Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

ROSES to the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.,who passed away in early June, for all of the work he did for the transportation industry. While OOIDA may not always have seen eye to eye with the senator, he did go to bat for truckers on some important issues.

Not the least of which was a bill Lautenberg – who was chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security – introduced earlier this year that would prevent the increase of truck sizes and weights on our country’s interstates. It is a bill he had been trying to pass for years and one he never gave up on. And for that we owe him our gratitude.

And speaking of longer and heavier trucks, ROSES to OOIDA Life Members Tilden Curl and Steve Davenport, and Senior Member Scott Grenerth, for taking time out of their busy schedules to speak at a listening session on the subject at U.S. DOT headquarters in Washington, D.C., back in June.

The three went there to represent truck drivers who stand against the idea of allowing longer and heavier trucks on our nation’s highways. They made sure the folks holding the listening session at the DOT were actually, you know, listening.

That listening session was just the first part of a larger study of the issue that was mandated by Congress last year, so you can bet there will be plenty of other opportunities for other truckers to make their opinions on the subject known as well.

ROSES to OOIDA senior member Scott Rosenberg out of Isanti, Minn. Scott had just delivered a load and was traveling near Stillwater, Minn., in May when he saw a couple of cars by the side of the road and another car heading back to the scene. It turns out a pickup truck had gone off the road and was upside down in a pond, with all of its windows underwater.

Working with others at the scene, Scott tried and failed to pry the doors off the truck. Their next move was to try and flip the truck using the boom on Scott’s own trailer. Thankfully that worked and they were able to get the truck out of the water. The driver was still seriously injured, but if not for Scott and those who stopped to help, the situation could have been much worse.

RAZZBERRIES to the Florida DOT for changing the timing of yellow lights throughout the state, resulting in more red light tickets and, of course, more money in fines for the state.

An investigation by WTSP, a local CBS affiliate out of Tampa, uncovered the fact that the DOT changed the state’s policy on yellow light intervals back in 2011 – reducing the minimum to well below federal recommendations. The state then shortened the yellow light times at intersections with red light cameras. Red light cameras in the state generated more than $100 million dollars in revenue last year and are on pace to generate $120 million this year. But remember, it’s all about safety.  

RAZZBERRIES to the city of Coon Rapids, Minn., and its rather rude residents. OOIDA member Steven Weber of Peoria, Ill., posted a photo on his Facebook page of a note he says he saw on another truck where he had stopped for the night. The note, which was not signed, was from an angry resident of Coon Rapids who wanted to inform the driver of the ordinance implemented by the town earlier this year to prevent overnight parking of big trucks in commercial and office districts.

To say the note was rude is an understatement. To say it was filled with misspellings and grammatical errors is a true statement. The writer told the driver that the police would “know issue expensive tickets” and closed by saying “Find a new city to park your rig. We do not like these eye sores in our city.”

The note prompted enough of an outcry that the city responded on its own Facebook page saying that, while they do have an ordinance on the books, the note did not come from them. Maybe not, but if it’s any indication of the citizens of Coon Rapids, perhaps they could also do without any of the things those “eye sores” bring to their town – like food, clothing and, well, pretty much everything else. LL


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