Today's Trucking

Picture This: Grab your cameras Oct. 12 and show us your day

October 6, 2016

Many years ago I remember asking owner-operator Dale Holman what kept him behind the wheel. Trucking is no easy job, after all. The hours are long. The tasks are complex and often physically demanding. Even the most comfortable sleeper will never be quite as inviting as a family home, especially when trips drag on for days or weeks at a time.


Trucker, Protect Thyself: Formal contracts and paperwork are an owner-operator’s best defence

October 5, 2016

There is a certain pride that every owner-operator should enjoy. Mastering skills at the wheel is just the beginning of their professional journey. Our trucking industry’s hybrid of driver and entrepreneur is expected to master trucks and business ledgers alike. Sadly, far too many fail because of a lack of focus on the latter point.


The urban future?

September 21, 2016

As I write this in a hotel room in Hannover, Germany — where 400 other trucking journalists are also lodged — I’m anticipating the opening of the 2016 IAA Commercial Vehicles Show tomorrow morning. Ultimately there will be some 2500 motor noters like me descending on the Hannover exhibition grounds and then rushing about this way and that like pen-wielding ants, all of them looking for a story that nobody else has discovered.


VW, Navistar: What’s the Deal?

September 9, 2016

Well, it finally happened. Rumored for many months, if not years, and now a fait accompli, Volkswagen Truck & Bus has bought a piece of Navistar International. While the gossip mill mostly envisioned an outright purchase by the German giant, yesterday’s announcement described a less dramatic deal: VW is buying a 16.6% stake in the Illinois company. It will pay US$15.76 per share or a 25% premium over Navistar’s 90-day volume-weighted average price as of Aug. 31, or 12% over Navistar’s closing price on Sept. 2. Navistar will receive US$256 million from the equity investment to be used for general corporate purposes.


What’s “professional”?

September 9, 2016

I have trouble with the phrase ‘professional truck driver’. Some drivers are indeed professional, very much so, and I count many amongst my friends. If I were a fleet manager I’d trust them with any load going any place at […]


Job Security?

September 9, 2016

Driver, your job is not at risk. Well, let me qualify that. Unless you’re comprehensively unable to keep ‘er between the poles, you’re safe. In the immediate future, at least. But in the longer term — call it 20-25 years […]


Trusting Technology

September 6, 2016

You, dear reader, have the good fortune of reading the first words written for profit on my brand new Lenovo ThinkPad computer — or at least what’s left of it. The first for-profit words were to fly from this keyboard […]


35 years’ experience, or one year’s experience 35 times?

September 6, 2016

Where I live, commercial drivers are required to rewrite their CDL test every five years in order to renew the licence. I wrote my renewal test today and aced it. I wrote almost exactly the same test in 1978 when […]


Trust Your Co-pilot: Bendix Wingman Fusion keeps virtual eyes on the road, foot upon the brakes

August 16, 2016

First, a confession. I am a terrible passenger. My right foot is always pumping against the floor mat whenever I find myself riding shotgun. A knot forms in my stomach when someone takes anything other than my favorite route. When the Today’s Trucking team carpooled to a trade show earlier this year, I was quick to reach for the keys before anyone else had the chance.


Fuel for the Fire: Tax change fails to recognize how diesel is used

August 2, 2016

A house is not a home — and in the eyes of the taxman it appears your sleeper is no longer a house on wheels. How else can we explain the end of Federal Excise Tax (FET) exemptions that have long been applied to the diesel that pumps through Auxiliary Power Units and bunk heaters? The heating oil used to warm a house is exempt. Add a few working axles underneath that house and it’s a different story.


Everything Sells: The Ritchie Bros. auction begins

July 9, 2016

EDMONTON, AB – Everything sells. It’s a firm rule at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, and there is plenty on hand for the highest bidder. About 10,600 pieces of equipment will move through the company’s sprawling Edmonton complex this week, easily setting a sales record and eclipsing last April’s numbers by about 35%. Trucks dominated most of the sales on Tuesday, when close to 10,000 bidders had already registered for a piece of the action. Equipment such as cranes, rock catchers, and trailers will follow.


Cocooning: In conversation with WABCO’s Jon Morrison

July 9, 2016

LOUISVILLE, KY — We’re approaching an era when trucks act more like trusted co-drivers than equipment alone. Optional Collision Warning Systems and Lane Departure Systems use things like radar and cameras to watch the road and sound the alarm if a driver fails to notice a hazard or drifts into danger. Collision Mitigation Systems – or adaptive cruise controls — go a step further and actually begin to slow a vehicle before a driver reacts. And the technologies all come together in prototypes for “semi-autonomous” and “platooning” vehicles that promise at times to drive themselves.

“The vision is about providing that 360-degree cocoon around the truck, to enable the truck and the driver to operate as safely as they can,” says WABCO Americas president Jon Morrison.


Quite Wright: Tesla co-founder sets his sights on trucks

July 9, 2016

Ian Wright co-founded Tesla Motors and developed the fastest street-legal electric car in the world. But these days he has set his sights on something bigger – an electric powertrain for commercial vehicles.

Wrightspeed’s range-extended electric powertrain known as the Route enters production in a matter of months, and the company CEO boldly predicts that electric waste trucks will overtake the sale of diesel models in as little as five years.

There have been other attempts to electrify trucks in the past. One thing that sets the Route apart, however, is its Fulcrum turbine.


Gas Attacks: The challenges of environmental mandates

July 9, 2016

Ear worms are funny things. You know them. They’re the songs that invade your thoughts. The one ringing through my head right now is crooned by none other than Kermit the Frog. Yep. The Muppet. The one who taught us, “It’s not easy being green, having to spend each day the color of the leaves.” If you want to know how tough it is to be green, look no further than the environmental rules and regulations affecting today’s trucking industry.


I-Crawl: A first look at Volvo’s I-Shift with crawler gears

July 5, 2016

SHIPPENSBURG, PA — It’s strange to hear a truck maker bragging about how slow a truck can go, but that’s exactly what Volvo recently showcased with a first look at the I-Shift’s new crawler gears.