June 2009 Letters

‘Jason’s Law’ a lesson for many 
I teach eighth grade social studies. One of the topics we cover is the Constitution, three branches of government, etc. We have a short unit on how an idea becomes a law.

I just printed out a copy of this bill to show my students. I believe in making things relevant, and this gives me another perfect opportunity to do just that! My students know that I used to be a professional driver. By showing them exactly how an idea (the need for more truck parking) can become a reality, it will tie into the curriculum in so many more ways.

The bill shows how the money is allocated, the jobs that are created – including not only the construction jobs, but the engineering, science and business parts of the projects – and finally the tie-in to “Jason’s Law.” Here in Georgia, we have a “Joshua’s Law,” and all of the students know about it because it relates to their driver’s license.

Again, thanks for your work in so many ways.

Jessica Thumser
Brunswick, GA

Above and beyond 
A driver named Al from Homerville, GA, I believe, blew my mind recently. While I was trying to change a blown outside trailer tire at a fuel stop just south of Bishop, GA, on May 5, this man went out of his way to stop after seeing me working on it without the proper tools, which I did not take with me. He stopped his truck on his way out, walked over and offered to help.

In 19 years, I have drawn a few spectators doing tire work as necessary, but never an offer of help. And he did help – handed me a big ol’ crow bar and a can of spray lube. In five minutes we were airing it up.

That one act of kindness has reminded me of just how good fellow truckers can be. Other OOIDA members might like to know a few of us are still left who go far beyond the call of duty to help each other out. And to Mr. Al, you can bet I’m passing it on.

Joe Powell
Pensacola, FL

The truck gets in your blood 
I would like to thank all the drivers out there who do this job from sunup to sunup. I’ve been driving 18-wheelers for almost 10 years now, and it gets in your blood. I don’t own my own truck, but given the chance I would jump at it.

My boys love waiting with Mom at the terminal for Dad to get back to blow the air horns. I figure in about 17 years there will be two more truckers on the road following in their old man’s footsteps.

I get Land Line Magazine and pore over it. We read it front to back. So, thanks to all the truckers who get it done, and thanks to Land Line for a very informative look at the issues facing all truckers.

Matthew Todd
Salem, WV

Parking needs can’t be ignored 
Reduced parking, no idling, two-hour time limits in rest areas, four-hour time limits in truck stops, on- and off-ramp restrictions, lane restrictions, road restrictions, emission standards, split speed limits, proposed speed limiters. Where does it end?

Why not take the abandoned rest areas and make them parking areas? Provide one dumpster for garbage and another for biowaste.

Dan Ort
Bay City, MI

Uneasy rest in Virginia
I read about the enforcement of the rest area two-hour time limits (Feb. 4 article on landlinemag.com). The Virginia State Police responded that they don’t choose which laws to enforce; they enforce them all.

If that is the case, then are the state police citing drivers for violating the 11-hour or 14-hour rules once they are forced to leave the rest area due to the time limit? The ticket for parking is undoubtedly less than the HOS citation, not to mention the implications of a tired driver on the highway and the possibility of being put out of service for violating the HOS.

Randal Bouwens
Newark, NY

Fuel taxes for highways
I’m sure you are well aware of the IFTA tax payments trucks are required to make every quarter. When this tax was implemented, the funds were to be used to maintain and repair the highways throughout the U.S. Over the years this would have amounted to quite a sum.

I think about this every time I bend a rim, rupture an air line, blow a tire, damage a shock, or break a spring when I encounter a large pothole on the highway.

The governor of Michigan has proposed that a fuel tax be increased to repair the existing roads. So what has happened to money that the truckers have paid for this purpose? If these funds have been diverted for other than the purpose of road repairs, then the agency or agencies should be made to account for these funds.

With all of the other expenses that truckers are subjected to, we certainly do not need to destroy our vehicles on poorly maintained roads that we are forced to pay for.

Willie Lewis
Herron, MI

Editor’s note: Hammering those who diverted money from the Highway Trust Fund and demanding solutions BEFORE taking the easy way out by selling our nation’s highways is a critical part of OOIDA’s core agenda. Thanks, Willie, for being a Life Member and adding your voice to the cause. 
– Todd Spencer