CVSA: Out-of-Service Rates Not Good Safety Indicator

Out-of-service rates may not be an accurate measure of the safety of the trucking industry, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the international organization of state, provincial and federal truck safety inspectors.

Officers select trucks that look as if they may have a safety problem; they also target specific carriers that the computers show as poor safety performers. This focus “may initially increase the out-of-service rates,” CVSA officials said in a letter to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who has grown increasingly critical of trucking safety.

Customs Gets Money for X-Ray Machines

Truckers hope the $54 million that the U.S. Customs Service will get next year for drug interdiction technology will also lead to fewer trucking delays on the Mexican border.

The money, part of the huge omnibus appropriations bill recently signed by President Clinton, will buy narcotics detection technology.

Some worry, however, that the funding isn’t enough to allow customs to speed up truck traffic at the busiest border crossings.

Daimler-Benz Truck Sales, Profits Stay Hot

PARIS — Daimler-Benz, the world’s largest truck builder, is continuing on a record pace for sales and profits this year.

Through the first nine months, operating profit for the Commercial Vehicles Division has reached $848 million on revenues of $20.1 billion, an increase of 20% over the same period last year.

Worldwide, Daimler has increased unit sales by 19% to 355,600 vehicles (3.5 tons and up).

Volvo Trucks Post Strong Showing in U.S., Europe

PARIS — Despite the slowdown in Asian markets, Volvo Truck Corp.’s operating profits reached $248 million through the first nine months of the year, more than the $232 million the truck builder made in all of 1997.

“The higher income was attributable to the larger volume of sales and to improved margins in North American operations, which to some extent was offset by increased costs for introduction and startup production of new products,” Volvo said in a statement.

Editorial: Technology or Bust

For any remaining Doubting Thomases, last week’s annual get-together of the American Trucking Associations should have provided sufficient evidence that trucking and technology are now inextricably linked.

A stroll through the exhibition hall in New Orleans showed that more and more booths are occupied by companies looking to sell hardware and software designed to help executives run their businesses more efficiently, and keep track of their trucks and freight.

To Implement a Dream

ROSEVILLE, Minn.

ohn E. Wren is the kind of man you would miss in a crowd. Quiet and unassuming, the Minnesota trucking executive prefers to let others do the talking.

That’s about to change.

First as head of American Trucking Associations’ Strategic Plan and Dues Study Task Force — dubbed the Wren Committee — and now as ATA chairman for 1998-99, Mr. Wren will be the focal point for implementing the most far-reaching changes ever in the federation’s dues, structure and governance.

Although seeking the spotlight is not his style, getting results is.

Historic New Orleans School Gets the Trucking Treatment

NEW ORLEANS

early 150 trucking executives joined community volunteers on a sunny Saturday in New Orleans to paint, plant and rejuvenate their industry image.

“We’ve been fortunate to have been involved in trucking and transportation,” said Roger Roberson, president of Roberson Transportation of Champaign, Ill. “We believe you got to give something back. It’s something we’ve always taught our kids.”

Wages and Benefits See Biggest Rise in Six Years

WASHINGTON—Wages, salaries and benefits paid to American workers rose by 3.7% percent over the past year, the biggest increase in more than six years.

The increase for the year ended in September shows workers still are benefiting from two years of robust economic growth, which slowed this spring as spillover from world financial turmoil hurt American trade. But, before that happened, unemployment sank to a 28-year low of 4.3% in April in May, forcing employers to increase compensation faster than inflation in order to attract and retain qualified workers.

August Tons Dip

The adjusted truck tonnage index dipped nearly 7% in August, receding for only the third time this year. The unadjusted index slipped slightly, but it is 9.6% above its year-ago level. Could this be the beginning of a downward trend — and a leading sign of an overall economic slowing?

CVSA: Out-of-Service Rates Not Good Safety Indicator

Out-of-service rates may not be an accurate measure of the safety of the trucking industry, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the international organization of state, provincial and federal truck safety inspectors.

Officers select trucks that look as if they may have a safety problem; they also target specific carriers that the computers show as poor safety performers. This focus “may initially increase the out-of-service rates,” CVSA officials said in a letter to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who has grown increasingly critical of trucking safety.

Congress Earmarks Millions for Customs to Get X-Ray Machines

Truckers hope the $54 million that the U.S. Customs Service will get next year for drug interdiction technology will also lead to fewer trucking delays on the Mexican border.

The money, part of the huge omnibus appropriations bill recently signed by President Clinton, will buy narcotics detection technology.

Some worry, however, that the funding isn’t enough to allow customs to speed up truck traffic at the busiest border crossings.

PTDIA Certifies Schools

The Professional Truck Driver Institute of America’s Certification Commission recently certified 12 truck driver training schools and recertified one other under the organization’s revised curriculum standards.

PTDIA President Lana Batts said 250 people from six stakeholder groups — including driver training schools, motor carriers, insurance companies and government bodies — made a numbe of adjustments to skill standards, curriculum guidelines and certification procedures.

Grocery Distributors Merge

Two Southeastern grocery distributors — Gist Logistics of New Orleans and Star Georgia of Atlanta — have joined forces to expand their services in the area.

Gist Logistics offers truckload, less-than-truckload, consolidation and third-party management services. Star Georgia is a third-party provider of pool distribution and LTL consolidation.

he merger will create an extended distribution network out of Atlanta for direct LTL and consolidation throughout the entire Southeast, the companies said.

FedEx Pilots Seek Assurance on Potential Job Action

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Federal Express pilots want a court's assurance they can refuse to work overtime during the busy holiday season if they want to, the fliers' union said Friday.

Fedex Pilots Assn. has said it will issue the no-overtime policy Nov. 9 unless substantial progress is made in the union's contract negotiations with the cargo airline.

The union contends it can take such steps, called "self-help actions," without first seeking permission from the National Mediation Board.

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