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Dorothy Cox

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Dorothy Cox is former assistant editor - now retired - of The Trucker, and a 20-plus-year trucking journalism veteran. She holds a bachelor's degree in fine arts and a master's degree in divinity. Cox has been in journalism since 1972. She has won awards for her writing in both mainstream and trucking journalism.

Tryin’ to say in plain English he can’t find the do-hickey for his thing-a-ma-bob

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The old man sat down on the front stoop, as I’d often seen him do, and fumbled in the pocket of his wrinkled khakis for his pipe. “Doggone,” he said. “I forgot my do-hickey.” He felt in the pocket of a work shirt that was so faded it was almost white and pulled out his pouch of tobacco, expertly taking a pinch and putting it in the pipe bowl. “Dad-gummit, where’s my thing-a-ma-jig?” He felt in his front pants pockets for the thing he tamped down his tobacco with, rising to a crouch to feel in his back pockets and realized he’d been...

Nikola inks $16M equipment order for its upcoming fuel cell lab

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PHOENIX — Nikola, the designer and manufacturer of hydrogen-electric CMVs, electric drivetrains and energy storage systems for heavy-duty commercial trucks, has signed a $16 million order to buy equipment for the next phase of its fuel cell development lab, the company said today. Noting that the order is part of an overall investment representing “several hundred million dollars,” Nikola Motor Company President Mark Russell said more about the deal will be revealed April 16-17 in Scottsdale, Arizona, at a “Nikola World event.” “It is critical that we move fast and have the best equipment as part of our truck development process,”...

Canada’s Lion Electric Co. introduces all-electric Class 8 urban truck

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MARIBEL, Quebec — Canada’s Lion Electric Co. March 11 presented its all-electric Class 8 urban truck, the Lion8, which will be delivered this fall. The vehicle has a range of up to 250 miles on a single charge and boasts “zero emissions” as well as “no noise pollution.” Lion also says the truck has an 80 percent energy cost reduction and a 60 percent reduction in operational costs. Another cost-saving attribute, says the company, is “oil-free operation,” with few moving parts and brakes that last longer because of a regenerative braking system. It’s also built to withstand Canadian winters and punishing road conditions. According...

After 55 years of trucking, MTA Driver of Year Art Stoen retired but not...

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Art Stoen, 74, only takes one medication. It’s for cholesterol, and he had to be talked into that. To hear him tell it, sounds like the doctor may have had to twist his arm a little. After all, said the 55-year career truck driver, “I feel fine, energetic.” When The Trucker caught up with him, Stoen had just shoveled snow in front of his home in Austin, where a couple of days before the wind chill had been 60 below. By the way, that’s Austin, Minnesota, not Texas. Just about cold enough to go ice fishing, now, said Stoen, who January...

Doh! Those darned three-wheelers in their flying cars — here come the Jetsons for...

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Driverless trucks? Fuhgeddaboudit. Platooning trucks? Ain’t happenin.’ Here, boys and girls, come the Jetsons. For real. If I’m lyin’ I’m dyin.’ No kiddin.’ When I was a kid, two of the most popular cartoon “sitcoms” were Hanna-Barbera’s “The Flintstones,” set in the Stone Age, and its counterpart “The Jetsons,” set in the future. I would think four-wheel motorists who have to travel around the Atlanta area and other heavily congested areas like Chicago and Los Angeles would like to get their hands on a flying car like ones on the “Jetsons.” The cartoon also featured robotic maids, aliens, holograms and all sorts of electronic...

Diesel heads up 4 cents a gallon to $3.006

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For the past several months, including the end of 2018, all the “experts” said oil (and consequently diesel) was going nowhere but up. It had to, they reasoned, after prices had almost literally scraped the bottom of the barrel. Then oil and diesel both went down for weeks. After that it stayed the same. Now diesel prices are finally up — 4 cents a gallon — to $3.006 a gallon Tuesday from $2.966 a gallon last week. Normally, diesel prices would have been announced Monday, but since it was President’s Day, diesel prices were released Tuesday. And it may be a testament to...

Dan Johnson tries to give 4-wheelers benefit of doubt, but says they don’t pay...

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Dan Johnson of Milton, Florida, northeast of Pensacola, can tell you what destruction looks like. One kind is caused by the hurricanes that routinely pummel his home state of Florida. The other kind occurs on the nation’s highways, mostly caused by unthinking four-wheelers but sometimes by truck drivers. A 22-year career driver and retired Navy man, Johnson has seen a lot of changes on the road, but said the most dangerous one is that “everyone is in a hurry and no one is paying attention.” Mainly, he said, the drivers not paying attention are four-wheelers, like the woman he saw recently...

Ohio-licensed CMV driver put OOS after killing 2 people on side of the road...

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An Ohio-licensed commercial truck driver has been put out-of-service after striking and killing two people on the side of the road, one in July 2018 and the other in December of last year. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration put Doug A. Jones OOS December 27 last year and announced its action today in a news release. On July 2, 2018, Jones hit and killed a 33-year-old man who was standing along the right shoulder of Interstate 81 South in East Hanover Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. In that fatality, Jones was charged with “careless driving causing the death of another person,”...

Trucker Don Copeland turns Christmas parade ‘blue’ to honor fallen law enforcement

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By Dorothy Cox dlcox@e7k.a33.myftpupload.com BROOKHAVEN, Miss. — Twenty-five-year OTR driver Donald Copeland, 54, has long had a warm place in his heart for the “boys in blue.” And like many others in his hometown of Brookhaven, Mississippi, located 60 miles south of Jackson, he was tired of law enforcement getting killed in the line of duty. Brookhaven has lost three officers in the past 18 months: William Durr, with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office; Corp. Zach Moak, with the Brookhaven Police Department; and Brookhaven Patrol Officer James White. Durr was a good friend of Copeland’s, and was a church youth worker and a...

Can machines replace human kindness? I think not

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Usually when you hear or read something about autonomous commercial vehicles, the word safety is mentioned. A lot. The thought is that if you take humans out of the driving equation, you will eliminate human error. Scratch beneath the surface, and you may find that like most things, a lot of it is being driven by greenbacks, dough, cash, or as Lyle Lovett croons, Mmmm O-N-E-Y. Germany-based ZF Friedrichshafen AG, a global supplier of driveline and chassis technology, in a recent copy of its magazine has an article titled “Autonomous cost-cutting.” It says truck drivers used to be “the last of the...

Pondering soft bridge abutments, fluffy road barriers

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Mike Rowe of TV’s “Dirty Jobs” once told The Trucker News Organization that he likes to say “Safety Third” to fight complacency, although I think it’s also to get a rise out of self-named safety advocates, federal officials, safety managers, insurance companies and others. He said when people ask him what he means by “Safety Third” he answers that in reality, “you’re not driving a truck because safety is the most important thing. Your reason for getting into this vocation wasn’t to come home safely. It was to deliver the goods. “The second reason was to make a living. That’s it....

Cargo thieves looking for easy pickings, high value

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Cargo thieves are stealing less and enjoying it more. Or, put another way, compared with third-quarter 2017, the third quarter of this year saw an 11 percent decrease in cargo-theft volume but a 31 percent increase in value. So maybe they’re working smarter not harder. Any way you slice it, cargo thieves are opportunistic and follow the money, according to figures from SensiGuard’s Supply Chain Intelligence Center, which just released its third-quarter report on cargo theft in the U.S. The center categorizes stolen loads in 12 cargo types and tracks by date, location, method used, value and specific products stolen. California continues to...

DAT: freight rates may be bottoming out

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Have freight rates hit bottom? DAT Trendlines thinks they might, or at least they’re headed that way. All during October, rates have gone down, “but the pace of decline is slowing,” said the latest Trendline report, adding that van freight is moving from the West to East as Asian imports arrive, presumably in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Van rates were 1 cent lower although reefer rates held steady as the Midwest region of the U.S. continued its produce harvest. National spot rates for vans were $2.17 at the beginning of the month but by October 27 had dropped to $2.10. Flatbed...

Following weakening oil, diesel prices slip 2.5 cents to $3.355

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Following oil prices weakened by a slowing global economy, average on-highway diesel prices Monday slid 2.5 cents a gallon to $3.355, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported. Prices were down in all 10 of the EIA’s reporting regions. The Lower Atlantic area decreased the most, 3.7 cents, to $3.217 a gallon, followed by the Gulf Coast region, which decreased 3.5 cents a gallon to $3.117. California is now the only sector in the $4-a-gallon range at $4.074, down 2.2 cents from $4.096 last week. Benchmark U.S. crude shed 2 percent to $65.69 per barrel in New York this morning. Brent crude,...

Diesel still going up for most part, average at $3.394

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At least for the present, gone are the days where one or more regions in the U.S. are showing diesel prices in the $2-a-gallon range, with the national average ringing up at $3.394 a gallon Monday. That was up 9 tenths of a penny from last week's $3.385. California diesel prices actually went down, but only by 2 tenths of a cent, to $4.109 a gallon, reported the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The West Coast Less California region saw the biggest price jump — 3.3 cents a gallon — putting diesel in that EIA region at $3.591. The Midwest region stayed the...

Diesel prices inch up a penny to $3.268 a gallon

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The on-highway diesel average inched up a penny today, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported, putting diesel at $3.268 a gallon compared with the $3.258 it cost last week. Of the EIA’s 10 reporting sectors, nine showed diesel price increases of from 4 tenths of a cent (Lower Atlantic) to 1.7 cents a gallon (Gulf Coast). Only the Rocky Mountain sector went down — 4 tenths of a cent — to $3.363 a gallon compared with $3.367 last week. Diesel in New England went up 1.2 cents a gallon, from $3.255 last week to $3.267 this week. Diesel prices remain in...

DOT’s Chao thanks nation’s truckers; notes their help through storms such as Hurricane Florence

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said in a posting today that National Truck Driving Appreciation Week (September 9-15) is occurring “just as Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the East Coast. Millions of people are going to be especially grateful in the coming days for the truck drivers who will be delivering food, fuel and other critical supplies” as “many of the men and women driving these trucks will be braving adverse road and weather conditions to get their loads through to communities.” Chao went on to say that “when a disaster causes store shelves to empty, gas pumps...

National, on-highway diesel prices ring up at $3.258

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On-highway diesel prices crept up today in all but two of the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 10 reporting sectors, with the national average ringing up at $3.258 a gallon. That’s up 6 tenths of a cent from last week, when the national average was $3.252. Although diesel in all 10 sectors is under $4 a gallon, there aren’t any sectors showing diesel below the $3-a-gallon mark. In the Gulf Coast area, diesel was selling for $3.039 a gallon, the cheapest in the country, while California diesel is still flirting with the $4 a gallon mark, ringing up just below it at $3.969...

Diesel prices jump 2.6 a gallon to $3.252 ahead of Gulf storms

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The average on-highway price of diesel jumped 2.6 cents a gallon to $3.252 today, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a day late because of the observance of Labor Day on Monday. Truckers fueling in the Midwest saw the largest leap — up 3.8 cents a gallon — followed by the West Coast Less California sector, up 3.6 cents a gallon, and the Gulf Coast, up 3.1 cents a gallon. That puts diesel in the EIA’s Midwest reporting region at $3.191; the West Coast Less California sector at $3.469; and the Gulf Coast at $3.035, still the cheapest...

Trucker Path study says parking primary cause of driver stress; may have worsened in...

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Professional truck drivers know all too well how being forced to park in unsafe areas because they’re out of hours can end in robbery, death or both. And, says a new parking study, parking availability has improved some, but not nearly enough. In some respects, it may have worsened. In fact, nearly 90 percent of drivers in one survey said finding safe parking is their No. 1 work-related stress. Trucker Path, the provider of mobile apps that help truckers report parking availability in real time, said its most recent study on the parking problem shows that on average, parking has improved...