Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, "Land Line Now" senior correspondent

ROSES to the Run for the Wall – the annual trip made by hundreds of veteran bikers from California all the way to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Every year, more than 200 bikers come roaring down Interstate 70 right past OOIDA headquarters in Grain Valley, Mo. And every year many of us here run out to the side of the building to stand alongside the highway, waving flags and cheering them on as they go by. It is truly an awe-inspiring sight to behold from the first wave of police escorts with lights flashing to those who bring up the rear.

It’s one of our favorite days of the year and a noble ride for a worthy cause.

RAZZBERRIES to Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., for his push earlier this year to get a speed limiter mandate through Congress. Sen. Isakson tried to attach the mandate to a transportation funding bill and was met with overwhelmingly negative reactions from truckers across the country.

And with good reason. That proposed rule from the FMCSA has been stalled at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for over a year undergoing a cost-benefit review. That’s a sign that someone at the White House isn’t so sure the mandate is a good idea. Truckers know it’s a bad idea. Not only would it do nothing to increase safety on our highways, but would in fact have the opposite effect of making things more dangerous.

Anyone who has watched a desperate four-wheeler try to get around a speed-limited truck on a busy interstate can attest to that. As can anyone who has seen one of those four-wheelers cause a crash as a result.

ROSES to a pair of cities that recently figured out the actual solution to truck parking problems within their borders. Faced with complaints from residents of crowded streets and noisy trucks, the city of Elmira, N.Y., decided to take action. While most cities would have put up signs banning trucks from parking on their streets, Elmira went the opposite direction and actually built a place for them to park.

And they aren’t the only ones. The city of Weed, Calif., did the same thing. Both cities provided about 30 spaces in a safe lot with easy access for trucks. But Weed isn’t stopping there. Plans are in the works to build a second lot.

Oh, and those complaints from residents about noisy trucks blocking the streets? Once the lots went in they magically went away. Funny how that works.

ROSES to all 590 trucks that participated in this year’s annual Mother’s Day Truck Convoy in Lancaster, Pa. This is the 27th year they’ve done it to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but this year was a little different. They await confirmation to have set the Guinness World Record for the largest truck convoy. And on top of that, more than 120 Wish kids and their siblings had the chance to ride along in a truck.

The previous record was 416, set by a convoy in the Netherlands back in 2004, and while it’s not official this one certainly left that record in the dust.

This isn’t the only charity convoy in the trucking industry. Every year we cover the World’s Largest Truck Convoys which aim to raise money for Special Olympics. This year, though, it looks like maybe the gauntlet has been thrown for a little friendly competition. The question is which convoy is going to pick it up?

RAZZBERRIES to the FMCSA’s proposed rulemaking on carrier safety fitness determination. The FMCSA has continued to move forward on this rule in spite of the fact that a) it’s built on extremely inconsistent and flawed data from the CSA program and b) everyone and their mother (including Congress itself and probably some of their mothers) has told the FMCSA to fix the CSA program before moving forward.

Yet they don’t seem interested in fixing it at all.

Imagine you were building a house and the foundation had cracks and holes and low-grade cement. You could go ahead and build the most opulent, expensive, Bruce Wayne-style mansion on top of it, but that house is going to have all sorts of problems because it has a bad foundation. So it is with carrier safety fitness determination. Let’s hope the FMCSA wises up and fixes those cracks before the whole structure comes tumbling down.