May 2008 Letters

Hauling cheap freight cuts your throat and mine 
I am told by every broker who doesn’t want to pay my rate, “Someone will take it.” That’s true; some dummy will haul it just to move.

You are putting small trucking companies out of business because we cannot afford to run our trucks. It takes 75 cents a mile for fuel alone now that it is at the $4 a gallon mark.

Quit blaming it on big companies who often pay more than the brokers. Don’t you realize that costs have quadrupled, and you are now being paid less than a third of what this stuff used to pay? Yes, this is cutthroat, but quit cutting mine and hundreds of others’ just to move.

I don’t know how you make those payments and insurance. You are one breakdown away from being out of it yourselves. If everyone refuses to haul this cheap stuff, rates will begin to get more reasonable.

Lisa Goodpaster
East Palatka, FL

Bring back break ’n’ bunk time 
Eleven hours of constant work does wear a driver down a lot quicker. To be able to take a break every now and then works a lot better, and the driver is more alert. We can take a break now, but it costs us time. They have computers in the trucks now that can tell on us if we try to lie on our logs. That’s why we need our break ’n’ bunk time back like it used to be.

Monty Schaefer
Biscoe, AR

Signal light falls out of Indiana sky 
In July 2007 I approached an intersection on Indiana State Route 231 controlled by traffic signals. The light was green. I glanced in both mirrors. When I looked straight forward, the signal light was down at windshield level. I had no time to react. The light hit my windshield and visor, then went in between the tractor and trailer.

I called 9-1-1. A Crawfordsville police officer took a report. I took some pictures. I was told to file a tort report with the state, which I did.

The state rejected my claim of $1,400 in damages. My insurance investigated and found the state was at fault. They sent a letter requesting my $1,000 deductible.

So, drivers, beware of traveling through Indiana. This could have been much worse had this light come through the windshield.

Rollin Pizzala
Kenosha, WI

Thanks from the troops
I am receiving your boxes. I have been giving them to my soldiers, and they really do appreciate them.

My unit is currently on their 10th month of a 15-month rotation. We are all very happy that it is almost time to start thinking about going home.

Again, thank you for your support.

SFC Jerry Andrew
Platoon Sergeant, Charlie Troop, 3-17 Cavalry

Raising soldiers’ morale
I want to thank you for the care package that your organization recently sent me. It is really awesome what you and your organization do for the deployed soldiers.

Receiving mail is extremely important for a soldier’s morale. And when you receive a package from someone you do not know, it really makes you stop and think.

Your organization has done a wonderful job helping soldiers. My deployment is coming to an end here shortly. Thanks again.

SSG Steven L. Kiener

Sending a bit of home with each package 
Thank you, OOIDA, for everything you have done and are continuing to do for myself, my platoon and all the deployed soldiers. Yours and all of the truckers’ generosities do not go unappreciated. It seems like you send a little bit of home with each package.

It is a great feeling knowing that so many people care about soldiers that they will probably never even meet.

SSG Shane Zeysing

A shout out from The Road Hammers
Hey y’all. We’re The Road Hammers. We sing trucker music, and we feel your pain on the rising fuel-cost front. Heck, we have trucks and buses on the road. We’re not a bunch of posers, we love what we do, and we live what we sing about.

Behind all of the lights and the music, we’re just like you, trying to make it all happen every day. So, remember, you have a friend on the airwaves. Hammer down!

Jason McCoy 
Lead singer, guitarist

The sacrifices made by truck drivers 
I am a 21-year veteran of truck driving. The average American citizen and the politicians need to see what kind of sacrifices the truck drivers have to make.

Americans who truly believe that truck drivers are trashy, dirty and are just in their way during their commutes don’t get the real picture.

They just don’t understand how hard our job is and that we sacrifice things such as our homes and our families to be able to deliver the goods that keep America up and running.

Daniel Larsen
Austin, TX

No more free breakfasts 
I have noticed that many products being shipped are worth less than the cost of shipping. Inflation is out of control due to energy prices.

This is reflected in the pocketbooks of consumers. The corporate hogging is hurting our pocketbooks. There was once a time when you got a free breakfast with a fill-up. Now you’re paying $5 for a rippoffachino.

Bryan Gorak
Morton Grove, IL

Asked to haul freight for pennies a load 
Brokers and customers are trying to get the owner-operators to haul their freight for pennies. I was offered a load to Dallas for 90 cents a mile. I have not hauled for that in years. I told the broker it costs me 70 cents a mile to just keep my truck running.

If you say something to the brokers, they say we are covering all the loads. The big trucking companies are only paying $1.60 a gallon for fuel and having the federal government give them all kinds of tax breaks that the small fleets and owner-operators are not entitled to.

I believe now that the government wants to do away with all the owner-operators. It’s the independents and small fleet owner-operators who made the trucking industry what it is. Owner-operators cannot afford to upgrade their equipment and provide for their families. Most out there are really struggling. In the presidential election going on now you never hear anything about the trucking industry and what the plans are to help us.

I have parked my truck. Only two or three months ago I was getting $1.70 a mile with a fuel surcharge. Now it’s impossible.

Carl Brown
Gainesville, GA

Company drivers have to make a living, too 
As an over-the-road driver, I spend time in the truck stops.

I have an issue with the owner-operators. Why do they think that I as a company driver am not affected by the same things that they are? If my truck breaks down, I have to worry about the roadside service truck taking hours to get there. Fuel prices affect me also. If my boss goes under because of the high prices, I’m out of a job, losing money, so there aren’t many differences.

They need to realize that my truck is just as important as theirs. We are one large group that needs to work together, not two small ones fighting each other and everybody else.

So the next time you go off on a company driver, remember he/she is just like you, making a living one mile at a time.

Caryn Boivin
Montezuma, KS

Respect Wal-Mart’s property 
I read in the February issue of Land Line that Wal-Mart has put up barriers to keep out big trucks.

Several years ago that happened in the town I live in. I went to the manager and asked why. He said, “I have just spent $250,000 repairing my parking lot. It is only about 2-inch-thick asphalt. It will not stand up to 80,000 pounds being parked on it all night.”

However, what this store does is encourage us to use the delivery entrance. These beams were put up over five years ago, and to the best of my knowledge the store has only had to do minor repairs to the parking lot.

However, the people in our industry do not help the matter. While I was at that store today, in less than one hour I saw two big rigs on the lot. If we want Wal-Mart to welcome us to their place of business, we need to respect their property.

Gary Hull
Jennings, LA

Truck may become his only home 
I have been in trucking for 24 years now and have no formal education; therefore, the idea of just walking away from this business is not an option. I’m still in business, albeit broke.

I can roll at a second’s notice, but have no freight to haul. I have tidbits of freight that come along a few times a week to help keep my deductions down or even, but I’m not getting ahead. Maybe I could install floats on my truck and put it in the water and give river tours?

I can’t let go of this truck right now because it may soon become my only home if this market doesn’t change. Hey, better than living under bridges or sleeping on the streets. As I’ve stated a million times, I can live in my truck, but I can’t drive my house. That’s been my personal quote for more than a decade now.

James Barrow
Crawfordsville, IN

When you need it quick 
I’m an OOIDA member and have been a trucker for more than 26 years with 21 years worth of heavy-haul experience. I now work for SLT Express Way Inc. out of Phoenix.

Have you ever wished you had all your notes, etc. in your own little book? My wife, Rosa Ines, and I put together a reference booklet as a quick guide. I gathered info on state permits, phone and fax numbers, axle weights, escort requirements and other info you need every day in every continental state. Check it out at www.oversizereferencebook.com.

Douglas R. Cannon
Brownsville, TX

Removing snow and ice from trailers unsafe 
I have noticed that some states are passing laws requiring drivers to remove snow and ice from the tops of trailers. According to OSHA regs, anyone working more than

4 feet above the ground must have a safety barrier to prevent falls. I haven’t seen any trailers with railings around the top.

Seems a driver would have to carry a lot of equipment to get on top of that trailer too. You need a 16-foot minimum ladder, safety belt/harness, safety line, a place to attach safety lines, shovels, ice scrapers and other equipment to remove snow or ice.

Most trailers won’t support the weight of a person walking around on top of them. What happens when a driver is in a snowstorm on the road for several hours. Will he have to call road service for someone to bring roof cleaning equipment out to him?

What happens when a driver falls off the top of the trailer? Who will be held responsible for his injuries, lost pay, lost life? Seems to me that lawmakers are making laws that you simply cannot comply with.

The logical way to do it would be to develop trailers with heated roofs, maybe from a truck’s engine, that could simply melt the snow or ice from roofs.

Everett Banks
Conley, GA

Roadside blood draws not safe 
As a medical professional, I took classes to learn the proper way to draw blood.

A clean sterile environment is needed, and the side of the road is not qualified as a sterile or clean environment. Also, an air bubble in the vein is a deadly mistake.

Wearing a badge doesn’t mean they are qualified phlebotomists.

Edward Martin
Orange City, FL

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