AT-NewsBlitz: ‘Frankenstein’ trucks, truckers and juries, the importance of freight

March 3, 2015
American Trucker’s round-up of this and that this week features bite-size news of robo-trucks and other commercial vehicles of the new future; what can happen when a big-rig doesn’t leave enough room for the cop on the shoulder; and several examples of academics and policy makers starting to take freight movement seriously. This week’s ‘grain of salt’ report comes from Quartz, whose hyperbole relies on the “some” who fear that self-driving trucks could “overrun” U.S. highways. And the robo-“leviathans” could be coming sooner than later: “The first step [in rebuilding a stagnant economy] was a crash program to automate long-haul trucking,” writes a researcher, whose project imagines looking “back” from the year 2030 at the changes needed for modern transportation efficiency, including the shift to autonomous vehicles. Speaking of the future that is now: Amazon is filing patents for a mobile 3D printing truck, according to The Wall Street Journal. And maybe it’ll be built on the new all-electric F59 chassis model juiced by Motiv Power Systems technology, dubbed “Frankenstein Trucks” by CleanTechnica. This week’s educational video meant to reinforce move-over practices comes from Ohio, courtesy the New York Daily News. (Blaming the four-wheeler that boxed in the truck driver probably won’t hold much weight in court.) 
And that driver and his company certainly need to have a look at this A National Law Review analysis which explains why the venue or court location for trials can be a critical factor for truckers facing lawsuits. Another whisper in the wind: A “think tank” thinks it’s time to take efficient freight movement seriously. “That’s why we’re proposing (PDF) a new national freight investment program: one that invests where it matters most and maximizes benefits for the entire country,” the Brookings Institute says. “As these [funding] debates continue in Washington, though, we will continue to face clogged roads, ports, and other critical infrastructure. Our proposal offers a path forward, one where objective criteria guides our shared investments and provides new opportunities to grow our economy.” The National Journal followed up with a freight analysis of its own, saying “Our ability to function as a nation is inextricably tied to the ability to smoothly move goods through our borders and throughout the states.” And this explanation of the obvious is just another reason a CDL might be more practical than an MBA: The proximity of warehouses and other logistics facilities to major freight corridors is becoming an even-more critical part of supply chain strategies today, reports Area Development. Wow, really?
About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor

Kevin has served as editor-in-chief of Trailer/Body Builders magazine since 2017—just the third editor in the magazine’s 60 years. He is also editorial director for Endeavor Business Media’s Commercial Vehicle group, which includes FleetOwner, Bulk Transporter, Refrigerated Transporter, American Trucker, and Fleet Maintenance magazines and websites.

Working from Little Rock, Kevin has covered trucking and manufacturing for 15 years. His writing and commentary about the trucking industry and, previously, business and government, has been recognized with numerous state, regional, and national journalism awards.

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