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.

On the hot seat 

The month of June was not kind to FMCSA and, in particular, its administrator Anne Ferro. Early in the month, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. (OOIDA) sent a letter to the Dept. of Transportation asking for Ferro’s removal. In the petition, OOIDA argued that truckers “can no longer be assured of respect from and fair treatment by the administrator and the agency she leads.”

The certainty of regulations

Truckers know all about regulations. From hours of service to CSA, it seems that a truck can’t drive more than a mile without running into a regulation of some type. Some regulations, though, keep changing. Targets move. The industry reacts, and then the target moves again.

DOT prepares stopgap plan as funding for Highway Trust Fund is nearly exhausted

On Tuesday, Anthony Foxx, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, issued a warning to states and transit agencies that federal funding for road projects and transit efforts will become limited and states should not expect same-day reimbursement for projects.

What would be impact of insolvent Highway Trust Fund?

On July 1st, Anthony Foxx, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, issued a warning to states and transit agencies that federal funding for road projects and transit efforts will become limited and states should not expect same-day reimbursement for projects.

New Century Transportation shuts down 1

New Century Transportation, which was founded by Harry Muhlschlegel in July 2000, immediately following Muhlschlegel’s sale of Jevic Transportation to Yellow in 1999, is shutting down.

A representative answering the phones at the company’s headquarters confirmed to Fleet Owner that the firm was shutting down, but provided no additional details. Messages sent to company officials for further information on the shutdown have not been returned.

Fatherly advice 

The more I hear and read about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the closer the agency seems to resemble a typical American father—like myself.  There are plenty of times my kids love me, like when I get outside and play on the swings with them, or take them bike-riding, or even help them with their homework.  Then there are other times when they hate me because it was clearly my fault you threw the book at your brother and hit him in the head.  Yes, not throwing books at your brother is a rule.  Hey, I mean well.

Optimus primed to save fuel 

Last year, a startup business in Pittsburgh, PA, was looking for a fleet willing to test its biofuel conversion system.  It turns out that the firm, Optimus Technologies, didn’t need to go far to find such a fleet, garnering interest from its home city of Pittsburgh.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is being a laboratory for new technologies, and with Optimus being a local firm, this was a great [opportunity],” says Grant Ervin, sustainability manager for the city.

Peterbilt Commitment to Class Customer Event

Peterbilt Motors Co. held a 2-day event in Texas for customers to learn more about the Peterbilt product offerings and also those of its suppliers. As part of the event, attendees had the opportunity  to drive several Peterbilt models, including the 579 and 567 models and a vehicle powered by a new compressed natural gas system from Quantum Fuel Systems. There was also the chance to take a few laps as a passenger in a NASCAR race car at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Suppliers detail Peterbilt product offerings

DENTON, Texas. Attendees to the Commitment to Class Customer Event, held over two days by Peterbilt Motors Co. this week in Texas, were treated to a number of product updates from some of the OEM’s biggest suppliers, including Eaton, Bendix, Bridgestone, Cummins, Allison, Michelin and Meritor. While most of the presentations were product specific, there was some news shared, including an update on a potential federal rulemaking on an electronic stability control mandate for commercial vehicles.

A natural alternative

FT. WORTH, Texas. Since 2006, the cost to fuel an on-highway tractor, assuming no change to mpg, has increased $25,000 per year due to the increased price of diesel alone. That is the hard fact that Robert Woodall, director of sales & marketing for Peterbilt Motors Co. told the assembled audience of Peterbilt customers here on Wednesday as part of the Commitment to Class Customer Event.

And that is why alternative fuels, particularly natural gas, are gaining market share so quickly.

Peterbilt provides market update, announces automated transmission for NG models

FT. WORTH, Texas. Peterbilt Motors Co. announced new automated transmission options for several of its natural gas vehicles as part of a wide-ranging event in Ft. Worth, Texas on Wednesday. The OEM’s Commitment to Class Customer Event featured a number of customers, suppliers and Peterbilt product experts speaking on the industry, Peterbilt products, and natural gas.

Washington-based manufacturer eyes entry into COE truck market

Left holding a dual-steer street sweeper chassis design following the closure of a customer about 2 ½ years ago, Gary Jones and his team debated what to do.

“When the company went under, we said ‘what are we going to do?’” Jones told Fleet Owner. “So I said, ‘why not just build a truck? The more we got into it, the more we kind of liked it.”

CEO charged about Smith Electric's future

In a recent Dept. of Energy filing, Smith Electric Vehicles said that is has stopped shipping trucks and step vans with its Generation II system to customers “due to the company’s tight cash flow situation.” The company confirmed that it has halted production at its Kansas City facility as part of a “planned and temporary shutdown” with hopes that production will resume in 2-3 months time.

Smith Electric Vehicles through the years

A recent regulatory filing and report in a local newspaper said that Smith Electric Vehicles had stopped producing its all-electric medium-duty trucks late in 2013. Co-founder and CEO Bryan Hansel said that is true, but with the company expected to announce a new round of financing in the coming weeks, Hansel said he has "never felt better about our future than I do now."

Fuel invoice errors could be draining fleet profits

When Pilot Flying J corporate headquarters were raided by FBI and IRS officers in April 2013, it brought immediate and widespread attention to an issue that trucking fleets deal with on a daily basis: fuel prices.

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