Thursday, September 26, 2013

NETS expands reach of Drive Safely Work Week campaign with Spanish materials

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September 26, 2013

NETS expands reach of Drive Safely Work Week campaign with Spanish materials

Drive Safely Work Week 2013 toolkits available now at no cost at
If you have already downloaded the DSWW toolkit, you do not need to download again to access the Spanish materials.  Simply sign in and go to the Spanish Materials tab.
Vienna, Va. – The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) today announced the 2013 Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) toolkit is now available in Spanish. The Spanish-language translation was made possible through NETS' partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Nearly 38 million U.S. residents speak Spanish at home, according to the U.S. Census.
Drive Safely Work Week will be nationally recognized October 7-11. This year's campaign theme is "Gear Up for Safe driving - Mind, Body, Vehicle."  The free toolkit is available to download from NETS' Website at
Traffic crashes remain the leading contributor to fatal work injuries, according to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  "NETS wants to reach as many employees and employee family members as possible with the safe-driving messages of the DSWW campaign," said Jack Hanley, NETS Executive Director. "We are grateful to NHTSA for helping to expand the campaign's reach."
The employer toolkit provides easy-to-use Web-based resources that illustrate how maintenance of mind, body and vehicle are all connected and essential components to being a safe driver. Actionable steps are provided to help drivers be at their best behind the wheel. The campaign was developed using the expertise of NETS' member companies, collectively representing a fleet of more than half a million vehicles that travel in excess of 10 billion miles globally each year.

"NETS wants to reach as many employees and employee family members as possible with the safe-driving messages of the DSWW campaign. We are grateful to NHTSA for helping to expand the campaign's reach."
Jack Hanley,
NETS Executive Director

About DSWW

Drive Safely Work Week is observed annually during the first week of October. However, the materials are not dated and may be used anytime throughout the year. Over the past three years, an average of 3500 organizations has participated annually, representing 16.5 million employees per year. NETS has produced DSWW since 1996.

About NETS

NETS is a 501(c) 3 organization, a partnership between the U.S. Federal government and the private sector. Board members include Abbott, AmeriFleet Transportation, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, The Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Monsanto Company, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Group, Shell International Petroleum Company and UPS. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health serve as federal liaisons to the board of directors. Established in 1989, NETS is dedicated to improving the safety of employees, their families, and members of the communities in which they live and work by preventing traffic crashes that occur on-and-off the job.
NETS is a member of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration and encourages employers to participate in Drive Safely Work Week as an example of what can be done in the U.S. to support the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. For more information on NETS or The Decade of Action for Road Safety, visit or contact

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Factory-Installed Inverters a Must Have For Many Fleets

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Sept. 25, 2013 - In Joe Egan’s office, a framed picture shows a long-haul tractor, or more precisely, its charred remains.  

“It’s not one of our trucks, but it illustrates what can happen when an electrical fire is caused by a bad inverter installation,” he said. “It gives a visual reminder to any driver who comes into my office what can happen if an inverter isn’t installed correctly.”

As director of maintenance for Richmond, Va.,-based Abilene Motor Express, a 350 tractor fleet, Egan said inverters have long been a popular addition to the fleet’s trucks.  

“Drivers have always wanted the comforts of home and AC power is at the top of the list.  If you’re on the road, you want to be able to plug in a TV, laptop or microwave,” said Egan. “Plus, several of our drivers use CPAP machines. Prior to 2009, we were allowing our drivers to install their own inverters, but that became an increasingly difficult situation for our company. We were worried about poor installations – thus the picture on my wall – plus when they moved to another truck they would want to pull out the inverter and reinstall it in the new truck. That was a headache for them as well as for us. So, in 2009, we changed our policy and decided to have inverter/chargers factory-installed with each new truck order. That ensured a proper installation and gave drivers what they wanted.  It’s been a great decision.”

According to Egan, the company runs a mix of tractors – Volvo VN780s, the new Kenworth T680, some Freightliners and Macks. Each truck maker offers Xantrex inverter and inverter/chargers ranging in power from 1,000 to 1,800 watts. Each is rated at double their power for “surge” power (the power needed for the initial load when a microwave turns on for example). Plus, they are equipped with a low-voltage disconnect (LVD) to shut down the inverter, once the system detects low-battery power. This safeguard preserves the starting power in the battery.  

According to Steve Carlson, OEM sales manager for Xantrex, when it comes to getting even more from inverters, many fleets are gaining extra “staying-on” power by installing dedicated deep-cycle batteries. “They’ll add additional cost, but unlike a starting battery, they can be deep discharged with no less impact on battery life, and the LVD can be set to 10.5 volts versus 11.8,” he said. “In many cases, the driver can go a full rest-period without worry of running out of power. We also recommend the dedicated batteries when drivers are using medical equipment, such as CPAP machines to ensure they have enough power for their sleep schedule.”

At Gordon Trucking, based in Pacific, Wash., inverter/chargers are also a must-have.  The company uses Thermo King TriPac APUs on all its long-haul trucks to provide auxiliary heating (via bunk heater) and air conditioning. The APU also features a Xantrex 1800-watt system, for hotel power loads.

“A quality inverter is very important within that system,” said Kirk Altrichter, vice president of Gordon Trucking. “In earlier APUs we were running, an off-shore brand inverter was used, and it gave us nothing but trouble. When the inverter went out, that meant our drivers couldn’t use hotel loads in the cab and sleeper. So, we were very pleased that our new TriPac units were equipped with the Xantrex inverter – we haven’t had a problem whatsoever and that’s been big for us, and for our drivers. I can tell you that offering AC power to our drivers is a huge retention factor for us. It does make a difference.”

With the TriPac APU, Gordon Trucking uses four AGM batteries which the inverter converts to AC power for all the truck’s hotel loads. Once the system detects the battery bank needs recharging, the APU automatically fires up to recharge the batteries. Once the batteries are topped off, the APU shuts down. 

Since Gordon Trucking’s inverters come with the TriPac system, the long-haul trucking company is set for power conversion. But for fleets that don’t have inverters integrated into their APUs, Altrichter has some words of wisdom. “With inverters, you truly get what you pay for,” he said. “Installation is also critical, you have to have the right wiring to match the amperage draw -- it doesn’t take much to burn down a truck.  In the early days, we saw the problem with drivers installing inverters themselves, so we decided back in 2006 that our trucks should have inverters – we wanted to provide them with AC power and we wanted the installation done professionally.”

According to Carlson, proper installation and a quality inverter go hand-in-hand. “Most inverters you find at a truck stop are not UL approved,” he said. “And that’s where most inverters are purchased. I can tell you unequivocally, that it is worth the extra cost to buy an inverter with a ‘Regulatory Listed’ approval – such as UL or ETL with UL458 rating. This means the inverter was inspected and approved by an independent agency, which safeguards against issues with electricity. UL458 is the listing for inverters and chargers in mobile applications. They must meet strict vibration, environmental, and thermal requirements to be approved for that listing.”

About Xantrex Technology 
Xantrex Technology, a subsidiary of Schneider Electric, is a world leader in the development, manufacturing and marketing of advanced power electronic products and systems for the mobile power markets. The company’s products convert and control raw electrical power from any central, distributed, renewable, or backup power source into high-quality power required by electronic equipment. Xantrex is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, with facilities in the United States.

About Schneider Electric
As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in energy and infrastructure, industrial processes, building automation, and data centers/networks, as well as a broad presence in residential applications. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, and efficient, the company's 110,000 plus employees achieved sales of 19.6 billion euros in 2010, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations “Make the most of their energy.” 

AltCar Expo Focuses on Current and Future "Green Fleet" Development and Management

“Green Fleet” development and management were focal points of the
2013 AltCar Expo Fleet Conference held on September 20 in Santa Monica, CA.

“We are getting closer and closer to the day when [alternative fuel] cars are no longer the ‘alternatives’ … oil will be the alternative.” – Former Secretary of the California EPA Terry Tamminen

Santa Monica, CA - Public sector Fleet Managers, along with representatives of state and federal offices, including the DOE Clean Cities Coalition, EPA, and NHTSA, non-profits like CalStart, NAFA and MEMA, and business sector stakeholders such as Ford Motors and NRG, participated in panel discussions about issues that both support and challenge green fleet objectives at the 2013 AltCar Expo.

On the plus side, great strides have been made in California over the past two decades in air pollution reduction via cleaner cars. Better yet, electric vehicles (EV) sales are growing nationally at a rate three times faster than hybrid cars.

However, fueling infrastructure, consumer confidence in vehicle safety, and cost-effective fleet logistics remain obstacles that were tackled in force at the conference.

Change is Hard – So Why Bother with Green Fleets?
“Climate change is the single greatest national security threat,” declared California State Senator Ted Liu.
That explained, new Federal emissions standards are driving businesses and governments to convert as many vehicles as soon as possible to green fleet status.

Randall Wilson, Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary Office of California Governor Jerry Brown, discussed Brown’s Zero Emissions executive order, which sets a goal of “1.5 million zero emissions vehicles on California roads by 2025.”

Vehicles that fall into the zero emissions category include plug-in electric cars, trucks and vans (PEVs), clean-diesel, bio-diesel, ethanol and natural gas (CNG & LNG) cars, trucks, vans, busses, and trains, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs).

Other panelists noted that sooner rather than later is the time to invest in green vehicles for fleet replacement, so that the Federal and State emissions goals can be met in a timely fashion.

For more info, visit, a website for everyone posted by the state to assist auto shoppers looking to buy green vehicles.

Alternative Fuel and EV Charging Infrastructure:
Patricia Qwan of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) emphasized that, to genuinely reduce air pollution, infrastructure planning should be focused on providing people with motivation to drive zero emissions vehicles during peak commuting hours.

However, one of the greatest challenges confronting green fleets and private drivers remains fueling station availability. Problems include the rarity of natural gas and hydrogen fueling pumps and the perpetual “il-logistics” of public EV charging locations.

Jon Coleman, PhD, Fleet Sustainability and Technology Manager with Ford Motors, noted that the “vehicles are there, but the infrastructure is still going through a strange, early adoption period.” Coleman cited instances where EV chargers have been installed in the least expensive rather than the most convenient locations for drivers.

The result is, simply put, that EV drivers can’t find the chargers.

Another problem is “EV gridlock,” a novel scenario where multiple EV drivers wait for a single charging station to open up in a parking space.

Coleman suggested applying monetary incentives, such as tacking on parking fees after the EV charging is complete, to motivate drivers to move aside for their EV compadres.

Terry O’Day, California Market Director of NRG eVgo charging stations spoke about NRG’s plan to create a comprehensive network of public and private charging locations – called Freedom Stations – in areas that are both convenient and highly trafficked, such as grocery store parking lots and apartment complexes.

Safety is the Key to Vehicle Success:
Stating that when it comes to “consumer acceptance” of ‘green’ vehicles, “the baseline is safety,” David Friedman, Deputy Administrator of the NHTSA, talked at length about green vehicle milestones in safety.
NHTSA Five Star Safety Ratings have been awarded to electric powered cars like the Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf.

Scientific advancements in fuel safety – particularly as relates to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and lithium battery powered vehicles – as well as measures to offset the “quiet” factor for electric cars in terms of pedestrian safety – additionally contribute to consumer confidence in non-gasoline transportation.

Education and training of first responders about dangers and procedures unique to electric and hydrogen vehicles during accidents is also of critical importance, according to Friedman (the ever-present volatility of gasoline not-withstanding).

Sensible Fleet Deployment Makes Green Vehicles More Affordable:
Replacing fleets is a costly proposition under any circumstance, but certain “green” vehicles, most particularly EVs, hybrids and FCVs, tend to be more expensive than gasoline vehicles. Tax rebates and incentives help offset some of the high pricing, but not all.

Richard Battersby, Director of Fleet Services at UC Davis, and Bill Van Amburg, Senior VP of CALSTART, both spoke of using the right vehicles for the right jobs.

Battery powered EVs and hybrids, for example, which shut down while idling and use energy generated by brakes to recharge batteries, are more suited to short, urban trips. EVs and hybrids thus operate more cost effectively in urban stop and start traffic than on the highway.

On the flip side, vehicles powered by natural gas or bio-fuels are better suited to distance driving, when fuel economy is a premium goal, and for rough terrain and heavy load situations.

Van Amburg additionally spoke of how strategic fleet management tactics can help businesses and agencies recoup green fleet investments faster. The importance of utilizing telematics in fleet management, for example, is key to efficient routing and navigation, and can save fleets thousands of dollars in fuel costs.

Additionally, monitoring fuel economy, idle times and vehicle maintenance schedules can create even deeper levels of fuel economy with both traditional AND green fleets.

AltCar Expo, now celebrating eight years, is a ground breaking event hosted in Santa Monica, CA, one of the most forward-thinking communities in the US in the realm of alternative fuel vehicles and non-traditional transportation. In addition to exhibits, the Expo is notable for offering consumers the opportunity to test drive electric, hybrid and other green vehicles throughout both days of the event. To find out more, please visit:

Monday, September 23, 2013


Enhanced functionality yields greater efficiency, productivity andconvenience for drivers and fleet managers

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Sept. 23, 2013)—XRS Corporation, (NASDAQ: XRSC) the leader in mobile trucking intelligence, announced today that its new integration with TMWSuite® from TMW Systems, the leading provider of transportation management software to the transportation and logistics companies, is now available to customers. XRS made the announcement at TMW’s annual TransForum User Conference held in Anaheim, California.

The XRS integration with TMWSuite gives drivers and fleet managers new tools for order planning and managing order status from a single, combined fleet management platform.

“XRS has a long-standing relationship with TMW Systems and we are thrilled to be continuing our worktogether to develop new solutions that serve the changing needs of today’s trucking industry,” said Christian Schenk, senior vice president, product & market strategy of XRS Corporation. “TMW is an innovative force in pioneering new technology to help the industry improve its business performance. Now, by harnessing the power of XRS, TMW is continuing to embrace the power and simplicity of mobile connectivity.”

Theintegration with TMWSuite offers additional convenience and efficiency to planners and dispatchers by displaying critical information provided by XRSsystems, such as vehicle locations and remaining on-duty service hours, for monitoring dispatch activities in a single application screen.

“The integration with XRS gives our customers another affordable option for enhancing their dispatch operations,” said Scott Vanselous, executive vice president of marketing, TMW Systems. “We are proud to be working with XRS to help our customers continue to extract value from their in-cab and back-office IT investments.”

XRS runs on certified smartphones, tablets and rugged handhelds that transmit vehicle and operator data through the cloud to a fleet management dashboard, allowing companies to comply with the pending MAP-21 mandate for electronic recording of a driver’s hours-of-service. Nearly 90 percent of drivers already use mobile devices, meaning that there are no additional hardware costs associated with implementing the XRS platform. XRS Corporation also has partnership agreements with the leading brands in mobile communications.

“Our industry is just beginning to realize the immense potential of mobile trucking intelligence to improve the bottom line for fleets and drivers alike,” Schenk said. “TMW Systems is on the leading edge of turning this potential into tangible benefits for its customers and XRS is thrilled to be working with such a forward-thinking partner.”

To learn more about the new XRS integration with TMWSuite, visit the XRS booth (#418) at TransForum 2013 or visit

About XRS Corporation
XRS Corporation, the leader in mobile trucking intelligence, delivers software solutions to the trucking industry to help maintain regulatory compliance and reduce operating costs. Data-driven intelligence for compliance and performance is the new competitive edge fortrucking operations, and XRS is leading the trucking industry’s migration to mobile devices by offering products with no upfront hardware costs and run on smartphones, tablets and rugged handhelds. XRS has sales and distribution partnerships with the major wireless carriers supporting the U.S. and Canadian trucking industries. Through our mobile products, fleet managers, dispatchers and drivers collect, sort, view and analyze data to help lower costs, increase safety, attain compliance with governmental regulations, and improve customer satisfaction – all through their mobile devices. For more information, visit or call 1-800-745-9282.

About TMW Systems
TMW Systems is the leading transportation management software (TMS) provider to for-hire and private fleets, brokerage and 3PL organizations. Founded in 1983, TMW has focused exclusively on providing mission-critical enterprise software to the transportation industry, including asset-based and non-asset-based operations as well as heavy-duty vehicle service centers. With offices in Cleveland, Dallas, Indianapolis, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Raleigh and Vancouver, the company serves over 2,300 customers, including many of the largest, most sophisticated and complex trucking companies in North America. TMW customers collectively manage over $71 billion in annual freight spend, direct more than 508,000 power units and maintain more than 1.7 million assets worldwide, including North America, Europe, Latin America and Australia-New Zealand. TMW is part of Trimble’s® (NASDAQ:TRMB) international Transportation and Logistics division. Visit to learn more.