February 2004 Letters

An ‘amen’ on DAC
Every time – almost – I am at a truck stop that has those recruiting Readers-Digest-type magazines, I get a handful of about 15 to 25 out and put them in a trash can.

Your article about “DAC” – driver’s credit bureau – was good. Please list all of them and their addresses with every issue of your magazine.

Glen James Baker
Rawlins, WY

Hazard lights are for avoiding hazards
In response to Chad Jessup of Alturas, CA (truckers overuse Hazard Lights): Does the word safety come to mind? I’ve been driving a rig for 40 years, and I’ve always been taught in many safety classes that hazard lights were a safety precaution.

I also know, at least in my own state, in some parts, drivers must use hazard lights when driving under 40 mph.

Mr. Jessup talks about driving in 1967, when people weren’t driving near as reckless as they do now.

The hazard lights are used so that people know you are parked in dangerous places or pulling out onto a main road, you use your hazards till you get up to sped so someone doesn’t rush up behind you doing 65 mph and don’t stop in time.

Yes, Mr. Jessup, Id like to think that all the situations you mentioned in your letter, that those were very intelligent, safety conscious people out on the roads. Hooray for those drivers.

Dan Sullivan
Seven Valleys, PA

Let’s remove this danger now
I need to get under my 18-wheeler truck to perform safety inspections and adjust brakes, but I can’t do it without coming in contact with truck drivers’ body waste.

New virus strains such as SARS can survive in body waste several days.

Of course, truckers aren’t the only ones urinating and defecating on the ground. Inappropriate disposal of body waste is a widespread public health problem. Mostly men are doing it; women seem to have more sense. The matter needs to be brought to public attention.

We need to improve our sanitation habits now before a major pandemic strikes.

Jack James Elias
Ramona, CA

Thanks for the information
I am an owner-operator in Rome, GA, who’s been reading Land Line Magazine for about two years. I think it’s the best magazine for all the truckers I’ve ever had the pleasure to read, bar none.

Keep up the great job; I thank you for helping me learn about news and new laws before most other people. I tell everybody about your magazine every chance I get. Most already know about it.

James Ashmore
Rome, GA

Land Line centerfolds?
I have to tell you that one thing that has always given me a “charge” since I was a child was a big, fancy custom truck. Today I’m 33 years old, and those feelings haven’t changed … well, maybe if you include envy.

At any rate, I would like to see more pictures and less “chatter” about truck show events. I would really like to see a custom truck – not antique – featured in each issue in a “centerfold” format.

I would hope that I’m not the only “freak” in the industry that has this obsession. This way I can take them out and hang them in the shop.

Dan Wyllie
Naperville, IL

Veto this, governor
Thanks for the great job on the article about the split speed limit bill in Illinois.

We need to show Gov. Blagojevich how much we appreciate what he did by each one of us by vetoing the next hundred or so loads that our dispatchers or brokers try to give us going to his great state.

Perhaps then we can get his attention.

Tony Russo
Tucson, AZ

Where do I sign up?
I see where some companies are going to compensate drivers for delays due to the new HOS by increasing their mileage pay “dramatically” (their words) by up to 3 cents per mile.

WOW! Where do I sign up for this $300/month raise over 10,000 miles? Just one missed trip per month, due to the HOS change, will cost more than that.

Tom Newman
Altamont, IL

Patriotic sleeper slogan
I have seen a number of “sleeper slogans” quoted in Land Line. This letter is to tell you about what I have on the truck I drive.

It says “If you enjoy your freedom, Thank GOD and Thank a Veteran.”

I am proud to have this message on the side of the truck. It expresses my thoughts, and hopefully gets people to think of the men and women who serve in our armed forces.

Neal Montag
West Bend, IA

I’m back on the bus!
After reading your October 2003 Special OOIDA 30th Anniversary Edition, I have decided to become a member again.

After nine years as an owner-operator with National Carriers Inc., I decided to sell my truck and eventually become the outbound load coordinator for All Freight Systems. In doing that, I let my subscription expire, even though I continued to receive your free magazine and enjoyed reading it each month. Your staff and members are so supportive of what you represent – owner-operators and the fair treatment of truckers.

Even though I am not involved in trucking any longer, it will always be my first love and passion. I will someday own another truck, and I appreciate everything about OOIDA and what Jim Johnston is doing for this great industry that we are proud to call trucking.

Please accept my renewing membership as a signal of “a job well done.”

Kevin Meyer
Hutchinson, KS

Solvang is Danish
We enjoyed your article about picturesque places to spend a Christmas away from home, and agree that Solvang belongs on the list. It has some extra good restaurants and bakeries, to go along with the scenery. But Solvang is Danish!

Harry and Marilyn Ingholt
Litchfield Park, AZ

It’s not what it used to be
The thing that bothers me the most is the shippers’, receivers’ and dockworkers’ attitude and work ethics. It seems like they don’t want to work. And they take it out on the truck drivers.

I don’t know how you over the road drivers do it anymore.

I’ve been an OOIDA member for almost five years now (I should’ve joined earlier) and would not turn a key in a truck with out it. The way you fight for truckers’ rights, for your support and information, and also for your programs, I thank you.

To those companies that treat you with respect, load you or unload you with a smile, joke with you, generally like you, like their job and always say thank you – to you, I say thank you.

Cameron Hover
Brooklyn Center, MN

Thanks for the poster contest
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be in the contest and to be one of the winners. Thank you for taking your time to check our work. There are beautiful pictures in the catalog. Thank you for the $50 – I appreciate it!

Yaretzy Enriquez 
Yuma, AZ

Sleepy? Get yourself checked
If you get up in the morning and two or three hours down the road you feel like you need a nap or you just feel tired when you went to sleep the night before, you may have “sleep apnea.” That is what I found out about me.

I used a “CPAP-Fisher Paykel” machine in the truck and at home. When I get up in the morning, I do not feel tired or wanting to take a nap two or three hours down the road.

If you have a similar problem, for the safety of yourself and others, it doesn’t hurt to have it checked out.

Robert Nordman
Cherokee, IA

Make the cars go 55 too, Illinois
It seems that to get the Illinois legislators to raise the truck speed limit to the same as autos is a moot point.

The only thing left to do is to lower the car speed limit to the truck speed. Then all is equal.

Politicians are forgetting that truckers vote too, and if they (truckers) would just do it, the politicians would be going to a new place of employment every four years.

Gordon Alkire
Riley, KS

It’s up to OOIDA
The government wouldn’t know reasonable fees and fines from hog calling. Their need for revenue and job security will always define what reasonable is, unless OOIDA is there to step in.

Todd Spencer is right: If you’re not represented, you’ll likely be mis-represented. It is time to hike up our britches and just say NO to the policies of the government and mindless change.

Gerald Lee Stull
Huntingdon, PA

A little humor, please
I’m writing about your magazine. I have enjoyed each and every article time after time again, whether it is about brakes, HOS, questions and answers, show trucks and laws concerning the road.

But your magazine is missing something. It’s too serious!

What I think we need is a little humor in our lives. People are so unhappy these days, I know that unforgettable event, 9/11, has changed everyone’s life for good – and we must not ever forget it – but I think it’s time for a change.

So if you could put somewhere in your magazine an article of humor, it would be greatly appreciated.

Jeff Prouty
Dawsonville, GA

Editor’s note: Jeff, we hear you, and we agree. In the past couple of issues, we’ve included a piece called “The Lighter Side.” We also include a little humor in Dick Larsen’s Roses and Razzberries, in the back of the magazine.

Thanks for the magazine
My wife and I have enjoyed your magazine since 1985 and like reading about all the new things and info that are in the magazine.

Jerry and Barbara Nelson
Albuquerque, NM

Hanging it up
I was a member of OOIDA and an owner-operator who was leased to New Prime out of Springfield, MO.

After dealing with all the rising cost of operating and then seeing all the tolls go up over 400 percent, I delivered my last load last week down in Laredo, TX. I dropped Prime’s trailer and bobtailed back to South Carolina.

Most of my family were owner-operators, and I have seen that we’re slowly getting out of the trucking business. I’ve also spoken with many other owner-operators who are either giving up or going bankrupt. I can honestly say that it’s just not worth it anymore.

Harold Gillian
Ninety Six, SC

We all have to get on one page
The events we are facing and the laws that have been bestowed upon us make me worry of the future. I wonder how long we as truck drivers will be pushed around.

For instance: idling a truck. Some can shut them off and sleep in the cold and heat, but I need the comfort, as many do. There are no grants or subsidies to help pay for auxiliary power of some sort that I know of.

Terry Chouinard
Winona, MN

Don’t let them log it as sleep
One simple rule by the FMCSA could have changed and corrected all the problems that we’ve been faced with for many years: That is to make it illegal to log sleeper berth time at the point of pickup or the point of delivery.

I can count, after 37 years, on one hand the number of stops I’ve had where you can sleep uninterrupted for any period of time unless I got there six to seven hours before my appointment and if there were a place to park.

I am afraid nothing is going to change because carriers are going to do what they’ve been doing for years: pressure drivers to use the sleeper berth time at pickups and deliveries. If they don’t, they’ll consider them non-productive and starve them out of the industry.

It’s a missed opportunity that could have changed the nature of trucking and put the pressure where it belongs – on the carriers, shippers and receivers.

Thomas J. Trotter III
Souderton, PA

Hazards are underused, not overused
Although I agree with Chad Jessup on some examples of improper use of four-way flashers, I strongly disagree with the general concept that they are overused. In fact, it is my opinion that they are woefully underused.

To me, it is common sense safety that four-ways should be used any time traffic behind you needs to be “called to attention” that something unusual is going on ahead.

· Sitting on the side of the road (not sleeping) calls for four-ways so traffic has some idea that you are not moving and aren’t about to pull out.
· Moving abnormally slow in the roadway calls for four-ways.
· Traffic slowdowns or stoppages on an interstate are an absolute must for four-ways. (How many rear-end accidents do you think could be avoided on the interstate if the stopped vehicle that was hit would have had its four-ways on?)
· I even use my four-ways when moving slowly on a city street looking for an address or cross street and I’m not sure when I may suddenly have to stop so that I can make a turn.

I have observed very closely how traffic behind me responds to my use of four-ways, and it is very encouraging. They almost always slow down or change lanes.

Safety isn’t rocket science, but operating safely in potentially dangerous situations is a strong indicator of an individual’s attitude or skill level. If you have difficulty judging what is a potentially dangerous situation, then you either need more training or you need to work and live in a low-risk environment.

Dave Snellings
Crofton, MD

Memories from the big one
Dear Mr. Silver Fox,

I read every word of Land Line of every issue. I enjoy your article. I am semiretired, and have been in the trucking industry for over 40 years.

In the October Issue, you mentioned Camp Shanks, NY. You are the only mention I have heard of that since World War II. I think some time in 1944, I rode a troop train from Knoxville TN, to Camp Kilmer, NJ, (I’m not sure of that spelling); then, in buses with windows blacked out, to Camp Shanks, NY; then to some pier in New York, loaded on a ship for France. The rest is history.

Howard Prueitt 
Greeneville, TN

No freedom in Freedom, NH
We only thought we were the only ones. Then I saw the letter from Kathy in Kansas in your November 2003 issue.

Are there other truckers with the problem of the town you live in not letting you park the rig that you own on your own land?

We are in the process of building our own new home by ourselves, the last thing my husband needed was for the town to say we can’t park on our 12 acres. This is a rural community; we have the transfer station as our neighborhood (no scenic view there), we put up with people dumping trash on our property and the general noise of dump day.

But some flatlander who has retired to this area has it in his head that our truck should not be on our land.

We have hired an attorney, and we will be going to court. I am angry and sick to my stomach over this.

Don’t believe what you heard about New Hampshire being the “live free or die” state, because in the town of Freedom, they don’t want truck drivers living there.

Jean Magnussen
Freedom, NH

Want to stop accidents? Look at the four-wheelers
In response to the Georgia senator wanting to introduce legislation to lower the speed limit for big trucks to 55: This is really unsafe when cars can do 70.

Can you imagine running up behind a big truck – you’re doing 70, I’m doing 55, and you have nowhere to go. This is very unsafe.

Look at how four-wheelers drive. I’ve started taking my video camera with me on the road, filming these cars, how fast they drive and how they cut everyone off, come on ramps, don’t yield and shoot straight into the left lane, not caring who they cut off.

These four-wheelers endanger my life every day on these highways. Let’s start taking a look at the cars to and stop discriminating against me as a trucker.

Kat Jones
Darden, TN

Trucker says ‘boycott Illinois’
Just read your article about the new tax in Illinois.

I think now is the time for truckers to stand up and be counted. We should boycott the state if Illinois, not buy fuel or food, or deliver and pick up in the state – owner-operators as well as the big companies. This hurts all of trucking – not just the owner-operators.

Bob and Pat Houghton
Conroe, TX

Give truckers help to run idle-free
As an owner-operator, I want to save as much as possible as far as costs go.

I read with much interest the article in the November 2003 issue of Land Line Magazine regarding rebates toward heater and auxiliary power units – 19 percent for both of the units.

Why, I repeat, why cannot the good old USA provide some sort of initial cost break for us owner-operators? I am looking at a unit that provides air conditioning as well as heat, and 110 volts to boot, at a cost of close to $7,600. Sure, it is a tax deduction, but a very large cost to begin with.

We are very tired of these elected “dimwits” making new laws that at the least are revenue producing for the same “morons” who can do whatever they choose to do. Please tell me why?

David Finch
Maple Heights, OH

Editor’s note – Here is a response to David from Todd Spencer of OOIDA: According to OOIDA, there is a provision in the energy bill (this bill has not been passed yet) that will encourage the implementation and utilization of anti-idling technology such as APUs. We are hoping that some of that money could be earmarked as incentive for truckers who buy such equipment.

Losing sleep over HOS rules
The whole point of this revision of the hours of service is to ensure that the politicians can say to the public that truck drivers are well rested, and here I am losing sleep while trying to figure the rules out.

I’m sure that the Mexican truckers Bush is pushing so hard for will be able to figure these new rules out in a snap.

Douglas “Lumpy” Fabish
Eugene, OR

How do you think stuff gets where it’s going?

To Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich:

Think about the truck, the semi-trailer, the types you want to levy additional taxes upon. These trucks are the ones that bring food to your local supermarket so that you do not have to be that farmer. These are the same trucks that bring clothing to the stores for you to wear.

Everything you touch is brought to you by a truck. These trucks are the same ones that will move your stuff out of the office when you get voted out.

G. Michael Eastwood
Johnstown, OH

How do you stay on the road?
When will truck drivers learn that it doesn’t pay to take cheap freight? I’ve deadheaded my husband 400 miles before out of Colorado because I wouldn’t take a 70-cent to 90-cent load. He still ended up at the end of that week with $1.20 a mile all miles that week.

With these new hours, I’m hoping it will weed out all you truckers who are taking this cheap freight by losing your trucks. I also get very upset with these brokers who think by offering you a load that pays so much a mile and make it sound good, then come to find out it’s only short miles that they’re using.

I honestly don’t know how trucks taking cheap freight stay on the road these days with states hitting trucks with so many different taxes. We need to stick together if we want to get things changed.

Alice Dudley
Smithfield, ME

Company to owner-operator: Send Rover to Mars
My husband and I have been truck drivers for over 10 years. We have always carried pets of one kind or another – cat, dog – and we call them our kids. They are part of our family.

We have been with the same carrier for over two years. On Nov. 14, 2003, we were given a load to pick up that said in dispatch info “No Pets.” So we called our company and told them we would keep our dogs in the truck. No, they told us, we had to put them out. Perhaps one of us could wait at a truck stop with them. Well, that’s not happening.

It is our own truck, and most of the time, it’s our home. We will not put our pets out of their home. We are willing to keep them in the truck at a customer, but to put them out? We are responsible pet owners.

Well, we got another load, then another, and so on. One week later, we got a load to our home terminal and ... we got fired.

I don’t regret the choice we made, but yes, we do miss our job. This is a major company with tons of freight, especially in that area. I guess it’s easier for companies to fire a driver – or two – with years of experience and good driving records than to just try to work it out.

The day they ban pets from commercial trucks, I’m out of it ... but not without one heck of a fight!

Callie Dodson
Powell, TN

Virginia’s I-81 construction project
If you travel the NAFTA trail from Texas to New England often, you probably have been reading about adding truck lanes onto I-81 and truck tolls.

This week, our local Bristol Herald Courier released a new article about happenings on I-81.

The most important fact I read was the truck tolls. Hold on to your pocket book: The STAR and FLUR projects are figuring tolls on Virginia’s I-81 at 12 to 37 cents per mile.

Leland Waterman
Bristol, VA

More Letters from February

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