February 2009 Letters

Where’s the trucking industry bailout? 
If the government is going to bail out housing, banks, insurance companies, chili farmers and the auto industry, what is wrong with them helping bail out the trucking industry? 

Owner-operators are barely getting miles, not enough to make truck payments. We need help the same as others.

Gary Kucera
Rio Rancho, NM

Speed limiter danger 
The new speed limiter laws in Ontario and Quebec could potentially cause many fatal accidents. Currently imposed speed limits should be enforced, but taking control of the vehicle away from the operator creates a serious safety hazard. 

I have been delivering freight in different countries with trucks, buses and other rigs for 30 years now and have legally organized off-road racing experiences. 

In about 80 percent of hazardous situations, it is best to slow down. 

However, in the other 20 percent, the driver’s only chance of piloting through this situation without loss of life or damage to equipment or freight is to accelerate. 

With a castrated vehicle, the driver will not be in complete control.

At times I have had to accelerate, hard brake or take some other evasive action just to avoid some dingbat who is not paying attention or is driving aggressively. 

I encourage OOIDA to continue the fight on this issue. The governments of Ontario and Quebec are way outside their jurisdictional reach by requiring that drivers have no way of resetting this dangerous computer parameter when leaving the province.

Kevin DeSilva 
Cambridge Narrows, 
New Brunswick, Canada

We are 6 million strong 
This is an answer to Frank Spadafore’s letter in the October issue of Land Line: “Election Day: Time to clean house.” I want to thank him for serving in the military and helping preserve our freedom.

What has happened to us – the drivers and owner-operators – is this. The people in charge of the trucking companies are afraid of what our government can do to them financially. These companies could have stood behind the drivers and just said “no.” But, no, money has won over right again.

Then we have these pantywaisted drivers who have no business driving a bicycle, much less a big rig, who won’t stand up for their rights.

With a group of 6 million in the trucking industry, we could have it our way. Maybe someday they will wake up before it is too late.

Jerry O’Daniel
Savannah, TN

Editor’s note: Now, more than ever, it makes sense to join and support OOIDA.

ATA’s plan not just about safety 
Two items on the ATA’s 18-point safety plan are not about safety: “Advocate for a national maximum 65 mph speed limit” and “require electronic speed governing of all large trucks made since 1992.”

The only trucks I see speeding are the ones from mega-carriers, which are already governed down to 60-65 mph. They speed in work zones, school zones and truck stop parking lots. 

Is the real answer that the ATA wants to put owner-operators out of business and put the freight on company trucks, since an owner-operator can do it cheaper and safer?

Now the National Transportation Safety Board wants recorders in all trucks built after 1992. 

Isn’t this the group that took away the split sleeper berth? Sleepy drivers have to keep trucking because their logbooks won’t let them nap.

The trucking industry has never been safer or run more compliant. Quit messing with what works. This country cannot afford for us to lose production in these trying times.

C.E. Guintard
Grand Lake, LA

Energy solutions: Truckers can be a powerful voice 
It isn’t right that the big oil companies can hold up the nation with their outrageous prices for fuel. You guys are the main transportation for everything sold in the U.S, which puts you in a position of power.

America needs to have its own energy supplies, and it needs to not be petroleum.

The nice thing about the Pickens Plan to use natural gas or propane to run your trucks is that we’ve got a lot of it, which is being burned off and going to waste. Methane can be a renewable resource, recycled from water, excrement and weeds. That is the best solution because it solves a pollution problem while producing energy.

Biofuel made from corn is BS because it costs more to make than it’s worth, and it screws up the little independent farmers the world over. Corn should be used for feeding people and livestock, not wasted on making fuel.

I am just an ordinary person, not a trucker, but as U.S. citizens and consumers, we depend on you guys.

Gail Feddern
Tavernier, FL

Getting the word out 
Truckers know what’s going on in the industry, but the American public does not. So let’s leave our old trucking magazines at the laundry, doctor’s office or even loading docks for others to read.

Paul Mangione
Warrenton, MO

What? Two-hour limit at VA rest areas? 
Why did Virginia put up “two-hour parking limit” signs at the rest areas?

I know we should plan to make it through there without having to stop, but let’s be realistic. I was to deliver in Richmond. I planned to take my 10-hour break at the only truck stop on Interstate 64 before reaching Richmond because I was to deliver in the morning. As usual, no parking available. I also knew that I couldn’t park at the consignee.

I took a chance and parked at the rest area just west of Richmond and, sure enough, I was told to vacate or be ticketed. The officer knew I was going to be messed up (not illegal) on my hours.

What’s with the limiting of the rest areas? It’s not because they want us to move on so someone else can take a break. Could it be because Virginia, like Maryland, doesn’t want trucks in their state so they hassle us all they can?

Let us take our 10-hour breaks. Some states even have signs reminding us to take a 10-hour break at rest areas.

Chan Simson
Mount Nebo, WV

Editor’s note: Some clues to the reason can be found in Clarissa Kell-Holland’s parking round up on Page 38 of this issue. And FYI, an OOIDA member called us recently, saying a truck stop in New Kent County, VA, just posted signs that limit parking to four hours. Insane! The signs claim it’s a county ordinance. Virginians, call your lawmakers. All new contact info is on Page 44.

Raising fuel taxes
I read in an Associated Press article in early January that since the fuel prices were down because of low demand, less driving and fuel-efficient practices, a so-called federal commission, or “think tank,” feels the price of gas should go up 10 cents and diesel up 12-15 cents in taxes to fund the highways.

Taxpayers try to follow their bright ideas and regulations: less driving, slower speeds and the infamous idling restrictions, and now they will raise taxes after you forked out the money for an APU.
It is plain stupid to say the taxes should be raised because of less fuel use. If the economy was not such a mess, truckers would not be driving less and using less fuel. Why are we being taxed more when it’s been proven that diesel costs less to produce than gas?

In the past, all that money from the highway funds was wasted to build resort-type rest areas or noise barricades along the interstates. Highway funds were also spent on rapid transit railways.

Dennis Johnson
West Salem, OH

Indiana boondoggles
The Indiana governor and state legislature must answer to the squandering of billions of dollars received by leasing the I-80 toll road to Spain and Australia. They also want to expand I-69 all the way to Evansville and then turn it into a toll road. 

The closing of the rest areas will only result in more tickets for using on and off ramps to rest when we  need it.

Amazing the people south of U.S. 30 don’t know anything about the sale of the I-80 toll road. Not to mention it was never brought up in the last election.

Anthony Steckly
Elkhart, IN

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