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Wisconsin student wins first prize in Acuity Insurance NTDAW essay contest

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Wisconsin student wins first prize in acuity insurance ntdaw essay contest
Sara Mears, shown here with her Great Uncle Roland “Rollie” Koenig, was the first prize winner in the Acuity Insurance trucking essay and video contest. (Courtesy: ACUITY INSURANCE)

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, September 8-14, 2019, is when America takes the time to honor all professional truck drivers for their hard work and commitment in tackling one of our economy’s most demanding and important jobs.

To commemorate the event, Acuity Insurance sponsored an essay and video contest for high school students.

“Through the stories submitted, contestants displayed their knowledge of the important issues facing the industry while thanking the drivers in their lives for everything they do,” said Steve Maliborski, Senior Product Analyst and member of Acuity’s trucking specialist team.

A total of six winners were named, including:

  • First prize, $2,500: Sara Mears, Appleton, Wisconsin
  • Second prize, $1,500: Gibeon Robbins, Coalville, Utah
  • Third prize, $1,000: Ashlyn Smith, Marion, Utah
  • Honorable mention, $150: Gabrielle Robbins, Coalville, Utah
  • Honorable mention, $150: Jimmy Fields, Orland Park, Illinois
  • Honorable mention, $150: Karmyn Jarzemski, De Soto, Wisconsin

Mears’ essay revolved around her great-uncle Roland “Rollie” Koenig and his longtime association with Korth Transport of Reedsburg, Wisconsin.

“Many people don’t think about how things get into their hands,” Mears started her essay. “However, there is a very important job for this to happen. Truck drivers from all over work hard every day to get products to people that need them. One of them is My Great Uncle Rollie who has delivered milk all over the Midwest in his bright blue Korth Transport truck for over 20 years.”

She related how growing up, Koenig had looked out his window as a truck drove past his house every day and quickly at the age of 12 yearned to be a truck driver.

Later on, Koenig fulfilled his dreams and started driving and as of this year he has been driving for a total of 22 years, all with the same company and with no accidents.

Koenig loves his trucking job, Mears said.

“He always thinks of others first,” she wrote. “After a few years off (to run the family farm), Rollie went back to Korth and started driving again. He went back to Korth Transfer because they offered him flexible hours with five full weeks off for vacation. He loves how he gets Fridays and Sundays off, and occasionally free Saturdays. They also allow him to stay close to his home, driving only in the Midwest in order for him to be in his own bed every night. Another reason why Rollie loves Korth is because he knew the original owners, Charles and Marlene Korth, his whole life since they attended the same church as Rollie. He says that the founding owners (now deceased) were good, nice people and hired friendly drivers and office employees throughout all of Wisconsin. Korth has been around for over 85 years and the current Korth management still carries on this caring philosophy.”

Mears addressed the importance of finding drivers.

“It is hard for some companies to find truck drivers, but transporting goods is crucial in today’s growing economy,” she wrote. “Without these drivers, it would be hard to get products from one place to another.”

Her Great Uncle Rollie still loves to drive his big blue Korth milk truck, she wrote.

He said, “If I didn’t like the job I have, I would have retired a long time ago.”

My Great Uncle Rollie transports dairy products so that people like us can enjoy things like

ice cream at Culver’s, she wrote. “The next time you drink a glass of cold refreshing milk or have a tasty ice cream cone, remember the journey the ingredients have been through and the people like my Great Uncle Rollie that helped to get it into your hands.”

The contest was promoted on the Acuity Insurance website and was open to high school students in the United States.

Essays were required to address a topic of interest and importance to the trucking industry.

To read all the essays, click here. 

 

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ATRI releases annual list of top 100 truck bottlenecks; Atlanta makes list 3 times

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Three different areas of Atlanta made ATRI’s list of most congested bottlenecks. (iStock Photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released its annual list highlighting the most congested bottlenecks for trucks in America.

The 2020 Top Truck Bottleneck List assesses the level of truck-involved congestion at 300 locations on the national highway system. The analysis, based on truck GPS data from over 1 million heavy duty trucks uses several customized software applications and analysis methods, along with terabytes of data from trucking operations to produce a congestion impact ranking for each location. ATRI’s truck GPS data is also used to support the U.S. DOT’s Freight Mobility Initiative. The bottleneck locations detailed in this latest ATRI list represent the top 100 congested locations, although ATRI continuously monitors more than 300 freight-critical locations.

The intersection of I-95 and State Route 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey is once again the No. 1 freight bottleneck in the country. The rest of the Top 10 includes:

  1. Atlanta: I-285 at I-85 (North)
  2. Nashville: I-24/I-40 at I-440 (East)
  3. Houston: I-45 at I-69/US 59
  4. Atlanta, GA: I-75 at I-285 (North)
  5. Chicago, IL: I-290 at I-90/I-94
  6. Atlanta, GA: I-20 at I-285 (West)
  7. Cincinnati, OH: I-71 at I-75
  8. Los Angeles, CA: SR 60 at SR 57
  9. Los Angeles, CA: I-710 at I-105

“ATRI’s bottleneck analysis is an important tool for TDOT as we work to maximize the safety and efficiency of our transportation system, and ensure we are making the smartest investments possible,” said Tennessee Department of Transportation Assistant Bureau Chief Freight & Logistics Dan Pallme. “The additional capacity we are providing as part of the ongoing I-440 Reconstruction Project should improve the safety and reliability of this important corridor, which we know is critical to freight movement.”

ATRI’s analysis, which utilized data from 2019, found that the number of locations experiencing significant congestion — with average daily speeds of 45 MPH or less — has increased 92 percent in just five years, far outpacing the 10 percent growth in traffic congestion for that same time period.

“ATA has been beating the drum about the continued degradation of our infrastructure, and thanks to ATRI’s research we can see exactly how decades of ignoring the problem are impacting not just our industry but our economy and commuters everywhere,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear. “This report should sound the alarm for policymakers that the cost of doing nothing is too high and provide a roadmap of where to target investments to really solve our nation’s mounting infrastructure crisis.”

For access to the full report, including detailed information on each of the 100 top congested locations, please visit ATRI’s website at TruckingResearch.org.

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Stretch of Highway 22 in Oregon closed after tanker crash, diesel spill

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tanker crash on highway 22
Highway 22 between Idanha and Santiam Junction is unlikely to reopen until Friday or Saturday as crews remove contaminated soil in a roadside ditch and rebuild a 600-foot section of roadway, the Oregon Department of Transportation said. (Courtesy: Oregon State Police)

IDANHA, Ore. — A stretch of Highway 22 will be closed for much of this week as crews clean up gasoline and diesel fuel that leaked out of a crashed tanker truck near Idanha along the North Santiam River, state transportation authorities said Monday.

The highway between Idanha and Santiam Junction is unlikely to reopen until Friday or Saturday as crews remove contaminated soil in a roadside ditch and rebuild a 600-foot section of roadway, the Oregon Department of Transportation said.

An oil sheen was visible on the North Santiam River downstream of the crash site, but officials said most of the tanker’s oil seeped into the ditch, where it was absorbed by the soil. It’s unclear how much entered the river, the Statesman Journal reported.

The city of Salem said Monday that its drinking water is safe and the oil from the spill has not reached its water treatment plant near Stayton, which is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) away from the crash. The oil will take several days to reach the plant, the city said, and teams will test the river water at multiple locations this week. Crews have set up absorbent berms to capture the oil on the water.

If any fuel is detected in the river, the city will close the water intake gates as it did in a similar situation three years ago.

The crash on Sunday closed Highway 22 near Detroit and Santiam Junction. The truck was carrying 10,600 gallons of fuel total — 6,500 gallons of gasoline in a tanker trailer and 4,100 gallons of diesel in the truck’s tanker.

About 7,800 gallons of fuel emptied into a roadside ditch and the rest was recovered, according to Oregon Department of Environmental Quality officials.

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FMCSA final rule lowers annual registration costs for motor carriers

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The reduction of the current 2019 registration year fees range from approximately $3 to $2,712 per entity, depending on the number of vehicles owned or operated by the affected entities. (iStock Photo)

WASHINGTON — Motor carriers will now see a reduction in the price they must pay to register their vehicles. On February 13, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a final rule that realigns the fees for the Unified Carrier Registration Plan.

According to the document posted on the federal register last week, this rule establishes reductions in the annual registration fees the states collect from motor carriers, motor private carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies for the UCR Plan and Agreement for the registration years beginning in 2020.

“For the 2020 registration year, the fees will be reduced by 14.45% below the 2018 registration fee level to ensure that fee revenues collected do not exceed the statutory maximum, and to account for the excess funds held in the depository,” the document reads. “The fees will remain at the same level for 2021 and subsequent years unless revised in the future.”

The reduction of the current 2019 registration year fees range from approximately $3 to $2,712 per entity, depending on the number of vehicles owned or operated by the affected entities.

The UCR Plan and the 41 States participating in the UCR Agreement establish and collect fees from motor carriers, motor private carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies. The UCR Plan and Agreement are administered by a 15-member board of directors; 14 appointed from the participating states and the industry, plus the Deputy Administrator of FMCSA or another Presidential appointee from the Department, according to the final rule.

Revenues collected are allocated to the participating states and the UCR Plan. If annual revenue collections will exceed the statutory maximum allowed, then the UCR Plan must request adjustments to the fees. In addition, any excess funds held by the UCR Plan after payments are made to the states and for administrative costs are retained in the UCR depository, and fees subsequently charged must be adjusted further to return the excess revenues held in the depository.

Adjustments in the fees are requested by the UCR Plan and approved by FMCSA. These two provisions are the reasons for the two- stage adjustment adopted in this final rule.

“While each motor carrier will realize a reduced burden, fees are considered by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A–4, Regulatory Analysis as transfer payments, not costs. Transfer payments are payments from one group to another that do not affect total resources available to society. Therefore, transfers are not considered in the monetization of societal costs and benefits of rulemakings,” according to the document.

The rule states that the total state revenue target is more than $107 million.

For more information or the read the rule in its entirety, visit https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/rulemaking/2020-01761.

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