December 2008/January 2009 Letters

In deep trouble without bees 
Thank you for writing this most important story (Clarissa Kell-Holland’s series on landlinemag.com titled “Bee crisis”). I don’t think it’s widely understood how delicate and how important our pollinator species are, but a moment’s reflection shows that we are in deep trouble without them.

Dave Crosby
Santa Fe, NM

Load and unload us promptly – or pay us 
There should be a law that shippers and receivers have only a few hours to load or unload you from the time of your appointment until you shut your doors.

We should not have to suffer because they’re too busy to get to us. If they’re that busy, they should hire more help.

If they can’t get us drivers out of there in two hours, they should pay us out of their pockets. We don’t get paid until the rubber starts rolling.

Andy Dawson
Wausa, NE

Arizona laptop case important win 
Way to go, Mr. Cook and OOIDA (“Arizona laptop dance” in the October issue of Land Line Magazine). Because Arizona DOT chose to make this a case, I would like to thank you for pursuing this to the end and making sure it was placed where it belonged – in the dead file.

This would have been another thorn in the truck driver’s side if this had been ignored. I hope all the drivers out there will stand up for their rights and not let themselves be taken advantage of, no matter how small or unimportant the situation.

Debbie Taylor
Collinsville, AL

Emergencies and non-emergencies
Traffic keeps getting heavier and faster. Throw in all the distractions, DVD players, GPS, MP3s, cell phones and my favorite – texting while driving – and you have a real scary situation.

States are passing laws and putting up signs to move over or slow down for emergency vehicles on the shoulder.Land Line Now on XM Satellite Radio discussed who should be afforded this slow-down, move-over protection. Police are a given, but how about ambulances, wrecker drivers and volunteer firemen?

Anybody on the shoulder of an interstate is in harm’s way, so I slow or move over.

This cuts both ways. There should be serious fines for drivers parked on the side of the road for non-emergency reasons such as changing drivers, walking dogs, topping off windshield washer fluid and checking oil. And the trucker who stops to keep from running out from under a cell tower or to look at a map or cool a tire. Make it a $10,000 fine, first offense.

Bob Martin
Lafayette, IN

California cares about clean air, but not about us 
With the high costs in the trucking industry in the past few years it is understandable that many have gone broke. The state of California certainly does not care if you can stay in business.

How can anyone in the trucking business understand the California Air Resource Board’s regulations on changes we have to make to our trucks to meet their air standards? It will cost all of us thousands of dollars. I called the Air Resource Board and was informed, “We do not have to answer to anyone.”

I’m certain that we are all concerned about clean air. Where do we spend most of our traveling time? In traffic. But these people do not care if we get to stay in business.

Robert Markin
McKinleyville, CA

Keeping drivers healthy 
The Centers for Disease Control pegs the median age of death for over-the-road drivers at 61. Many drivers in their 40s or 50s die, or poor health prevents them from driving. Statistically, drivers in their 40s and 50s are among the safest drivers on the road. Keeping these drivers healthy would decrease highway fatalities.

The first step to keeping drivers healthy is to value our time. OTR drivers deserve to be covered by fair labor laws. Why should we have to give two to four hours before we start getting paid? If our time were compensated, shippers and receivers would be prepared for our arrival and load and unload us efficiently. Now, a driver may log that time as off-duty. If a driver could document and log time as “on-duty not driving,” it would reduce the length of our workday without reducing our paycheck. That would give us time to sleep, eat and exercise properly.

DOT physicals should be given by occupational physicians who are paid by the FMCSA. Health records should be kept to prevent doctor shopping, but should not be given to employers or insurance companies.

I believe that these two steps could cut highway fatalities involving commercial vehicles by at least 20 percent, or save at least 1,000 lives a year.

Jeff Clark 
Kewaunee, WI

Truckers ahead of the curve 
For years truckers have moved over for stopped emergency vehicles, even saying on the CB, “We got one on the side.” Once again, professional drivers were ahead of the curve – moving over before it was a law.

Danny Schnautz
Pasadena, TX 

Reading up on the bee crisis
The better half and I travel across the Southeast almost every week, either on Interstate 10, I-20 or I-40.

We think we’ve struck a large number of bees in flight as they cross our path on the interstates. We’ve been curious about what would make a large number of them abandon their hives.

Recently, we read the October Land Line Magazine article on beekeeping. We’re a bit more informed now. Love the show and the mag – proud to be a member.

Chris Caldwell
El Paso, TX

Why not sleep apnea tests for legislators?
We should demand that our elected officials have a sleep apnea test. I think they have too much body fat to safely make decisions and laws that affect hard-working Americans.

Jeff Faust
Kingsport, TN

Big guys pay more to drive
As a driver who is a big man, it is hard to swallow some of the regulations these bills are creating. Drivers are forced to pay extra to do the same job as a man who is of smaller stature. It is $1,000 just to take the test for sleep apnea, let alone the cost of the machine.

Most generally when big people go into the doctor’s office, they are riled up right off the bat as to whether they will be able to keep their job. This in itself is enough to raise a person’s blood pressure. I have had mine read three to four times, and it always lowers after I settle down.

Next, the driver is issued a card that lasts only three months so the driver is forced to pay a doctor’s visit four times a year – once again forcing a driver to work harder to make up the costs.

Anonymous

Don’t hand hard-earned money to scammers
In response to Robert Huss’ letter in the October issue of Land Line Magazine, Three-Card Monte is the oldest scam in the books.

My first contact with it was in 1955 at Port Newark, NJ. Another driver and I were directed to this game. The “con” seems to be either high or drunk, but is more lucid than his victims. I walked away. The other driver stayed and lost $40 – a lot of money back then.

You guys work too hard to let this pond scum take your money from you. One other thing: If you choose not to play, do not let the con’s partner front you money in the form of a bet. You will win, and if you pick up the money I guarantee you will not leave the truck stop or make it back to your truck with that cash.

After 51 and a half years on the road I have seen about everything.

Bob Coe
Harford, PA

Problems with Pennsylvania’s anti-idling legislation
We read the Land Line daily news story online about Pennsylvania’s anti-idling rule.

What about the drivers who don’t have generators or APUs provided by their companies or truck owners? And what about the owners who can’t afford the technology because of high fuel prices?

The article stated that Pennsylvania will not allow an exemption if “idle-reduction technology is available.” But what if all the spaces are occupied? Perhaps we should all immediately invest in IdleAir stock, or create our own “comfort zone terminals.”

The article further stated that Pennsylvania feels “excessive truck idling is extremely detrimental to the state air quality.” Well, here’s a news flash for Pennsylvania: Imagine how detrimental no food, gas, medicine or clothing would be to the state.

How about going after the manufacturers and mandating that anti-idling technology be factory installed along with clean engine technology (but don’t go neurotic like your counterparts in California)?

David Clarke and Jo Russell
Greeneville, TN

Buying fuel with cash
I have just read my October issue of Land Line Magazine. What a great magazine with a lot of good info. I was totally in agreement with (Dave Sweetman’s column) about being treated like a crook when it comes to buying fuel. I also am a one-truck operation and get tired of the way people treat me when I try to buy my fuel with cash. I hope the powers that be see your article.

Keep up the good work; your article is the first thing I read. In 35 years on the road, I don’t think I have ever run across you out there, but if I ever do, the coffee is on me.

Don Akins
Baxter, IA

Common sense in short supply in California
I was listening to Land Line Now recently with the interview of that CARB agent. How can they justify trying to regulate out-of-state trucks with their ridiculous rules? That state has no common sense.

Los Angeles sits in a basin that is like a vacuum. No matter how many stupid rules they make it’s not going to reduce pollution to the amount that they prescribe. It’s not going to happen unless we go back to the horse and buggy days, although they’d find something wrong with that, too.

The way the economy has been the past few years, most can’t afford to meet these ridiculous rules.

Officials know they’re broke now, and yet they’re asking the rest of us to rescue them with another loan that we as taxpayers will be forced to pay with more taxes. It’s like biting the hand that feeds you.

I get tired of all these extra burdens to help someone who stabs you in the back. Why don’t they just ban all motor vehicles, so they won’t have anything to bitch about? But they would find something. That’s California for ya.

Bob Rutherford
Climax, NC

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