Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

Life Member John Taylor recently hit a deer on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and wants to give a ROSE to Trooper C.R. Rosano of the Pennsylvania State Police, Somerset, Pa., who investigated the incident. John reports that Trooper Rosano was “totally professional, courteous, and understanding of my situation. He sets a fine example of how the law enforcement should – and in most cases do not – interact with the public.”

ROSES to Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., for introducing legislation aimed at reforming the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Fischer has been championing the idea at numerous hearings since the beginning of the year, and finally unveiled her plan back in June.

The bill is designed to provide transparency in the regulatory process and calls for a massive overhaul in the way the FMCSA creates rules and regulations – including a regular review process to be published in the Federal Register. The bill also calls for mandated oversight from the Transportation Research Board or the DOT’s Office of the Inspector General.

We say it’s about time. FMCSA has run unchecked over the trucking industry for far too long with little positive in the way of results. Here’s hoping this is just the first step in a change for the better.

RAZZBERRIES to former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels for lying to Congress in a Senate Finance Committee hearing in late June. Daniels told the committee that tolls have not gone up on the Indiana Toll Road since 1985, which is true only if you’re talking about cars that have an E-ZPass. For trucks, tolls have more than doubled since the roadway was leased to investors in 2006. Guess trucks don’t count in Indiana.

ROSES to UPS drivers Noel Keesling and Joel Clement, who recently made the Forbes Magazine list of Heroes of the Fortune 500. And what did they do to deserve this honor? Well to start with they’ve been friends for 25 years, but the real test of that friendship came when Keesling got sick and needed a new kidney. Given that this is a ROSE you can guess what happened next.

Clement stepped up and got himself tested to see if he was a match. Of course he was and he gave his friend his kidney on April 1st of this year and the two men recovered together.

For his part, Keesling – a former Marine and triathlete – tells Forbes that once he got the new kidney, he felt like he could run a marathon.

ROSES to Al Jazeera America for its extremely well-written and well-photographed portrait of a day in the life of OOIDA member Robert “Stonefly” Harsell of Greenville, Va. Written by Richard Grant with photos by William Widmer, the article is simply one of the most accurate depictions of life on the road we have ever read.

The reporter and photographer followed Stonefly and his dog, Blackie, over the course of just over one day, starting with the three and a half hours he lost waiting at a loading dock and going through traffic jams, mandatory rest breaks and construction zones all the way to his delivery of the load the following day.

For truckers reading the article, you’ll be nodding along in agreement. For everyone else, it’s an eye opener.

Life Member John Taylor recently hit a deer on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and wants to give a ROSE to Trooper C.R. Rosano of the Pennsylvania State Police, Somerset, Pa., who investigated the incident. John reports that Trooper Rosano was “totally professional, courteous, and understanding of my situation. He sets a fine example of how the law enforcement should – and in most cases do not – interact with the public.”

RAZZBERRIES to KSHB, the local NBC affiliate in Kansas City, Mo., for a recent piece it ran that was little more than a recruitment ad for YRC disguised as a news story. The story cites an estimate from “The American Trucking Industry” (capitalization theirs, not ours) that there is a shortage of 40,000 drivers across the U.S. Too bad no such organization exists. We suspect they meant to name the American Trucking Associations, which has been trumpeting this alleged driver shortage for years.

Apart from that statistic, the rest of the “news” story is an interview with one man from YRC, followed by a link to that company’s job application website. Too bad the alleged reporters at KSHB are seemingly unaware there’s a real trucking organization right in their own backyard that could have given them access to the real story of what drivers are dealing with out there on the road. It’s not a driver shortage, it’s a pay shortage. LL