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Goodyear honors 3 drivers at 35th annual Highway Heroes award presentation

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From left are Goodyear Marketing Director Gary Medalis, the 2018 Goodyear Highway Hero Award winner, Frank Vieira, and finalists Brian Bucenell and Ryan Moody. (The Trucker: KLINT LOWRY)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Brian Bucenell hails from Richmond, Virginia. Ryan Moody calls Tacoma, Washington, home. And Frank Vieira resides in Ancaster, Ontario, about 55 miles (or 89.5 kilometers, as he would say) southwest of Toronto.

You would imagine fate would have to put in some overtime to ever bring these three veteran drivers together for any reason, much less to share a spotlight in Louisville, Kentucky.

Yet there they were. On Thursday, immediately after the first day of the Mid-America Trucking Show, a crowd gathered at the nearby Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Expo Center hotel to celebrate serendipity’s fait accompli, and three standup guys, as the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company marked the 35th anniversary of its Highway Hero Award.

Each year since 1983, Goodyear has honored professional truck drivers who perform extraordinary acts of heroism, often at risk to themselves. This year, Bucenall, Moody and Vieira were the three finalists for the award.

Gary Medalis, marketing director for Goodyear, said that over the years, the Highway Heroes award has honored drivers who have saved children’s lives, come to the aid of police officers and have performed numerous other feats of bravery. He added that the three drivers selected as finalists this year are all fine choices as the award — the oldest of its kind in trucking — marks this milestone year.

The incidents that led to these three drivers being nominated for the Highway Hero Award were about as far-flung from one another as their hometowns, with one thing in common: They all exhibited personal and professional cool under pressure.

For Bucenell, it all started just after he’d merged onto the Ohio Turnpike near Toledo. He heard chatter on the CB about a high-speed chase going on somewhere in the vicinity. Moments later, Bucenell saw several state troopers in his rearview mirror chasing a car and gaining on him fast.

Just then, he came upon a construction zone. “We lost the far left lane,” he said. “It went from three lanes to two lanes. They put up a concrete barrier, blocking it off.”

When the car reached Bucenell’s truck another truck was running alongside. Bucenell said the car tried to pass him on the left, saw the barrier, then cut back behind him.

From that point on, Bucenell said, the car kept trying to pass, to the left, to the right, between the two trucks. Every time he moved, Bucenell, who’s been driving professionally for 10 years, moved over just enough to cut him off.

“I know my truck pretty well,” Bucenell said. “It was a mixture of his lack of experience and my knowing my truck. I think that’s what let me be able to stop him.”

Finally, the driver tried to swerve on the shoulder again. “I just whipped it toward the guardrail and stopped,” Bucenell said. The car was trapped, and the chase, which Bucenell later found out had reached 100 mph at one point, was over.

“There were 20 cop cars on him in the blink of an eye. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Bucenell said.

Moody’s incident happened when he was fighting traffic on a Chicago freeway. The only reason he was on that stretch of highway was because he’d missed the turnoff to the highway he had wanted to use.

As he was driving along, three motorcycles passed him. A biker himself, Moody remembered admiring the bikes and thinking, “Man, I wish I was riding right now.”

The motorcyclists got a few car lengths ahead of him, and two of them started to take an exit. As far as he could tell the third biker’s wheels locked up for some reason and he went end-over-end.

Moody said for a split second he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to stop, but he not only stopped but he swerved his truck to block traffic and prevent anyone else from running over the downed biker.

Moody then jumped out of his truck and tended to the unconscious motorcyclist, who was bleeding from a head injury. Moody literally gave him the shirt off his back, wrapping it around the man’s head, while trying to calm down other bystanders who’d stopped.

Moody said he’s ex-military, as was his dad, so all his life it’s been ingrained in him when things “hit the fan, you deal with it.”

Moody stayed with the motorcyclist until paramedics arrived. They later credited him with saving the man’s life.

“One of the officers said, ‘hey, do you want your shirt back?’ I said, no that’s his now.”

Vieira, who marked his 30th anniversary as a driver last year, was driving near Toronto one day when he heard a loud crash on a two-lane stretch of highway, looked over his shoulder and saw that a car on the other side of the road had slammed into the back of a stationary roll-off truck.

Vieira parked his truck, ran to the car, and found the driver, whose neck had been pierced by a piece of his own vehicle’s steering wheel, which had snapped off on impact.

“He had this thing on the right side of the neck, Vieira said.

Immediately, he placed one of his hands over the still-conscious motorist’s wound and applied direct pressure, while using his other hand to call for help. As he was doing this, the driver of the truck that had been hit had walked up, saw the impaled motorist, and fainted. Vieira said he didn’t even notice him until he saw the driver sprawled out on the ground, his legs lying over the line into the opposing lane of traffic. Without letting go of the first driver, Vieira managed to use his foot to pull the leg of the truck driver who had fainted away from traffic. Emergency personnel arrived and took over. Both men survived.

Vieira was surprised it’s become such a big thing, the attention he’s getting. Like the others, he was there and did what needed doing. “It’s a great feeling to be appreciated.”

“When I think about it, it seemed like it took half an hour, but it all happened in maybe four minutes,” Vieira said. He was so in the moment, he’s not even sure how he managed to do everything at once the way he did. “Not much thought goes through your mind; you just do it.”

After the incident he didn’t think much of it, either. “I was actually going to let this fly under the table and not talk about it,” he said. But word got around and before he knew it other people were congratulating him on his heroism. It’s the one aspect of his experience he shares with his fellow nominees.

 

“I don’t feel like a hero,” Bucenell said. “I didn’t literally safe anybody’s life. I never felt heroic about it. I felt like I did what was right.” When he heard he’d been nominated for the Goodyear Highway Hero award, he first thought one of his buddies was pulling a prank on him.

Moody also downplayed his incident. “To me I was just at the right place at the right time,” he said. “Somebody needed help and I was there. I don’t feel like I need any recognition; I just did the right thing.”

But others felt otherwise, and as it has for the previous 34 years, Goodyear put them in the spotlight.  In the end, Vieira was named the winner of the top Highway Hero honor. Days after he heard the decision, he continued to wear the hero’s mantle with humility.

“If it inspires other drivers, great. The more we help, the better this world becomes, right?”

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International Trucks makes Bendix Wingman Fusion standard on on-highway tractors

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Offering Bendix Wingman Fusion is part of International Truck’s DriverFirst philosophy, a company executive said. Pictured is the International LoneStar Low Roof model. (Courtesy: NAVISTAR )

LISLE, Ill. — International Truck now offers Bendix Wingman Fusion, an integration of advanced safety technologies, as standard equipment on the entire lineup of on-highway tractors, including the International LoneStar, LT Series and RH Series trucks.

Bendix Wingman Fusion is the Bendix flagship collision mitigation technology integrating radar, camera, and the vehicle’s brake system into a driver assistance system that delivers driver alerts and interventions to help them mitigate rear-end collisions, rollovers, and a loss-of-control situations.

Wingman Fusion combines and cross-checks information from sensors that are working together — not just in parallel — along with powerful computing, to typically assesses situations faster and reacts earlier, while also helping to significantly reduce false alerts and false interventions, according to Jim Nachtman, director, heavy-duty, marketing, International Truck.

By creating a highly detailed and accurate data picture, he said, Bendix Wingman Fusion delivers enhanced rear-end collision mitigation, and adaptive cruise control, along with following distance alerts, stationary object alerts, lane departure warning, alerts when speeding, and braking on stationary vehicles – all while prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction. Event-based data – including video – can be wirelessly transmitted for driver coaching and analysis by fleet safety personnel. Other options include blind spot detection that helps drivers address vehicles in their blind spots that may not be visible in their mirrors. The forward-facing camera of Wingman Fusion is powered by the Mobileye System-on-Chip EyeQ processor with state-of-the-art vision algorithms.

“As part of our DriverFirst philosophy, we concentrate on consistently improving the overall driver experience, specifically safety,” Nachtman said. “Partnering with Bendix to make Fusion standard on all of International Truck’s heavy-duty vehicles makes for an important joint contribution to make North American roadways safer for everyone.”

Since the introduction of Bendix Wingman Fusion in 2015, International Truck has offered the technology as an option for all on-highway models. Bendix Wingman Fusion is also available as an option on International’s medium-duty lineup, including the International MV Series, HV Series, HX Series and CV Series trucks.

“Bendix’s ongoing partnership with Navistar is built on years of shared commitment to driver, vehicle, and highway safety,” said Scott Burkhart, Bendix vice president – sales, marketing, and business development. “International Truck’s positioning of Wingman Fusion as standard equipment on its complete line of on-highway tractors is both a point of pride for the entire Bendix team and another step forward alongside a true leader in our industry.”

According to Bendix, its safety technologies complement safe driving practices and are not intended to enable or encourage aggressive driving. No commercial vehicle safety technology replaces a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques and proactive, comprehensive driver training. Responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times.

For more information on International Truck’s product lineup or to locate a dealer, visit internationaltrucks.com.

 

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TCA, CarriersEdge name top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For

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An overall winner in the large and small fleet categories will be named during TCA’s annual convention March 10-13 at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — With a record number of nominees and finalists, the Truckload Carriers Association and CarriersEdge have named the 2019 Best Fleets to Drive For.

“When it comes to working with drivers, our Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For are North America’s best-of-the best in the for-hire trucking segment,” said CarriersEdge Chief Executive Officer Jane Jazrawy. “This recognition program is now in its 11th year, and each year we’ve seen fleets up their game – making a positive difference in the lives of drivers with innovative programs.”

The Top 20 carriers will be divided into the 10 largest and 10 smallest and an overall winner in each group will be named during TCA’s annual convention March 10-13 at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort.

The 2019 Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For include:

American Central Transport, Kansas City, Missouri; Bennett Motor Express, McDonough, Georgia’ Bison Transport, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Boyle Transportation, Billerica, Massachusetts; Central Oregon Truck Co., Redmond, Oregon; Crete Carrier Corp., Lincoln, Nebraska; Epes Transport System, Greensboro, North Carolina; Erb Transport, New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada; FTC Transportation, Oklahoma City; Garner Trucking, Findlay, Ohio; Grand Island Express, Grand Island, Nebraska; Halvor Lines, Superior, Wisconsin; Landstar System,  Jacksonville, Florida;        Maverick Transportation, North Little Rock, Arkansas; Motor Carrier Service, Northwood, Ohio; Nussbaum Transportation Services, Hudson, Illinois; Prime Inc., Springfield, Missouri; Thomas E. Keller Trucking, Defiance, Ohio; TLD Logistics Services, Knoxville, Tennessee; and Transpro Freight Systems Limited, Milton, Ontario, Canada.

In addition to the Top 20, TCA and CarriersEdge identified five Fleets to Watch (honorable mentions):

Fortigo Freight Services, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada; Leavitt’s Freight Service, Springfield, Oregon; Liberty Linehaul, Ayr, Ontario, Canada; Roehl Transport, Marshfield, Wisconsin; and TransLand, Strafford, Missouri.

Three fleets have also achieved the milestone of five consecutive years on the list, including Boyle Transportation, Nussbaum Services and TLD Logistics.

To be considered for the Best Fleets program, companies operating 10 or more trucks had to receive a nomination from at least one of their company drivers or owner operators. The fleets were then evaluated using a scoring matrix covering a variety of categories, including total compensation, health benefits, performance management, professional development, and career path/advancement opportunities, among other criteria. Driver surveys were also conducted to collect input from drivers and independent contractors working with the fleets.

TCA President John Lyboldt said the Best Fleets program and its annual list of the Top 20 has grown to become one of the most anticipated announcements in the industry.

“The winners have set the bar high when it comes to keeping their professional truck drivers engaged while also providing a superior work environment,” he said. “This coveted contest reveals the tremendous efforts put forth by these driver-centric companies.”

“We do a very thorough analysis and take a deep dive into each fleet’s programs,” Jazrawy said. “An important component in the scoring process is analyzing driver feedback on the company and then comparing it with management’s comments. The two need to align in order for fleets to score well. This year’s Top 20 had an average driver satisfaction rate over 91 percent, and annual driver turnover under 35 percent, so what they’re doing is obviously working.”

For additional information on the Best Fleets to Drive For program, visit www.bestfleetstodrivefor.com

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Americans relocating to western, southern parts of country, United Van Lines survey shows

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ST. LOUIS — Americans are on the move, relocating to western and southern parts of the country.

The results of United Van Lines’ 42nd Annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns over the past year, revealed that more residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state in 2018, with 66.8 percent of New Jersey moves being outbound.

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CAPTION FOR PHOTO

Courtesy: UNITED VAN LINES

This map shows inbound and outbound patterns for the United States in 2018. The dark blue indicates high inbound moving rates, the light blue medium inbound moving rates, the gray shows balanced states, the light yellow medium outbound moving rates and the dark yellow high outbound moving rates.

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The study also found that the state with the highest percentage of inbound migration was Vermont (72.6 percent), with 234 total moves. Oregon, which had 3,346 total moves, experienced the second highest percentage nationally, with 63.8 percent inbound moves.

States in the Mountain West and Pacific West regions, including Oregon, Idaho (62.4 percent), Nevada (61.8 percent), Washington (58.8 percent) and South Dakota (57 percent) continue to increase in popularity for inbound moves. In tune with this trend, Arizona (60.2 percent) joined the list of top 10 inbound states in 2018.

Several southern states also experienced high percentages of inbound migration, such as South Carolina (59.9 percent) and North Carolina (57 percent). United Van Lines determined the top reasons for moving south include job change (46.6 percent) and retirement (22.3 percent).

In the Northeast, however, an outbound moving trend continues. New Jersey (66.8 percent), Connecticut (62 percent) and New York (61.5 percent) were included among the top 10 outbound states for the fourth consecutive year. Midwestern states like Illinois (65.9 percent), Kansas (58.7 percent), Ohio (56.5 percent) and Iowa (55.5 percent) saw high outbound relocation as well.

“As the nation’s largest household goods mover, our study allows us to identify the most and least popular states for residential relocation throughout the country, year after year,” said Eily Cummings, director of corporate communications at United Van Lines. “These findings accurately reflect not only where Americans are moving to and from, but also the reasons why.”

The National Movers Study reveals the business data of inbound and outbound moves from 2018.

In addition to this study, United Van Lines also conducts a survey to find out more about the reasons behind these moves.

A leading motivation behind these migration patterns across all regions is a career change, as the survey showed approximately one out of every two people who moved in the past year moved for a new job or company transfer.

Other reasons for the high percentage of moves to the Mountain West in 2018 include retirement (28.1 percent), proximity to family (20.8 percent) and lifestyle change (19.4 percent).

Compared to all other states, Idaho saw the largest influx of new residents desiring a lifestyle change (25.95 percent), and more people flocked to New Mexico for retirement than any other state (42.74 percent).

“The data collected by United Van Lines aligns with longer-term migration patterns to southern and western states, trends driven by factors like job growth, lower costs of living, state budgetary challenges and more temperate climates,” said Michael Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Unlike a few decades ago, retirees are leaving California, instead choosing other states in the Pacific West and Mountain West. We’re also seeing young professionals migrating to vibrant, metropolitan economies, like Washington, D.C. and Seattle.”

The top inbound states of 2018 were (1) Vermont, (2) Oregon, (3) Idaho, (4) Nevada. (5) Arizona, (6) South Carolina, (7) Washington, (8) North Carolina, (9) South Dakota and (10) District of Columbia.

The top outbound states for 2018 were (1) New Jersey, (2) Illinois, (3) Connecticut, (4) New York, (5) Kansas, (6) Ohio, (7) Massachusetts, (8) Iowa, (9) Montana and (10) Michigan.

New Jersey (66.8 percent), which has ranked in the top 10 for the past 10 years, moved up one spot on the outbound list to No. 1. New additions to the 2018 top outbound list include Iowa (55.5 percent), Montana (55 percent) and Michigan (55 percent).

Balanced

In several states, the number of residents moving inbound was approximately the same as the number moving outbound. Arkansas and Mississippi are among these “balanced states.”

Since 1977, United Van Lines has annually tracked migration patterns on a state-by-state basis. The 2018 study is based on household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. and ranks states based off the inbound and outbound percentages of total moves in each state. United classifies states as “high inbound” if 55 percent or more of the moves are going into a state, “high outbound” if 55 percent or more moves were coming out of a state or “balanced” if the difference between inbound and outbound is negligible.

To view the entire 2018 study and an interactive map, click here.

 

 

 

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