On the Road

How many drivers do we really need?

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 READ MORE

Tags: Trends

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

It works! The saga of a motorcycle engine rebuild

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 READ MORE

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.

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 READ MORE

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.

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. READ MORE

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.

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? READ MORE

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.

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 READ MORE

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.

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. READ MORE

Tags: Fuel Economy

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

The 1.6 mpg epiphany

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. READ MORE

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

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. READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance

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

Shoulda made that left turn in Albuquerque

It's amazing what you find when you get far enough off the beaten path.

A few weeks ago, when that hapless driver with the load of ammunition made a wrong turn into Mexico, I spent more time than I should have wondering how one could make a wrong turn across an international border READ MORE

Tags: Lifestyle

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, May 13, 2012 11:19 PM | » Comments(0)

In the wink of an eye

Sometimes nothing can prepare you for what lies ahead.

The after-effects of a serious crash can last years, or even a lifetime. The impact is entirely disproportionate to the time it takes for a crash scenario to develop. One instant you're cruising down the road, the next you're smashed to smithereens. READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, May 2, 2012 9:52 PM | » Comments(0)

Screwed if you don't. Screwed if you do.

Drivers who choose to do the right thing could be driving their careers off a cliff. Photo by Jim Park

The firing of a Texas-based flat-bedder for refusing to haul an improperly secured and unsafe load illustrates how CSA and the courts are failing truck drivers READ MORE

Tags: Heroes & Villains

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, April 25, 2012 10:42 AM | » Comments(3)

Come on up to Toronto's Truck World, eh

Truck World takes place April 19-21 at the International Center, just north of the Toronto airport.

Canada is celebrating all that's good in trucking this weekend. It's Toronto's turn to host Canada's national truck show, called Truck World READ MORE

Tags: Lifestyle

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, April 19, 2012 11:12 PM | » Comments(0)

Cheap insurance, really cheap insurance

Brake stroke indicators are your best hedge against drivers who won't do mark-and-measure brake inspections.

A set of visual brake stroke indicators costs no more than a few bucks per wheel-end, and can save hundreds by preventing just one out-of-service situation. So why aren't more fleets and owner-operators using them READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, April 3, 2012 10:53 PM | » Comments(4)

EPA Engine Report Card: the rest of the story

Every time a technician picks up a wrench, somebody has to pay, especially after the warranty expires on your emissions equipment. -- Photo by Jim Park

Getting through EPA 2002 through 2010 has been tough for everyone. Occasionally fleets share their experiences with the likes of me, who report them when we can. But there's an entire sub-set of sufferer we seldom hear from, or take seriously when we do: owner-operators READ MORE

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, March 6, 2012 4:39 PM | » Comments(4)

The value of time

Drivers don't often get paid for sitting still. Guaranteed minimum pay reduces the stress of unproductive time.

Time means nothing to an over-the-road driver. But it seems a couple of carriers, at least, are trying to rectify that. A couple of recent announcements from Baylor Trucking and Con-way Truckload regarding weekly minimum pay for their drivers are heartening indeed READ MORE

Tags: Lifestyle

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, February 13, 2012 11:01 PM | » Comments(2)

What trucking can learn from the airlines

Airlines have not lost a minute of sleep over baggage fees or sandwich prices. Photo used under Creative Commons license.

For-hire trucking could learn a few things from the airlines, because they have finally figured out how to make money in a deregulated environment READ MORE

Tags: Business

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, February 2, 2012 8:11 AM | » Comments(1)

The driver shortage is a myth

The question that needs to be asked is not how much can we afford to pay drivers, but how much can we afford not to pay drivers. (Photo by Jim Park)

There are thousands of men and women out there today with a CDL in their pocket no longer working as truck drivers. Why is the industry moaning about a shortage of drivers? READ MORE

Tags: Business

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, January 18, 2012 10:49 PM | » Comments(19)

Trucking down the glass highway

A highway that produces electricity and delivers messages to drivers? It's already in the prototype stage.

Glass highway? Does that have something to do with electronic dashboards, as in the Glass Cockpit concept in modern aircraft? Nope, we're talking about roadways made of glass. But you're not far off on the electronic angle READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, January 9, 2012 10:41 PM | » Comments(0)

Underinflated tires don't work very well

Riding a motorcycle on soft tires proves once and for all the negative effects of under inflation.

Regular readers of Heavy Duty Trucking may know me as The Tire Guy. I've written the magazine's tire feature every month for the past four years or so. I got a dose of my own medicine on Christmas Day, trying to take my motorcycle out for a rare winter spin READ MORE

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, January 3, 2012 10:24 PM | » Comments(0)

What's a Good Driver?

Everybody wants good truck drivers these days. Funny thing though, the recruiting ads are usually desperately short on specifics. So what is a good driver? Let's ask a few of the many masters that drivers serve in the course of their duties READ MORE

Tags: Heroes & Villains

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, December 20, 2011 11:49 PM | » Comments(9)

Automotive assembly with nothing to hide

Parts are delivered to VW's Dresden assembly plant on a street car.

An automotive assembly plant with oak hardwood floors transparent glass walls? There's such a place, and it's where Volkswagon builds its luxury Phaeton model. It's located in the heart of Dresden, Germany, and it fits in like a luxury hotel READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, November 13, 2011 11:50 PM | » Comments(0)

HOS, windmills, dropped balls and the DOT

More than 100 windmill pilons standing 440 tall in the middle of Nantucket Sound pose no threat to navigation, the FAA says. Tell that to a VFR pilot on approach to Martha's Vinyard in crummy weather.

What do the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration have in common -- aside from coming under the purview of the Department of Transportation? They both apparently have a penchant for dropping the ball on rulemaking READ MORE

Tags: Regulations

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, November 8, 2011 1:16 PM | » Comments(0)

Beware motorcycle wannabes with bicycle brains

Motorcycle or bicycle: can you tell the difference?

They look like motorcycles, but they're regulated like bicycles. They have tiny motors supposedly incapable of propelling them faster than 20 mph. They require no special license, no special operator training, and no insurance. These things are accidents looking for a place to happen READ MORE

Tags: Heroes & Villains

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, October 31, 2011 10:32 AM | » Comments(0)

Three Cheers and a Tiger for the Convoy Drivers

There's something in a convoy of trucks that seems to stir a driver's imagination. It's being a part of something. A cog in something turning, as the Woodstock song goes. The convoys I'm referring to are the various fund-raising convoys that take place around North America each fall READ MORE

Tags: Heroes & Villains

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, October 16, 2011 11:56 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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