Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, "Land Line Now" senior correspondent

ROSES to trucker Scott Landon of Burnham, Maine, for his quick-thinking actions that likely saved the life of a woman after she was involved in a wreck earlier this year. The Morning Sentinel reported that Landon saw a Toyota Prius driven by Erin Kaye slam into a guardrail as she tried to avoid a raccoon on Interstate 295 in Falmouth, Mass., back in October.

Landon, who was forced to decide whether to "brake it or gun it," chose to speed up and move out of the way, missing her car by a few feet. He then stayed with Kaye, who was pregnant at the time, until emergency crews arrived. We also have to give ROSES to the Sentinel because Kaye didn’t know the name of her rescuer until the paper did a story on her search for him and soon identified him as Landon, a driver for NRF Distributors in Augusta, Maine.

The pair were reunited at the newspaper’s offices in late October. We see so many stories in the media about crashes ending tragically, so thanks to the Sentinel for bringing us one with a happy ending.

RAZZBERRIES to the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board for voting to recommend questionable guidelines for obstructive sleep apnea screenings during their fall meeting.

Among those recommendations were suggestions of mandatory screenings for any truck driver with a body mass index higher than 40 who experiences fatigue. They also recommended mandatory screenings for drivers with a BMI of 33 or higher and three additional conditions such as loud snoring, being older than 42, or being a male.

In other words, they want to test the majority of the trucking population. Strangely missing was a recommendation seeking actual scientific studies to determine how much of a factor sleep really is in crashes involving big trucks. Then again any such exposure to the truth could be fatal to the companies that provide sleep apnea testing and manufacture treatments like C-PAP machines. And it’s obvious the regulators care more about their well-being than anything else.

ROSES to the FMCSA for its continued efforts to make it easier for military veterans with relevant experience to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. The agency has granted an exemption allowing veterans who already have hours of classroom training and on-the-road training from their military experience to skip the general knowledge test before getting their CDL learner’s permit.

Also, the FMCSA has issued a final rule that extends the period of time for applying for a skills test waiver from 90 days to one full year after leaving a military position that required the operation of a commercial motor vehicle.

These moves are positive for all involved and will hopefully bring a wealth of talented, skilled professionals to the trucking industry.

ROSES for Little Caesars’ "Love Kitchen" – a big rig sponsored by Little Caesars that contains its own pizza oven. It rolls around the country delivering hot food to needy people at rescue missions and food pantries as well as areas affected by hurricanes and tornadoes.

Two trucks travel the country 365 days a year and also go to locations in Canada. What’s more, Little Caesars franchise owners donate resources to the kitchens including volunteering their time and encouraging their employees to do the same. To the makers of Pizza, Pizza, we say thank you, thank you!

RAZZBERRIES to CBS News for a story they ran with the oh-so-trucker-friendly headline: Are older commercial truck drivers causing more danger on nation’s highways?

The story presents several horrible incidents of wrecks involving big trucks in which people were hurt and killed. But you know what it doesn’t present? The findings of who was at fault in those crashes. The story strongly implies that those people died because the truckers involved in the accidents were older than 65, but there was zero evidence to back that up.

OOIDA did get a quote in the story stating the fact that the majority of truck-related crashes are not caused by truckers. Unfortunately, OOIDA was only identified in the video version. The print version just said "an association representing independent truck drivers" at the very bottom of the story. So thanks for that, CBS, but no thanks. Not that we’re looking for credit here, just an accurate story.