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Jury awards Ohio carrier $1.3 million over MaxxForce engine dispute

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The Ohio jury awarded Dutch Maid Logistics $1,025,000 in punitive damages on top of $275,000 in lost profits and diminished value for the sale of the trucks involved in the suit. (Courtesy: DUTCH MAID LOGISTICS)

NEWARK, Ohio — A jury on March 1 found Navistar guilty of fraud for concealing and not disclosing certain facts in the sale of 20 Navistar ProStars.

It marks the second such verdict against Navistar, according to Clay Miller of the law firm of Miller Weisbrod.

Previously, Navistar was found guilty of fraud by a Tennessee jury and awarded $30,800,000 including $20,000,0000 of punitive damages in the case of Milan Express vs. Navistar, which involved the sale of 240 trucks with the same Maxxforce engine.

This time the verdict was returned by a jury in Newark, Ohio, based on defects in the Maxxforce engine in trucks sold to Dutch Maid Logistics, an Ohio-based trucking company.

The jury awarded $1,025,000 in punitive damages on top of $275,000 in lost profits and diminished value for the sale of the defective trucks. The jury also found that Dutch Maid should recover its attorneys’ fees, which likely will bring the total verdict to over $2,000,000.

Navistar spokesperson Lyndi McMillan said the OEM was disappointed in the outcome of the trial and is evaluating its options.

In both cases, the trucking companies were represented by Miller.

Miller Weisbrod represents numerous other trucking companies in similar cases across the United States.

“Navistar’s current management has spent millions and millions of dollars to defend these cases and has never made any meaningful settlement offer to any of these trucking companies, including Dutch Maid,” Miller said.

“When we started this process, we were merely looking to cover real losses that we had suffered as a result of Navistar’s faulty equipment,” said Sam Burrer, general manager of Dutchmaid “We tried for years to resolve this before finally having to ask jury to decide the matter. Throughout the process Navistar attacked and vilified our company for asking them to take responsibility.”

Navistar in March 2016 reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $7.5 million to end a criminal probe into the accusations that it misled investors about the alleged defects of the MaxxForce line.

When the now infamous new engine standards were implemented beginning with the 2010 model, Navistar was the only North American engine manufacturer that decided to utilize exhaust gas recirculation instead of a DEF-based aftertreatment system.

In 2012, the company dumped the EGR-only strategy, opting for the exhaust aftertreatment.

The company ultimately lost billions of dollars because of consumer claims against the EGR engines.

 

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Ohio Senate proposes 6-cent increase to state gas tax

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Republican Gov. Mike DeWine proposes raising Ohio's current tax of 28 cents per gallon on gas by 18 cents beginning July 1, and adjusting it annually for inflation. The tax on diesel fuel under his plan also would go up by 18 cents. (The Trucker file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio  — The Ohio Senate on Thursday voted in favor of a proposal to increase the state’s gas tax by 6 cents a gallon, down from the House’s planned increase of 10.7 cents a gallon and well below the governor’s proposed 18-cents a gallon to maintain roads and bridges.

The Senate’s transportation committee unveiled its tax plan Thursday for an increase of 6 cents a gallon for gas and for diesel fuel in a substitute version of Ohio’s transportation budget that passed the committee 6-5. The full Senate voted 24-to-6 later in the day to approve the bill. It now heads back to the House for almost certain rejection, which would call for a House-Senate conference committee to convene for an attempt at a compromise.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine proposes raising Ohio’s current tax of 28 cents per gallon on gas by 18 cents beginning July 1, and adjusting it annually for inflation. The tax on diesel fuel under his plan also would go up by 18 cents.

The House proposes an increase of 10.7 cents a gallon over three years beginning Oct. 1. The House proposal would increase the current 28-cents-per-gallon diesel-fuel tax by 20 cents a gallon, with that increase also phased in over a three-year period.

The House plan, which would not index the increase to inflation, would raise about $872 million per year, compared with about $1.2 billion from DeWine’s plan. The Senate proposal, which also does not set the tax to automatically rise with inflation, would raise about $400 million per year.

DeWine, who has already said that the increase proposed by the House wasn’t enough, said again Wednesday that his proposal was the “bare minimum” to keep up with needed repairs of poorly rated bridges, dangerous intersections and some new construction. A message seeking comment on Thursday’s vote was left with a spokesman for DeWine.

House GOP members had indicated their plan would lessen the impact of a tax increase on consumers while still meeting road-maintenance needs. Republican Rep. Scott Oelslager, chairman of the House Finance Committee, has described the House plan as a “more equitable” distribution of the tax burden.

Senate Transportation Chairman Rob McColley voted against the Senate version Thursday because it doesn’t contain a corresponding tax cut to off-set the 6-cent increase. McColley said, however, that he was comfortable after an “extensive analysis” that the 6-cent proposal is enough to fund existing road maintenance with some extra construction on top.

“Our policy, number one, should be taking care of existing roads and bridges, and this budget definitely does that,” said McColley, a Republican from Napoleon in northwestern Ohio.

The Senate committee’s proposed transportation budget also would reinstate the requirement for Ohioans to have both front and back license plates on their vehicles. The House has proposed eliminating the front license.

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L.A. tops list of metro areas with most aggressive drivers

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Cars and trucks choke the San Diego Freeway in both directions during the afternoon rush hour in Los Angeles near an interchange. Los Angeles has the most aggressive drivers in the United States, according to a study published by GasBuddy. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

BOSTON — Honking, squeaking brakes and bumper-to-bumper traffic are common problems in many of America’s congested cities.

Frustrated drivers can get agitated quickly, and their aggressive driving habits like speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can lower gas mileage by as much as 40 percent, costing them as much as $477 per year in additional fuel consumption.

GasBuddy has revealed the major metropolitan areas in the United States with the most aggressive drivers, causing them to pay more for gasoline by making more frequent trips to the pump.

GasBuddy compiled data from its Drives feature in the GasBuddy app, examining the top 30        metropolitan areas by population as defined by the United States Census Bureau from November 2018-February 2019, noting the frequency of an aggressive event while driving, whether it be speeding, hard braking or accelerating.

The top 10 cities with the most aggressive drivers included:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Philadelphia
  3. Sacramento, California
  4. Atlanta
  5. San Francisco
  6. San Diego
  7. Orlando, Florida.
  8. Detroit
  9. Austin, Texas
  10. Las Vegas

Los Angeles consistently tops the list of having some of the most expensive gas prices in the nation, currently averaging $3.35 per gallon. Combined with traffic and congestion, the GasBuddy Aggressive Driving study revealed that the way Los Angeles motorists are driving is also contributing to a larger gasoline budget. And it doesn’t stop with Los Angeles: four of the top 10 cities with the most aggressive drivers are in California, including Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego.

“Frustration while driving in densely populated cities with high levels of congestion leads motorists to drive more aggressively and with more urgency. Interestingly, these are areas that typically see some of the highest gas prices in their respective states,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “With drivers in Los Angeles, Philadelphia,

Sacramento and Atlanta being 20 percent more aggressive than the average driver in America, it’s particularly important for commuters and rideshare drivers in these areas to work on shedding their lead foot and relax more to keep money from flying out the window each time they hit the road.”

Last year GasBuddy’s Aggressive Driving Study examined the states with the most aggressive drivers. Seven of the top 10 cities with the most aggressive drivers from this year’s study are within the top 10 states with the most aggressive drivers, including California, Georgia, Texas and Florida.

Additional findings include:

  • Frustrating Fridays. Motorists are 1.2 times more likely to encounter aggressive driving on Friday than on Wednesday. The most aggressive day on the road is Friday, with 14 percent more aggressive driving events occurring compared to the average across the United States. The least aggressive day on the road is Wednesday, with 6 percent fewer aggressive driving events occurring compared to the average across the United States.
  • Wearing Out the Brakes (All Week). The most frequent aggressive driving habit on weekdays is hard braking, followed by rapid acceleration and speeding. On weekends, the most frequent aggressive driving habit continues to be hard braking, followed by speeding and rapid acceleration.

San Diego’s Need for Speed. While cities like Los Angeles and Philadelphia take the top spots in regards to hard braking and rapid acceleration, San Diego, Orlando and Detroit take the top three spots for cities with the most speeding incidents.

GasBuddy is a company that connects drivers with the company’s Perfect Pit Stop. As a source for crowdsourced, real-time fuel prices at more than 150,000 gas station convenience stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia, millions of drivers use the GasBuddy app and website every day to find gas station convenience stores based on fuel prices, location and ratings/reviews.

For more information, visit .

 

 

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FMCSA issues regional exemptions to HOS because of flooding

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The map shows the states that are part of the emergency declaration that allows certain exemptions from the Hours of Service regulations as a result of recent flooding.

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration this week has issued regional exemptions to the Hours of Service as a result of the recent flooding.

The declarations are for Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The FMCSA said the declaration is designed to help with recovery efforts following a severe weather and flooding event that claimed multiple lives, caused power outages, and did major damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure.

The emergency declaration applies to truck drivers who are providing “direct support of relief efforts” to the flood damaged areas. The FMCSA guidelines say that “direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not directly supporting the emergency relief effort or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.”

The exemption runs until April 18 or until the emergency is declared ended.

In addition, the FMCSA said that it will not be enforcing the Temporary Operating Authority Registration fee for truckers who are providing direct assistance to disaster victims.

 

 

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