Brian Straight

Managing Editor

Brian joined Fleet Owner in May 2008 after spending nearly 14 years as sports editor and then managing editor of several daily newspapers.  He and his staff  won more than two dozen major writing and editing awards. Responsible for editing, editorial production functions and deadlines.

Articles by Brian Straight
Improving driver health one click at a time 1

WINDSOR, CT. Part of any insurance company’s job is to minimize risk. That includes ensuring driver health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average life expectancy for a commercial truck driver is 61 and high blood pressure is one of the primary health risks facing commercial drivers. Further, few commercial drivers eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Charging into the future 

Penny-pinching is often associated with those unwilling to part with their money.  But trucking fleets are also penny-pinchers; they break down costs looking for any edge that can positively impact their bottom line to compete in an industry with razor-thin margins. 

Boxed savings 

Family-owned Ozinga Ready Mix has made the commitment to convert its fleet of 500 ready-mix and related support vehicles to natural gas by 2020.  But the initial installation of a CNG station in the Chicago area did not produce the results that the Ozinga family was looking for, so another solution was needed.

Touch-a-Truck

Numerous cities and towns across the country hold Touch-a-Truck events during the summer months. The events are a way for children of all ages to see all types of trucks up close and personal and even learn a little about what roles the trucks play. The South Meriden (CT) Lions Club held one such event this weekend and accepted donations of non-perishable food items for the local soup kitchen.

Job hopping: Truck drivers on the move 1

The competition among fleets for drivers seems to be heating up along with the weather across the country, as turnover is on the rise and the new hours-of-service (HOS) regulations are cutting into productivity.

And one of outgrowths of this increased competition might be more inexperienced drivers entering the workforce and a resulting increase in fleets’ CSA scores.

Environmental, but not green, savings from electric trucks

For fleets expecting improved total cost of ownership (TCO) when purchasing an electric truck, a new study suggests that may not always be the case. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that while electric trucks provide a definitive energy efficiency advantage, TCO for an electric truck vs. a diesel-powered model may not result in the price advantage fleets expect.

Driving savings

As one of the few companies that is participating in the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership as both a carrier and a shipper, Tyson Foods has been able to garner a unique perspective on the program. And that perspective is helping drive down costs and drive up environmental benefits for the company’s private fleet.

“Working with carrier partners and what they are doing in the industry…[has] helped us a lot in terms of vehicle specs,” says Blue Keene, senior director of transportation for Tyson’s fleet.

Putting a global face on OEM leadership 1

While the change at the top of one truck OEM has garnered most of the headlines in the past few months, it is but one alteration of leadership in the past year that is reshaping the look of the industry’s top manufacturers.

Helping out our heroes

I am now old enough and wise enough to know the effects of war on a soldier, even though I have never been one myself. A decade of war, of seeing friends go to foreign lands, will do that to you. The lessons we, as a nation, learned from 9/11 have changed my perspective on life. Terrorism, be it foreign or domestic, in all its ugly forms is now a very real part of our lives. It is no longer something we see on the news; we now see it in our streets. The Boston Marathon attack reinforced that.

Leased solutions

Fleets considering alternative fuel vehicles face two daunting concerns right from the start: cost premiums and an understanding of what’s involved in both spec’ing and maintaining an alternative fuel vehicle. Fortunately, there are companies such as Penske Truck Rental that can demystify the entire process.

Oversized load may be cause of I-5 bridge collapse in Washington State 3

Mt. Vernon, WA. The Interstate-5 bridge spanning the Skagit River near here collapsed tonight at just after 7:00 p.m. According to local news, at least three vehicles went down with the bridge and people have been taken to local hospitals, but no deaths have been reported. I-5 traffic in both directions will be detoured around the bridge for an indefinite period.

GM to fill gap in commercial line with new Chevrolet City Express van

ORLANDO, FL. Taking a cue from its customers, Chevrolet will be filling a gap in its commercial vehicle lineup with a new small cargo van that will reach the market in the fall of 2014. The Chevrolet City Express will be based on the Nissan NV200 van but will represent the Chevrolet brand, General Motors officials said here yesterday during the GM Fleet & Commercial 2014 Product Review.

GM Fleet & Commercial 2014 Product Review

General Motors is holding its GM Fleet & Commercial 2014 Product Review for customers this week at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, FL. In addition to a look at the 2014 fleet lineup, GM unveiled a new small van, the Chevrolet City Express, to be available in the fall of 2014.

Propane autogas steps up in class 3

Alternative fuels have traditionally filled their individual places in the trucking world. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) seems to work best in long-haul trucking operations; compressed natural gas (CNG) in shorter-haul operations. Hydrogen fuel is finding some success in port operation. And propane autogas has been relegated primarily to light duty vehicles and school buses.

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