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Truckers Speak Out

Truckers and doctors

By Doug Kerr, Vestal, NY

I have followed with interest the discussion about HOS. I am a practicing orthopedic surgeon. I also have my CDL A license. I find it interesting that I can work all I want with no regulation. I don't usually surpass 80 hours in seven days, but I used to when I was in training. I thought you might find the hours-of-service regulations for New York state resident physicians (doctors in training) of interest. They are less strict than the current truckers' hours of service. I have included them below. Please note that I don't think that every state has similar regulations.

Summary of requirements 1ONYCRR, Section 405.4 (b)(6) & (f)(3)

  • A limit of 80 hours for the scheduled workweek of residents averaged over a four-week period. On-call duty in the hospital for surgical residents is not included in the 80-hour limit when evidence of adequate rest time is available and the number of interruptions is infrequent.
  • Assigned work periods should not exceed 24 consecutive hours. The on-call duty of surgical residents in hospitals is not included in the 24-hour limit with evidence that rest time is adequate and interruptions infrequent.
  • For hospital emergency departments with more than 15,000 unscheduled visits per year, the on-duty assignment of residents should not exceed 12 consecutive hours.
  • Dual employment or "moonlighting" by residents must be monitored by hospitals and any such hours worked must be considered as part of the working hour limitations.
  • Non-working periods following scheduled on-duty or on-call periods, and one 24-hour period of scheduled non-working time per week must be provided.

Sad state of affairs

Duane Wilson, Vancouver, WA

It is truly a sad state of affairs when other drivers will not lift a finger to assist a fellow driver whose life may be in danger. Recently, I was in Houston, TX, at a small fuel stop sandwiched between a Wendy's and a Chevron Mini Mart. There was a Swift truck, a USA Truck, a Dallas-Mavis truck and two others who were parked in a position to see the rear of my trailer. Around 11 p.m. I noticed someone fooling around at the rear of my trailer. I asked over the radio if anyone could see what was going on. No one answered. So, I got out and walked to the rear of my trailer and was accosted by a man and his partner. I got a knife stuck into my ribs.

They got away with only $200, but the threat to my life was very real. Even after they got away, I still didn't get help from any of the drivers who were sitting there looking at me. Even the police were not very helpful, and acted like this was an expected event in Houston. They asked me only five questions and wrote my answers in their notepad and left.

I have been in this industry for more than 30 years and an o/o for most of those years. I can remember when we were a brotherhood, and we all took care of each other. Nowadays, a whole new breed of driver is showing up and they have such an attitude that I no longer wonder why the industry has such a poor reputation. These attitudes have to change before you can do anything about the industry's image. Too many drivers are in so much of a hurry due to the shippers/receiver and their ridiculous schedules. It is truly a sad state of affairs for this industry, that I, as well as a lot of other drivers that have been out there for 30+ years used to do this because we loved it and we had fun seeing old acquaintances out there. Too bad it has gone in the direction it has in recent years.

Jakes don't make noise

By Jim Barrow, Indianapolis, IN

I must speak my mind once and for all. I use my Jake brake all the time and it does not make noise. I listen to many trucks as they enter the Indianapolis truckstop where I work. The only trucks that make noise are those without mufflers. Every single truck that enters the truckstop with mufflers, you can't hear. Come to think of it, unless you actually see them you don't even know they're there.

However, for those hotshot truckers that are bent on being noticed, those who go flying down the highway with no mufflers, and dual eight-inch chromed straight stacks; those people are the real party poopers. As I have preached over and over again to my former employer, why? What is the purpose of making noise? What do you think you're gaining by not having mufflers? Nothing! Due to the fact that today's trucks are getting well over seven mpg, it could not be for fuel-mileage reasons. And for those hotshot amateur drivers who think that they need all this noise so they will know when to shift gears; you need re-training. Though a person could learn to read their instrument gauges to know when to shift gears, the plain truth is, you don't really need to do that either.

Why? Because today's truck engines are electronically governed. Most engines cut out at around 1,800 rpms to 2,100 rpms. Experienced operators know when they are approaching cut out. They don't constantly look at tachometers. And because most trucks today are made whisper-quiet, they are not listening to their exhaust either. I personally shift my truck simply by feel. Three-point feel to be exact. #1 - Feel of the steering wheel in my left hand; #2 - Feel of the gear selector in my right; and #3 - Feel of the entire truck under my rumpus. It works, just try it. I'm not even going to touch on the subject of "Disabling electronic engine governors." I think we all know better than that. Don't do it.