On the Road

The Magnificent Stopping Power of Air Disc Brakes

July 15, 2013

" 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.

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.

July 3, 2013

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.

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

June 27, 2013

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..

Tags: Skagit River Bridge, Mullen Trucking, NTSB,

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.

June 20, 2013

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.


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.

June 13, 2013

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.

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

June 5, 2013

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.

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

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)

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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