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Roses & Razzberries

RAZZBERRY goes out to “Dateline NBC.” The alleged news program recently aired a segment entitled “Dangerous Roads,” which contained the line “…roads that turn your knuckles white, as you wonder whether that 18-wheeler is going to stay on his side of the road.” The rest of the segment had nothing to do with 18-wheelers, but instead focused on the dangers posed by speeding and/or drunk drivers. So why even include the cheap shot at 18-wheelers? The only thing we can figure is that “Dateline” must have gotten tired of engineering stories about exploding SUVs and decided to engineer some imagery using 18-wheelers instead.

OOIDA life member Ray Shankle offers a ROSE to Carla, an employee at a Petro Truck Stop in Portage, WI. Shankle spent a couple of days at that truck stop in 2000, during which time Carla repeatedly asked if she could get him a cab. “What for?” He said. “To go to the hospital,” she said. “You don’t look very good.” Shankle finally gave in to her urgings, went to the hospital and was diagnosed with double pneumonia and several other problems. He was in intensive care for three days. He was in such poor shape that his wife was told by doctors to make funeral arrangements. Five years later, a revitalized Shankle paid a visit to Carla, who still remembered him very well. Carla, you haven’t been forgotten, either.

A digital RAZZBERRY to Empire, the video game publisher that created “Big Mutha Truckers.” Empire is striking back with a sequel to the odious game in which Ma Jackson and her clan return to engage in a host of redneck trucker stereotypical behaviors. Tax evasion, health and safety violations, and bribery are just a few of the fun family activities this time around. Guess hours-of-service regulations and fuel surcharges don’t make for a very exciting video game.

A court-ordered RAZZBERRY goes out to those ambulance-chasing personal injury lawyers out there who always seem to think it’s a good idea to bash the trucking industry for the sake of making a quick buck. From billboards to television to radio, their advertisements portray truckers as half-crazed, bug-eyed meth junkies who run down entire families just for the fun of it. One can hardly blame the lawyers for seeing the world this way, though. When you spend your life in the gutter, all you’re bound to see is trash. We most definitely object.

A government-mandated ROSE goes to the state of Georgia, which recently launched a Web site that will allow the public to report on both the good and the bad driving practices of state employees. Bumper stickers advertising the Web site will be affixed to state vehicles, allowing the public to log on and report what they’ve seen state employees doing. If only there was such a Web site for federal employees.

OOIDA member Jesse Oldham sends a RAZZBERRY to the residents of Great Falls, MT, who circulated a flyer opposing a liquor license for a casino at a Flying J truck stop in the area. Not content with merely opposing the idea, the residents had to resort to playing on people’s fears. The flyer expressed concerns about school-age children frequenting the area; the serious meth problem that, of course, always springs up around truck stops; and the “perverted individuals who would frequent a casino (and) alcohol-dispensing truck stop located just off an Interstate.” Oldham wonders exactly what type of pervert frequents a truck stop. Perhaps a better question is exactly what kind of parent lets their kids frequent a casino?

ROSE to driver Chris Conroy for helping police during a slow-speed chase in Florida. How slow was it? The drunken buffoon in question was only doing about 5 mph down I-95 in late May. Conroy got in front of him with his rig and blocked him off, forcing the driver to stop. Conroy later told police he wanted to stop the car driver before he killed anybody. Although at that speed, probably the only thing in danger of being killed was the man’s buzz.

OOIDA member Scott Post extends a speeding RAZZBERRY to the driver of a blue van that cut him off as he rolled down I-94 in Wisconsin. Post was approaching a construction zone where the left lane was closed when the van whipped out from behind his truck, sped down the road, and cut him off with little room to spare. “About 1 or 2 feet more and he would have hit the construction arrow or we would have swapped paint,” Post said. We’d like to add a ROSE to the quick-thinking Post, who got the license number and called the police, who pulled the driver over a few miles up the road. The kicker? The man was a driver’s education teacher from a local high school. We knew the country’s educational system was in trouble, but this is ridiculous.