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Coalition again pushing for 33-foot twin trailers, sends letter to infrastructure panel members

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FedEx is a member of the Americans for Modern Transportation Coalition and has long been a proponent of twin 33-foot trailers. (Associated Press: JUSTIN KASE CONDER)

WASHINGTON — The Americans for Modern Transportation Coalition is continuing its effort to allow twin 33-foot trailers on the nation’s highways.

The standard for tandems currently is twin 28-foot trailers.

In a letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and ranking member Sam Graves, D-Mo., the coalition identified longer trailers as a way policymakers can leverage technologies and efficiencies developed by the private sector to create “the infrastructure system of the future.”

In the letter, coalition Executive Director Randy Mullett said years of underinvestment and a lack of attention to the nation’s infrastructure has left American families in harm’s way, spurred economic inefficiencies, and put undue stress on the environment.

“At no cost to taxpayers, Congress can act to modernize trucking equipment and increase the national twin trailer standard from 28 feet to 33 feet,” Mullett said.

He listed what he called “immediate and meaningful improvements,” such as:

  • Reduced congestion because gains from twin 33-foot trailers would mean fewer trucks on the road and 53.2 million hours saved due to less congestion
  • Improved safety because twin 33s “perform better than many other truck configurations on four critical safety measures, including stability and rollover.” Research shows that the adoption of twin 33-foot trailers would result in 4,500 fewer truck accidents annually, Mullett maintains.
  • Economic benefits because 33-foot trailers can move the same amount of freight with 18 percent fewer truck trips, allowing consumers and businesses to realize $2.6 billion annually in lower shipping costs and quicker delivery times
  • Longer life cycles for roads and bridges because use of the longer trailers would result in 3.1 billion fewer truck miles traveled each year, and
  • Environmental gains because these trailers would equate to 255 million fewer gallons of fuel and 2.9 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions.

“The private sector continues to make investments in our workforce, new technologies, and existing equipment to ensure that our fleets are as efficient, sustainable, and safe as possible,” Mullett wrote.

“We need the same forward-looking effort from our partners in federal, state and local governments so that all Americans have access to the full promise enabled by a modern transportation system. We look forward to working with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to seize this opportunity to usher the country into a new era of safety and infrastructure investment.”

Among the members of the coalition are FedEx and UPS, two companies that have vigorously fought to get Congressional approval of the longer trailers.

However, twin 33s continue to have their detractors, among the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) being among them.

“Advocating for a vehicle configuration that only benefits a small segment of the trucking industry would only exacerbate current industry problems such as truck parking, the driver shortage and overall vehicle safety,” said TCA vice president of government affairs David Heller in response to the coalition’s letter.

“Distracting from the much larger congressional conversation of infrastructure reform, which would correct the shortfall of funding to the Highway Trust Fund and repair our deteriorating roads and bridges, would be irresponsible of an industry that is clamoring for a fix.  Constructive conversations regarding productivity should center around the growing issue of detention time, that in a new world of ELDs, has proven itself to be a data-proven problem with a solution that may actually make a difference on many issues that impede the productive delivery of this nation’s freight.

“TCA will continue to support a position of no changes to truck size or weight,” Heller said.

 

 

 

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Bendix set to deliver Safety Direct event video with new app

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In addition to enabling full SafetyDirect access, the forthcoming SafetyDirect Mobile app will also allow drivers to securely identify themselves in the vehicle. (Courtesy: BENDIX COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SYSTEMS)

ELYRIA, Ohio — Video information and other data captured by today’s commercial vehicle systems is both valuable and vital as fleets and drivers aim to improve safety on the roads.

A new mobile device application from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems will deliver quicker access to that information, pairing with Bendix’s leading-edge hardware and its SafetyDirect system to enhance fleet safety and driver training efforts.

“The app is called SafetyDirect Mobile. It is fully compatible with our powerful new fifth-generation SafetyDirect processor and our AutoVue LDW 5G platform, and it has been developed to enhance the new features provided by our new hardware,” said TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions – controls. “It means when you are standing next to the vehicle, you will be able to directly connect to the SafetyDirect processor – using Wi-Fi – and stream SafetyDirect video directly to the app. That’s a very powerful tool – and an industry first.”

Bendix expects to launch the app in the third quarter of this year.

SafetyDirect by Bendix CVS is Bendix’s user-friendly web portal that provides fleet operators with comprehensive feedback on their fleet and drivers, along with videos of severe events, Thomas said.

SafetyDirect, the only fleet camera system available as a factory-installed option at all major truck manufacturers, gives fleets key insights into common driving behaviors and trends across their operation. It wirelessly transmits the driver performance information and event-based data – video, vehicle, and sensor information from a vehicle’s J1939 network – to a secure web portal, providing fleets the necessary tools to help enhance their safety program.

In addition to enabling full SafetyDirect access, the forthcoming SafetyDirect Mobile app will also allow drivers to securely identify themselves in the vehicle, Thomas said. The app is part of a phased introduction of new features and advanced functionality expected to occur throughout 2019.

Because no advanced driver assistance technology can replace the need for safe and alert drivers practicing safe driving habits, Bendix stresses the importance of comprehensive, proactive driver training, and providing fleets with actionable information and tools to support their safety efforts.

“Informed fleets and drivers help enable safer fleets and drivers,” Thomas said. “The easier we can make it to reinforce good driving, sharpen training programs, and support the men and women behind the wheel, the safer our highways become.”

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group, develops and supplies leading-edge active safety technologies, energy management solutions, and air brake charging and control systems and components under the Bendix brand name.

For more information, visit www.bendix.com.

 

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Trailer orders down 9 percent from January, ACT says

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February net orders slid 9 percent from January volume and were 29 percent below the same month last year. (Courtesy: GREAT DANE)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — ACT Research’s preliminary estimate for February 2019 net trailer orders is 23,800 units.

Final volume will be available later this month.

ACT said its methodology allows the company to generate a preliminary estimate of the market that should be within +/- 3 [ercent of the final order tally.

“February net orders slid 9 percent from January volume and were 29 percent below the same month last year,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research.

“The sequential net order decline matches the industry order pattern of the past two years. With the majority of this year’s build slots already committed, and many OEMs unwilling to open next year’s order board this early, the potential for higher gross orders is somewhat limited at this point. Additionally, cancellations were roughly 1 percent of industry backlog last month. While not excessive, that generates some headwinds for net order volumes as well”

Maly said the order number was still solid, but a softer order count combined with stronger production volumes in February resulted in a 1 percent decline in industry backlog at month-end. “Backlog has remained relatively stable for the past four months, reaching an all-time high in December,” Maly said. “At current production rates, the order board commits the industry into November on average, although dry vans backlogs stretch into mid-December, while reefer commitments actually edge into next year.”

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets.

For more information, visit www.actresearch.net.

 

 

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Cummins X12 Wins truck writers’ Technical Achievement Award

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Krista Toenjes, Cummins’ North American manager of on-highway sales and marketing, accepts this year’s Technical Achievement Award from Jim Park, chairman of the truck writers committee which determines the annual honor. (Courtesy: ATATMC)

ATLANTA — Cummins’ lightweight but powerful X12 diesel has won the annual Jim Winsor Memorial Technical Achievement Award.

The honor was presented recently by a group of trucking news writers during the American Trucking Associations Technology & Maintenance Council meeting.

“As in previous years, there were a number of very worthy candidates nominated by members of our awards committee, and debate was lively,” said Jim Park, chairman of the Award Committee who writes for Heavy Duty Trucking and Today’s Trucking magazines. “But in our voting, the X12 emerged as the top product from a final field of four.”

The runners up were the Peterson Pulse electronic system for trailers, Stemco’s automatically deploying Trailer Tail and the Stemco-Webb Trifecta wheel hub.

Weight is always an issue in spec’ing and operating trucks, especially with bulk haulers and in vocational applications, and the X12’s comparatively low weight, along with millions of miles of previous service in Asia and South America, make it a standout among diesel offerings, members of the awards committee agreed.

The 11.8-liter X12’s dry weight is 2,050 pounds, 150 to 400 pounds less than 11- to 13-liter competitors, yet it makes up to 500 horsepower and 1,700 pound-feet of torque, according to Cummins. Innovative engineering trims pounds from the cylinder block but maintains high strength for long life, while advanced combustion design and effective air and fuel handling and promises high efficiency.

The X12 went into North American production and became available to customers in 2018, which made it eligible for the latest Technical Achievement Award, Park said. The engine is now an option from Autocar, Freightliner and Western Star.

Cummins, the industry’s sole independent engine manufacturer, won the award twice before, in 2017 for its X15 Efficiency Series diesel, and in 1998 for its Signature 600 diesel. In 2007, Cummins Filtration earned the award for its Fleetguard User Friendly filters.

The Truck Writers of North America, predecessor to today’s Award Committee, gave the first Technical Achievement Award went to Grote Industries for its red LED marker lamp, a technology that has become standard on trucks and trailers and across the automotive world.

Two years ago, the committee named the award after the late Jim Winsor, a 50-year veteran of the trucking trade press. He served as editor-in-chief at Commercial Carrier Journal and executive editor at Heavy Duty Trucking, and was active in the Technology & Maintenance Council and its forerunner, The Maintenance Committee.

Aside from Park, members of the awards committee included John Baxter, a freelance technical writer; Tom Berg, with Construction Equipment and Land Line magazines; Jason Cannon, Commercial Carrier Journal; Seth Clevenger, Transport Topics; James Menzies, Truck News & Truck West; Jason Morgan, Fleet Equipment; Jack Roberts, Heavy Duty Trucking; John G. Smith, Today’s Trucking; Suzanne Stempinski, Land Line; and Steve Sturgess, freelance writer.  8

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