The DRIVE-Safe Act

Senator Todd Young of Indiana is leading a group of legislators in unveiling a new program to enable truck drivers under the age of 21 to cross state lines, which is currently prohibited. The DRIVE-Safe Act, (Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy) aims to enhance safety training and includes an apprentice program that allows individuals under the age of 21 to operator commercial motor vehicles for interstate commerce. While this proposed legislation is not a new topic, it has gained momentum from both sides of the aisle and has the support of organizations such as the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA).

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U.K. Shut Down Again

Yesterday morning, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a 6-week lockdown in England due to a surge in Covid-19 infections. Lockdown measures are like ones imposed last spring and include the closures of secondary and primary schools. CNN reported, people will be allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons like shopping for essentials, exercise and medical assistance. other businesses that will be shut down until at least mid-February include sports facilities, restaurants, bars, hair salons, gyms and theaters.

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Airports and the Vaccine Dilemma

With the impending release of Covid-19 vaccinations, there is much debate among the aviation industry and what requirements should be mandated when it comes to international travel.  Airports Council International (ACI), a non-profit organization that represents the worlds airports, has joined many airlines in calling for a choice between testing or vaccination, fearing a blanket rule imposing pre-flight inoculation would be as disruptive as quarantines, Reuter’s reports.  The ACI World Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira stated, “Just as quarantine effectively halted the industry, a universal requirement for vaccines could do the same.”

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Electricity Sold as Motor Fuel

Earlier this week California announced they are now allowing private entities to sell electricity as motor fuel at charging stations. The announcement was made by Volvo Trucks North America as they worked in conjunction with other companies to facilitate the change. Prior to this news, Transport Topics states “California utilities were guided by a 2010 CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) decision exempting light-duty vehicle charging station providers from being regulated as a utility, but did not explicitly exempt medium and heavy duty charging station providers.” Three of the companies that joined Volvo’s effort include Trillium, a brand of the Love’s family of companies, Greenlots, a member of Shell Group, and Calstart, a non-profit organization focused on clean transportation technology.

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General Motors and Ford Reach Manufacturing Milestones

Not so fast my friends, this is no ordinary auto business milestone, back in March, General Motors (GM) and Ford struck contracts with the federal government to manufacture ventilators in order to help combat shortages due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These contracts have now been fulfilled, but it was not without the support of some key partners along the way.

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Competition in Autonomy

The transportation industry has seen an influx of autonomous trucks and vehicles. Companies such as Embark, Daimler, TuSimple and Volvo, may now have to fend off a new competitor. The Pittsburgh Pennsylvania based company, Locomation, has just completed trials of their autonomous relay convoy technology with the asset-based carrier Wilson Logistics. Their unique technology platform combines Al-driven autonomy with driver augmentation in what they call the first combination of its type. Before diving into the results of their first trial, the founders of Locomation have put together a short video detailing the essentials of their technology. Please view at: https://youtu.be/RGJEymZ2dww

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Mask Mandate Reaches Truck Stops

One week from today another industry will take part in the efforts to contain the coronavirus. Yesterday, Love’s Travel Stops announced starting July 29th all 520 of their locations are requiring customers to wear face masks before entering their stores. Love’s joins the growing list of other retailers who have implemented a mask policy. Love’s President Shane Wharton states, “We are joining other retailers by implementing a face-covering policy for customers, and will continue to follow the guidance of health officials and adjust our practices to help keep our customers and team members safe.”

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Godzilla Dust Cloud

If you woke up this morning in Texas, Florida, or other southeastern states, and noticed a hazy or vivid sunrise there’s no need to wipe your eyes. What you noticed was the effects of a giant dust cloud sweeping across the southern U.S. in what many experts have dubbed, “The Godzilla Dust Cloud”. NPR reports, “The technical name for the phenomenon is the Saharan Air Layer according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.” Regardless of the name, we’ve never seen a dust cloud of this magnitude since data was recorded using a MODIS satellite back in 2002. Atmospheric scientist, Michael Lowery of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, shared data captured from the MODIS satellite which puts this dust cloud into perspective.

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Safety Measures Reducing Collisions

Back in 2014 a large trucking company out of Enid Oklahoma was seeking ways mitigate rear-end collisions.  Groendyke Transport who operates a tanker truck fleet was able to reduce rear-end collisions by almost 34% due to the installation of brake warning blinking light devices to the back of their tanker trailers.

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OPEC+ Reaches Agreement

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies agreed yesterday to cut production of crude oil by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in May and June, 7.6 million bpd July – December, and 5.6 million bpd January 2021 – April 2022.  The 9.7 million bpd is roughly 10% of the global supply.  Reuters reports, “The cut by OPEC+ may be more than four times deeper than the previous record set in 2008 and overall oil supply may shrink by twice that with other measures, but the reduction remains dwarfed by a demand drop predicted by some forecasters to be as much as 30 million bpd in April.”  It was not long ago in early January that Brent crude was trading above $70/barrel but with the relentless Coronavirus pandemic, that number dropped to a 20-year low of $21.65/barrel on March 30th

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