Your Nov. 20 Pre-Trip: Trucker retires at 82

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. After 60 years in the industry, trucker Richard Smith is finally hanging up his keys. The veteran trucker from Plumstead is retiring at age 82, according to the Bucks County Courier Times. Smith, whose father founded the family trucking business R.W. Smith Trucking, will remain the company’s president, but he’ll leave the driving to his son, grandsons and other employees, the Courier Times reports.

2. Moderate wage growth, declining gasoline prices and continued low interest rates on auto loans will drive new car and light truck sales higher in 2016, Steven Szakaly, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), said on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show. “New light-vehicle sales will rise to 17.71 million units in 2016, a 2.3% increase from our forecast of 17.3 million sales in 2015,” Szakaly said. “This would mark the seventh straight year of increasing U.S. new-vehicle sales.” Szakaly cautioned that without heavy automaker incentives, new-vehicle sales will likely peak in 2016, according to NADA. He added that wages will grow only about 2% over the next 12 months, and interest rates are likely to rise by 50 to 75 basis points by year end 2016.

3. Wayne Finchum, a longtime employee of Titan Transfer, and an accomplice are accused of embezzling $2 million over the past six years, according to the Times-Gazette. Finchum and Jerry Melton Raymer allegedly developed a scheme to defraud Titan, according to the report. The Times-Gazette has more.

4. According to the American Trucking Assns., the shortage of truck drivers could reach to 174,000 by 2024. A story in the Republican-American reports that this trend isn’t new; trucking has been down this road before – most recently about 10 years ago. Bob Costello, chief economist at ATA, says that the improving economy has opened more employment alternatives for people who might otherwise be drawn to trucking. The Rep-Am has more.

5. The mayors of five cities near polluted freeway corridors are calling for cleaner heavy-duty trucks along those corridors. South Gate Mayor Jorge Morales announced the advent of a breakthrough solution, along with Commerce Mayor Lilia Leon, Maywood Mayor Eddie De La Riva, Bell Mayor Ali Saleh and Compton Mayor Aja Brown on Nov. 17 at South Gate Park at the intersection of Pinehurst and Tweedy streets in South Gate. The five mayors were joined by representatives from the California Energy Commission (CEC), the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) to explain this new solution to clean the air near and around their cities.

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