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North Omaha: Manufacturing History

In the early years of the automotive industry, North Omaha became a bit of an automotive hub. By 1913, the city saw its first produced vehicle and, for a little while, looked like it could hold up in the automotive industry.

1913 Omaha Car Company Opens in North Omaha

1913 saw the development of North Omaha’s first motor vehicle. Aptly named “The Omaha 30”, the car was “moderately” priced at $1250 (which equates to $32,279.32 in today’s cash). Understandably, for the time, this was prior to Ford’s Model-T which would revolutionize the automotive industry by providing everyone with an affordable vehicle. In 1913, cars were developed for the wealthier class, boasting large numerical prices. Unfortunately, Omaha wasn’t a huge fan of the vehicle. By the time the company closed, which was due to many lawsuits filed for bounced checks, they had produced 6 cars. Due to negative ongoings within the company, the plant only lasted a year before being sold off.

Douglas Motor Company

Starting in 1917 and for two years after that, Douglas Motor company-owned shop in Downtown Omaha. After failing to meet the required needs to operate in the area, they packed up and moved to North Omaha. They had developed the “Douglas Eight”, which, for the time had a relatively powerful engine. The company did well considering most motor car manufacturers for the time didn’t last more than a year. Producing well into the ’40s, the Douglas Motor Company worked to produce plane engines. These engines would benefit the war effort during World War 2.

Omaha Developed Better Than Most Places

In the grand scheme of things, Omaha produced longer-lasting motor vehicles than other areas at the time. In the pre-Ford era of motor cars, the industry wasn’t full of engineers, but of tinkerers and innovators. This helped to develop industry where the industry was not available.

Deer: Dangers and Avoidance

Hitting a deer while driving is one of the scariest events that a vehicle operator can encounter. It can cause severe damage to your vehicle, its passengers and you.

Understanding Herding Times

Deer can be found in the early mornings and just before sundown. These times are typically when they are feeding. Understanding the times can save your life.

Understanding your Surroundings

Are you driving in a rural area? If so, then you need to take extra caution when getting from point A to point B. Rural areas are the most common areas to find deer. Mix that with sun-up or sun-down and you have a far greater chance of encountering one.

Headlights

This one should be obvious. Just before the sun sets offers the least amount of visibility for drivers. This is due to it being too dark for not having headlights while is also too light to have your headlights on. In most cases, it is better to be safe than sorry. If an event were to occur, having your headlights can save you in another circumstance.

Maintain A Safe Speed

In any and all circumstances, maintaining the speed limit can be a lifesaver. If you are driving over the speed limit and a deer jumps out at you, then the impact can be far more costly. It can greatly increase the damage to your car as well as increase the threat of further injuries.

HONK at a Deer if You see One

If you see a deer that isn’t moving, HONK. One long blasting horn will typically scare it away. Typically, anything large, fast, and loud will scare anything off.

Stay In Your Lane

The safest place for yourself and other drivers on the road is in your lane. Avoid swerving into the oncoming lane as well as moving into an adjacent lane. It is much safer for yourself and other drivers if you are to hit a deer. Multiple cars can be affected and the risk of injury or worse is far greater.

DOT Checks = Watch Out!

DOT checks are thorough. They are specifically designed to inspect every aspect of your truck. Officers are trained to catch any and all inconsistencies in your vehicle, and knowing how to handle them can be tricky, especially if you are a new driver.

DOT Checks – Stay in the Vehicle

DOT officers want you to stay in the truck. It is similar to being pulled over by a police officer. Stay in the driver’s seat, keep your hands on the wheel, and keep your seatbelt on this will be the case until they walk up to your window. This is when they engage in conversation with you.

The conversation part is for the officer to inspect the inside of the truck. They want to view the quality of the cab and especially the floor.

This portion is to check if they can smell any sort of drugs or alcohol. They want to be able to spot anything incriminating stashed on the floor. Any empty beer can, tiny burns or ash on the carpet is an indicator of drug use.

The best way to handle this is to comply. If there is a reason for concern, and you refuse inspection, the DOT officer will call local law enforcement.

Engaging in Conversation – Watch Out

The DOT officer is going to want to talk to you. Their goal is to inquire or notice any sort of slip up from the driver. Nervous drivers will make mistakes. Thus, this will cause suspicion. Officers can throw curveball questions at a driver, which can catch them off guard. In order to comply as effectively as possible, be confident in your answers.

DOT Check – Tires

Officers will check the quality of your tires. Thus, having any bald spot or any inconsistency will create cause for concern

New Paint Can Cause Concern

Rust is a major concern in the trucking industry. Any indicator of rust will create not just a mark on your truck, but a mark on your record. New paint can show that you are covering up a rust spot, so make sure that your vehicle is rust free before traveling. Anything that hides a defect is an automatic “out of service”

DOT Checks – Reflective Tape

There area unit 2 styles of approved DOT reflective tape. Red and white patterned tape, used for the rear and bottom of the edges of trailers, should be 2 inches wide. The second sort is white or silver reflective tape, used for the highest of the truck’s backside. whereas there are many sorts of reflective tape, the tape meeting DOT needs should have “DOT C2” on the label.

Depending on what state you are pulled over in, not having the right tape or missing tape can be considered an instant “out of service”. So be careful!

Spare Tire

This one is easy and obvious. If you do not have a spare tire secured in the rack, your truck gets an automatic “Out of Service”.

DOT Checks – Faulty Trailer Attachment

Unsecured tandem sliders and faulty fifth wheel attachments are some of the most common issues most truckers have during DOT checks. This is also an extremely important safety feature that MUST be obeyed among the rest of the above mentioned.

Be Ready for DOT Checks at Any Time

5 Unwritten Road Rules for Truckers

If you’re a vet in the trucking industry, chances are you’re already familiar with all the unwritten road rules out there. However, for the newbie truckers, not so much. So, instead of learning these rules the hard way, we’ve compiled five unwritten road rules that we think you should know.  

Rule #1. Acknowledge Other Truckers

Common courtesy is a given, however that isn’t always the case. For truckers who spend more time on the roads than most, showing common courtesy is important. Additionally, CB radios are often used to recognize other drivers. A simple wave truly does go a long way.

Rule #2. Help Fellow Truckers

Furthermore, as a truck driver you come across some pretty busy roads, especially during rush hour. Traffic can be quite difficult for drivers to navigate through. Therefore, a lot of truckers driving in other lanes will either flash their lights or contact other drivers by CB radio to let them know that they’ve successfully passed a vehicle and are safe to go back into a lane. Also, alert other truckers to circumstances that might affect their route, such as weather delays or road closures. This way, everyone is kept safe on the road.

Rule #3. Turn Off Your Headlights

Of course, this rule only applies in certain situations. For example, if you’re at a rest area or fuel stop, turn off your headlights and put on your hazard lights instead. Because truck headlights are extremely bright, they can easily blind truckers and other drivers. Not to mention the headaches.

Rule #4. Don’t Hog the Fuel Space

Time is money and every minute counts, especially in trucking, which is why this is one of the most important unwritten rules of the road. If you need to refuel, do just that, and then get out of the way. If you need a drink, snack, or bathroom break, simply leave the pump and park in a designated spot. You might think you’re moving quickly, but for other truckers waiting it can seem like forever. Moreover, consider using a fuel card program to save money, and even more time.

Rule #5. Follow Parking Lot Protocol

Last, but not least, you should always follow parking lot etiquette. This means adhering to the speed limit, watching your headlights at night, and respecting truckers who might be sleeping, just to name a few.  

Got any other unwritten road rules to share too? Comment below.

Truckers Dealing With Soft Freight Market

Last year was a banner year for trucking companies with there being a full-blown freight boom. Unfortunately, this year hasn’t been nearly as prosperous. In fact, with an increased availability of semi-trucks and a decreasing demand, overall earnings are dropping just before what’s considered the peak shipping season.

As it turns out, a lot of carriers transformed 2018 profits as well as the gains from the 2017 cut into never-before-seen orders for new equipment. This, of course, produced a bigger supply of trucks at the same time cargo volumes across the country have dipped.

Unpredictable weather, slow industrial growth and international trade issues have added to the sluggish business, according to freight executives. Furthermore, companies that yanked imports forward at the tail end of last year to deal with possible tariffs are now working through the surplus inventory that’s stacked in warehouses. Plus, cool temperatures hurt spring shipments of produce, beverages and patio furniture.

“We’re three months into a freight recession,” said Jack Atkins, a transport analyst with Stephens Inc.

This state-of-affairs is dramatically different than last year when bulging freight volumes and limited truck capacity forced retailers and manufacturers to scramble to lock in transportation. A few of these companies blamed skyrocketing shipping costs as the reason for the paltry earnings as carriers got double digit rate increases.

As is stands, shippers now have the upper hand. This shows itself most significantly in the current spot market. When companies now book last-minute transportation, the prices are more unstable than the contract rates truckers usually negotiate with customers. For example, the typical spot market price to employ a big rig was off 18.5% in June as opposed to the same month a year ago.

New Companies Plan to Digitize Logistics

Loadsmart, a digital freight brokerage firm, made it public that it will collaborate with Oracle Logistics Cloud customers. In doing so it will offer instantly bookable truckload rates and ensure capacity from its group of carriers within the Oracle Management Cloud.

Now Fortune 500 customers like Kraft-Heinz and Coca-Cola will now be able to leverage Loadsmart’s powerful routing guide technology within the OTM cloud. This technology injects immediately bookable of-the-moment rates alongside static prices in their routing guide.

Currently headquartered in New York, Loadsmart activates artificial intelligence technology to automate the booking system. This provides instantaneous prices for shippers and locks in capacity on all U.S. lanes. Therefore, shippers are given the ability to either book manually or integrate via an API so as to automate the process entirely.

With Loadsmart’s integration with the OTM cloud, shippers immediately are alerted with a real-time rate as soon as the primary carrier says ‘no.’ Instead of relying only on static secondary rates which are typically never updated, the Oracle routing guide chooses the Loadsmart real-time market rate when it’s better than the next best routing guide choice.

Consequently, shipment schedulers will always have an actionable price for a truckload for every single load. This way they can smart market-based decisions. Additionally, because you can book rates instantly and tender acceptance is pre-approved, loads can be covered in a swifter fashion which eliminates the need to visit the spot market.

This announcement arrives s other transportation management vendors are partnering up with digital brokerages. A good example of this is the recent pairing of Uber Freight with SAP Logistics Business Network. These new pairings emphasize the new ways shippers are taking advantage of digital platforms to make their operations more muscular.

Important Safety Tips for Every Truck Driver

There are many perks to being a truck driver. However, there are just as many hazards as well. Whether you’re a veteran truck driver or you’re just starting out, you should be aware of the dangers of truck driving. Fortunately, just knowing some basic yet important facts about staying safe on the job can have a big impact on your personal safety on and off the road. Keep on reading to learn more about what you need to know in order to stay safe in and around trucks.


Safety Tips While Driving


One of the most common causes of accident and other incidents on the road is distracted driving. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, these count as factors in distracted driving:

  • Texting or taking phone calls
  • Looking at a physical map
  • Eating
  • Changing CD’s in your car’s audio system


Therefore, it really is in your best interest to not drive while distracted. Do your best to plan everything out before you get on the road. Make phone calls, communicate with your dispatch, and plan your route before you get behind the wheel.


Safety Tips While Stopped


It’s just as important to stay safe while stopped at rest stops or loading areas than on the road. Always give a very wide berth when walking behind and between vehicles to prevent accidents. Never climb on top of a load to secure it; you could fall. Furthermore, always make sure to wear gloves and safety glasses while loading and unloading products.


It’s also important to inspect your truck before every shift. So, make sure to notice if any parts seem damaged or worn beyond reasonable repair. It’s better to take the time to replace these parts rather than have them be the cause of an accident or malfunction.

Trucking Owner Sets Out to Help Nebraskans Deal with Flooding

Chatfield trucking company owner, Bill Funk, is doing what he can to aid the state of Nebraska in confronting the flooding that has plagued the area this spring. After a brutal winter of record snowfall, the spring thaw came way too fast. Consequently, whole state is dealing with constant flooding.

The flooding has been particularly damaging to farmers and ranchers. The flooding has wiped out grazing lands as well as separated cattle herds. In fact, some of the ranchers can only located a dozen or more of their herd. Sadly, they are finding many of them dead. The flooding has also knocked down fences causing even more headaches for ranchers and farmers.

Funk is now packing up a truck full with fencing materials like barbed wire, posts, electrical wire, and he’s also added water. Funk was going to help out in the initial weeks of the flooding but ultimately could not. He speculates that the supplies he’s packing to help with the damaged farms and ranches totals well over $15,000.

In particular, Funk is going to deliver the relief materials to Shulyer, Nebraska at the end of the month. This town is 35 miles west of Fremont. According to Funk, there’s an old city warehouse that they’re letting the churches use to gather all the donated materials. Funk maintains that the actual devastation is much more severe than what national news coverage is showing. He points to the fact that Nebraskans have shown him footage of trees with dead cattle in them.

Ultimately, for Funk, lending his hand to the effort isn’t just a nice gesture, it’s the only right thing to do. He isn’t the only one as the entire state has rallied to help each other during this difficult time.

Trucking Companies Deliver Donated Supplies to Help in the Heartland Flood

After the disastrous Heartland Flood, many volunteers and donators are stepping up to the plate.

People are donating good and helping to deliver flood aid to people of the area in a variety of different ways. For example, more and more aid and supplies are arriving to the area, with the help of trucking companies.

In fact, one man working with a trucking company from Tennessee drove a large load of supplies in from Georgia. The man, Bubba Smith, brought the supplies from a nonprofit organization.

Apparently, this nonprofit organization has also donated health supplies to many countries throughout the world. Now, they’ve donated to the flood victims in Nebraska.

Smith talked about the delivery as something special and one that he was happy to be part of. Although he has been driving trucks for thirteen years, he said he never delivered aid for a flood before. And now, he got the chance to do just that. The goal is to get fifteen pallets of the donated health supplies to everyone in need. And, his efforts are not taken for granted.

The health supplies delivered consisted of many different items, such as gloves, health kits, respirators, and more. The University of Nebraska Medial Center officials are very appreciative of the incoming flood aid which helps many people to get back on their feet.

Now, in particular, they are looking for donations in the form of shovels. Anything that anyone can donate is appreciated and helpful, however. If you are looking to donate goods to the victims of the Heartland Flood, you can do so! Near Saddle Creek and Jones, you can donate from 10am to 4pm.

Desperate Measures: Nebraska Cities Rationing Road Salt

You know it’s been a long, brutal winter when the public works departments in your city start rationing road salt. There’s a joke in there somewhere. Unfortunately, this is actually happening in Omaha.

Believe it or not, Omaha is getting stingy with their road salt until additional shipments arrive. After a series of heavy snowstorms blasted the city, reserves are low.

Traditionally, Omaha gets its salt from mines in Hutchinson, Kansas. However, because it and surrounding cities are also enduring a hard winter, they’re using extra salt. Bottom line, it’s a logistical nightmare and the mineral can only be shipped so fast.

According to Austin Rowser, Omaha’s street maintenance engineer, “it’s all contingent on trucking.”

Rowser points out that in a normal winter Omaha uses 30,000 tons of salt. Unfortunately, this season road crews have already dispersed an amount exceeding 50,000 tons. That’s a lot of salt on Omaha streets.

As of Friday, the city still had about 5,000 tons of salt which Rowser emphasized was just an okay amount. For the year, Omaha had earmarked roughly $1.5 million for salt.

Papillion City spokesperson, Trent Albers, indicated that the city has enough salt left to handle around three more storms. Currently, they are waiting for a shipment of 650 tons. Albers stressed that the shipments haven’t been coming quickly.

Cities Are Improvising

In order to preserve its salt reserves, Papillion is using a combination of gravel and salt and a de-icing chemical. Yep, things have gotten that bad.

Joe Soucie, La Vista’s Public Works Director, says they’ve got enough salt on hand for two or more garden-variety snowstorms. Though nothing about this winter has been typical. The city is expecting a shipment of salt in the next week.

Soucie remarked that in the past his city has borrowed salt from nearby communities. Right now things aren’t that desperate. Even still, nobody wants another round of blizzards.

Unfortunately, winter isn’t going quietly in that good night. Snow is expected on Saturday afternoon. Plus, March is supposed to remain colder than normal through the opening weeks of March.

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