said Newell. “They’re running up and
down the road with our families, and that
is not acceptable.”
Kidd added that since 2006, J.B. Hunt
Transport has refused to employ 5,060
job applicants who failed a hair test after
passing their urinalysis. Most of those
truck driver applicants found jobs at
other transportation companies, because
almost all U.S. carriers use only the
minimum federally required urinalysis.
“Multiply J.B. Hunt Transport’s
experience by the hundreds of
thousands of truck driver applicants
each year across the United States, and
we have a major problem,” Kidd said.
Hair testing “will save lives and is the
right thing to do,” Newell said. “Maverick
wants to make sure the company is the
safest it can be, and that all drivers are well
trained and drug free. We have a moral
obligation to our employees, but we also
have a moral obligation to the public.”
(This story was first reported by
500 miles a day and that typically carries
a heavy load might have a lot harder
time cost-effectively and efficiently
running off batteries today, notes the
report. Class 7 and 8 vehicles (these are
heavy) might not reach parity to diesel
vehicles on various aspects by 2025 or
2030 or later, the research suggests.
In addition to the way that the
vehicles are used, a fleet manager might
also have dozens of other factors that he
or she is considering in the investment
decision. The report lists 22 different
purchasing decision attributes.
These could include financial
incentives like grants, tax credits and
emissions credits. Or these could be
about the potential expenses associated
with maintaining an environmental-leaning or early-adopter brand.
The report also noted that vehicle
technology is increasingly being used to
try to retain or attract new drivers. At a
breakfast event focused on the report,
fleet owners discussed how trucking
companies are thinking about ways
to attract millennials not just through
electrification but also by using a
“gaming interface” in trucks.
Over the coming months and years,
some of these buying factors will rise
or drop in popularity and new ones will
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(Drug Test continued from page 15)
Viability of electric trucks
depends on usage, experts say
Elon Musk might have made it look
easy to sell electric semi-trucks to fleet
owners, but the reality is that a company’s
decision to buy electric vehicles to deliver
packages around cities, haul goods
across state lines or pick up residential
refuse is a highly nuanced one.
Recently the North American Council
for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) published a
report looking at what point commercial
electric vehicles reach parity with diesel-powered vehicles in terms of attributes
like cost, weight and maintenance needs.
The group, which worked with Rocky
Mountain Institute on the research,
looked at class 3 to class 8 commercial
vehicles, which represent various sizes
ranging from a walk-in delivery van to a
school bus to a sleeper cab truck.
The group released the report at the
ACTExpo fleet industry conference in
Long Beach, Calif. During the opening
of the event, Erik Neandross, chief
executive of Gladstein, Neandross and
Associates, joked that the event had
morphed from a natural gas vehicle
conference a few years ago into a
“commercial electric vehicles summit.”
The expo floor is “packed with electric
drive technology,” Neandross said.
Indeed, a handful of delivery vans,
pickup trucks, and buses powered by
batteries greeted attendees at the Long
Beach Convention Center.
But fleet managers at the event said
that they’re buying commercial electric
vehicles for specific use cases, not to
replace all of their diesel vehicles. Many
fleets are maintaining a portfolio of
advanced technology vehicles including
ones that use natural gas, propane and
hybrids, in addition to batteries.
A big factor in determining whether a
commercial electric vehicle is worth its
investment depends, not surprisingly, on
how the vehicle is going to be used.
For example, a medium-duty urban
delivery van that has a stable route
of between 50 to 100 miles per day
could be one of the earliest commercial
vehicles to go electric, the NACFE report
found. That’s because the charging can
be done predictably, stop-and-go traffic
can tap into regenerative braking and
there’s a sweet spot of miles driven (it’s
enough miles to save money on gas but
not too far to exceed the battery range).
Another commercial vehicle type that
is quickly going electric is transit buses.
Similar to the operations of urban delivery
vans, the transit bus handles predictable
routes, operates in stop-and-go traffic and
is needed for the right amount of miles for
it to make sense in an electric form.
On the other hand, a long haul heavy-duty truck that needs to drive 400 or