On the Road

Are High Fuel Prices Killing Drivers?

Low prices entice carriers into the pumper outlets that often don't offer full-service, sit-down restaurants.

If it's not bad enough that drivers seldom have the time to eat properly and exercise, escalating fuel costs are driving fleets to buy fuel where it's cheapest, says Jim Park in his On the Road blog. Those places specialize in fast turn-over take-out food, not necessarily the food drivers need for a healthy, balanced diet. READ MORE

Tags: Diet & Nutrition, Driver Health, Drivers, Truckstops

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(3)

Death in the Tire Shop

Better communication and a little more awareness might have prevented a deadly shop accident. Photo by Jim Park

A tire service technician was killed when he was run over by the truck he was working on. Could more regulations have prevented the tragedy? Possibly, but so could better communication and a little more awareness of what goes on in a repair shop, says Equipment Editor Jim Park in his On the Road blog. READ MORE

Tags: Tires, Technicians, Maintenance, Managing the Shop

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, February 4, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Snow Happens

With 55 winters under his belt, Equipment Editor, Jim Park is amused by the expectation that life should continue like normal in places where they hardly ever see snow. READ MORE

Tags: Snow Removal, City of Atlanta

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, January 30, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(6)

New HOS Rules for Pilots Humanize the Job and Make Flying Safer Too

(Flight Simulator X screen grab by Jim Park)

Nobody likes being told when to go to sleep and when to wake up, especially when you're not naturally inclined to do one or the other. HDT Equipment Editor Jim Park lived with trucking's hours of service rules for 20 years, and in this On the Road blog post, he compares trucking HOS with a new set of hours of service rules for pilots. READ MORE

Tags: FMCSA, Hours of Service

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Friday, January 10, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

There's more to trucking than black smoke and taillights

Photo by Jim Park

Equipment Editor, Jim Park, shares his thoughts and experiences about the fund raising truck convoys that happen in the fall. He says these events show a side of drivers the public and some in the industry rarely see. READ MORE

Tags: Special Olympics, World's Largest Truck Convoy

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, December 31, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

A Different Sort of Christmas Carol

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." --William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5.

As a writer, our Equipment Editor, Jim Park, has a good imagination. He swears, though, that on two particular occasions, he wasn't imagining anything, when he suddenly got the urge to do something totally out of the blue. It was good that he did, too. READ MORE

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Friday, December 20, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

The perils of winter driving, or, self-inflicted wounds

Equipment Editor Jim Park, has seen his share of calamity on snow-covered highways. He got through his 20 years of driving unscathed, but the point of view from the driver's seat is a little different that that of a traffic camera mounted dozens of feet in the air. Park says this ringside-seat video provides a new perspective on winter driving. READ MORE

Tags: Winter Driving, Winter

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

Thirty-five years' experience or one year's experience 35 times?

The case for basic driving skills should be clear because truck drivers have milliseconds to react to problems. Pilots sometimes have several minutes. Photo: Jim Park

Equipment Editor Jim Park has had a CDL for 35 years. But does he know how to really drive a truck? We may never know until the day comes when he has to put his skills to the test. READ MORE

Tags: Driver Training

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, November 27, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Why We Need Good Driver Training

VIDEO -- Equipment Editor Jim Park recently found a truck route that reminded him of the importance of good driver training. Suspend your disbelief for a few minutes, pretend the sound of Jim's motorcycle engine is a Jake Brake, and join him for a trip down a truly hair-raising hill. READ MORE

Tags: Driver Training, Drivers

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, October 29, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Twin-Sticks to No-Sticks (Trucks have sure come a long way, Baby)

Back before they invented automated manuals with dash displays, driver had to remember which gear they were in.

It's easy to look back nostalgically at trucks that our grandfathers drove. Spend a day in one like Equipment Editor Jim Park did recently and say you wouldn't kill for an an automated transmission and an air-ride seat. Read more in Park's "On the Road" blog. READ MORE

Tags: Mack Trucks, ADT

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, October 21, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(7)

A Tale of Two Fuel Tests

SmartTruck says testing has shown the fuel economy of its undertray aero system is higher than recent results we reported from PIT.

What conclusion is the reader supposed to come to when two sets of properly conducted and documented fuel economy tests yield significantly different results? It would be easy to dismiss one of the tests as inaccurate, but that would still not answer the question, which one is wrong? What if both of them are right? A recent news article published such test results and yielded a significant discrepancy. A week-long deep-dive into fuel economy testing and real-world fleet results reveals that we s READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Aerodynamics, PIT

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, October 8, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

Why drivers do not believe there's a driver shortage

Drivers are repeatedly reminded that they are in short supply, but Jim Park asks why the industry is not responding as it should to tight supply conditions. READ MORE

Tags: Driver Shortage

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

In Praise of Higher Achievement

The National Truck Driving Championships and the North American Inspectors Championship are great showcases for industry skill and expertise. Equipment Editor Jim Park explains in his "On the Road" blog why it's too bad these competitions don't appeal to a broader audience. READ MORE

Tags: NAIC, Drivers, Image, In the Media

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

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: 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

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, Battery-Electric Vehicles, Batteries

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, June 13, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

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

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

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

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)

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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