Roses & Razzberries
Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, "Land Line Now" senior correspondent

RAZZBERRIES to Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., for his bill aiming to allow heavier trucks on our nation's highways. If passed, the bill would increase weight limits on trucks to 91,000 pounds, a dangerous weight by any standard.

It's also worth noting that trucking giant Schneider is in Ribble's home district. Coincidence? More than likely not. The legislation is being pushed by more than 200 large motor carriers, shippers and manufacturers.

The facts are simple. Increasing weight on trucks will make our highways less safe and will tax our already overtaxed infrastructure. Heavier trucks are a bad idea, no matter how you look at it.

RAZZBERRIES to the California Air Resources Board for its constant efforts to stonewall and delay a lawsuit over its infamous Truck and Bus Rule. That's the rule that banned trucks with pre-2007 model year engines and required diesel particulate filters on nearly every truck hauling freight in that state. You know, in case you forgot.

The lawsuit - filed by the Alliance for California Business - is seeking an injunction against the rule, claiming the DPFs required by it have sparked fires that have burned trucks and roadside acreage - something a drought-ridden state like California can ill afford.

Naturally CARB isn't going to give up easily and they have filed appeal after appeal to try and get the lawsuit thrown out before it can even be heard. We say let the lawsuit have its day in court. It sounds to us as if CARB is running scared on this one - fighting not because they are convinced they're right, but because they're scared they'll lose.

ROSES to a group called Second Wind Dreams - which is kind of like the Make-a-Wish Foundation but for senior citizens. And as the Lebanon Democrat of Lebanon, Tenn., recently reported, they fulfilled the wish of an old-time trucker by giving him another trip down the road.

Ralph Pennycuff, who now suffers from dementia, was a trucker for 40 years with Roadway Express. His wife, Mary Jane, tells the Democrat that Ralph loved trucking and received many honors and awards during his time as a truck driver.

So the Second Wind Dreams group was able to arrange for him to take one last ride around Lebanon in an 18-wheeler. It wasn't as long as the routes he was used to driving, but Mary Jane told the paper it was amazing. Not much we can add to that.

ROSES to Officer Brent Hoover of the Indiana State Police who has created a Facebook page called "Hoover Club," aimed at reaching out to the trucking industry.

Hoover told WTWO, an NBC affiliate in Terre Haute, Ind., that he started the page because he wanted a forum where truckers could ask questions and to create a better working relationship between truckers and law enforcement. The page posts answers to questions as well as tips and information about rules, regulations and violations that can get you dinged during an inspection.

So far, the page has more than 5,300 likes and has spread beyond the borders of Indiana, with Hoover saying he's heard from trucking companies as far away as California.

Given the often contentious relationship between law enforcement and truckers, it's good to see someone trying to bridge the gap - and succeeding.

RAZZBERRIES to TV station Fox 25 in Oklahoma City for a hatchet job it did earlier this year in a report on trucks and safety. It started with the line that "Fox 25 found some people breaking the law and potentially putting you in danger." Cue the dramatic music.

These so-called reporters claim to have gone out on the road three times over the course of a month looking for truckers "playing with your safety at highway speeds." The first outing it took them about 45 minutes to find three truckers on their phones. Another outing found two truckers in an hour.

While it is illegal for truckers to hold a phone while driving in Oklahoma, we have a few questions of our own. During those hours on the road, how many truckers who were safely operating their trucks went past those intrepid reporters? And how many people driving cars did they see on their phones and not paying attention to the road? Curiously, the report failed to answer either of those questions.

This is the kind of shoddy reporting that gives journalism a bad name. LL