December 2004 Letters

Did I miss something?
I went to the doctor yesterday for my DOT physical and was told there was to be an extra $25 for a drug screen. When did that start? Are doctors in law enforcement now? I was told that this was something new because of 9-11. I think they are mistaken.

Mark Holloway
Beatty, NV

Editor’s note: OOIDA staff familiar with the DOT’s policies on drug testing explained that the DOT physical does not include any drug screens. However, the DOT physical does require a urine analysis to check other aspects of physical health, such as liver function or whether there is blood in the urine, which can be a symptom of serious illness.

Disabled trucker wants to get back on the road
When I was 15 years old I had a farm accident and lost my right leg. In 1996 I got my CDL and I have been driving off and on for the last eight years. When I passed my CDL test I asked if there was anything else I needed because of the leg. I was told I just had to have my prosthetic on when I drove.

Last year I was stopped on a scale in Ohio and was put out of service because they said I needed a skill performance evaluation paper from FMCSA. Nobody had ever said anything about it until I was stopped. The evaluation was going to take two to three weeks. It ended up taking one week short of a year to get this paper.

My employer was real good about this. He went and bought me an automatic. After taking three of these tests, one was in Indiana, I finally got to drive again. While all this was going on I was told that if I had an Indiana CDL that I would not need this paper. I don’t remember the number of the violation in the safety book (the one we have to have in the trucks) but I was told by the head medical person from FMCSA that Indiana was one of the states that did not go by that rule.

Basically all the states don’t go by the rules in that safety book we are required to carry. I, however, live in Ohio so I fall under that rule. Three weeks ago I was fired from the company I was driving for because they are afraid I will get hurt. Now I have been restricted to an automatic transmission, and no one will get me a truck that I can drive. I was told by FMCSA that there are people that will help me get a truck, but they have never sent me what I need to get going again.

The government says it wants to help disabled people work, and employers cannot turn down a person because of physical problems, race or anything else like that. I can sit on my ass and get a check, but I really would like to work. I have sent letters to my congressman, but cannot get anywhere.

Is there anybody out there that can help?

Jamie Martin
Kenton, OH

Editor’s note: The head of OOIDA’s Business Services department, Gary Green, suggests that this driver contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate whether his rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act have been violated.

Her husband is serving by driving
This is regarding the letter about truck drivers serving in Iraq. The writer said they are not “serving” unless they are in the military. I was very offended by the letter. My husband, David Barrow, is a truck driver in Iraq driving for KBR. He and the other drivers over there are serving their country by helping the military. They have a very dangerous job. They have no weapons but everyday and night they’re out there delivering fuel for the military.

My husband’s convoy was attacked the day that Tommy Hamill’s convoy was attacked. In fact, they had just passed each other. A bullet came through the cab of my husband’s truck and the back window was blown out by a grenade. My husband has served in the Navy and also the Army in the past and he wanted to do something in this war to serve his country and that’s why he’s over there.

So when someone says that these truckers are not serving their country in Iraq, they don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m so very proud of all the contract workers and the military in Iraq. So to all those who haven’t walked in their boots or rode in their trucks, don’t assume you know why they’re there.

Diane Barrow
DeQuincy, LA

One man’s opinion: the time has come for EOBRs
It is time. How much do pilots get paid? Ship captains? Truck drivers? Two of the three have recorders looking at their actions. It does not matter whose fault the delays are just that compliance is met. It is time to move trucking into the next generation.

Bryce Sabin
Chicago, IL

Bad apples
I have been reading your magazine for years and I appreciate OOIDA’s efforts and Land Line’s insights. Having been a driver and owner-operator for 35 years, I have to say there have been a lot of changes, both good and bad. There have always been some bad apples out there, but I don’t think they get weeded out by the drivers and truckers like they used to. If someone drove like an idiot when I was starting out, they were liable to get run off in the ditch or be beaten up in a truckstop right in front of God and everybody.

Nowadays, you’ll hear gripes on the CB or in the truckstop, lots of threats and big talk. But no action. I don’t have any hesitation about calling the cops on anyone, be it a truck, a four-wheeler, or even a cop who endangers me or others on the road, not that most everyone doesn’t make a mistake once in awhile. But there’s a big difference between a mistake and continuous poor driving behavior. I also don’t hesitate to speak my mind about it on the radio or in person. If we want the public to respect us and treat us like we should be treated, we need to start out by policing ourselves.

On another note, I get really tired of these cowboys writing in and picking on those of us who have older trucks that are maybe not so pretty. Some of us have to run on gravel roads a lot and pick up machinery and loads in muddy and dirty places. If I washed my truck every time it got dirty, I’d spend half my time and most of my money in a truck wash.

Thanks again for the good work.

Randy Graven
Jefferson, IA

It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep
I have been reading with great interest the letters concerning chrome and fuel mileage. I was really interested in the letter by Don and Kathy Whitaker in the November issue and I would like to add my comments.

I understand Mr. Whitaker’s attachment to his long-nosed Pete. I appreciate chrome as much as the next guy, and support your right to drive whatever make of truck you want. However I feel you are missing the point of this discussion. This is about the economics of owning and operating a truck.

You have clearly stated that your Peterbilt averages 4.5 mpg. We have an owner-operator that hauls our products for us who drives a 2002 KW T-2000. The truck is equipped with a 475 Cat, 13-speed and 3.73 rears. He hauls anything he can fit on his 48-foot flatbed. His documented lifetime fuel mileage with that truck is 6.59 mpg. That is more than just a 2 mpg difference. That's a 46.4 percent difference in fuel mileage.

Let’s take this a little further. Let us assume that you and my driver both travel 125,000 miles a year. At the end of one year my guy will burn 18,968.13 gallons of diesel fuel. You will burn 27,777.77 gallons. That is a difference of 8,809.64 gallons. If diesel averages $2.25 per gallon during the next year, which translates into $19,821.70 in additional expense you will pay out of your pocket. That’s $1,651.80 per month. You both drove the same amount of miles, put in the same hours, did the same amount of work, but you are netting $1,650 a month less than my driver. Do you still think all that chrome doesn’t make a difference?

That $1,650 a month is a truck payment that you are throwing away on fuel. That’s a really nice vacation that you and your wife could go on together every year. You could have his and hers matching Corvettes and a Harley sitting in your garage and they wouldn't cost you a thing. All you have to do is trade trucks.

We haven’t even considered the other costs involved in operating that long nose. I’ll bet you a steak dinner that I can wash and detail an aero truck faster than you can wash your Pete. A lot less nooks and crannies on an aero truck. Plus, all that chrome and stainless looks like heck if its not polished. How many hours a week do you spend polishing? That’s time you could have spent doing something that makes money. Yes, I know that pride of ownership and appearance has it’s own rewards, but is that long hood really worth the loss of $1,650 a month in take home pay?

Now let’s look at it from my point of view as a shipper. I’m pretty sure that you’re not shy about asking for a fuel surcharge and top of your base mileage. You’ll give me a sob story of how hard it is to make a profit with the high fuel prices. My driver hauls our loads without a fuel surcharge. Do you really expect me to pay you a premium to haul my load because you’re a lousy businessman? I don’t think so.

By now I’m sure that there is more smoke coming out of your ears than out your stacks, and I apologize for that. I don’t mean to insult you, just to make you think. You have to decide what you really want. Are you running a business or a truck show? One of the cardinal rules of business is “It doesn’t matter what you make, what matters is what you keep.”

The operator who is going to succeed isn’t the one with the shiniest truck, it’s the one with the sharpest pencil. And yes, I do own six power units myself. I do know what I’m talking about and I do practice what I preach. Have a good trip and think about putting some of that hard earned money in your own pocket instead of an oil man’s.

R.J. Lindberg
Fertile, MN

Here’s a juicy one for personal injury lawyers
I’d like to give a large razzberry to Gary Eubanks and Associates, a personal injury law firm, and KARK-TV Channel 4 in Little Rock, AR, for a commercial that shows large judgment sums and in the background pictures of large trucks and captions which seem to indicate that the firm preys on the truckers.

Gerry Dinnauer
Neenah, WI

Unfair business practices? Call the BBB
Just wanted to drop a line and let readers know about the fine week I had. I run a 300-mile radius from home hauling kiln-dried lumber with up to four stops to load and unload everyday, so I ordered a new Benson trailer with a Roll-Tite kit on it for $48,000 from Long Haul Trucking in Albertville, MN.

After waiting four weeks for the trailer to be built, I took the day off to go pick it up. We walked around the trailer and there was no winch track. “Oh, that’s an option” the salesman told me. So he sold me $500 worth of portable winches and away I went to my best customer and loaded.

But when we put pressure on the winches, they came out of the stake pocket. So they unloaded me and I went back to Long Haul and bought the winch track. I told the guy that for $50,000 you would think the trailer would come with a way to strap your load. The guy, Al, told me I didn’t pay $50,000 I only paid $48,000. Being an o-o, two grand is a lot of money to me. So I go home and look at the title they gave me and it has a lien on it from their bank.

I called them and asked for the lien release. Long Haul told me after I register it I can get a lien release. I told the lady I can’t register it when they still have a lien on it so after two weeks of phone calls they finally send me a new certificate of origin. Funny how fast things get done when you threaten them with a lawyer. Anyway I got my trailer on the road and am loving it.

Is there anything illegal about what they did?

Tony Hanvold
Mondovi, WI

Editor’s note: Gary Green, the head of OOIDA’s Business Services department, recommends that this reader call his local Better Business Bureau and his state Attorney General’s fraud unit to report this incident.

Tune in for help when your trucker is missing
In response to “Gone Missing” in the Personal Perspective letter in the December 2004 issue, there is another method for a family to locate a missing driver – XM Radio’s “Open Road” Channel 171, the phone number is 1-866-267-0462.

They will put out the necessary information immediately and it will alert all truck drivers who are listening to that channel who can then put out the last known location of the missing driver on their CBs. This happened last year with a New Jersey family trying to find their husband/father in Ohio. The authorities refused to help, shame on them.

Truckers went out of their way to help locate the driver, they went through all of the rest areas, truckstops and ramps looking for the described truck. Drivers that were in the area were even turning around to go back and look. They found him in a matter of hours, compared to the wasted three days of trying to get the so-called authorities to help.

Sadly, he too was in his tractor and had died of a heart attack. As an owner-operator’s wife, I know what it is like to have this on-going, never-ending worry about the safety of my husband. Fortunately, we are leased to a company that uses Qualcomm. Truckers potentially have the best network for locating a missing driver that a family has become concerned about. You can depend on them to do everything possible.

So please let all OOIDA members know, even if they don’t have an XM radio, they will be treated with respect and action. Truckers know they have to take care of each other because too many of the general population are disrespectful of truck drivers, shame on them too.

Diana Lesueur
Los Lunas, NM

Real learning doesn’t begin until after driving school
Once again, articles downgrading trucking schools are prevalent in all industry publications. Many in our industry fail to understand the purpose of trucking schools, which is to take students – many of whom have never even been in a pickup truck – and make them feel comfortable in and around big trucks.

The schools’ primary goal is to take these raw recruits, and teach them enough preliminary skills to achieve their CDL. After successful completion of a road test of at least 50 miles, they go to their respective DMVs, and acquire a CDL.

Upon graduation, and during training, these prospective drivers are placed with prospective employers, where they sign on and are placed into a training program. Too many current drivers expect the initial truck driving school to somehow instill 20 to 30 years of experience into these students in four weeks. Get real folks.

The real training begins at the new employer. This is where the true faults lie, in that a trainer with six months experience can’t really teach much of anything. It’s the blind-leading-the-blind syndrome.

Further, just because a driver has years and years of experience it does not make he/she a good teacher/trainer. When we in the industry can somehow insist that carriers involved in training new drivers step up to the plate and provide quality training, as opposed to merely filling seats with warm bodies, the industry, safety, and the public at large, as well as the carriers will all reap enormous benefits.

Thanks for all that OOIDA does on behalf of America’s trucking professionals.

B. Strong
Dorr, MI

Illinois toll increases target big trucks
On Jan. 1, 2005, the state of Illinois is raising the rates on its toll roads and the increased rates most adversely affect trucks.

For example on Interstate 294 – about a 77 mile long road in Illinois which has several toll booths that one has to pay at along the route – the booth at Waukegan is now $2.15 for a five-axle truck. It will be going up to $7.50. There are lesser charges at non-peak hours, and with use of I-Pass the rate will be only $5.65. Booths that were $1.50 will go to $5 or $3.75 non-peak hours Booths that are now $1.25 will go to $4 or $3 in non-peak hours

Car fares will go from 40 cents to 80 cents, unless the car has I-Pass, then there will be no increase in the fare.

The toll increases are aimed at semis and I think that in response to this increase the truck traffic should boycott the toll road system in Illinois and flood the local roads with traffic.

Chuck Clark
Saint Anne, IL

Four-wheelers need to be reporting to someone, too
I am a new OOIDA member and proud of it. Your magazine is great.

I have never written to a publication before, but I strongly feel that our industry (and other parts of our lives) are being threatened by too many special interest groups that know no (or very few) facts concerning us and apparently, the courts are listening to them.

Ms. Claybrook and her organization are one example. You cannot compare a truck driver’s time off-duty to other industries. When a driver is off-duty (except local) he has no lawn to mow, no household projects to mend, nor chores around the house.

A driver’s off-duty time is spent taking a shower, having a meal, and having plenty of time left for quality rest.

But, again, Public Citizen and other concerned groups are trying to regulate the only part of the driving public that is already regulated to the max.

Professional drivers have to answer to many different enforcement agencies.

Maybe Mr. Vacationer, Ms. Sightseer, or anyone driving to or from work, or the mall, need to be reportable to someone as well.

Be safe everywhere.

H. Larry Yarbrough
Jesup, GA

All together now – truckers and carriers should all try harder
After the Nov. 2 election I heard a Republican say he hopes the Democrats will work with them. Sounded like the Republican wasn’t going to give up anything. He fully expects the Democrats to do as they are told. Just like the schoolyard bully. Seems to me we have forgotten what working together actually means.

Trucking has a lot of the same problems. Companies buy whatever truck they want, usually determined by the price, and expect the drivers to drive them. They rarely consider what the driver wants or what might be more practical for him. Companies dictate your home time, based on available freight. They don’t care how long you’ve been out or why you need to get home. Even truck repairs are handled this way.

The company I drive for promised to work with me if I needed anything. The rollers in the driver’s seat are bad so when I hit a little bump nothing happens. If I hit a big bump the seat slams against the bottom with a spine jarring crash. It’s been that way since I got in this truck. I complained to the owners, wrote it up, talked to the shop in person, still not fixed. I guess their idea of working together means I quit whining and haul the freight, be glad they have given me a job.

To be fair, some of today’s drivers are no better. Refusing to lift a finger to help the company in any way.

If we could really work together, life could be so much better.

Elvin Shirk
Barnett, MO

HOS isn’t rocket science, here’s my solution
If the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would adopt the following hours-of-service rules, on-board recorders in commercial vehicles would not be needed.

  1. After 11 hours of driving, a driver cannot drive a commercial vehicle and is required to have 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time.
  2. After 14 hours of on-duty time, a driver cannot drive a commercial vehicle and cannot be on-duty.
  3. Eliminate the 70-hour rule and the 34-hour reset rule, and replace with the following rule: A driver is required to be off-duty, at his home domicile at least six, 24-hour periods, in the last 30 days. The six, 24-hour periods do not have to be taken consecutively.
  4. A driver is required to select eight consecutive hours of off-duty time, and is required to take the selected eight consecutive hours of off-duty at the same time each day. A driver is not allowed to drive a commercial vehicle or be on-duty during this selected eight-hour period. A driver is required to report this selected eight-hour period to the driver’s license bureau of the state of the driver’s home domicile. The driver’s license bureau is then required to place the driver’s selected eight hour period on the back of the driver’s license.

Example of the wording on the back of the driver’s license: Restriction: cannot drive a commercial vehicle during the following hours: 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Note: It is the driver’s choice what eight hour period to place on the back of driver’s license.

Ricky R. Klatt
Oconto Falls, WI

It’s called pride in your ride
I’ve been driving tractor-trailers for 34 years without a chargeable accident. I remember when all we could find to put on a truck was chrome mirrors, hub-caps, and a metal-flake plastic shift-knob. Most of us at that time spent hours painting bumpers, frames, and wheels. I for one am glad we have access to the endless supply of goodies today’s chrome shops have to offer. Does this give me less right to complain about prices than those drivers that choose to drive those generic trucks?

I’m also glad to admit that I own and drive one of those chromed out trucks that the reader in Deltone, FL, spoke of, but in defense of myself and other such drivers I would like to explain something. We as owner-operators spend most of our so called off-duty hours performing our own maintenance, washing, waxing, and yes adding chrome, and most importantly making sure it’s safe and road ready for the next trip.

I don’t have a boat, camper, four-wheeler, motorcycle, or new vehicle. I live in a very modest frame house. I go out to eat very little, and have never been on a vacation. My joy comes from my truck a 1988 W900B and a 1996 Utility Refrigerated trailer all decked out in chrome, my reward comes from the pleasure of driving a nice rig and the compliments I get from shippers, receivers, fellow drivers, and even four-wheelers.

Yes, times are tough, but then they’ve always been for the American trucker, so get off my back -- it’s called pride in your ride.

Lynn Dearstone
Greenville, TN

Largest carriers are the biggest problem
I have been driving for 15 years. Out on the road you hear all sorts of complaints from drivers. I believe our main problem is the large companies, who have thousands of trucks, and cut the rate on everything they can get their hands on. Their drivers are under trained and thrown behind the wheel. They push drivers to the limit. You are nothing but a number behind the wheel, and most of the time there is some college kid behind a computer, that’s never even been in a truck, telling you how to run it.

Just think about the money spent on recording and advertising for drivers. If their drivers were treated right, they could save a lot of money. The turnover rate should tell you what these people are like to drive for.

I work for a small company, and I’m very happy, treated with respect, my needs and my family’s needs are more important to them than pushing for one more load. It’s hard for a small company to compete with the big rate cutters. When the small companies are gone we are going to loose a lot of good drivers. We’ll be left with a bunch of under trained over worked robots, running up and down our highways. I don’t think there is a solution, but the logbook is not the problem. Maybe if all these companies would put their heads together, get the rates up, and treat drivers right things could go a lot smoother.

Ron Thompson
Wilmerding, PA

Logbook rules resemble communism
Our logbook, is it a violation of our constitutional rights? A doctor works 30, 35, and sometimes 40 hours straight. Holiday season is here, and many factory workers are trying to pick up additional hours. Construction workers often work 12 to 14 hours a day six to seven days a week.

Now, take a truck driver. For some strange philosophical reason the government has decided to tell him or her when or when not he or she can work. He’s off work all week helping his neighbor put up fencing. He accepts a few dollars for his time. Now, time to get into the truck and make the house payment. But wait, he’s only got 30 hours left to make his money. Is this not ludicrous?

Why is transportation the only career choice that the government tells when you can or cannot work. Are we not allowed to prosper and get our piece of the American pie? Maybe it’s just me, but this seems like communism.

K. Kirkland
Otisco, IN

It’s all about the bottom line, not the shine
It has always been my philosophy that I should bring home as much money as possible. Therefore, I did everything I could to accomplish that. No chrome, no fancy wheels, no high dollar radios, no intense wash and wax jobs, get the best fuel mileage possible and do the best paying part of the job.

Before I had two heart attacks and had to give up my truck, I was bringing home net over twice as much as the other drivers leased on to the same carrier. From the letters I’ve been seeing lately, there seem to be a lot of people unable to figure out how to get over 5 mpg.

In 1998, I spec’ed in a Freightliner cabover to pull big doubles and triples. The Freightliner engineers told me they would guarantee me 10 mpg, and that I would probably get 14 to 15 under normal operating conditions. I never had the chance to do it, but it seems to me that with these kind of fuel prices, everybody would be trying to do that instead of squabbling about who has the shiniest truck.

Ron Worthington
Wheat Ridge, CO

Top praise for a top business
My husband and I have our own authority and currently own three trucks, which we have drivers hired to drive. Recently one of our drivers called in with a problem with his trailer lights not working properly. He was on Interstate 10 headed west in Florida at a rest area near Live Oak.

After several phone calls I was fortunate to find a guy named Edgar with Edgar & Son Tire Repair. He is located at Live Oak, FL. Soon thereafter our light problem was fixed and our driver was on his way. I only wish there were more businesses like Edgar & Son scattered across the USA. It’s great to find reasonably priced repairs with quality service. Keep up the good work Edgar.

Marlene Tarkington
Linden, TN

Governor’s veto guarantees more fatalities in Illinois
That was an unfortunate veto from Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on the bill to eliminate split speed. It guarantees a higher-than-needed rate of accidents, injuries and fatalities on Illinois highways.

We have the same lunacy in Michigan with split speed limits, a situation that flies in the face of 60 years of traffic safety engineering science. The same false testimony defeated a safety bill in Michigan a couple of years ago that would have reduced the speed split between cars and trucks in Michigan. Every legitimate unbiased researcher knows that the maximum safety methodology lies in the uniform flow of traffic at closely similar speeds with the fewest conflicts and the least passing.

Why does this happen? What do police departments gain in supporting the split speed limits? Why do courts support split limits? Why do insurance companies support split speed limits? It has been a mystery for many years. Maybe some smart person will discover the reason some day.

James C. Walker
Member of the National Motorists Association
Ann Arbor, MI

Engine brakes are not the problem
I see the use of un-muffled engine braking is being outlawed in more places and it is, in my opinion, a revenue-enhancement tactic.

I am in favor of no engine braking if the engine is without mufflers. However, if noise is the real problem then these laws are all wet. I spoke with a police chief in a small town in Kansas and asked to see the law. It deals with noise and describes the various engine brakes in the wording of the law.

I have mufflers on my truck and I and a majority of other truckers are at risk of receiving a ticket for using our engine brake in some places even though it is not loud. This is unfair.

I am a motorcycle rider and I do have mufflers on my bike. But for these compression brake laws to be aimed at only trucks is totally unfair. Motorcycles come from the factory with mufflers. All of them. Harley, Honda, Suzuki, it doesn't matter which one. The modification is done after the bike gets to the dealer. These un-muffled bikes are very noisy and it is a real pain to be woke up from a dead sleep to the roar of several bikes zooming by. This noise law should include any vehicle with no mufflers or at least OEM sound deadening devices.

Yes, I know you Harley riders say that loud pipes save lives. Hog wash, pun intended. Your bike is heard after you go by not before you get there, If the law were enforced fairly there would be fewer problems. Only a few so-called truckers think they have to run with out mufflers and have those large stacks to impress themselves. These same few truckers are the reason for the increase in noise abatement laws and they effect us all.

Zero back pressure is not good for the engine. That’s what I have been told by every engine manufacturer, Cat, Detroit, etc. But you look cool, right?

So why is there no law about all vehicles with no mufflers? Or to word it differently, why isn’t there a law about noise from any vehicle. A loud bike goes by and nothing is done but let one truck use the engine brake and oops a ticket. Could it be that these towns and states can get away with just about anything they want because they know that truckers don’t stick together. It’s time for a change. There are more drivers on the road today in CMV’s that have a college degree than ever before and some act like sheep. Use that education to try to improve the truckers’ image. Get involved.

Gordon Alkire
Riley, KS

Suck it up and demand change
I cannot begin to express my dismay with what appears to be our industry’s’ total surrender of its will and power to the government. If ever a group of workers needed to band together and say enough is enough, it is now.

History teaches us that those who refuse to fight back are destined to be bullied and conquered. Truckers have been bullied for years by forces outside of our industry. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We refuse to “police” ourselves from within, and thus, others have decided to be our police.

We are to blame for the current atmosphere within this industry, and we are the only ones who can change it. “Truckin’ ain’t for sissies,” so suck it up, clean up your act, demand change, or continue down this road of lost rights. Trucking will then lose more and more quality drivers.

This is our industry, not theirs. We have chosen to make a living doing something few can do. We sacrifice a normal life, our families and friends. We spend too much time alone. We fight fatigue, we fight dispatchers, we fight traffic, we fight receivers. Fighting isn’t new to us. We have just been expending our energies in the wrong arenas. We are in the driver’s seat. This country and our economy depend upon us. We don’t depend on dispatchers, receivers, or the public. They depend on us.

We need to show our strengths, and their dependence on us. A show of solidarity – not a strike, but a way to shock the public and government into awareness. OOIDA has spoken out against a truckers’ strike numerous times. I agree that a strike, while difficult to pull off, would ultimately only serve to anger the public and cause strife within our ranks.

However, a well-planned and publicized show of solidarity would certainly get attention. On July 4th, Independence Day, at noon wherever you are, whatever you are doing, stop. Park your truck in a safe place, turn off your key, get a meal, read a book, watch TV, etc. For just two hours, take a stand. No violence, no loss of goods. If the country knew well in advance, then no trucks or goods moved for two hours, just imagine the news coverage.

It can be done. It should be done. It starts with me.

Charles Sherman
Grand Rapids, MI

Editor’s note: Federal law prohibits OOIDA, which is a trade association, from calling for or participating in a strike.

Trucker turned off by Transcraft
I am a flat bed operator who runs a 2001 Transcraft Eagle spread. The trailer has started to rust and I have contacted my dealer, who contacted Transcraft Corporation. It appears that Transcraft has had this problem with paint and metal for quite sometime. Their solution is to prorate the rust and paint and pay a Transcraft dealer’s body shop to repaint.

Of course the paint job will cost $500 to $900 more than Transcraft will pay and it will take two weeks to repaint. Transcraft and their dealers would really prefer to take this trailer on trade for a 2005, but without the paint job, my trailer is worth $5,000 less, and my paint is not as bad as some I have seen lately.

“This is merely the cost of owning your own equipment,” says a Transcraft representative. I know I will never own another Transcraft, but then I am just one person.

Karl Kamp
Quinter, KS

Another ‘nay’ for fingerprinting
Even though I’m a union line driver, I find your magazine and Web site damned useful and read both often – we’re all doing the same job. What’s got me hot under the collar is this new finger print deal. OK, I can see it if a driver’s never had it done before. But what about us guys that have valid concealed weapons permits, pilot licenses, and are three-tour Vietnam vets?

Mine, and those of guys like me, will have their fingerprints pop up in numerous places. In my mind this amounts to another form of taxation on the trucking industry. I’m soon to be 55 and this is getting a little bit old.

Of course I’ve written to the appropriate senators, congressmen and the multiple government agencies that we also fund, with little result so I thought I’d voice my concern here. If you’re maintaining a tally, put mine on the side of “nay.”

Mike Blackford
Vancouver, WA.

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