Editor at Large
Rolf Lockwood was the founding editor of Today’s Trucking in 1987, and currently serves as the magazine’s editor at large – as well as Newcom’s vice president of editorial. Over his career, Lockwood has established himself as one of the deans of the trucking industry trade press. His honors include the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Truck Writers of North America, and the 2003 Harvey Southam Lifetime Editorial Achievement Award from the Canadian Business Press. He is also a contributing editor to Heavy Duty Trucking magazine.
The thing about proper training is that it makes the driving job legitimate, makes it seem like something worth doing. Our ability to attract new recruits will only increase if a strong training regime is in place. That’s how I wrapped up last month’s column — “Training? What Training?” — which garnered a lot of response. And a lot of agreement, especially on that point about legitimacy. If the job required serious training, graduates would think better of themselves, as would the public and the suits who govern how we do what we do.
Fault has not yet been assigned in the stunningly horrible crash that stole the lives of 16 Humboldt Broncos hockey club members and, while I have ideas, I won’t engage in conjecture as to what went wrong on April 6. Inevitably the discussion has turned to driver training and the shameful fact that only Ontario has made it mandatory, though not until last year. The public is outraged, and I can’t blame them. Many driving instructors are also angry about the reality of inadequate training. They’re right to be critical. Hell, it wasn’t so long ago that you could take the road test for your Ontario class A licence with a pickup truck pulling a fifth-wheel horse trailer out back. Ludicrous.
Perspective is what prevents us from making lousy decisions and watching our stress levels rise as we try to cope with the fallout from those mistakes and misperceptions. Never before, I would argue, has perspective been as necessary as it is now. In life at large and certainly in this industry of ours.
Does propane get enough love as an alternative fuel? I think not. The question arose at the recent Green Truck Summit in Indianapolis, Ind., as another journalist and I listened to seemingly endless mention of electric options and natural gas […]
There are two things converging in this sometimes tumultuous industry of ours: an apparent capacity crunch in many sectors and the difficult onset of electronic logging devices, which is only making the former worse. And will continue to do so, […]
Amidst the astonishing flood of electric this and autonomous that lately, I wonder who actually wants any of this stuff. I mean out there in the land of real trucking, not in the offices of mega-fleets with the means to […]
So last week I spent an illuminating day at the annual Cetaris user group meeting here in Toronto, in the company of some very big names in the North American fleet world. Kindly invited by the company’s founder and […]
COLUMBUS, IN – In a dramatic demonstration of technological agility, Cummins finished off a press conference here yesterday by unveiling its all-electric, zero-emissions class-7 tractor. Obviously, it’s a first for the 98-year-old diesel manufacturer that wants to become known as a powertrain provider, not an engine builder. It was a surprise to many, even to those of us who knew electric power was in the cards at Cummins, as well as being a small slap in the face to Tesla, which has been threatening to introduce an electric tractor next month.
Called the ‘AEOS’ electric commercial vehicle demonstrator, and built by Roush on what seems to be an International ProStar base, it’s a working 4×2 regional hauler, not just a concept shell. Cummins sees its role in vocational applications like urban delivery, port drayage, and terminal container handling.
It’s claimed to achieve over 30 miles per gallon in diesel-equivalent terms while accelerating 25-35% faster than the same tractor powered by an 11- or 12-liter diesel (depending on rear-axle ratios, of course).
A few months ago I wrote a couple of times about headlights, complaining that the standard lamps offered in most vehicles — from cars to heavy trucks — are insufficient. Meaning, it’s too easy to over-drive your lights at what are pretty ordinary speeds nowadays. The light just isn’t thrown far enough down the road, reducing the ability of a driver to see far enough ahead to avoid an obstruction and maybe a catastrophic accident.
Volvo has been mighty busy of late. Back in late April it chose our very own Expocam truck show in Montreal to unveil its new and long overdue VNR regional tractor. Promoted as the “shape of trucks to come,” it was joined this week by another much updated truck, the long-haul VNL, replete with all manner of safety technology as standard equipment.
So I had some fun last week in Arizona with a few of Western Star’s latest trucks and the continuation of the company’s anniversary celebrations. They refer to it as ‘Celebrating 50 Years of Legendary Awesomeness’. No hyperbole there.
Bucket-list item ticked: I finally got to India. In fact I’ve just returned from spending two weeks in that astonishing country, where I couldn’t keep up with anything that was going on here in the world of trucking, so this edition of my report will borrow heavily from work my colleagues have been doing in the last while.
I’m writing this issue of the newsletter in absentia, so to speak, as it will be published while I’m away from computers and unable to stay in touch. To be more precise, I’m a week early in posting this so forgive me if giant events occur between now and the 22nd and they’re not covered here. Then again, this report isn’t intended as a news vehicle.