Jim Mele


Nationally recognized journalist, author and editor, Jim Mele joined Fleet Owner in 1986 with over a dozen years’ experience covering transportation as a newspaper reporter and magazine staff writer. Fleet Owner Magazine has won over 45 national editorial awards since his appointment as editor-in-chief in 1999.

The ghost in the machine 

Most of the breathless media attention being paid to self-driving, or autonomous vehicles, has focused on the technology involved.  And for good reason.  The advances in hardware and software are quite astonishing.  They’ve given us trucks and cars that can sense impending danger and then do something about it to either completely avoid or greatly mitigate disastrous outcomes.  And the technology promises to do even more, much more actually, as it extends in the relatively near future into active control of complex vehicle operations like autonomous steering, navig

A tank half empty 

Trucks consume a lot of fuel. The vast majority of it is petroleum-based diesel and gasoline, and fuel is the single largest operating expense for any fleet.  So the current drop in oil prices is very good for the trucking business. Or is it?

The state of trucking 

Trucking has undergone a major transformation in the past five years as fleets have re-examined every aspect of their operations from equipment to business plans.  Think about just a few of the major issues fleets have had to address in recent years: evaluating new fuel options, navigating basic changes to safety regulations, a rapid evolution in truck technologies, a slow-growth economic recovery, and the list goes on. 

Mapping for success 

Company: Schilli Transportation Services, Remington, IN

Operation: Dry van and flatbed truckload services as the trucking arm of a full-service logistics management company


A good impression 

Whether it’s morning traffic reports, accident videos on the evening news, or ominous threats in movie thrillers, trucks are often portrayed as the bad guys in the media.  And, fairly or not, trucks seem to be routinely blamed by the auto-driving public for air pollution, traffic congestion, dangerous highways, and just about any ill connected to motor vehicles. 

AT&T expands fleet-management options 

New turnkey fleet management systems from AT&T are targeting government, private, over-the-road and local delivery fleets running heavy-, medium- and light-duty trucks as part of the company’s renewed focus on the transportation industry. 

Trucks without drivers 

About a year ago, I asked readers for their non-traditional ideas on solving the driver shortage.  Trucks that drive themselves were suggested by more than a few, and they were only half kidding.  Now it looks like they may get their wish.

DTNA releases safety system suite for Cascadia
SAN DIEGO, CA.  A proprietary suite of safety safety systems closely integrated with its powertrain components was introduced by Daimler Trucks North America during the American Trucking Assns. annual management conference.
Kriska, Britton Transport win Volvo Trucks Safety Awards
SAN DIEGO, CA.  In recognition of their outstanding safety efforts, Kriska Holdings Ltd. of Precott, Ontario and Britton Transport of Grand Forks, ND, were each awarded $25,000 as this year's winners of the Volvo Trucks Safety Awards.
Trucking healthy, but driver shortage accelerating
SAN DIEGO, CA. Cautious optimism on the economy is turning to plain optimism, and trucking's solid growth this year is part of the reason, according to a panel of chief economists representing the petroleum producers, retailers and manufacturers as well as the for-hire trucking industry. The one dark cloud is a driver shortage that is "as bad as ever and is expected to get worse in the near term," according to Bob Costello, chief economist and sr.
Daimler bringing medium-duty diesel to North America
SAN DIEGO, CA.  Having recently added a heavy-duty transmission to its existing Detroit Powertrain lineup of heavy-duty axles and engines, Daimler Truck North America will add medium-duty engines, according to Martin Daum, DTNA president and CEO.
New Dana drive axle for the world

HANNOVER, GERMANY.  A new family of single-reduction drive axles from Dana (NYSE:DAN) features a flexible design platform that will allow it to be customized for and build in various markets around the world, including North America, Western Europe and emerging economic zones.  Introduced at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show, the new global axle will accommodate GCW ratings between 32 and 41 tons with final drive ratios ranging from 2.05:1 to 6.50:1.

A Global Showcase for Truck Technology, Part 2
Every two years truck manufacturers from around the world and their suppliers gather in Hannover for the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show.  Housed in 14 buildings, they meet to showcase the latest technologies and celebrate their most advanced models in a truck event unlike any other in the world. Here is the second installment of pictures and highlights from IAA 2014.
It's official, Mercedes-Benz USA is getting a smaller van
HANNOVER, GERMANY. Introduced just weeks ago in Europe, the next generation of the mid-sized Mercedes-Benz Vito van will be coming to North American in late 2015, according to Daimler officials at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show. It will join the full-sized Sprinter, which has been sold in North America since 2001, as the second model for the newly created Mercedes-Benz Van division in the U.S.
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