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Tucker Carlson smiles as he prepares to go on the air during a recent show at FOX News.

Quick, intelligent and adaptable, Tucker Carlson is on top of his game as host of FOX News’ ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’

This article first appeared in the December/January issue of Truckload Authority, the official magazine of the Truckload Carriers Association.

By Lyndon Finney

 There is a new star in the Fox News universe.

Although he’s been in the television business since 2000, for various reasons he’s now comfortably settled into the coveted 8 p.m. Eastern time slot with his show.

Meet Tucker Carlson, former bad student (that’s why he wound up in journalism), liberalist conservative (our choice of terms based on a recent interview) and a straight, forward-thinking, all-around good guy (except according to some Democrats out there).

His FOX News “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was the third-best rated cable news program in November with 2.825 million viewers. Fox’s “Hannity” was first with 3.026 viewers. Among the 24-54 age group, he was second behind “Hannity.”

Tucker Carlson interacts with the stage at Politicon in Los Angeles, California, on Saturday, October 20, 2018. (Photo by Christian Monterrosa/ Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Before joining Fox, he’d worked at CNN and MSNBC, the latter being where he was fired when the network took Keith Olbermann’s lead and turned very liberal.

Born in California, he’s been a Washington, D.C., resident pretty much ever since.

“It’s a very nice place to live, and there are obviously unsavory elements in Washington,” he said. “But it’s been a nice place to raise kids. I have four of them and two dogs and the same wife I’m proud to say.”

He wound up in journalism because of less-than-desirable grades when his father, also a journalist, told his job-searching son he ought to try journalism. “They’ll take anybody,” his father told him.

“So, I kind of got into it by accident because I didn’t do very well in school and the barrier to entering journalism is very low,” Carlson says now. He says looking back he just had an affinity for journalism, something few today would argue with.

That was 27 years ago and with a couple of exceptions — a time in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he worked for the statewide Arkansas Democrat Gazette newspaper and time spent in New Jersey — he’s been a D.C. resident.

He was working in print journalism early in his career when one day he came back from lunch and the receptionist told him TV’s “48 Hours” was looking for someone to comment on O.J. So he did.

“That led to a chain reaction that brought me to CNN within a year,” Carlson said recently.  “Television is very different from print because it’s about speaking, not writing. And then there’s the visual elements. It’s a hard medium to master. It’s hard to be good at it. I’m not convinced I am good at it. I don’t fully understand it but it’s exciting and it’s interesting and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

So much so that during an interview with Truckload Authority he laughed, was straight-forward in discussing his views, talked about today’s media and had a new spin on why trucking is so important to America.

 Tell us about your journey through CNN, MSNBC and Fox:

 Things have changed a lot in the past 20 years. When I worked at CNN it was posing as a centric news organization. It was not explicitly partisan in the way that it is now. Now it’s just a working of the Democratic Party, but that wasn’t how CNN saw itself when I worked there. … There are some smart people there. I never thought the management was impressive because they weren’t. But I knew a lot of nice people there. And then I went over to MSNBC at a time when they were trying to become a conservative channel and I spent four years there. During that time they became liberal. Keith Olbermann took a pretty aggressive position against [President George W.] Bush and they got good ratings by doing that and they decided to change the format to become a left-wing channel, which wasn’t a crazy idea, by the way. And I didn’t fit and so they fired me. They were very nice to me, though, I have to say. They weren’t nasty at all. They were honest with me and said, “We’re becoming a liberal channel and you’re not in the boat, so you have to leave.” And I said, “that makes sense.” And then about nine-and-a-half years ago, Roger Ailes was nice enough to hire me.

Did he contact you or did you seek him out?

 He actually did. I was up in Maine fishing and Ailes called my cell phone and said, “I heard you’re getting fired from MSNBC.” And I said, “I think I am.” And he said, “why don’t you come to New York and see me?” I went to see him and he couldn’t have been nicer. I had known him before and he said, “Um, I’ll hire you and pay you nothing and you can work your way back into the business.” And I said, “OK, sounds like a good deal.” So I made a couple of documentaries for the channel in 2009. And then he hired me as like a freelance political analyst, and then after a few more years he hired me to do “Fox and Friends” on the weekends, which I loved. And I did that for four years. Then Greta Van Susteren left the channel and I took her time slot at 7. And then Megyn Kelly left and I took her time slot at 9. And then Bill O’Reilly left and I took his time to be where I am now.

Who’s next?

[Laughter.] I don’t want to move. I’m really enjoying it. It’s great show to watch and a great hour to make TV. It’s a nice hour to work in and it fits my natural rhythms and I really enjoy it. I think we’ve got the best staff ever assembled in news, really smart, really hardworking, good people. And it’s been fun every single day. And to its unending credit, it has given me total editorial freedom to say whatever I think is true. You know, obviously you have to be careful about your facts and you don’t want to be inaccurate and when we’ve made mistakes, I think we’ve corrected them immediately as you should, but Fox has never told me what to say, what to believe, what not to say. They’ve really given me as much freedom as you can give a journalist and I know what a rare thing that is because I didn’t have that at MSNBC or CNN. If you took a position they didn’t like, they would tell you about it, then they’ll try and force you to toe the party line, particularly at CNN, and Fox doesn’t do that. So that’s a real blessing.

In your show, do you feel an obligation to entertain as opposed to being hard-hitting?

No, I feel just the opposite, actually. I think we’re at a profound moment in American history, meaning it’s not just that we elected a president we didn’t expect to elect. It’s that everything is changing. Both political parties are changing, the economy is changing, the population of the country is changing. There are a lot of inherently important issues and I think if there’s one criticism I have of television right now, it ignores those issues in favor of focusing on Trump. Trump said this. Trump tweeted. Trump is outrageous. OK, those are stories and I think they should be covered. I’m not arguing against covering Trump. I just don’t think that every story is about Donald Trump. So I’m constantly pushing to make the show more serious because I think this is a very serious moment.

You’ve talked about the role of the media that often interprets rather than just reports the news. Are we seeing too much interpretation or bias today?

I conduct an interpretation and analysis and I am biased and I think my bias is clear. I think what we’re seeing is a lot of lying and stupidity. And if you’re intentionally ignoring things that you know are true because you think saying them will hurt the political party you support, you are dishonest, you’re not a journalist. And the problem I have is not that the media are liberal, it’s that a lot of them are in effect working for the Democratic Party, they’re party hacks. So they’ll say whatever they think helps their political party. And again, there’s a name for that. It’s called political consulting, but it’s not journalism. And I think it’s more prevalent than it has ever been. It’s been really stunning for me to watch it.

Tucker Carlson enthusiastically walks onto the stage at Politicon in Los Angeles, California, on Saturday, October 20, 2018. (Photo by Christian Monterrosa/ Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Who or what formed your political thinking?

I’d like to think that my political thinking is shaped by reality. So my views on politics have changed dramatically over the past 25 years as the country has changed dramatically. There were a lot of things that I supported in the early ’90s which I abhor now. A lot of ideas I held turned out to be wrong. So my views have changed. Well, I mean I thought the war in Iraq would be a good idea and a lot of the people who supported that seemed like trustworthy smart people to me and I took their word for it and I shouldn’t have. And when I realized how wrong I was after I went to Iraq in 2003 right after the war began, I realized just how wrong I had been and it made me rethink a lot of the assumptions I had about foreign policy. Twenty-five years ago, I thought that cutting capital gains taxes to half the rate of labor would make the country more prosperous. And I was wrong. It made a small group very prosperous, but it didn’t do anything for the middle class. And I wish I had been wise enough to know that at the time. At one point I was very pro choice. I believed that abortion was as simple as a woman’s choice. I didn’t understand that there was another side to it, which is the taking of a human life. And that’s a very ugly thing and a very heavy thing, but I didn’t get it. My views change all the time, but the way I approach the news has not changed and that’s where there’s deep skepticism. I learned that from my father, who didn’t graduate high school but he was a deeply learned man and a compulsive reader and a very old fashioned news guy who started working in news 55 years ago. He was the kind of person who didn’t take anything at face value. Every fact needed to be checked and every assumption needed to be examined carefully. And that’s just the way he approached his life. I definitely inherited that from him. What I’m surprised by is not that the press is tough on Trump, but that they don’t focus on anybody else. There are a lot of powerful people in our country who get no scrutiny. I would say Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon, is a perfect example. He is literally the richest man in the world and controls a lot of the internet to the server funds that Amazon owns. He holds profound influence over America and is never held up to scrutiny. And maybe that’s because he owns The Washington Post. So a functional media would be deeply skeptical of someone with that much power, but they’re not. They suck up to him. They lionize him you know, and I think that’s disgusting. So I think most of the press coverage is contemptible and again, it’s not because they’re liberal, they’re not liberal, actually. They don’t believe in free speech or democracy or the traditional liberal values. I do. I’m a liberal here. They are the apologists for corporate power here. The fascists. So yeah, I have real contempt for a lot of our media.

You recently said on your show that America is a broke country that thinks it is still rich. Can you expand on that statement?

Well, as a mathematical question, yes, our debt is unpayable and the debt is not just what we borrowed from other countries such as … China. The debt includes the unfunded promises that we’ve made to our retirees in the public sector which are literally not payable. If you owe more than you have, you’re not rich by definition and yet the assumption is that the United States is the richest country in the world — it’s not — and that we can pay any price for the things that we want, which is like absurd, actually. Some are acting out of the assumptions that were formed 30 years ago that are no longer true, which is the way people are. They don’t update their impressions. Things change, but they act as if they haven’t changed and that’s where public conversation starts.

Some of your political stances obviously irked some people as evidenced by the protest outside your home. Did police ever determine who was behind that and did it unnerve your family?

We know who’s behind it because some of them bragged about it and they vandalized my house and terrified my wife and no, no one’s going to do anything about it because they’re on the left. I know that. I’m not brooding about it. For my family, the key is really to keep from becoming angry and paranoid. That’s the real cost. Speaking for myself, I’m not worried about being hurt; I’m worried about my family being hurt. The worst that can happen is they can kill you and we’re all going to die anyway. I’m not a fatalist. It doesn’t bother me at all. What I’m worried about is living in a way that’s reactive where you’re afraid all the time and you can’t go anywhere. You think people are watching you and it corrupts your soul. It makes you angry. And I’ve seen that happen to other people in my position who have this job and are under attack all the time and they become defensive and mad. I’m a Christian, so I really believe that harboring anger at other people destroys you. I really believe that. I don’t want to feel that way. I don’t want to feel angry. I don’t want to feel self-conscious. That’s been the struggle for us and because it happened at our home and you’re comfortable in your own house, which is a huge cost.  But you know, it’s getting better.

You always seem to give some real thought to your position on things. But in the landscape of sound bites, slogans or frustrated shouting matches in today’s news, is there really room for genuine, intellectual conversation?

I try really hard because I know I’m not going to have this job forever.  We’re all just passing through, we’re all going to die. I try to remember that every morning. I’m an Episcopalian and there is a line in the Episcopal liturgy on Ash Wednesday and it says, basically you began as dust and to dust you will return.  I try to remember that every day is just a moment in time. While I have this job, I do

my very best to tell the truth and to try and not be afraid and to get to the issues that actually matter. I will say it’s television, so there’s always a temptation to go with the stories that you know, provoke the most immediate response, to go with the sugar-high of some dumb story and certainly we do that sometimes, but we try not to. And the other thing I’ve really tried to do self-consciously, and we always talk about this at work, is we have power because we have a TV show and people watch it, so you need to make certain that you’re going after worthy opponents. It’s very easy on television to pick someone who’s done something wrong and just land on them, crush them. Here’s a picture of so-and-so and he’s a bad person and here’s his phone number. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to misuse power. I want to make sure the people we’re going after are powerful people. … So the people we go after, like Google, are the most powerful companies in the world, and the government of China, the biggest country in the world. I want to make certain that we’re not being bullies, that we’re being the opposite of bullies. I really care about that. And you know, we don’t always reach that standard, but I try.

Let’s shift to the midterm elections. If you would, share your thoughts on whether the outcome surprised you, whether you think the two branches of Congress can work together to pass meaningful legislation, or whether we’re headed for two years of gridlock.

Our presidential campaign just started. I hate to say that, but it’s true. We are going to be debating that and every politician is distracted by the possibility he could be president. That does not improve people’s behavior or the prospect of bipartisan cooperation when you’ve got a presidential campaign going on. What I was so interested in seeing in the last midterm election was how the realignment basically is complete now. The Republican Party was always the party of management. The Democratic Party was the party of wage earners, a middle class and working-class party. The Republican Party was famously the party of the country club. It is now the opposite. The Republican Party is the party in the middle class. They don’t always want to be that, but that’s in fact what they are. And the Democratic Party is the party of the rich and the poor. So out of the top 10 richest zip codes in the country, all of them are now represented by Democrats. Of the top 50, 42 are represented by Democrats. All of Orange County is now Democrat. Why? Because it’s the home of affluent, well-educated people and I don’t think we’ve updated our assumptions about this. Wall Street, big tech, the most affluent people in America vote Democrat now. That’s why Arkansas and West Virginia, big middle-class states that always voted Democrat, are now voting Republican. It’s an economics question. It’s really interesting.

So you think we’re in for two years of gridlock?

I would think so. We’ve just had two years of that. From my perspective, the most important thing is not what laws get passed, but you know, what public conversations we have. As long as we’re talking about things that actually matter, the country will get better.

Let’s talk about your recently published book “Ship of Fools.” What prompted you to write the book and what is the message you’re trying to convey?

I basically wrote it for the same reason I have ever written anything, which is because I was deeply annoyed. That’s always the reason, right? I was mad that no one in Washington who I know personally had spent two minutes to tell you why Donald Trump got elected.

 Why did he get elected?

He got elected because people in charge on both sides and both parties had done a really bad job of running the country. They mismanaged the economy. They made a small number of people incredibly rich. They got us into a lot of foreign wars which took the lives of some of our best people and cost us a ton of money and didn’t make America safer or richer. So they screwed up and they never admitted it, and anyone who asks them about it gets yelled at. They disqualified themselves and electing Trump was a way for the rest of the country to say, “You did a terrible job, we’re really mad at you and we’re going to let this very loud orange man get your attention.” And the people who run the country didn’t even pause and ask what message our voters were sending us. They were like, “no, no, no. Russia did this,” and it created this insane conspiracy theory.

What are Trump’s chances in 2020?

If they [Democrats] keep focusing on him, it’s very good. Democrats for the past few years have made everything be about Trump. “Trump is evil.” Well, Trump’s not evil. Trump has a lot of bad qualities. He doesn’t hide them, they’re very obvious. You don’t have to wonder what Trump thinks, he’ll just tell you and maybe you like it or maybe you don’t. But to say that he’s the cause of all of our problems is like insane. He got elected because of our unaddressed problems. I think if you came to this country from Mars and you weren’t a Republican or a Democrat, and you were just watching and trying to figure out what was going on, you would reach that conclusion because it’s obvious. But none of the geniuses running our country were willing to reach that conclusion because it implicates them, makes them look bad.

Share with us the overarching theme of the book.

The overarching theme is really clear: It’s that the debates we’re having aren’t really between left and right or even Republicans and Democrats, they’re between people who have gotten richer or poorer since the financial collapse in 2008. Where do you live, for example?  [Little Rock], Arkansas, is a perfect example. A lot of Arkansas is not richer than it was, except for the northwest part of the state, which is a totally different world. But is El Dorado richer than it was in 2008? And yet a small number of cities are much, much richer than they were and everyone else has less. So that’s really the debate. You know, it’s the people who are benefiting from our current policies versus everyone else.

How did they get richer?

It’s a complicated story, but I would just summarize it by saying this: The economy moved from a manufacturing economy to primarily a finance economy and a tech economy. No one person decided this, this was the product of many choices over many years. But the net result is an economy where only a relatively few people reap most of the benefit and that makes for an unstable country, and conservatives didn’t want to admit this because it sounded like they were socialists or something, and liberals didn’t want to admit it because they were the ones getting rich. In 2015 for the first time in a hundred years, the middle class became the minority in this country. That’s a disaster. You can’t have a democracy except in a middle-class country, period. And yet no one even noticed.

Truckload Authority will be read by 3,000 trucking executives. What’s your message to them about the importance of the trucking industry?

If you care about employment, it’s absolutely vital. And this is why I’m so concerned about autonomous vehicles driving all commercial driving. This would include ambulances, school buses, taxis, but also trucking. Long distance and local trucking is the single biggest employer of high-school educated men in America. It’s No. 1 in all 50 states. So it’s a huge part of the economy. Now, the way that we understand trucking is part of the supply chain in Washington. So we think of trucking as the way that, you know, Amazon gets its goods to market, brings the paper towels to your house after you ordered them. That’s true. It’s a vital link that makes commerce possible. Of course, the way policymakers also need to think about trucking is as one of the biggest and most important employers of men in this country. Male-dominated occupations, working-class occupations are in decline. I know that it’s unfashionable to care about what men do for a living; it’s fashionable to hate men. But 50 percent of our population is male. And if men don’t succeed in the workplace, they don’t get married and families fall apart. And so it is absolutely essential that our policymakers care about what men do for work and in rural America, male jobs have disappeared to a large extent. Disappeared. So automation in the agricultural sector has, you know, increased dramatically over a hundred years. And over time it has dramatically reduced the number of jobs and those are the remainder of the lowest jobs that primarily are taken up by foreign labor, and manufacturing is dying. And so really trucking is like an essential part of the economy outside the cities in all 50 states. It really matters. If you replace all truck drivers tomorrow with autonomous vehicles, you know, the society would collapse outside the cities in a lot of places. You put millions of men out of work and families would collapse around them. That’s a big thing. No one seems to care, which tells you a lot.

Do you have any political aspirations?

Well, I couldn’t get elected room mother, but thank you for asking. Why? I’m always giving my opinion and a lot of people disagree with me. But I’ve never said anything I didn’t believe, but I’ve been wrong a lot. And as I told you, I’ve had a lot of dumb opinions. I don’t know if that reflects poorly on me or not, but everything I say I mean with total sincerity and I don’t think that’s the way you get elected.

You’ve said a lot about immigration. Where do you stand on the immigration situation? You’ve got Trump wanting to block them out, you’ve the Democrats wanting to let them in. Where do you stand on immigration?

I’m for immigration. I think immigration is good, but not every immigrant is the same. If you’re in charge of the country, you’ve got a responsibility to think about the effects of your decisions on the people who live in the country. Just like if you’re a parent, you have responsibility to think about your children. It’s the same dynamic. And so to act like all immigrants are equally good is insane. We have an economy that’s becoming increasingly sophisticated and automated and requires increasingly higher levels of education to meaningfully participate in. Yet the majority of our immigrants have high school educations or less. Why are we importing people who can’t, on average, meaningfully participate in what our economy is becoming? It’s insane. So what you’re doing is creating a massive and permanent underclass and that makes the country poor and more unstable and that’s why California, which when I left it 35 years ago was the richest state, now has more poverty than any state because it has more low-skilled immigrants than any state. Of non-citizens in California, over 70 percent are on welfare. There are millions of them, so anyone who’s telling you that system is good for the country is either ignorant or lying. It’s terrible. Now, it’s very good for certain employers. It’s been great for the chicken plants because they can pay less, but the only reason they pay less is because the rest of us middle-class taxpayers pay the difference in housing subsidies and food stamps and health care education. We’re paying for big companies to pay their workers crappy wages. Why are we doing that? So companies can get richer and leave us with a society where people have nothing in common and don’t speak the same language. It’s nuts. And the Democratic Party has decided that they’re all in on this because these people will ultimately be voters once they get amnesty and citizenship. But the effect on the country is ruinous and that’s why Trump got elected because he was saying that out loud. He was right. Trump hasn’t been right about everything, but he was right about that.

 

 

 

 

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Bendix offers tips on preventing OOS order during Roadcheck

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During Roadcheck 2018 brake systems, tires and wheels, and brake adjustment represented well over half – 63.8 percent – of the violations that led to vehicles being placed out of service. (Courtesy: BENDIX)

ELYRIA, Ohio — Need evidence of how important foundational maintenance is to keeping vehicles on the road and operating safely?

Try this: During last year’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) International Roadcheck, brake systems, tires and wheels, and brake adjustment represented well over half – 63.8 percent – of the violations that led to vehicles being placed out of service.

With this year’s International Roadcheck around the corner on June 4-6, Bendix (Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake) reminds fleets and owner-operators that taking care of the basics is a must.

“The 2018 Roadcheck followed a common pattern of brake, tire and wheel-end issues accounting for the majority of the out-of-service violations,” said Lance Hansen, Bendix North America regional vice president – fleet/trailer sales and service engineering. “This year’s program includes a special emphasis on steering and suspension systems – but that doesn’t mean there will be less scrutiny of brake and wheel-end concerns. Simple, routine maintenance is designed to catch these issues, from improperly inflated tires to out-of-adjustment brakes. Roadcheck also highlights something else of vital importance – the need for technicians to have the latest training.”

Since its inception in 1988, International Roadcheck – the largest targeted commercial motor vehicle program in the world – has conducted more than 1.6 million total roadside inspections in the United States, Canada and Mexico. On average, the 72-hour period will see roughly 17 trucks and buses inspected every minute, with most of them undergoing the North American Standard Level 1 Inspection, a 37-step procedure that reviews both driver operating requirements and a vehicle’s mechanical fitness.

With braking systems, wheel-ends and tires in the spotlight, offers key points on inspecting and maintaining these crucial components.

Brake Check

Brake systems and brake adjustment reflect a range of issues that are easily averted through regular pre-trip inspections and preventive maintenance. Before hitting the road, drivers should always conduct standard walk-arounds with an eye out for visible brake system problems such as loose hoses or damaged brake components – air chambers or pushrods, for example.

In the shop, air brake system inspections should include the following – all of which relate directly to items inspected during Roadcheck:

  • Conducting a 90- to 100-psi brake application and listening for leaks
  • Measuring chamber stroke at each wheel-end to ensure proper brake adjustment
  • Examining friction for good condition and minimum thickness
  • Measuring/inspecting each rotor and drum for wear and heat cracking and/or leopard spotting

Also essential is checking the condition of friction for compliance, whether during maintenance or pre-trip. This means inspecting for issues including lining cracks, missing portions of the lining, oil or grease contamination of the lining, and compliant friction lining thickness.

“Should you need to replace air disc brake pads or drum brake shoes, select components that will ensure the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirements are met, so that your vehicle remains compliant with the standards required of reduced stopping distance (RSD) braking systems,“ said Keith McComsey, director of marketing and customer solutions at Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake (BSFB). “For example, not all friction that is marketed as acceptable under today’s RSD regulations will actually perform to that standard, so Bendix recommends replacing like-for-like OEM friction. This is the best way to maintain your vehicle’s braking performance in stopping distance and wear when replacing linings on vehicles equipped with RSD brakes.”

In addition, Bendix recommends remanufactured drum brake shoes that have been coined back to their OEM-engineered shape, as opposed to those that have simply been relined with new friction. Relining a shoe that’s been exposed to the extreme force and temperature changes of normal use without having been coined can lead to reduced stopping power and premature wear.

“Getting the most out of each part is key to achieving the best and safest performance from a braking system. Don’t let inferior friction or a twisted shoe undercut the stopping power of a high-performance brake,” McComsey said. “And you can draw a direct line between a braking system and connected safety systems: A full-stability or collision mitigation system will be negatively affected if brakes aren’t performing at their peak.”

Fleets spec’ing drum brakes and incurring repeated violations because of out-of-adjustment brakes might consider air disc brakes instead, McComsey noted, citing the Bendix ADB22X air disc brake as an example. “The ADB22X includes an internal self-adjustment mechanism that can help lower the risk of brakes being found out of adjustment during inspection, which can affect Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scoring.”

Tire Time

Roadcheck’s focus on tires serves as a reminder of the importance of proper tire pressure: Industry research shows about 90 percent of tire failures can be attributed to underinflation, and nearly half of all emergency service road calls are tire-related.

“Underinflated tires also experience greater stress and generate a higher internal running temperature, which compounds the risk of a tire blowout,” said Jon Intagliata, Bendix product manager for Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS). “In fact, the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council estimates that 20 percent underinflation can shorten a tire life by 30 percent.”

Use of a system such as the SmarTire Tire Pressure Monitoring System by Bendix CVS – or the SmarTire Trailer-Link TPMS by Bendix CVS for trailers – can help reduce that risk by providing real-time pressure alerts to the driver. Bendix SmarTire systems use a wheel-mounted sensor that continuously monitors temperature as well, allowing alerts that compensate for changing operating conditions, and can point to other potential wheel-end issues that lead to high tire temperatures, such as a dragging brake.

Tires also impact the performance of advanced safety components and technologies, such as RSD-compliant brakes, air disc brakes, full stability, and advanced driver assistance systems such as Bendix Wingman Fusion.

Keeping Current

Staying informed on regulations, as well as remaining knowledgeable about today’s ever-advancing commercial vehicle safety components and technologies, is an important part of keeping vehicles on the road and operating safely. Fleets aiming to equip their technicians with the most current and in-depth training and information can turn to a variety of options.

The in-person Bendix Brake Training School – an annual series of multiday courses offered across North America – is among the industry’s longest-running educational programs. At the Bendix On-Line Brake School (brake-school.com), participants can access more than 70 courses for free, including Bendix’s comprehensive and interactive Air Brake Training course. The company also offers a host of 24/7/365 post-sales support options, including webinars, podcasts, blogs, video tech talks, and much more.

At the heart of Bendix’s training education programs are its field-tested sales and service professionals, along with its veteran field technical support team and the Bendix Tech Team at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE – an expert technical support group providing service advice, brake system troubleshooting, and product training. Bendix also provides technical materials – including archives of the Bendix Tech Tips series – through the Bendix Knowledge Dock multimedia center at knowledge-dock.com.

“Roadcheck demonstrates how being prepared and running safe, well-maintained trucks requires year-round attention,” Hansen said. “Bendix is there to support the industry with maintenance know-how and resources. It’s another way we are working together to shape tomorrow’s transportation.”

 

 

 

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Technology

TuSimple’s self-driving trucks go postal, on 2-week trial with USPS

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The United States Postal Service is using Peterbilts fitted with self-driving technology by TuSimple to make five round-trip mail runs between Phoenix and Dallas over the next two weeks. (Courtesy: TuSIMPLE)

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Most people think that is the official motto of the U.S. Postal Service. It isn’t. It was engraved over the entrance of a New York City Post Office branch in 1914, and it just sort of caught on everywhere.

Actually, the phrase was written by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, describing the couriers who served the Persian army in a sixth-century war with the Greeks. So with no ancient Greek copyright laws to worry about, after 1,500 years the motto may soon need a reboot: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor bathroom breaks nor meals nor sleep nor Hours of Service …”

On Tuesday, May 22, USPS began a test run using self-driving trucks to transport mail between distribution hubs in Phoenix and Dallas. It is the first of five round-trip runs over a two-week period in a partnership between USPS and autonomous vehicle startup TuSimple.

Founded in 2015 and based in San Diego, TuSimple has been on the leading edge of development of SAE Class 4 commercial truck technology. Having raised $178 million in funding since its inception, in 2018, the company, expanded its Tuscon, Arizona, testing facilities from 6,800 to 50,000 square feet and began and began making commercial deliveries in August for about a dozen customers along the I-10 corridor within the state of Arizona. The company currently has 12 contracted customers and is making three to five delivery trips per day.

After its last round of funding in February, TuSimple announced plans to have 50 vehicles on the road in Arizona in June. The pilot program with the Post Office will mark the company’s first foray into interstate delivery, as well as its first venture into Texas.

The mail deliveries will be done in Class 8 Peterbilts fitted with TuSimple technology, including its eight-camera array, which uses lidar and radar to “see” 1,000 meters in all directions. The route will run a shade over 1,000 miles each way over I-10, I-20 and I-30.

TuSimple will have a safety driver behind the wheel, as well as an engineer in the passenger seat monitoring the autonomous systems.

“It is exciting to think that before many people will ride in a robo-taxi, their mail and packages may be carried in a self-driving truck,” said Dr. Xiaodi Hou, TuSimple’s founder, president and chief technology officer. “Performing for the USPS on this pilot in this particular commercial corridor gives us specific use cases to help us validate our system and expedite the technological development and commercialization progress.”

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NATSO advocates take truckstop, travel plaza message to Capitol Hill

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Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., center left, with NATSO Board Member Robin Puthusseril, vice president and owner of Greater Chicago I-55 Truck Plaza, left, David Fialkov, NATSO vice president, government affairs, and Tom Kirby, right, Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores' manager of government Affairs. (Courtesy: NATSO)/CHARLIE ARCHAMBAULT)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NATSO, the national association representing the truckstop and travel plaza industry, this week brought more than 65 truckstop and travel plaza owners and operators from across the country to Capitol Hill as part of its annual advocacy event.

Participants traveling to Washington represented locations that span 49 states and nearly every community in America.

Collectively, they held more than 125 meetings with members of Congress and their staff to advocate for the policy needs of the truckstop and travel plaza industry.

“Truckstops and travel centers are the bedrock of many communities across the United States,” said NATSO Chairman Bob Wollenman, managing partner of Deluxe Truck Stop in St. Joseph, Missouri. “It’s important that our elected officials understand the vital role that our industry plays as an employer and a taxpayer in communities throughout the country.”

This year, NATSO members are urged Congress to seek long-term, sustainable solutions to infrastructure funding and reject funding proposals that would harm off-highway businesses, communities and the traveling public.

Rex Davis, left, president of Melvin L. Davis Oil, speaks with Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va. (Courtesy: NATSO/CHARLIE ARCHAMBAULT)

Specifically, NATSO supports increasing the motor fuels taxes, which haven’t been increased in more than 25 years, as a means of increasing critical infrastructure revenues.

NATSO opposes short-sighted proposals such as tolling existing interstates and commercializing rest areas.

“If Congress fails to act in the coming months, yet another year — possibly longer — will pass without our nation’s lawmakers addressing our real and present infrastructure funding problems,” said Ernie Brame, chairman of NATSO’s Government Affairs Committee and General Manager of Kenly 95 Truckstop in Kenly, N.C. “Advancing infrastructure policy in 2019 is imperative.”

Beyond sustainable, long-term infrastructure funding, advocates are asking elected officials to extend the biodiesel tax credit, which expired at the end of 2016.

The $1 per gallon biodiesel blenders’ tax credit has helped fuel retailers sell biodiesel at a price that is cost-competitive with diesel since 2005, thereby incentivizing consumer consumption.

Furthermore, NATSO said biodiesel helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Every gallon of biodiesel that displaces a gallon of petroleum-based diesel represents at least a 50 percent reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to the Capitol Hill visits, participants were joined by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who delivered a breakfast address to the assembled group.

Founded in 1960, NATSO represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters, serves as the official source of information on the diverse travel plaza and truckstop industry, provides education to its members, conducts an annual convention and trade show and supports efforts to generally improve the business climate in which its members operate.

 

 

 

 

 

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