Friday, July 29, 2011

Missing Teen Found by Trucker

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA/WFMY) - A 13-year-old girl who met a man on the Internet weeks ago went missing Monday and was found by a very alert truck driver in South Carolina.

Alexandria Brooke Cagle, 13, went missing Monday after meeting a man on the internet who drove hundreds of miles to North Carolina to meet her, according to WFMY-TV.

Cagle, who is from the Burlington, NC area, was found near Spartanburg Wednesday with the man after being reported missing on Monday.

A towtruck driver, Beano Francis, was listening to a radio station when he heard a description of the car the pair might be traveling in.

A woman claiming to be the brother of Francis emailed WBTV on Thursday saying Francis lives in Shelby, NC and was driving to a Carmax dealership in Raleigh when he heard the radio information.

The next day, Francis was driving on I-85 on his way to a Carmax dealership in Greenville, SC when he saw a car matching the same description.

"Snap, soon as that car passed me, I mean he was right beside me, soon as he got beside me, I looked and I was like, that's the description. But when he passed me, and I saw West Virginia license plates, I thought this could be what I heard," Francis told WSPA-TV.

Francis followed the car as he directed authorities to it by cell phone. Police then found Cagle, who is from Alamance County near Burlington in North Carolina.

Tyler Ross Cole, 18, is facing charges of felony kidnapping, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and felonious larceny, WSPA reported.

Read more and view photos:

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Retreading Technology

Snider Tire Inc. has produced its first retread at its sixth Michelin Retread Technologies (MRT) retread plant, this one located at its headquarters in Greensboro, N.C. Snider Tire became an MRT franchisee in May 2009 with two MRT retread plants and has opened or acquired four additional MRT plants during the past two years.

The Greensboro plant showcases the latest MRT process technology, which is unique in the retreading industry, according to John K. Snider, president and CEO.

MRT is the only retreading process using X-ray casing inspection, he said, adding that MRT is also the only retreading process using laser shearography nondestructive inspection on 100 percent of casings.

The MRT process uses patented curing technology that provides highly consistent results from tire to tire.

Its PLCcontrols have touch screen interfaces to reduce operator error and maximize consistency for fleet customers.

“Snider Tire and MRT retreads are a great match for our customers,” Snider said. “Since we started in 1976, our people have always been focused on providing our customers the best possible products and services to help lower their operating costs.”

“Snider Tire has long been recognized for the quality of its people and service to the fleets,” said Francois Corbin, COO of Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “With its latest MRT plant, John Snider and his team will help us continue to improve the quality and consistency of MRT commercial truck services for fleet customers.”

“Combining Snider Tire’s service with MRT’s advanced retread process and products will be a great complement to the franchise network,” Bill Guzick, vice president of business development for Michelin Americas Truck Tires, said. “Michelin’s commitment to fleets is that they will never be out of reach of Michelin-certified service and products, including quality retreads. Snider Tire is a key component in that customer promise.”

After 14 years of operations, the Michelin Retread Technologies Network has 44 franchise members with 78 retreading plants in North America.

Snider Tire is one of the largest commercial tire dealers in the United States. It provides new truck tires, MRT retreads, and a broad range of services through its 42 locations for local, regional, and national commercial fleets.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Driver Monitoring Systems?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is taking a close look at whether on board driver monitoring systems are an effective way to improve safety.

The agency is mid-way through a multi-year research project designed to measure how well drivers respond to feedback from systems that track lane departures, impending collisions and fatigue, among other indicators. The research also will produce the largest continuous collection of naturalistic driving data ever undertaken, said Olu Ajayi, a research statistician at the agency, in an article describing the effort.

It is not clear at this point what the agency might do with the information it gets from this study. Nothing in the record indicates it intends to write a rule concerning such technologies, and in any case it will be at least two years before the research produces any insights.

The Technology

In the study, 270 trucks from three volunteer carriers will be equipped with an onboard monitoring system, DriveVision Pro by Transecurity. The system integrates safety technologies such as forward collision and lane departure warning with driver observation systems designed to detect fatigue or inattention, and provides immediate feedback if the truck is at risk. Data from the device also is fed into a management information system to help with driver coaching.
Transecurity is a commercial spin-off from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, which conducts safety research for a number of clients, including FMCSA. It was created in 2006 by a team led by VTTI director Thomas Dingus.

Ajayi said in an interview that researchers will use the system to establish a baseline of the drivers' performance without any intervention, and then compare that to their performance while the system is responding. In a subsequent stage the researchers will see if any improvement can be sustained without the system responding.

Specifically, the study is intended to determine if driver performance improves with feedback from the system, and the comparative effectiveness of immediate versus management feedback. Researchers also want to know if they can use the system to determine a driver's risk potential.
Other goals are to see if any driver improvements can be sustained over time, and to gauge driver reaction to the system.

Potential Negatives:

An inkling of what some drivers will say came from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which said in comments to the agency that there are significant negatives attached to this kind of system.

Onboard monitoring systems can penalize drivers for defensive maneuvers, and they can be distracting, the association said.

On the other hand, the carriers that already use these kinds of systems have found significant benefits. C.R. England, for example, uses lane departure, forward collision and headway warning, as well as a stability control system that president Chad England described as "the biggest winner in safety technology as far as I am concerned."

At this point, the agency is preparing to gather information from the drivers who will participate in the 18-month field test. The agency last week asked for comments on this phase of the project (June 24 Federal Register). The study is scheduled to be completed by August 2013.

This was originally posted by so what do you guys think? Is this going to be a good thing or a bad thing for trucking. We can certainly see how this may make an impact when shopping for insurance. Depending on how testing goes insurance companies may look at this as a way to save money both for them and for you.

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