Michelin, Bridgestone tops in trucker poll LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—Over-the-road truck drivers rated Michelin tops in the "best tires" category, according to The Trucker's 1999 Readers' Choice Poll, published in its Dec. 6 issue.
Bridgestone placed a close second in the annual unscientific survey, the publication indicated.
The Trucker is a tabloid-sized newspaper with a circulation of about 100,000, published every two weeks and distributed at truck stops throughout North America.
Survey forms for the poll were included in several fall issues of The Trucker for readers to fill out and return, indicating their choices in a number of categories.
Other winners included Freightliner for best truck, Great Dane for best van and Shell Rotella for best motor oil.
Court overturns multi-piece rim fine
SAN FRANCISCO—The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration penalty against a forest products company concerning multi-piece wheel rims.
Terry Davis, a forklift operator for Crown Pacific Limited Partnership in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, was killed when a multi-piece rim exploded while he unloaded it from a truck.
OSHA cited Crown Pacific on several violations of multi-piece rim safety regulations and fined it $4,000 on each count. Crown Pacific appealed, saying it contracted with an independent repair shop to service its multi-piece rims and could not be held responsible for improper assembly.
The court ruled in Crown Pacific's favor Dec. 10, saying OSHA's interpretation of the multi-piece rim rule "stretches the `natural and plain meaning'|" of the regulation "too far."
$4 million penalty vs. Goodyear stands
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a $4 million judgment against Goodyear and Nathaniel Brock, the driver of a company-owned truck that was involved in a traffic accident.
In 1994, Mr. Brock lost control of the company truck he was driving and veered into Teresa Vinson's path, causing her to crash. Ms. Vinson suffered "terrible permanent injuries" and incurred more than $360,000 in medical expenses, according to court documents.
Ms. Vinson sued in an Alabama state court,where the jury awarded her $2 million in compensatory and $6 million in punitive damages, though the trial judge reduced the punitive portion to $2 million.
Goodyear and Mr. Brock appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court, saying that under state law the punitive damages must be reduced to $250,000. The Alabama Supreme Court rejected the appeal.
Goodyear and Mr. Brock then appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejected their brief without comment Dec. 6.—By Miles Moore, Washington reporter.
Goodyear cutting U.K tire production
BIRMINGHAM, England—Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe B.V. plans to phase out truck tire and tire mold production this year at its Dunlop Tyres UK tire plant in Birmingham, resulting in the loss of 650 jobs out of a total employment of 1,700.
Production of car, light truck, motorcycle and racing tires will continue at the 84-year-old plant, the company said.
The move will eliminate annual capacity at the plant for 400,000 medium truck tires, although a company spokesman said the lost production would be taken up by other Goodyear-Dunlop sites in Europe.
Tire mold production is to move to the Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, plant.
Goodyear-Dunlop called the move part of the overall rationalization process it is carrying out in order to achieve additional efficiencies in Europe, where the company is experiencing increased competition.
Nokian ends Tofan deal, posts gains
NOKIA, Finland—Nokian Tyres P.L.C. has ended a 2-year-old cooperation deal with Romania's Tofan Grup—under which Tofan manufactured certain Nokian agricultural and industrial tires—and is now looking for new off-take manufacturing options for heavy tires.
Nokian said it ended the arrangement because Tofan could not meet Nokian's product and process quality standards.
Nokian's announcement coincided with its nine-month financial results. For the period ended Sept. 30, Nokian reported a 20-percent net sales increase to about $200 million, and management forecast the same size gains in sales and earnings for the full year.
Nokian passenger tire sales rose by 19 percent, while heavy tire sales remained almost flat, due in part to low demand for replacement forestry tires in North America.