Line One
Letters to the editor

Failing u-bolts on Volvos
I am writing this letter in response to the ongoing problems associated with Volvo Trucks of North America in their issues of failing u-bolts on their VN series Class 7-8 heavy-duty trucks from model years 1996 to 2000. After reading an article from The Maintenance Council where NHTSA spokesperson, Tim Hurd, acknowledged an investigation into these events did I realize the problems that were being documented and investigated were some of the same problems we have been experiencing with our fleet.

An “in-house” campaign was directed to retro-fit the standard 3/4 inch coarse threaded u-bolts to the thicker 7/8 fine threaded grade 8 u-bolts. The OEM (Volvo) saddle assembly fits these bigger u-bolts perfectly as if they were made for it. Why Volvo did not do this in the first place in their original assembly is unknown. Since the campaign, there hasn’t been any more u-bolt problems. I would just like to pass this information on to you and your members in case it may help.

Michael G. Scheuerer, TMC member, 
maintenance director, Stech Transportation Co.
Camden, NJ

No problem with Luxura III ad
I had to go back and look at the ad referenced. If Jack Durkin (June letters) is offended at this ad, I hate to think what he would think of the majority of teens walking down the street in every city in the United States. Girls wear less than this on the street every day. He needs to get his mind out of the gutter.

Robert Evans 
Pearland, TX

Offended by Luxura III ad? Get over it 
Get over it! This ad is not even registering on my radar as offensive. There are a whole lot less-dressed women at the beach or your local swimming pool. The girl isn’t even laying on the mattress. If this is all it takes to offend our membership, then we are all truly lost. As far as OOIDA dropping the ad? Big razzberries. 

Mike Corwin 
Trenton, OH

“18-Wheeler” video game
I have been sitting in the Troutdale, OR, Flying J for three days waiting for some kind of load out of here. During this time I have been using the data connections in the drivers’ area to surf the web, send and receive e-mail and stuff. Perhaps it is this long exposure to the obnoxious sounds emanating from the horrid video game “18 Wheeler (American Pro Trucker),” which has driven me over the edge. This obnoxious game (found in truckstops and travel plazas from coast to coast) spews offensive, rude noises and denigrates professional drivers with its shouts of “get out of the way!” and “don’t slow down!” Why do we allow these negative-image vomiting machines in our “living” space? If you find these machines as detrimental to our public image as I do, complain to the manager of the travel plaza, write or e-mail the corporate offices and in general, raise hell until these machines are removed from the travel plazas.

David Glass
Ely, NV

Two-pedal transmission from ZF Meritor
I’ve just received the June 2001 issue and read ZF Meritor’s Automated Manual Transmission story eight times. I’ll say these are great articles, and I hope you continue to write more.

E.L. Payton 
Enid, OK

Slow down, stay back and stay calm
We have performed several tests along the lines of the old tortoise and hare story. That is, we will see someone with his/her foot on the floor hurry by and weave in and out of traffic in order to be further down the road faster than anyone else. Then, at the next truckstop there he/she sits when we pull in. The hurrying driver only manages to put himself minutes ahead of us, not hours. Slow down, stay back and stay calm. There are many things wrong with the trucking industry, but there are also a great many good things right with it, starting with OOIDA.

Sandra Hileman
Shasta Lake, CA

And you wonder why the war on drugs failed
In Land Line’s March/April 2001 issue, I read the story of Alan Dilts. While I realize that Alan was a victim of overzealous police and prosecutors, he was not afforded reasonable protection from the law. There is, for example, in California, a law requiring prosecutors to prove ownership of contraband materials found on their property. It appears that lawmakers need to wake up to the fact that they are in the Dark Ages where Alan’s rights are concerned.

Alan was not the owner of the roller, and nothing was said or done to identify the owner or consignee of the load. Seems a little bit like Alan was much easier to take down than to go after the real guilty parties. Did you ever wonder why the war on drugs failed? This story is an example of narrow-minded law enforcement. Or, the law was paid off to leave the guilty parties off the hook.

Ray B. Wagner
Fort Rock, OR

Take care of our own
I care about the U.S. economy. We should, without feeling guilty (the meaning of liberalism to me), feed and raise our own. Be proud of our country and defend it (not give it away) against all comers no matter how international they are. If you don’t take care of your own, nobody else will. 

R. Lee Porterfield
Carnesville, GA

Safety specialist says give 18-year-olds a chance
The article written by Ray Kasicki, OOIDA board of directors, basically says 18-year-olds are too irresponsible to handle driving commercial rigs on today’s highways.

I’m a Commercial Vehicle Safety specialist with the state of Oregon. In Oregon, 18-year-olds are allowed to obtain commercial licenses and drive commercial vehicles as long as they operate exclusively within Oregon and are not transporting loads in interstate commerce. My experience has been that 18-year-olds operating commercial vehicles have no worse driving records than any other category of commercial driver. Oregon’s positive experience with this age class of driver tends to refute the contention that the younger drivers are less capable than older drivers.

I agree the push by trucking companies to add the 18-year-olds to the driving pool may tend to add pressure and strain to the already stressed driver pay issue. But, using the reason that the younger driver is too irresponsible to handle the task is unfair. It’s OK to send 18-year-olds to war to fight and die, but it’s not OK to put them behind the wheel of a big rig?

Of course, the better drivers are those with the experience. No one disagrees with that. However, experience is gained in this industry by hands-on application. Give the 18-year-olds a try and you’ll see they can do the job.

Douglas Pierovich
Motor Carrier Specialist
Oregon Department of Transportation

How is anyone making it?
We have watched our profits cut by 50 percent since 1998. We are currently grossing about $80,000 per year. After taxes, fuel, insurance and various business expenses, our family of four is surviving on about $18,000 per year, and the way this year looks, we are trending towards a net of $16,000 for 2001. My husband busts his you-know-what every day, all day. As for the so-called trucker shortage, my husband practically has to beg for work from the people he is leased to. All the companies are saying is that it’s slow. And trust me, if there were loads paying two or three dollars a mile, we would jump on them. 

So I ask all you truckers and spouses, how is anyone making it? No locker room puffed-up stories about getting in 17 drops a week please. We are currently considering getting rid of our truck, but due to the awful used truck market, we owe much more than we can get by selling it.

Amy Shatrick
Akron, OH

P.S. I can say the only good thing about the trucking industry lately has been the help we have received from the staff in the various departments at OOIDA.

Trucking in Mexico 
I’ve been an OOIDA member for about 15 years, but this is only the second time I’ve written. I’ve read a lot of letters recently about not allowing the Mexican trucks to travel throughout the United States. I was fighting against NAFTA in 1993, but now it seems we’re trying to close the barn door after the horses have left.

One important issue I stressed in my letters to our legislators is the fact that when these “foreign” truckers (Canadian and Mexican) make a round trip to U.S. destinations, they will be exempt from U.S. income tax. Imagine the thousands of trucks that currently cross daily to transfer freight to U.S. trucks no longer stopping here at the border. We will lose two loads for every truck that does. When I asked Sen. Phil Gramm’s office about this potential loss of revenue (in 1993), his spokesperson told me it would be offset by U.S. truckers paying taxes on the income earned traveling in Mexico. I was incredulous. I speak Spanish (somewhat) and have traveled all over Mexico (by car and bus), and there is no way I would risk taking one of my rigs down there. You think we have parking issues? Imagine breaking down, imagine being stopped (at gunpoint) by police all the time with their hands out. Not to mention that if you’re involved in any accident you get thrown in jail while they sort out who is at fault. Just thought I’d add some fuel to the fire.

Roy D. Turner Sr.
Brownsville, TX