February 2006 Letters

Don’t worry about other states
I am a Life Member of OOIDA. I think the governor of Texas should mind his own business and quit listening to these other states with left lane restrictions on trucks. And I don’t think we need toll roads. Don’t worry about what the Joneses are doing – in other words. Thank you OOIDA and Land Line.

Eddie L. Conrad
Odessa, TX

Why is Indiana, America for sale?
I wanted to comment on Indiana’s toll proposal. Indiana’s plan is very short-sighted.

What are they going to do in 20 to 30 years from now when the budget shortfall happens again? I can appreciate a modest toll increase to keep up with inflation, but not so the state is profiting. Tolls are supposed to go to the toll road only. I don’t live in Indiana, so why should I pay for other programs that are under funded?

It is time for politicians to learn to spend appropriately instead of looking at taxpayers as blank checks, especially us truckers. Congress needs to write a law stating toll revenue is to only be used for the road that the toll is collected on and all toll money collected from commercial vehicles should be credited penny for penny on IFTA’s quarterly reports. These states would definitely reconsider using tolls to generate revenue.

Also, do we really want foreign governments controlling our highways? What’s to keep them from closing those roads at their whim? It makes you wonder if America is for sale to the highest bidder.

Maybe the governor of Indiana should sell the state capital building and the governor’s mansion to if they are that stripped for cash.

David Swanson
Dalbo, MN

Let’s put the heat on brokers
One thing I would love to see OOIDA look into is brokers. I believe that brokers are the downfall of trucking. As you know, there were 5,578 carriers that closed their doors in just one year. Why do you thank this happened? Then in the same year, of all the carriers that went out, there were more than 1,500 brokers that opened a new office.

Let’s take a look at the broker. They are needed in trucking. With the Internet, loads are more easily found, but the rates are not there. I don’t know how many times I have been told by some company what they are paying to get the load moved, just to find out that a broker was making 20 to 40 percent on the load.

I believe that brokers are taking more than they should. I don’t even know if there is a law stating what the average is. It must be “how cheap can I get it moved.”

When a broker gives a shipper a cheap rate it makes it that much harder for me to get paid what I need. Shippers say they don’t like using brokers, but you try to give them a rate and they will tell that you are moving it cheaper than that now.

I know that we are in the same boat and I feel the boat is sinking fast.

Stefhan Shelton
Chuckey, TN

Editor’s note: At the urging of OOIDA, the FMCSA announced more than a year ago it would start the process that could address the inadequate broker bond situation. That hasn’t started yet, so OOIDA has now filed a supplemental petition requesting the agency get going on the rulemaking. We’ll keep you posted.

Indiana trucker tired of it
I’m a one truck trucking company in northern Indiana. I refuse to haul cheap, regardless if it is a backhaul. I am mad as hell that our government – local, state, federal –keeps finding ways to screw us with more taxes

Now, the toll road rates are going up. That is OK with me, except for the fact that they are going to try to force you off the non-toll roads onto the overpriced rip-off toll road.

Ohio has tried it, so has Illinois. My point is this: The states are being led by corrupt politicians who are trying to get things done for themselves and their friends. Millionaires have no other reason in politics, except for that.

One example of this is the federal government changing all of these laws pertaining to U.S. truckers – making it impossible to make a fair living in this country.

Another example is how state and local governments are restricting trucks to right lanes and enforcing split speed limits. The last time I paid my road use tax it was not pro-rated because of this.

Thank you OOIDA for the great work you are doing for our industry.

Bryan Keim
Warsaw, IN

Ask us – we’ll tell you what we want
Someone needs to tell these people with all these so called bright ideas about idling alternatives to go to the horse’s mouth – the truck driver or owner.

I would prefer an electric source. I, like many other truck owners, don’t use the IdleAire setups because we have already wired our trucks to do what we want them to do.

With my setup, I have TV, VCR, DVD, microwave, coffee pot, heater in winter, window air conditioning for summer and a fridge. I even have my block heater. I use a gas generator that cost me $750, not the $3,500 to $10,000 diesel units cost.

I have used this method for the past two years and when the generator craps out I’ll salvage what I can and go buy another one at home depot for less than a couple payments on one of those “big time units.”

Now, if rest areas and truck stops had a spot that I could plug into and run all the stuff I have for my comforts that I choose, and pay a few bucks to use, I’m sure that would do what we need to cut down on pollution, fuel use and idling.

My generator runs 14 hours on four gallons of gas – plenty of time for rest, etc. And I get to choose what I want or don’t want. Most time I don’t even run it for more than a few hours.

Thanks for what you do at OOIDA and keep on trucking safe.

Timothy L. Barrett Sr. 
Tucson, AZ

Here’s a suggestion for U.S. 31 in Indiana
This is in response to A.J. Cummins’ letter regarding limited access to U.S. 31 from South Bend, IN, to Indianapolis published in the February 2006 issue of Land Line Magazine.

Yes, I agree that limited access would be wonderful on this road; however, it would be very expensive to reconfigure the entire road. I believe that a much simpler and cheaper solution would be to do the same thing that West Virginia has done on U.S. 19 – the section that runs from I-79 to Beckley.

They installed flashing warning lights that say, “When flashing, be prepared to stop” and they only flash when the light in the upcoming intersection is about to change. The signs are about a quarter of a mile from the actual intersection and they really are a great help because now a driver doesn’t have to wonder.

The driver knows exactly what to expect at the intersection. It would be a safe, simple and easy fix that would benefit every driver on the road – truckers and four-wheelers, alike.

Unfortunately, this solution is too simple and too easy, and I really doubt that Indiana will implement it. It’s just easier to blame the trucker and write more tickets.

David Adamczyk
Louisville, KY

Through thick and thin
I am so glad that we have OOIDA to look out for truckers and trucking.

I read about the many good things that OOIDA does in Land Line, and also in other magazines. Unlike the American Trucking Association, OOIDA is led by truckers, and OOIDA does not “cut and run” when an issue looks tough.

I am proud to be a member of OOIDA and am glad to see the Association continue the important battles on big issues like HOS and electronic onboard recorders. Because of OOIDA, trucking is a better place to be.

Danny R. Schnautz
Pasadena, TX

A summary of lumping laws
Wake up drivers. Do not take a floor load. Do not take any load to any warehouse that requires you to pull the pallets off. You are truck drivers, not warehouse labor. Worked for me, but I was only one truck, and dispatch knew that some fool would take the load if I didn’t.

This has been a problem for years, and I’m glad to see that OOIDA has decided to do something about it. Supervalu is just the beginning, all grocery warehouses are the same, so, go get them.

Charles E. Gaughen
Defiance, OH

Idling challenge
I have read just about everything pertaining to how truckers are getting fined for idling their trucks. This is discriminatory towards the truckers. Don’t truckers have the right to be warm at night in the winter and cool during the summer?

So, I would like to issue a challenge to all the politicians from the federal government down to the city councils. I would like you in the winter to turn your heat off at night as soon as you get home, and during the summer, turn the air conditioning off. Then let’s see how long you guys keep these ridiculous laws in effect.

Dorothy Pokornowski
Little Falls, MN

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid
Do you often think “enough is enough” when it comes to keeping track of miles and taxes? New York has got to be the toughest state to keep track of loaded miles, unloaded miles, toll road miles and non-toll road miles.

You would think that someone in the state would get the idea to add an extra penny or two to the IFTA and be done with it. A ton less paperwork, a lot less to figure out and it would probably be more likely to make more money – well, at least from the trucking standpoint would make more sense!

Glen Hughes
New Lebanon, OH

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