Rolf Lockwood

Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.

Rolf Lockwood

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Truck parking shortage is a productivity killer

What are the industry's biggest issues these days? Most everyone will say the driver shortage leads the way. Everyone except drivers, of course. I'd say top spot belongs to hours of service rules followed closely by the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, both of which are key reasons for the shortage... of drivers willing to work long hours within that arbitrarily constructed straitjacket. So it's no surprise that the top three issues for drivers are those two plus the lack of parking facilities.

Skilled Trade? — Until trucking gets that moniker, we’re in trouble

The thing about proper training is that it makes the driving job legitimate, makes it seem like something worth doing. Our ability to attract new recruits will only increase if a strong training regime is in place. That's how I wrapped up last month's column -- "Training? What Training?" -- which garnered a lot of response. And a lot of agreement, especially on that point about legitimacy. If the job required serious training, graduates would think better of themselves, as would the public and the suits who govern how we do what we do.

Training? What Training?

Fault has not yet been assigned in the stunningly horrible crash that stole the lives of 16 Humboldt Broncos hockey club members and, while I have ideas, I won't engage in conjecture as to what went wrong on April 6. Inevitably the discussion has turned to driver training and the shameful fact that only Ontario has made it mandatory, though not until last year. The public is outraged, and I can't blame them. Many driving instructors are also angry about the reality of inadequate training. They're right to be critical. Hell, it wasn't so long ago that you could take the road test for your Ontario class A licence with a pickup truck pulling a fifth-wheel horse trailer out back. Ludicrous.

Here Comes the Sun: Does solar have a role as an alternative fuel?

TORONTO, Ont. -- In some corners of North America, the idea of adding solar power to a truck or trailer is a no-brainer. You'd be forgiven for thinking that none of those corners are in Canada. That's mostly true, but it doesn't necessarily mean that solar has no place here. Just that you must be careful in assessing manufacturer claims about what their solar gizmo can actually do. Almost all of Canada gets an average of 4.2 hours of solar sunlight a day. Two areas -- a small stretch of the southern prairies and a little ribbon of central B.C. -- crank that number up to 4.5 hours. Compare that to as many six hours in Arizona, New Mexico, and a patch of southeast California. Doesn't sound like much of a difference, but it's a big deal. A 300-watt solar setup that can help to run a tractor's electric APU in that part of the U.S. would probably have to be a 600- or 800-watt setup for a rig running, say, a Toronto-Montreal-Halifax route. It also means that manufacturer claims can be rather idealistic if calculations were based on experience in warm and sunny parts of our world. There's no subterfuge involved here, but “your mileage may vary,” as they say.