February 2008 Letters

Regulating truckers right out of the industry 
I’ve owned and operated Class 8 trucks, managed a small fleet, built and operated my own brokerage, and been a company driver for large and small operators.

I am currently driving for a small owner-operator, and it is surprising to me how little most truckers seem to know or care about their industry. Every American needs to know how their future and their well-being is going to be affected by the deterioration of our national transportation system.

Independent drivers and small-business owners are being regulated out of the industry. Safety is used as an excuse for regulation that destroys competition and the right to earn an honest living.

If not for OOIDA, we would already be an extinct species in the USA. I’m a life member of OOIDA, and I strongly recommend that anyone who likes to eat affordable food, wear affordable clothes and just live a fairly normal American lifestyle become one as well. Too few of us really notice how much of our freedom and rights are being taken from us in the name of security, safety, economics and “good business.”

Wake up and smell the coffee. Stay informed and vote. Most of all, support those who are willing to go to bat for you while you are out there busting your rear each day.

Jim Getten
Ontario, OR

CARB is driving truckers out of California 
CARB: Who watches over them? I live in California, and I think they are getting too big for their britches.

It is nice to know that someone is watching out for the environment, but they are telling us to do too much, all at once. Ultra-low sulfur fuel will go a long way toward the goal. Anti-idling regs will help.

But for crying out loud, give the trucker a chance to catch his breath before they pile on more restrictions and costs to the truck owner. How do they expect owners to pay for this equipment? Grant money? We all know where those funds come from, our taxes.

We need to consider who will haul the freight when trucks without the CARB upgrades can’t or won’t come to California.

Mark Goodman
Grenada, CA

Here’s two cents’ worth on HOS 
Like most truckers, I’m a millionaire in increments of two cents. I’d like to spend some of that here.

In the article on HOS regs in the November 2007 issue of Land Line, FMCSA officials were quoted as saying something they have said countless times before; “Make no mistake, maintaining the safety of America’s highways continues to be our priority.”

This sounds to me like there is an attitude that the motoring public needs to be kept safe from big trucks. After all, the FMCSA regulates only big trucks.

Is it too far-fetched to think that truckers should be protected by the HOS rules first? By default, if the rules are designed to protect truckers’ health and interests; then the roads would be a safer place for the motoring public, right? At least on the part of truckers anyway.

Matt Maier
Richmond, VA

Take a hint, don’t go to Wal-Mart 
More and more Wal-Mart stores are putting up 12-foot-high cross beams at the entrances to their parking lots. That means no trucks allowed and no RVs allowed. I guess we aren’t supposed to do any grocery shopping while out on the road.

I am going to boycott Wal-Mart anywhere I see these cross beams. And I mean in my car, not just my truck.

I wonder what they would do if their truck drivers just stopped driving for them. With the shortage of drivers these days, I’m sure that there are plenty of other places to go for a driving job.

Please, let Wal-Mart know that they are turning away a large segment of the population. You can contact

Wal-Mart corporate by visiting the Web site at walmartstores.com and then clicking on the “Contact Us” button. Then click on “Corporate” and you can submit your comments.

Sherryl Anctil
Tucson, AZ

Yet another reason to avoid fast food 
Your Land Line Web news article on Dec. 21, 2007, on the lack of cleanliness at fast food restaurants reminded me of something. I was in a convenience store once when the clerk decided to fill the ice dispenser at the soda machine. She dumped out a trash can and used it to transfer the ice.

I haven’t bought a fountain soda since, unless I could see that the ice maker was mounted on top. Those may not get cleaned regularly, but at least a filthy trash can isn’t involved.

After so many times of having food poisoning in the past 46 years, I can’t remember them all – including a couple that sent me to a hospital. I seldom eat anything other than what I bring in my cooler.

Robert Johnson
Canyon, TX

Parking ban not unique to New Mexico 
I have been a truck driver since 1988 and an owner-operator for the past seven years. The problem in Rio Rancho, NM, with residential truck parking is just one piece of a bigger story.

Comstock, MI, does not allow any type of commercial truck parking, unless you are on 24-hour-on-call status for public utilities. Tractors or tractor trailers are not allowed. I have to leave my rig down in a dirt lot, and most of the time it is mud. The township officials also have told me that if I build a barn to park the tractor in, that also is illegal.

They say no commercial vehicle parking in Comstock, MI, period.

I have 1.7 acres and I have put my house up for sale to find property out in the country and in a different county. The problem now is the housing market has crashed. I continue to park in a dirt lot and worry about the security of my rig. I’ve been living in my house for the past 40 some years, and now I feel like a second-class citizen. Other people have tried to get the rules changed, but the requests fell on deaf ears.

Ron Trumbla
Comstock, MI

Fuel surcharge formula: Just what I needed 
Your article on how to compute a fuel surcharge on Page 57 in the December/January issue couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve wrestled with this problem and have charged a fuel surcharge based on seat-of-the-pants formulas. It was great info and makes my billing more professional. I was able to explain to my customers how the charge pertains to the areas they send me to.

Thanks again.

Gary A. Bryant
Portland, OR

Tailgating a tragedy in the making 
Anytime you see several vehicles in a row, that’s a pileup waiting to happen. They do it in the fog in California. They do it in the falling snow in Nebraska. People just follow the taillights in front of them into the unknown, with only the one person in the lead vehicle actually looking ahead.

Many people think “drafting” is the thing to do. I saw a movie that showed two helicopters, one pursuing the other, like tailgating. The first one turned at the very last moment so the second one smashed into a cliff. People who draft and tailgate on the highway don’t realize that it would be the second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. all smashing up together.

If people could get a look at the one driver up front who is likely on the cell phone, they might back off. They might realize that one driver doesn’t look like someone they want to trust with their lives.

Cindy Klemm
Richfield Springs, NY

The bridge to ‘somewhere’ 
Regarding your coverage of the “bridge to nowhere,” you are the victims of disinformation promulgated by opponents of the bridge, who labeled the project with that moniker. Let me set you straight.

First, Ketchikan, AK, and the people within 20 miles number more than 14,000 rather than 50. Second, Ketchikan’s airport is on the other island – Gravina Island – and this airport is the major hub for the surrounding region. Third, buildable flat land is available on Gravina and is needed for expansion.

If you want a symbol of federal pork barrel spending, look at the Big Dig in Boston, costing $14.6 billion, or 30 times the cost of Ketchikan’s bridge. For just one-tenth of the cost overruns, Ketchikan could have built a bridge.

Looked at another way, just 12 hours worth of the Iraq war expense would have built a bridge. Right now, the residents have to take a ferry, which involves great inconvenience arriving and departing, especially in a town that receives more than 150 inches of rain every year. A bridge makes sense, and it absolutely goes somewhere. It goes to the airport and when you’re arriving, it goes to Ketchikan.

Ray Turek
Ward Cove, AK

Random is not a reason 
I am livid over the waking of drivers in a truck stop in Effingham, IL. This kind of thing has got to stop.

Is there a problem at this particular truck stop? Is there a reason for so-called “homeland security” to target this area?

Random is no reason! Random should happen during routine stops at check-in points or when there is probable cause.

Altamont officers should not have been allowed by Flying J management to interrupt drivers’ solace. Did anyone ask for confirmation by a higher authority as to this activity being legitimate? I find it hard to believe Homeland Security was behind this operation.

I smell a rat. Drivers beware and ask for confirmation.

Cindy Presson
Camden, TN

Editor’s note: For coverage of the incident in Effingham, please see Page 36.

Trains are major players in emissions game 
I’m going through your December/January issue and reading about the new CARB California emissions rules, and I think we are overlooking another major player in the emissions game: the railroads.

I choose not to go to California because the rates to pull freight out of there after delivering there are a money losing issue. But the railroads seem to be getting a pass on their emissions.

Have you seen a train that doesn’t have a smoking engine in the group of locomotives pulling it? Where is the outcry from these so-called environmental groups?

Those locomotive engines burn 8 gallons per mile per engine to get a loaded coal or long freight train moving on flat land. Their fuel usage to climb and descend the hills from the Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento regions must be twice that or more.

Let’s not forget the many engines sitting around the many freight yards and sidings around the state idling the day away.

Charles Yarian
Englewood, CO

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