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Roses & Razzberries

A ROSE goes out to AAA for an item in the May-June issue of its customer magazine. The article was headlined “Share the road” and featured advice for car drivers on the proper techniques for driving around trucks.

The article included the usual advice about avoiding driving in trucks’ blind spots and allowing plenty of space between vehicles on the road. It went one step further and offered advice for driving around trucks in situations such as inclines, changing lanes and right turns.

It finished by saying that “although truck drivers are professionally trained, mishaps tend to happen when motorists forget that trucks can’t maneuver like cars.”

Wow. We’re shocked. And here we were starting to think that truckers were the only ones who knew that.

RAZZBERRIES to KNXV-TV, a local ABC affiliate in Phoenix.

That station aired a report in May about the dangers of trucks on Arizona highways, and you know how those usually turn out.

This one was especially bad. Two of the four sources quoted in the story were personal injury lawyers who specialize in truck wreck cases.

As if that wasn’t enough, the two remaining sources were a Highway Patrol officer and a truck driver who didn’t present the most flattering image of the trucking industry.

Yeah, there are some objective sources for you. That’s like doing a story on the health effects of smoking and interviewing only the spokesperson from Philip Morris.

A big crate of RAZZBERRIES goes out to Seven Days, an alternative news publication based in Vermont.

This publication ran an article in April that, well, we don’t even know where to begin counting the things that were wrong with it.

Let’s start with the misleading headline – “Officials Weigh the Pros and Cons of Trucking.” Unfortunately, the article itself was pretty much all con and no pros. It focused on the efforts of a group calling itself Americans for Safe and Efficient Trucking to get bigger trucks on our highways.

The article referred to this group as “the trucking industry.” Say what? OOIDA had never even heard of this group until recently, much less been a member. But you know who is? State affiliate programs of the ATA.

So chalk this up as one more attempt by those folks to represent themselves as speaking for the entire trucking industry.

Oh, and as for those bigger truck sizes, we can name at least 160,000 folks who actually are representative of the trucking industry who’d rather not see them out there.

Maybe if the folks at Seven Days had spent more than seven seconds researching their article, they would have found this out.

OOIDA member Oliver Mason sends out a big bucket of ROSES to WALB-TV in Albany, GA, and specifically to reporter Dawn Hobby. Hobby recently did a story on a truck that was involved in a wreck down there.

Usually, we cringe when we see stories like that, but Hobby’s story was fair and accurate, and for once someone in the media didn’t slap all the blame on truck drivers. At the end of the story, she even gave motorists advice on how to share the road with truck drivers.

Not only that, but she pointed out that four-wheelers are at fault in more than half the wrecks involving big trucks.

We RAZZ the media a lot in this column, but here’s a ROSE for one media person who’s getting it right.

Harold Steiner, a Land Line reader from Three Rivers, MI, sends out some RAZZBERRIES to the makers of the TomTom GPS system.

Harold said a commercial showed a driver with a TomTom in the car, and the device alerted the driver to an accident up ahead. The commercial then cut to a shot of a padlock falling from the trailer of a semi, and a load of rubber ducks falling out and bouncing all over the road.

Harold wanted to know why the commercial had to feature an accident involving a truck when it could just as easily have featured one involving a car. Good question, Harold. Guess the folks at TomTom don’t want truck drivers using their product.

The use of rubber ducks in the commercial reminded us of an old song most of you will remember. So, in the spirit of C.W. McCall, this rubber duck says put the hammer down on companies like this. LL

Terry Scruton may be reached at
terry_scruton@landlinemag.com.

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