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Saturday, May 20, 2017

595-truck convoy in Pennsylvania raises money for Make-A-Wish

For 364 days of the year, the horse-drawn Amish buggy is the vehicle most commonly associated with the city of Lancaster, Pa.
But not on Mother’s Day. On Mother’s Day, Lancaster is all about trucks. Last Sunday, May 14, 595 trucks rolled out in the annual Make-A-Wish Mother’s Day Truck Convoy. By the time the last driver had pulled out, an estimated $400,000 to $450,000 had been raised for Make-A-Wish of Philadelphia, Northern Delaware and Susquehanna Valley, with approximately $300,000 of that coming from the drivers themselves.
As usual, tens of thousands of spectators lined the 26-mile convoy loop in central Pennsylvania, cheering for the truckers and waving to the more than 100 Make-A-Wish children and siblings who rode along in the cabs.
“This is a tremendous event for Make-A-Wish and the trucking industry,” said Ben Lee, regional director for the charity. The money raised will pay for 60 to 70 percent of the wishes granted to children with life-threatening medical conditions in the region, he said.
The convoy, which began 28 years ago, started with one little boy’s wish to ride in a truck and talk to his sister on CB radio and, thanks to the generosity of truckers, has grown into an all-day family celebration that draws truckers from a dozen or more states.
The RoadPro Family of Brands, based in nearby Palmyra, is the primary sponsor of the event and donated $20,000 to the cause. The company’s involvement has helped the convoy grow in popularity, Lee said.
“We’re honored to be associated with such a great cause and a worthy organization,” said Chuck White, Vice President of Brands & Marketing for RoadPro. “Truckers are our customers and we know how generous and caring they can be. The convoy is proof of that.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Truck drivers arrested in sting for aluminum recycling fraud
Article thanks to Links provided:
April, 2017  A recent sting in California led to the arrest of drivers who had allegedly planned to cash-in on truck loads of aluminum cans through the state’s high-paying recycling program.
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery joined the California Department of Justice and the California Department of Food and Agriculture in a week-long sting which netted nearly 15,000 pounds of aluminum cans that had left Arizona and were destined for California recycling centers, according to
The cans were valued at around $20,000.
The California Redemption Value (CRV) Fund is only available for recyclable containers purchased in the state. Consumers there pay a CRV fee for each qualifying container and then can recoup that cost later at a state certified recycling center.
“CalRecycle’s fraud prevention reforms and substantial network of enforcement partners make it increasingly risky for those attempting to defraud California’s Redemption Value Program,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “The department will continue to use all available resources to make sure CRV deposits go back to California consumers and not in the pockets of criminal enterprises.”
The sting centered on the CDFA border checkpoint in Blythe, Calif., and the nearby intersection of Agnes Wilson Road and Highway 95, a route often used to circumvent the border checkpoint.
On March 14, CDFA agents at the border checkpoint discovered a fraudulent Imported Material Report and false Bill of Lading provided by Balmore Alvarado, 49, of Chino, Calif., as he entered California from Arizona. A subsequent inspection of Alvarado’s trailer revealed 7,020 pounds of used beverage containers with a potential CRV refund value of $10,275.85.
On March 16, CDOJ Recycling Fraud Team agents conducted surveillance on a semi-truck, found to be importing used beverage containers from Parker, Ariz., into Blythe, Calif., via Agnes Wilson Road. CDOJ agents confronted Anthony Sanchez, 56, of Tucson, Ariz., and discovered his trailer filled with 7,675 pounds of used beverage containers with a potential CRV refund value of $9,636.79. Sanchez also presented a fraudulent Bill of Lading and did not have an Imported Material Report, requirement for anyone who transports used beverage containers into California.
Both drivers face charges of felony recycling fraud, attempted grand theft, filing a false or forged document, and conspiracy. If convicted, the men could be subject to financial penalties and incarceration. The charges carry a sentence of between six months and three years.
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Americans Remain Wary of Self-Driving Cars

Image courtesy of AAA
Article thanks to Links provided:

March, 2017  Most American drivers want autonomous technologies in their next vehicle, but they continue to have fears about fully self-driving cars, according to a new report from AAA.

Despite predictions that autonomous vehicles will be much safer and slash crash rates, three-quarters of U.S. drivers are afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle, survey results indicated. A total of 19% would trust the vehicle, and 4% are unsure.
The prospect of sharing the road with self-driving cars also stirs trepidation. A total of 54% of drivers would feel less safe, while 34% said it wouldn’t make a different. Only 10% reported that they’d actually feel safer sharing the road with autonomous vehicles.
Nonetheless, 59% of Americans would welcome autonomous features — such as automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance and self-parking technology — in their next vehicle, according to the report. This dichotomy suggests that American drivers are ready to embrace autonomous vehicle technology, but they’re not yet ready to give up full control, according to AAA.
“U.S. drivers may experience the driver assistance technologies in their cars today and feel they don’t work consistently enough to replace a human driver — and they’re correct,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations. “While these technologies will continue to improve over time, it’s important that consumers understand that today’s systems require your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.”
AAA survey results also suggest that age and gender can be factors influencing a driver’s willingness to relinquish vehicle control. Though 78% of Americans are afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle, some demographic groups are generally more afraid than others. Baby Boomers (85%) are more likely to be afraid than Millennials (73%) and Generation X (75%) drivers. Additionally, women (85%) are more likely to be afraid than men (69%).
Millennials (70%) are the most likely to want the technologies, compared to Generation X (54%) and Baby Boomers (51%).
Additionally, U.S. drivers desire uniformity in how the autonomous systems operate, regardless of the automaker. Eight in 10 (81%) drivers believe the systems should all work the same way.
The survey was conducted Jan. 5-8 of this year. A total of 1,012 adults participated.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The following is a guest post by Josh Breger at, a Chicago based logistics tech startup. Check them out at the links provided:

As a driver, finding good freight is a top priority. As you know, this can often be time consuming and your options might be saturated with cheap rates and not enough miles.  

There are seemingly endless channels to find freight and it could seem overwhelming. Here are five tips to help you pick and choose where to look, and who to work with. 

1.  Avoid Brokers. Perhaps Be Wary of Brokers is better. It sounds easier than it actually is. There’s no denying that brokers have become an integral cog within the logistics framework. It’s often unavoidable to never move brokered freight. However, just as it’s your main job to get the highest possible rate, it’s brokers job to do the exact opposite. Brokers lack consistent lanes and bank on quoting spot freight. It is their job to quote shippers high, and sell it to drivers for low.  

2. If you can’t avoid brokers, find two or three that you trust. Not every broker is shady and obsessed with ripping with you off. There are plenty of decent, honorable brokers that truly care about your business and treat you like a customer. These are often the mid-size brokerages. The huge brokerages with thousands of employees might have a lot of freight, but can’t guarantee you the personal touch you require. So try to seek out the smaller companies that have between 100-400 employees. They still have a lot of freight but they are small enough to devote enough attention to you and your truck. The more loads you pull for them, and the more you prove yourself as a dependable driver, rates will go up and those annoying tracking phone calls will go down.  

3. Sign on with a carrier. For new owner operators, this could be the perfect introduction to navigating the freight market. Trucking companies are begging for owner ops just like you to sign on to their authority. They have already consistent, dedicated freight. They just need you and your truck. However, as an owner op you have the right of first refusal. Most companies allows owner ops to say yes or no to loads. If you find a good company, you’ll almost certainly have good freight and it will be a learning experience on which lanes to seek and which ones to avoid.  

4.  Avoid Loadboards. Loadboard subscriptions are expensive and you often don’t get what you pay for. The loads listed on these platforms are the bottom of the barrel. It’s cheap loads for ridiculous lanes that shady brokers can’t cover. You’re competing with countless other drivers over freight that is not worth your time. It’s okay to use loadboards once in a while if you’re stuck and as a last resort, but it’s not safe to rely on them as the main source of your business.  

5. Use an aggregation platform. Technology is officially invading trucking. Freight logistics, as an industry, is heading in an unfamiliar direction for many drivers. Truck drivers are aging out and while recruiting younger generation of drivers is proving more difficult, those that have proved successful are the one’s adapting with this new technology. Using digital freight platforms combines the best of all the above options. These new innovative platforms act as marketplaces competing for your business. Ideally you will have access to every available load and it’s up to you to pick and choose. Some of the more advanced digital freight matching platforms will send you matches instantly and in real-time. This has the ability to cut down on wasted time and keep you on the road.  

There is no right or wrong way to find freight. The brutal truth is that luck plays a big part in finding the right broker, the right carrier or even the right load board to use. Try some of these tips and mix and match. Driving is a community. Use social media to interact with other drivers and learn from each other.  Every driver is different so find what works for you.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Packers: Rookie running back Jamaal Williams impresses with physical, mental makeup
Article thanks to Jason Wilde and The Wisconsin State Journal. Links provided:

May 3, 2017 - GREEN BAY — For another player, it would’ve been an easy decision. As it turned out, it was an easy decision for Jamaal Williams, too.
When NFL personnel executives asked Williams prior to the NFL draft what he did to violate Brigham Young’s honor code, a misstep before the 2015 season that forced him to withdraw from school, Williams told them the truth: “I had a girl in my room.”
Scouts’ reaction? “Most of them laughed,” Williams said.
They weren’t laughing at the way Williams responded to his mistake, however.
Rather than transferring out of BYU — Williams is not a Mormon, and even after a torn ACL in 2014, he would have had significant interest from other schools after rushing for 2,526 yards his first three seasons for the Cougars — he spent 2015 working out in Arizona, came back to the team last fall and rushed for 1,375 yards and 12 touchdowns en route to becoming the school’s all-time leading rusher.
That performance, coupled with complete ownership of his mistake, made an impression on NFL teams, including the Green Bay Packers, who took him in the fourth round last weekend.
“I think it says something about him,” Packers director of college scouting Jon-Eric Sullivan said. “He could have gone anywhere he wanted as a transfer. The fact that he came back there, I think that tells you his intestinal fortitude and what he’s made up of. It would have been probably easier at one point to leave and go somewhere else and started anew, but he came back and chose to do that. I think that says something about the kid. That was something we thought was an asset.”
Asked why he didn’t just go to another school, Williams replied, “I stayed there because BYU was the first team that actually gave me an offer and wanted me for me. Loyalty is a big thing for me.
“I was angry, but at the same time you have to know that it’s your responsibility. You made the choice of going to the school. They tell you the rules before you get there. If you don’t (follow them), then that’s your fault. So I was mad, but at the same time I just had to grow up and understand the consequences.”
Williams, who also was suspended for one game after an underage drinking arrest in 2014, in no way raised red flags for the Packers.
“We feel really good about the kid,” Sullivan said. “He’s very well-liked by his teammates, he’s a team captain. He’s a guy who football is very important to him. He does the little things to be a good football player. … We feel very, very confident about the football player and about the person.”
The Packers need Williams to hit the ground running in their unproven backfield, where coach Mike McCarthy pronounced converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery as “absolutely” the starter following the draft. But with just 105 career rushing attempts (including playoffs), and given McCarthy’s preference for a 1-2 punch at running back, one of the Packers’ three rookies — Williams, fifth-round pick Aaron Jones or seventh-round pick Devante Mays — will have ample opportunities this season.
As the draft approached, Williams and longtime NFL agent Leigh Steinberg saw various teams’ depth charts and saw Green Bay as a potential destination. (Coincidentally, Steinberg also represents Jones.)When the Packers went on the clock at No. 134, they wasted no time making Williams the first offensive player of their class.
“I felt that Green Bay would be a good spot for me,” Williams said. “We talked about it. I thought about it and I think I could really fit in with Green Bay and their offense. They don’t really have a lot of running backs, but at the same time Ty Montgomery did a great job of filling in and playing running back. I just want to help out and do whatever I can and still contribute.”
Listed at 6 feet and 213 pounds, Williams has a powerful running style that the Packers are hoping could mimic that of Eddie Lacy, a four-year starter who departed as a free agent to Seattle in March. Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf described Williams as being a “classic, between the tackles-sized” running back, which would fill the void Lacy left.
“I’ve watched Eddie Lacy run before because he’s a big back and I like big backs in general, because I just like the bruising part about the game,” Williams said. “I’m not really trying to fill the void. I’m just really trying to come in and do my job. I’m only a rookie right now and I don’t want to put too much expectations on me. But I have my goals.
“I feel I’m an old-style type of running back. I like to bruise, I like to pound into people a lot. I feel like I’m a grinder, a workhorse and as the game keeps going — fourth quarter, third quarter — I’m just getting stronger and stronger and trying to wear the defenses down. That’s what I like to do and that’s how I like to play.”

Jason Wilde covers the Packers for ESPN Wisconsin. Listen to him with former Packers and Badgers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher weekdays from 9-11 on “Wilde & Tausch” on 100.5 FM ESPN Madison.