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Feb 12, 2016

GM´s RECALLS * USA: 473,000 trucks and SUVs

* Michigan - GM recalling for brake pedal problem

-- General Motors is recalling more than 473,000 trucks and SUVs in the U.S. and Canada because the brake pedals can come loose and fail to work properly... The recall covers certain 2015 and 2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD, GMC Sierra HD and Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicles... GM says a nut on the brake pedal pivot mechanism can come loose, causing the pedal to loosen and possibly become inoperative... The company says it has no reports of crashes or injuries due to the problem... GM says the recall should begin shortly... 
(Photo: 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 3500 HD)   --   Detroit, MICH, USA - AP/fox17online, by BOB BRENZING - FEBRUARY 9, 2016

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PICKUP TRUCK WARS USA: Which truckmaker is the next to push the technology - * Big RAM trucks - ** Toyota Tacoma 2017 - *** Honda's new Ridgeline

- Michigan - Truck wars heat op with market share shift

-- Pickup trucks are selling at some of their highest volumes in almost a decade, making monster profits for automakers. That means the Truck Wars are likely to get more intense in the next several months. For now, Chevrolet seems to be the big winner in the pickup segment as the only player in the field to grow its market share in the last year... According to Automotive News, the Silverado and Sierra were redesigned for the 2016 model year and seem to be benefiting more than the Ford F-150 (all-new for the 2015 model year) and the Ram 1500 (now the oldest major player in the segment)... How deep into 2016 GM can keep its pickup truck sales momentum going is likely to depend on the price of fuel, how popular midsize pickups become and which truckmaker is the next to push the technology and features envelope... Look for most of the truckmakers to find ways to squeeze more capacity out of existing production lines to meet demand... 
(Photo by Evan Sears/ Chevy front 1 II) - Detroit, MICH, USA -, by Mark Williams - February 10, 2016

* Michigan - Big Ram trucks getting more off-road shit and even bigger badges

-- Nothing says that you want to dominate nature quite like an off-road heavy duty pickup. Ram has re-faced their Power Wagon for the 2017 model year and spread some of its off-road tech across its whole HD line to better cater to the big boy mud and rocks crowd out there... That’s good, because the rest of the truck’s off-road capability is going to be shared across the entire HD line from Ram, as Automotive News reports... The chief new off-road tech is a kind of hill descent control, just like you’d get in a Land Rover from the ‘90s. Also getting spread around are better shocks, tires, stability control, and fender flares... The Power Wagon also comes with 17-inch wheels and 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, which is more aggressive than what you can get with the rest of the HD line. Oh, and if you want a Power Wagon, you’re only getting it as a Crew Cab with the 6.4 liter Hemi... So basically, some of the offroadiness of the Power Wagon is going full-line in what Ram is calling the “4x4 Off-Road Package,” but the Power Wagon remains slightly above the rest in what it can do in the dirt... 
(Photo: 2017 RAM POWER WAGON)  --  Auburn Hills, MICH, USA - Truck Yeah, by Raphael Orlove - 11 Feb 2016

** California - 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro looks like a legit lightweight Raptor rival

-- Toyota just confirmed a 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro, which means a truck with better much shocks and decorations and toys than the last version... To be perfectly clear; this truck would not be racing in the same class as the famous Ford Raptor. Even though they’ll have the same engine displacement, the Raptor is still set up more aggressively. That said, since both are off-road oriented four-door pickups they’ll absolutely be rivals in the marketplace... And with this redesign, it looks like Toyota’s really turning up the heat on capability... In theory, Toyota’s “TRD Pro” line is a cool idea: it’s a mild off-road upgrade that’s basically on par with what might be your “first round of modifications” if you’re going to start building your truck. You could do a little lift and wheels more cheaply if you went aftermarket, but TRD Pro offers that sweet sweet OEM quality and warranty... The truck’s going on sale later this year. Stay tuned... 
(Photo from Toyota: TRD PRO) -- Torrance, CAL, USA - Truck Yeah/Jalopnik, by Andrew P Collins - 11 Feb 2016

 ***  California - Honda revives Ridgeline Pickup, aiming to lessen reliance on cars in U.S.

-- Japanese auto maker doubles down on sport-utility vehicles and trucks. By the time 2016 ends, Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. automotive lineup will look more like those of the Detroit rivals it has spent decades chasing... In the U.S. Honda expects more than half its American sales this year will be light trucks and SUVs... Nearly every auto maker is building more trucks and SUVs for the U.S. as gasoline remains cheap and passenger cars fall out of favor, pushing their share of overall sales to a 12-year low. The last time pickups and SUVs were this popular, they represented less than 40% of Honda’s sales... Honda is driving the Ridgeline into a crowded market and, unlike rivals, hasn’t sold to commercial fleet buyers or a history of offering the hefty incentives that other truck sellers do. Honda hasn’t disclosed the truck’s pricing, and has said other details would be available closer to the 2017 model’s spring release... 
 (Photo: DANIEL ACKER/BLOOMBERG NEWS - The 2017 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month) -- CAL, USA - The WSJ, by MIKE RAMSEY - Feb. 11, 2016


Feb 11, 2016

* Russia - YOU WANT TO DRIVE OVER ANYTHING? You'll need the Sherp ATV

* Russia - Just won the Cold War (of truck design)

(Video by Alex Rudoi - Jan 25, 2016 - Nothing can stop these Russian trucks, literally, they drive these things into lake)

-- And Americans thought they had big tires. Meet the Sherp all-terrain vehicle (ATV): The Russian truck that's so tough it can drive straight through a forest, crushing everything in its path, and even ford a frozen river — without even flinching... Do you and one friend need to go anywhere — right now? You'll need the Sherp ATV. It's a two-passenger, diesel-powered wilderness-squasher with patented self-inflating tires... With those massive chunks of rubber at each corner, and nearly encompassing the entire side of the truck, the Sherp can easily roll over obstacles as big as 27.5 inches tall. Though, I suspect that's a conservative estimate. If there's anything conservative about this thing, that is... Although it has a small 1.5-liter diesel engine that produces a minuscule 44 horsepower, the Sherp weighs about as much as a Toyota Corolla, so it's just enough to get it up to its 28 mph top speed on land. On water it'll do 3.7 mph. While not much, that's a lot more than the aforementioned Corolla can do on water... Here's the part where you expect me to tell you that you won't be able to buy one. Wrong! $65,000 will get you the pickup Sherp with a canvas top. For $70,000, however, you can get the fully enclosed hardtop. If you do buy and anticipate icy water crossings, I recommend the hardtop. There's nothing more embarrassing than getting frostbite from behind the wheel of your Russian adventure-mobile... 
Russia - Mashable, by NICK JAYNES - 10 Feb 2016



* Michigan - There's a convoy of autonomous Army Trucks driving through I69 this summer

-- This summer, the U.S. army is taking its next steps towards instituting autonomous military vehicles by dispatching a convoy of self-driving trucks on a highway in Michigan to test vehicle-to-infrastructure technology, Automotive News reports. That’s right: huge, self-driving trucks will be driving on public roads... We’ve already shown you the U.S. army’s self-driving trucks. They’re badass and really intimidating. And they make tons of sense considering how many man-hours are spent transporting equipment day and night, particularly in war zones. One vehicle drives and a number of vehicles can follow... You won’t need as many drivers. You see commercial truck operators trying similar platooning projects at highway speeds... The big test comes this summer, when a convoy of at least four trucks will barrel down I69 in Michigan, transmitting their speed and location to roadside transponders which, according to Automotive News, have a range of 300 meters and cost over five grand each... The transponders, in turn, will communicate things like lane closures and speed limits to the rigs. That information, along with info obtained via the trucks’ $175,000 worth of radars, cameras and computers, aim to help the convoy navigate to its destination without hiccups... It’s exciting to see the military get into vehicle-to-infrastructure technology. They’re a huge player with lots of money and plenty potential for innovation, so they could help expedite the auto industry’s plight towards autonomy... But as exciting as it is, I’ll keep my eyes wide open when driving on I69 this summer just to be safe... 
(Photo: DVIDSHUB/Flickr) -- MICH, USA - Foxtrot Alpha/Jalopnik, by David Tracy - 10 Feb 2016

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TRUCKERS COMPLAINTS * USA: More than 75 percent of truckers will avoid operating in Rhode Island

* Rhode Island's Fact Sheet: RhodeWorks

(The vehicles shaded in blue in the above image show the vehicles that would be exempt from tolling under the current RhodeWorks proposal) 

-- RhodeWorks is the road-improvement funding plan proposed by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, which calls for the repair of the state’s deteriorating bridges. The proposal would fund the additional projects in two ways: 

° Borrowing $300 million against future federal highway funding and refinancing old borrowing to yield an additional $120 million; 
° Imposing a new toll on large commercial trucks, expected to bring in $45 million a year when it’s up and running. 

The Senate Fiscal Office estimates the two initiatives would generate a net total of $543 million in new revenue for the R.I. Department of Transportation (RIDOT) between 2016 and 2020... The Rhode Island Department of Transportation said Rhode Island is one of the only states in the northeast that does not charge user fees to large commercial trucks... However, the toll proposal set off a firestorm of criticism from the trucking industry, as well as some local businesses and limited-government advocates...

(Photo: Scott Del Sole / WPRI 12 - Protesters rallied against a plan to use tolls to pay for bridge repairs in Rhode Island)

...  Representatives of the American Trucking Association and its Rhode Island counterpart say if the toll bill passes as expected, lawsuits will likely be filed challenging its constitutionality... 
AND...  Where Are the Gantries?: 
Instead of toll plazas, the state would assess the truck toll at 14 gantry locations throughout the state. The gantries are large metal structures that would span the highway. Equipment attached to the gantry would scan vehicles as they pass, and bills would be sent the appropriate parties... The concern over the proposal is that out-of-state truckers would bypass Rhode Island altogether, leaving the burden completely on local trucking companies. A survey by a group representing truck drivers shows more than 75 percent of truckers will avoid operating in Rhode Island if Gov. Gina Raimondo’s toll proposal is adopted...

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* California - Google wants to deliver packages from self-driving trucks

(US Patent and Trademark Office: Google’s proposed truck, with pinpad lockers) 

 -- A new patent awarded to Google today suggests that the search giant is looking into developing self-driving delivery trucks, just as Amazon readies its autonomous delivery drone fleet... Google’s patent outlines what it calls an “autonomous delivery platform” for delivery trucks. The trucks would be fitted with a series of lockers that could potentially be unlocked with a PIN code sent to the person waiting for the delivery before the truck arrives at their location. The patent also suggests the locker could be unlocked by a customer’s credit card, or an NFC reader. After the package is dropped off, the truck will continue on to its next delivery point, or return to the depot to pick up more packages...

(AP Photo/David Goldman - No more of this hassle)

 ... While the patent doesn’t go into too much detail about the most difficult aspect of the idea—how the truck will drive itself—it does mention technologies that are reminiscent of what Google is currently using in its self-driving car tests... Although there’s no guarantee that Google is planning to actually roll out a fleet of delivery trucks, this patent dovetails the two announced projects together quite nicely. Google wasn’t immediately available for comment on its plans for the patent... 
Mountain View, CAL, USA - Quartz, by Mike Murphy - February 09, 2016

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Feb 10, 2016

"Keep on Truckin" * USA: Truck driving, the most prominent working-class profession in the United States today

* California - Truckers' job, almost entirely ignored by press, politics, and economists alike

-- Truck driving is the most prominent working-class profession in the United States today, and yet is almost entirely ignored by press, politics, and economists alike. It is one of the last remaining ways to carve out a decent middle-class living without a college education, and, to wit, has become an increasingly diverse and complex profession over the past decade... Of course, this half-way decent wage doesn't come without its fair share of difficulties. Truck drivers are plagued by depression, physical health issues, drug problems, and relationship woes. On average, they don't live as long as the average American. And still, the majority are some of the proudest, kindest people you'll ever encounter... Within the "Keep on Truckin' package", we've attempted to create a full-on sensory experience representative of truck driving life in America... Most of all, calling attention to both truck drivers and crucial periphery players (families, truck stop workers) will, hopefully, raise awareness and give a voice to the people who steer America's most pivotal, and overlooked, economic engine... Without truck driving, the lives of Americans would all but grind to a halt. As the industry continues to take steps toward self-improvement, it's time the people who work tirelessly to ensure Americans have the provisions they need finally get the recognition, respect, and—most importantly—help they deserve... 
(Photo: Ted Gresham/Flickr) - CAL, USA - The Pacific Standard, by Sarah Baird - 3 Feb 2016

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TRUCKERS' HARD LIFE * USA: Truck driving by the numbers

* DC - What life on the road will do to you

-- * Highlights (UDOT, BTS) 

-- Major highlights from the recently released preliminary 2002 CFS data plus additional estimates show that: 

° On a typical day in 2002, about 43 million tons of goods valued at about $29 billion moved nearly 12 billion ton-miles on the nation's interconnected transportation network. This represents an increase from about 37 million tons, valued at $20 billion, and traveling about 10 billion ton-miles in 1993. 

° These BTS estimates of overall freight shipments support the often cited trend that U.S. households are acquiring more products and appliances. These estimates translate into over 300 pounds of daily freight shipments in 2002, each worth nearly $100 and transported over 43 miles per person, per day. By comparison, in 1993 about 280 pounds of freight, valued at $76, were transported some 38 miles daily for each U.S. resident. 

° Trucking moved 64 percent of the value, 58 percent of the tonnage, and 32 percent of the ton-miles of the nation's total commercial freight... 

P.N.: Now you know why a trucker asks respect along the way, and for their job... 
(Image from Pacific Standard, by Shaye Anderson - Feb 3, 2016)


Feb 9, 2016

IPO for VW's TRUCK UNITS ? * Germany

* Frankfurt - VW sets sights on US to keep on trucking

-- Volkswagen’s heavy-truck division is exploring options for growth that could include acquisitions and an initial public offering (IPO), as it seeks to reap the benefits of more independence within its rapidly reorganising parent company... Trucks chief Andreas Renschler said that the US, the only major market in which the unit had no significant presence, and China were regions for possible expansion. The strategy would challenge global industry leaders Daimler and Volvo, as well as smaller rivals in emerging markets... Truck models are considerably different in individual regions, so expansion in the US would probably involve an acquisition. Mr Renschler declined to comment on specific plans or targets... Unlike most of its passenger-car siblings, VW’s trucks unit is not dealing directly with fallout from the diesel-emissions scandal. Still, the crisis besetting the parent company triggered a management revamp and accelerated a push kick-started a year ago to give the car maker’s 12 brands more leeway to make their own choices, handing Mr Renschler, who previously held the same post at Daimler, more room to manoeuvre...
(Picture BLOOMBERG, by JOCHEN ECKEL - Volkswagen is looking to take advantage of synergies between its MAN, Scania and own-name truck brands)  --  Frankfurt, GERMANY - bdlive (S.A.), by CHRISTOPH RAUWALD - Feb 9 2016


REPAIRING ALUMINIUM PICKUP TRUCKS * USA: How do they handle a collision?

* Ohio -  Aluminum cars and trucks: What about repairs?

-- The latest thing in automotive news is the use of military-grade aluminum in the construction of cars and trucks. Proponents of all-aluminum vehicles say they are lighter in weight, and will offer greater fuel efficiency. The vehicles are also quieter and will not rust... According to the Aluminum Association, aluminum can absorb twice as much crash energy as steel. In a collision, aluminum will fold predictably, allowing front and back crumple zones to absorb the impact, not the occupants... Where do you take your aluminum F150 in case of a collision? ... You need a collision center equipped and certified to repair aluminum vehicles and that has technicians specially trained to weld and paint these vehicles... 
(Photo: 2016 Ford F-150 Raptor) -- Toledo, OH, USA - Toledo Blade - 8 Feb 2016


Feb 8, 2016

* USA - Limiting complaints by California truckers

* DC - House Republicans revive measure on trucker Class-Action suits

-- Some members of Congress are trying to revive legislation aimed at keeping truck drivers from bringing class-action suits against their employers... The proposal, which was stripped from the federal highway funding plan that became law late last year, was included this week in a sweeping plan introduced by House Republicans to reauthorize the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and to effectively privatize the air traffic control system... The original plan, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Denham (R., Calif.), would have barred states from applying rules that go beyond federal standards for driver pay and mandated rest breaks. Thousands of California drivers have sued their employers for back pay, claiming that time spent loading, refueling, and eating meals should be considered on-the-clock time... Most truck-drivers are paid by the mile, and they aren't compensated when they stop to load shipments, fill the gas tank or rest. State labor regulators, especially in California, have argued that truckers, including interstate freight haulers, must abide by laws on the books in at least 20 states that require employers to pay workers for down time... Drivers have sued some of the largest trucking companies in the country, including J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Swift Transportation Co., under state labor laws addressing compensation and rest time, in at least 50 different suits...
(Photo, by ROB HART/WSJ: A key Democrat says including the limitation on legal actions by truckers in the aviation bill is “absurd”) -- Washington, DC, USA - The WSJ, by ROBBIE WHELAN - Feb. 5, 2016

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TRUCKING JOBS * USA: 1500 more in January

* DC - Trucking adds 1,500 jobs in January

-- Trucking added 1,500 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.9%, an almost eight-year low, the Labor Department reported Feb. 5. The transportation and warehousing sector, which includes trucking, lost 20,500 positions, as the courier and messenger job sector lost 14,500 jobs. The jobless rate fell to the lowest level since February 2008. The 151,000 rise in payrolls, while less than forecast, largely reflected payback for a seasonal hiring pickup in the final two months of 2015, Bloomberg News reported... 
Washington, DC, USA - Transport Topics - 5 Feb 2016


TRUCKS EFFICIENCY * USA: "Off-the-shelf" technologies to reduce heavy-duty fuel consumption by 15%

* DC - Fuel-efficient heavy trucks are on the horizon

-- Heavy-duty vehicles (more than 8,500 lbs. gross vehicle weight) are central to our economy: tractor-trailers carry goods, vocational trucks and heavy pickups help provide services, and transit buses transport passengers. In 2015, heavy-duty vehicles represented only 5% of on-road vehicles but consumed 30% of all highway fuel... Efforts to improve the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty vehicles got a major legislative boost in 2007 with the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), which mandated fuel efficiency standards for these vehicles. The "Phase 1" standards took advantage of existing "off-the-shelf" technologies to reduce heavy-duty fuel consumption by 15%, on average, from 2010 levels in 2017... DOT and EPA have proposed a second phase of the rule, which is expected to be adopted this summer. The proposed Phase 2 standards would reduce new heavy-duty vehicles’ fuel consumption by an additional 24%, on average, in 2027. Future trucks will be equipped with advanced technologies like waste heat recovery for engines, dual clutch transmissions, highly aerodynamic tractors, and fuel efficient trailers with skirts, gap reducers, and boat tails. These improvements are cost-effective, paying back upfront costs in fuel savings within 2 years (tractor trucks) to 6 years (vocational vehicles). The heavy-duty vehicle standards will further establish US leadership in advanced truck and engine manufacturing and, as proposed, save almost 1.5 million barrels of oil per day in 2040... 
(Photo, by Dan Ocampo, Bakersfield Californian via AP: Trucks, cars and a motor home share I-5 near Frazier Park, Calif.)  --  Washington, DC, USA - ACEEE, by Siddiq Khan - February 05, 2016


* India: EICHER trucks new software

* Uttar Pradesh - Eicher launch 'Trucking Intelligence' at Auto Expo

-- Gurgaon-based Indian automaker Eicher Trucks and Buses, part of the Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles (VECV), launched Eicher Live an advanced telematics solution for the commercial vehicle industry on Friday... Eicher Live is 'trucking intelligence' that drives profitable fleet management by monitoring their movement, fuel consumption and maintenance needs. The telematics solution is available as a company installed system in the Eicher Pro Series trucks and buses - Pro 8000 and Pro 6000... Eicher Live includes features like advance breakdown assistance, service reminders and proactive service. It also offers better fuel management with advanced analytics that includes fuel consumption analysis and measures to improve fuel efficiency and profitability... The major components of the telematics system are a hardware unit (Telematics Gateway), smart vehicle electronic module and a mobile SIM card that connects to Eicher Live hub... 
Greater Noida, U.P., India - The Daily Pioneer - 5 February 2016


* TRUCKING MAGNATE Lindsay-Fox counter offer for AUSTRALIA’s largest outback cattle empire

* South Australia - Lindsay Fox in late counter offer on Kidman

-- Transport magnate Lindsay Fox has launched a late bid to keep Australia’s largest outback cattle empire in Australian hands, with an offer to buy the S. Kidman... The Weekend Australian reported that Mr Fox, one of Australia’s largest employers through his Linfox logistics network, had written to Treasurer Scott Morrison flagging his interest in buying the Kidman properties – despite being close to being sold in a deal said to be worth close to $300 million giving control to Chinese-owned Shanghai Pengxin Group Co... In November the Federal Government announced that it had vetoed the sale of Australia's largest land holding to Chinese buyers. The decision followed a recommendation against the sale by the Foreign Investment Review Board... Parts of one of Kidman's stations, Anna Creek, are located in the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) in South Australia. National security concerns played a role in the decision, Mr Morrison said... Linfox’s letter to Mr Morrison said it could offer to buy the Kidman station portfolio in its entirety, including Anna Creek... Shanghai Pengxin’s revised offer excluded Anna Creek from the deal to remove security concerns – at a price said to be reduced from $350m to $300m. The exclusion of Anna Creek also diminishes Kidman & Co’s ‘supply chain’ appeal, however, carefully put together over decades of land dealings... Kidman is Australia's largest private landowner, holding about 1.3 percent of Australia's total land area, and 2.5pc of agricultural land... The company has 10 cattle stations, including properties across regional South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland covering 101,411sq km and managing a long-term average herd of 185,000 cattle. This is a significantly larger than the next biggest rural landholding in the country... 
(Photo: One S. Kidman's cattle station) -- Anna Creek, SA, Australia  - Beef Central - 7 Feb 2016


Feb 7, 2016

INSIDE the fragile and fraught lives of TRUCK STOP SEX WORKERS * USA

* California - The dark underbelly of truck stops

(Video by Pacific Standard - Feb 4, 2016: "Lot Lizard" is a feature documentary about truck stop sex workers in America. The film follows Jennifer, a recovering sex worker who is trying to get her life back on track; Bobby, a man struggling to come to grips with his girlfriend's livelihood; and Betty... These intimate portraits hint at a broader story about America, how it deals with its down and out, and how we are implicated as consumers) 

-- In the world of trucking, things are often not what they seem... Inside a modest home in Ontario, California, the sun is setting on what seems to be—at first glance—a typical picture of domesticity... Up until six weeks ago, Jennifer, the woman in the scene, was having sex with truck drivers for money, then using that money to shoot heroin. Jim, the trucker on the road, isn’t Jennifer’s husband. Jim is her spiritual advisor, and a chaplain at the Trucker Chapel, a converted trailer parked at the local truck stop... She pours over newspaper job advertisements, tension building in her voice. “It’s hard because there are these crappy-ass jobs for $8.00 an hour, or I could work one day a week on the [trucking] lot and make $300 easily. It’s easy to suck anything up for a few hours to make some money” ... Ask a truck stop sex worker to tell you about the most outrageous sexual feat she (most of the sex workers we met were women, though there were a handful of men) has performed, and she’ll tell you everything. Ask her if she has any siblings, and she’ll walk away from the interview. From the few stories we were able to record about family life, we learned of the extraordinary abuse and neglect many of the women experienced throughout their childhoods. Jennifer, for instance, was sexually abused by her uncle while growing up in Idaho... At the Triple T truck stop in Tucson, Arizona, a sex worker named Betty dates truckers only a few miles from the trailer where her parents live. Her father met her mother at a truck stop. He is a former trucker, and a methamphetamine addict, and Betty’s mother is a former sex worker... Truck stop sex workers are often vocal about how they reject society’s definition of their labor and its judgment of their lifestyle... 

... As unlikely as it is for two people to grow close in the world of truck stop sex work, Monica and Bobby stayed committed to one another while attempting to manage the forces (crack cocaine, sex, illness) that threatened to drive them apart... While each truck stop sex worker’s story is wholly unique, they all share a deep level of humanity. With Sunshine, there’s a familiar resistance to the ways in which society tries to shame and judge women. In Jennifer, we see a mother struggling to define herself and find salvation. Monica and Bobby’s story is, in large part, a reflection on the desire to love and be loved despite our many faults... By turning a camera of the faces of these women fighting each day for survival, the similarities that twine us together as a society can slowly make their way out from the shadows and into the light... 
(Photo: Dan Livingston - Lot Lizard) -- Ontario, CAL, USA - Pacific Standard, by Dan Livingston - FEB 5, 2016


SAMSUNG's Safety Truck Concept, introduced in * Argentina

* Buenos Aires Province - Samsung starts testing Safety Truck Concept in Argentina

... A truck, which is currently being tested on roads in Argentina, has a built-in wireless camera on the front and four monitors on the back to assist other drivers when attempting to overtake... The South Korean company, Samsung has announced that it will begin supplying its “Safety Truck” worldwide after four months of reliability testing... While the tech company showed off the first commercial version of the vehicle to the public at a recent press event in La Plata, Argentina, the idea was conceptualised and revealed by Samsung in a blog post last year... In order to assist drivers while attempting to overtake, the company has come up with a neat “video wall” that live-feeds the view ahead of the truck for cars behind. A huge panel that is made of 4 TVs is installed on the back of trucks, so that the drivers behind can see what’s in front of the large vehicle and making it a lot safer for them to pass... 
(Photo: Samsung testing giant screen-equipped secure trucks in Argentina, worldwide rollout to follow) -- La Plata, Prov. Buenos Aires, ARG - TechWorm, by KAVITA IYER - FEBRUARY 4, 2016

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Feb 6, 2016

BORDER TROUBLES * India: Trucks entering Nepal again

* Nepal - Cargo trucks enter through Birganj after 135 days

-- Trucks carrying Indian goods entered Nepal through the main trade point at Birganj on Friday after a gap of 135 days when traders removed barricades set up by Madhesis protesting against the constitution... Traders from Raxual in India removed the barricades and burnt tents erected by the United Democratic Madhesi Front on Miteri Bridge at the border, allowing the trucks to enter Nepal... Soon after the barricades were removed, UDMF protesters reached the scene but they were unable to prevent the movement of vehicles. The UDMF, comprising four Madhesi parties, has been protesting against Nepal’s new constitution and seeking several changes, including fresh demarcation of federal boundaries and proportional representation in all state bodies for people living in the Terai region bordering India. They protestors blocked several key points along the border with India, including Birganj, through which nearly 70% of bilateral trade takes place. The blockade resulted in a severe shortage of essential goods... 
(HT File Photo - Last month, five trucks entered Nepal through Birganj early in the morning when no UDMF protesters were present on Miteri Bridge. Soon after, the route was again blocked by protesters) -- Birgunj, Parsa District, Nepal- The Hindustan Times, by Utpal Parashar - Feb 05, 2016

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* POLAND & * RUSSIA: New agreement on freight

* Varsaw - Both countries ready to elaborate new bilateral agreement on cargo transportation

-- Russia and Poland have expressed their willingness to elaborate a new bilateral agreement on cargo transportation that will allow to avoid haulage permits problems in the future... The agreement allowing trucks to ship cargo between Russia and Poland expired on January 31, meaning Russian truck drivers were stopped from entering Poland and visa-versa starting from Monday. The two countries have been negotiating the extension of haulage permits... The Russian Transport Ministry said earlier that Poland refused to make concrete proposals on permits exchange for 2016 for cargo transportation between the two countries. The deadlock revolves around the number of licenses for truck haulage... 
 (Photo: SE/ EAST NEWS) -- Varsaw, Poland   - Sputnik News - 4 Feb 2016

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TRUCKERS NEWS SAFETY RULES * USA: "Regulations ‘will be absorbed’ and quality of carriers may improve

* Minnesota - Logistics Chief says the trucking industry should absorb new federal safety regulations

-- Logistics provider C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. says the trucking industry should absorb new federal safety regulations with relative ease despite sharp divisions among trucking companies over the rules... The requirement for electronic logging devices and restrictions on driving hours for truck drivers will raise costs for some smaller trucking companies, John Wiehoff, the company’s chief executive, said in an earnings conference call with analysts on Wednesday. The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced late last year that truck drivers will be required to switch from paper records to tracking their driving electronically, making it harder for drivers to stay behind the wheel beyond the maximum number of hours they’re permitted to legally drive... Analysts and trucking executives have said the rule will likely reduce shipping capacity because existing trucks will run fewer miles, and smaller trucking carriers may buckle under shrinking margins as a result... The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents thousands of independent drivers, has called the demand for electronic logging devices, known as e-logs, a “big-brother mandate” that puts an undue burden on small business... 
(Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS - The head of freight broker C.H. Robinson said new safety rules may improve the overall quality of trucking services the company purchases) -- Eden Prairie, MN, USA - The WSJ, by LORETTA CHAO - Feb. 3, 2016

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* DC - Coalition pushes Congress to block FMCSA rating proposal: "... continues to use questionable data" ...

-- A coalition of small-business groups continues to press Congress about the use of questionable data in the new plan to determine if a trucking company is too unsafe to operate... About the proposed revision to the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule, the groups argue that the SFD proposal violates provisions in the new highway bill, or FAST Act, passed late last year... Under the proposal, roadside inspection data does indeed play a more significant role in determining if a carrier is to be officially deemed “unfit” to operate. Essentially, a truck operator can be shut down if roadside inspection results fall below specific minimum standards. The ratings under the proposal would be updated monthly. Currently, a safety fitness determination cannot be issued without an on-site investigation by government representatives... FMCSA has emphasized that the proposal “incorporates rigorous data sufficiency standards” and would require that a significant pattern of non-compliance be documented in order for a carrier to fail a BASIC...
Washington, DC, USA - Fleet Owner, by Kevin Jones - Feb 4, 2016

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HUB GROUP TRUCKING * USA: Drops port trucking operation, cites driver costs

* California - Operator withdraws from ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach after shift to employee-driver model proves too costly

-- Hub Group Trucking has closed its Southern California terminal serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach just over a year after converting its local fleet from independently-contracted drivers to full-time employees... In an emailed announcement to customers last week, Hub Group Inc. Chief Executive David Yeager said the company will now employ “a core group of high-service outside carriers” to bring container loads from the ports to nearby warehouses and rail yards, a service known as drayage... Since shifting its business model to use company employees as drivers 16 months ago, Mr. Yeager wrote, Hub’s costs “have been unsustainable and substantially higher than our outsourced core carriers’ costs” ... “Despite Hub Group Trucking’s efforts to achieve a competitive cost structure in its Southern California operations,” Mr. Yeager’s email said, “it has been unable to do so” ...
 (Photo: BLOOMBERG NEWS - Trucks entering the Port of Los Angeles, where most drivers are independent contractors) -- Los Angeles, CAL, USA - The WSJ, by ERICA E. PHILLIPS - Feb. 4, 2016



* Uttar Pradesh - Tata Motors to replace all traditional trucks with Signa range

-- Country's largest commercial vehicles maker Tata Motors today said it will replace all its conventional range of trucks -- both medium and heavy vehicles -- with the Signa range and the new models will cost around 2 per cent more than the existing ones. The move marks the branding of its truck business in a serious way as the existing conventional models are just numbered especially in the HCV segment... Tata Motors Vice-President for sales and marketing--commercial business unit, RT Wasan, when asked about the pricing, he said the exact prices will only be announced at the commercial launch but will not be very costly... 
Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India - The Economic Times - 4 Feb 2016


ISUZU TRUCKS * Malaysia: Remains as top truck brand

* Isuzu market share: 36.2%

-- Isuzu remains the preferred brand among Malaysian commercial vehicle operators as its trucks retained the No.1 position on the sales charts for 2015... Isuzu Malaysia achieved another record year when Malaysians purchased 6,387 Isuzu trucks last year compared to 6,321 the previous year, giving the Japanese giant the enviable position of being the top truck brand in Malaysia for the second consecutive year... Buoyed by a significant growth in demand of close to 100% for its Forward medium-duty and Giga heavy-duty and prime mover trucks, Isuzu continued its domination of the Malaysian truck market, taking a commanding 36.2% share of the market... 
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - The Sun Daily - 3 February 2016


VOLVO TRUCKS * USA: Truck maker plans to slash production by nearly a third in the region

* Stockholm - Volvo steps on brakes in North America

-- The Swedish company plans to slash production by nearly a third in the region this year as it anticipates a sharp drop in demand, even as it swung to a net profit in the fourth quarter... Volvo, which makes trucks under its Volvo, Renault, Mack and UD brands, cut its forecast for the North American truck market this year to 260,000 vehicles, below a previous forecast of 280,000 units, and down 14% from 302,000 trucks in 2015. The company delivered 64,507 trucks in North America last year... Volvo Chief Executive Martin Lundstedt in an interview said, the four-year restructuring program targeting 10 billion kronor in annual savings by the end of 2016 lifted earnings in the fourth quarter and helped Volvo catch up with more profitable competitors such as Volksvagen AG’s Scania AB... The steeper-than-expected downturn lying ahead in North America represents a big challenge for Volvo at a time when the Gothenburg-based company is also faced with the collapsing sales of its construction-equipment unit in China and a slowdown in Brazil... Volvo said it expects the Chinese market for medium and heavy-duty trucks to reach about 750,000 vehicles in 2016, up from a previous forecast of 720,000... 
(PHOTO: REUTERS) -- Stockholm, Sweden - Reuters/The WSJ, by CHRISTINA ZANDER - Feb. 5, 2016


Feb 5, 2016

* The mental and physical effects of long-haul trucking * USA: TRUCKERS HEALTH

* California - Nothing will wreck your spinal system like the vibration of the truck bed for hours on end

-- For most people, it’s easy to see 18-wheelers as dangerous beasts. What many don’t consider, though, is how trucking as a profession can quickly become crushing to the drivers themselves... Truck driving is, without a doubt, one of the most brutal jobs a person can do. Across the board, long-haul truckers have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, divorce, and drug use than the average American... The difficulty of being away from family, do that, if national divorce rate is 3.6 percent, but among truckers it’s an insane 19.5 percent... Their on-the-job fatality rates are a ridiculous 11 times higher than average. The mental issues tend to play off the physical issues and vice versa, churning up a whirlwind of work-related trauma... In terms of physical challenges, sitting upright in a chair, even a thousand-dollar chair, for 10 hours a day is completely brutal on the human body. Truckers are highly prone to musculoskeletal issues, back problems, neck problems, knee problems. The vibration of the truck bed (a constant, low-grade rumble) is murder on the spinal system... For all the external blows to a trucker’s body, it’s their eating habits that are an even bigger concern. Food at truck stops is notoriously abysmal, and truckers don’t have time to leave the highway in search of healthier food—if it even exists in their area. Exercise, too, is, for the most part, non-existent. There simply isn’t time, and, after the workday, truckers are exhausted... Drugs, alcohol, and sex work patronage are all often used as self-treatment options, given the lack of easily found medical and mental health assistance. But the types of drugs preferred by truckers might come as a bit of a surprise. The logical choice would be amphetamines, like speed, which enhance a driver’s ability to stay awake and focused on driving... “I thought it would be more of that, but it was a lot of cannabis—pot—and crack,” Shattell says. “Two drivers actually said that they drive better when they're on crack than without, because they're more aware of their environment. How scary is that?” ... The core issues facing truck drivers haven’t changed in many decades, and there’s seemingly no real way to mitigate the risks involved without a full overhaul of the profession... 
North Hollywood, CAL, USA - Pacific Standard Magazine, by DAN NOSOWITZ - FEB 3, 2016


PROTESTING Melbourne truck drivers * Australia

* Victoria - They bring Western Link to standstill and promise more gridlock to come

-- Truckies who brought traffic on the Western Link to a standstill in a pay dispute this morning warned of further gridlock next week... Thousands of outbound motorists were caught up in a peak-hour protest in which about 20 tip-trucks drove side by side at 20 in an 80km/h zone near Moreland Rd... At one stage the trucks took up all four lanes, blocking traffic from overtaking... Police were called to monitor the protesting drivers, but no fines were issued: it is not an offence to drive under the limit unless you obstruct a road... A Victorian truck owner-driver, who asked that his name not to be used, said that after two years of talks over poor pay and conditions, action finally had to be taken... “All we’re trying to do is get a viable wage for us to make a living and for us to maintain our trucks,” he said... 
(Picture: David Smith - Trucks outbound on Western Link near Moreland and Bulla roads stage a protest)   --  Melbourne, VIC, Australia - The Herald Sun, by CHRISTOPHER GILLETT - February 4, 2016