The Pre-Trip Inspection Dec. 5 – 12

White House Sets Tougher Standards For Truck Emissions

5th Annual Truckers For Troops Charity Drive Begins

OOIDA and its members joined together for this year’s Trucker For Troops drive that began on Monday, Dec. 5 and lasts through the 12th. The campaign was created to gather supplies for care packages that OOIDA then sends to armed service personnel stationed in combat zones around the world. Items sent to service members include hygiene products, reading materials, undergarments, games and other recreational items designed to help pass the time. Sylvia Dodson, supervisor of OOIDA’s Membership Department, says that during the week of the campaign, truckers can join OOIDA or renew their membership for $25, with 10 percent of that money going toward care packages for U.S. troops stationed in combat areas overseas.

OOIDA matches the 10 percent dollar for dollar, says Dodson. The campaign is already off to a headstart with a $5,000 contribution from Shell Rotella. You can learn more about contributing to Truckers For Troops through an OOIDA membership here.

Biodiesel Production Soars Through Renewed Tax Credits

After experiencing some slowed growth after tax incentives expired in 2010, a renewed federal tax credit has once again spurred production of biodiesel to new highs in 2011. This year’s increased production will support more than 31,000 jobs – more than twice the number of jobs from last year – while generating at least $3 billion in GDP and $628 million in federal, state and local tax revenues, according to a recent economic study conducted by Cardno-Entrix. Production levels have hit an all-time high of more than 800 million gallons during the fiscal year.

Google Android Market Surpasses 10 Billion App Downloads

Google announced this past weekend on their developer blog that their Android Market exceeded 10 billion app downloads”with a growth rate of one billion app downloads per month.

They went on to say they were offering Android smartphone users special deals to mark the occasion. The blog states, “Starting today for the next 10 days, we’ll have a new set of awesome apps available each day for only 10 cents each. Today, we are starting with Asphalt 6 HD, Color & Draw for Kids, Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro, Fieldrunners HD, Great Little War Game, Minecraft, Paper Camera, Sketchbook Mobile, Soundhound Infinity & Swiftkey X.” You can find out more about the Android Market and additional app deals here.

Proposed Florida Law Targets Unsafe Teen Drivers

Greg Baker, a GOP State Senator, has sponsored a bill designed to assist parents in monitoring their child’s driving record and violations. His proposed program allows parents to opt into a system that would send them electronic notifications if their teens are involved in any sort of law violation such as tickets, traffic court convictions, vehicle impacts and even if their driver’s license is suspended. This proposal will be considered alongside an official state-wide ban on texting while driving, once the new 2012 session begins on January 10th.

ATA Announces New Chief Financial Officer

An accountant with more than three decades of tax and revenue administration, Karla Hulett replaced the retiring Dave Bearfoot in the first week of December. Hulett has a strong professional connection to ATA’s CEO Bill Graves, as she was his Secretary of Revenue during his tenure as Kansas Governor. Hulett also worked in the private sector for Microsoft Software in Redwood, WA and Computer Sciences Corp in Kansas City, MO.

“I’m incredibly pleased that we’ve been able to bring someone with Karla’s extensive experience onboard to American Trucking Associations,” ATA President and CEO Graves said.

LaHood Hands Down Final Rule on Trucker Cell Phone Ban

Semi Tractor Trailer Drivers who violate the hands-on cell phone restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense. Multiple infractions will result in disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle and a CDL suspension. Commercial truck carrier companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000. Approximately four million commercial truckers would be affected by this final rule.

“This final rule represents a giant leap for safety,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Drivers must keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and head in the game when operating on our roads. Lives are at stake.” The entire ruling and all amendments can be read at the DOT site, here.

FMCSA Shuts Down Oregon Passenger Carrier Service for Safety / Regulatory Violations

Oregon-based bus company RC Investments, Inc. has been prohibited from operating in or affecting interstate passenger transportation service by the State US District Court of Oregon effective immediately. The FMCSA had already issued RC an order to cease operations in August based on the company’s tendency to employ un-certified drivers, avoid safety inspections of their fleet, and non-compliance with state standards for employee drug and alcohol screenings.

On November 10, 2011, FMCSA found RC Investments still offering tours. The federal agency declared RC Investments an imminent hazard

to the public and again ordered the company to shut down. The discovery was made during a nationwide crackdown on unsafe bus operators, part of FMCSA’s annual Passenger Carrier Safety Inspection Strike Force. Read more about this decision at the DOT website.

FMCSA’s Hours Of Service Regulatory Overhaul to Be Revealed Within Days

The final draft for the controversial hours-of-service regulation for all over-the-road transportation carriers is currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget. In the Nov. 28 court filing, the agency states that it expects to issue the final rule within the next 30 days, meaning the latest it will be released and put into law is the first week of January 2012.

As of press time, no definitive regulatory measures have been released to journalists or special interest groups. Most arguments from supporters and detractors are simply based on conjecture and a vague budgetary outline. In keeping with the latest tendencies of the conservative political movement, federal programs that rely on federal spending rather than cuts are being criticized by GOP Congressional leaders like John Boehner (R -FL) and Eric Cantor (R – VA). The regulatory overhaul is being met with further opposition from the other side of the isle by union delegates, environmental groups and political lobbyists. However, opposition groups have chosen to wait for the official released guidelines before filing suit in Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit.

More Trucking and Transportation News Stories As They Happen…Stay Tuned!