On the Road

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)

Shoulda made that left turn in Albuquerque

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

May 13, 2012

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

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.

May 2, 2012

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.

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

April 25, 2012

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

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.

April 19, 2012

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

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.

April 3, 2012

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

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

March 6, 2012

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

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.

February 13, 2012

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

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.

February 2, 2012

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

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)

January 18, 2012

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?

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.

January 9, 2012

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

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.

January 3, 2012

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

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

What's a Good Driver?

December 20, 2011

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

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.

November 13, 2011

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

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.

November 8, 2011

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

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?

October 31, 2011

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

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

October 16, 2011

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

Tags: Heroes & Villains

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, October 16, 2011 11:56 PM | » Comments(0)

Michigan's retread fee is a really dumb idea

Retreading is already one of the most efficient forms of recycling. Why tax it further? Photo by Jim Park.

October 9, 2011

Late last week, on an otherwise hum-drum news day, a notice came in indicating Michigan was contemplating a $5 environmental levy on retreaded tires. That livened up the newsroom. Placing a surcharge on what has to be recycling's posterchild product is silly enough, but wait until you hear why

Tags: Heroes & Villains

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, October 9, 2011 8:20 PM | » Comments(0)

Can EOBRs be hacked, or their data corrupted?

Paper logs may be burdensom and subject to interpretation, but at least you know what's on the page is what you put there. Photo by Jim Park

October 2, 2011

One of the tenets of our legal system is the right to cross-examine your accuser. From trucking's perspective, this could mean proving the accuracy of a radar device or a DOT scale by demanding proof of calibration. Will we retain that right in the world of cyber-enforcement

Tags: Regulations

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, October 2, 2011 11:55 PM | » Comments(0)

A Revolutionary Development in Powertrain Technology

Volvo's XE13 powertrain makes it possible to stay in top gear longer, which saves fuel and improves drivability.

September 21, 2011

Humped torque curves were the norm in North American heavy-duty on-road diesel engine power maps for decades. Today's torque curves are much flatter, but the height and width of the torque curve remain limited. Volvo Trucks has broken that mold in dramatic fashion with its new XE13 powertrain option

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, September 21, 2011 9:21 PM | » Comments(1)

We still haven't come to terms with brake adjustment

Automatic brake adjusters are poorly understood by driver and mechanics alike. Photo by Jim Park

September 11, 2011

Today is the beginning of Brake Safety Week in North America. CVSA inspectors will be doing a lot of brake stroke inspections this week, and also working with drivers, mechanics and others to improve awareness of brake systems and regulatory compliance. Its one of the best things CVSA does

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, September 11, 2011 9:47 PM | » Comments(0)

My old logbooks tell my story

Photo by Jim Park

August 30, 2011

Down in the basement lie several boxes of my old logbooks. Twelve books a year for each of the 20 years I spent playing in traffic -- half a lifetime on 7,200 pages

Tags: Lifestyle

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, August 30, 2011 9:17 AM | » Comments(2)

Save the Planet, Save Money Too

On-board climate control may become a necessity if 5-minute idle timers take hold. Photo by Jim Park

August 18, 2011

Hard-wired five-minute idle timers will probably begin appearing on trucks in 2014. You'll have two choices come winter: freeze your hiney off, or get an APU. This week we provide a list of idle-cost calculators so you can start budgeting for the new EPA rules

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, August 18, 2011 10:08 PM | » Comments(0)

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.

Sponsored by

Newsletter

We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.



GotQuestions?

LUBRICANTS

The expert, Mark Betner from Citgo will answer your questions
Ask a question

Sponsored by


WHEEL ENDS SOLUTIONS

Wheel end expert Jeff Geist from STEMCO will answer your questions
Ask a question

Sponsored by

Magazine