Neil Abt

Senior Editor,
Fleet Owner

Neil Abt, senior editor at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

Seven fleets commit to 'Run on Less'

Seven fleets have agreed to have one of their trucks and drivers participate in Run on Less, a cross-country roadshow planned for later this year to showcase advancements in fuel efficiency.

Report touts savings from 33-foot twin trailers, downplays truckload's concerns

A new report from FTR Transportation Intelligence said allowing twin 33-foot trailers on the nation’s highways could lower costs as much as 10%, while having minimal disruption on the operations of the overall trucking industry.

E-commerce, border technology top NAFTA wish list

Promoting e-commerce and more use of technology to speed border crossings were among the recommendations freight stakeholders offered the Trump administration as it looks toward a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer received 12,450 comments ahead of a June 27 hearing on NAFTA modernization. Most were from individuals, who shared a range of opinions on the 23-year-old pact.

Truckers to get overnight toll discount during NYC construction

Truckers entering New York City by bridges and tunnels operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will receive a 50 percent discount on tolls during overnight hours this summer.

Supreme Court declines to hear ELD challenge

The Supreme Court has declined to hear a legal challenge to the federal government’s electronic logging mandate, making it a near certainty the rule will take effect this December.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association had sought a review by the high court on numerous grounds, including that electronic logs violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, the decision from the court paves the way for the Dec. 18 implementation date of the mandate from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to go forward.

UPS seeks technical exemptions from ELD mandate

United Parcel Service (UPS) has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for technical exemptions to the electronic logging mandate scheduled for implementation in December.

The company said the requests would save money while not having any negative effect on highway safety. FMCSA is accepting public comment on the requests until July 10.

Trump again touts infrastructure plan during campaign-style speech

President Trump delivered a campaign-style speech June 7 in Cincinnati to again tout his $1 trillion infrastructure plan that remains under development.

“The promise of a safe, reliable and modern infrastructure hasn’t been kept, but we’re going to keep it,” Trump said. He spoke hours after Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told a Senate panel a detailed proposal should be finalized before the end of September.

Has the Panama Canal expansion lived up to the hype?

As the expanded Panama Canal nears its first anniversary, a number of ports along the U.S. East Coast are receiving record-breaking containerships. However, there remains concern a lack of resources in Panama is translating to fewer Neopanamex ships moving through than initially projected.

Cargo Theft: Targeting the Threats 

There is no firm grasp across the country—and the world—how big cargo theft really is,” said Sam Tucker, CEO of Atlanta-based consulting firm Carrier Risk Solutions.

Tucker said many small trucking fleets he interacts with “have no idea about cargo theft [or] don’t care enough about it because they have not faced cargo theft themselves.”

Erik Dice, an inspector in the criminal investigations division of the Marion County, FL, sheriff’s office, has a similar belief.

FMCSA proposes study of split sleeper berth

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed a three-month pilot program to access the safety of allowing drivers to split their sleeper berth time.

The agency said in a Federal Register notice published June 6 it wants to study “safety performance and fatigue levels” by granting about 200 truck drivers permission to split their sleeper berth time.

What is there to fear? 

We are now only six months from the official start of the electronic-logging era.

The rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been years in the making, including a redo following a successful court challenge earlier in the decade. While that temporarily halted the rule, it did not slow innovation. After years of advancements made in fuel efficiency and communications, newer technologies like onboard diagnostics, pre­dictive cruise control, and crash avoidance systems are slowly becoming indispensible safety options.

States' patchwork of autonomous laws creates a downside

The rush by states to pass regulations meant to attract development and testing of autonomous vehicles (AVs) runs the risk of creating unintended obstacles. That was a key conclusion of the latest report from the Eno Center for Transportation, which also studied how states can better align their future infrastructure and workforce investments with the rapidly evolving technology.

New truck orders pause in May

Orders for new Class 8 trucks dropped in May from the previous month, but remained well above year-ago levels, two industry groups reported.

ACT Research said Class 8 orders were 16,800 units in May, down 30% from April and the lowest in the seven months. However, that was up 18% higher than May 2016.

The firm also reported overall Classes 5-8 net orders fell 11% in May to 38,100, the second consecutive monthly dip, but were 20% ahead of last year’s pace.

Daily preparations make getting through Roadcheck easier

Michael Donner, regional manger with Pilot Flying J Truck Care, has advice for any truck drivers that might be cramming to be ready for a possible inspection next week during Roadcheck.

“Drivers should be preparing daily for these inspections and not just this one big push,” he said.

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