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Energy Putting U.S. Trucking on a Diet

Posted on : 18-05-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Political News, Thoughts from a trucker, truck driver Industry

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SAN FRANCISCO — The backbone of U.S. commerce, given America’s vast distances and reliance upon highway transportation, is the combined fleet of 500,000 U.S. long-haul trucks. And to many Americans, the macho trucking life holds a certain romance. It has, to be sure, its drawbacks, not least the pollution from all those rumbling diesels. But new technologies are emerging that should at least mitigate some of that.

A U.S. safety law requires truckers to rest for 10 hours after 11 of work, and most sleep in their cabs rather than paying for a motel. Traditionally truckers have idled their rigs while sleeping, keeping the engine going to provide heating or climate control and other creature comforts. This practice, along with workday idling, uses more than two billion gallons, or 7.6 billion liters, of diesel fuel a year, according to research at the Argonne National Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Idling diesel engines are noisy and emit nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

As a response to increasing fuel prices and anti-idling regulations introduced by some cities and states, the industry has been exploring various alternatives. These include electrified parking spaces; auxiliary power units, or A.P.U.��s, for trucks, and detached heater or air-conditioner units.

“We are very much in favor of idle reduction,” said Clayton Boyce, a spokesman for the American Trucking Associations, which represents trucking companies, their suppliers and private fleets. “Not running that main diesel engine for extended periods saves fuel and reduces carbon output and other emissions.”

Electrified parking spaces, with plug-in electrical hookups for truckers, have increased in number over the past couple of years, sometimes with support from the sale of carbon offsets or government initiatives. They can provide truckers with heat, air-conditioning, electricity, even access to the Internet and satellite TV.

Two forms exist: single-system electrification and shore-based power. Single system requires no investment from the trucker aside from a $10 plastic window adapter. IdleAire, the industry leader, uses this format.

Shore-based power requires the trucker to install some equipment: detached heater and air-conditioning units, professionally installed inside the truck, can cost around $2,500. A less-costly approach is to buy a portable air-conditioner or heater powered by an extension cord run through the window. One company, Shorepower Technologies, sells a $199 kit that includes a portable heater, an extension cord, a truck inlet, a junction box and wiring for the cab.

With electrified parking spaces, truckers do not have to pay high upfront costs, and truck-stop owners can benefit from a revenue-sharing model: but there are approximately 5,000 truck stops across the United States and IdleAire has spaces at only 129 of them in 34 states. Shorepower has even fewer.

In fact, there are not enough regular parking spaces at truck stops for the number of truckers on the road, let alone electrified ones, says Lamont Byrd, director for safety and health for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a union that represents truckers. The result is that truckers frequently just pull off by the side of the road to rest.

“My nightmare is I’m driving across Nebraska in January,” said Linda L. Gaines, a transportation systems analyst with the Argonne laboratory who has a doctorate in physics. Thereâ��s an electrified stop “100 miles up the road, and I even know there’s a spot available for me,��� she said. But if it is snowing and it is slippery, �€œI’m going to pull off the road and rest here. And Iâ��d better have something onboard the truck.”

�œSomething” could be an auxiliary unit. But A.P.U.�€™s weigh around 400 pounds, or 180 kilograms, and cost up to $10,000: and they burn fuel, though more efficiently than truck engines.

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Nebraska governor signs ‘move-over’ law

Posted on : 13-05-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : truck driver Industry

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Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has signed a so-called “move-over” law meant to protect emergency workers and tow-truck drivers on busy highways.

The bill (LB92) passed Thursday in the Legislature and bars people from driving in the lane next to shoulders where emergency and nonemergency workers are present. Heineman signed the bill Wednesday.

If drivers couldn’t move over, they would have to slow down.

The law would apply to Interstate 80 and other highways with at least two lanes of traffic in the same direction.

Nebraska is 1 of 7 states without a move-over law.

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MyYango Pet Transport Company

Posted on : 10-05-2009 | By : Truckdriversnews | In : Pet Owners, Pet Transportation

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As many of you know I am on Twitter @Truckdrivernews it is the new social medium of the Internet. I call it the “new CB radio” it is pretty good service, just because there is anybody and everything using it. From, politicians to truck drivers, to CEO’s of cell phone providers, music stars, movie stars, you name it is probably on twitter now.

I have some pretty unique people following me, as I am following some unique people. One follower is @SOOZROWAN they are a truck owner operator/pet owner that also operate a Pet Transport Service. Now in 15 years of driving, I had never heard of anything like this before. But, the idea is incredible! I think it is a very good idea, and one I hope they succeed with. It was just like the story I did a couple months ago about the truck driver who died and was involved in an accident. The rescuers came on the accident, and saw there was a survivor, the drivers dog.

To make a long story short, they took the dog to the vet, and came to find out the family wanted the dog back but could not afford to make the trip from California to Nebraska to get him. Anyway American Airlines stepped forward and flew the dog home for free. For a measly $100.00 the dog could have caught a ride with MyYango Pet Transport Company.

I just wondered how they ever came up with the idea, they told me “I discovered a volunteer trucker pet transport a couple years ago, and still belong with the group. And just recently I decided to start my own, and opening it up to truckers to earn some extra cash.”

They do not own a kennel currently, they are located in Florida and are real OTR drivers. Hauling freight up and down the highways, sometimes though they have a special cargo on board with them. Usually it is one of their own pets, but sometimes it is another pet that they are transporting for a shelter, or the pet has been adopted and is on its way to its new family.

I asked them if they worked closely with any shelters they said, “I’m in contact with as many shelters around the country as I can be. The animals need help and transport so badly.” It’s pretty amazing that this truck driver try’s to pick loads to go in the same direction as pets. They told me,” I mainly transport freight in my 53′ dry van, and I take pets whenever I can, that is whenever I am in the area to pick them up and my load is heading where they need to go.”

MyYango Pet Transport CO. is obviously owner operators, so I asked them to tell me about their equipment and what they haul. They said,” I drive a Freightliner Century Class. I haul dry van freight and I run the 48 states region. I started driving a truck in March of 1999. I’ve always had at least one personal dog on board since I started driving a truck. I am also a S corps business. With all the required insurances, and licenses.”

After looking at their Website and reading about what all was involved in doing pet transports I wondered how many they had transported so far. They said,” I started transporting pets almost two years ago, so to date I’ve transported about 15 so far.” But this is not counting all the transports, MyYango Pet Transport Co. has about eight drivers certified to do this kind of transports right now. They told me,” Currently, since we are brand new, we have eight drivers. The more drivers we get, the more pets we can move.” In total they said,” All total, over 300 pets have been transported by truck drivers in the past five years. Which includes the volunteer groups.”

This kind of transport is not like your trip to the vet or anything, these pets are transported anywhere in the 48 states, I noticed on the Website it stated that they were Pet transport certified. I asked what this involved and they said, ” The volunteer groups I belong with have created a pet transport class that everyone must attend if they want to join us. I am going to use, that model as well in my business. The drivers take a written test and also attend a teleconference class. To make sure they have a complete understanding of the pet transport requirements and procedures, and if any problems arise, how to handle it, what to do, etc.”

I was also curious to find out what happened if say a truck driver was doing a pet transport and the animal got sick in route, who was responsible for the vet bills. They said,” If the driver can get the pet to the vet, without interfering with his/her main job of picking up or delivering their load, then they will put pet in vet. The shipper and receiver of pet is responsible for vet care. They give us a deposit for vet care. Pets are checked by vet and given good health cert before they go with driver. If pet is not healthy enough to travel, we wait until it’s healthy enough to be put with a driver for transport.”

I asked them if they wanted to add anything that was going on with the Website like updates and thing’s. They said,” I am just starting out with my Website. And I will be updating it with driver applications, pet transport shipper application, pet stories and photos, and the pet board, and allot more. It’s going to cost me $100 to set up this Website like this, but this format is great and it works with animal rescue groups. So, it will be about one week before I get it up and running how I like, need, and want it. Meanwhile, drivers can show interest in joining us by just filling in the form on the Website www.myyango.com/trucker and just letting us know they want to join. Get in touch with us.”

I asked them, if there was any kind of special insurance’s or documents the driver had to have. They said,” All trucks already have all the insurance. They will also have all the paperwork, USDA health cert, etc, that they will need for the pet(S). The shippers are aware, and agree with our contract when they fill in the application for us to transport their pets. I am also a S corps, so I have all insurance for my pet transport business.”

I asked them if they had any good stories they cared to share with our readers. They said, ” The first pet transport I did was a 12 wk old deaf mini Australian shepherd named Iceman. He was so cute and adorable. His personality was great. I would let him run in my yard at home, and he would not go very far. He was adopted by a deaf lady and her family.”

I asked if there was anything I might have forgotten or they wanted to add, and they said,” I am just starting out in my pet transport business with truckers on our team. So, for all truck drivers that are interested in joining us, please let us know by filling in the form on www.myyango.com/trucker Thank you, Susan Miller, Dellcina, and our team.”

This is a great service these truckers are doing. The possibilities of adopting a pet from across the country now is realistic. I hope they succeed, with the new adventure, this should really change how emergency pet transports are taken from now on. Especially, if a bunch more truck drivers join. It’s free to join, and you get paid for it.

Thanks MyYango Pet Transport Co. I really appreciate talking with you. This is a great thing you are offering, I truly hope it succeeds.

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