Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, "Land Line Now" senior correspondent

ROSES to California state lawmaker Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, for sponsoring a bill that would require CDL seekers to complete 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training. And extra ROSES for including Class B license applicants, who would have to complete 15 hours of driving – seven of which must be on public roads.

It’s just common sense to require anyone seeking a license to operate any kind of vehicle to spend some actual time behind the wheel of that vehicle. Too bad the FMCSA didn’t seem to agree with the vast majority of the committee that helped put its rule together.

And while we’re at it, here’s a helping of RAZZBERRIES for any states out there that don’t require minimum behind-the-wheel training for everyone seeking a license, commercial or otherwise. Would you get on board a plane knowing the pilot was never required to spend any time at the controls before getting his or her license? Of course not. Why should this be any different?

ROSES to Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tod Hileman for his efforts to rescue a trucker who was stranded by a wildfire along Interstate 70. It happened back in March after Hileman saw the fire jump the highway ahead of him and began turning other drivers around.

Unfortunately, one trucker got high-centered across the smoke-filled highway as he tried to turn around. Dash cam video of the incident shows a visibility of just a few feet and you can hear Trooper Hileman yell to the driver to “Lock it up and get in!” Once the driver is inside the patrol car, the video shows a harrowing drive through smoke and flames along the interstate until they are clear of the area and out of danger.

Thanks to Trooper Hileman for saving the day in what otherwise could have turned into a horrible ordeal.

ROSES to Eileen Grace Eagle Bears, a teenager in Manitoba, Canada, who happened to see a trucker on a webcam stranded during a snowstorm and decided to do something about it.

According to the Huffington Post, Eagle Bears was watching live webcam footage from Manitoba’s Highway 10 when she saw the stranded truck. The next morning, it hadn’t moved so she saddled up her horse – Mr. Smudge – and rode for about an hour through slippery, snow-covered roads to the truck. She knocked on the door, offered the driver coffee, and asked if he was OK.

The driver, who was not named, said he was running low on sandwiches, so Eagle Bears returned a couple of hours later with a hot meal. Hats off to Eagle Bears – and Mr. Smudge – for their brave act of kindness.

RAZZBERRIES to Illinois, New York and all of the other states out there that took a hard look at snow removal laws this past winter.

While we do agree that snow or ice falling from the top of a trailer can be dangerous – it’s also dangerous to force a driver to get up there and clean the stuff off. Most drivers don’t carry ladders with them, so how are they going to get up there in the first place? And even if they do get up there, can you imagine how slippery and dangerous it is walking around on a snowy, icy trailer roof?

If they’re going to require truckers to do this, maybe they ought to require trucking companies, truck stops, shippers and receivers to provide the safety equipment and a safe space to do it.

On the flip side of the issue, ROSES go to a mainstream media report about truck drivers that actually gets it right.

It aired on WWLP out of Springfield, Mass., with reporter Kait Walsh.

Rather than put the blame on truckers for not removing the snow, Walsh did something crazy. She actually went and talked to truck drivers to get their side of the story. Most said they simply don’t have any way of clearing it off. Most truckers don’t carry ladders with them, and even if they did it’s not exactly safe for them to get up there on a slippery trailer.

It’s not news to us but I’m betting it was news to at least some of the viewers at WWLP. Maybe it should even be required viewing for lawmakers before they pass laws mandating the snow removal. LL