. 16 to 22. This is the 13th annual donation.

The seats will be dispersed among the patrol’s seven troop headquarters, then given to those who are least able to afford them.

Patrol superintendent Col. Ernest Garcia said he has had “a deeper appreciation” for child safety seats since his grandson was born about 18 months ago. Many troopers, he said, have worked accident scenes involving young children.

“That’s something these troopers will never forget,” he said.

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for children between the ages of 3 to 6 and 8 to 14, the patrol says. Using the proper child safety seat can substantially decrease the chance of death or injury to children if they are involved in a vehicle crash.

Tom Whitaker, executive director of KMCA, said safety is the first priority for the Kansas trucking industry, and donating child safety seats as part of its partnership with the highway patrol is the association’s way of helping people who share the road with its trucks to stay safe.


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Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics

One Day, 5 Convoys, 351 Trucks, $191,000 For Special Olympics

Nice to know people care about the Special Olympics, in this case Truckers.  Truck drivers in five provinces running in five separate Convoy events on Saturday drove into the record books with nearly $200,000 in pledges and donations.

Four Convoys in support of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics took place in Halifax, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Paris, ON., while a fifth event, The Convoy for Hope, ran in Moncton, NB.

This year’s largest convoy took place in Manitoba with 141 trucks raising over $65,000. Trucks started at the Oak Bluff Recreation Centre on the Perimeter Highway southwest of Winnipeg, and ran counterclockwise around the city. With that many trucks in the Convoy, the lead truck must have been darned close to the Pembina Hwy. intersection before the last truck left Oak Bluff.

In Saskatoon, organizers had 62 trucks participate that raised a preliminary total of $45,000. That convoy route was the longest of this year’s events, running from the Credit Union Centre to Regina’s Turvey Center, a distance of 250 km along Hwy 11. This year’s event also featured a truck-pull challenge where four teams competed for the best time to pull a 15-ton truck a distance of 15 meters.

In Paris, ON., about 45 minutes west of Toronto, organizers ran their eighth convoy. This year they had 51 trucks that raised $42,000. Over the eight years, the Paris convoy has raised close to $350,000 for Special Olympics athletes. And the best part about the fund raising effort is that all of the money remains in the jurisdiction that raised it.

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Truck Shield Program

Ohio truckers helping state patrol nab criminals in new Truck Shield program

Trucker Chad Brinker noticed a glow, like that of a cigarette tip, appear in a car beside him as he drove north on Interstate 71 in late July. But it didn’t look quite right, and when the car’s driver handed something to the passenger, he realized it was a marijuana pipe. He reported the incident.

The next day he learned that in addition to drug paraphernalia, the vehicle carried “quite a bit” of marijuana.

Brinker was trained under the Ohio Truck Shield program, a partnership between Ohio Highway Patrol and the Ohio Trucking Association.

The program, launched in May, trains truckers throughout Ohio to spot criminal activity such as impaired driving, drug trafficking, terrorist threats and human trafficking. Truckers are encouraged to dial #677 to report incidents like these, and dispatchers send officers to check them out. The program has trained nearly 500 drivers since its launch.

“The training makes you more conscious of what’s going on around you . . . You’d be amazed at some of the things we see up here,” said Brinker, chuckling.

The #677 line receives about 5,000 calls per month, according to Ohio Highway Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston. The line was created for public use earlier this year by Gov. John Kasich.

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West Virginia Trucking Association Appreciation

WV Trucking Association plans for national appreciation week

Most of the items West Virginians come in contact with throughout their days have come into their lives, at some point, via truck.

The West Virginia Trucking Association will join the American Trucking Associations and the entire industry Sept. 16-22 to salute the 3.1 million professional truck drivers who deliver America’s freight every day.

“Trucks bring it,” Jan Vineyard, president of the West Virginia Trucking Association, said in a news release. “From groceries and household items to the mail and industrial products, West Virginia’s professional truck drivers deliver the goods that state residents use.

“Truck drivers are essential to daily life and our state’s economy.”

The West Virginia Trucking Association plans to mark the week-long celebration with appreciation events for state trucking firms.

More than 3.1 million professional truck drivers nationwide log nearly 398 billion miles each year. Those men and women in 2001 delivered 67 percent of the U.S. freight tonnage – more than 9.2 billion tons of freight, and 80 percent of U.S. communities depend entirely on the trucking industry, according to a news release from the WVTA.

“Take a moment and recognize the significant contributions of our professional truck drivers,” Vineyard said in a news release. “The efficiency and safety that these drivers guarantee allow businesses and American citizens to confidently ship goods across state lines and throughout America.”

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Apple Led Tech Race

Apple Led Tech Race May Raise Air Rates Amid Weak Shipping

A surge in the introduction of new technology products, including Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPhone 5, is poised to drive up rates for shipping by plane, benefiting companies from FedEx Corp. (FDX) to Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc.

Apple, Google Inc. (GOOG), Microsoft Corp. and (AMZN) Inc. are offering new smartphones and tablets as they compete for customers in the fast-growing mobile-computing market.

So many devices shipping at once may spur a larger price increase than the 20 percent jump after Apple’s new iPad in March, said Kevin Sterling, a transportation analyst at BB&T Capital Markets.

“This is a new dynamic for the air-freight industry,” Sterling said in a telephone interview from Richmond, Virginia. “There’s been tech launches periodically, but there’s so much hype around so many products at one time.”

The gadget convergence is a bright spot for air-freight companies in a pre-holiday shipping season clouded by weak U.S. job growth. Potential beneficiaries include companies such as FedEx, which runs the world’s largest cargo airline, and Atlas, the biggest operator of Boeing Co. (BA) 747 freighters.

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CDL Truck Driver Training

Want to learn how to drive a commercial truck ?

In a new partnership with CCBC, we are excited to offer scholarships for vocational training in many fields.

If you are interested in CDL/Commercial Driving certification, join us in Pasadena this weekend for an open house.

Did you know that our vocational scholarship application is open all year round?  It’s true.

So if you or someone you know needs help paying for certificate training programs such as CNA/GNA, CDL/Commercial Driving, Physical Therapist Aide, HVAC, Pharmacy Tech, Construction and more.

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Or visit CDL Digest for Commercial drivers license information and resources online for free. Where you will find a complete database filled with information about the commercial drivers license.




Truckload Driver Turnover

100 Percent Truckload Driver Turnover

The annual turnover rate at large carriers reached 106 percent in second quarter, despite slower economic growth

The annualized driver turnover rate at large truckload carriers shot past 100 percent in the second quarter, rising above that percentage figure for the first time in more than four years, according to the American Trucking Associations.

It’s not a milestone trucking companies will celebrate. A 100 percent turnover rate means truckload carriers need to replace the equivalent of their entire driver pool each year just to maintain employment and capacity at the same level.

At a 100 percent rate, driver turnover can cost larger truckload companies hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars a year. If recruiting one driver costs $5,000, on average, a company with 500 drivers would pay $2.5 million a year. The turnover rate wasn’t 100 percent in the quarter, however. It was higher.

For truckload carriers with more than $30 million in revenue, driver turnover hit an average of 106 percent in the second quarter, the trucking association said Wednesday, the highest industry turnover level since the fourth quarter of 2007.

That leap represented a 16 percentage point increase in the turnover rate from 90 percent in the first quarter, the ATA said - a sharp increase in a quarter that saw GDP growth slow to 1.7 percent and slower revenue growth at many carriers.


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Monster Jam

Monster Jam – Grave Digger Monster Truck Freestyle from St. Louis

Monster Jam is the world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks including Grave Digger®, Maximum Destruction®, Monster Mutt®, El Toro Loco®, Captain’s Curse® and Blue Thunder®.

Monster Jam performs to the delight of families with three elements to every show — the pit party, racing, and freestyle. 125 tour stops and 325+ performances make up the Monster Jam tour that also features a large consumer products division and retail presence.

Two world champions are crowned each year at the Monster Jam World Finals in Las Vegas — the racing world champion and the freestyle world champion. Monster Jam can be seen on SPEED Channel.

Monster Jam® is the hottest edge-of-your-seat, live motor sports property on the planet and largest touring family show in North America! These stadium and arena events blow the roof off traditional motor sports racing, as 1,500 HP monster trucks fly 30 feet in the air, flattening anything in their path. Monster Jam® events are an electrified, entertaining atmosphere with a variety of specialty acts and events.

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