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Roses & Razzberries

Ever catch the kid's television news show Real Life 101 on the UPN network? The title of one of their recent segments was "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Each child participated in the occupation of choice. One of the children who rode along with a truckdriver on a long haul was prompted to say he was bored and had not slept for 13 hours.

Razzberries to the kid, who apparently doesn't know how french fries and Star Wars lightsabres are delivered.

But roses to the trucker, who is rumored to be in intensive psychiatric evaluation after having to sing "The Wheels on the Bus" more than 2,000 times.

Roses to two truckers who aided police by using their trucks to block traffic after a 17-year-old boy dove off the Route 173 bridge onto the Tri-State Tollway in Illinois. Lake County Sheriff Sgt. Scott Robin and a local school counselor praised the unidentified drivers for their quick action in diverting rush hour traffic around the incident.

Susan Moorhead of Parade Magazine deserves a razzberry for her sensationalized report entitled "Today's Biggest Highway Hazard." While Moorhead offers seven strategies for ensuring the safety of the driving public when cruising in heavy truck traffic, she omitted one important strategy for ensuring her information was accurate. Trucks do not cause 444,000 wrecks a year, Sue. They are involved in that many, but according to a recent FHWA report, truckers were not at fault in 73 percent of fatal crashes. Where both drivers survive, the report says truckdrivers were at fault in only 34 percent.

Roses to Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz who was named NBA's Most Valuable Player for 1999. Malone, basketball superstar and owner-operator, is also a valuable player in the trucking industry, using his celebrity status to bring attention to the importance of sharing the road with big rigs. Malone was recently presented with a highway safety award for his active participation in the FHWA's Share the Road/No-Zone public education campaign.

The Amarillo Daily News featured a lengthy article on June 5 about the manufacturers' demand for Class 8 trucks, crying that it meant "no end" to the stream of big rigs on U.S. roads. Assistant city editor Bruce Beck was concerned for "safety," because more trucks mean more inexperienced drivers. Beck made no mention of the increase in youthful motorists, most of whom have no training at all. Trucks make up less than four percent of the nation's traffic. And as long as there are big trucks on our country's highways, there will be "no end" to your food, clothing, and virtually everything else you need. Razzberries, Bruce! Do your homework.

Razzberries to Kansas City television station KSHB-TV Channel 41. The 10 o'clock news recently featured a preposterous bit portraying truckers as weed-smoking, scale-dodging misfits who drive unsafe trucks. Several super troopers, seeing this as an opportunity to screen test for "Top Cops," were quoted as finding four safety violations on every truck they inspect.