Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

Jon Osburn – OOIDA senior member and driver of the OOIDA tour truck, The Spirit of the American Trucker – sends out some ROSES to Shoemaker’s Travel Center in Lincoln, Neb.

Jon was there for a stop not long ago and the folks really rolled out the red carpet – or in this case, tent. The owners set up a tent and a grill next to The Spirit and gave out free meals all day long to anyone who happened by.

It was a small act of kindness that did not go unnoticed – or unappreciated – by Jon and everyone else here at OOIDA.

ROSES to John Chichowski, a columnist with The Record newspaper out of North Jersey. In the wake of the unfortunate accident involving a Walmart truck and a vehicle carrying comedian Tracy Morgan and others, media reports ran rampant with bad information about driver fatigue and hours-of-service regulations.

Chichowski, however, was among the very few reporters who seemingly bothered to do his homework before going to print. His column stated that “there are other factors at play here besides truckers who can’t stay awake through the night.” He crunched the numbers and found that the number of crashes involving trucker fatigue in New Jersey is actually going down, far outstripped by accidents involving tired drivers in other types of vehicles.

He also quoted a sleep specialist as saying we need more rest areas, while noting that New Jersey “has reduced services at many of its rest stops.” And, yes, he even quoted OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

At a time when so many in the media couldn’t even be bothered by a simple fact check, it’s good to see some reporters still care about getting the story straight.

ROSES to former FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg for speaking out in favor of an amendment proposed earlier this year that would temporarily suspend the 34-hour restart provision in the hours-of-service regulations pending further study.

In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee in June, Sandberg said she believes that the rules preventing drivers from using the restart provision more than once a week and requiring two rest periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. were created “without the benefit of proper scientific research,” adding that the changes are “hurting highway safety as well as the economy.”

What’s more, Sandberg told Land Line Magazine that she doesn’t “think the administration cares about the pace of regulation,” adding that “if you put (rules) out too fast, it overwhelms people and they get even more frustrated.”

It’s good to see that she understands that. It’s too bad the current administrator doesn’t.

ROSES to Fawn Domingue, a cashier at The Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La., whose quick action helped identify a missing Florida teenage girl.

Domingue said she recognized the missing 16-year-old from a video she had seen earlier on the Facebook page of CNN host Nancy Grace. The teen had been missing from Tampa since June 11. She came into the truck stop along with 41-year-old Steven Myers, a registered sex offender from Florida.

After spotting the pair, Domingue said she went to the back of the store to watch the video again while her boss completed their transaction. She then told her co-workers to call police and followed the pair into the parking lot.

After a high-speed chase that ended with the girl being stabbed, Myers was taken into custody. Thankfully the girl survived. And thanks to Domingue, Myers is behind bars.

RAZZBERRIES to the person or persons who made off with a show truck belonging to OOIDA Life Member Steve Davenport in Texas on June 22. Yes, trucks go missing or are stolen all the time, but this one was different. It was a rolling tribute to the Gold Star Mothers and POW/MIAs, complete with the names of 75 soldiers who did not come home from Vietnam.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. And we have to give some ROSES to truck driver Steve Lynn of Lewisville, Texas, for making it happen. Davenport had notified Matt Collinsworth with Lewisville Truck Center, who tipped off Lynn.

Lynn, who had been following the story through social media updates and the TRACER alert issued by OOIDA, spotted the truck parked on a ramp in Irving. The load of roofing materials was gone, but thanks to this trucker and everyone else who got the word out, Davenport and his prized truck were reunited. LL

 

Got an idea for a ROSE or a RAZZBERRY? Email it to terry_scruton@landlinemag.com. You can also check out the official Facebook page at facebook.com/rosesandrazzberries.