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The Nation

PR Newswire distributes search for semi crash-chasing lawyers



As if the trucking industry wasn’t already being harangued enough … .

PR Newswire was founded in 1954 to provide public relations agencies and in-house public relations departments a worldwide platform for distribution of news releases.

In 2017, it was integrated into Cision Communications Cloud, which, according to its website “is the only platform that empowers you to manage, execute and measure your earned media campaigns — all in a single integrated solution.”

Cision has 35 offices in 18 countries, including 10 in the United States.

It’s obviously a powerful player in the communications business.

But, in our opinion at least, the credibility of both the PR Newswire and Cision wavers when it sends out releases such as the one that crossed our desk recently.

It was from the Semi Truck Accident Victims Center and started like this:

“About a week ago we started a national initiative intended to identify the most skilled and qualified local law firm for innocent victims of a semi-truck accident in the top 100 U.S. metropolitan areas. We thought no problem. Unfortunately, what we soon discovered was either there are not extremely capable semi-truck law firms in every single top 100 U.S. metro area, or these law firms have some serious work to do on their websites.

“What we did discover is dog bite attorneys, slip and fall attorneys or Social Security disability attorneys listing on their website’s assistance for truck accident victims with no supporting proof they know what they are doing. We (the Semi Truck Accident Victims Center) are the top-ranked semi-truck accident victims advocate in the United States and if you are a partner in a law firm that specializes in assisting innocent victims of a serious semi-truck accident in a major metro area, please call us at (866) 714-6466 and please let us know who you are, and we’ll provide you with information about our initiative.

“If we can’t find a competent local law firm to represent an innocent victim of a catastrophic accident involving a semi-truck or commercial vehicle in the state or local metro where the accident occurred, we seriously doubt an innocent victim, or their family members, will be able to find them either, as we would like to discuss.”

We didn’t call the number to express our displeasure at anyone trying to recruit lawyers to go after victims of accidents involving a big rig, but we are recommending a few changes to the organization’s website where it lists reasons why a big rig might be involved in an accident.

What the organization listed is in lightface type; our recommendations for changes to the release are in boldface type.

  • The truck was traveling too fast.
  • The passenger car was traveling too fast.
  • The truck was involved in an improper lane change.
  • The passenger car was involved in an improper lane change.
  • The truck driver had highway or roadway unfamiliarity.
  • The passenger car driver had highway or roadway unfamiliarity.
  • The semi truck or commercial truck driver was distracted or talking on a cell phone.
  • The passenger car or passenger vehicle driver was distracted or talking on a cell phone.
  • The semi truck, or commercial vehicle was involved in illegal maneuvers.
  • The passenger car was involved in illegal maneuvers.
  • The semi truck, or commercial truck driver was driving too aggressively.
  • The passenger car or passenger car driver was driving too aggressively.
  • The semi truck, or commercial vehicle driver had alcohol/drug/prescription drug issues.
  • The passenger car or passenger car driver had alcohol/drug/drug prescription issues.
  • The semi truck, or commercial vehicle driver was overdriving for current weather conditions.
  • The passenger car or passenger car driver was overdriving for current weather conditions.

The list could go on, but you get the point: The Semi Truck Accident Victims Center is trying to find more lawyers to plaster on those billboards that show the smiling, dental-veneered lawyer along with a car smashed by a tractor-trailer (and there is a 75 percent change the car ran underneath the tractor-trailer).

The news releases continued: “The reason this service is so vital is because if you have been innocently involved in an accident with a semi-truck or commercial vehicle and you do not retain the services of the most skilled and experienced truck accident attorneys, you or your loved one will probably not receive the best possible compensation results.”

Yet, who out there is trying to recruit lawyers who will help the small trucking company owners and independent contractors who can get wiped out with a single jury decision?

The PR Newswire ought to be ashamed of itself for sending out this “fake news,” to paraphrase the man who lives in the White House.

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The Nation

Diesel heads up 4 cents a gallon to $3.006



Diesel prices jumped 4 cents a gallon to ring up Tuesday at $3.006. (The Trucker file photo)

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 how long prices had been going down or stayed flat that none of the U.S. Information Administration’s 10 reporting regions were clocking $4-a-gallon diesel, not even California, where diesel was ringing up at $3.739.

Also, four regions were still below $3 a gallon as of Tuesday.

And although 4 cents a gallon for the on-highway national average was a significant jump from the week before, the Lower Atlantic and Midwest regions each jumped 5.5 cents a gallon. Diesel in the Lower Atlantic sector went from $2.872 last week to $2.927 Tuesday while in the Midwest, diesel prices went from $2.849 last week to $2.904 today.

The Gulf Coast had the lowest prices at $2.809 a gallon, up 3.3 cents from the week prior.

Is this the start of an upward trend? It’s hard to know what oil prices will do in a global economy that is teetering since what seems like a bandwagon jump out of the European Union.

Meanwhile, oil was trading up:

U.S. crude added 48 cents to $56.07 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after gaining $1.19 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 16 cents to $66.34 per barrel, The Associated Press reported.

For diesel prices by sector, click here.

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The Nation

Ohio governor to reveal gas tax hike plan Thursday



Ohio's tp Transportation Department executive says the state is facing an "impending crisis" unless more road funding is provided. (The Trucker file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine says he’ll announce Thursday his proposed recommendation for increasing the state’s gas tax to deal with a chronic shortfall in spending on road construction.

DeWine, a Republican, says there are no other solutions outside a gas tax increase, while warning that any increase simply keeps Ohio from falling behind.

He wouldn’t provide details or say what the proposed increase will be. He spoke at an annual forum sponsored by The Associated Press.

DeWine says the increase is “just to keep us where we are today.”

The head of the Ohio Department of Transportation director said earlier this month that Ohio’s road maintenance and infrastructure are facing an “impending crisis” unless more funding is provided.

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The Nation

OOIDA Foundation issues information it says debunks driver shortage ‘myth’



Most carriers with high turnover do so by design, says OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “They could deal with driver turnover by offering better wages and benefits and improved working conditions,” he said.

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s research foundation published two new documents it says debunks the driver shortage “myth.”

A fact sheet explains how the industry isn’t afflicted with a shortage of drivers, but is actually plagued with overcapacity and driver retention, the foundation reported.

A second, accompanying document talks about how wages have decreased for truck drivers at large carriers and many have moved toward smaller fleets.

Last year, the association also created a short video that explains why there is high turnover as opposed to a shortage.

“We are concerned about the perpetuation of a myth of driver shortage,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA President. “This misinformation is used to push agendas that are harmful to the industry and highway safety.”

To address the supposed driver “shortage,” some organizations have suggested that the age requirement to obtain a commercial driver’s license should be lowered from 21 to 18.

“If safety is the top priority when considering a change to a regulation, when it comes to age, the number should be raised, not lowered.” Spencer said.

OOIDA also contends that any issue with retention could be mitigated with other solutions that would be safer for all highway users.

For example, compensation has been shown to be tied directly to highway safety, as revealed in studies that suggest there is a strong correlation between driver pay and highway safety, Spencer said.

“Most carriers with high turnover do so by design,” he said. “They could deal with driver turnover by offering better wages and benefits and improved working conditions. But putting younger drivers behind the wheel of a truck isn’t the solution because it does nothing to address the underlying issues that push drivers out of the industry. It merely exacerbates the churn.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Missouri, area.




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