Industry News

Record quarter for Detroit Diesel 
The robust demand for new trucks has helped Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC) to achieve record net income for the second quarter of 1999. The $12.8 million net income represents the best quarterly performance in the company's history.

Nearly two-thirds of the company's total revenues of $585 million for the quarter were tied to sales of Series 60 truck and bus engines. DDC expects the demand for these engines and related service parts to stay strong through the remainder of 1999 and into the early months of 2000.


Use of headlights to warn of speed traps is legal, New Jersey court says
A driver can use his/her headlights to warn oncoming motorists of speed traps, a New Jersey court of appeals ruled recently.

According to news reports, Susan R. Luptak was driving in Monroe, NJ, in October 1997 when she flashed her headlights at an oncoming motorist to warn them of a speed trap ahead. The oncoming motorist was actually a policeman in an unmarked car. He pulled Luptak over and ticketed her for misuse of headlights. The court said that Luptak did not violate the state law regarding the misuse of headlights. The law only takes issue with factors pertaining to use of high beams.

"The statute was never intended to prohibit a motorist from warning oncoming motorists that a speed trap lies ahead," the ruling stated.


Railroads face regulations against fatigue, grade crossings
The railroad industry, like the trucking industry, faces further regulation at the hands of a new bill recommended in August by the Clinton administration.

The Federal Railroad Safety Enforcement Act of 1999 would require train operators to submit fatigue-management plans, improve grade crossings, and protect employees who report dangerous safety violations.

"In order to achieve our goal of zero tolerance, our challenge must be to ... build upon the lessons we have learned," said Jolene Molitoris, Federal Railroad administrator.


Illinois toll chairman wants higher fees
With a goal of improving the state's aging tollway system, Arthur Philip, newly-appointed toll authority chairman wants to raise tolls throughout the state. The only exception would be to lower tolls for those who use I-PASS, the state's electronic toll-collection system.

It's a difficult thing, but (an increase) has to be done," he says. "It's inevitable."


Wilson Bridge may receive more federal funding
The aging Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which carries Interstate 95 and the Capital Beltway over the Potomac River, could be graced with an additional $600 million toward its $1.9 billion facelift.

Members of Congress from the region introduced legislation to guarantee additional funding for the project. While support for the funding is strong in the Washington region of the country, some members of Congress argue that the project has already received enough federal monies. The remainder, they say, should come from Virginia and Maryland.

The project also faces long delays at the hands of a U.S. District Court ruling several months earlier that ordered a halt to construction. Some environmental concerns were raised, and the court stopped the work, pending further review. U.S. transportation officials have appealed this decision.

Without the necessary improvements, truck traffic could be barred from the bridge as early as 2004.


Clinton says fodder to fuel is the future
President Clinton signed an executive order in August to develop motor fuels from grasses, crops and forest wastes. Adoption of the biomass industry by the federal government could mean up to $20 million in new farm income and less dependence on foreign oil. As of now biomass accounts for three percent of U.S. energy use, mostly from ethanol distilled from corn as a clean-fuel additive and the wood industry.

"Believe me, if the technology develops fast enough it will be easy to beat the goal of 2010," Clinton said.

A White House council said increased use of crops and other plant sources for energy would cut emissions of greenhouse gases thought by some experts to cause global warming.