On the Road

More Killer Truckers for your viewing pleasure

Television and trucking have always had a tenuous relationship. This week, a Discovery Channel expose all but guarantees the industry another black eye. In this week's blog, Jim Park questions the value to anyone of dredging up four old kidnap and murder cases involving longhaul truck drivers. READ MORE

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, August 12, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(8)

What happens when the facts show FMCSA goofed?

The new hours of service rules will cause more crashes than they prevent.

Equipment Editor and former over-the-road driver, Jim Park, ponders how FMCSA will cover its tracks when the crash rate actually goes up because of the new HOS rules. READ MORE

Tags: EOBR, HOS, FMCSA

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, August 7, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(8)

That Darned Old Trucker Pride

"My first shot at going backwards resulted in something resembling a sheet-bend knot. My second attempt was better. More like a half-hitch knot, but still nowhere near the target." In his latest "On the Road" blog post, Equipment Editor Jim Park gets his hat handed to him by a seasoned British driver after boasting that backing an articulated truck can't be that difficult. READ MORE

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, July 23, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

The Magnificent Stopping Power of Air Disc Brakes

" Since a 13-liter diesel engine with 40 tons in tow will never match the get-up-and-go of a Porsche 911 GT3, we G-force junkies have to get our fix with air disc brakes." Equipment Editor Jim Park got the chance to test the stopping power of several European trucks with air disc brakes on a trip to Europe last week, and he shares the experience in his latest "On the Road" blog post. READ MORE

Tags: Disc Brakes, Brakes, Meritor, Global

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, July 15, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(6)

The 1.6 MPG Epiphany, Part II

Carlos Cruz and is 2013 Freightliner Cascadia.

This story is a follow up to a blog Jim Park wrote a little over a year ago about a fellow, Carlos Cruz, who was a struggling lease-purchase driver. He wasn't making any money and was about to walk away from the truck when he decided to try some of the fuel saving tips he had read about and heard about on the radio. Today, his 90-day average is over 8 mpg, and his personal loaded best at 75,000 GVW is 9.7 mpg. READ MORE

Tags: MPG, fuel economy,

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, July 3, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

A Bridge Too Low

The i5 Bridge over the Skagit River collapsed after a truck hit the trusses. It's far from the first time that has happened. - Creative Commons license

The Skagit River Bridge has a history of high-load strikes dating back to the 1970s. Probing reporters have found a litany of strikes, including one very similar to the impact that brought it down, have occutred as recently as last October.. READ MORE

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, June 27, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

When Minutes Count

Whether it's time at a truck show or the family campsite, drivers' families need them home on special days.

DOT officers were diligently digging their way through fuel receipts and other bits of evidence to uncover the ugly truth: drivers were cheating on their logs in order to get home for the weekend. READ MORE

Tags: ELD, EOBR, HOS, FMCSA

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(3)

Let's Trade our Lead-Acid Batteries for Ultracapacitor Systems

Drivers and fleet managers will sleep easier at night as Ultracapacitor engine starting systems will take the worry out of running electric  HVAC for extended periods.

Ultracapacitor engine starting systems represent a sea-change in how we view a truck's electrical systems. The only thing standing in the way of this apparently game-changing technology is our inherently conservative nature regarding new technology. READ MORE

Tags: Maxwell Technologies, Ultracapacitor, Battery-Electric Vehicles, Batteries

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, June 13, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

To the Dump, To the Dump, To the Dump, Dump Dump

While you're getting dragged backwards through various knotholes in this year's RoadCheck 2013 event, take heart that a few local cops are patrolling the dumps and the Home Depot and Loews store parking lots looking cars with tons of gravel in their trunks or lifts of plywood on the roof. READ MORE

Tags: Roadcheck, , Load Securement

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, June 5, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Wait 'Till the Finger Pointing Starts

Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times

Trucks hit bridges every day. Why did the Skagit River Bridge fold up like a house of cards after a minor strike, and who's ultimately to blame? Jim Park wonders about the role of the pilot car driver in his "On the Road" blog. READ MORE

Tags: Skagit River Bridge, Mullen Trucking, Aging infrastructure

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, May 29, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

Aussies Deploy 'Water Wall' Tunnel Warning Technology

They've tried flashing lights, neon signs, low-impact barriers, but sometimes nothing seem to keep oversize trucks from squeezing into tunnels. Jim Park has more in his latest "On the Road" blog. READ MORE

Tags: safety

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Friday, May 17, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

The Parking Paradox

There's a good reason we don't have enough parking spaces in this country, says Jim Park in his "On the Road" blog: Truckstop operators can't make any money with 10 acres under asphalt because trucking won't pay for it. READ MORE

Tags: Truckstops, Driver Shortage, Drivers, Fuel and Oil, Truck Parking

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, May 7, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Drivers Deserve Respect

The lack of respect for truck drivers and the driver shortage go hand-in-hand.

Jim Park, Equipment Editor

Do you know what's lacking in trucking? Dignity. Simple dignity. If this sounds all soft and squishy, read on. I think I'll change your mind. A chance meeting outside my hotel lobby one evening during the Mid-America Trucking Show last month provides a clue on how to avert a pending disaster. READ MORE

Tags: Driver Shortage, Drivers

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Friday, May 3, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(10)

Mandatory Entry-Level Driver Training: Is There a Better Way?

Your scribe, Jim Park, at about 5 years into a 20-year driving career -- circa 1983-ish.

In his "On the Road" blog, Equipment Editor and former driver and owner-operator Jim Park wonders if three months of mandatory entry-level training would have made him a better driver. READ MORE

Tags: FMCSA, Drivers, Training, CDL

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Friday, April 5, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(3)

Whaddya Think of Those Canucks, Eh?

Bison Transport, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, took top honors in the over 25 million annual miles category.

For the second time, two Canadian truckload fleets earned top honors in the Truckload Carriers Association National (maybe it should be International?) Fleet Safety Awards. In his "On the Road" blog, Jim Park muses on whether Canadian truckers have a leg up in safety, despite longer work days and bigger rigs. READ MORE

Tags: Brian Kurtz Trucking, Bison Transport, TCA, , Canada, safety

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, March 11, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Are Airless Tires the Way of the Future?

Imagine a hybrid tire that can change tread patterns to suit the application, from a deep block lug for traction to a smooth rib for fuel efficiency, or a tire that runs just on its shoulders for optimum fuel efficiency or on a full tread face for better traction. How about a tire/wheel assembly that leans into a turn for better traction and stability? Equipment Editor Jim Park has a fun look at possible tires of the future in his "On the Road" blog. READ MORE

Tags: Tires, Michelin, Hankook

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, March 5, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Battling Jughandles in New Jersey

Guest blog post by Evan Lockridge, Senior Contributing Editor

Politicians generally aren’t known as going against the status quo, but one is moving in that direction in an effort to stop jughandles, which he blames for gridlock at hundreds of intersections in his state, reports Senior Contributing Editor Evan Lockridge in this guest post on the All That's Trucking blog. READ MORE

Tags: New Jersey, Highways

Author: Evan Lockridge | Posted @ Thursday, February 7, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Where have all the grab handles gone?

What do you think the aerodynamic penalty would be from a grab handle on the side of a truck that would help a driver climb up to a place he or she could safely clean the windshield? 0.0003%, maybe? READ MORE

Tags: Safety, Aerodynamics

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Friday, February 1, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(6)

What's the next big threat to truckload carriers?

If good paying union jobs catch on in the drayage sector, truckload carriers could see their labor poor shrink even faster. Photo by Jim Park.

Unionized drayage drivers. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters just inked its first contract with a drayage company working near the ports of L.A. and Long Beach. Drivers' wages will immediately jump from $12.72 to $19 per hour. And that's just the beginning READ MORE

Tags: Business

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, January 14, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Billboards, distraction and tax revenues

Do these animated electronic billboards distract drivers? (Photo courtesy of adsemble.com)

You don't need a PhD to recognize that bright flashing lights and changing images will grab drivers' attention. They are supposed to. But since drivers ought to be paying attention to things that are more pressing, why are these signs sprouting up everywhere? READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance, safety, Infrastructure

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, January 6, 2013 11:35 PM | » Comments(0)

GHG-14 Whatever

Will the GHG reduction rules make fleets more fuel efficient? I can't see how.

After finishing a feature story for the January issue of Heavy Duty Trucking about the pending GHG14 rules, I'm more convinced than ever that this burdensome regulation is unadulterated politics, and will get industry nothing we wouldn't have got already -- for way less money READ MORE

Tags: Regulations

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, December 20, 2012 10:47 PM | » Comments(0)

A shortage of pilots? Really?

It's a long expensive road from a private pilot license to an Air Transport Pilot certificate and an $18,000 income as a first officer at a regional airline. Photo by Jim Park

A shortage of pilots? Really? At least one influential aviation figure begs to differ. Retired airline captain-turned-aviation-analyst, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger -- yes, that "Sully" -- says the airlines are crying wolf, trying to get regulators to back down from new entry requirements for commercial pilots READ MORE

Tags: Heroes & Villains, Drivers, Driver Shortage

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, November 14, 2012 12:30 PM | » Comments(0)

It's no mystery why young people don't want to be truck drivers

A driver could face felony charges in Washington State for not cleaning zebra mussels off a boat he was hauling. Felony charges? How many other "civilians" can land in that kind of hot water for failing to be 100% diligent 100% of the time READ MORE

Tags: Heroes & Villains

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, November 5, 2012 5:59 PM | » Comments(1)

Red light. Green light. Whoops, red light!

Anyone who has ever thumped his or her steering wheel in frustration at a green light turning red for no apparent reason just as you approach an intersection will appreciate this recent achievement from Carnegie Mellon University READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, September 26, 2012 1:58 PM | » Comments(0)

CSA and brakes: The points are the last thing I'd worry about

It's funny that drivers place so much more emphasis on speed and performance over stopping capacity. All the horsepower in the world won't help when you're in too close to the vehicle in front and you need to stop now READ MORE

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, August 20, 2012 10:36 PM | » Comments(0)

Author Bio

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Jim Park

Equipment Editor

Truck journalist 13 years, commercial driver 20 years. Joined us in 2007. Specializes in technical/equipment material (including Tire Report), brings real-world perspective to test drives.

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