Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

ROSES to Truckers Against Trafficking for partnering with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to help boost visibility for children who might be in harm’s way.

Truckers Against Trafficking urged all of its members to sign up for the Center’s High-Risk Child Poster Listserv, which sends out posters and information on children believed to be in especially dangerous situations.

We also have to give a shout-out to The Truckers Missing Child Project, which was founded by trucker Dugal Trimble of Bellefontaine, Ohio, and also aims to share alerts from the Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Trimble’s group organized a showing of support among truckers by flying blue and yellow ribbons and driving with their headlights on during National Missing Children’s Day back in May.

It’s a sad situation that these groups are even needed, but we’re certainly glad they are there.

ROSES to the Run For The Wall motorcycle group – which roars its way from California to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., every year for Memorial Day. Nearly 900 bikers participate, and this year they split into three groups. One group takes a northern route, another goes south, while the third goes right down the middle.

We’re especially lucky in that the middle route brings them right by OOIDA headquarters along I-70 every year. And every year we’re out there in full force to watch them ride and cheer them on.

As Air Force veteran and OOIDA Member David Talley of Wausau, Wis., put it when he talked to “Land Line Now” News Anchor Reed Black during this year’s run: “It’s not a fun ride, it’s not a party, it’s not a rally. It’s a mission. We ride for those that can’t.”

ROSES to Mike Rowe, best known as the host of the Discovery Channel show “Dirty Jobs,” for his efforts to get trained and qualified diesel technicians to work in the industry.

On his Facebook page, Rowe recently launched a full-ride scholarship to a number of trade schools, including Universal Technical Institute – which specializes in training diesel technicians. In a video he created for the program, Rowe points out that trucks are “big, they’re noisy, but … that chair you’re sitting in? That sofa? The rug on the floor? The TV on the wall? The clothes on your back? All of that stuff used to be on a truck. So what would the world look like without trucks in it?”

The video then cuts to a shot of a naked Mike Rowe with a strategically placed “Help Wanted” sign, who says: “I don’t know, but it would not be pretty.”

Pretty or not, Mike, your point is well made and well taken.

ROSES to the tipsters who helped police in Kansas City, Mo., nab a man suspected in a string of highway shootings in the area earlier this year. Police said the tipsters called them at different times and provided critical information that led to the arrest of suspected shooter Mohammed Whitaker.

Thankfully no one was seriously hurt. The area where the shootings occurred was a high-traffic area used by countless trucks every day – not to mention a few OOIDA employees. After a tense month of 20 shooting incidents, everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief when it was all over.

So thanks again to those tipsters – and to the KCMO Police Department – for a job well done.

RAZZBERRIES to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for its ongoing efforts to raise minimum insurance requirements for truckers everywhere. The latest step involves the administration forming a task force to re-evaluate the current minimums.

This in spite of a report to Congress that confirms what OOIDA has been saying all along: The number of crashes costing more than the current $750,000 minimum is very small – less than 1 percent, in fact. That’s small enough that raising that minimum would only punish the majority of trucking operations by making them pay for a very few.

We also have to give some RAZZBERRIES to the Trucking Alliance, a group of six large motor carriers including J.B. Hunt and Knight Transportation, who are pushing for this increase as a way to drive up business costs for their small-business competition.

And nowhere has anyone shown what any of this will do to increase safety. But why should the FMCSA care about that? It’s not like safety is part of their name or anything, right? LL


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