News Bits

Oil recycling web site
The American Petroleum Institute has launched a new web site to make it easier for individuals to dispose of used motor oil legally. The web site offers search engines to find used oil collection locations by state or by zip code, as well as other recycling centers. The site also contains tips for proper disposal of used oil and how recycled oil is used. Log on to for more information.


International supports children's home
International has donated a 1994 International 4700 to the Calvary Home for Children in Anderson, SC. The truck will be used to pick up donated items to sell at thrift stores where all proceeds help build and fund the operation of the home.


Tomahawk Trucks gives away Peterbilt
A donation to 18 Wheels of Hope/Second Harvest Food Bank gave a young Alabama trucker the key to a dream. Through a promotion by Tomahawk Trucks of Atlanta, GA, to raise money for the charity, 29-year old Troy Macks was handed a key (one of more than 200 given out). This particular key started a shiny yellow 1994 Peterbilt and made Macks an instant owner-operator. Macks took delivery on the Pete on Oct. 15, the day before his wedding. Tomahawk's promotion raised $20,000 for 18 Wheels of Hope/Second Harvest Food Bank.


Ontario to probe fuel prices, consumer scream 'Highway robbery'
The Ontario government began an investigative review of fuel prices on Nov. 17, claiming the government should not turn a deaf ear to complaints about the high cost of fuel. The findings of an appointed task force will be passed along to the federal government, which has responsibility for the gasoline marketplace under the Competition Act.

"Consumers are fed up," said Consumer and Commercial Relations Minister Bob Runciman. "The Ontario government is launching this review because the federal government is ignoring the concerns of Ontarians about gas prices. It's our hope the review will help spur the federal government to take action."

A consumer telephone hotline operated by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations received more than 2,000 calls in July 1999, when fuel prices jumped. Comments received included:

  • "This is outrageous. We need something done about it and done now."

  • "If they say there's no price-fixing they're full of ..."

  • "This is highway robbery."

  • "I hope something's done about these bandits."

  • "I'm fed up with this. They're playing us like a violin."

  • "It's outrageous they can raise their prices like this."

  • "They are playing around with these prices like a yoyo."

  • "Price are astronomical and way out of line."

  • "I run a service company and have to raise my prices. I'm losing customers."

  • "The federal government has the means to stop this price-gouging."

  • "We can't do without gas and we need government protection."

  • "I'm a small businessman trying to make a living. I can't afford another $30 or $40 a week more on gasoline."

The task force is to complete its report in the spring. 


Idaho targets sleepy drivers
The Idaho Department of Transportation (IDOT) is in the process of installing rumble strips on the shoulders of the Interstate 15 freeway from the Utah line to Montana to warn drowsy or sleepy drivers. According to IDOT statistics, there have been more than 1,500 accidents on that eastern Idaho freeway in three years. Of the people killed on the 196-mile stretch, 55 died because a car or truck ran off the road.


U.S. commuters waste time, fuel in highway gridlock
According to a new report just released by Texas A&M University, U.S. drivers wasted 4.3 billion hours and 6.6 billion gallons of fuel in 1997 because of highway congestion. The five urban areas with the most congestion are Los Angeles; Seattle-Everett, Washington; San Francisco-Oakland, CA; Washington, and Chicago, Illinois-Northwestern Indiana.

The six large cities, defined as cities with between one million and three million people, with the worst congestion were Miami-Hialeah, FL; Atlanta; Boston; Detroit; San Diego, CA, and Las Vegas, NV.


Advice from Freightliner's customer help department
On Nov. 15, owner-operator Daniel J. Karr from Joplin, MO, e-mailed Freightliner's customer help web site with his opinion on the company's black box announcement. Freightliner CEO Jim Hebe recently stated that Freightliner trucks would be built with black boxes as standard equipment.

When Karr received a reply, he was quick to write to OOIDA.

"I sent you the original copy of this e-mail I sent to Freightliner," his letter states. "This was their reply. Obviously, this proves how Freightliner feels about owner-operators. I for one am through buying any more truck from them. Perhaps publishing this will let other owner-operators know how Freightliner feels about their business."

The following is the text of Karr's letter to Freightliner:

Dear Sirs,

I am writing you after reading about some of the things that Freightliner is doing to help undermine my ability to make a living. I hope that you realize that by introducing your new black box technology to your trucks you have alienated most owner-operators. I for one will not buy another one of your trucks. Also, your idea that bigger trailers and larger weights are good idea is beyond belief.

Why don't you stick to something that you used to be good at and that is building good economical trucks? As an o/o, I used your shop in Joplin, MO, almost exclusively. I also bought my last truck from them. But I guess that my business will be going to a company that cares about my business and whether I can make a living rather than thinking of ways to hinder it.


Daniel Karr

The next day, Karr received the following response from Freightliner also forwarded a copy to

Thank you for using our web site.

I am sorry you find our advancements in technology to be hindering your ability to make a living. I hope you enjoy your new line of work.

Best regards,

David Markham

David Markham is a representative from Freightliner's customer help department.