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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Woman Cited for Driving Too Slowly in Left Lane

Retired trooper: "This charge was not totally incorrect, but it may not have been the best charge for the trooper to use"

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013  |  Updated 2:55 PM EDT
Story thanks to Link provided below:
A Maryland woman was shocked after she received a traffic ticket on Interstate 95 — because it wasn't for speeding.
In fact, she was driving two mph under the speed limit.
The driver, who didn't want her name used, told News4 she was driving in the left lane of I-95 in Laurel last Friday when she was pulled over and cited for failing to move right.
According to the citation, she had been driving 63 mph in the left hand lane in a 65 mph zone. The citation read, "Failure of driver, driving below speed limit, 63 in a 65, to keep right."
"[I was] really shocked," she said. "I thought, 'Oh my God, you've got to be kidding me'."
A retired state trooper said Tuesday that the ticket may not hold up in court.
"You can drive in the left lane in Maryland as long as you are doing the speed limit, or not impeding by going 10 mph under the speed limit," Sgt. Rob Moroney told News4's Darcy Spencer.
Moroney said the woman was cited under a code section that deals with driving 10 mph or more under the speed limit. A different part of the law deals with drivers who impede traffic.
"This charge was not totally incorrect, but it may not have been the best charge for the trooper to use," Moroney said.
The woman who got the ticket said she'd never been cited before — but on Friday, she said, she had to slow down due to heavy winds.
"Sometimes when it's dangerous, you have to do what you can to stay safe," she said.
Storm Team 4 Meteorologist Doug Kammerer said winds were gusting at around 40 mph that day.
A spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic said he disapproved of the citation.
"The reason [the ticket] is silly is because it's sending the wrong message," said AAA's John Townsend. "And that is, 'We will tolerate you driving at more than the speed limit, but it you drive below the speed limit, then you're penalized for that'."
The driver has filed a complaint with Maryland State Police and plans to fight the ticket.
While police said they can't comment on this specific ticket, they said that driving too slowly can impede traffic, and that anyone who wants to fight a citation can do so in court.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

What the Frack(ing) is going on? How do we keep future truck drivers?

Can employers be more proactive?

I've been employed by my company for over twenty years as a driver and trainer with my division being involved in third party logistics. Over the past several years especially, it has been much more difficult to attract and retain quality Class A drivers at various accounts within our own company and I know it is a industry wide problem that is getting worse, not better.

As an example, consider our recent experience in Montana. We have a remote location in that state with two drivers domiciled there. Trailers full of customer product are brought from back east and our drivers then take the trailers, delivering peddle stop to retail stores throughout the intermountain west and northwest. They usually have 20 to 30-plus stops on each trailer.
These are over the road jobs and they leave out on Mondays and usually get home late Friday.
They make decent money, but the booming oil fields are in direct competition in that area for truck drivers. I know that oil field work is certainly not a "piece of cake" and usually includes long hours but at least they get home every night. I have heard of annual incomes in the 60 to 80 thousand dollar range, which is substantially more than our drivers can make. Why take an over the road job, be gone from your family all week, every week and make less money than you can make in the oil fields? We had both of our drivers give notice within four weeks of each other.

Is there a solution and what is it? Do you design the routes in a way that we have the drivers domiciled in another location where there is less competition? I don't know, but suspect that is probably what our company will have to do. This may be only a temporary fix, however.

Maybe it is time to rethink the problem. 
I think a lot of trucker job dissatisfaction has to do with quantity and quality of home time. Money is important, but not the only thing. What if we could find a way for these two drivers in Montana to make about the same money, but have them work two weeks on and one week off. That could easily be done by having a third driver. What if, instead of giving drivers a Freightliner tractor with a small sleeper and no storage space, we get them a decent road tractor. If we want them to live in a truck all week, they need decent living quarters. Meaning, enough room for a refrigerator and television as well as a workstation for cooking and getting on-line. Who can afford to eat in truck stops every day, except maybe those 80K a year oil field drivers?

Of course the employer’s wage and benefit cost would increase by one third. Part of that cost could be offset by designing six day routes instead of five.The upfront cost of an upscale Pete or Kenworth would be 10 or 20K more but, of course that is written off over several years. One way or another, with all the competition out there for fewer and fewer drivers there will be no alternative but to dramatically improve wages and/or lifestyle in the future.

I guess my main point is that just throwing more money at them will not solve the problem. Our industry needs to attract new professional drivers. Many are unwilling to make a job be their life. A long haul trucker’s life is not an easy one and most drivers, need a better quality of life with more home and family time. In my opinion, employers that come up with ways to improve driver's lives will be the winners in the future. It can't just be all about work!

Friday, March 29, 2013

The dynamics of making big rigs aero

Posted by Bob Paetsch at on 03/19/13. Link to their site provided below:

Diesel prices have risen steadily over the last decade and currently hover 30 to 40 cents per gallon higher than regular gasoline. Commercial fleets used it in the past because it was cheaper and offered more miles per gallon compared with gasoline. However, U.S. environmental mandates for lower sulfur content, higher refining costs, increased demand from emerging markets, and use as a principal fuel source in many countries have helped any cost savings go up in smoke.
Enter the “SuperTruck.” Before we start conjuring up images of Optimus Prime in Transformers, SuperTruck transformations are much more subtle than tractor trailers taking human form and battling alien invaders. The “SuperTruck” program was initiated by the Department of Energy back in 2010 where nine projects split $187 million to improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and passenger vehicles. Last week, one of the projects, the $38.8 million joint study between Cummins and Peterbilt Motors Co., shed a little light at the end of the wind tunnel. The results were a 54% increase in fuel economy in real-world driving conditions for a Peterbilt Model 587 equipped with a more efficient engine hauling an aerodynamic trailer.
That’s pretty cool. Cummins said that today’s 18-wheelers get 5.5 to 6.5 miles per gallon, and after 11 runs over the 312 mile test route in Texas, the Cummins/Peterbilt vehicle achieved 9.9 mpg. According to the study, the increased efficiencies could save 120,000 miles-per-year truckers $25,000 annually at today’s prices and reduce greenhouse gases by 35% per truck. Great, but what if I can’t afford a brand new big rig?
The CEO of Wabash National, a trailer manufacturer, highlighted a number of ways to make the nation’s haulers more efficient at an event sponsored by the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association last week. He said under-trailer side skirts show a 4% to 7% improvement; lower-rolling resistance tires help by 3% to 5%; gap reducers between the cab and trailer are 1% to 2% more efficient; and trailer boat tails could improve fuel economy by 6.6%.
A boat tail on a truck? I suppose they are in the shipping industry. I saw one of these the other day—it looked like an oversized ironing board had fallen outside of open rear doors. And the trailer did have a skirt. As thrilled as I am to see these improvements, I still won’t commend truck drivers at rest stops on their nice skirts. It is great to see the industry isn’t just idling, but it must be tough knowing that all this time, effort, and money is spent on designs that are only semi aerodynamic.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

OOIDA vs CR England - Is it really over?

Article thanks to Samuel Barradas at which you can link to below:

The legal battle that has lasted over a decade is finally over. Judge Ted Stewart of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah signed his name for (hopefully) the last time to a final judgment in favor of the truckers who brought the suit. All in, they were awarded more than $1.3 Million. The judgment is final, but C.R. England still has 30 days to appeal the ruling. Until those 30 days are past, no money will be dispersed.

The class action lawsuit was filed by OOIDA on behalf of the truckers back in 2002, but didn’t go to trial until 2006. Once the judge ruled in favor of the drivers, a flurry of accounting, appeals, and blatant stall tactics drew out the final ruling until just now. Considering how little the ruling awarded, CRE probably spent more on their legal defense and accounting services than they would have just paying the $1.3 Million up front. Because of their indifference over wasting time and money, it is still up in the air whether or not CRE will decide to challenge the final ruling.
Similar to how legendary mobster Al Capone was finally jailed on charges of tax evasion, the suit brought against CRE was an attempt to deal with a much larger problem by using a relatively small infraction. Knowing that they wouldn’t be able to do any damage to CRE by just saying that their business practices were manipulative, wrong, and tantamount to theft, they instead brought a case saying that CRE had violated federal Truth-in-Leasing regulations by misusing drivers’ escrow funds.

“There were several good precedents that came out of this case that will serve us well going into the future, “said OOIDA President Jim  Johnston, “and obviously we are pleased that we won the suit. But the object of most of our class action cases is to correct practices, make it better for drivers. In this case, we don’t see that C.R. England has changed many of their practices, and we feel there are still many drivers who are taken advantage of under the arrangement with CRE.”

Johnston’s objections reinforce the true purpose of the suit, not to get CRE to pay a token fine and go back to the way things were, but to force them and other mega-carriers to do business in a more honest way. CRE has apparently cleaned up their act in terms of properly managing money in escrow, but the lease programs that they and other mega-carriers offer are still just as deceptive and wrong. Whether or not that will change anytime soon is anyone’s guess.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Remember when we called it the 'service' station?

Article thanks to Guy Bliesner, contributor Link to their site is provided below:

SALT LAKE CITY — Can you recall what we used to call service stations? No, not a convenience store, not even a gas station, I mean an honest to goodness real-life service station. Boy, I miss them.
I left my house running late on the way to attend a funeral. I had loaned my car to our son for the weekend. As we climbed in the car, I noted the windshield was a mess and the right rear tire was low. As I turned the key in the ignition both the gas and oil lights on the dash came on. The conversation between my son and I on this matter is story for another time.
The marathon that followed caused me to long for just one real-live, old fashioned local neighborhood service station.

Needing fuel to get further than a few blocks, I stopped at the local convenience store for gas. I started the pump and immediately shot a quart of mid-grade over my right hand, the sleeve of my suit jacket, the right leg of my slacks and my right shoe.
I considered use of words that would have made my grandmother unhappy.
I checked the oil and added a quart, ending up with a large smug of engine dirt on the cuff of my white shirt. I then attempted to clean the windshield using the equipment the store provided. It only made the matter worse, so much worse that I had to use the carwash next door before I could see to drive safely.
This caused the need for further suppression of the previously mentioned English invectives.
Just as I prepared to get back on the road, I remembered the low tire and looked wildly around for an air hose. No such luck. When I inquired, I was told they did not have one and that the nearest was several blocks away at a tire store.
I bit my tongue.

I made it to the funeral late, disheveled, and smelling of gasoline. That I did so is clearly my fault due to a serious lack of planning. But having one of those old fashioned local service stations available would have saved me from myself.
I worked at one of those local service stations during my high school years. It was not the caricature portrayed in the first “Back to the Future” film, but a real service station. There were four pumps on one island. Next to each pump was a windshield cleaning station. Both air and water were available on the island, as well.
The office had a counter with a cash drawer and a snack vending machine against the wall. Through an interior door was a two bay shop and an opening to the restrooms outside.
Each customer, whether purchasing five dollars or a fill-up, got a clean windshield, the oil checked and tires filled with aired if needed. Flat tires were fixed on site for both autos and bicycles. Need a fan belt? They did that, too. Oil change, yep; Headlight, O.K., in most cases, any minor issue of an automotive nature could be dealt with on site.
Customer loyalty and repeat business being the major component in the business model, service was the method to accomplish it. The owner was on site most of the time. He knew you, and even more importantly, he knew your car. And he made it his mission to help you take care of it. The modern convenience store provides gas, potato chips and a punch card for a free soda — a poor substitute, it seems to me.

I understand that the profit for most fuel retailers is not at the gas pump and the convenience store model helps to keep the price of gas down. But even so, and I may just be getting old and a bit nostalgic, standing there frustrated and smelling of gasoline, I really missed my old local service station.

Guy Bliesner is a longtime educator, having taught and coached tennis and swimming. He is school safety and security administrator for the Bonneville School District in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Guy has been married for 26 years and has three children.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Truck Drivers - Demand is up!

Article thanks to Link provided below:
3/15/2013 Over the past 90 days, more than 230,000 jobs were advertised online for truck drivers in the United States, according to Wanted Analytics, a source of real-time business intelligence for the talent marketplace. As demand for goods increases, more truck drivers will be needed to keep freight and the supply chain moving. Hiring for this occupation has increased more than 20% compared to the same 90-day period in 2012.
The metropolitan areas with the most demand for Truck Drivers during the past 90 days were New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Houston.
Employers in the New York metro area not only placed the most job ads of any U.S. area, but also saw one of the highest year-over-year increases in demand. More than 6,600 ads were available online in the past 90 days, representing a 41% growth compared to the same time period last year. Of these five metro areas, Dallas had the second highest growth, up 34% from 2012.
As hiring demand for truck drivers continues, it is likely to become increasingly difficult to source enough potential candidates. However, conditions will depend on each position and the specific skills required in the job.
According to the Hiring Scale, Drivers are likely to be the most difficult-to-recruit in Bismarck, N.D., Hinesville, Ga., and Bowling Green, Ky.
The Hiring Scale scores truck drivers as a 93 (out of a possible 99, where 99 would represent the most difficult situation). With increased competition from employers to attract candidates, recruiters and hiring managers are likely to also experience a longer time-to-fill. For example, the average posting period for a truck driver ad in Bowling Green, Ky., is more than 8 weeks. The national average is about 6.5 weeks.
On the other hand, the Hiring Scale also shows that truck drivers are likely to be the least difficult to recruit in Salisbury, Md., Morristown, Tenn. , and Sebastian-Vero Beach, Fla. These three cities score a 5 on the Hiring Scale and average a 4.5 week posting period, meaning that employers are likely to fill jobs faster and with less difficulty.
The Hiring Scale measures conditions in local job markets by comparing hiring demand and labor supply. The Hiring Scale is part of the Wanted Analytics platform that offers business intelligence for the talent marketplace.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Adjust Mirrors For Improved Safety

Are some of your drivers using the same side-view mirror adjusting techniques they learned in high school driver education class decades ago? If so, they may be putting themselves at a disadvantage during lane changes.
In this video, William E. Van Tassel of AAA explains and demonstrates how to adjust the driver’s-side and passenger-side mirrors in order to further diminish blind spots and expand visibility of vehicles in adjacent lanes. These may not be the techniques many of your drivers are accustomed to using, but they are very effective.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

6 best places to be a cowboy (for a while)

Doublerafter ranch, Wyoming
Article thanks to to Jennings Brown, for CNN Travel. Link provided to their site below:

(CNN) -- To many, the spur-booted buckaroo in the ten-gallon hat may represent a time gone by. But the American cowboy is still alive and well -- and it's not too late to join his (or her) rangeland ranks.
Across the West -- and even in New England -- real ranches, rodeos and cattle drives aren't just preserving the frontier spirit, they're actively practicing it.
Many are open to the adventuresome traveler.
Ranches, cattle drives, bull riding -- the life of the late-1800s Western superhero is available to all travelers (with good health insurance).
Cowboy Level: Urban
Bandera, Texas
The self-proclaimed Cowboy Capital of the World is stocked with guest ranches and real ranches, welcoming dudes (according to Merriam-Webster, "a city dweller unfamiliar with life on the range") as well as legitimate ranch hands.
It's practically impossible to pass through town without seeing a rodeo. Horses tied to hitching posts aren't uncommon.
There are more than a dozen guest ranches to choose from, but among the most historic is Dixie Dude Ranch, which has lured wannabe wranglers since 1937. An overnight trail ride includes chuck wagon meals and storytelling by the campfire.
The cowboy authenticity ends where the massage therapy and pool begin.
Possibly the best experience in Bandera is at Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar Saloon -- one of Texas' greatest dance halls. There are always a few cowboys drinking Pearl beer and listening to live music, often played by Arkey himself.
Hit town for the National Day of the Cowboy on July 27 and you'll be in for a treat. As you might expect, the town puts on a hell of a hootenanny.
833 Dixie Dude Ranch Road, Bandera, Texas; 830-796-7771;;
Cowboy Level: Hired Hand
Chico Basin Ranch (Colorado)
If you want to be less of a dude and more of a dust-kicking cowpoke, consider the 87,000-acre Chico Basin Ranch.
Located 35 miles outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Chico Basin is a true working ranch where guests perform every task that experienced cowboys must do in order to keep the ranch functioning. That includes repairing trucks, equipment and fences; constructing gear in the leather shop; and branding and moving cattle.
Most of the work is done on horseback.
Chico doesn't offer many comforts, so guests get the true working cowboy experience.
But if visitors need a relaxing activity after a hard day's work, they're welcome to go fishing on one of the ranch's five lakes.
22500 Peyton Highway S., Colorado Springs, Colorado; 719-683-7960;
Zapata Ranch (Colorado)
Like Chico Basin, Zapata Ranch in Mosca, Colorado, is owned by The Nature Conservancy, but it's run by the state ranch management company Ranchlands, so there's a strong emphasis on sustaining one of the most ecologically diverse regions in America.
The ranch itself stretches through forests, wetlands, sand dunes and verdant pastures.
All visitors get a hands-on cowboy experience, not only moving cows, but also herding about 2,000 buffalo from pasture to pasture to help sustain the land.
Guests also fix barbed wire fencing, tend to giant center-pivot irrigation sprinklers, and learn how modern practices are being fused with classic cowboy traditions to help preserve one of America's greatest assets.
5305 State Highway 150, Mosca, Colorado; open March-October; 719-378-2356;
McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch (Montana)
Since the 1980s, more and more cowboys have been adopting Natural Horsemanship practices, made famous by the film "The Horse Whisperer."
At McGinnis Meadows in Libby, Montana, horse lovers learn the practices championed by Buck Brannaman. The method works with the natural instincts of the animal, building trust and mutual respect.
After learning how to "whisper," you and your horse will track, pen and drive cattle.
6220 McGinnis Meadows Road, Libby, Montana; 406-293-5000;
Cowboy Level: True Grit
Doublerafter Cattle Drives (Wyoming)
Legit nomads can ditch the working ranch routine for a real deal cattle drive.
For six days, you can ride through the mountainous rangeland of Wyoming, moving cattle to greener pastures through terrain too rough and restrictive for anything with wheels.
Each night you'll set up 1800s-style canvas wall tents, eat grub cooked in a Dutch oven and entertain each other by the campfire.
The professionals warn guests to expect the unexpected -- from brush fires to stampedes to impromptu rodeos.
After nearly a week in the saddle you'll be ready for a steady seat. And you can enjoy one at the famous cowboy saloon, The Mint Bar, in Sheridan, Wyoming, where most groups spend their last night.
P.O. Box 490, Ranchester, Wyoming 82839; open June-September; 307-655-9539;
Let R Buck (Connecticut)
Working the rangeland can be as gratifying as it is grueling, but for some bronc busters, nothing compares to the adrenaline rush of riding a 2,000-pound beast for eight never-ending seconds of glory.
At Let R Buck bull riding school in North Canaan, Connecticut, you can learn about the mighty bull, its body language and how to stay on it for about the same amount of time it takes to read this sentence.
After six days of classes, you're ready to ride at a professional rodeo.
210 S. Canaan Road, North Canaan, Connecticut; 860-824-7700;


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Matt Kenseth - The story behind the move

By Dave Kallmann of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  Feb. 23, 2013
Daytona Beach, Fla. - Close friends had seen the other side of a shy, young racer whose talent was more apparent than his confidence.
The wit.
The sarcasm.
The goofiness.
But even with casual acquaintances, those characteristics rarely come out.
He was blessed, he knew, to be in the big leagues. Every day, he feared, might be his last. So even as the lights grew brighter with every win, he put on sunglasses.
"He was guarded," said Mark Martin, a 30-year NASCAR veteran and role model. "He's always been a dang cutup. Big time.
"But he's guarded himself. That's the way he is. It's his personality."
Even when he reached the pinnacle of his profession, outsiders wondered who he was. A series sponsor's commercial portrayed him as a robot, and not everyone realized it was a joke. A columnist wrote that when the NASCAR championship celebration took place in New York, he put the "square" in Times Square.
A decade has passed since Matt Kenseth won his title and more than 15 years since he earned his place in NASCAR. In that time the native of Cambridge, Wis., embraced being daddy to little Kaylin and Grace and mentor to 19-year-old son Ross; he turned 40; he won his sport's biggest race twice; accumulated nearly $100 million in prize money; and arrived in a new place in his career, literally, after an off-season move.
Kenseth is still himself. He's just more comfortable letting people see who that is.
"I'm as confident as I've ever been," Kenseth, the 2009 and '12 Daytona 500 winner, said after finishing preparations to chase a third ring Sunday.
"I'm happier than I've ever been in life. Happy with my life outside of racing. Really happy with my life inside the garage."
Kenseth's 135,000 Twitter followers (@mattkenseth) have come to know his looser side. Take the one-word reply to a tweet about television by his son, Ross, an engineering student at Clemson: "#homework". He also posted a picture of himself and wife Katie decked out in 1970s attire for a costume party, his oversize sideburns and horseshoe mustache carved from a full 2011 off-season beard.
A video done for new Nationwide Series sponsor GameStop shows Kenseth, an avid "John Madden Football" player, clad in his Aaron Rodgers jersey, spending the night in team owner Joe Gibbs' office playing as the Green Bay Packers against the Washington Redskins, the team Gibbs coached to three Super Bowl victories.
He flexes like Clay Matthews, mimics Rodgers' championship-belt celebration and ends with a thump to his chest and quotes Terrell Owens, "I love me some me."
"We were just there messin' around," Kenseth said. "Some of it comes naturally, and some of it doesn't."
For so many years, much of it stayed in, or at least was missed by plenty of folks who weren't looking closely. Kenseth once said he was surprised at the reaction as he came out of his shell; he didn't know whether people would find him funny.
"Every meeting I've been in with Matt, I end up laughing," Gibbs said. "He's telling his stories, whether it's him and Kyle Busch racing in Wisconsin or some crazy thing going on, he's got a great sense of humor, he's very bright and got a real wit to him.
"To maybe a lot of people he seems to be maybe the quieter person, reserved. Actually, when you're with him that's not the case."
Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage, a close friend of Kenseth's, offered a tongue-in-cheek theory that demonstrates the sense of humor they hold in common.
"Now we understand his accent and realize that he's been funny all along and we didn't realize it," said Gossage, a native of Tennessee.
"Twitter has been a wonderful thing for him because there's no accent to Twitter. No, truthfully, Twitter has been good for him because everybody goes, 'Oh, wow. He's a funny guy.' He says more in 140 characters than most people say in half a day."
For perhaps the first time in his career, Kenseth also has been encouraged this year to show off his silly side.
The atmosphere at Joe Gibbs Racing is intentionally kept light, said Chris Helein, director of corporate communications for the organization. It was built by a man who made his living motivating people and drawing them together as a team, and Kenseth had spent the previous 13 years working for Jack Roush, who made his mark as an engineer.
The first time he climbed into a Gibbs Toyota Camry for a test in December at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kenseth found a Darth Vader mask on his mirror. It was a nod to Roush - a Ford loyalist - referring to the rival manufacturer as "the dark side."
"That's something I would have thought was funny but wouldn't have went through the effort to go buy one," Kenseth said. "Too much work for all of that."
After he missed shifts twice in the test at Charlotte, Kenseth found a crew member had used orange tape to make an H pattern in the cockpit, as if he needed help finding the gears.
"I don't want to say one's better or compare anything. It's just a different environment," Kenseth said.
"Once you get to the racetrack, things are basically the same. Goals are the same, procedures are the same, schedules are the same. A lot of things we do. There are certain different approaches and theories and things like that. But it's just different."
One common trait is a winning history.
Roush's teams own two championships in what is now Sprint Cup, two in the second-tier Nationwide Series and one in the trucks. JGR has three in Cup. Over the past five seasons, Roush has 28 victories in Cup races and 41 in Nationwide. Gibbs has 42 and 68.
"Not that many people get that opportunity to be with a top-notch team that many years and not really move around and then get this opportunity with these guys, who are championship-winning teams and win a lot of races," Kenseth said. "Quality organization, quality people."
Kenseth finds himself among the favorites in the 55th Daytona 500.
He had arguably the best car in the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race eight days ago and ran second on the last lap of his qualifying race Thursday before dropping back to fifth.
Without having turned a competitive lap at a short track, intermediate speedway or road course, Kenseth said he couldn't predict how he might fare in his first season with Gibbs. But he doesn't expect the transition to a new car, new crew and new corporate culture to be a setback.
Perhaps then people will get to know Kenseth even better this year.
"I felt like this was a program where you could go win your first week if everything was right," Kenseth said. "If I didn't feel like they were going to be contenders to win a championship our first year or second year or third, whatever, I probably wouldn't have done it.
"I feel like they certainly have all the pieces over here to do it. We've just got to figure it out."

Link to more of my Green Bay Packer Posts:
The Packer President's MVP
Run out of Brats at a Packer Game? Oh No!
Old Number 66 - True Ray Nitschke Stories
Donald Driver and Peta go country!
Sapp recalls his "running at the mouth" rivalry with Favre


Friday, March 22, 2013

The Answer is a Longer Yellow!
Following article thanks to the Wall Street Journal online. Link to their site follows:

Red-light cameras have become a lucrative but corrupt form of taxation.
March 5, 2013  In Chicago, voters are familiar with human nature. This may explain why no one believes Mayor Rahm Emanuel when he says concern for children is the motive for his promotion of anti-speeding cameras to milk money from the city's motorists.
A Chicago Tribune poll finds even those most inclined to support the cameras were cynical about Mayor Rahm's motives: "Senior citizens and women voters were evenly split on whether they favored or opposed cameras, but they showed broad consensus that they believed Emanuel sought cameras to raise revenue, not save lives."
When governments are engaged in sleazy new forms of taxation, sleaze happens. In fact, speed cameras were the mayor's consolation prize—which he hopes will generate $20 million a year in revenue—when Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn nixed his plea for casino gambling in the city.
And sleaze has happened, not unlike the scandals that two decades ago engulfed the private companies that run state lotteries. Last week three executives of Redflex Traffic Systems, an Australia-owned company that operates Chicago's cameras, were fired over an alleged $2 million graft campaign aimed at the local official who oversaw the city's camera contract, including gifts of Super Bowl tickets and trips to White Sox spring training.
Then again, the reputation of this disguised form of taxation has been plunging everywhere. Los Angeles, amid public outrage, suspended its camera program when it came out that most tickets went to harmless perpetrators of the "California roll"—failing to stop completely before making a legal right on red. Even more so when it was discovered that, in keeping with maximizing profits, the city wasn't chasing down those who didn't pay. Why bother when it's so easy to click off a few more photos and dun those citizen who pay up the moment a ticket arrives in the mail?
Baltimore's camera program has been in turmoil since a November Baltimore Sun investigation revealed that misfiring speed cameras had been allowed to issue tickets to non-speeding and even motionless vehicles.
"If the goal of employing red-light camera systems is to improve driver safety, the data suggest that the program has failed," New Jersey state Sen. Michael Doherty wrote in the Trenton Times in December.
New Jersey's experience shows that revenues fall off sharply once drivers become aware of the cameras—but accidents don't. Serious T-bones at intersections occur not because a driver willfully ignores a red light but because he's not paying attention—which cameras don't help.
Meanwhile, numerous studies, including an in-depth federal report, confirm that red-light cameras are associated with an increase in rear-end collisions as drivers slam on the brakes.
Virtually all now understand that the best way to decrease crashes at problem intersections is a longer yellow. In Tampa, hundreds appear to have received tickets because a busy yellow was set at three seconds when the state minimum is 4.5. In Georgia, after a new state law adding a second to the yellow, several towns canceled their camera programs as no longer profitable.
Highlighted too is the most insidious form of taxation of all: speed limits themselves.
The authoritative National Cooperative Highway Research Program recognizes that "the vast majority of drivers will select a speed that is reasonable, safe, and prudent for a given road." That speed is typically faster than the posted speed limit, so the organization recommends timing yellows for a traffic speed 6.5 miles per hour faster than the posted limit. Most jurisdictions—New Jersey is an exception—still prefer to time their yellows by the posted speed limit. Why? More money for jurisdictions and firms like RedFlex, which often are paid a per-ticket bounty.
All this may seem passé, since robotic cars supposedly soon will be able to drive safer, faster and obey all traffic laws. In fact, traffic will slow down intolerably if robotic cars are programmed to obey speed limits that were originally designed to be ignored except when local governments need to raise money.
A 2008 Detroit News investigation found cops cheerfully acknowledging that they had quotas to fill. In Massachusetts, large sums were spent to widen and re-engineer Route 3 to allow speeds of 68 miles per hour, which drivers promptly adopted by driving at 68. Yet at the insistence of state police, the posted speed limit remained at 55, presumably to facilitate ticket writing.
Chicago's scandal will likely end up just protecting the larger scandal. Many of Mayor Emanuel's new speed cameras won't go in school zones, after all. For the sake of cheaply and quickly getting the cash register ringing, the first speed-detection equipment will be attached to existing red-light cameras.
Chicagoans have nothing on the rest of the country, of course. In New York, traffic-enforcement cameras aren't just about money but about the anti-car agenda of Mayor Mike Bloomberg. But a bigger picture is also becoming clearer: Ticket-racketeering has been, let's just say, a contending motivation with safety since the automobile age was born.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Police Ride Shotgun With Truckers
Story thanks to 
Link to their site provided below:
Truckers and highway patrol officers usually aren’t the best of friends. In a move orchestrated by the Washington State Patrol however, they’re starting to see eye to eye on a few issues. Members of the WSP have been riding along with truckers in an effort to crack down of aggressive drivers. The enforcement program, Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT), has been raising awareness about the dangers of driving aggressively around commercial motor vehicles.
Dan Coon, public information officer for the state patrol explained how the program works. A trooper sits in the cab with the driver where he can observe dangerous behavior from cars or even other trucks. He then calls it in to another trooper who is shadowing the truck to pull over the offending motorist.
It’s uncommon for people to acknowledge that the accidents involving big trucks are caused most often by the cars around them. For a whole organization – especially a government organization – to acknowledge this fact is a huge step in the right direction. Instead of using time and money to try and reduce accidents by talking to truckers, those same resources are being used more effectively by informing the 4-wheelers of the danger they’re putting themselves and truckers in.
The tactic has been successful so far. Coon said the Agency ticketed 286 car drivers and 23 commercial vehicle drivers for aggressive driving in the December campaign. Thanks to the campaign, the number of collisions involving commercial motor vehicles in the area dropped right away.
“It really comes down to just give them more space,” Dan Coon said. “Don’t cut them off, and understand that the trucks cannot stop like you can.”
Coon also said something that every 4-wheeler driver should hear at least once; “if a car is going up against a truck, the car is going to lose.”


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Only in Green Bay! 37 Year Wait for Season Tickets

green bay press gazette
Thanks to Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press Gazette. Link provided to their web site follows:

2/26/2013 Lifelong Wisconsin resident Brad Sauve has been waiting nearly 37 years to receive a letter from the Green Bay Packers, and it finally arrived last month.
Sauve, a resident of Spring Valley in the western part of the state, signed up for Packers season tickets in 1976, and his name finally rose to the top of pro football’s most coveted list.
But with the long wait comes a steep price. Sauve must cough up $5,390 for the privilege of owning two season tickets this year in Section 128 in the southwest corner of Lambeau Field between the end zone and 20-yard line.
That cost includes a one-time $4,200 user fee for two bench seats, plus another $1,190 for the seven-game green package.
Sauve didn’t think twice about shelling out the money, considering there are 105,000 names below him on the season ticket waiting list.
“It doesn’t pay to grumble about it, because I’m sure there’s a lot of people on that list that would trade spots with me,” Sauve said.
Packers season ticket holders seem more than willing to tolerate ever-rising ticket prices. The team announced last week a price hike for the fourth year in a row.
A 20 percent increase for end zone tickets over the past five years is far greater than the rate of inflation, but among Packers fans, no one raises an eyebrow.
“It is true that they’re raising prices a lot faster than the cost of living increases, but on the other hand, they are showing some restraint,” said Bill Wenzel, president of Titletown Tickets and Tours.
It comes down to supply and demand. The Packers can charge more because an ample number of fans are willing to pay. And in the secondary market, tickets sell for well beyond face value.
Aaron Popkey, Packers director of public affairs, said there’s a 99.9 percent renewal rate for season ticket holders. That means only 119 names came off the list last year.
At that rate, someone signing up for season tickets today might become eligible in a few hundred years.
It’s a far cry from when Lambeau Field, then known as City Stadium, opened in 1957. Back then, the Packers put a big emphasis on their season ticket drive.
Incredibly, an end-zone, three-game season ticket package could be purchased for $6.75, according to longtime Packers observer Cliff Christl. Single-game prices ranged from 75 cents for kids tickets to $4.75 for sideline seats.
“When people complain about longtime season ticket holders hanging on to their seats, I say tough luck,” Christl said. “The Packers were in desperate need of money in 1957 and anyone could have purchased four season tickets for a total of $27 and still have them in their family today. Yet almost 10,000 seats went unsold. It was those original ticket holders who saved the franchise.”
Lambeau Field wasn’t even 20 years old when Sauve signed up for tickets after attending a training camp practice, and he was approximately No. 7,500 on the list.
Sauve was offered gold-package season tickets in the 1990s but declined because he wanted more than three games per season.
By last year, he climbed to No. 15 on the list and knew his dream was imminent.
There are times Sauve wishes he had signed up for four tickets instead of two, but then the reality of an $8,400 user fee hits him.
Despite the popular notion that season tickets are a good investment, Sauve doesn’t view it that way.
“One thing people always tell you is if you don’t want to use them all you can scalp them and make money,” he said.
But Sauve doesn’t plan to do that. He instead will attend a few games and distribute the other tickets to family and friends.
The expansion of Lambeau Field this season will flood the market with 7,000 additional tickets and bring the stadium capacity to nearly 80,000.
That will reduce the season-ticket waiting list by about 3,500 names, according to Popkey.
But Wenzel said it also could drive down ticket prices in the secondary market.
Some worry that ticket demand could plummet if the Packers suffer an extended stretch of losing like they did in the 1970s and 1980s, and others wonder if that will invite more opposing fans into Lambeau.
“I remember when I first started in this business in the ’80s, it’s certainly possible we could go back to that kind of climate for at least some of the games,” Wenzel said.
But for now, times are good and demand should remain high, according to Wenzel, especially for good seats.
“The way the Packers are playing now, as long as they’re good, fans are pretty high on them, stars sell tickets,” he said.
The Lambeau Mystique also doesn’t hurt.
“I’ve been to almost every stadium in the country and very few can match the overall experience,” Wenzel said. “Not only what a fantastic stadium it is for watching a game, if you can get over the fact that you’re sitting on a bench. It’s got to be one of the best views in all of football.”
Some will even say it’s worth waiting decades for that view, at any price.