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No cheap freight
It's about time someone said something that made sense. Well, (Jim Johnston) you're the man! In your editorial in November's Land Line, you covered all the corners. Not pulling freight without a surcharge. I know of several companies that don't pay surcharges, but owner-operators still pull for them. I have pulled stickers off my truck so many times the paint is coming off. If it don't pay, I don't pull it. It's that simple. I am no stranger to deadhead. I have done without from being that way, but the satisfaction from not pulling (back haul) or waiting at truckstops for loads gives me a cheap thrill. Real cheap, if you know what I mean. If I'm going to sit somewhere it's not going to be a truckstop or rest area.

Maybe if owner-operators would treat their business as a business, it would help. I have heard of brokers with forced dispatch. (Get real, whose truck are you driving?) Then you have the ones that cry 'cause they can't park anywhere. Plan ahead. The best one is, "Let's shut down!" Yeah, right. Hey, how about, "Let's not pull cheap freight!" It starts with every owner-operator as an individual running their business as a business. If you want to travel around the country and visit friends, buy a camper and leave the trucking to the truckers.

If you can't afford the fuel and you can't figure out your load doesn't pay enough, maybe you can afford a "For Sale" sign.

Bill Pelarske
Belleview, MI

Business sense
My copy of the November edition just arrived to be greeted with grateful appreciation. My first objective when I returned home from the post office was to skim the articles for the most penetrating comments.

René Tankersley's piece on Mark and Renee Taylor provided a significant complement for Randy Gunderman's commentary on produce issues. The lack of uniform business standards in our industry provides a fertile medium for multiplication of parasites that infect our relationships, activities, and most of our transactions. As a retired owner-operator, I can legitimately claim the plural first person possessive pronoun.

Mark Taylor described some of the hands raiding his pockets and Randy alluded to others. Together they merely touched the surface. The last 50 years taught me (and others who chose to earn a living behind the wheel) the depth to which the raiders reach. Unfortunately, Taylor's perspective on remedial action is painfully simplistic. He will be a great-grandparent before he notices any movement of shippers and receivers toward solving his problem.

When the generation before me was courting and starting families, men who owned a wagon and a team, teamsters, were building a business in the sectors active at that time. Men like Henry Wells (Wells Fargo) were not numerous, but they provided a service that was in demand and profitable. Businessmen are busy providing the same kind of service on a higher scale today.

Big players in high-tech business cooperate to set standards in that environment. We have in our membership the foundation for a cooperative organization. What we need is a business mentality.

Norman Gilbert Jr.
Auburn, NY

Listen up to the "Road Law" column
I am sitting here reading the Dec./Jan. 2000 issue of Land Line and came across the article in "Road Law" called "Take it off." If guys out there don't think it can happen to them, think again. I lost my truck and trailer and business because I didn't fight two tickets thinking that my state wouldn't get them. They did, and now I am stuck in a factory again. I would rather be in my truck.

I lost my license for 60 days, but the finance company didn't care if I couldn't make payments so they came and took it. Now I am here. So if you think it can't happen to you it just may. I know better now, next time I'll fight to keep my record clean.

Robert Johnson
North East, PA

Data logging units
I wish to offer a rebuttal to Mr. Hebe's article in Land Line November 2000. With the word "dissect." He said that the DLU (data logging unit) would record incidents outside the normal operating parameters, this would record the time of high rpms and the length of time that would equate to a violation of the hours of service. If the truck manufacturer can get this information, so can the DOT.

Robert Boyes
Ft. Gay, WV

Happy Valentine's Day, Jack
My name is Judith Vogt, and no you don't know me. But I know Land Line. As soon as it arrives, I usually sit at my kitchen table and read from cover to cover. It's always informative, helpful and understandable. (Some of us are not up on the latest jargon).

Anyway, to make a long story short, I lost my loving truckdriver in January 2000. I know I shouldn't ask, but here I am. I need to write a short note to my husband, and your magazine is where I'd like for it to be. It was his favorite. This is what I'd like to say:

Dearest darling Jack,

Honey, I miss you so very much. My days and nights are so empty without you. I know you're moving freight for God cause he needed you more than I did. So please rest easy and know that you are loved and missed, but never forgotten. I love you, heart and soul.

Your loving wife,
Judith Ann

Editor's note: Jack Dean Vogt, 50, of Maquon, IL, died Jan. 31, 2000, at Methodist Medical Center in Peoria, IL. He was a long-time subscriber to Land Line and an owner-operator leased to V.S.M. Trucking.

Remembering "Oatmeal Man"
I met Bruce Onnela in 1988. We passed each other and ran all night. Talking on the CB, we told our stories and ran the miles. Anyhow, my family and I feel for Bruce's family. I would have called or written to you all, but it's like a driver "losing the address." Last time we met up was in January of 2000.

Michael G.(Kodiak Bear)Maddin
Oak View, CA

Double and triple brokered loads
Many loads that go down the road are double and triple brokered and by the time the load gets on a truck, 30 percent of the revenue is elsewhere. If a company cannot haul a load on their own equipment, or a company has no equipment that they own or dispatch then they really have no business even booking a load. If the government would ensure that freight revenue goes directly to the trucks hauling the freight, that alone would solve a lot of problems that affect the trucking industry. Imagine a law that would require freight rates on a bill of lading. Such a law would sure be a wakeup call to many people. Many shippers do indeed pay good rates for their freight to be moved and yet by the time it trickles down to the truck there is no revenue left.

Berl Anderson
Calgary Alberta, Canada

Offended at T-shirt's message
I took offense at your advertisement for a T-shirt (November issue). We have enough people out there that can embarrass the pants off someone with their rude, foul mouths and lack of respect. Do we need to wear a shirt that flips off the oil companies? Get mad and angry about the fuel, but don't allow them to get in the mud with them. We are trying to present ourselves as honest hardworking men and women.

Margie Brewer
Sonoma, CA

Spelling it out
To Mr. Roger Bence, of San Bernadino, CA. He should be awarded "letter to the editor of the decade" for his insight into the problem and his solution in the November "Truckers Speak Out." He has my vote and anyone else's vote if they have a clue. Wish I could have spelled it all out as well as he did.

Michael H. Libel Sr.
Nortonville, KS

Still fighting the good fight
Why is it that only we (truckers) understand that "black boxes" are intrusive? We know from our experiences that the rules and regulations set forth by our government usually don't achieve the results they desire. They twist the stats to show just cause for the regulation's passing. These black boxes don't promote safety. Planes have them and they still fall out of the sky. These black boxes will become a new source of revenue for government agencies. If they are for safety then every vehicle in the U.S. should have one. Besides, 70 percent plus of the fatalities involving commercial and non-commercial vehicles are caused by the latter. We must contact our representatives every time there is one of these problems. I keep telling drivers to join the fight by joining OOIDA. You are our voice and our voice is heard loud and clear throughout the land.

Rick Miller
Ft. Worth, TX

Creating other problems
Some people think they (black boxes) will be the cure all and make the highways safer. Has anyone compared safety records of fleets that use them against fleets that don't? Has anyone looked at the down side of putting a clock going tick, tick, tick in trucks? Drivers will be racing the clock all day, taking chances to save time and make a few more miles. Will drivers slow for construction zones? Will we have even more trucks rolled over on on-ramps? Will we have more trucks making unsafe lane changes? Drivers will have no patience as they race the clock everyday. Tailgating will probably increase as drivers try and push their way through traffic just going a little below the speed limit.

City streets will probably be even worse, with drivers knowing that the clock is ticking. We will have drivers running red lights and stop signs, trying to save time. Speeding on surface streets will probably increase. On-board recorders might fix one problem and create a whole list of new problems.

John Grady
Hamden, CT

Twice as hard
It's obvious that the politicians delayed the passing of HR4441. All this play and no action has resulted in a lot of families going through unnecessary hardships due to profits taken from our pockets instead of those to whom the freight is shipped or received. It's a sad time in America as we are hauling for less and working twice as hard as we did in the '70s. So, it's not just the fuel surcharge we need, but the cost of living back to where we can survive.

Rob Rathfon
Duncannon, PA

Candid stuff
I agree with Jim Johnston's editorial (Nov. 2000). It is time to cut loose from the scum-sucking bottom feeders, as well as some fellow owner-operators who are doing just this. Also, the exclusive Land Line interview with Freightliner CEO, James Hebe. I was impressed by your candid approach to Mr. Hebe's first suggestion referencing the black box. If he is a man of his word, only time will tell. You may have a person here that is willing to listen, as well as talk. This sure would be different in our fast moving society.

J.R. Johnson
Williams, IN

Good service much appreciated
It is very difficult to find good service these days, and to have a business that truly cares about its customers, especially those with special needs such as truckers, is rare. The TA in Council Bluffs will definitely be a place we visit in the future. Our thanks to Tim, Andrew, Mick, Barb and the rest of the staff.

Mark R. Taylor
Warren, AR

Real men
This is a refute to Danny Jefferie's "Real men don't idle" in Nov. LL. I drive a truck and also I'm an owner-operator. So what if he's macho and doesn't idle his truck. There are a lot of drivers that run their engines because you get cold in wintertime, hot in the summertime. I'm not going to be in a truck at 10 degrees or 100 degrees in summertime.

James Ballard
Statesville, NC

The truck stops...where?
I just finished Paul Spillenger's article in the Dec./Jan. issue of Land Line ("The truck stops...where?) and wanted to let you know I thought it was informative and well written. It's obvious Natso's priority is to protect their members' pocketbooks, to the detriment of all and those we share the road with. I doubt if Dewey Clower and his constituency have searched in vain for a safe place to park and had to return to the highway angry and fatigued. This is one more example of why all drivers should join and support OOIDA.

Your paragraph at the end: "Ultimately, suggest some observers, the issue is really about the pressure on drivers..." is a very accurate summation of the complex dilemma that drivers face every day and night.

Paul Todorovich
Myrtle Beach, SC

"Rigged for danger?"
My reason for writing came about when I read the "Roses & Razzberries" section citing, "Rigged for danger.unnerved by those 18-wheelers? You'd better be." I hadn't read the article, but when I saw the razzberry awarded to it, I went ahead and skimmed through it. I think if the people who wrote that and the people who believed that opened their eyes, maybe then there would be less problems on and off the road. My request to these people is to take five minutes out of their busy lives to answer a simple question: Can you think of even just one thing not carried by a big rig? I would like to personally give a barrel of razzberries to the writer of that article and anyone who believes it.

Megan Bates
Mt. Laurel, NJ