October 2003 Letters

Truckers show they care
On Aug. 9, we participated in the "Convoy for Care," a ride-along for handicapped children that took off from the Wal-Mart store in Fredonia, NY, and went 25 miles to Angola and back again. It was wonderful. We had a 10-year-old girl named Anna whose mother, Ebbe, also rode with us.

We had police and fire escorts in each town and county, along with state troopers when jurisdictions called for them. During the entire 50-mile trip, not one of our 61 trucks had to stop for a stop sign or signal light.

This convoy is held the second Saturday in August every year, and is something everyone should participate in if possible. The goal for next year is more than 200 trucks.

Heather Hogeland
Bloomington, CA

New HOS rules: Lose time, lose money
This new regulation should be called “Time is Money” because if you lose time, you lose money. Truck drivers need to be able to work outside the box, not inside the box. We face constant changes in weather and traffic conditions not to mention different hours that shippers and receivers require you to be there. We are under constant pressure and need to be able to work accordingly.

Thomas E. Hazlett
Punxsutawney, PA

The ying and yang of engine brakes
I feel the imposition of anti-engine-brake ordinances compromise safety. But in many ways, some drivers are their own worst enemies.

It's not unusual to see (and hear) a truck moving along level city streets with the brake engaged, snorting every time the driver lifts his foot off the accelerator.

I once became disabled in the middle of a street in Idaho in winter, and a local police officer stayed with me until help could arrive to get my tractor-trailer moving again. Each time a truck went by with engine brake roaring, (this was on level city streets in the middle of the night) the officer just rolled his eyes.

Wouldn't it be nice if some drivers could save their engine brakes for where they're really needed and find some less annoying way to show off.

Larry Arnold
Largo, FL

Help family find their lost dog
My husband and I are over-the-road truckdrivers. During a recent visit to the Truckers Paradise (Chevron) truck stop at Exit 254 off the Florida Turnpike on U.S. 441 South in Orlando, FL, we found this “stolen dog” notice posted. A couple of the employees at the truck stop confirmed the dogs were still missing, their owner coming by on a regular basis to see if any word on their whereabouts has been heard.

We too are dog owners. We have three dogs who are our road companions and we love them like they were our children, so it’s all too easy to know the heartache this family must be going through.

It is with a sympathetic heart that I ask for your help in publishing this notice in your magazine so it’ll get better exposure. Perhaps the trucker who brought the dogs will read it and become aware of the situation or maybe it might bring about some leads as to the dogs, whereabouts so they can be located and found.

I know there’s a lot of “good hearts” out there and I guess I’m just hoping that this story will have a happy ending too.

Bill and Lynne Ballantyne
Douglas, GA

Editor’s note: If you have information on these dogs, you can call it in to (407) 739-0104, (720) 494-0826 or (407) 351-6994.Click Here ... to see a picture of the dogs.

Let’s be professional while we’re parked, too
I read with great interest of OOIDA member Randy Anderson [who lead a group of truckers in Lancaster, OH, in fighting a truck parking ban], and while I do not have the knowledge of his circumstances, there are a few things to consider.

While I do live in the country as opposed to many who have to drop their trailers and bobtail home, I also have room on my property to park my trailer. However, while I am not ashamed to let others know of my profession and have the right to bring my truck home, there are certain strings attached. You see your rights cease to be when they infringe upon the rights of others.

I have a diesel generator that I run my block heater and a ceramic heater off of to keep the interior warm. But I also have a neighbor ΒΌ mile away with whom I have been friendly with for over 20 years. He has tinnitus, and the low-pitched droan of the generator, especially in the winter, is similar to torture to him. As a result, I run an extension from the house to run my block heater and interior heat.

As for idling to warm up, it is not necessary with the newer engines. If you use a block heater, you usually can run just above an idle out of your neighborhood after you have built up enough air to move. If you don’t have a block heater, a cold start can fog up a neighborhood. Believe me, that is the quickest way to have a truck ban in a residential area.

I’m sure most truckers would agree with me. It’s hard enough on the road let alone having to deal with irate neighbors at home.

Professionalism is not only on the road, but also while you are parked.

Bob Coe
New Milford, PA