Today's Trucking

Autonomous technology improving, people unpredictable

December 13, 2018

Probably most of us believe that the onset of autonomous vehicles is inevitable, cars and trucks alike. But does anyone think it will go smoothly? I sure don’t. For the most part we’re seeing very capable technology, and it will […]


Truck parking shortage is a productivity killer

November 12, 2018

What are the industry’s biggest issues these days? Most everyone will say the driver shortage leads the way. Everyone except drivers, of course. I’d say top spot belongs to hours of service rules followed closely by the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, both of which are key reasons for the shortage… of drivers willing to work long hours within that arbitrarily constructed straitjacket. So it’s no surprise that the top three issues for drivers are those two plus the lack of parking facilities.


Charging standards are on the way

October 17, 2018

Electric, electric, electric. The hoopla about electric trucks has been literally inescapable. You’d be forgiven for thinking that they’re about to take over the trucking world, but it may be quite a few years before everything is in place to […]


The autonomous job killer? California researchers think so.

September 13, 2018

Driverless? Autonomous Trucks and the Future of the American Trucker is the most cogent look at trucking that I’ve seen in a long time.


My Money’s on Hydrogen: After decades of talk, the fuel choice is close

August 13, 2018

Plug-in electric trucks are all the rage these days, mostly medium-duty machines, but there’s even a functional prototype logging truck that’s not only electric but fully autonomous as well. Swedish tech start-up Einride recently unveiled its T-log truck that incorporates […]


Is Autonomy Necessary? The answer might be ‘yes’.

July 13, 2018

How on earth can distracted human driving be the cause of a crash involving a vehicle under autonomous control? Sounds like a good question, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what happened last March in the accident involving an Uber “taxi” […]


Skilled Trade? — Until trucking gets that moniker, we’re in trouble

June 18, 2018

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.


Training? What Training?

May 11, 2018

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.


What’s the Rush? Are we moving too fast on autonomous vehicles?

April 10, 2018

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.


The Propane Option: Have we closed the book on the fuel too soon?

March 16, 2018

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 […]


Hourly Pay’s the Way: If there’s a good side to ELDs, it’s that driver pay systems will change

February 21, 2018

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, […]


Perspective, People: The onslaught of new technology is fascinating, but who really cares?

January 9, 2018

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 […]


Is everybody going electric?

November 25, 2017

  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 […]


Surprise! Cummins goes electric

August 31, 2017

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).


Headlights Again: Now digital

August 9, 2017

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.