May 2005 Letters

Run train hazmat hauling out on a rail
With all the uproar about shipping hazmat, has anyone thought about the shipping of explosives, munitions and such? Most of the shipping is handled by companies that specialize in these items. There is a big concern – at least on my part – as to the security precautions and safety measures being, or not being, taken when they ship by railroad.

More than once have I seen train cars sitting out in the middle of nowhere with military equipment. Where is the security that would otherwise be required for a truck to haul that same material? It would be more than apparent that a train should require at least as much or more security than a truck.

If I had in mind to steal, destroy or possibly use as a terrorist weapon a truck or train, it would be very obvious that a trainload of explosives would do more damage in the middle of town than a truck. I personally have seen no security for a train.

A truck is not allowed to go through tunnels in cities where there is an alternate route available, and trains do all of these things. I am presently employed with a company hauling these materials and see not only the risks involved with shipping by rail, but also my job security in jeopardy.

The bottom line is that I don’t believe that the security normally required for this type of shipment is available on a train, and the feasibility of it would be questionable. This is just food for thought, so to speak, but it would be interesting to hear what could be found out about it. What security precautions are or are not being taken where rail shipments are concerned?

I thought this might be worthwhile to consider along with all the controversy surrounding background checks with hazmat transportation.

Arthur Meekins
Norwood, MO

New York Thruway takes its toll
The New York State Thruway Authority has determined that it’s time for a pay raise, again. Because NYSTA has taken over the maintenance of I-81, I-87 and the Erie Canal, they feel they need to raise tolls to support their schedule.

If you’ve never traveled on the Thruway in a truck, you’ll find that you pay by the number of axles you have or the length of your unit. When you’re loaded, the sting of the toll is there, but if you’re empty, you’re paying the same tolls as if you’re loaded.

These tolls were supposed to be removed years ago when the road was paid for, but it seems to me that the Thruway Authority, like a lot of our politicians, didn’t want to lose its meal ticket.

For the amount of trucks that run on the Thruway every day and the tolls that are paid, this whole road, along with I-81 and I-87, should be as smooth as a tabletop. And what about the Erie Canal? Unless cars and trucks can run on water, why should thruway traffic pay for something they don’t use?

The authority doesn’t need to raise tools. They need to recognize and run with what they have. Not unlike a welfare company, whose hands are always out for the free buck. The Thruway Authority says it needs to raise tolls because of rising costs. As an owner-operator, my costs have also gone up also, but my rates haven’t changed in 10 years. I’m not as big a business as the Thruway Authority, but I am a business.

I have to adapt. So should they.

Kurt Kohlhagen
Bliss, NY

Work now, pay later?
For owner-operators with their own authority, most rates are too low at the start.

Then, if you are still willing, needy or plain determined enough to take the load, and hopefully everything is right – right miles, right town, and right weight – you get the paperwork in less than two hours. The thought that the shipper may take two to five hours to put their load on the truck has not entered into the factor.

You are told that for a percentage, you can be paid within 24 hours, or they will pay you in about 30 days of receiving the original bills and paperwork.

With all the newest technology we have today – cell phones, faxes, comchecks, direct deposit and online banking and bill pay on computers – the broker or shipper should pay when the load is delivered. Not in 30 days, so that they can work with your money or not pay you at all.

In 30 days, the brokers can walk off with up to $150,000 or more. And remember that they have no more than a $10,000 bond, which probably costs them a few hundred dollars per year.

Loads should be paid when delivered. Let’s push for organizing a system for immediate pay without gouging the owner-operators.

Bruce C. Brady
Bronson, FL

Be proud your husband is serving
I always enjoy reading Land Line. I personally appreciate your acknowledging the truckers supporting our troops. I do wish to comment on a letter from Diane Barrow of DeQuincy, LA, in the March/April issue.

Having served 26-plus years in the U.S. Army worldwide and another 20-plus years as a logistics consultant for government contractors – KBR included – I can personally attest to the fact that government employees do serve the U.S. military wherever they are sent to work.

They very seldom have the protection that the green suiters have, but they do their job. And, for the most part, they are well respected for their support of the troops.

Good letter, Diane, and be proud that your husband is serving.

Don Siegfried
Bethlehem, PA

Alternative fuels: think smart, not hard
I will ask Gov. Tim Pawlenty to lead a coalition of the governors of the five Breadbourne States – the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin – in sending bills to their respective legislatures to underwrite a line of credit of $35 million with $7 million guaranteed by each, for the purchase and retrofitting of 10,000 mid-90s cars to flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) status to be leased to needful users for random-access transit and delivery using E85 as fuel (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent petroleum) or regular gasoline.

Coincidentally, a dual-fuel initiative mandating the providence of an E85 pump everywhere that gasoline is sold and an S85 (85 percent soybean biodiesel, 15 percent petroleum) pump wherever diesel is sold may be placed before the Congress. The lawful precedents of the removal of tetraethyl (lead) from motor vehicle fuel in 1974 and of trust-busting going back to the time of President Theodore Roosevelt would hold true and no modifications of holding tanks in fuel stations would be required beyond pressure regulator adjustments. In other words, they don’t have to build it – they’ll come anyway.

The real fight to reduce childhood asthma, to reduce lung cancer, to reduce prices of heating oil, natural gas, jet fuel and gasoline and diesel fuel by promoting clean energy vehicles that can use both fossil fuels and renewable fuels begins now.

Chuck “Roll-em” Hollom
Spring Lake Park, MN

On board with on-board recorders
I say if on-board recorders are coming to commercial vehicles, so be it for four-wheelers, too. If you don’t drive like a moron, what’s the problem?

Hopefully these chips can store at least three months’ activity, to establish a driving history. I know of two CDL drivers exonerated in crashes because of what the on-board recorder reported.

I know on-board recorders are not yet mandated on commercial vehicles, but I expect they will be someday soon.

Michael Doran
La Grange, NC

Give HOS a rest
The solution to HOS is too simple to be acknowledged by the complicated procedures of government: make the shipper completely responsible for loading, and the receiver responsible for unloading.

In addition, any time the truck is stopped for as much as an hour, stop the clock and be allowed off duty. This allows those with sleep disorders and those that can’t sleep but a couple of hours at a time to get their rest plus their driving time.

The companies get more production out of their equipment, the drivers get more rest, the highways are safer, the government gets the tax dollars being lost through lumpers and we all live happily ever after.

Oh, and is it really true that an airline pilot, with all those lives riding behind him, can work 16 hours without a break?

Ken White
Inman, SC

Gouging my profit line
As an owner-operator and OOIDA member, I have the same concerns as most who read your magazine. The top concern is money in my pocket in return for the job I do. I don’t mind paying for the legitimate costs of doing my job, but I do not want to pay for what is not part of my job.

My job is defined when the customer and I negotiate what it is they need and what it is that I can provide and am willing to do for a price on which we both can agree. I often hear talk of strikes; I can tell you that I strike every day, or at least do something as effective as a strike by not taking loads that have no profit for me.

What I see as profit losses in my business are broker gouging, and a fuel tax on fuel I burn while not using state and federal roads, like idle time in a truck stop parking lot. The experts say this could account for as much as 30 to 50 percent of the time my truck is running. Well, it would be nice to get back the road tax I paid on the fuel I burned while I was in my truck, which doubles as my mobile office and home, while parked.

It would also be nice to get paid what the customer has to pay to get the load moved. It has gotten to the point where some brokers are often making more on the load than the owner-operator, and we are the ones that risk it all every time we get on the road. Profit needs to go to those that bear the cost and effort fairly.

Another profit loss is miles paid versus miles run. Old, outdated mileage programs often are, on average, 10 percent short. That alone could be as much as $20,000 a year to us, like the teams. These problems are getting worse and will be dealt with when the consumer finally comes to bear the cost and senators start getting phone calls. We in this job need to get things right before someone else steps in and makes it right on their terms. The greedy ones need to get out.

The owner-operator needs to demand fair pay, so we can keep modern equipment on the roads and maintain it properly. As we all know, maintenance goes out the window when you’re left with a choice between food and oil changes, brake jobs, and tires. Thank you, OOIDA, for being there for us to vent our concerns.

Mike Schober
Corpus Christi, TX

Black boxes could be beneficial
I have been following the stories and issues surrounding the implementation of black boxes being placed into our trucks, and while I applaud the efforts of OOIDA to stand firm against this invasion of our privacy, I see one very important fact being left out of the melee.

Trucking companies have been using this technology for years to track how many miles and how many hours we drive, not to mention our idle time, and shutting us down with this information. It seems to me that if the information they are receiving from these black boxes is so accurate that they can shut us down, then why are we still out here getting paid by mover’s miles?

Mover’s miles, on the average, are off by 8 percent to 10 percent of actual miles, most of the time in the company’s benefit. For example, if I drive 200,000 miles a year, with a 10 percent variance, that’s $20,000 out of my pocket annually at $1 a mile.

The conundrum? While we let these companies continue to shut us down time after time using these black boxes, we are doing absolutely nothing to force these companies to pay us what is due, using the very same technology they use to monitor us for safety, compliance and fuel consumption.

How can OOIDA not be using this as leverage in their current battle with the DOT? It’s very simple. If you want the black boxes on board our trucks, fine – then how about enacting some kind of legislation to force these companies to pay us accurately using the very same technology? They can accurately track how many miles or hours we’ve driven using these boxes.

GPS is accurate to within three meters, if I’m not mistaken, and there are not many trucks currently out there without some kind of GPS, Qualcomm or something of the like on them.

Why do we continue to let these companies rob us blind with their mover’s miles when the technology to more accurately pay us is already installed onto our trucks?

When I think of what my family could have done with an extra $20,000 this year – money that should rightfully have been theirs in the first place – it just sickens me. And the only issues I see being brought to the table on these black boxes are health, invasion of privacy and accuracy questions because of driver input.

It seems to me if these black boxes are accurate enough to allow these companies to legally shut us down and take money out of our pockets, then by God, they are accurate enough to also put money back into our pockets.

Tony Boswell
Kansas City, MO

Split speeds boost revenue
I’m writing to express my opinion to James C. Walker, president of National Motorists Association.

Gov. Blagojevich was swayed by AAA to veto the split speed limit bill. As you may recall, AAA had put out a report, which said split speeds were found to be unsafe. However, AAA told the governor the opposite. Gov. Blagojevich never took into account the study done by the NTSB.

Let’s remember the insurance industry has a lot to gain. Split speeds cause a lot of accidents; therefore, they can raise premiums. As for law enforcement, the revenue is generated when there is litigation regarding an accident.

Let’s also take into account that the vehicles must be towed away and repaired. The worst-case scenario: the cost of the hospital stay. Not to mention – God forbid – the funeral.

You must admit, however, the split speed limit in Michigan is more ridiculous than the split speed limit in Illinois.

These are my opinions and views on the split speed. We need legislators who are not wimps, and who are not afraid of the governors of Illinois and Michigan. They need to think about safety and not the opinion of the governors.

Dennis Helwig
Urbana, IL

Just another load
Well, here it is: 4 a.m., and I finally got unloaded. Like usual, it took them six hours to unload 20 pallets of cakes and muffins, all frozen like rocks. Of course, now I have to wait and see where they want me to go and get the next load. I might as well go to the truck stop and get something to eat and grab a shower, because if I know dispatch, it’ll be noon before they find me a load.

Of course, there is an advantage to getting here this time of the morning. Everyone else is getting ready to head out, so parking should be easy to find. Yep, I was right – I found a place to park, way in the back row. Must be something going on around here for it to be this crowded on a Thursday. Who am I kidding: it’s always crowded out here in California, no matter where you try to park.

At least the café isn’t too crowded. Maybe I’ll get to eat and get out of here for that hot shower pretty quick. Wrong! Never knew it took that long to catch a chicken to get eggs. Must have had to butcher the pig, too. Go figure. So much for getting done quick.

All squeaky-clean now. How about that – I have a load to go get, and my favorite place, too. This ought to be a long day of waiting. It always is at these produce houses. I’ll be lucky to be on my way by nightfall.

Yahoo! It only took eight hours to get loaded, and I’m on my way to the Buck-eye, another fun place. Eastbound and down – I’m not singing – just glad to be moving. The CB is kind of quiet, but I did manage to find out the DOT is working hard in Arizona, so I guess I’ll have to behave myself down there. Can’t afford any of those “go fast awards.”

Well, let’s see, where was I? Oh yeah, I managed to get through all the way to Amarillo, TX, before my eyes decided they’d had it. Anyway, wide-awake, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to rock ’n’ roll. Got a good tune on the radio and making some good time. Six hours later, I find myself talking trash with everyone else sitting here in a brake check. Someone decided they didn’t like the road, so they drove in the ditch, and Smokey has the road closed so the wrecker can get them out. Typical.

What do you know? Three more hours and I’ll be there. Just have to get through the Buck-eye scales and I’m home free.

“Hey eastbound, you got a six mile backup just up the road. They got it shut down to one lane in the construction, be in the hammer lane.” Go figure. This close and still going to have to push it now to get there on time.

I’m here! Going in to check in and get a door. The receiver says to back it in to door 17, but it will be awhile before they can get to me. I just look at him and grin. “It’s just another load,” I said. “Wake me when you’re done.”

So off to my sleeper I go, thinking about the next load, so I can do it all over again.

Wasn’t a bad trip. Two DOT checks, one flat, six traffic jams and one good old “speeding award.” Like I said, “it’s just another load!”

Tom Wheatley
Stillwater, OK

Bad brokers break the deal
I have been hauling under my own authority, but dedicated to one particular carrier/broker. This company has leasers, owner-operators and company trucks. It is common practice for this company to require owner-operators under their own authority to violate HOS rules.

This Oregon-based company will require owner-operators to do local hauls for contracts that the company services, and then load for a trip to California to deliver the next day. This requires the owner to violate HOS. If the owner-operators do not comply with this, then the company will not broker any of the California loads, which are very good paying loads.

I contacted ODOT to seek help in this matter, but my call was never returned.

This company now requires owner-operators to run under their own authority so that when it is audited the HOS violations the company demands owner-operators to commit will not show up. The company even loans owner-operators the money to get their authority.

Mark Tyler
Sweet Home, OR

New York Thruway takes its toll
The New York State Thruway Authority has determined that it’s time for a pay raise, again. Because NYSTA has taken over the maintenance of I-81, I-87 and the Erie Canal, they feel they need to raise tolls to support their schedule.

If you’ve never traveled on the Thruway in a truck, you’ll find that you pay by the number of axles you have or the length of your unit. When you’re loaded, the sting of the toll is there, but if you’re empty, you’re paying the same tolls as if you’re loaded.

These tolls were supposed to be removed years ago when the road was paid for, but it seems to me that the Thruway Authority, like a lot of our politicians, didn’t want to lose its meal ticket.

For the amount of trucks that run on the Thruway every day and the tolls that are paid, this whole road, along with I-81 and I-87, should be as smooth as a tabletop. And what about the Erie Canal? Unless cars and trucks can run on water, why should thruway traffic pay for something they don’t use?

The authority doesn’t need to raise tools. They need to recognize and run with what they have. Not unlike a welfare company, whose hands are always out for the free buck. The Thruway Authority says it needs to raise tolls because of rising costs. As an owner-operator, my costs have also gone up also, but my rates haven’t changed in 10 years. I’m not as big a business as the Thruway Authority, but I am a business.

I have to adapt. So should they.

Kurt Kohlhagen
Bliss, NY

Parking problem proves perilous
I am extremely disappointed in the parking situation at a lot of Flying J truck stops. I have had my trailer backed into twice and have personally seen two tractors with crushed fenders and bent front bumpers. I felt lucky that nothing like that had happened to me.

Well, my luck just ran out. While parked and sleeping at the Flying J in Northeast, MD, another driver backed into the front of my truck and the truck next to me, and left the scene. This did not happen while trying to back in next to me, but while trying to back out (we think) from across the extremely narrow aisle.

Now, I think it is fair to say that drivers need to exercise more caution when backing, and get out of the cab and look. But it is becoming more and more apparent that many of these lots were not designed for trucks in excess of 70 feet in length.

Incidents of this nature seem to be increasing. When I reported to my company that I would be out of service for about a week for repairs, the comment was, “We seem to be seeing a lot more of these lately.” Why Flying J and some others do not take a cue from Petro and angle the spaces is beyond me.

Hopefully, some of these parking problems can be corrected through better layout. As the industry keeps placing more and more inexperienced drivers behind the wheel, these types of accidents will probably increase. Insurance rates will continue to rise, and owner-operators like me will continue to stay out of certain buildings in fear that something will happen to the truck while parked outside.

Ed Barch
Maumee, OH

OOIDA for life
After almost 20 years of being in the trucking business as an owner-operator, I made the decision to quit the owner-operator business and become a company driver.

I will not list all the factors that lead to this decision, because anyone who is still doing business in the trucking industry understands all the problems they encounter every day.

I had the mistaken view that since I am no longer an owner-operator, there was no reason to continue my support of this organization. But after reading the lawsuit update and other information in Land Line, I know how wrong my view is.

It is clear to me that OOIDA is the only organization that is standing up for and defending the rights of the American trucker. I have seen in the past all the good work that OOIDA has done by taking on the hard issues that affect the trucking industry. And since it affects the trucking industry, it affects me and my ability to earn a living at the job I love.

Trucking is a brotherhood, and decisions that are made that affect this industry in a negative way affect each and every one of us who make our living as truck drivers.

Over the years, I have watched OOIDA grow in membership, and understand that only by being a strong force can our voice be heard. In closing, all I can say to anyone who is still driving a truck as an owner-operator or company driver, and feel that they are just another butt in a seat, it is time to stand up and be counted by joining OOIDA and showing our support for this organization.

Thanks for being the voice of the American trucker, and for all the good work you do.

Ron Adkins
Marion, OH

Illegals in the Army is not the answer
I am writing in regard to a letter written by David P. Gaibis Sr. of New Castle, PA, in your February 2005 issue. He stated that our nation should “make the illegals serve (in the army) before they can work.”

I read this and being a history/political science double major in college, my heart sank. This is just what the Roman Empire (and other empires) did, and it was this very action that brought them down.

Rome became so involved throughout the world that they just flat ran out of fighting-age men (like America is about to). So, they turned to the people of the nations that they had taken over and told them that they could have Roman citizenship (which up to that point was based on race) if they served in the army, to fill the ranks.

Then the Germanic tribes came under one king to fight Rome. The Romans started to lose one battle after another. Why? They had allowed Germanic peoples into the armed forces and they would not fight their own blood.

One day this will be the fate of America, if we continue on the path we are on. 
I could go on, but the end to all of this is that the place you and I grew up in is over. America is done; she just has not fallen yet – but give her time.

Eric Stepp Belanger
Mesquite, TX

NY see, NY do
I read the March/April 2005 issue’s Road Law article describing New York’s Driver Responsibility Assessment, and I had to write to inform you that New Jersey has had the same type of assessment for quite a few years now. In fact, the penalty mentioned in the article is the same as the one New Jersey uses. Any time a New Jersey driver hits six violation points, he is assessed an annual ‘insurance surcharge’ of $100 and $25 per each additional point, payable to the state treasurer.

It looks like New York borrowed one of New Jersey’s revenue producers.

Mark F. Wismer
Union, NJ

Trucker’s wife wants ports held accountable
I think the port terminals should be fined. I know that in Charleston, SC, my husband has had to wait for hours for chassis because they weren’t safe to pull on the roads.

If you want safety, there should be a safety committee of some sort in place. If he hooks up to it, it is his responsibility, not the port’s, but when he does his inspection of the chassis and it’s not worthy of being pulled by a truck, it has taken up to 2 1/2 hours to get someone to either fix it or find another that would be halfway decent to hook to.

If the truck isn’t rolling, we both lose. I’m not making money, and neither are you. It’s hard to find the correct container that has been assigned to the truck. All of this takes away from the drive time, and the appointment might not be met. So who’s fault is it?

Joyce Starkey
McMinnville, TN

Texas mad about taxes
Seems like every time we turn around, we find another hike in our cost – higher tolls, fuel, and road use taxes – outpacing all, if any, rate hikes. I keep reading where our idling is now the root of all evil and will surely be the end of mankind and, oh yeah, the sky is falling.

I think it’s time to start getting back what they have been overcharging us, mainly fuel tax. If the experts say we idle 30 to 50 percent of the time, I would like a rebate on the road tax that I spent for the fuel I burned while not using the road. Off-road fuel, like farm use only fuel, is a lot cheaper Maybe a rebate that I can use toward the purchase of an APU before they are outlawed.

Any body got a good deal on a mule team?

Mike Schober
Robstown, TX

Manners matter
I have a comment to all those drivers who feel it necessary to be rude to the truck stop employees: chill out. We’re not the only ones with a job to do.

I have been driving for several years and my wife works behind the fuel desk of a Flying J in Indiana. Almost every day, these employees get harassed by one driver or another. I as a driver know that most of the time, we are in a hurry, but you need to realize that these cashiers don’t control everything. They have certain company procedures to follow, just like we do.

Just the other day, they had to have a driver arrested for assault against a female maintenance worker when she went to verify the truck number, ICC number and license plate. She couldn’t find the truck number on the side of the truck and when she asked the driver for the number, he refused to give it to her. He then got extremely upset and shoved this employee to the ground when she informed him that they were not turning the pump on until they got that information. Then he proceeded to chase her into the truck stop, screaming at her the whole time.

Not only was this driver arrested, but his truck was also towed, which is going to cost him big bucks. All of this could have been avoided had the driver just realized that maintenance worker was just doing her job, and provided her with the needed numbers. This behavior is unacceptable and needs to stop.

This is what makes truckers look bad in the public’s eye. Just remember: you’re not the only one with a job to do. Let’s try and keep it professional like we all are supposed to be, no matter where we are.

Phillip Klucher
Indianapolis, IN

Time to draw the line on Illinois roadside Level IIs
I would be interested in finding out if any other members have had problems with Illinois State troopers pulling Level II DOT inspections on the side of the road in Macon County (District 10).

One of my trucks was pulled over under the pretense that he was doing 60 mph in a 55 mph zone, and was accused of running a radar detector. After the trooper searched the truck and found no detector, he then decided the truck needed an inspection and he proceeded to pull what he called a Level II inspection.

He could not find any violations, which irritated the trooper, so he decided that a 3-inch scrape on the reflective tape that runs along his DOT bumper constituted a damaged reflective sheeting violation, and notated it as such on the inspection report.

This kind of harassment must end. I am all for safety inspections, but when an overzealous officer makes the statement that this is his road and he will decide what is a violation and what is not, I draw the line.

We are under enough pressure without having to deal with this kind of abuse, and I would like to know if anyone else has had similar problems in this district.

I am filing a formal complaint starting with the district office and see where it takes me, and would like more ammunition of others who have been harassed.

Ken Weinkle
Hermitage, TN

Truckers can’t do the robot
I like a lot of the new rules in place; the only thing I could see that needs changing is the off-duty status and the 12-hour on-duty rule.

If a driver gets up at 7 a.m. to deliver his or her load and gets done at 8 a.m., then drives 30 minutes to a truck stop to get a shower, breakfast and tries to find his or her next load, he should be able to be off duty and not have it affect his or her on-duty time.

In every other job out there, the workers get off-duty breaks, so why not us truckers? A driver can split his driving by taking a nap in the sleeper. But what if the situation I just described happens and he logs that as sleeper berth and then goes to pick up a load and heads on his way. If, after four hours, he gets tired and wants or needs a nap, he can’t do it because he already split his work hours with the sleeper berth.

If we were all robots and could all be the same as far as how much we sleep and how we all work, then it would be no problem at all. The problem is that we are all different, and that is what makes everyone unique.

Mel Gendron
Auburn, ME

Toll increases hard to swallow
As I read Mark Reddig’s story on the Illinois Tollway rate hike, I began to burn even more than I have been since the hike went into effect. I’m a Wisconsin driver and unfortunately have to go through Illinois much too often.

A while back, I heard Joelle McGinnis on WLS radio trying to explain this outrageous increase by stating that they had conducted town hall meetings in various places around the state and talked with the Illinois Trucking Association. He stated that the trucking industry could well afford this insane hike in the rates trucks now have to pay. If I could have gotten through to him that day, he certainly would have gotten a piece of my mind, or at least what’s left of it.

I, like many other truckers, am avoiding the tolls as much as possible. I urge all truckers to do the same; screw the toll authority. I could have swallowed a reasonable increase, but this is just nuts. Truckers are fuel-taxed and toll-rate-increased to death. In fact, that is exactly what is happening to a lot o f us: our business is being choked right out of business because of high fuel costs and massive toll hikes, and on and on.

The shippers don’t want to pay a higher cost to ship products and, of course, shop around until they find some nut who will haul it at a loss, until that carrier figures out that they can’t do it for very long. Well, I should use the Joelle McGinnis method for rate increase: a load going from Milwaukee to the Chicago area, especially the western suburbs that would normally cost $250 should now cost $500 or more, so that I can cover my cost of operating. And when the shippers complain, I’ll tell them to call good old Joelle McGinnis to find out just why this mad man wants to charge him so much to move his product.

I should also give them state Sen. Susan Garrett’s number. Maybe she can give them an answer they can swallow. Thanks, Susan – I sure hope the voters in your district remember this come election time. Yes, you did express concern about increased truck traffic on U.S. 41, and yes, the DOT anticipated the increased truck traffic and rebuilt the south and northbound scales on 41. Don’t get me wrong: I’m in favor of safety, too, but when we see two scales that for years really weren’t used all that much and looked sort of run down suddenly rebuilt, something’s rotten in Denmark.

I wish somebody could tell me how we can change this stick-it-to-the-trucker kind of thing. I don’t see anybody doing anything to help us with this problem. All I’ve head is “Oh, you’ll get used to it.” Not on a bet! I hope my fellow truckers will take a stand and at least speak out, or even get organized enough to do something to put a stop to this stick-it-to-the-truckers every time we turn around. I for one will not just get used to it.

Bob Eichhorn
Greenfield, WI

Hang up and drive
After reading the account of the accident at Carlisle Pilot and the “Rose” in the March/April 2005 issue, I have a comment.

The driver who hit the man was more than likely talking on his cell phone. I say this after coming extremely close to being run down, twice, at the Bay City TA in Texas.

As the truck went on its way – unaware of the fact he almost ran over me – I noted both drivers were on the cell phone as they were cruising the parking lot, or on the way out.

Since then, I've observed numerous truckers rolling through truck stops to the fuel island or parking area just talking away. Then they get on the CB and complain about the four-wheelers on the cell phone.

Go figure.

Bill Cochran
Monson, MA

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