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Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

Here are some ROSES for OOIDA Life Member Steve Davenport who was recently honored by the White House as part of the administration’s Champions for Change program.

Steve – along with OOIDA President Jim Johnston – made the trip to DC in May and participated in a roundtable discussion with 19 other people from different areas in transportation.

Steve, on behalf of all of us here, we’d just like to thank you for your service to the trucking industry.

Let’s start off with some juicy RAZZBERRIES to the oil traders and trading firms that allegedly conspired to manipulate prices on the oil market back in 2008.

The New York Times reports that the traders – Nick Wildgoose and James Dyer – are charged with gathering large amounts of oil at a key U.S. trading hub in order to create the illusion of tight supplies. This, in turn, would boost oil prices. The pair later released those barrels back onto the market, driving prices back down and allowing them to cash in.

The worst part is that these two used to work for BP in the early 2000s, when that company was under investigation for its oil trading practices. We’re no detectives, but it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to see that if you’ve got two crimes and the same set of suspects at each crime scene, it’s more than just a coincidence.

We would offer up ROSES to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for going after these two but, first of all, they aren’t really huge players in the grand scheme of things. And second, what took them so long?

Let’s give out a combination of ROSES and RAZZBERRIES for this one. First, the RAZZBERRIES go out to the Transportation Worker Identification Credential and whoever thought it would be a good idea in the first place.

The ROSES go out to Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and other members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee who finally realized the problems with the program at a hearing not long ago.

Lautenberg even went so far as to say, “It’s unacceptable that we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a program that might be making our ports less safe.”

The TSA has spent $420 million on TWIC so far and could spend as much as $3.2 billion on it during the next 10 years.

So to those members of Congress who are so concerned with cutting the federal budget, we’ve got at least one suggestion of where you could start.

ROSES go out to Rep. Paul Tonko and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York for reintroducing Jason’s Law bills into the both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. The bills call for safe parking options for truck drivers across the U.S.

By now we all probably know the story behind the bill. Truck driver Jason Rivenburg was shot and killed after he was forced to park his truck in an unlit gas station.

We’ve also got to give credit to Jason’s widow, Hope Rivenburg, for keeping this fight alive and strong after all this time. Most people probably would have given up by now. Thankfully, Hope is not most people.

Here are some well-deserved RAZZBERRIES to the American Trucking Associations for its opposition to a bill that would finally deal with trucker detention time once and for all.

The bill would save the U.S. economy an estimated $6.6 billion a year and would address an issue that strikes at the heart of a number of different issues facing the trucking industry – including hours of service.

ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said in a statement that “ATA and its members value the time of our drivers.” Really? Then why oppose this bill? Oh, here’s why: He goes on to say that federal intervention “would have significant impacts on the contractual agreements between carriers and shippers.”

Yeah, it would have an impact. It might make them fair to drivers for a change. Guess we found something the ATA values more than driver time: dollar signs. LL