Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

Some special ROSES go out to Dale Sommers, “The Truckin’ Bozo,” who passed away on Aug. 24 after a long battle with illness.

For more than 50 years, Bozo kept truck drivers alert, awake and entertained with his talk radio show – first overnight on WLW out of Cincinnati, and more recently afternoons on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Over those years, he cultivated a huge following in the trucking community as well as a cast of regulars who called into his show, sometimes every day.

But more than that, Dale was also a strong supporter of the trucking industry and the men and women who sit behind the wheel to make it go. He was also a staunch supporter of OOIDA. For that and everything else you did, we say thank you, old friend. You will not be forgotten.

RAZZBERRIES to Bill McEwen, a columnist with The Fresno Bee, for an ill-informed column he wrote earlier this year putting most of the blame on truck drivers for the pollution problems that continue to dog the San Joaquin Valley area.

McEwen said truckers should be forced to pay a toll when passing through the Valley so the money can be used to help reduce pollution. The real capper is this line: “Think about all the diesel trucks rumbling through the Valley on Highway 99 and Interstate 5, contributing little to our economy except the driver buying a hamburger somewhere.”

The California Air Resources Board places more than enough regulatory burden on truck drivers as it is. Many more regs and there won’t be any trucks left in California. As for the “contributing little to our economy” line, well, without trucks you wouldn’t have an economy. Those trucks haul an awful lot of produce in and out of the San Joaquin Valley, which if I’m not mistaken is a big part of your economy. Not to mention, oh, pretty much everything else you buy at the store.

You want to fight pollution, Mr. McEwen? Start with your column.

ROSES to Steven Huett, a truck driver with Illinois-based Tennant Truck Lines, who saved the life of a fellow Tennant driver when he spotted the truck on the side of the road last summer. Huett usually stops at a restaurant in Newton, KS, but chose not to that day, a fateful decision that saved a man’s life.

Huett spotted the truck of driver Jackie Kinley alongside Highway 50 near Peabody, KS, just sitting there in the 105-degree summer heat. He stopped and found Kinley inside suffering from what appeared to be a heart attack. Though Kinley said he would be fine, Huett refused to leave, instead giving Kinley some aspirin and water. Then he called 911.

Doctors at the hospital confirmed Kinley had a heart attack and likely would have died if not for Huett, who wouldn’t have been there at all if he had stopped for his usual lunch.

ROSES here, and these go out to everyone at Trucker Charity and OOIDA Member Tony Hamilton of Hartselle, AL.

When the organization, which offers help to truckers in crisis situations, was in need of money itself, it came up with a unique way to get that money: Start a business and earn it.

So they hired Tony and formed a company called TCI Transport. No money from Trucker Charity goes into the company, but everything the company makes goes right to Trucker Charity. And the folks from Trucker Charity – who are truckers themselves – run the company.

So you’ve got truckers running a trucking company that helps truckers. Can’t get any better than that.

Reader Derek Lundberg of St. Louis wants to send these RAZZBERRIES out to personal injury attorney Brad Bradshaw, based in Springfield, MO.

Yes, this is yet another ambulance chaser using scare tactics to demonize truckers, all in the name of making a buck. But this guy goes even further than the usual ones. According to his website, he is the past chairman of the Trucking Litigation Group for the American Association of Justice.

Derek said he saw a commercial where this guy used images of those Australian road trains – those trucks with three or four trailers behind them – to scare people into suing trucking companies. Those things aren’t even close to being legal here in the U.S. and to use them in a commercial like that is just plain dishonest. LL


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