September 2005 Letters

No reason for noise
I applaud the efforts of these local cities and towns that try and make the environment around us a little more pleasant. 
I am a heavy hauler by trade, and if anyone knows the benefits of using engine brakes, driveline retarders or any other auxiliary braking device, I do. My simple solution to the whole matter is: put your mufflers back on, slow down and just think about where you are.
If we all did that, the residents of George Town, ID, on U.S. 30 might just start coming back out to wave at the trucks like they used to.

Kelly Shobe
Salem, OR

You can save on fuel
After 20 years of being a company driver and always thinking of what it would be like to own my own truck, I made the decision to buy my own in September 2004. I have always read trucking magazines and read the advice about saving fuel, i.e. tire pressure, progressive shifting and so on.

Fuel was $1.70 a gallon when I started. We all know what it is now. The thing I don’t understand is that drivers complain about the price of fuel while driving 75 mph to 80 mph down the interstate.

Being new at this owner-operator thing, I thought I might be missing something. But when I tried slower speeds, progressive shifting, etc. I saw results. Pulling containers is sometimes hard on fuel mileage, but the info worked – better fuel mileage, longer tire life and best of all less stress.

Thanks to OOIDA for all that you do. And thanks for the $300 discount on the Rig-Master – that helps me save fuel too!

Jamey Owens
Fairmount, GA

An outrage! A scandal!
Fuel prices! Why? I haven’t heard any logical reason why the price of oil has skyrocketed like it has. Owner-operators are barely hanging on now as it is. If OOIDA has got the connections in the White House, how about having somebody up there fill us in on the secret. And while you’re in there – tell George W., to fix a problem, you have to recognize a problem exists.

Darryl Kee
Godley, TX

An insane way to operate
It is ridiculous for a commercial vehicle to run a longer route resulting in the consumption of more fuel -- a commodity no longer in surplus -- create more pollution -- in an area of the country that is already heavily polluted -- and create excess wear and tear on our expensive equipment just because it is more cost effective.

The solution is simple; toll fees should be a direct cost, directly chargeable to the customer, instead of foisting the tolls on to outside sources required to use “their” facilities. If the customer does not want to pay the tolls then they should be required to pay the out of route miles.

Christopher P. Parsons
Plain City, OH

New HOS is idiotic
There will be more fatigue-related crashes as a result of this idiotic new rule. Most teams I know do five or five and a half hours of driving, alternating with the same time in the sleeper berth. This works very well for my husband and me.
I cannot sleep more than five or six hours at the most, whether I am at home or on the road, and I cannot, and will not, drive eight or 10 hours at a stretch. Fatigue, deep vein thrombosis, back troubles, bladder and bowel problems in all drivers are going to be exacerbated by this ruling.
If the rules are not exempted for team drivers, we will be looking for new jobs very soon – and the country thinks it has a driver shortage now?

Lesley Lightner 
Bloomfield, IN

Limited access is the answer for U.S. 31
From South Bend, IN, to Indianapolis, U.S. 31 is a dangerous road.

The road is four lanes, with left-turn lanes. The speed limit outside of town is 55. The traffic signals are triggered by traffic on cross streets and drivers making left turns, not timers. There is a small stretch without lights. Then, at Peru, the lights start.

The skid marks on the pavement are the reminders that others had to slam on the brakes to stop.

The cops expect truckers to stop the minute the light turns, with a load of 80,000 pounds. That will not happen. Then they give tickets for not stopping.

Kokomo, IN, has 13 lights, all in a short distance – the city limits, north to south, is eight miles. This road needs to become a limited-access highway with continuous left turns and all right turns. We would try to work around the area, but to take Interstate 65 or I-69 puts us way out of route.

Please help us to tell the DOT and state highway department that U.S. 31 needs to be limited access. I wonder how many people will need to die before they do something about this dangerous road.

A.J. Cummins
Paw Paw, MI

Editor’s note: A.J., your letter has been forwarded to the Indiana DOT.

Foot down now
I am so frustrated with a lot of issues we are faced with as owner-operators. I am also very frustrated with the “We can’t do anything about it, we just have to live with it” attitude so many of the truckers have nowadays.

You mention something about going to DC and doing something, and they say “I can’t afford it” or “My company would not let me.” Found a company when you were looking for that one, didn’t you?

No wonder brokers, companies and the government are walking all over us. Nobody seems to have enough in them to stand up for what they believe in anymore.

How many of these truckers contacted their representatives to get the fuel surcharge put into and passed on the new highway bill?

I know I sure did, and I am from Ohio. I called, faxed, emailed and wrote letters to everybody in power in Ohio to get that pushed through.

We need to put our foot down and do it soon.

John Corbett
Stow, Ohio