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6/4/2003
SPECIAL REPORT: Trucker says the big rigs are already running compliant

Only a few days into June Safety Month, you can already see it working on the highways.

Umit Baykal, a Tampa, FL, driver leased to United Van Lines, says that as he drove through Nebraska on June 1, he could already see other trucks carefully following the speed limit and other traffic regulations.

“Since June 1st, there is a big improvement,” Baykal said. “I started to drive here in Nebraska; everybody was obeying the speed rules.”

That was true along I-80 further east as well. Along that highway in Indiana and Ohio, throughout construction zones, all the trucks Baykal saw were obeying the lower speed limits, which ran either 45 mph or 55 mph.

In addition to running the speed limit, Baykal also is making sure he keeps his logbook the way he actually runs, and he is running compliant.

“I’m very confident that we will succeed in this campaign,” he said. “I think we will change it. I’m very confident that there is a big improvement.”

One of the things that particularly struck Baykal as he traveled across the center of the country was the lack of complaints from other drivers.

“The interesting thing is, if I ever would do this on a regular basis, on a 65-mph zone, people would be yelling or complaining on the CB,” he said. But as he continued to adhere to the speed limit, not a single complaint came his way across the radio, which he said left him “very, very impressed.”

“I have a couple of OOIDA stickers on the side of my truck,” he said. “So they understand. They don’t say anything negative on the CB.”

Baykal says he heard about the effort from a number of sources, including trucking shows on the radio.

“I have XM Radio. Truckin’ Bozo is promoting this; Jim Johnston was there,” he said. “Bill Mack mentioned it today.”

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor

Mark Reddig can be reached at mark_reddig@landlinemag.com.

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