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Kenworth W990, Central Oregon Trucking Co. to transport Capitol Christmas tree

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KIRKLAND, Wash. — A new Kenworth W990 will transport the 54th U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the November 2 tree-cutting in Oregon’s Willamette National Forest to more than 25 community celebrations planned en route to the tree-lighting ceremony in Washington, D.C., in early December.

To commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail, the Kenworth W990 and the special tree will follow a reverse path of the trail during the more than 3,000-mile journey. This year’s tour theme is “Find Your Trail” and marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act.

The Kenworth W990, equipped with a 76-inch mid-roof sleeper, offers an eye-catching graphics design with a brightly lit and colorfully adorned Christmas tree next to the U.S. Capitol below the words “From the Oregon Trail to the Capitol Steps.”

The W990 also includes the logo of Redmond, Oregon-based Central Oregon Truck Co., which is the official hauler of this year’s tree. The company was named the “2018 Best Fleet to Drive For” in the small carrier category by the Truckload Carriers Association and CarriersEdge.

Central Oregon Truck Co. was selected because of its excellent reputation in Oregon’s trucking industry, according to Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors, a non-profit organization that assists the U.S. Forest Service in coordinating the annual tour.

“It is an honor to be chosen to deliver the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree and represent the state of Oregon. We look forward to a memorable trip as we share the tree with America during the journey to Washington D.C.,” said Rick Williams, CEO of Central Oregon Truck Co.

Both Williams, a former flatbed driver; and business partner Phil Taylor, who serves as vice president of maintenance, will drive the W990 as a part of an overall team effort with other driving team members from the company. The flatbed carrier transports freight across the 48 continental states and Canada. The company’s Kenworth trucks are purchased from Papé Kenworth, which is a major sponsor of this year’s tour.

“For the fifth consecutive year, a Kenworth truck will deliver ‘The People’s Tree’. The annual lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is an important American tradition,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “We’re especially excited that the new Kenworth W990 will transport the tree. The W990 features the PACCAR Powertrain and will provide a very comfortable work environment for this year’s tour drivers.”

For more information, including a complete tour schedule, visit the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree website at www.capitolchristmastree.com.

CAPTION FOR PHOTO

Courtesy: KENWORTH TRUCK CO.

The Kenworth W990 that will transport the Capitol Christmas tree offers an eye-catching graphics design with a brightly lit and colorfully adorned Christmas tree next to the U.S. Capitol below the words “From the Oregon Trail to the Capitol Steps.”

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The Nation

Runaway ‘bobtail’ tractor crashes into Atlanta motel

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Police said this “bob-tail” tractor left the road, hit a parked car and ran into the side of a motel. (Atlanta Channel 2 Action News photo)

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Thursday that a driver is in custody after crashing a tractor-trailer into a motel in northwest Atlanta and running from the scene, officials said.

Atlanta Fire Rescue spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford told AJC.com that the truck went “partially” into the side of the Airway Motel in the 700 block of Fulton Industrial Boulevard on Thursday morning. There were no reports of injuries.

The “bobtail” tractor-trailer left the road, hit a parked limousine and went into the one-story building about 9:15 a.m., Atlanta police Officer Jarius Daugherty said.

The driver ran but was captured nearby, police said. His identity and the charges against him have not been released.

A woman was inside the motel room where the truck hit, but she was able to escape by climbing out of a back window, Channel 2 Action News reported.

“I just started crying and screaming,” the woman, Lashonda Allen, told the news station. “I was just praying to God the semi-truck didn’t catch on fire.”

Crews are checking the structural integrity of the building and investigating what sparked the crash.

By noon, the truck had been removed, and a gaping hole remained in the brick building.

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The Nation

Oops! New York state did not previously enforce ELD rule, now making up for lost time

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The ELD mandate was a 2012 law passed under former President Barack Obama. The provision was championed as a way to protect the safety of truckers and others on the road. The Trucker file photo.

ALBANY, N.Y. — There’s always a straggler in the bunch. Unknown to many, New York state has not previously been enforcing the federal electronic logging device (ELD) mandate because it never adopted the ELD rule under its state laws and thus lacked the authority to enforce it.

According to the Trucking Association of New York (TANY), the New York State DOT has now issued an emergency rulemaking and begun enforcement of the ELD mandate.

TANY added in a news release that they have been told carriers not in compliance with the ELD mandate will be placed out-of-service as early as Thursday, January 17.

The ELD rule issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration went into effect in December 2017 and state governments were to have followed suit by incorporating the federal ELD rule into their state laws.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has pursued lawsuits with certain states that have enforced the mandate while lacking a state-level law.

The ELD mandate has been unpopular among some truckers, who say it harms their schedules, take-home pay, and safety. Other truckers have said they like electronic logging once they get used to it.

When OOIDA sued New York, their complaint was dismissed — not because the New York court agreed with the state’s actions to enforce the federal law, but because New York wasn’t enforcing the law in the first place, according to Business Insider.

The snafu came to light in a State of New York Supreme Court ruling and opinion issued on December 31 by Judge Richard M. Platkin.

“Drivers are not being stopped, cited, or placed out-of-service pursuant to the ELD rule,” Platkin wrote.

Marc Berger, the chief motor-carrier investigator for New York’s Department of Transportation, said in the December 31 ruling that there are “no notices of violation or uniform traffic tickets being issued citing ELD provisions.”

The other defendants in the case — New York’s state police and the Department of Motor Vehicles — also stated that the ELD law hasn’t been enforced.

The ELD mandate electronically enforces the Hours of Service (HOS) law, which has been in effect since the federal government began regulating trucking in the 1930s. The HOS law stipulates that truckers can drive no more than 11 hours in a 14-hour period, a provision that some truckers say doesn’t reflect the nature of their work.

New York state said in the ruling that it does in fact enforce the HOS, but that the law is more challenging to enforce if ELDs are used.

The ELD mandate came into effect by means of a 2012 law passed under former President Barack Obama. The provision was championed as a way to protect the safety of truckers and others on the road. FMCSA estimated in 2014 that ELDs could prevent up to 1,714 crashes, 522 injuries, and 24 deaths each year.

But some truckers maintain ELDs are doing the opposite, while truck lobbying groups say it’s really not ELDs drivers have a problem with, it’s the unbendable nature of the HOS, which need more flexibility.

“The electronic logs are supposed to make it safer, but really it has created a hazardous race to beat the clock,” career truck driver Steve Manley, 51, told Business Insider. “Drivers are now more reckless than ever trying to make it to their destination before the clock runs out with the mandatory breaks and such.”

A TANY news release said despite New York State not enforcing the ELD mandate, it did enforce HOS and that FMCSA roadside inspections and on-site audits enforced the ELD mandate.

“Due to this, TANY continued to advise members to be in compliance with the ELD mandate regardless of the situation with New York enforcement,” the association said.

 

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The Nation

Speeding tractor-trailer flattens Utah restaurant, 3 injured

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This image from Salt Lake City television station FOX News 13 shows the aftermath of a speeding big rig slamming into a restaurant. (Courtesy: FOX News 13)

WELLINGTON, Utah — A speeding tractor-trailer skidded off a snow-slicked road Wednesday and crashed into a restaurant in a small Utah town, flattening the establishment and injuring 3 people, authorities said.

The truck was traveling too fast for conditions at about 6:30 a.m. when it went off a state highway that runs through the town of Wellington and struck the Los Jilbertos restaurant, which was open, the Utah Highway Patrol said in a statement.

State troopers rescued the restaurant owner’s wife, who was trapped in in the wreckage and suffered what were described as minor injuries. Also taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries were the restaurant owner and the truck driver, said Highway Patrol Sgt. Nicholas Street.

No customers were inside the restaurant when the truck hit it.

Images of the wreck showed the restaurant’s snow-covered roof torn off and leaning on top of the collapsed restaurant, the semi-trailer’s cab lodged into a corner of the building and the trailer jack-knifed. The restaurant is just off the highway, State Route 6.

The crash knocked out electrical and gas service to part of Wellington, a community of about 1,600 residents about two hours southeast of Salt Lake City. The power outage closed the town’s elementary school.

 

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