Posts tagged ‘truck’
By Chad Upton | Editor
In 1915, Merchants Parcel Delivery (now UPS) decided they needed a consistent color scheme across all of their vehicles — four cars and five motorcycles. Co-founder James Casey consulted a local adman, who suggested yellow. Charlie Soderstrom, another partner, argued that yellow would be too difficult to keep clean.
Another company had already considered this. Railroad cars manufactured by Pullman Company were brown because they hid dirt better than other colors which meant they required less washing. That settled the argument, Casey conceded and brown has been UPS’s color ever since.
Half a century later, competing package delivery service DHL forms and chooses yellow.
There are truck weigh stations scattered along most major highways in the US, Canada, Taiwan and other countries. Obviously they’re there to weigh trucks, but why do trucks need to be constantly weighed?
Vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds or have 3 or more axles have to pay fuel taxes. Motor homes and other private (non-commercial) vehicles are generally exempt. For example, if you see a race-car team drive by, you’ll often see “not for hire” on the side of the cab. That suggests the vehicle is exempt from the fuel tax charges and keeps other trucking companies from soliciting their services.
Truck weigh stations were originally developed for states to collect the fuel taxes they were owed by the commercial trucks using their roadways. It is similar to the licensing concept that I talked about in a previous post, Why U-Hauls Have Arizona License Plates.
In North America, weight stations aren’t directly used for that purpose anymore. There is now an International Fuel Tax Agreement which allows truckers to file a quarterly tax report. Weigh stations are still used to enforce the tracking and submission of the logs and the payment of the fuel tax.
The scales are still used to enforce weight restrictions. The federal weight restriction is 80,000 pounds. Trucks need a trip permit to transport a load exceeding that weight.
Some weigh stations are pretty high-tech, supporting “weigh-in-motion” technology. This technology can allow truckers to bypass weigh stations entirely. This involves the truck driving over a scale that is built into the right lane of the road, usually about a mile before the weigh station. Depending on the weight of the vehicle, its history and the history of the trucking company, the weigh station operator or an automated system will decide if the truck needs to pull into the weigh station.
Truckers who use these systems have a transponder in their truck, similar to those used for electronic toll collection. If they can skip the weigh station, they will usually get a green light on the transponder. If they need to pull in, they will get a red light.
Weigh stations are also used for safety inspections of vehicles. Truckers often refer to weigh stations as “chicken coops.” Check out my post on trucker signals for more trucker slang.
Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton
Photo: OregonDOT (cc)
Most U-Haul vehicles have Arizona license plates. Here’s a typical example.
The following picture was taken in the Toronto area, the information on the side is about Newfoundland and the license plate is, of course, from Arizona.
That might seem unusual, but most U-Hauls in Canada actually have Arizona plates too. The fact is, all corporate owned U-Haul rental vehicles in the lower 48 States and Canada have Arizona license plates. That’s right, Alaska and Hawaii don’t have Arizona plates, but all of Canada does. There are actually a few good reasons for this.
When I first noticed this trend, I assumed that U-Haul got a sweetheart deal in Arizona. It turns out their head office is in Phoenix, so it seems reasonable that they would register vehicles there. They also get a really sweet deal there, but this deal is not exclusive to U-Haul, it’s good for anyone with a billing address in Arizona. (more…)