Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

ROSES to OOIDA Member Bob Lloyd of Ottawa Lake, MI, for his recent efforts to deliver a load of hurricane relief supplies to Brooklyn, NY.

Lloyd and a friend took a 16-foot box truck and a 16-foot trailer from the group Truckers United for Charities. All of the supplies were donated from people in southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio.

And we’ve got to give a shout out to everyone else who is pitching in to help bring in relief supplies. But we also have to throw out a word of caution: If you want to deliver some supplies, that’s great, but you have to make sure you have a receiver set up before you head into the area.

We’ve had reports of some trucks getting turned away because they had nowhere specific to go. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is urging anyone who wants to deliver supplies to make sure you have arrangements with a charity group or whoever is coordinating efforts in that area before you go.

ROSES to U.S. Representatives John Duncan and Peter DeFazio, both of whom serve on the House Highways and Transit Committee.

After a growing wave of criticism of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA enforcement program this year – including at a hearing of their own committee – the two congressmen took the criticism to the next level and called on the DOT’s inspector general to do an audit of the program.

They sent a letter with a list of questions they want the audit to address, including the actual relationship between CSA compliance rankings and crash risk and the overall accuracy of the data itself.

In other words, they want to know if this program actually does the things the FMCSA says it does. And we’ll be watching for this audit, because we’d like to know the answer to that question too.

ROSES to a new law signed by the president not long ago that will make it much easier for military personnel to obtain commercial driver’s licenses.

The law, called the Military CDL Act of 2012, basically allows military personnel to obtain CDLs in states where they are stationed instead of being forced to go through their home states of record.

We all know there is a strong connection between trucking and the military, and a lot of truckers out there are former members of the military. This law just makes it much easier for the long-standing tradition to continue.

Land Line reader T.J. Brown would like to send a big shout-out and ROSES to the crew at the Petro Truck Stop in Bordentown, NJ. T.J. and many other drivers were stuck there back in October during Hurricane Sandy.

The Petro lost power around 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29. T.J. said he expected everything would be closed the next day, but not only did he find that the doors were open, the staff had also gone to get coffee and cookies to give to the drivers. They spent the day together at the stop. With no power, the restaurant staff couldn’t cook so they cleaned everything in sight.

When it got dark on Tuesday night, T.J. and the other drivers were told they couldn’t stay inside because there were no lights, but that the back door would be manned if they needed to use the restroom.

There were plenty of stories like this amid the chaos of that storm. It’s good to know that even during times of trouble, folks were still willing to stop and lend each other a hand.

RAZZBERRIES to Tennessee-based trucking company Mark Alvis Inc., for firing a driver for refusing to haul a load after sustaining an injury on the job.

The U.S. Department of Labor says the driver, who was not named, was injured while inspecting his milk tanker. After delivering his load, he was assigned another load. He refused, saying that he was injured and tired and didn’t have enough hours left to complete the load. He returned his truck to the yard. He was then ordered to remove his belongings and was subsequently fired.

The company, which had its interstate operating authority revoked in April, was ordered to pay the driver $30,000 in back pay and reinstate him after the incident. There was definitely something sour about the whole situation, because this driver wasn’t milking it. LL



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