To mark CCJ’s centennial anniversary, here is the CCJ editors’ list of some of the most important regulations, innovations and events that have shaped the trucking industry over the last 100 years.
Disagree with a ranking? Feel like there’s something we missed? We’d love to hear your opinion. Go to www.CCJ100.com/feedback and let us know what you think.
CCJ’s editors would like to thank the following for their input and feedback in compiling the Milestones: Bill Johnson, executive director of the American Truck Historical Society; Gov. Bill Graves, president and chief executive officer of the American Trucking Associations; Jerry Standley, former CCJ editorial director; and Rich Cross, former CCJ senior technical editor.
100 Trucking dominates pop culture
C.W. McCall’s #1 hit “Convoy” in 1976 was made into a movie of the same name two years later. Also memorable during the decade were Claude Akins’ “Movin’ On” TV series and “B.J. and the Bear,” as well as Burt Reynolds’ “Smokey and the Bandit,” which dominated cinema screens. Almost overnight, the word “Smokey” was used in the pages of CCJ. A White Motor Trucks ad in May 1980 touted “You’ll discover how to raise average road speed 10%, to add thousands of profit-producing miles without angering Smokey!” The lasting effects of trucking’s “15 minutes of fame” are debatable, but in the near term undoubtedly more people became interested in working as truck drivers.
99 SuperTruck program
In January 2010, the Department of Energy announced $115 million in funding for three projects that focus on cost-effective measures to improve efficiency of Class 8 long-haul freight trucks by 50 percent. Technologies to be demonstrated by 2015 include improved aerodynamics, reduced engine idling technologies, waste heat recovery to increase engine efficiency, advanced combustion techniques and powertrain hybridization.
98 First truck leasing program
In 1916, Warwick Saunders and his sons founded Ford Livery Co., thought to be the first truck leasing and rental company in history. It later became Saunders Leasing System and grew to become the third-largest truck leasing company in the country with 136 locations and 10,000 trucks. Saunders was purchased by Ryder in 1986.
97 Truck driver minimum age
The longstanding controversial requirement that drivers be at least 21 for interstate operations means trucking isn’t an option for new high school graduates. In 2000, the Truckload Carriers Association proposed a tightly controlled pilot program to allow 18-year-olds to drive interstate, but the plan was rejected in 2003.
96 ICC Termination Act of 1995
Congress finally got around to abolishing the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1995, transferring its remaining powers to the newly created Surface Transportation Board. Perhaps the most significant provision of the ICC Termination Act of 1995 for trucking, however, was a measure giving independent contractors the right to challenge alleged motor carrier violations of the federal truth-in-leasing regulations in court. The measure enabled a long line of lawsuits against trucking companies that continue to this day.
95 Load optimization
The power of today’s computer hardware combined with sophisticated business intelligence software, satellite positioning, mobile communications and other technologies to populate databases with accurate real-time information has allowed fleet operations to make much faster and accurate decisions on which load opportunities are most profitable.
94 Electronic data interchange
Beginning in the mid-1970s, electronic data interchange, or EDI, allowed shippers, carriers and others in the supply chain to transact business using third-party communications networks. EDI has survived by migrating from closed networks to Internet-based platforms.
93 Wide-base single tires
So-called “super singles” have been around for decades, but it was about 10 years ago that Michelin relaunched the concept for on-highway operations for reasons of saving weight as well as reducing rolling resistance. Bridgestone also offers a wide-base single for tractors, and several suppliers now have them for trailers. Two federal agencies recently proposed truck fuel efficiency standards that would give wide-base singles a further boost.
92 Weigh station bypass
One challenge with the federal inspection program (CCJ Milestone No. 77) was the need to decide which trucks to inspect and which to let pass. In the early 1980s, Heavy Vehicle Electronic License Plate (HELP) – today a not-for-profit public-private partnership – conceived of a transponder-based system that would allow trucks operated by carriers with good safety records to bypass weigh stations. The initiative, now known as PrePass, along with a smaller program called Norpass both allow drivers to save time and fuel by maintaining road speed past weigh stations.
Also of Interest »