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OOIDA files suit against Indiana Toll Road fee increase

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Ooida files suit against indiana toll road fee increase
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said the 35 percent increase in tolls will cost five-axle trucks $60 to use the 156-mile road which equates to roughly 38 cents per mile based on the toll alone.

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has filed a lawsuit against the Indiana Finance Authority, the Indiana Toll Road Concession Co. (ITRCC), the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation and Gov. Eric Holcomb.

The class action complaint, filed in federal district Court in Indianapolis, challenges the 35 percent increase in tolls imposed on drivers of heavy vehicles travelling the Indiana Toll Road that was implemented on October 5, 2018.

The increase was intended to raise $1 billion for Indiana’s “Next Level Connections Program.”

OOIDA says the measure is burdensome, discriminatory and violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Back in October, OOIDA had sent a letter to the governor expressing objections to the plan.

OOIDA’s lawsuit says the tolls imposed by the ITRCC are not only excessive but are also used to subsidize services and facilities provided by the state that have no functional relationship to the Indiana Toll Road (ITR).

“The governor has admitted publicly that the increased tolls on truckers were intended for out-of-state users,” said Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA. “He seems to think that, in his own words, ‘capturing other people’s money’ is okay. He would be very wrong about that. Truckers are not rolling piggy banks. Indiana’s failure to solve the state’s history of serious financial problems and bad decisions should not fall upon the shoulders of truckers,” said Spencer.

OOIDA seeks an injunction to stop further imposition of the toll increase along with refunds of excessive tolls paid since October 2018.

In the letter to the governor, Spencer said if the 35 percent was implemented, five-axle trucks would pay $60 to use the 156-mile road which equates to roughly 38 cents per mile based on the toll alone.

“However, at 73 cents per gallon, Indiana has the fifth highest combined federal and state diesel excise tax rate,” the letter said.  “If we assume five-axle trucks average 6.2 miles per gallon, each truck will consume approximately 25 gallons of diesel traversing the ITR, paying another $18.25 in taxes.  Collectively (i.e. tolls and diesel taxes), five-axle trucks will pay more than 50 cents per mile on the ITR.”

Two things worth noting in more detail, Spencer wrote:

  • These figures exclude other federal truck-only taxes, such as the International

Registration Plan, 12 percent federal excise tax on new equipment, annual Heavy Vehicle Use Tax, and numerous other state and local taxes in Indiana.

  • Based on our data, the average leased owner-operator drives roughly 100,000 miles and has a gross income of $155,000 annually, which equates to $1.55 per mile. In other words, Spencer said, a leased owner-operator would fork over 31 percent of their gross per-mile pay to use the ITR. After accounting for numerous other expenses (i.e. the fuel itself, maintenance, food, incomes taxes, etc.) the net percentage is actually much higher than 31 percent.

“Enacting this significant truck-only toll increase on the ITR will inevitably discourage or inhibit truckers from travelling through Indiana,” Spencer wrote.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the only national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.

 

 

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Old Dominion Freight Line celebrates MLB Spring Training with nationwide fan events

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Old dominion freight line celebrates mlb spring training with nationwide fan events
Old Dominion will partner with eight teams for spring training celebrations this year, including the Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies. (Courtesy: Old Dominion Freight Line)

THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Old Dominion Freight Line, the Official Freight Carrier of Major League Baseball, will drive the annual spring training sendoff tradition with MLB clubs across the country.

The company will deliver clubs’ equipment to warmer locations as the teams start spring training. Before the trucks hit the road, teams will celebrate the unofficial start of the 2020 baseball season with fans, coaches, current players, alumni and team mascots.

“spring training sendoffs are a player- and fan-cherished ritual. It’s our pleasure to be a part of these special events and ensure the teams’ equipment arrives safely and on-time,” said Dick Podiak, vice president of marketing and communication for Old Dominion Freight Line. “We are delighted to ring in the 2020 season as a corporate sponsor for 12 MLB clubs and as our fourth year as the Official Freight Carrier of Major League Baseball.”

This year, Old Dominion will partner with eight teams for the spring training celebrations, including the Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies.

The festivities will begin with the Chicago White Sox 28th annual event, SoxFest, on Jan. 24-25. With the help of the White Sox mascot, Southpaw, Old Dominion will move the team’s equipment to the new SoxFest location, McCormick Place. Fans will have the chance to collect autographs and take photos with former and current stars of the Chicago White Sox.

On Jan. 25, the New York Mets will host the inaugural FanFest event at Citi Field. The sendoff will take place at noon in the player’s lot, where one trailer will be packed with more than 10,000 items, including 600 baseball caps, four pitching machines, 10 cases of chewing gum and 1,000 pounds of weight equipment for the team, and depart for First Data Field in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Thousands of Braves fans are expected to attend ChopFest at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia on Jan. 25, where Old Dominion will celebrate with the team before their departure. The event will include interactive areas with players and coaches, pictures with team mascot, BLOOPER, a Braves history chalk walk, free autographs for kids and more.

Following the Kansas City Royals FanFest activities in downtown Kansas City, the team will move from Kauffman Stadium to Spring Training in Surprise, Arizona on Jan. 30. The team will pack up two 28-foot trailers and begin the 1,280-mile journey to Surprise Stadium.

The Los Angeles Angels are gearing up for an exclusive celebration on Feb. 4 where Old Dominion will load commemorative trailers with exercise equipment, consumable products for the clubhouse, and other Spring Training essentials, before hitting the road to Tempe, Arizona.

To wrap up the sendoffs, on Feb. 7, the Philadelphia Phillies will host a community event at Citizen Bank Park to celebrate “Truck Day.” With the help of the Phillies’ mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, Old Dominion will move a variety of items, including 10,000 12 oz. sports drink cups, 2,400 baseballs, six bicycles, one Phanatic hot dog launcher and more into two 28-foot trailers. The Phillie Phanatic — alongside rally-towel waving fans and local sports mascots — will escort the custom-wrapped trailers out of Citizen Bank Park to begin the journey to Clearwater, Florida. The Old Dominion tandem trailers will cruise through eight states, traveling 1,058 miles until it reaches their destination at Spectrum Field.

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Daimler executive honored for supporting National Guard and Reserve employees

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Daimler trucks north america executive honored for supporting national guard and reserve employees
Jeffrey Thompson, right, director of aftermarket supply chain planning, receives the Employer Support for the Guard & Reserve Patriot Award from Bruce Thompson. (Courtesy: Daimler Trucks North America)

Portland, Ore. — Daimler Trucks North America is saluting an executive for receiving national recognition for his support of National Guard and Reserve employees.

Jeffrey Thompson, director of aftermarket supply chain planning, received the Employer Support for the Guard & Reserve Patriot Award last week at DTNA headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Thompson served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy for over three years.

The Patriot Award, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Defense, is given to supervisors who have supported employees in the National Guard and Reserve through such measures as flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence, if needed.

Shawn Meredith, manager of the continuous improvement project team in Fort Mill, South Carolina, nominated Thompson for the award. Meredith is also a battalion executive officer and commander in the U.S. Army Reserve. In his nomination, Meredith praised Thompson for supporting him while he completed his military education and during a September 2018 mobilization of reservists for hurricane relief support.

“Because of his decisions, I was able to achieve both my Army and DTNA missions for those years. Without his trust and empowerment for me to get the job done, one of my two careers would have suffered,” Meredith wrote.

“I’m honored to receive the Patriot Award,” Thompson said. “I believe it’s my duty and privilege to support those who serve our country in the Guard and Reserve. These dedicated men and women deserve employer support.”

Thompson began his career at DTNA in 2003 and has held positions in parts sales support, parts specialty sales, fleet parts sales, business excellence and distribution development with the elite support team.

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Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety releases ‘2020 Vision for Safety’

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Big rig loaded with mail crashes in little rock; tractor ends up on guard rail
In 2018, 4,951 people died in crashes involving large trucks, a 46% increase over 2009 data. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON – The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS), an alliance of consumer, medical, public health and safety groups and insurance companies and agents, today released its “2020 Vision for Safety.” The 57-page report outlines areas Advocates will be focused on improving this year and a state-by-state report card on all 50 states based on the passage of 16 laws recommended by the organization.

Cathy Chase, president of AHAS, noted that at the start of a new decade, the organization’s “clear vision is to eradicate the horrific death and injury toll occurring on our roadways.” Chase noted that every day, approximately 100 people are killed and nearly 7,500 injured in motor vehicle crashes.

“The economic devastation inflicted on families from crashes also comes with a significant annual economic cost of $242 billion,” Chase said. “This results in each person living in the U.S. essentially paying a “crash tax” of $784 every year.”

The “2020 Vision for Safety” is AHAS’ 17th annual report, and it focuses on five areas of motor vehicle laws – occupant protection, child passenger safety, graduated driver licensing, novice teen drivers, impaired driving, and distracted driving. Regardless of the category, responsibility for increased highway safety falls on manufacturers of vehicles and child safety restraints, each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, Law Enforcement, manufacturers of technology such as cell phones, lawmakers, and motor vehicle operators. The five areas for law improvement fall under seven overall issues of concern for AHAS. And, while only one area of emphasis is truck-specific, drivers should become educated on all of the AHAS issues of concern, as they share the road with motorists less educated and careful when it comes to safety.

In 2018, fatalities in motor vehicle crashes were down 2.4% from the previous year. Still, over 36,000 people died in crashes and 2.7 million were injured. Nearly half of those killed in crashes were unrestrained, 14% were motorcyclists, and 2,841 died as a result of distracted driving.

Chase introduced seven areas of motor vehicle safety on which AHAS is working to improve:

• Driver Assistance Technology: a proven aid in avoiding or mitigating crashes, but lacking minimum performance standards or requirements for all new vehicles
• Autonomous Vehicles: technology that may become of great benefit in the future, such vehicles are developed and deployed without insufficient information. Public opinion polls indicate a high rate of skepticism and fear of this developing technology.
• Drug-impaired driving: legalization of marijuana in many states has led to an increase in drivers impaired while behind the wheel. In surveys, 12 million people nationwide admitted to using marijuana while driving.
• Automated enforcement: traffic laws such as speeding and ignoring traffic lights are increasingly enforced via technology. Drivers and passengers are more likely to be injured while sitting at a stoplight then any other type of crash. Increased technology use will significantly reduce these statistics.
• Rear seat safety: whether it involves the proper installation of child restraints, failure to use them, or drivers who forget a child is strapped into a safety seat behind them, action must be taken to require a detection and alert system to decrease the dangers of equipment required to increase safety.
• Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety: roadways are not used by only motorists. Bicyclists and pedestrians are at increased risk of injury or death. Vehicles, however, can be designed with features to make collisions with less protected users less catastrophic.
• Large Truck Safety: in 2018, 4,951 people died in crashes involving large trucks, a 46% increase since 2009. Likewise, 100,000 people are injured in such crashes annually. In terms of fatalities, 97% are occupants of a passenger vehicle, not trucks. AHAS recommends additional safety measures in truck design and requirements including speed limiting devices, automatic electronic braking systems, and underride guards to prevent crashes in which a passenger vehicle becomes trapped beneath large trucks.

“Over the last three decades, AHAS efforts to secure passage of legislation in state capitals, while also pursuing strong vehicle safety standards at the federal level, have resulted in significant progress toward achieving our mission of safety drivers, passengers, road users, and roads,” Chase said. “We are excited to kick-off a new decade and intend our 2020 Vision to provide clarity and inspiration to elected officials about the path to improve road safety for all.”

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