ATA much like the emperor with his new clothes on ELD mandate



So, the American Trucking Associations came out throwing wild punches this past week on the electronic logging mandate.

The prose of the letter can easily be described as frenzied and blustering. It was the letter version of someone so mad that they stammer, yell and spit. In the end, all you get out of it is they are mad that a delay of the ELD mandate is picking up steam.

What ATA tried to convey is that as, in their words here, the “most authoritative voice” for the trucking industry, mandatory electronic logs have universal support. Except, of course, for those rogue agents over here at OOIDA (and about 17 other industry stakeholder groups and counting).

What was intriguing about this letter is how ATA purported to represent such a wide swath of support.

We’re not hearing that same sort of thing around here. In fact, the grumblings about ATA forcing this position down on its members is causing a rift. Not everyone the mega-fleet group purports to represent is happy this is going down.

How loyal to the position are they really?

So, to test our theory, and to see how loyal ATA’s membership is to the group’s ELD position, Land Linepolled the ATA state partners. The questions were pretty simple:

  • Does your association have a position on the pending ELD mandate? If so, what is it?
  • What concerns are you hearing from your state officials and are they dire enough to support a delay?

We sent the request out Thursday this past week, asking for responses by Monday at noon.

Our Staff Writer and Research Associate Tyson Fisher, who sent the request, did not come in on Monday to a flooded inbox. In fact, you could hear the crickets chirping from his computer.

 Out of the 50 requests sent out, eight responded. Just eight. Of course, the Arkansas Trucking Association (which could not be any more lockstep with ATA) came in swinging hard in supporting the mandate. The responses from there quickly devolved to not having a position to sounding somewhat under duress.

Florida actually mustered the strength to type the words “put us in the ‘in favor of the mandate’ box.” Nebraska’s response was a bit conflicted sounding as well. They even admitted not all regulations can be a “one size fits all solution” but they were working to inform and educate their members.

The responses don’t tell as much as the lack of response from the other 42 states.

What’s not being said

Remember the old tale about the Emperor’s New Clothes. Short version, a couple of cons convinced an emperor they made him a magical suit. Anyone who was dumb or not suited for the position would not be able to see the clothes. In reality, the emperor was naked.

Everyone fell into line telling the emperor how fabulous he looked. The sham continued until an honest child pointed out, while the Emperor was literally being paraded through the city, that he was actually naked.

ATA, I think in all the flailing around and beating your chest, you’re standing there a bit naked. We didn’t get a roar of response from your state chapters backing the ELD mandate.

Here we actually invited them into Land Line with their position, right in OOIDA’s back yard. They could have really toed the company line and thrown you some cover. Rather, the silence of the masses is speaking volumes on the lack of cohesiveness of this “authoritative” voice you claim to have.

ATA, your members are sending a very clear message by saying nothing at all.

Van Rates Remain 2-Year Highs


National average van rates remain at their highest level in nearly two years.

Two weeks ago van load-to-truck ratios spiked. That was the result of going from a 4-day work week (Memorial Day week) to a 5-day week, which coincided with the annual Roadcheck inspection blitz. Van rates jumped 6¢ per mile that week. But instead of dropping back again, van rates held steady at $1.79 per mile last week.

Over the past month, Los Angeles and Atlanta have led the rising rate parade, and outbound volumes continue to climb in those markets. Elsewhere, some of the price gains have subsided.

All rates below include fuel surcharges and are based on real transactions between carriers and brokers.


Houston continues to have strong demand.

  • The lane rate from Houston to New Orleans rose 22¢ to $2.65 per mile, and the lane from Houston to Oklahoma City hit a new high of $2.30 per mile
  • Prices continue to fall out of Florida, as the inbound lane from Atlanta to Lakeland in the central part of the state also hit a new high, rising 22¢ to $2.74 per mile
  • Out West, van rates from Stockton, CA to Portland, OR averaged $2.80 per mile last week, a 20¢ increase
  • The lane from Los Angeles to Seattle also rose by double digits, up 15¢ to an average of $2.69 per mile


There were still more rising rates than falling ones on the top 100 van lanes, but the gap closed a bit last week. Prices fell on 40 lanes, including:

  • Columbus to Buffalo slipped 12¢, averaging $2.73 per mile
  • Atlanta to Philadelphia dipped 11¢ to $2.61 per mile
  • Charlotte to Atlanta also lost 11¢, to $2.25 per mile, which is still higher than usual for that lane

Operation Airbrake


Operation Airbrake is a comprehensive program dedicated to improving commercial vehicle brake safety throughout North America. The goal is to reduce the number of highway crashes caused by faulty braking systems on commercial motor vehicles by conducting roadside inspections and educating drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake inspection, maintenance and operation.

Out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations combine to represent half of all out-of-service violations issued for commercial motor vehicles on the road. Brake systems that are improperly installed or poorly maintained can reduce the braking capacity and stopping distance of trucks or buses, a serious safety risk.

This Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) model has been used successfully in other areas of traffic concerns (most notably seat belt usage), and has been adapted to address the issue of brake violations. The Operation Airbrake campaign was initially developed in Canada in 1998.

Amazon is building a $1.5 billion hub for its own cargo airline The Northern Kentucky facility will eventually employ more than 2,000 people.

Need another sign that Amazon is dead serious about building a giant logistics network to challenge UPS and FedEx? The online retailer will open its own cargo air hub in Northern Kentucky, where it plans to employ 2,000 people, it announced today.

The Amazon facility will be the eventual home to 40 Amazon Prime Air planes the company is leasing to transport packages between its own warehouses. Amazon said 16 of the planes are already in service.

The Cincinnati Business Courier pegged the cost of the project at $1.49 billion and said Amazon is in line to get $40 million in tax incentives from local governments. The company has received approval to lease 900 acres in total, the publication reported.

Amazon has said it began leasing planes to keep up with customer demand for packages that shipping partners like UPS can’t handle. CEO Jeff Bezos has said that Amazon isn’t trying to compete directly with UPS, though the Wall Street Journal has reported otherwise.

The company’s foray into air cargo has come with some bumps. This holiday season, hundreds of pilots that operate Amazon’s planes went on strike to protest understaffing issues.

Beyond planes, the company has bought thousands of its own truck trailers and is also starting to act as an ocean freight shipping operator to move goods between China and the U.S.

Trucking under Trump

ELDs and emissions regs

The ELD mandate, which became law last December and gave carriers two years to comply, was mandated by Congress in 2012 with a strong Republican majority in the House. Lane Kidd, head of the carrier coalition the Trucking Alliance, says he doubts Congress will walk back regulations it initiated. “To roll back Congressional actions — that would be far-fetched,” he says.

Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, agrees. “We’ve had Republican control of both the Senate and the House for quite a while. Unfortunately, the ELD rule was pushed through by Republicans in Congress, even some Tea Party Republicans,” he said.

However, tractor-trailer emissions regulations finalized this year by the U.S. EPA could be a target for the Trump administration, both Kidd and Spencer said. The new standards take hold next year and will be phased in through 2027. “I can see where Congress could roll back or stall regulations initiated at the agency level,” Kidd says. “There’s a chance, but whether there’s probability — that’s the big question.”

Spencer said his group hopes to engage the Trump administration on Phase 2 tractor-trailer emissions regulations in hopes of having the regulations reevaluated and expanding the 10-year implementation period.

Infrastructure, privatization, and tolls

Trump said throughout his campaign for the White House he wants major investments in U.S. infrastructure, calling for $1 trillion on infrastructure projects during his presidency.

He reiterated the point in his victory speech the night of the election. “We’re going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals,” Trump said. “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none.”

Major infrastructure packages are challenging to pass, says Spencer, especially since Congress changed little in the election. “Pretty much all the same players are still there,” he says.

Like all spending bills, the challenge is finding funding, says analyst Jonathan Starks, Chief Operating Officer of transportation research group FTR. “Lots of candidates have called for good investment in infrastructure, but the trouble is coming up with mechanisms to pay for it,” he said. “So far we haven’t come up with that plan.”

Trump says he would incentivize private businesses to invest in infrastructure projects by offering them tax incentives. Such privatization of U.S. roads could lead to more tolls, Spencer says.

“The closest Trump came to suggesting how things might be paid for is through privatizing. That sounds good to the financial community but it generally doesn’t play out that well on Main Street — it simply means more tolls,” he said. OOIDA is “open to sustainable funding that’s fair to highway users. The tried and true mechanism of paying for roads and bridges is through fuel taxes. If that’s ruled out, the dilemma gets bigger and harder to resolve,” says Spencer.

Kidd says Congress could act as early as next year on a major infrastructure funding bill. He also says the funding source is unclear, yet paramount to such legislation. “The big question is how will it be paid for? I think Trump at one point hinted at bonds being one avenue. Bonds have proven to be an effective way to finance infrastructure by borrowing against future fuel tax revenue,” he says. “It will be interesting to see what would be supported by trucking companies. We always want better roads, until we look around and see who’s going to pay for them.”

– See more at:

U.S. DOT Proposes Speed Limiters For Large Commercial Vehicles



U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced today that the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) propose equipping heavy-duty vehicles with devices that limit their speeds on U.S. roadways, and requiring those devices be set to a maximum speed, a safety measure that could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year.

“There are significant safety benefits to this proposed rulemaking,” Foxx said. “In addition to saving lives, the projected fuel and emissions savings make this proposal a win for safety, energy conservation, and our environment.”

The Department’s proposal would establish safety standards requiring all newly manufactured U.S. trucks, buses, and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating more than 26,000 pounds to come equipped with speed limiting devices. The proposal discusses the benefits of setting the maximum speed at 60, 65, and 68 miles per hour, but the Agencies will consider other speeds based on public input.

“This is basic physics,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “Even small increases in speed have large effects on the force of impact. Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and the environment.”

“Safe trucking moves our economy and safe bus operations transport our loved ones,” said FMCSA Administrator T.F. Scott Darling III. “This proposal will save lives while ensuring that our nation’s fleet of large commercial vehicles operates fuel efficiently.”

Motor carriers operating commercial vehicles in interstate commerce would be responsible for maintaining the speed limiting devices at or below the designated speed for the service life of the vehicle under the proposal. While the maximum set travel speed will be determined in the final rule, estimates included in the proposal demonstrate that limiting heavy vehicles will save lives.

Requiring speed limiting devices could also save an estimated $1.1 billion in fuel costs and millions of gallons of fuel annually. The public is encouraged to submit their comments on the proposed rule at



No hay mejor lugar, donde puedes empezar tu carrera como chofer, porque en Maybach tu no solo
ganas centavos por milla, sino también estas parte de nuestra familia!
Los mejores camiones!
El mejor comienzo posible por los jóvenes 21+! Directamente desde el comienzo – no experiencia
necesaria. Por cada milla ganas la major paga hoy y también salvas por tu propio camion por mañana.
Solamente en 3-5 años, tu vas a tener completamente pagado camion!
Necesitamos teams – 55-65 CPM!
Necesitamos también dueños operadores ! – $6,000 + gross cada semana!
Llame ahora mismo o mande un correo si tu quieres hablar con reclutador!

Nikola One electric-truck running prototype to be unveiled Dec


It’s long been assumed that while passenger vehicles may well start to transition to electric drive over the next decade or two, heavy commercial trucks won’t.

The energy density of liquid hydrocarbon fuel is particularly well suited to moving vehicles that can weigh 10 times the 2-ton weight of a passenger car.

But a handful of companies are forging ahead with electric and series-hybrid trucks anyhow, one of them being Nikola Motor Company.

DON’T MISS: Nikola One 2000-hp natural gas-electric semi truck announced

In May, Nikola (pronounced NEEK-oh-la) unveiled its design for a natural gas- and electric-powered Class 8 commercial semi truck to be called the Nikola One.

The company, which had operated in stealth mode before April, now claims it has achieved “100 percent zero emissions” on its prototype, without providing specific test details.

Founder and CEO Trevor Milton said yesterday that Nikola had achieved “the Holy Grail” of the trucking industry: “a zero-emission truck … that can haul 80,000 pounds [for] more than 1,000 miles … without stopping.”

After that, he said, “the Nikola One requires only 15 minutes of downtime before heading out for the next 1,000 miles,” presumably for refueling.

The company, named after famed electrical engineer Nikola Tesla, plans to unveil a running prototype of its truck in Salt Lake City, Utah, on December 2.

The Nikola One is fueled with natural gas, though the turbine it uses to generate electricity can run on a variety of fuels.

CHECK OUT: Road for electric trucks with trolley-like catenary opens in Sweden

A 320-kilowatt-hour battery pack is charged by the turbine, and energy is also captured via regenerative braking.

[NOTE: An earlier version of this article erroneously claimed that the Nikola One did not include a plug to recharge its battery pack from the grid. It does, but that is not anticipated to be the main energy source for the truck during continuous operation. We apologize for the error.]

It is powered by six electric motors, rated at a combined 2000 horsepower and 3700 pound-feet of torque.

Nikola One electric semi truckNikola One electric semi truck

With its compressed natural-gas tank fully filled, Nikola claims a 1,200-mile range for the truck—and operating costs that will be half those of conventional diesel trucks.

Yesterday’s announcement indicated that the company plans to lease each Nikola One tractor for $4,000 to $5,000 per month, depending on configuration and options.

It will also include enough fuel for the first 1,000,000 miles in the sale price, which it says can potentially offset 100 percent of that monthly lease cost just in savings over diesel fuel.

READ THIS: Recovered Energy And Ultracapacitors Could Cut Big-Rig Fuel Use (Oct 2015)

The average Class 8 truck today burns approximately $400,000 in diesel fuel annually, Nikola says, as well as requiring $100,000 or more in maintenance costs each year.

Famed electrical engineer Nikola Tesla, scanned image from postcard c. 1890.Famed electrical engineer Nikola Tesla, scanned image from postcard c. 1890.

Nikola claimed in June that it had received reservations for more than 7,000 of its trucks, including deposits, totaling more than $2.3 billion. (That would appear to indicate that each reservation was worth roughly $300,000.)

In the press statement, Milton responded to a hypothetical question about why no company had previously offered a natural gas-electric hybrid Class 8 truck.

“It requires a specific zero-emission refinement process of fuel, and gutsy engineering and product execution,” he stated.

“A traditional manufacturer would have to partner with an oil company, environmental group, electric vehicle engineering firm, a broad spectrum of suppliers and a world-class consulting firm to have figured it out.”

Milton was previously CEO of dHybrid Systems, which specialized in natural gas storage, so the use of natural-gas fuel for Nikola’s semi truck appears to be an extension of that work.

ALSO SEE: Is Walmart’s WAVE Concept Truck The Fuel-Efficient Future Of Semis? (Mar 2014)

The company’s claim that it has “achieved 100 percent zero emissions” on its truck would most logically be interpreted as fully battery-electric operation without the turbine generator in operation.

We’ll learn more in December.