Line One
Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton
Land Line Now senior correspondent


OOIDA Member Mick Jackson would like to send out some RAZZBERRIES to the headline writers at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The paper ran a story a while back with the headline “Truck driver sought by Moon police in possible abduction.” Well, the story was about a truck driver all right – a pickup truck driver. Apparently, the folks at the Tribune-Review aren’t all that concerned with the difference.

But they should be. We’d be willing to bet that if you surveyed any random group of newspaper readers and showed them that headline, most of them would assume the story was talking about the driver of an 18-wheeler.

It may seem like a small nit to pick, but truck drivers – real truck drivers – get enough bad press as it is without the press acting badly to make matters worse.

OOIDA Life Member Jim Griggs of Grant Park, IL, sends out some RAZZBERRIES to Brad Roeber, regional president of the Chicago AAA branch. Not long after the split speed limit died its rightful death in Illinois, Roeber sent a letter to a local paper criticizing Gov. Pat Quinn for letting the bill pass that effectively killed the split speeds.

Roeber said there is “a mountain of evidence” against this legislation. He cited the fact that large trucks traveling at higher speeds take longer to brake, calling it simple physics.

While that statement may be true, there is also an even bigger mountain of evidence suggesting that cars and other vehicles having to maneuver around slower moving trucks pose an even greater danger.

And how about the studies that show that in the majority of collisions involving a truck, the truck driver is not the one at fault?

We’d suggest that Mr. Roeber and the rest of the AAA might want to climb down off their “mountains” of evidence and live with us down here in the real world for a while. Sounds like the air is getting pretty thin up there anyway.

OOIDA Member Randy McLellan Jr. sends a four-mile backlog of RAZZBERRIES to the Pennsylvania Highway Patrol and their overzealous approach to Operation Safe Driver.

The Pennsylvania Highway Patrol set up a commercial vehicle checkpoint on Highway 222 near Kutztown, PA – which is a two-lane highway – on Oct. 21. The patrol confirmed a “significant” backup of traffic at the checkpoint. Randy estimated it to be four miles.

The Highway Patrol’s checkpoint was set up in such a way that trucks had to navigate a sharp curve to enter traffic after their inspection, forcing the Highway Patrol to stop traffic again as each truck exited.

For something that was supposed to promote safety, the Pennsylvania Highway Patrol certainly found one of the most dangerous ways to do it.

Some safely delivered ROSES go out to all of those drivers honored this year in the OOIDA Safe Driving Award Program, which is sponsored by Volvo Trucks North America.

Those of us who report the news here in Land Line Magazine know that wrecks involving big trucks make the headlines every single day, whether they deserve it or not. But for every wreck it’s good to know that there are plenty of drivers who go years – sometimes 30 or 40 – without a single accident on their records.

So ROSES to those drivers for making us all feel a little safer on the road.

OOIDA Member Linda Kellett of Ocala, FL, would like to send out some ROSES to Ray and Lydia Ellis of Mebane, NC.

Linda was struck by a car and seriously injured in a truck parking lot earlier this year, and was hospitalized for three days. The Ellises came to her assistance immediately, asking if there was anything she needed. Linda was concerned for the two small birds in her truck, so the husband and wife took them home and cared for them while Linda was hospitalized.

As if that wasn’t enough, the pair even took Linda into their home when she was released and let her stay there until relatives came to get her.

Linda said she felt “blessed to have these highway angels” looking out for her that day. And we feel blessed just knowing people like that are still out there. LL


Terry Scruton may be reached at