On the Road

Wait 'Till the Finger Pointing Starts

Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times

May 29, 2013

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.

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

May 17, 2013

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.

Tags: Safety

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

The Parking Paradox

May 7, 2013

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.

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

May 3, 2013

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.

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.

April 5, 2013

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.

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.

March 11, 2013

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.

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?

March 5, 2013

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.

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

February 7, 2013

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.

Tags: New Jersey, Highways

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

Where have all the grab handles gone?

February 1, 2013

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?

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.

January 14, 2013

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

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)

January 6, 2013

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?

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.

December 20, 2012

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

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

November 14, 2012

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

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

November 5, 2012

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

Tags: Heroes & Villains

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

Red light. Green light. Whoops, red light!

September 26, 2012

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

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

August 20, 2012

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

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

How many drivers do we really need?

August 1, 2012

Do we really have a shortage of truck drivers in this country or are we simply adding up the empty seats across the land and calling that under-utilized capacity a driver short-age

Tags: Trends

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, August 1, 2012 1:54 PM | » Comments(5)

It works! The saga of a motorcycle engine rebuild

July 24, 2012

There's a special satisfaction one gets from digging deep into the innards of a machine, dismantling it, reassembling it, and eventually getting it running again

Tags: Lifestyle

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, July 24, 2012 8:33 AM | » Comments(0)

Truck brakes don't fail by themselves

Screenshot from wtvr.com.

July 10, 2012

Over the past week, two trucks crashed as a result of their inability to stop on hills. In both cases, the mainstream media reported that the trucks' brakes had failed. That illustrates what the mainstream media knows about truck brakes

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, July 10, 2012 11:54 PM | » Comments(5)

What happened to brotherhood?

Tractor-trailers parked in a designated LCV Only parking area on Ontario's Hwy 401 near Kingston, Ont.

July 5, 2012

It's not enough that drivers need to watch out for downright lousy car drivers, overly enthusiastic creeper-cops and dispatchers that don't know the meaning of 'tomorrow,' they also need to be on guard for the sins of their brothers and sisters.

Tags: Heroes & Villains

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, July 5, 2012 11:23 PM | » Comments(1)

Crash Prevention? Sorry, not our job.

What does this disc brake pad say to you? I found it in a motel parking lot frequented by tour buses that travel the mountainous roads in the region.

June 24, 2012

With a potential calamity hanging in the balance, why didn't law enforcement in this small Canadian tourist town take any action to prevent it, or at least investigate what I had called to tell them?

Tags: Heroes & Villains

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, June 24, 2012 11:25 PM | » Comments(7)

One-third of American workers are sleep-deprived

Nearly three-quarters of all night-shift report shortened sleep intervals. Photo by Jim Park.

June 14, 2012

Americans, it seems, are chronically sleep deprived. Perhaps not dramatically so, but we're sleepy enough to make the radar screen at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Research shows that over 30% of workers aged 30-64 are short of sleep

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, June 14, 2012 10:32 PM | » Comments(0)

Tire rolling resistance: It's real

If low-rolling-resistance tires make this much of a difference in this clever little demonstration, how much of a difference does it make with 18 wheels on the ground? Photo by Jim Park.

June 6, 2012

I love it when someone comes up with a simple way of illustrating a point. Rolling resistance in tires is real and it's a problem for trucks. But how do you quantify it? Percentages are vague. This little test is not vague at all.

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, June 6, 2012 8:16 PM | » Comments(0)

The 1.6 mpg epiphany

May 31, 2012

Here's a tale that, if it were from any other industry, might inspire a feel-good feature film. It's about a struggling rookie lease-operator who, as he is driving back to the terminal to hand back the keys, decides to try something different.

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, May 31, 2012 11:56 PM | » Comments(0)

What this country needs is a good $300 electronic log

May 21, 2012

As the House and Senate try to come to agreement on a highway bill that could include a requirement to mandate electronic onboard recorders, I want to say, I believe we're being taken for a ride on this push to mandate EOBRs.

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, May 21, 2012 11:37 PM | » Comments(14)

Author Bio

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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