July 2010 Letters

Trucks hauling history 
Thank you for a beautiful article on the returning home of the steel “trees” from the World Trade Center (in the June issue of Land Line).

It was a very emotional and moving experience to watch on TV. My niece and nephew, Kaye and Bill Williams, were in one of the trucks hauling a part of the history made this day.

Your article touched my heart. I am so thankful for the people of Coatesville, PA, and to you for making it such an interesting event to read about.

Linda Owens Nicolai
Oklahoma City, OK

Memories rolling in 
I was extremely moved by the June cover story “Coming Home.” I was surprised by all the memories that came flooding back from the day the towers were attacked.

At the time of this tragedy I lived in Connecticut, and so many from that state worked in the vicinity or in the building themselves. I have spoken to many people, and they all remember where they were and what they were doing when the towers came crashing down.

I wish I was there to see those trucks roll through Pennsylvania and be a part of their emotional journey. By reading this story, I felt like I was a part of it.

Karin Richardson
Morgantown, WV

A cross-border experience
The cross-border trucking is a bad deal for American jobs as well as a liability. In 2008, I was in El Paso, TX, with an oversize load on the I-10. A truck hit my load on the right side while passing.

When he realized what he had done, he sped off at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of traffic. I tried to call the police, but I dropped my phone.

I tried to safely catch up with the driver. He turned off at the border crossing exit and proceeded through the border crossing. Because of traffic and safety issues (having an oversize load), I never caught up with the driver.

We need to protect our jobs and our citizens. Clearly, this is an example of some of the issues that we better consider before passing any cross-border trucking agreement.

David Hall
Buena Park, CA

Loan me some zeros 
Some years back we were at a Skelly truck stop east of Denver. I dropped a few quarters in a poker machine.

I started hitting right away, ran it up to maybe a hundred or so, and asked if they paid off. The machines paid off in tickets each worth a quarter that could be spent on anything in the truck stop. I played some more and cashed out.

I spent my $150 on stuff like a telescopic brush in case I ever wanted to wash my truck myself, a CB mic, and other odds and ends.

They gave me a receipt as if I had paid cash for the items. So for $1.50 I’ve got $150 worth of stuff.

At the time I was incorporated (my tax man always said this was saving me money), so as treasurer of my company I reimbursed myself $150 for the receipt.

Bottom line: I’ve got my toys in one hand, $150 cash in the other, and my company has a $150 write-off – all from six quarters.

It occurred to me that if you added a few zeros it might give us a clue as to how big business works.

Bob “Cowpoke” Martin
Lafayette, IN

Held hostage 
My husband is currently waiting at a distribution center in San Marcos, TX; which is 41 miles from home. His trailer is empty and has been for more than an hour. He is waiting for someone to break down the product and get a tally so he can leave.

His appointment time was at 5:30 p.m., and it is currently 11:52 p.m. He is out of hours and will have to shut down for the night before he can come home.

A pain in the rear end, but at least he is getting detention pay ... right?

No, this facility hires an outside lumper and then puts up signs that say that they don’t pay detention pay. The workers have not even started on breaking down the load, mostly because they got angered by my husband coming in and asking how long it was going to be until he could get the paperwork. So he is basically being held hostage.

It always amazes me how truck drivers are universally treated like some kind of lower class of human being. They put all kinds of laws and regulations on truck drivers, but it’s very hard to earn a living in this profession when nobody else needs to account for their actions.

Deanna Cumpston
San Antonio, TX

TWIC and FAST card use
I saw the article about TWIC (in the June issue of Land Line). My wife and I drive for an expediter. I have the TWIC card, and she does not. When we went to JFK for a pickup, I used my TWIC card as proof of who I was with no problem.

When we delivered to O’Hare recently, the warehouse/airline personnel had never seen a TWIC card. They took it to the back room to determine if it was official – even with the Transportation Security Administration logo on it. Seems all of the local pickup and delivery workers do not need them.

I bought this card with the idea of making life easier. Maybe the TSA should make this a requirement of ALL airport pickup and delivery drivers.

I also have a FAST card for Canada. None of the border people on either side of the Ambassador Bridge wanted to see it as an ID. They wanted my driver’s license.

Jack E. Berry
Racine, WI

Keeping up with changes 
I work as a safety director for a small trucking company in Fayetteville, TN. I thoroughly enjoy your magazine. It’s one of the few I read from cover to cover, and I’m always waiting for the next issue.

We have a lot of changes coming in 2010. I think I understand the point system against the truck drivers, but explaining to the drivers is another issue.

Tommy Pirtle
Fayetteville, TN

Parking ordinances 
I read the article about the Nebraska town backing off their truck parking ban (“Pushback from truckers fends off parking ban” in the June issue of Land Line).

The town I live in passed the same type of ordinance. It covered not only tractors, but also RVs, boats, and even at one time pickup trucks.

The ordinance is still there – only selectively enforced. Glad to see they backed off on it in Nebraska.

Casey Connors
River Edge, NJ