May 2004 Letters

Hey mall owners? How about help on this parking problem?
My proposal to minimize the parking shortage threat to highway safety is pretty basic: Use the power of the federal government to create “safe zones” for overnight truck parking in the hundreds of shopping malls that populate our nation’s cities.

The mall owners would be given tax credits and favorable publicity for segregating a portion of their parking lots for overnight truck parking (10 p.m. to 8 a.m.) Additionally, highway signs would be posted along the interstate and state highway systems to help safely guide truck drivers to these “safe zones.”

If every major shopping mall would agree to accept 50 to 75 trucks, the parking crisis would be solved immediately, drivers will be better able to comply with the new hours of service logbook regulations, and tired drivers will not be roaming the interstates in 80,000-pound rigs in search of the last open parking spot for 50 miles. Mall owners would also receive a generous tax credit for their assistance.

Donald W. Pendergast Jr.
Ocala, FL

Better time management will help parking problem
The recent controversy over parking has brought about a lot of comments from drivers still saying parking is a problem.

While I’m sure in some regions of the country there is a parking problem, I would imagine the majority of drivers complaining about parking are the drivers who come into a truck stop a 3 a.m.

I drive around 10 hours a day. I start everyday at 6 a.m., and I’m done at 8 p.m., seldom any later. I’ve never had a problem finding a place to stay.

I plan my day. I’ve pried my wallet open and bought a truck stop finder, and always stick to my routine. Granted some drivers can’t always plan their trips that way, but better management would help.

Scott Reahard
Wabash, IN

It’s time to use the ‘b’ word - boycott
It’s about time that the word “boycott” becomes part of our vocabulary.

No need to strike, just individual drivers making an individual decision not to pick up or deliver loads to a company or state. Likewise in the purchase of goods and services.

If 100 drivers who purchase 100 gallons of fuel in Illinois every week buy that fuel in the next state, $15,000 in revenue leaves the cash registers of vendors in that state. If loads start sitting on docks waiting to be picked up, or deliveries are delayed by 24 hours … you get the picture. One hundred individual decisions become a collective effort.

I understand the IFTA ramifications, but it wouldn’t take long for legislators to figure out what’s going on … especially if businesses in that state start voicing concerns about their economic distress.

If you think that the troubles of Illinois drivers are not your problem, think again. The legislatures in other states will be watching the outcome of Illinois’ efforts. If a state is successful in raising fees or tolls on trucks, and other states see little or no fight put up, you could be next!

Therefore, my company has decided to join the call for a boycott in the state of Illinois. We will no longer pick up, deliver to, or purchase any goods or services within that state.

R.H. Appleby
Harrisburg, PA

Let’s not be kissing Wal-Mart’s butt
It really irritates me to no end that Congressman Boozman in Arkansas is pushing that bill to allow more rest periods in the new HOS regs.

Of course, these will be off-duty. He claims this is for driver safety. Horse Hockey! This move is strictly a kiss-Wal-Mart's-butt maneuver so they can go back to business as usual at the docks.

If anything needs to be done to the new regs, it is remove the sleeper berth clause. You get a 14-hour day, and that's that. The rates need to go up more – not go back to the “flexible logbook” game.

I had serious doubts about the new regs, but I have found them quite workable. Tighten the screws on the cheapskates like Wal-Mart and force the bums to pay us more.

Mark Garrison
Longview, TX