Neil Abt

Senior Editor,
Fleet Owner

Neil Abt, senior editor at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.


TIA's Voltmann shares details of White House meeting

July 31 was a “crazy day” at the White House, according to Robert Voltmann, president and CEO of the Transportation Intermediaries Associations (TIA). 

As news broke that John Kelly, President Trump’s new chief of staff, had fired communications director Anthony Scaramucci, Voltmann and the TIA leadership team were at the White House meeting with public liaison official Melissa Fwu.

Trump signs executive order to speed infrastructure permitting process

President Trump signed an executive order on Aug. 15 aimed at speeding the federal permitting process for transportation and other infrastructure projects.

Speaking at the Trump Tower in New York alongside Transportation secretary Elaine Chao, he said builders have to navigate up to 16 approvals, 9 agencies and 29 statutes. That can result in delays of years or even decades, costing millions of dollars, he said.

The result is a “self-inflicted wound on our country,” Trump said.

States, routing firms prep truckers for solar eclipse traffic nightmare

With the first total solar eclipse to reach the continental United States since 1979 taking place on Aug. 21, warnings in recent weeks have been going out warning of heavy traffic disruptions.

In reality, states in the path of the eclipse and companies that provide real-time routing have been preparing for this rare event for many months.

A total solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the Sun and Earth. The result is all sunlight being briefly blocked, turning day into darkness.

Jury awards trucking company $30 million in Navistar engine case

A Tennessee jury has awarded a trucking company more than $30 million in a case involving Navistar’s older generation of trucks and engines.

On Aug. 10, the jury in Jackson found Navistar violated the Tennessee Consumer Practice Act and provided Milan Supply Chain Solutions $10.8 million in actual damages and $20 million in punitive damages. The trucking company sued after purchasing  243 Navistar 2011 and 2012 International Prostars with Maxxforce engines.

Real-time routing  1
Just being able to tell a truck driver how to get from point A to point B is no longer good enough. With growing demands from shippers and hours-of-service (HOS) limitations, there is a need for real-time navigation to ensure drivers' routes are optimized, and that they have an accurate picture on when and where to stop.
Equipment makers, freight rails not immune from ELD mandate

Planning for the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is not limited to trucking fleets. During recent media events and quarterly earnings conference calls, equipment manufacturers and freight railroads were preparing for any possible effects on their businesses.

For example, Kenworth Truck Co. monitors the status of the mandate, and talks to customers to try to anticipate build rates, Kevin Baney, assistant general manager for sales and marketing, said in late July.

“It is more in terms of making sure we are ready with what they need,” he said.

ELD makers frustrated with Congress, urge truckers not to wait until December deadline 4

Makers of electronic logs are frustrated with the uncertainty surrounding the mandate created by recent congressional actions, and are cautioning truckers against waiting until last moment to select a device.

They said costs for electronic logging devices (ELDs) have fallen sharply in recent years, and warned of a supply crunch for electronic components later this year.

FedEx won't add surcharges to most holiday deliveries
FedEx Corp. will not apply residential holiday season surcharges for most deliveries as it tries to set itself apart from the plan announced by rival United Parcel Service (UPS) earlier this year.
FMCSA withdraws plan for sleep apnea rulemaking 2
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have decided against moving forward at this time on a possible regulation covering the testing and treatment of sleep apnea for truck drivers and other transportation workers.
Back on the hunt: XPO shares plan for more acquisitions

XPO Logistics signaled Aug. 2 it is looking for additional acquisitions, and has set aside $8 billion toward that effort.

Nevada officials say autonomous-truck era drawing near 1

April Sanborn was part of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles in 2011 when the state became the first to adopt regulations allowing the testing of autonomous vehicles.

She was also there four years later when the Freightliner Inspiration truck made its world premiere at the Hoover Dam.

Sanborn, now Nevada DMV’s program manager for the autonomous vehicle program, said the rapid developments in the autonomous space has her convinced autonomous-driving trucks will soon be a reality.

Electronic stability control mandate kicks in

A federal mandate requiring nearly all new Classes 7-8 tractors sold in the United States be equipment with electronic stability control systems has officially kicked in.

Initially announced in 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated the mandate will save up to 49 lives, prevent up to 1,759 crashes each year, and provide net economic benefits of more than $300 million annually.

Daimler showcases Detroit Connect advancements

YOUNTVILLE, CA. Daimler Trucks North America offered a glimpse into upcoming advancements of its Detroit Connect system, including over-the-air reports.

DTNA said July 27 that fleets with the new Freightliner Cascadia with a Detroit engine be able to access Detroit Diesel Engine Control (DDEC) on demand later this summer.

Senate's transport appropriations bill includes $550 million for TIGER program

A Senate subcommittee advanced a fiscal 2018 transportation appropriations bill that includes funding for the popular TIGER grant program, a departure from the House legislation and President Trump’s budget request.

Kicking up dust with Kenworth

Kenworth Truck Co. recently invited journalists to test drive five of its vocational trucks in Snoqualmie, WA, at the site of one of the most prestigious professional rally schools in the U.S.: a place known as "DirtFish" that is situated roughly 26 miles from Kenworth’s headquarters in Kirkland, WA. A century ago, it was the site of the Snoqualmie Lumber Co., later renamed Weyerhaeuser. (Photos: Neil Abt/Fleet Owner)