Line One
Roses & Razzberries

ROSE to Shirley Saxton of Brooksville, FL, for her letter to the St. Petersburg Times. Saxton, who is not part of our industry, wrote about whining in Hernando County about truckers who park their rigs at home. She wrote, “I truly wish that every single trucking company would stop all deliveries to Hernando County for 60 days. Then I would like to hear how much bellyaching there is about where trucks park and how unsightly they are. People seem to forget, or never knew, that if you have it, a tractor-trailer brought it.” An extra ROSE to the newspaper for printing her comments.

It’s not the only call we’ve had about Hernando County. OOIDA member Guy Bourrie offers a RAZZBERRY to whoever had several trucks towed for parking in the lot of an abandoned Kmart there. The area – north of Tampa and St. Petersburg between U.S. 19 and I-75 – is someplace you’d expect plenty of trucks. Yet residents tell us there is little parking there, and local officials are doing all they can to make sure there’s even less. The tow truck operator who moved the rigs was sympathetic, but told a local newspaper the trucks were an “eyesore,” and the noise from them can be irritating. We wonder if he tells truckers that when he’s soliciting their business?

ROSE to Colorado lawmakers, who are working on a bill that would increase fines for people who leave containers of human waste along the state’s roads. In a nod to equality, the law would apply just the same to both truckers leaving piss bottles and newbie parents dumping dirty diapers out the windows of their Beemers. We know truckers have trouble disposing of the bottles, but any self-respecting truck driver would say “serves the slobs right.”

RAZZBERRY to Chicago Alderman Dick Mell and his son-in-law, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The good alderman accused one of the governor’s fund-raisers of exchanging state jobs for campaign contributions. Some people questioned Mell’s motives, and he later retracted his accusation. However, plenty of truckers, tired of Blagojevich’s constant cascade of anti-truck measures, were cheering. And the state’s attorney general was checking into the accusations, despite Mell’s backing off. It’s hard enough to focus lawmakers on real issues in Illinois with all the political smoke – after all, screaming “corruption” in Chicago politics is a little like screaming “fire” in hell. But both Mell and Blagojevich have managed to make a bad situation worse.

RAZZBERRY to department store J.C. Penney for a flyer they put in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. The clothing ad shows a teenager wearing a T-shirt with the message, “Full-blown trucker: Move it or lose it.” Land Line reader Ed Schomburg, who sent us the ad, called the shirt “pitiful.”

ROSE to the Heartland Express driver who stopped to help trucker Montgomery “Mac” McCreary of Castalian Springs, TN, after he was run over by another truck at the Carlisle, PA, Pilot truck stop Jan. 3. The driver positioned her rig to block the driveway and preserve the scene while emergency personnel worked to save the 56-year-old trucker’s life. Unfortunately, despite their aid, McCreary’s injuries led to his death two weeks later.

ROSE to the Empire State. New York has suspended 6,000 CDLs after it determined those holding them were illegal immigrants. Most earned a living as truck drivers, The New York Daily News reported. A RAZZBERRY to those officials who were so sloppy that in New York City – one of the only American cities to suffer a terrorist attack – they let people who aren’t even legally here obtain the right to drive a big rig.

ROSE to trucking industry players such as UPS, FedEx, PACCAR, Caterpillar and Dana – and countless others – who gave money, time, effort and more to help victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami. This is the worst natural disaster in the history of civilization. We showed our moral character on this one, and everyone involved deserves a hand.

RAZZBERRY to two truck drivers who got into a loud, profane and heated argument recently on I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson, AZ. An OOIDA member who witnessed the entire exchange said it started on the CB, but soon escalated to the point that both drivers were pulled over, outside their trucks and blocking traffic – in the hammer lane. Truckers are professionals, and should set the standard for correct behavior on the road. But in this case, our member asks, “How much more immature and unprofessional will we get?” Amen, friend.

A bouquet of ROSES to Woody and Paula Chambers, who are now in the midst of their last run at the helm of OOIDA’s truck, the “Spirit of the American Trucker.” For four years, the dedicated couple has made it their mission to meet with truckers all across this great land, to hear their concerns and to help them realize they can make a difference. Our best wishes to the Chambers on their upcoming retirement: May the road before you be smooth and free from hazards.