June 2006 Letters

A lifetime of learning
I try to listen every evening to “Land Line Now.” I have learned more since you started the program on XM Satellite Radio’s Open Road Channel 171 than I would have ever learned in the rest of my career as an owner-operator. Thanks for all the hard work putting together the program.

Like so many owner-operators, fuel is my main concern. Not a good time for my charge-air cooler to fail, but that will be fixed shortly.

My other main concern is the brokers not passing on 100 percent of the fuel surcharge, toll money and tarp fees to the truckers.

When OOIDA really digs into DC about this, I want to be right in the middle of it. I deal strictly with brokers through the company I am leased to, and after 10 years, I am going to have to leave them because of the stinking brokers.

I am sick to death of them screwing the truckers. I hate to leave the company, but I can’t deal with it any longer. It will be like going through a divorce.

Jeanne Irwin
Cedar Hill, TX

About those distractions
Something needs to be done about all these drivers that I have been seeing with a cell phone in their left hand, leaning on the driver’s door.

This is a dangerous problem out here. They are backing up, driving or doing other things with it in their hand. I have been nearly hit a couple of times by someone either turning or backing up.

Someone needs to make a good law to stop all of this. They should also get the companies to stop this stuff too. If a driver is caught and or involved in an accident, a fine should be brought to not only the driver but also the company.

Something has to be done with this problem now and not later – even if it has to be a federal law for CDL holders.

Clarence Sechler Sr.
Smyrna, TN

Nice to stay in touch
You guys are doing a great job. I’m stationed here in Iraq and still take the time to keep involved in the trucking industry. Keep up the good work

John Zaffiro 
New Berlin, WI

Watch out for radiator rip-offs
I just wanted to let everyone know that I got ripped-off from a radiator seller out of Chicago, IL.

I needed a radiator for my truck and I saw their ad in another trucking industry publication. They shipped me a rebuilt radiator. I took it to a local shop here in my hometown to exchange the old radiator out for the “new” one.

The shop manager told me he had three people who had purchased from the same place and that the radiators they got were no good. The radiator leaks, so I called the company to tell them I was going to send it back for a refund.

They said that I can only purchase something else, no refund. I had not even opened the box. I just gave away $630 to someone I don’t know.

So please be advised, be very careful what you buy.

Name withheld

Owner-operators find ways to be profitable
It seems today, that buying a new truck and running it safe, legal and profitable is next to impossible. The way a lot of us have made it is to buy old equipment with the basics and bought upgrades to compete. Then you run into discrimination with companies that tell you, if your truck is older than 10 years – they won’t sign you on.

Times have changed, and so too, will the way truckers stay competitive. Already on the road today are more and more rolling antiques – less power and easier to fix, but not as much fuel economy. Insurance is cheaper, parts are easier to find – especially if you have a Cummins – and speed really isn’t a concern anymore.

I’m OK with 65 mph because I want to keep more of what I make. You could have a faster truck, which makes you look good, but what is the real enjoyment? This is the only way I see it to stay ahead.

One other thing, get a lawyer to look at your lease before you sign it – it may cost you $75 now, but save your thousands later on.

Nick Telesco
Burgaw, NC

Editor’s note: The Member Assistance Department at OOIDA will review leases free of charge for OOIDA members. The reviewers compare leases to requirements in the federal regulations and inform OOIDA members if leases are in conflict with those regulations. OOIDA staff does not provide legal advice regarding leases. Requests are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Members who are requesting reviews of prospective leases are given priority to those members who request reviews of leases they have already signed. Call 1-800-444-5791 for more information.

Speed limiters OK for some
Concerning governing and speed limiting of trucks, I would recommend limiting truck speeds to 75 mph and have drivers with less than two years experience limited to 60 mph.

There are too many trucks running 75 mph – and higher – up and down the road. Why is there no concern by drivers and companies to try and reduce speed to save on fuel, and reduce wear and tear on tires and equipment?

Companies could offer an additional 5 cents per mile to drivers who volunteer to have their trucks governed from 75 to 65, and companies would still come out ahead. Trucks are still idling away at the truck stops, and diesel is still high because demand is high.

Can you teach an old dog a new trick? Probably not. As oil prices continue to rise, it will be the government forcing us to learn, whether we like it or not.

Bruce Luetschwager
Griffith, IN

Thanks for keeping me in touch with the industry
I want to first thank you for a great magazine.

I grew up in a trucking family; my father has been a trucker for 34 years. At 63, he still drives over-the-road for Arnold Transportation. As a kid, I was proud of how my father could handle such a big truck, and I wanted to be just like him.

After my five years in the Army, I came home and got my CDL. After 14 years of driving across North America, I gave up driving civilian trucks and re-enlisted in the Army to drive for them in Iraq.

My wife sends me my subscription of Land Line so I can keep up to date on what’s going on in the trucking industry. Please keep up the good work you are doing for the industry I love so much. Thanks.

John Moore
Belvidere, IL

Some companies do right by drivers
This is in response to Francis Altland’s letter: “Will companies invest in idling solutions?” published in the March/April 2006 issue of Land Line.

I personally know of one company that does invest in idling solutions – Smith Transport out of Roaring Spring, PA. I have had the privilege of driving for this fine company for several years. I can honestly say the owner Barry Smith cares a great deal about his drivers.

I am currently driving a new Peterbilt 379 equipped with an auxiliary power unit on it. All of our trucks for about the past year have been getting the RigMaster installed. Along with satellite radio, it is about the best thing to happen to trucking – don’t know how I’ve done it 29 years without them both.

Just thought I’d pass along the info that there is one trucking company that ain’t all talk and no action regarding anti-idling.

Also, I’d like to thank Barry for caring enough about us drivers. I’m comfortable regardless of the weather.

Karl Osborn
Harrisonville, MO

OTA, mainstream in same boat – they don’t know anything
I heard that they did a survey in Ontario asking the public about limiting truck speeds. It seems that OTA and the public seem to have about the same knowledge about what’s really going on on Ontario roads.

In Ontario, the four-wheelers drive with speeds of 130 to 140 kilometers per hour on a regular basis. If you ever travel the Ontario Highway 401, you know what I mean.

If you are a big truck in the passing lane going 100 km/h trying to pass a slower truck, they give you the lights to get out of the way. They should really put limiters on cars because the majority of the cars traveling in Ontario never go into a state or Province where speed limits are higher than 100 km/h.

But majority of the trucks traveling Ontario roads also travel states and provinces with higher speed limits. OTA says that if you don’t support speed limiters you basically are speeding, i.e.: breaking the law. OTA obviously only thinks about Ontario and is really ignorant when you consider these facts.

Martin Fetz
Williamstown, Ontario, Canada

Indiana is the tip of the iceberg
Thank you, OOIDA, and the folks on XM Satellite Radio’s Open Road Channel 171 for helping us oppose the leasing of the Indiana Toll Road. Without your help we undoubtedly would not been able to pursue the constitutional challenge.

I view the leasing of our toll road, and the accompanying privatization of other roads in our state, as being just the tip of the iceberg. If we don’t stop this now, every state will begin tolling of every road that every driver will travel. This is not just for Indiana, it is for all of the country. Our roads were built with tax dollars, and should be free for everyone.

William A. Boyd
Indianapolis, IN

What a waste – of fuel
In this time of needing to save fuel, it is a shame that several states have unnecessary laws that force truckers to waste great amounts of fuel.

For instance, New Mexico does not allow rigs over 65 feet long to use most of the roads in the state. The company I drive for has to run close to 500,000 miles extra each year because of the 65-foot rule on a 12-mile stretch on state Highway 202 from the Texas line to U.S. Highway 70 between Muleshoe, TX, and Portales, NM. Because of this, we have to go 17 miles extra via Clovis, NM.

Our company alone has around 40 round trips through there seven days a week. Figures to 495,040 wasted miles each year. Figure no more than 6 mpg with the stop-and-go traffic and you get 82,507 gallons of diesel fuel wasted.

This is just one example of many around the country. It is almost criminal for a state to cause all this waste of resources. Now Arizona is denying access to Douglas, AZ, via U.S. 80 – telling us we have to have to go an extra 33 miles to get there.

Robert Johnson
Canyon, TX

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