Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Trucker’s decision to phone for help in bald eagle rescue was the right call

A trucker in upstate New York is being hailed for his role in helping to rescue an injured bald eagle on a highway.

Mario Giorbano was driving along Route 17 in Sullivan County on Tuesday, June 9, when he spotted the eagle sitting in a roadside ditch, according to a report from The Associated Press. Giorbano stopped his truck and, after discovering the bird was injured, called 911 to alert state police. The AP report states that troopers stayed with the bird until a licensed wildlife rehabilitator arrived at the scene and took the bird for X-rays and possible treatment.

Giorbano did the right thing by calling for professional help (although ideally it probably would’ve been better if he’d been able to call a local wildlife rescue group first, instead of the police) because there are several laws in place that are designed to protect our national symbols. Those penalties could’ve had stiff consequences for even a Good Samaritan like Giordano. Unless you’re legally permitted to do so, even possessing so much as an eagle feather can put you on the wrong side of the law.

While both bald and golden eagles are no longer listed under the Endangered Species Act, there are still federal laws in place that prohibit taking, possessing, selling, purchasing or even bartering any part of the birds, their nests and their eggs, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

A 1972 amendment to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act actually increased civil penalties for doing so, with a maximum fine of $5,000 or one year imprisonment for first offenders. Eagles and in fact all migratory birds are also protected under federal law that prohibits taking, killing, possessing, importing or even transporting migratory birds. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act has even stiffer penalties for violators, including a maximum of two years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.  

There’s also the Lacey Act, which passed in 1900, and protects bald eagles by making it a federal offense to take, possess, transport, sell, import, or export their nests, eggs and parts that are taken in violation of any state, tribal or U.S. law. The Lacey Act also prohibits false records, labels or identification of wildlife shipped; prohibits importation of injurious species; and prohibits shipment of fish or wildlife in an inhumane manner. Penalties include a maximum of five years and $250,000 fine for felony convictions and a maximum $10,000 fine for civil violations and $250 for marking violations.

You can learn more about federal laws protecting bald eagles here

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sultan of Semis

Imagine having amassed incredible wealth that allows you to buy virtually anything you want. You will probably need a heavy-duty truck to haul some of the larger toys, e.g. boats, cars, etc. Since you are super rich, why not customize the truck to your every desire? What would you include? Which manufacturer would you use?

The Sultan of Johor (in Southern Malaysia) chose a Mack and built himself quite a truck. A Paul Tan's Automotive News article details the custom-built truck that was revealed at the Brisbane Truck Show in Australia.

Specifically desiring a Mack, Sultan Ibrahim Ismail’s people contacted Mack Trucks of Australia to build the truck. Specs include Primaax RADD-A4P air suspension, a custom 89-inch sleeper, 16.1 L MP10 turbodiesel straight-six and more than 2,300 lb-ft of torque. This is all done through an mDrive 12-speed automated manual transmission at a maximum 685 hp.

That’s just the mechanics. Wait until you hear about the cosmetic touch-ups done by Viking Trucks.

The exterior shows off a custom paint job featuring the Johor flag, the royal crest and the head of a tiger, which is probably in reference to the Johor Darul Ta’zim soccer team, the Tigers. According to Paul Tan, the paint job included three layers of airbrushing, eight layers of pearl paint, and six layers of clear coat. Imagine the man-hours behind the paint job alone.

The interior is just as impressive. Seats are emblazoned with the royal crest. Don’t forget that these are seats fit for a sultan. These sewn-in royal crests didn’t use silk. That’s for merely well-off people. No, these crests included 72,000 stitches with real gold thread. South African leather and suede ensure a comfy ride.

Although the cost of this machine hasn’t been revealed, I’m sure it’s more than my home. And it should be considering I’d rather live in this truck. Two televisions, two iPads, an Xbox and a PlayStation 4 are included in the sleeper. A kitchenette with Harrah timber flooring, stone bench top, and a hidden electric tool panel can also be found.

According to the article, it took 30 people to finish this project, the timber panels taking three months to complete alone. The article also mentions that the Super-Liner will be used to haul the sultan’s cigarette speedboat with the same colors. Or maybe he’ll transport one of the cars in his massive collection that includes:

Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante
Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Edition
Aston Martin DBS
Aston Martin Virage Vantage
Aston Martin Virage Volante
Bentley Turbo S
Bentley Turbo R
Bentley Mulsanne
Bugatti Veyron Bleu Centenaire
Cadillac Escalade EXT
Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe
Cadillac Eldorado Bicentennial Edition
Cadillac Fleetwood
Cadillac Fleetwood Limo
Cadillac de Ville
Cadillac Coupe de Ville
Cadillac de Ville Limo
Cadillac CTS-V
Cadillac XLR-V
Chrysler 300 SRT8
Chrysler 300 Limo
Chrysler Windsor
Chrysler Windsor Convertible
Chevrolet Camaro
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
Dodge Challenger Plum Crazy
Dodge Challenger SRT 8
Dodge Charger SRT 8
Dodge Viper
Dodge Ram 1500
Dodge Ram 5500 Heavy Duty
Dodge Ram SRT 10
Ferrari 512TR
Ferrari 512M
Ferrari 458 Italia
Ferrari 458 Spider Tailor-made
Ferrari 308 GTSi
Ferrari 599 GTO
Ferrari LaFerrari
Ford GT
Ford F-650
Ford Mustang GT
Ford Mustang Mach 1
GMC Sierra Z71
GMC Suburban
GMC Yukon XL
GMC Yukon Denali
GMC Yukon Denali XL
Holden Caprice
Holden Commodore Royal Escort Cars
HSV R8 Tourer
HSV Grange
HSV Maloo R8
Hummer H3
Jaguar XJ220
Lincoln Continental
Lincoln Continental Mark V-Collector Series
Lincoln Town Car Limousine
Lamborghini Aventador
Lamborghini LM002 'Rambo-Lambo'
Lamborghini Espada Series 1
Lamborghini Jalpa
Lamborghini Murcielago
Lexus LFA
Mercedes FAB Design AM-1000
Mercedes-Benz SL500
Mercedes-Benz SL600
Mercedes-Benz 300TE-24
Mercedes-Benz SL73 AMG
Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG
Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
MG TC Superchager
McLaren P1
Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman
Mercedes-Benz 600 Landaulet
Nissan GT-R
Pagani Zonda S
Pagani Huayra
Rolls-Royce Phantom
Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé
Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé Aviator Collection
Rolls-Royce Phantom V
Rolls-Royce Ghost
Rolls-Royce Wraith
Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection
Rolls-Royce Celestial
Shelby Mustang
Shelby Mustang GT 500
Shelby Mustang GT 500 Super Snake
Shelby Mustang GT 500 'Eleanor' Mustang
Shelby Mustang 1000
Tesla Roadster

If you had all the money in the world, how would you build your truck?

Monday, June 8, 2015

New report suggests as many as 7.2 truck crashes per mile near Port of Los Angeles

Busy stretches of freeway in Los Angeles annually average from 5 to more than 7 commercial truck crashes per mile, according to a recent report in The L.A. Times.

Those so-called crash “hot spots” include the 710 at the 60 in the East L.A. Interchange (7.2 accidents); the 710 between the 105 and the 91 (5.8 accidents); the convergence of the 60 and the 57 (six crashes); and the 5 between the 710 and the 10, also in the East L.A. Interchange (6.6 crashes) according to a Los Angeles Times news report on June 2.

The data comes from an analysis of 2012 crash reports from the California Highway Patrol. The report was put together by the Southern California Association of Governments, a regional planning agency that has been studying truck accidents and locations as part of developing a regional transportation plan for a six-county area that includes Los Angeles. The agency believes that by identifying hot spots, they can recommend steps to reduce crashes.

The report states that human error is the leading cause of traffic accidents, although whether the error belongs to a human operating a truck or a human operating a passenger vehicle isn’t specified.

Officials with SCAG and the California Department of Transportation say other factors in those areas also contribute to the high crash rates, including congestion, limited capacity, areas with lots of merging traffic, and the constant interface of big rigs and smaller vehicles.

The 710 is a major route into the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach, the nation’s largest combined harbor, and the 60 is also a major truck route running east and west. The report notes that the Los Angeles area also is one of the busiest in the country, if not the world, for trucking with more than 43,000 daily truck trips on the 710; up to 27,000 on the 60; and another 21,500 on the I-5 freeway, according to Caltrans.

The report states that the second-highest number of truck crashes can be found on three parts of the 60 between the 605 and the 710, between the 15 and the 71 (the Chino Valley Highway, formerly known as the Corona Expressway), and immediately east of the 215. The category includes the 10 between the 71 and the 215, the 605 between the 60 and the 10, and the 710 between the 91 and the Port of Long Beach as well as between the 5 and the 105.

The data about truck crash hot spots could play an important part in building a long-term solution. Both Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority are studying building either elevated “truckways” – dedicated routes of travel for commercial vehicles only – or reconfiguring the 710 with an additional lane on each side and bypasses for trucks.

A series of fixes are already underway at the convergence of the 60 and 57 freeways including new on- and off-ramps the eastbound 60, at a cost of about $53 million. Construction is expected to begin this fall and be completed by spring 2017. Officials say a particularly treacherous two-mile stretch in Diamond Bar has more than 600 accidents of all types per year.