Your Dec. 30 Pre-Trip: How technology keeps bus fleet safe

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. The fleet maintenance supervisor for the Sarasota Springs City School District is enthusiastic about using new technology to keep kids on school buses safe. Forbes reports that the school district is piloting Navistar’s OnCommand Connection, a remote vehicle diagnostic system that enables the maintenance team to access detailed information about vehicle performance in real time. According to the report, the Internet of Things technology has been used by truck fleets for several years, but was just launched for school buses this past summer.

2.  According to a Reuters report, global economic growth will be disappointing next year. International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde said, according to Reuters, “The prospect of rising interest rates in the United States and an economic slowdown in China were contributing to uncertainty and a higher risk of economic vulnerability worldwide.” In addition, growth in global trade has slowed and a decline in raw material prices is posing problems for economies. Reuters has more.

3. Forbes reports that some analysts are encouraging Volkswagen AG to sell some of its luxury brands and truck business that “drain management’s attention and financial resources.” Suggestions come as the manufacturer faces an estimated $27 to $34 billion in costs associated with deceptions related to fuel economy and emissions performance. The report suggests that the company, which owns both Scania and MAN commercial truck businesses, could expedite consolidation under Scania to drive more efficient business, or sell off the heavy truck business altogether.

4. Historic floods are wreaking havoc along the Mississippi River, threatening to breach or weaken levees and forcing hundreds to evacuate their homes. According to NBC News, the severe weather has been blamed for dozens of deaths, has forced inmates to move out of a state prison, and has caused wastewater treatment plants to malfunction. NBC has more.

5. An Afghan trucking company owner has been charged with bribing soldiers to obtain U.S. supply contracts, according to North Carolina court documents. According to a Winston-Salem Journal report, Hikmatullah Shadman has been charged with conspiracy and bribery related to payments made to two soldiers in 2009. The Justice Department has made efforts to freeze more than $63 million in bank accounts controlled by Shadman, and authorities allege the money was fraudulently obtained from the government through inflated trucking contracts. The Journal has more.

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