Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, "Land Line Now" senior correspondent

ROSES to the website Buzzfeed. Yes, you read that right; we said Buzzfeed. Specifically Contributor Jessica Ogilvie who recently wrote a fantastic portrayal of life on the road for a woman trucker. That trucker, Melissa Rojas of Michigan, allowed Ogilvie to ride along with her on her weekly route from her home state to New Mexico and back.

The resulting article was one of the better pieces we've seen in terms of accurately capturing what it's like for truck drivers who spend most of their lives on the road. That Rojas is a woman and a mother to boot makes the story all the more poignant.

The story was well-written and avoided the all-too-common mainstream media pitfall of sensationalizing and mischaracterizing life in the trucking industry. We see so many of those bad stories it's nice to be able to single out a good one for a change.

OOIDA Member and employee Jill Thorne would like to give some ROSES to the staff at the TravelCenters of America stop in Denton, Texas. Thorne, who drives truck part-time on the weekends when she's not working for OOIDA, was at the stop back in February when her wallet fell out of her purse. She didn't notice until she'd gotten all the way to Topeka, Kan.

Frantic, she called the TA without much hope of recovering her money, credit cards, CDL and many other important items - all of which were in the wallet. They did indeed find her wallet, but said they couldn't mail it to her because TA doesn't have a contingency fund for that. She asked if the money was still in the wallet. It was, and she told them to take what they needed for postage and keep the rest. A few days later her wallet arrived with all of its contents, including the rest of her cash.

Hats off to the staff at TA for doing a good deed.

ROSES to the trucker from North Dakota who made the news when he stopped a would-be thief from robbing his trailer.

The driver's name wasn't released, but according to the Police in Bismarck, North Dakota, a 24-year-old man named Virgil George Standing Crow III threatened the driver and attempted to steal cases of liquor from the truck's trailer outside a liquor store. The driver let the man into the trailer and then quickly locked the door behind him. By the time police arrived, Standing Crow had reportedly destroyed almost $600 dollars' worth of liquor bottles while he was locked in the trailer.

ROSES to OOIDA Member Edward Wilcher for saving a fellow driver from a burning truck - an act that earned him the Highway Angel award from the Truckload Carriers Association. Wilcher was parked at a Love's Truck Stop in St. Joseph, Mo., last August when he heard horns honking and people yelling outside.

He stepped out and saw black smoke coming from the truck next to him, but nobody seemed to know where the driver was. Wilcher ran over and began beating on the truck until the driver inside woke up. He grabbed a few of his things and jumped out of the truck. Within seconds, the reefer exploded, and the tractor became engulfed in flames.

The driver, Randolph McAfee, survived unhurt thanks to Wilcher's efforts. There's a lot to be said for taking action and following your gut instead of standing around doing nothing. And thanks to Wilcher, McAfee is still around to say it.

RAZZBERRIES to the FMCSA for announcing plans earlier this year to move forward with a new way

of measuring motor carrier safety fitness determination that would tie it in with - surprise, surprise - CSA data. The very same data that was so flawed that Congress itself had to step in and demand the FMCSA make reforms in the FAST Act - which was signed into law last December.

As of press time, those reforms had not yet happened, yet the FMCSA was moving right along building new programs on top of flawed data. Obviously no one at the FMCSA has ever worked in construction before. You know what happens when you build a house on a shoddy foundation? You get a shoddy house.

It's like taking a truck with a blown engine, covering it with a fresh coat of paint and expecting it to run better. It's not going to work until you fix what's under the hood. LL