Line One
Roses & Razzberries

OOIDA member Paul Jones sends a RAZZBERRY to the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Paul travels each day on a stretch of road along I-95 where the posted speed limit is 40 mph. Work is currently under way in the area, but for some reason, the signs now say, “Reduce speed to 45 mph while in construction zone.” A warning also says fines for speeding will be doubled. According to Paul, the signs have been the subject of humorous jabs on local talk radio shows for about a month.

As part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, Pennsylvania State Police troopers recently deployed unmarked PennDOT vehicles to catch speeders. Transportation officials said they wanted truckers and motorists to slow down. One official, however, didn’t get the message. Gov. Ed Rendell admitted in April he ordered his driver, a state trooper, to “fly” while traveling on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The governor’s car exceeded 100 mph nine times, local press reports said. Meanwhile, talk show host David Letterman gave the governor a RAZZBERRY of sorts. On his list of “Top 10 Signs Your Governor Is Nuts,” Letterman noted, “When the state has a minimum speed limit of 135 mph.”

If Land Line could “amplify” every RAZZBERRY it gets about some lawyers, the sound would be deafening. A couple examples: OOIDA member Aliina Summers, Moriarty, NM, cites Albuquerque attorney Russ Whitner, whose television ads show horrible pictures of car/truck accidents and adds: “Those 18-wheelers think they own the road.” Aliina responded: “It infuriates me to see the bias toward drivers.” Meanwhile, a Minneapolis-based Land Line reader sent an ad from Meshbesher & Spence Ltd.: “Semi-trucks and commercial vehicles are involved in a disproportionate number of crashes that seriously injure and kill persons in passenger cars,” the newspaper ad says. Once again, we remind the barristers of a June 2003 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that said passenger car drivers share a greater responsibility for car/truck crashes than truck drivers. According to the report, “An Analysis of Fatal Large Truck Crashes,” rear-end fatal collisions where passenger cars strike commercial motor vehicles are almost four times as likely as trucks rear-ending passenger cars. Moreover, head-on collisions with passenger cars in the truck’s lane occur more than 10 times as often as the truck encroaching in the passenger car’s lane.

Truck drivers, like Rodney Dangerfield, sometimes get no respect. But consider the plight of bus drivers in Edinburgh, Scotland. The drivers were recently issued DNA kits in an effort to catch people who spit on them while they’re working. More than 1,800 employees at the city’s two main bus firms are to be given the kits. About one driver a week is reported to police as having been spat on, although the actual figure is thought to be higher because many incidents go unreported. The “spit kits” include sterile swabs to pick up any trace of an offender’s DNA, says The Scotsman newspaper. The packs also contain a pair of latex gloves and an evidence collection bag. A spritzy RAZZY to the spitters.

OOIDA member James Burmeister, Whitehall, MT, gives a RAZZBERRY to Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, and U.S. Rep. Dennis Rehberg, R-MT. Among the issues he wanted to discuss: A proposal in the federal highway bill calling for a $5 million parking garage to be built in Bozeman, MT. “I wrote letters, sent faxes and called their offices — Sen. Baucus required two letters, two faxes, one phone call and three and one-half months before responding. His office’s response addressed one out of five issues and other things not requested. Rep. Rehberg required two letters, two faxes, two phone calls and four months before responding.” On the other hand, James gives Sen. Conrad Burns, R-MT, a ROSE for responding in 10 days and addressing all concerns.

OOIDA member Rodney Upton, Lincoln, NE, sends a bundle of retirement ROSES to “Truckin’ Bozo” Dale Sommers for service given to the trucking community the past 20 years. He has been a friend to all, Upton says. “He is most deserving of a large bed of ROSES for the rest of his life. Thanks, Dale, for all you have done.” he adds. He has been recovering from a critical bout with Addison’s disease, during which he was hospitalized earlier this year. OOIDA sends a message of good health, a terrific retirement and a hearty “thank you.”

OOIDA member Renee Hamm, Boynton Beach, FL, gives a RAZZBERRY to travel plazas that limit expenses by delaying shower availability. She tells of a recent experience at the Flying J in Jackson, GA. “Although I am a big supporter of Flying J, this particular Flying J is usually very slow to turn around their showers. One day, they hit a new low. They had ... zero showers in use and four people waiting to take a shower.” She noted the lack of extenuating circumstances; “They had plenty of towels available and a cleanup person on-duty.”