Oopsie! DOT forgets to spellcheck interstate sign

Nobody’s perfect! Not even the folks who handle signage for the Department of Transportation. The North Carolina DOT was so excited to open up its new flyover bridge from Johnston Road to Interstate 485, that it might have forgotten to run spellcheck on the new signage.

The original sign with Pineville misspelled. (Christine Nelson/WBTV)

The original sign with Pineville misspelled. (Christine Nelson/WBTV)

As you can see from the picture above, the sign originally read “Pinevllie” instead of the correct spelling, “Pineville.”

Once the local media took notice of the spelling error, the NCDOT quickly fixed the sign. It was fixed within 36 hours.

The sign was quickly fixed. (Christine Nelson/WBTV)

The sign was quickly fixed. (Christine Nelson/WBTV)

Let that be a lesson for everyone: It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in, it’s always a good idea to spellcheck!

Daimler, Volvo report higher sales, profit in second quarter

photo_vnl-daycab-at-dock-500x269Daimler reported this week that second quarter revenue in its truck segment were mostly flat at $10.74 billion compared to the same period last year, while profits jumped 5 percent to $612 million.

Volvo in its earnings call reported a 44 percent increase in deliveries through June, while Mack, which Volvo owns, reported a 24 percent increase in deliveries.

Worldwide for Daimler, truck sales of 126,100 trucks were 2 percent higher than in the prior-year period. Truck sales in the U.S., Canada and Mexico climbed 18 percent to 41,100 units, giving the company a 36 percent market share in classes 6-8.

“From today’s perspective, global demand for medium- and heavy-duty trucks in the year 2014 can only be expected at around the level of last year,” Daimler said in a statement. “With the exception of the North American market, difficult conditions are still anticipated for most of the major markets.”

The ongoing replacement of aging fleets have pushed heavy truck sales for much of the year, but Volvo President and CEO Olof Persson says the market has only now begun to grow.

Through June, the total North American retail market for heavy-duty trucks increased 10 percent to 122,989 units.

“I think one important fact with the North American market right now is that up until now or up until recently that’s been a replacement markets. So we haven’t seen any growth in the market,” Persson says looking back at the company’s first six months of 2014. “But now we do see a sort of an expansion also into new and expansion of fleets and so on and so forth. And that is of course much driven by the economy development in the market and therefore, it will have a lot to do with the GDP going forward in the North American and U.S. in particular, how that is developing and I think that will be a correlation back to as it normally is between GDP freight volumes and also expansion or contraction in the North America market and we will see how that develops.”

Paccar, which owns Peterbilt and Kenworth, is set to release its quarterly earnings next week. Navistar-International reports on a different schedule than the other manufacturers.

This article was written by Jason Cannon, Online Managing Editor for Truck Parts and Service and its sister site, Successful Dealer.

Prices of construction materials on the rise

ConstructionOverall prices of construction materials are on the rise according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Labor. Prices increased by 0.1 percent in June and are up 1.9 percent from one year ago.

“Prices for inputs to construction industries have now risen in five of the year’s first six months,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “This marks a significant departure from the previous year’s remarkable stability.”

“Recent monthly gains have been modest—0.1 percent in June and unchanged in May; however, the surprisingly upbeat economic news from China (Chinese GDP grew 7.5 percent in the second quarter), along with a slew of large construction starts in specific regions of the U.S., suggest that prices may continue to rise—albeit modestly— through the second half of 2014.”

Crude energy materials prices expanded 1.2 percent in June and are 6 percent higher than one year ago. Natural gas prices fell 1.5 percent in June and have now fallen in three of the past four months.

The following materials also saw a price increase:

• Crude petroleum prices increased 3.2 percent in June and are up 5.6 percent from June 2013.

• Crude energy materials prices expanded by 1.2 percent in June and are 6.0 percent higher year-over-year.

• Softwood lumber prices expanded 2.3 percent and are 7.3 percent higher than one year ago.

• Concrete products prices expanded 0.4 percent in June and are up 3.5 percent on a yearly basis.

• Steel mill products prices rose 0.5 percent for the month and are 4.1 percent higher than one year ago.

However, not everything saw a price rise in June. The following materials saw a bit of a decline:

• Prices for prepared asphalt, tar roofing, and siding declined 1 percent for the month and are down 6.6 percent on a year-over-year basis.

• Fabricated structural metal product prices remained flat for the month but have increased 1.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.

• Iron and steel prices declined 0.2 percent in June but are up 4.6 percent from the same time last year.

• Natural gas prices shed 1.5 percent in June but are 12.9 percent higher than one year ago.

To read the full report, click here.

The state with the best roads in the country is...

Florida_State_Road_17_northern_segment_scenic_lake_viewAccording to a report from the Washington Post, the state with the best roads in the country is …Florida!

The report says only four percent of Florida’s 121,000+ miles road are in need of work. That’s way below the nation’s average of 14 percent. And since the Sunshine State has such good roads, local drivers save an estimated $300 a year in car maintenance compared to the rest of the country.

There are two big reasons why Florida has nicer roads than any other state.

1: Tolls and gas taxes.

Around 36 cents per gallon is added for drivers who fill up in the state of Florida. That money, plus tolls and other fees, are put together to account for 68.8 percent of the state’s transportation funds.

2: Weather.

Florida’s warm weather is road-friendly compared to colder climates that lead to cracks and huge potholes.

Anne Ferro out as FMCSA administrator

Anne FerroFederal Motor Carrier Safety Administration head Anne Ferro will be stepping down from her position as administrator of the agency, the Department of Transportation announced July 25.

An exact date for her departure has not been set, but according to a note she circulated to colleagues this morning, she said she will be leaving “towards the end of August.”

Ferro will be assuming the role of president and CEO at the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Ferro was a “true leader” in her 5-year tenure.

“Under Anne’s leadership, FMCSA has ushered in a new culture of safety into the commercial bus and trucking industries.  She has made it more difficult for companies that jeopardize the public’s well-being to stay in business and easier for consumers to make informed choices when choosing a shipper or buying a bus ticket,” Foxx said in an email to his staff. ”It is a legacy we are proud to continue.  In addition, Anne’s infectious enthusiasm for our work and our people has made DOT an even better place to work.”

Ferro, too, said she worked to “raise the bar for safety” while in her role at the DOT. She assumed the position in 2009. She said while under her watch, the agency strengthened its oversight of high-risk trucking and bus companies  and tried to advocate changing the driver pay model from per-mile to per-time model.

“I hope you are proud of the life-saving work you accomplish and look forward to tackling more tough challenges ahead,” she said in an email to her colleagues. “I certainly am proud to have served as your administrator.  You are professionals united in a single mission — to save lives — and I encourage you to continue to rely on each other’s strengths and redouble your energy toward that highest of goals.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association called for Ferro’s resignation last month, penning a three-page letter to Foxx asking him to ask her to step down. OOIDA said Ferro had shown “a clear bias” against the trucking industry in recent months, both in how she prioritized agency rulemakings and in language she used at Congressional hearings.

OOIDA released this statement July 25 from President and CEO Jim Johnston:

“We would like to congratulate the administrator on her new position and wish her well as she leads the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. She is well known for having unprecedented personal outreach and engagement with truckers in all the years that we have worked with the agency.”

The American Trucking Associations’ released this statement from President and CEO Bill Graves:

“In her time with FMCSA, Administrator Ferro was a passionate advocate for the agency. We wish her well in her new role at the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and look forward to working with her on commercial driver licensing issues.”

Editor’s note: This article was originally written by James Jaillet, Associate Editor of Overdrive Online.

DOT looks to improve crude oil transportation

crude oil tanks railThe U.S. Department of Transportation would like to start phasing out old tank cars used transport crude oil by rail, among other measures to improve the safety of crude oil transportation by rail. The DOT proposed a two-year phase-out plan that would primarily focus on discontinuing older model DOT-111 tank cars, long known to be vulnerable to failure in derailments, from crude oil and ethanol service.

The DOT would also like to advance safety measures by upgrading tank cars with thicker steel shells, electronic braking and rollover protections.

As part of the proposal, the department would like the maximum speed allowed to be 40 mph in in all areas for trains operating older tank cars, and in areas with more than 100,000 residents. Tank cars meeting new safety requirements would be allowed to travel 50 mph in urban areas.

The public has 60 days to respond to the DOT’s proposed rules.

Road worker killed while picking up construction cones

Freightliner trash truckDylan Joseph Snyder was killed in Kansas after being hit by a trash truck.  Snyder, 22, was picking up road construction cones and signs when the truck rear ended one vehicle and sideswiped two others stopped for the construction.

After hitting the vehicles, the truck struck Snyder who was airlifted to Christi Medical Center’s St. Francis campus where he died.

Jonathan Marcus Yoder, 36, was driving the 2008 Freightliner trash truck. He first rear ended a 2012 Chevrolet Impala driven by Cynthia S. Nelson, 41, that was stopped behind two road construction vehicles. The truck then sideswiped Snyder’s unoccupied 2008 Chevrolet Colorado. Snyder’s car was parked in the road behind a 2008 Ford F650.

The driver of the Ford F650, David A. Holzknecht, 21, wasn’t hurt, but David R. Holloway Jr., 24, was injured. He was in the back of the truck stacking signs and cones being passed up by Snyder.

Nelson and Holloway were treated at a local hospital, but neither were seriously hurt.

Yoder, who was wearing his seat belt, didn’t suffer any serious injuries either.

3 tips for staying safe inside road construction work zones

roadworksignAlthough many types of construction work can be considered hazardous, few tasks are more dangerous than those conducted in road construction work zones.

A number of construction site hazards can be mitigated through effective control measures, but the unpredictability of other drivers—particularly those who are impatient or inattentive – puts work zone crews at a higher level of risk. Here are some tips to keep safe while in a work zone.

1: Know the jobsite safety plan and know it well

Your supervisor will have not only a jobsite safety plan, but also a traffic control plan designed specifically for the work zone. This plan will outline the traffic flow, as well as designating pedestrian-free zones and pinpointing the location of barriers and other positive traffic control measures. Prior to beginning work, familiarize yourself with the plan, so you’ll know exactly where it is safe to walk or to stand.

2: Make yourself visible

Never assume anyone – whether it’s a driver or an equipment operator – can see you. Wear high-visibility safety apparel at all times while in the work zone. Know the blind spots of the equipment and vehicles in the work zone, and be sure to stay out of those areas. Never remain in an area near working equipment if you don’t need to be there. If you’re on foot, maintain eye contact with operators when you’re working near moving equipment. When standing near parked equipment, stand in front or on the operator’s side so you’re easily seen.

3: Realize your risk of being injured increases during night work

After the sun goes down, the danger goes up. The darkness combined with the glare from lights will greatly reduce driver visibility. Poor weather conditions will only exacerbate the situation. Also, drivers may be less attentive than usual, as they are more likely to be tired. It’s more important than ever to stay in the proper areas designated by the traffic flow plan. In addition to wearing hi-vis apparel, make sure you have good lighting in your work area.

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Keep your eyes and ears open and don’t get distracted. Awareness of your surroundings at all times is your best bet for remaining safe. Regularly check your work area for hazards, and be aware of any changes in procedures or traffic flow in the work zone. Always keep what you’ve learned in your safety training at the forefront of your mind, and remember, if you need a refresher course, many free programs and tools are available that will help you.

Editor’s note: This post was originally written by Amy Materson, Managing Editor of Equipment World.

VIDEO: VP Biden explains the importance of transportation infrastructure

Joe_Biden_official_portrait_crop2Vice President Joe Biden wants to change the way the United States invests in transportation infrastructure. Biden calls it the “Grow America Act.”

Watch Biden explain his plan and the importance of transportation infrastructure by clicking play on the video below!

What do you think of Biden’s plan? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

Can you believe how much bad roads cost Texas drivers?

Dallas Texas TrafficBad road conditions are costing the average Texas driver in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area more than $1700 a year. The report, released by TRIP (a national transportation organization), claims deficient roads, heavy traffic and high operating costs are taking its toll on Texas drivers.

The report claims nearly one-fifth of bridges in Texas are in need of replacement or repair. TRIP also says 16 percent of the state’s urban roads and highways are in need of improvement.

The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington road conditions cost the average area driver $1740 per year thanks to vehicle operating costs from driving on bad roads, lost time and fuel due to heavy traffic, and unfortunate traffic accidents.

According to the report the average area driver pays $508 each year in vehicle operating costs, which includes accelerated vehicle depreciation and tire wear. Driving in the area costs area drivers an additional $957 annually due to lost time and fuel from traffic congestion.

“These high costs are like a hidden tax on our motorists; we’d all be better off investing a little more in improving our transportation infrastructure and avoiding these costs,” said Tarrant County Commissioner Gary Fickes, chairman of the Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition.

Traffic crashes in Texas have claimed the lives of 16,041 people between 2009 and 2013.

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