It's no limo but…

It might not be a stretch limousine with champagne chilling in the back but it sure beats walking. When a driver and work crew at Nevada's Las Vegas Valley Water District drop their wheels off at the utility's fleet garage, they get a ride back to HQ aboard this “courtesy car.” Complete with tool storage boxes, it provides an easy and snappy way to drop off and pick up vehicles due for servicing.

Eagan, MN-based Transport Corporation of America proudly reports awarding an ATA Million Mile Award for safe driving to Lawrence (Larry) Powers. A tractor-trailer driver for nearly 40 years, Powers has been with the truckload carrier since 1987. “We are so proud of Larry's accomplishment,” says David Carter, vp-risk management. “He is an excellent driver and a fine representative of the high-caliber driver at Transport America.”

LETTER OF THE MONTH

I noticed the article (see The Bottom Line, pg. 16, 1/02) on “2010 Vision.” Would you please forward some contact information for the Bureau of Labor? I would like to research the projections where the trucking industry is expected to be one of the largest sources of employment growth.

Also, I have tried several times to convince the local Economic Development Council to research some state or federal funding at low interest [rates] to use for equipment financing…
— Mark Friedline, general manager
WW Friedline Inc.
Somerset, PA

Columnist Ken Simonson replies:

The homepage for the BLS occupational projections is http://www.bls.gov/emp/home.htm. Scroll to the bottom to see links to the articles from which I took the information in my column.

If Congress can agree on a “stimulus” package, they are likely to include temporary, faster depreciation for equipment bought this year. That should improve your cash flow much the way an interest subsidy would. Stay tuned!

Lending a hand

With the help of local volunteers, NBC “Today” weathercaster Al Roker recently unloaded trucks filled with donated goods at stops in five cities. The “Lend a Hand Today” program was inspired by the TV show's holiday toy drive but meant to inspire year-round charitable giving around the country. Atlanta-based MediaVehicles pitched in with customized, reusable ads for the program that were installed on trucks in each city visited in less than an hour, thanks to the firm's Side Track signage system.

Slow talkers

Veteran Kenworth test drivers Tom Liethen and Gary Ziebell are happy to be called tortoises by all the hares out on the highway. Ziebell's personal best in fuel economy — with a factory-order tractor — was 8.62 running fully loaded, averaging 51 MPH. “Numbers like this just show you how big of a difference driver behavior makes,” Ziebell says. “It's not uncommon for the best driver in a fleet to outperform the worst driver by more than 1.5 MPG. I've actually talked with fleets where the spread is over 2 MPG.” According to Liethen, physics count too. “When you're driving between 55 and 57, half your truck's energy is moving your load, the other half is moving air,” he explains. “Anything above 57 and you begin moving more air than load. When driving 55, a typical truck will move 18 tons of air per mile.”




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