July 2008 Letters

Hey, drivers, let’s fight these toll roads 
Where are the “No More Toll Roads” stickers on the back doors where the four-wheelers will see them?

Have we all forgotten that each time we buy fuel or gas we pay a federal and state tax that is supposed to go toward new highways and roads? Also, the same fund is there to keep our roads fixed. Your 2290 tax is supposed to go to the roads, too.

But our friends in Washington use this money as their personal slush fund, for projects not related to road repair or replacement. Now they’re shoving toll roads down our throats. Gonna take non-freeway roads? Yeah, right. Soon at every ramp you’ll see “No Trucks.”

Another thing: Repeal the contracts to foreign countries that are running our toll roads. No contracts to any company that isn’t U.S. owned. Keep our money here.

C.E. Benson
San Dimas, CA

Put a cap on fuel prices 
Why doesn’t the U.S. step in and put a cap on the fuel price, just as the NFL sets salary caps on their players? A cap on the fuel price per gallon and barrel is more important than those million-dollar ballplayers.

When the price of our fuel goes up, the price for the freight isn’t going up. I wonder what government officials would do if there was no gas, no food, no makeup, nothing in the stores on the shelves for their families to eat.

Dianna Mainus
Sallisaw, OK

Learning to survive without APUs 
Concerning an idling solution, I’ve been out here since 1963 and have seen some changes. 

Air conditioning, for instance. The trucks I drove early on didn’t have A/C. Then in the ’70s and ’80s we had A/C that didn’t work when it was hot. 

Now, I have a modern truck and an APU, but I don’t run it between 40 and 75 degrees. 

I have a $20 fan that plugs into the lighter and some blankets that work just great. I can’t wait for the day when everybody has to shut them down; it ain’t far off.

Bob “Cowpoke” Martin
Lafayette, IN

Driver courtesy – always in style 
After some 25 years, I have noticed things that need changing. For example, driver courtesy. We drivers used to signal other drivers when they passed us that it was OK for them to pull back in, or we winked a thank you after they signaled us.

More and more, big truck drivers are getting caught up in the four-wheeler world of not signaling at all. We are the professionals and need to set the example.

Ed Deusenberry
Carson City, NV

Building Web sites better than blowing horns 
Nice try circling the wagons around DC, but this attempt to get attention keeps falling short. Congress can live with this kind of aggravation and hide under their desks.

Why is there no pain at the congressional level? Simple: There is no pressure from the American public. 

As we learned from the political races, huge sums of money can be raised with little expense by using 21st-century technology readily available. The linking of professionally created Web sites is the most powerful tool at our disposal.

We have something significant to say to the nation and need to be saying it! Not by blowing horns in DC, but by changing hearts and minds with facts that are visually and logically presented through mass media and interactive Web productions.

Bob Watkins
Oklahoma City, OK

Thanks to OOIDA for fuel surcharge testimony
A big “hell ya” to Todd Spencer. Thank you for your voice and testimony in front of Congress.

Carey Laue
Dawson, IL

Veteran driver questions interpretation of ‘TV’ reg
I just read your daily news story online about Arizona citing truckers for having laptops in their cabs. I hope OOIDA views this as an important enough issue to join this fight. I believe more drivers are affected by this stretch of the law than are affected by lawsuits regarding fraudulent leases.

During a 25-year law enforcement career followed by seven years as both a company driver and owner-operator, I used laptops in patrol units and big trucks. In the big truck the GPS was invaluable in shortest routing and trip planning.

E.C. Proft
Elephant Butte, NM

Editor’s note: Staff Writer Charlie Morasch asked FMCSA if Arizona was interpreting the reg correctly. So did the Arizona DOT. Find out what happened next on Page 41.

ATA speaks for multinational corporations, not U.S. truckers
I saw Brett Baier of Fox News reporting on a trucking strike. Unfortunately, the drivers were misrepresented. The ATA does not speak for the professional drivers. They do speak for the multinational corporations that run trucking in America.

More drivers are represented by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. No independent truck driver that I know wants speed limiters. These trucks are not only our work vehicles, but also our offices, homes and personal vehicles.

The ATA advocates 68 mph limiters to decrease competition by slowing down independents. Look at the makeup of the ATA and what speeds their company trucks are allowed to achieve. The vast majority are already set at 65 mph or less.

During the past year, when the ATA tried to fight a war on two fronts, they lost the limiter war and almost lost the HOS one as well. Now they say that speed limiters will decrease the amount of fuel used.

First, it was supposedly about safety, then the environment, and now to save fuel. How conveniently they change tactics, looking out for their agenda – not drivers, but companies and corporations.

Stacey L. Marsh
Washington, IL

Knowing costs best strategy for survival 
Costs per mile decrease a small percentage when miles increase; however, fixed costs are not the same for all drivers. What I consider fixed costs, another driver may consider variable. Owner-operators need to figure out what their costs are and fix their fees accordingly.

Owner-operators need to remember that it is a long-term commitment to build a company, whether it is one truck or 100. Business owners have to know what their profit-and-loss statement looks like and make corrections necessary to remain in business.

We need to remember that we became owner-operators because we wanted to be independent.

Kurtiss Olson
Laveen, AZ

Controlling violent tempers to save lives 
The senseless behavior of some drivers today can become dangerous. I am a 6-foot-2-inch, 210-pound, 52-year-old Marine. I am not bad or mean. I am sensible, do not scare easily, and tend to side with an underdog. I have a temper (nothing to be proud of) that has taken me years to learn to manage.

The other day I was in Gulfport, MS. As I fueled, a guy blew the heck out of his horn at another driver who was trying to back in. The horn honker was in a hurry and was temporarily blocked. I went over to help the other guy back in, and the fool with the horn decided to vent. I told him to knock it off.

He got out with a tire knocker, standing there like he was in the hood, but he didn’t even know how to hold it for a combat situation. I could have gotten under his swing and stopped the threat.
I realized it wasn’t worth it. I told him to calm down, went back to my fueling, and he made no further threat. That guy will never realize how close he came ...

People, don’t create a situation that will ruin your life. Jumping on or at someone can cost you your life.

Thomas Duncan
Gladewater, TX

Idling laws designed for revenue 
These officials who keep passing laws say that they are for environmental protection or safety. Why not state the obvious? They are for revenue.

Now the idling laws are going into effect all over. Some tickets are $300 or more. The folks passing these laws live in million-dollar homes and burn enough electric power to supply a small town while they expect a driver to smolder in the heat or freeze just so they can get their goods.

Don’t preach about a hardworking man just trying to get a rest break. Change the laws that affect the job that I do.

Milton Chapman
Byram, MS

High European fuel prices caused by higher taxes 
I read an article about the cost of fuel, and yet another blowhard said we should feel lucky we aren’t in Europe, because they pay much more.

Of course they pay much more. Most of their costs are in taxes, which are higher. But most of Europe has some sort of socialized medical care. Plus, most of Europe is accessible by public transport, subsidized with tax money.

Ian Hawkins
Schererville, IN

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