Line One
Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton
Land Line Now senior correspondent

 

A ROSE goes out to OOIDA member Scott Mooney of Cambridge, Ontario, for his efforts to lead truckers in the fight against speed limiters in the Great White North.

Though full enforcement of the speed limiter regulation went into effect July 1 in Ontario, Scott kept fighting until the last minute, organizing two protests this year, one in March and one in June. Unfortunately, the Liberal Party government in Ontario doesn’t seem to be listening and seems more intent on passing legislation that favors large fleet carriers over owner-operators.

Scott and others, including OOIDA, worry that speed limiters could be just the first step toward longer, heavier trucks.

Even though the Liberal Party government in Ontario doesn’t seem to be listening to the people on this issue, we just wanted to let Scott know that we – and many others – hear him loud and clear.

A bunch of RAZZBERRIES go out to Minnesota and any other state considering using arbitrary methods to determine fatigue so they can put drivers out of service and saddle them with a fine.

These procedures use different subjective tools like checklists and call on police officers with no medical training to determine if a driver is fatigued by answering ridiculous questions such as whether or not there is a TV in the truck or whether or not there are reading materials present. These lists also include items such as cell phones and computers – the lifelines of most trucking operations. Never mind whether or not the driver has slept for the past eight hours – if he has a TV and magazines in his truck, he must be fatigued.

We don’t know about fatigued, but we sure are tired of this stuff. The speed in which OOIDA filed a lawsuit to stop this makes that pretty clear.

Call this one a ROSE for a Rose. Land Line Reader Gerald Webster of Lisbon, ME, would like to send some ROSES to Rose Rogers, the human resources manager for Hart Transportation of Bangor, ME.

Gerald became disabled and unable to drive in 2007 and he said that since that time, Rose has gone the extra mile to help him with any problems he has had with his medical coverage, prescription coverage, etc.

Gerald wrote “it is a rare thing to find a trucking company (that) really has an interest in drivers who have left their company at no fault to the driver.”

We agree, Gerald. This is one Rose that has no thorns. 

RAZZBERRIES to the AMC series “Breaking Bad.” In case you’ve missed it, the show is about a man dying of cancer who starts selling meth in order to leave a nest egg for his family once he’s gone. Not exactly a happy, fun-filled premise.

On a recent episode in the show’s second season, a young man who assists the show’s main character in his meth-dealing business was shown selling meth to several people in a montage accompanied by some jaunty, music video-like music. And wouldn’t you know it? One of the people he’s shown selling meth to is a truck driver.

You would think the writers who came up with such an original premise for a show would be able to come up with something more original than the usual trucker stereotypes. Breaking Bad? More like writing bad.  

RAZZBERRIES go out to KTVU, a local Fox affiliate in Oakland, CA, for a story they did about the FBI’s Highway Serial Killings Initiative. You may remember that program as the one where the FBI said it had reason to believe a number of murders spanning the past 30 years may have been committed by truck drivers.

You may also remember that program being plastered all over the news in typical sensational fashion. Well, KTVU gets singled out because not only was their reporting the most sensationalistic we have seen, they also waited until May, two months after everybody else had reported on it, to air their story.

Oh, and did we mention that May happens to be one of the months when local TV news stations gather the ratings data they use to sell advertisements, so it’s in their financial interest to ramp up every gory, sensationalistic story they can get their hands on? Higher ratings equal more money.

Here’s the ratings-grabbing headline: “SPECIAL REPORT: Truck drivers kill, dump bodies on U.S. highways.”

With coverage like that, maybe they should change the call letters of the station to KT-P-U. At least as far as their professional truck driving viewers are concerned, their reporting stinks. LL

 

Terry Scruton may be reached at
terry_scruton@landlinemag.com