The code words "six pack" and "yellow cups" were used to sell meth from this taco truck
Police in Denver have charged 17 people in connection with a drug ring accused of selling methamphetamine and cocaine, including from a taco truck.
"Operation Cargo" seized 55lb (25kg) of meth in one of the largest hauls in the state of Colorado's history.
Alleged ring members ordered the drugs into California from Mexico, then drove them to Denver, officials said.
Police said one of the gang sold meth out of her taco truck, using the code words "six pack" and "yellow cups".
'Side of meth'
"The brazenness of this ring was astounding," said Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.
"Customers could literally walk up to a food truck and order a side of meth with their taco."
Federal and local police conducted wiretaps over five weeks to monitor gang activity.
During their surveillance operation, they discovered a complex array of stash houses and at least one storage unit allegedly used to peddle drugs, prosecutors said.
Juan Carlos Gonzalez, 37, is accused of being the ringleader.
One of the people to whom he distributed the drugs was his aunt, Maria Arellano, 39, who sold meth from the taco truck in which she worked, prosecutors said.
Guns and money were also seized in the operation.
The gang members have also been charged with tax evasion and racketeering.
All but two of the suspects are in custody.
Source: BBC NEWS
Two dozen drivers are set to compete for the prize of the best Australian driver in the truck and bus industries in the bi-annual Scania driver challenge.
To date the competition has whittled down entrants to the 12 finalists in each category, via two rounds of knowledge-based questions delivered over the internet and phone, and now the rubber is about to hit the road.
At the Gold Coast Race Course on 1 October, the 12 truck driver finalists will take centre stage, being put through a set of challenges that include an on-road drive of a single trailer pulled by a Scania prime mover, as well as some tricky but all-too-typical manoeuvring tasks in a similar single-trailer combination.
Further skills-based theory questions and a mock media interview will help divine the best from the rest. A similar prize package worth $10,000 will be presented that afternoon.
“The Scania Driver Competition in Australia is one of more than 40 similar Scania-run competitions held around the world this year, as the company invites as many as 80,000 drivers globally to show off their skills and knowledge behind the wheel,” says Ron Szulc for Scania Australia.
“We look forward to welcoming the finalists to the Gold Coast and expect to see some very tight competition. Among the truck contingent there are four previous finalists battling to improve their finishing positions from previous attempts, and among the bus driver contingent we once again have attracted a mix of male and female drivers, as well as one finalist returning after the 2012 event.”
The Scania Driver Competition takes place at the Gold Coast Race Course on September 30 for bus drivers and 1st October for truck drivers.
Truck driver finalists
||SRV Road Freight
||Esperance Freight Lines
T & M Heavy Mechanical & Site Services
Source: T&L NEWS
Federal MP urges switch to new charging system for roads, starting with the trucking industry and then general motorists.
Federal Government MP Angus Taylor says a user-pays system should first be applied to the trucking industry and then the general public.
Support for a shake-up of road user charges has come from within the Federal Government, with one MP backing the introduction of a move to a new user-pays system.
Liberal MP Angus Taylor, who represents the electorate of Hume in New South Wales, wants a new charging model in line with what a review of Australia’s competition policy has recommended.
He says a user-pays framework, which would charge each road user individually based on where they are travelling and time of day, should be applied to trucking and then progressively extended to all motorists.
"Moving towards true user charges – something that has been floated in the last 24 hours by Ian Harper, leading the competition review – would allow us to drop the fuel excise, registration fees and traditional road tolls as we embrace a system that better reflects the cost of the vehicle to road maintenance and construction," Taylor says.
"These changes will not and should not happen overnight or in one hit. We should start with heavy vehicles on targeted roads, and I am confident that we will see that from some states in the very near future."
Taylor is critical of the existing set-up built on registration fees and the fuel excise because the money raised does not go directly into road investment. He says a user-pays system should also guarantee money goes back to the road owner.
"At the moment the owner of the road is not directly paid for their role in building and maintaining that road, whether it is the local council or the state government or even the federal government. I think we should be doing that. To me, this is the single most important principle we could apply," he says.
The review of Australia’s competition policy recommended road users be individually charged based on their location, time of travel and congestion.
The review’s findings are contained in the Competition Policy Review Draft Report, which says pricing under the new framework should be linked to road construction, maintenance and safety costs.
Like Taylor, the review wants revenue raised to be poured directly back into road investment.
In its official response, the Federal Government says it welcomes the release of the report.
"The review focuses on improving outcomes for Australians, by making markets work in the long term interests of consumers," small business minister Bruce Billson says.
"This is a draft report prepared by the independent expert panel based on input and analysis to date. It needs to be thoroughly tested via further public consultations before final recommendations are made by the review panel."
The review panel, which Harper chairs, will deliver a final report to the Federal Government in March next year following a series of public consultation sessions.
"No one wants to risk lives": Truck driver Frank Black. Photo: Daniel Munoz
A new and confidential helpline for truck drivers - who have a fatality rate 11 times higher than other workers - will only treat the symptoms and not the underlying causes of their higher rates of illnesses and drug and alcohol abuse.
Speed and fatigue were the major cause of truck accidents, said long-haul truck driver Frank Black, a 28-year industry veteran who represents 15,000 owner drivers on the Australian Trucking Association.
"No-one wants to risk their own or anyone else's life. But when drivers aren't paid enough to maintain their vehicles or earn a living wage, they can be forced to speed, skip breaks or carry overweight loads just to survive. It can really strain their health and their safety," he said.
The new 1300 Driver helpline will be operated by St Vincent's Hospital Sydney. It will provide anonymous and confidential advice, information and referrals to truck drivers across Australia. Not only are truckies 11 times more likely to die at work, they are twice as likely to smoke, about 80 per cent are overweight or obese, about 26 per cent abuse alcohol, 54 per cent have poor diets, and 30 per cent are at higher risk of heart attack, diabetes and gastro-intestinal illnesses.
Mr Black was appalled that the Federal Government has described the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal - which is meeting this week to consider a proposal to introduce a safe rate for truck drivers - as unnecessary bureaucracy. "Safety is not red tape," he said.
The pressures on drivers were huge, and could lead to physical and mental problems. "So 1300 Driver is a good initiative to treat the symptoms, but safe rates is about treating the cause," he said.
Introduced in 2012 after 20 years of lobbying by the Transport Workers' Union, the tribunal is expected to recommend within the next two months that owner drivers should be paid a safe rate for all time worked, including unloading, loading and waiting times. It is the only federal agency with power to issue binding directives that apply to anyone in the supply chain, yet it is likely that it could be abolished before then.
Economic employers of truck drivers, including the supermarket chain Coles, had to be held to account, said Tony Sheldon, the national secretary of the Transport Workers' Union. "If they aren't, they will continue to sweat drivers and sweat trucks. You miss maintenance, you don't change the tyres, you don't get the breaks," he said.
If the Government abolished the tribunal before it could make a binding recommendation, the TWU would take industrial action to pursue the introduction of a safe rate of pay, said Mr Sheldon. "We are determined to make sure the death rate comes down, and not see retailers exploit the political landscape while watching more of our work mates die."
Elizabeth Merrilees, assistant manager of St Vincent's Alcohol and Drug Information Service, said the new helpline would help truck drivers end and prevent unhealthy behaviour including substance abuse.
"With the stress, anxiety and long hours on the road, it's easy to develop unhealthy behaviours that negatively impact drivers, their families and communities."
Mr Black said substance abuse has been a problem in the industry for many years. "It is still rife in industry and the question has to be asked, 'Why are these people taking these drugs?' We've got to look at ways to stop them, provide counselling, and say to these guys, taking drugs is no good for you ... you gotta step away from it."
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
The quick thinking of the driver at the wheel of this truck potential saved lives and has been lauded by police, when his truck was coming down the South Eastern Freeway in SA too fast he managed to use an arrestor bed to pull up safely.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN police are crediting a truck driver's decision to use an arrester bed on the South Eastern Freeway today with potentially preventing more trauma on SA roads.
Inspector Kev Lawton from SA's Traffic Support Branch said the incident highlighted the "sound judgement of the driver" who was travelling down the highway at Leawood Gardens about 3.50am this morning.
"He made a conscious decision to take the arrester bed over the risks associated with entering the intersection at the bottom of the freeway," he said.
"He made a brave decision and one that has potentially saved his life and the lives of other road users."
Police from the Heavy Vehicle Enforcement Section are now examining the truck to ensure it is roadworthy.
Police will also be viewing CCTV from the Freeway to find out the circumstances which led to the incident.
The truck was a prime mover from Victoria, towing a trailer with blue taughtliner curtains.
Anyone who may have witnessed the primemover prior to the incident or has any information that may assist police with the investigation are urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Today's press conference conducted by Inspector Kev Lawton:
Watch the VIDEO
Source: BIG RIGS
Meningie couple Mick and Ros O'Hara have been inducted into the Australian Trucking Hall of Fame after clocking up more than 30 years of service and making a huge impact on the transport industry.
Born in 1956, Mr O'Hara began his truck-driving career at just 17 years of age, carting livestock and general goods in a V8 petrol Dodge tray-truck and trailer.
For years he worked alongside his parents and three brothers in the family's local livestock transporting business, before taking over the company with his wife in 1991.
Mrs O'Hara was in charge of the office and book work while Mr O'Hara spent most of his time organising trucks and loadings.
"I've travelled all over Australia carting livestock and have met a lot of good people and seen a lot of good places," Mr O'Hara said.
"Quite often we would be away from home for two weeks at a time; at times it does get lonely but in the livestock game there's usually more than one truck and you travel together.
"It's hard work, but it's enjoyable."
With a passion for his work, Mr O'Hara became heavily involved in the Livestock Transport's Association of South Australia (LTASA) and was State president for two years.
He went on to be elected president for the national body, the Australian Livestock Transport Association (ALTA), and later served as its representative on the Australian Trucking Association board.
In recognition of his contribution to industry, Mr O'Hara was awarded life membership from both LTASA and ALTA.
Over their careers, Mick and Ros have stood up as advocates for the trucking industry and livestock transport sector and helped develop the inaugural quality assurance system TruckCare.
The determination and dedication the couple showed also won O'Hara Transport the NMA Award for packaging, transport and distribution in the 200 Balfours Meat Industry Awards for Excellence.
Mrs O'Hara said being inducted into the Alice Springs' Hall of Fame would complement the couple's previous achievements in the industry.
"I think it's important for future family generations to be able to go up there (Alice Springs) and see our names," she said.
"We ran the livestock transporting business in Meningie for more than 30 years.
"I ran the office and did all the accounting side of the business and Mick did all the truck side."
Partners: Mick and Ros O'Hara, of Meningie, have been inducted into the Australian Trucking Hall of Fame after 30 years in the business.
Source: The Murray Vally Standard
Jamie Whincup clearly isn't afraid of getting to grips with all aspects of a V8 Supercars race team's operations – he recently obtained his multi-combination truck driving licence and took to the wheel of the Red Bull Racing Australia MAN TGX race transporter.
The 31-year-old said driving the 62-tonne B-double to Melbourne ahead of last weekend's Wilson Security Sandown 500 was the perfect way to get his eye in for the start of the V8 Supercars PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
It seems he was right: Whincup and Paul Dumbrell went on to dominate the first endurance event, guiding the #1 Red Bull Racing Australia Commodore to first place by a winning margin of over two-and-a-half minutes.
"I absolutely love driving the truck and with the endurance season starting this weekend, there's no better preparation for me than to do the long haul out on the open road," Whincup said late last week.
"Our transport driver Warick 'Wazza' Beames was a bit white-knuckled at the start because he doesn't usually hand the keys over to his pride and joy so I was very grateful to get the opportunity."
Wazza stopped short of allowing Whincup to push on into the Melbourne suburbs, however, instead grabbing back the keys at a Caltex service centre in Tullamarine, in the city's northern suburbs.
A YouTube clip of the V8 Supercar driver's stint behind the wheel of the MAN TGX shows he clearly enjoyed himself, although Wazza, sitting in the passenger's seat, appeared a little 'on edge'. In any case, the transporter made it safely to its destination and the rest, as they say, is history...
Whincup is leading the V8 Supercars Championship on 2325 points, 273 points ahead of Red Bull Racing teammate, Craig Lowndes. Ford Pepsi Max Crew driver Mark Winterbottom is nipping at Lowndsey's heels, however, just three points adrift.
Next up on the V8 Supercars calendar is the big one: the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, to be held over October 9 to 12. If you spot a Red Bull Racing Australia race transporter barrelling down the highway toward The Mountain, make sure you check out who's behind the wheel – you might just be overtaking the fastest V8 Supercars racer in the country!
Penske Automotive Group Inc. today said it is buying a company that distributes diesel and gasoline engines and power systems in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific markets.
Penske will buy MTU Detroit Diesel Australia, which distributes engines and power systems to trucking, mining, power-generation, construction, industrial, rail, marine, agriculture, oil and gas and defense industries.
The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter and contribute an estimated $225 million to $250 million in annualized revenue to Penske. Terms were not disclosed.
“As we considered opportunities to grow and enhance our business in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, coupling engine and power systems with our existing Western Star, MAN Truck and Bus and Dennis Eagle truck distribution business provided an opportunity to scale our existing operations in an efficient manner,” CEO Roger Penske said in a statement.
Penske Automotive bought commercial vehicle distributor Western Star Trucks Australia from Transpacific Industries Group in 2013. Western Star Trucks Australia distributes Western Star, Dennis Eagle and MAN medium- and heavy-duty trucks through more than 80 independent dealers in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
Penske will acquire MTU-DDA from its two primary distribution partners, Daimler AG and MTU Friedrichshafen, which is an affiliate of Rolls-Royce Power Systems. MTU-DDA will continue to be a strategic distributor of Rolls-Royce Power Systems and Daimler in the region.
Penske ranks No. 2 on the Automotive News list of the top 125 dealership groups in the United States, with retail sales of 199,795 new vehicles in 2013.
Source: Automotive News
Days after a double fatality from a truck accident at the bottom of the South Eastern Freeway in Adelaide, a truck driver has warned the road is the most challenging into an Australian capital city.
The ABC joined driver Peter Sharp at Bridgewater in the Adelaide Hills for a tricky descent of the freeway in a 61-tonne B-double vehicle, to see the challenges heavy-vehicle drivers faced daily.
Mr Sharp said he had made the descent countless times in more than 30 years of truck driving, but it was a task he never took for granted.
"You have to respect the fact that it's a steep, long descent," he said.
By law, his B-double must stay in the left lane and there is a speed limit of 60 kilometres per hour, a speed soon to apply for all trucks and buses making the descent.
Mr Sharp said he did not instinctively know how to descend through the Adelaide Hills and relied on good training.
He said for road safety features such as arrester beds to work, they needed to make sense to any driver struggling to control both their vehicle and their panic.
During the drive down the South Eastern Freeway with 7.30 SA, the police presence was clear and there were examples of drivers failing to do the right thing.
He said drivers were keen to see a third arrester bed built, and it needed to be in the area between the up and down tracks of the freeway.
A coronial inquest has started in Adelaide into the two deaths following a tanker crash last Monday.
The South Australian Government also has acted swiftly after the tragedy, announcing speed limit changes on the freeway descent from September 1.
Trucks will face a 60kph limit for the descent and smaller vehicles will see their maximum speed limit cut from 100 kph to 90kph.
The Adelaide Hills descent was a series of dangerous hair-pin bends for many years and saw frequent truck rollovers and other accidents until a much wider, straighter and more gradual descent was built with twin tunnels.
VINTAGE vehicles and machinery, including a special line-up of Mack trucks, will hold centre stage at the 21st annual Historic Truck, Tractor and Machinery Show at Gatton on the weekend of September 27-28.
Historic Commercial Vehicle Association of Queensland (HCVAQ) publicity officer Ron Carroll said a highlight of this year's event would be a Mack Truck Muster.
"Two years ago we had our first Mack Muster and had 169 Mack trucks, in addition to the usual vintage trucks that come to be the main part of our show," he said.
"This year we decided to have a second Mack Muster and hope a lot of Macks will turn up, old or new, because we realise that in the trucking industry, people like new trucks as well as older trucks.
"We had a bloke last year who brought a brand new Mack B-treble truck. You have never seen such a beautiful machine."
Mr Carroll said the show attracted visitors and participants from far and wide.
"We always get a lot of visitors fly over from New Zealand. They are really into old trucks. This year there are people from New Zealand who are bringing two vintage trucks to our show, which is costing them about $20,000 to get them here.
"And we always get half-a-dozen trucks from Victoria because Victoria is very into old trucks. They drive them up and always allow extra time because every time they stop at a service station for fuel, they end up talking for two hours to the truckies."
Mr Carroll said about half the exhibits were fully restored and the rest were still in their working clothes.
"Some are even better than new because trucks from the 1940s and 1950s weren't very flash when they came off the production line because after the war they rushed them out. But it is also good to see the trucks in working order like they were in the 1950s and 1960s when they were workhorses and weren't in pristine condition.
"We have a lot of blokes who buy an old truck, just make it mechanically sound and drive it as it is. If it rains when they are on a run, they don't worry too much."
Source: Queensland Country Life
Welcome to Major Training Group's "Keep on Trucking" tips. As heavy industry's training partner we will be bringing you industry updates plus addressing the key questions we are often asked by our clients. If you have any specific questions you would like to see addressed in this column please contact Big Rigs editorial or us directly.
WHEN I hear people talk about preserving the industry, I think we have some work to do.
I have grown up around trucks my whole life, and I really think we undersell how big and exciting the industry really is.
Transport is a huge industry; the phrase "without trucks Australia stops" couldn't be more true.
From the type of trucks, freight, destinations and crosslinks with other industries, a career in transport can go down so many paths and it doesn't mean driving forever.
That is exciting and we need to share that message loud and clear.
The heavy lifting to drive change can't come from one person, several leading businesses or the government; it has to be an adopted approach by industry.
Government, employers, regulation, training providers - the collective industry needs to get on board.
Our business is training drivers and transport industry people but if we don't make the industry exciting and a real career prospect, we will have limited new drivers to train.
We have an industry with a very high average age for workers.
These are a great talent pool of people who can inspire, teach and show a new generation of workers.
Let's get these people out there telling people.
New workers are so important for development of the industry.
Employers need to embrace their place as well.
We can train them, we can show them the starting points and safety but we can't train 20 years' experience in several hours, or days or weeks.
Employers, who support new workers, develop buddy systems or introduction programs in their business will be doing the heavy lifting in creating better and more drivers for years to come.
Collective industry promotion is critical.
I see other industry bodies investing heavily in industry promotion, creating excitement and education about the types of work and career paths and supporting industry with training through funding support.
All in all it is not a quick and easy fix. It will take industry leaders, government and some legislation to help make the industry a star.
The transport industry certainly isn't going to get smaller and industry promotion and support has been proven in other industries.
Let's look to the future with positivity and make it happen.
Some of Australia’s transport businesses have enjoyed a stellar year, according to IBISWorld’s Top 500 list of the country’s largest privately-owned companies.
Dairy products giant Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MG), which runs its own large tanker fleet was in third position overall with revenues of $2.9 billion. MG finished behind second placed, 7-Eleven stores, while paper recycling and packaging company, Visy Industries was in first place.
Transport and logistics giant, Linfox, came in sixth with $2.6 billion in revenue, which was up four per cent on the previous year.
South Australia’s Border Express improved its ranking from position 297 to 263, while King’s Transport Group climbed from 340 to 309 as its core business grew while continuing to acquire other businesses.
One of Australia’s largest independent courier and express freight provider, Allied Express, almost managed to break out of the bottom 100 by placing 404th on the IBISWorld list, an improvement from its previous position at 450.
Each year corporate research specialists, IBISWorld, publishes a list of the top 500 private Australian companies based on their reported annual revenues.
Source: Trailer Magazine
Five year trial soon to be underway of C-ITS safety system
Up to 65 trucks will be fitted with the equipment
Transport for NSW is close to beginning a unique trial of potentially life-saving technology on trucks driving between Port Kembla and South-Western Sydney.
It is understood up to four transport operators are taking part in the trial of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) technology, including Toll Holdings.
Between them, up to 65 trucks will be fitted with the equipment, which sends and receives location data and relevant warnings across a dedicated radio frequency.
The C-ITS system can alert drivers to critical road safety issues up to 1,000 metres ahead.
These are created using position, speed, and direction data of participating vehicles, as well as information from traffic signal software.
For example, drivers can be alerted if an upcoming traffic light is about to turn red.
The system will also warn of both moving and stationary road hazards.
The five year trial has been in the planning stages since May this year, with preliminary testing and driver inductions and training now taking place.
The fitted trucks will begin making some closely watched runs along the 42km stretch of the Hume Highway from February next year.
A 42-year-old truck driver will face court next month after being caught allegedly drink driving 13 times over the limit in the NSW Hunter Valley.
Police responded to complaints from other motorists about a Mack semi-trailer driving erratically on the New England Highway around 3.30pm on Sunday.
Highway Patrol officers intercepted the truck, which was hauling grain, near Singleton, and asked him to take a breath test, but he allegedly repeatedly refused to comply. The driver was arrested and taken to Singleton Police Station, where a breath analysis returned an alleged reading of 0.272, more than 13 times the legal alcohol limit for drivers of vehicles weighing more than 13.9 tonnes.
The man, from Gwandalan, was charged with high-range PCA and granted conditional bail to appear at Singleton Local Court on October 30.
His licence was suspended and confiscated.
Source: Business Insider
Cecil Andrews Senior High School student Bethany Nichol-Marion (14) in a hot-pink Western Star truck cab owned by Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girl Julie Gavin. Picture: Sarah Waters.
YOUNG women at Cecil Andrews Senior High School were given a lesson in how to make it in a male-dominated industry.
Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls founder Heather Jones and fellow member Julie Gavin pulled up at the school last Tuesday in truck cabs, which usually have three trailer loads of cargo behind them.
The woman truckies, who have successfully carved out high-paying careers as long-haul truck drivers, were there to let students know that they too could do the same.
Mrs Jones, who has been a truck driver for 25 years, said she loved the job and it offered a lifestyle that suited women, but many didn't know about it.
“It's a whole new world and it really is a fantastic life,” she said. “Women are put off by the old image of Bob the truck driver, but it's not like that anymore. We're encouraged to eat well and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
“This new generation of truckies is very professional and we drive some state-of-the-art safety trucks.”
It was rare to have female truck drivers when Mrs Jones, a former legal secretary, first started out in the industry, but it was not long before she gained the respect of her male counterparts.
She learned to load and secure heavy equipment needed for the mining industry, including fuel and crane parts, and transported them across WA to mines sites in her road train, which she bought after her marriage broke up.
Her two daughters came on the road with her and were homeschooled along the way.
For the past 10 years Mrs Jones has been promoting the industry, lobbying against dangerous driving and more recently training women to drive her Scania truck to help them in the industry.
“This is an industry that needs another 500,000 drivers over the next 15 years, so it is a guaranteed career for employment,” she said.
“Without trucks you would have no homes, roads, cities, ports, railways, airports, fuel. Most truck drivers are viewed as nameless, faceless pests on our highways, but we are so very much the cornerstones of society.”
Fifteen per cent of truck drivers in the Pilbara are women and many of them have been trained by Mrs Jones.
“Woman are a lot gentler on the gears and they tend to be more risk averse. We also do everything in WA – including changing tyres,” she said.
Canning Coalition Inc co-ordinated the visit by the Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls to Cecil Andrews Senior High School.
Source: immy Community