March 2003 Letters

Member to member: let’s all pitch in
Upon reading "Trucker faces his worst nightmare” by Rene Tankersley (March/April 2003 issue), as a driver out of Columbus, OH, and as an OOIDA member, I would like to know if something can be started to help Mr. McCartor with his legal fees. I, too, am paying for a truck, although he gave his up for her, and I also married recently at age 50 in June of last year.

But 100,000 is a hell of a lot of miles to drive, especially for a company driver. And she has to wait in prison until then? I say, no way. If we could all donate a dollar, it would only take 100 thousand of us to raise the legal fees, right?

Ken Kazee
Marengo, OH

Editor’s note: Daryl McCartor and Tonya’s son have set up a Web site at www.mccartorfund.org to tell her story and raise money for her legal defense. Donations are accepted online through PayPal, or by check or money order payable to Tonya Hudkins McCartor/Margo Freshwater Donation Fund, Acct. #1600710188, Bank One, 4660 E. Main St., Columbus, OH 43213.

Running compliant is a good idea 
Running legal is a good idea. I've heard it said on the CB for many years now.

It will cost us in pay, and owner-operators will hurt the most. I’m one of those who went out of business in 2001. I haven't got anything else to lose, and I’m tired of working my butt off for nothing. I’m in.

It’s only a start folks, but this industry is going backward. We have to do something to rattle the cage; we can see by the fuel prices that Washington, DC, and our beloved state governments won't listen. Just look at the fuel taxes per gallon.

It’s up to us. Show 'em just exactly how the law reads and hit ‘em where it hurts: In the wallet.

T.S. Seltzer
Billings, MT

We’re doing our part for Safety Month
My husband and I are both members and will do our best to pass on the word about June Safety Month to all who will listen.

I have just ordered some supplies in order to get the word out. We as members do appreciate all that you are doing and try always to be involved in anything that may help this industry.

Mike has been a company driver as well as an owner-operator for 31 years, and I have also been a company driver and owner-operator for the last 21 years.

We are both very excited about the prospect of changing the way this industry is run and to let the political side see just how foolish they have been all these years thinking their policies and rules work.

Deanna Davis
Oak Grove, MO

It’s time to show what we can do together
I think it’s time for all truckdrivers and owners to stand behind OOIDA in June.

It is time to show lawmakers just how ignorant the regulations are of the industry. More laws are not the answer. Better working conditions and being compensated for the work and time it takes to do the job are.

I wish that this industry would pull together as one and show what we can do together.

Steve Kennedy
Fredericktown, MO

An alternative to truckstop faxes
In response to the letter regarding the excessive fax prices charged by TA and other truckstops:

There is a way to combat the need to stop at any truckstop to receive a fax. If you have a Motorola V.60 series phone or a StarTac phone, you can purchase a cable and software package that will convert a laptop computer into a fax machine. You will also need a printer to print your final document, of course.

I am currently using a Motorola V.60 series phone with a USB cable link and HP computer. After receiving 38 faxes, this software package and cable have paid for themselves. I only have to stop and hook it up, then receive and print.

This not only saves money by not having to pay for receiving a fax at a truckstop but also saves time and fuel by not having to drive to a truckstop that may be several miles out of my way.

I don't know what other phones may have this capability, but you may want to check this out. Believe me, it will save you time and money.

Michael Schneer 
Wapakoneta, OH

Be proud, fight back and log it legal 
I read your article on what’s happening in June (Running Legal), and I’m excited about it. I just hope the drivers out there will stand together to make a change.

I’ve been trucking for over 30 years and can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the complaints of how it’s hard to earn a living and run a legal log. Well, there are two sides to every coin, aren’t there? Truth is, the logbook can be your best friend or your worst enemy, and you get to choose. What I mean is this: All of us can say that we’re tired of sitting at the docks to load and unload, we’re tired of donating six, eight and nine hours a day of our time only to have to drive all night to keep a schedule.

June is an opportunity to get the monkey off your back and put it where it belongs: on the shipper, the receiver or your company. They’re all guilty of using you for free labor.

This time, the logbook is going to be your friend; make it work for you. Log it legal, and when you have to tell your company they have to reschedule the load because you’re out of time for the day, let them worry about it.

Truth is, nobody can force you to run an illegal log. That is a choice you make on your own. Does it get you anything or help you advance up the corporate ladder? I don’t think so. If you were paid for all the time you sit and wait, you wouldn’t have to work so hard to earn a living.

Can you get yourself in trouble for running a legal log? Only with those you work for, but for them to fire you for doing it would be tough. I know you say they would find some other way of getting rid of you. Well, so what. If you’re worth your salt, there are good companies out there who would love to have you. And anyway, if you’re with a company that thinks you have an obligation to donate 20 or 30 hours of your time every week, as most of the truckload carriers do, then it’s time for a change.

Stand up and fight back in June. Use that logbook to your advantage and make it work for you.

If you want trucking to be a better job for you then you have to fight for it. Don’t sit on the sidelines and ignore the fight. Get in it, get dirty and then stand proud when you see the changes are made, and you can say, “I fought for that. I helped to make trucking a better place to be.”

Be proud, fight back and log it legal in June.

William Jacobs
Crystal Beach, TX

Include the lumpers in Safety Month
Just a note to say I think Safety Month is something we should have done a while ago. I also have an additional suggestion. I believe we should include lumpers in Safety Month.

How so? We all know lumpers are paid cash under the table and are the second largest source of unreported income in the United States, second only to the illegal drug trade. Most lumpers I know of never sign their real name, SSN or address on the labor receipts.

I think anyone lumping should show proof of their eligibility to work in the United States by providing a social security card along with some sort of official picture ID. After all, isn't that the law? You and I are required to show proof of eligibility to work; so should the lumpers.

I suspect that receivers would throw one heck of a fit about this, but then they would either back it up or unload the shipment themselves. And they would not have a leg to stand on if they complained too seriously about it. In fact, I think it would make them look mighty stupid if they tried.

This might be a can of worms we don't want to open; yet I think it's a suggestion worth consideration.

Jesse Oldham
Great Falls, MT

Thanks for the memories
Thanks for the article in your last issue about forgotten nameplates. It brings back many memories.

When I worked at White Trucks, one of my co-workers was a former Brockway salesman, and my principal clients were Autocar customers. My sales territory used to surround the old Autocar factory in Exton, PA, outside Philadelphia.

From there, I went on to eventually become the vice president of sales and marketing at Marmon before we closed ourselves to joint-venture with Navistar. I even tried to buy the remains of Diamond REO shortly before they ceased production.

John Scolastico
Nichols Hills, OK

Keeping trucks to the right is no solution
When will these people learn that keeping trucks out of the left lane is not a solution? They just don’t like trucks in their way.

Our poor politicians, the rich and famous and the wealthy individuals in all these left lane towns may wake up one day and see the problem as it really is. There is no way to separate trucks from cars. You keep trucks in the right lanes and the cars have to enter through us and exit through us.

Let the system work like it is meant to work. Enforce the laws that we have, and I mean all of them, not just the speeding violations. Patrol the highways like you’re supposed to. I’m all for unmarked cars to stop these people from tailgating, passing on the right, staying in the left lanes backing up traffic and not using their turn signals.

Take the time to look for solutions that will promote safety for all who use the highways, and not ego-building solutions from the people who don’t know their backside from a hole in the ground.

Make decisions like your life depended on it – or better yet, like your family’s life depended on it – and maybe our world won’t be one-sided anymore.

Donald L. Frazier
St. Hedwig, TX

There are still some good ones left
In these times of high fuel costs, long hours and nasty truckstops, I had a pleasant surprise.

We were laying over Saturday and Sunday to load Monday morning in Durant, OK, after unloading in Dallas, so I thought we would head north on U.S. 75 to find a place to rest and watch the Super Bowl.

We ended up in Anna, TX, at the Drivers Travelmart Truckstop. This place by far has the competition beat hands down, large or small. The food was great – breakfast, lunch and dinner were very reasonable. Even the showers were very clean, had hot water and enough water pressure to get the soap off.

I don’t write many letters, but this place is worth writing about. The waitresses were just the icing on the cake. Never once did I have to ask for a refill. Give yourself a treat and stop in – you will be impressed.

Rudy Knight
Reno, NV

Check the facts, then unsplit those speeds
It is really surprising that so many states are now considering split speed limits and lane controls when study after study indicate this is a major factor in accidents ... What are they thinking?

Is it for an increase in fine revenue, or do the trial lawyers need more injury cases to pursue?

Someone needs to contact these people, tell them to contact AAA and check some of the studies that are geared to cause less highway injuries.

James Hamlett
Richmond, VA

The problem: the big guys
I think a lot of the trouble with trucking is the bad management of the trucking companies. They treat the drivers bad and don't care what happens to them. All they care about is the paycheck at the end of the week. If these so-called managers had to look for real work, they’d be at McD's or the like.

What started all this, is the big companies wanting all the loads, so they offer to have their drivers load and unload – like the drivers don't have anything else to do – and lower the rates.

With the cost of fuel so high, the cost of living on the road up and all the other things going on out there, I can't see how anyone can say they're making real money. A person could get a job a McD's and be home every night and end up with the same money at the end of the week. That's sad, but true.

Why the truck companies are cowing to the shippers for lower rates, I'll never know. It's time you managers get off your hands and knees and find your backbone, or look for a new job. McD's is always looking for people like you.

I for one have had it. If things ever change, I might start running again. But for now, I’ll be parking my truck.

Gary Maybee
Freeville, NY

A free alternative to a fax fleecing
A letter from Michael Tadlock from Rapid City, SD, in the "More Letters" section of the February 2003 issue prompted me to respond. I have also seen "truckstops" charge what I deem "price gouging" prices for faxes, either general faxes or "permits."

There is an alternative for those who have a PC or laptop (and printer) in their trucks. I use "E-Fax," www.efax.com, a free service where I can have faxes sent directly to me via an attachment to an email similar to a JPEG file. I then print out the faxes as needed and retain more or less a permanent record of permits, etc.

I suggest any driver that has a PC or laptop and printer in his truck go to www.efax.com and get the free account.

You can purchase a small but adequate printer for about $75. And a ream of paper is cheap too.

Michael Hankins
Grand Rapids, MI

Deer vs. Durango: Durango wins
I was just going through the February 2003 issue of Land Line, and I thought I’d pass along this story that relates to the “Road hazards from hell …” column.

This incident happened during the first week of October last year in Wayzata, MN, near the metro Minneapolis area. A deer was walking across an overpass when a passing car frightened it. The deer jumped over the guardrail and fell into the path of a Dodge Durango that was passing underneath.

I didn’t find any reports of injuries to the humans, but the deer didn’t survive. As for myself, I’ve had my truck struck by bullets, sofa cushions, birds, deer and a canoe.

Bob Mundstock
New London, WI

End of any problem
Mexican trucks driving around in this country without insurance can be avoided. All we need is a law saying no insurance company in the United States will take your truck and cargo if you’re in an accident ... end of any problem.

Lee Schaumberg
Eagle River, WI

A complaint with some teeth in it …
I was not happy on your opinion on the “teeth”-style bug screens. Both me and my wife are owner-operators, and we have them on our truck.

We never had any bad or negative reactions to our teeth. As a matter of fact, we had lots of positive reactions from our teeth; even children think they were “awesome.”

Adding teeth is just a personable touch you add to your truck, like chicken lights and chrome.

We think your magazine is the best thing to happen to the trucking world; it’s a very informative and helpful. This was the first thing that both me and my wife found negative and upsetting.

Jack Kranz
Youngstown, OH

A little appreciation here
In response to the July 2001 issue of Land Line about the motorist who complained about sharing the road with trucks: People should appreciate truckdrivers more. They carry food, furniture, auto parts, medicine and gas.

Adam Beyer
Burbank, IL

Something to look forward to
Having some 30-plus years in this industry, finally I’m getting something to look forward to: Namely, the proposed June Truck Safety Month.

I realize you and all at OOIDA are very busy keeping a watchful eye on those that would bring us ill will. I’m a proud member of OOIDA, almost 10 years now, and could not be prouder.

As I’m sure you know, there are still some who say this can’t and won’t work. To them I say, with less than 1 percent participation in the ‘80s, we brought about a fuel surcharge during the hostage problems with Iran. Although not perfect, it was still a little help to those in need, the owner-operators.

We shall overcome and be victorious once more come June. I, along with many others, will participate. All will benefit from the sacrifice of the few, and then maybe all the second-guessing will stop.

This is not a slap at those who choose not to try to change the wrongs done to us on a regular basis; rather, it’s a start to get more of us on board and try to change the things that need change.

I will not stop till I see the whites of their eyes.

Ron Lacroix
Tiverton, RI

Maybe he’s never had to take a break
In the “Road News” portion of February Land Line concerning Connecticut parking for trucks: George Giguere stated, “The state doesn’t provide parking for any other business entity. Why does the state feel compelled to provide enterprise with parking?”

First, Mr. Giguere seems to be concerned more about his business interest than public safety, although I don’t think he has to worry about parking upsetting his business. Travel plazas within a short distance from rest areas are filled up at peak times. If a parking area is empty, so is the truckstop.

Number two, other industries do not use the highway the way transportation industry does and do not pay the use tax for things like parking. Perhaps Mr. Giguere would like to discontinue paying for rest areas for the motoring public. Maybe he has never had to take a break of any kind and cannot see the value of rest areas.

Raymond Shankle
Deerwood, MN

Pursue a different avenue
In response to the “Road Forum” on Pages 38 in your February 2003 issue: It sounds to me like Mr. Faltermeier has many issues with the trucking industry.

He states that he has had “close to 100-plus jobs in the trucking industry.” For starters, if I had a track record like that, I sure wouldn’t admit it. I am of the firm opinion that after only a few, Mr. Faltermeier should have started analyzing his attitude and his obviously unrealistic expectations of the trucking industry.

As far as working 18 years and having no retirement, it is a no-brainer as to why. He hasn’t stayed anywhere long enough to qualify for a retirement. He has averaged a job change every two months for the last 18 years.

I happen to be truck-driving-school educated, an owner-operator for the last 3 years, been with the same carrier that I started with 10 years and 1.4 million miles ago and have enjoyed a 3,000-plus-mile-a-week dedicated run for the past 7 years. I am not bragging ... well, maybe I am ... the point is I started out from scratch and worked my way into the position that I now have.

After only a few jobs, I would have to take a hard look at myself and if I were cut out to be a driver. Maybe if pipefitting or being a machinist is appealing to him, he should pursue those avenues.

George Foster
Urbana, IA

You owe us an apology
This is a copy of the letter I sent to Monster.com regarding their 30-second TV commercial during the Super Bowl Sunday Jan. 26, 2003. I hope more of us have sent complaints about this ad.

To Whom This May Concern:

I assume the 30-second TV commercial you ran during Super Bowl, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2003, was meant to be humorous. Me and my fellow truckdrivers do not see any humor in this ad.

It is destructive and gives the trucking industry a bad image. We as truckdrivers do not appreciate being downgraded and misrepresented. If your company spends this kind of money on a 30-second TV ad, the least you could do was to portray a positive image and not a dangerous and out-of-control image, as you have portrayed here. I don't think you would like your company name on the side of a truck going down the highway as you portrayed it in this TV ad.

Every night, while you are sleeping, thousands of trucks are delivering your daily needs. This is the thanks we get – being portrayed as reckless, dangerous, uneducated.

I think Monster.com owes the trucking industry a public apology.

Richard Bolduc Jr.
St. Peters, MO

Editor’s note: Monster.com sent a letter apologizing for the ad and is no longer running it on the air.

Water balloons aren’t a prank, either
I just read your article on the bowling ball that was thrown off of the overpass in Nebraska, and I wanted to comment on something Mr. Kearney said.

He said a water balloon would have been a prank. Not so. In the early morning of Sept. 29, 2002, we were en route from Happy Valley, PA, back to Iowa. Our company hauls the football equipment for the University of Iowa, and we were returning home with the equipment.

We were on I-80 in Illinois at about the 87 mile marker when something was thrown off a bridge. It came through the passenger side windshield and exploded. It was a water balloon.

It sent glass everywhere, including on me, and I was on the bunk. My co-driver did a great job of keeping control of the truck and got us stopped.

Unfortunately, the Illinois State Police do not seem to take these incidents seriously. We had to drive to their headquarters, as they didn't have the staff to send a car out. While filling out the report the officer said this problem had been going on for four years.

Water balloons can definitely do some damage.

M.J. Riggan
Muscatine, IA

The overreaction was monstrous
About the Monster.com Super Bowl ad: Relax! If a driver were behind the wheel, then I'd be upset. I thought it was funny.

Out of all the careers that Monster.com could have chosen, they chose trucking to show to the world, and they spent a lot of money to show that truckers use the Internet too. I thought that was pretty cool.

Maybe it's the free press you will all get, with all the complaining that attracts. Bill Mack was the voice-over – not that I'm much of a Bill Mack fan – but I'm sure if he thought it were offensive, he wouldn't have done it.

I think OOIDA and all the other associations should just let it go. It only points out the bad press about trucking because you are the ones bringing it up, not Monster.com

Wayne Weisser
Las Vegas, NV

What every trucker should read

On the article "Working for free" by Dave Faltermeier in the February 2003 issue of Land Line:

I don't think I've ever read anything about trucking that was more truthful than what he had to say. I wish every truckdriver would read this and sit and think a little.

I get tired of hearing all the drivers out there complaining about how bad it is. They talk about it all the time, but never seem to get it through their thick skulls how they could change things and get anything they want if they would just organize and stick together.
What's it going to take to make them understand it? They say, "I can't afford to shut down for a week," yet they can take a week off for a playtime vacation. If they can't afford it, they don't need to be in the business.

I've known all this for years, but I can't do anything by myself. Come on people: Let’s get it together.

Chuck Phillips
Wichita, KS

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