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Roses & Razzberries

In the “building a better mousetrap” category, a RAZZBERRY to the Illinois Tollway for its latest effort to get truckers to buy into its massive toll increase. The Tollway is adding I-Pass-only lanes to some toll plazas, apparently believing that making highway robbery more convenient will attract people to the concept of being mugged. Building a better mousetrap may make the world beat a path to your door, but don’t expect the mice to be as eager.

OOIDA member Michael Zanella offers a ROSE to the Northern Cambria, PA, Star-Courier and writer Audrey Brothers-Konior, who spoke with trucker Gary Forberger about life on the road. The article did an excellent job of explaining to the general public the concerns of truck drivers and their contributions to everyone’s day-to-day life. Konior writes “So, when you see a trucker – please be kind and courteous.” If we ever run into you, Audrey, count on us returning the favor.

RAZZBERRY to the Ladies Home Journal for its inflammatory article titled “Hazard on the Highway.” The article blasts away at truck drivers for six pages. The magazine did finally point out that car drivers are at fault in up to 80 percent of truck-car collisions – in a box buried at the bottom of the third page of the article. We’ll make you a deal, Ladies Home Journal – we won’t tell people how to bake a better cake if you agree to get your facts straight before you talk about trucking.

Senior OOIDA member Bruce Bruhn offers a RAZZBERRY to the RV drivers who parked crossways in a truck stop parking lot in Latta, SC. “They managed to take up at least a dozen parking spots,” Bruhn wrote. He included photos to back up his point. Make that an extra wet RAZZBERRY since the RV drivers apparently couldn’t figure why they had those yellow lines all over that lot (Hint: It’s a parking lot, not a tic-tac-toe board).

Pennsylvanian and OOIDA member Kristopher Kane sends a special ROSE to the folks at Superior Beverage Co. Kane and a number of drivers were stuck in a Lodi, OH, truck stop during a particularly nasty snow storm. “Trucks were stuck everywhere,” he wrote, “in the travel lanes, and the fuel islands, parking wherever they got stuck.” The only place plowed was in front of the maintenance bays. The Superior folks came to pull out their trucks, and while they were at it, dropped their plow to clear the way for everyone else.

Trucker’s daughter Susan Roach of Lee’s Summit, MO, wants to offer a bouquet of ROSES to the truck drivers who lent her a hand at the Pilot Truck Stop on Interstate 70 at Higginsville, MO. Roach was eastbound on I-70 in her 2002 Ford Taurus when a semi – with no company name on the cab or trailer – suddenly merged into her lane and hit her car. Other nearby truckers used their CBs to try to track down the offending driver. “The drivers who were at the stop were very concerned for me, angry that a driver had left the scene,” she said, adding that the concerned drivers “reminded me of my dad,” who was also a professional trucker. A RAZZBERRY to the driver who left the scene. Roach said she could see his face in his mirror as the vehicles made contact, but he never stopped.

RAZZBERRY to the folks who wrote the sentencing laws in Washington state. Cuitlahvac Renteria-Martinez, 26, of Vancouver, WA, recently pleaded guilty in connection with the theft of a truck and trailer from a mall in the city. But did he get a long jail term? Did he face a serious sentence at all? No – Martinez got 37 days, and was released for time served. Apparently, his sentence was in line with the requirements of state law regarding any felony theft. If you want to deter truck theft, this is a pretty poor way to go about it.

America’s favorite advice columnist, Dear Abby, recently received a letter from a woman whose husband pushes her to flash truckers while the couple is traveling in their car. Abby writes back: “What your husband is suggesting could cause a fatal accident. Please remind Wilmer that indecent exposure is a crime and that he is going to have to get his kicks somewhere other than Route 66.” A ROSE to Abby and the wife (“Undercover Wife in SC”), and a RAZZBERRY to the exhibitionist husband. Three words, guy: Seek professional help.

OOIDA member Spence Denning of Sparta, TN, offers a grateful ROSE to Sgt. Matthew Lemarr and the other emergency personnel who lent him a hand after his truck was T-boned by a drunken driver in Pittsburg, TX, Jan. 2. “These young people were on the scene before I could gain my sense back,” Denning said. They helped him out of the truck, gave him medical aid and even visited him in the hospital afterward. “Words cannot express my gratitude,” Denning adds. “God bless you all!”