Line One
Letters to the editor

It’s the principle 
I would like to respond to the two members who seemed to think it was childish for someone to be offended by the Luxura III ad. They seem to think the girl’s attire was the only offending item. I believe it is more the principal of the thing. No one has any respect for others anymore. Land Line has shown their respect by removing the ad. For the ad to be effective, the assumption that a nearly nude woman will cause drivers to buy the product has to be made. While the drivers constantly searching for “Lucille” may see nothing wrong with this, some of us know that we need to carry a better image than that.

Ralph Fiscus
Harvest, AL

The answer to highway accident prevention
Kudos and roses to Ray Kasicki hitting the nail right on the head. Re: “Eighteen-year-olds driving 18-wheelers” in the June 2001 issue. When are people going to wake up to the fact that highway safety depends on how loose or tight the nut is holding the steering wheel? In addition, the sidebar to Ray’s column cites new technology to aid in lowering rear-end collisions. Technology may not always be the answer. The true answer to highway accident prevention is better driver training, tighter enforcement of existing traffic laws and methods to achieve highway courtesy, yielding and a back-off/avoidance attitude when it comes to driving in heavy traffic and tight situations. In other words, let the fools go so that you can drive and live another day.

Ed Chopay
Jamesville, NY

Green grass and tankwater!
Ray (Kasicki - June LL) is right when he concludes we need more dads, not schools to teach youngsters how to pass a test. An 18-year-old driving OTR with a trainer under the present system is a ticking time bomb, the “hot dog” scenario being only one of many potential disasters.

Many are advocating allowing 18-year-olds to operate CMVs without properly pondering the severe lack of supervision and adequate training. Like Jim Johnston and Ray Kasicki, I believe these advocates are seeking one thing only, that is, cheap labor at the expense of public safety. The myth of the driver shortage is green grass and tankwater. The only shortage concerns people unwilling to work an average 63 hours per week plus 40 more hours in the docks under the scrutiny of an alphabet soup of government agencies, all for an average annual income of $36,000 per year.

Paul J. Maine
Duncanville, TX

Laredo, for example
Laredo, TX, is a good place to see how safe those Mexican trucks and drivers are. I’m literally scared when I go down there, not knowing if they’re gonna pull out in front of me or pass me on the shoulder, or I might run over a piece of metal that’s fallen out from under one of their trucks. They could run a red light, go around RR crossing arms, or just flat run you over because you’re in their way. 

Legislators and congressmen need to go down there and see for themselves what life will be like with Mexican trucks on our highways with our wives and children and parents and grandparents on the road with them. 

We’re hauling goods and providing better service than ever. Why can’t we be paid for it? Rising fuel costs, falling freight prices – how much sense does that make? The people in Washington are starting to perk up a little. They now know that truckers do pay attention when they speak of us in their legislative meetings. But we have to push, push and push. Yes, we need a minimum tariff; yes, we need a tax break; yes, we need a fuel surcharge; no, we do not need Mexican trucks in our country on our highways. 

Jeff L. Newcomb

Don’t worry, we’ll find work
Teenagers in trucks? Don’t worry about those of us who’ll be put out of business, we’ll find work. Towing companies are going to be hiring wholesale. You know, we might even be able to get state grants to become EMTs, nurses, morticians or funeral directors. The possibilities are endless. There will be all kinds of work in these fields. We may even become DOT officers, although this job will not be as glamorous, there will probably be more on-site investigative work.

Wayne A. Warner
Milesburg, PA

Double standard for trucks
I am concerned with some of the problems on the road caused by lawmakers. The main issue is that there is a double standard existing on the highways. They have taught the four-wheelers that they are not only allowed to go faster than the big trucks, but they should go faster. The problem with this situation should be obvious, but apparently isn’t to the people who have set this standard.

Another issue is the restriction of big truck traffic to the right two lanes. These are usually the most congested lanes anyway, but now the states that are asserting themselves on this restriction have even more traffic problems in place on these two lanes. Road signs are harder to read and four-wheelers thinking they have the right of way often ignore construction merge signs not allowing the forced merge. Usually this is directly linked to this double standard. They fail to understand that every truck on the highway has thousands of dollars paid in road use taxes and permits in order to run in the states. They are allowing paying travelers to become second-rate travelers to the free-flying four-wheelers.

In my opinion this double standard is resulting in an ignorant driving population. Ignorant of the safest of driving rules which is to share the road. The reason for this restriction of truckers is vague at best, but the results of it are not. We live here. We work here. And I believe we should be allowed the freedom to do so without having to put up with legal segregation.

Floyd Dollar
Lanagan, MO

Unload your own freight 
I went to a place last week in Springfield, MO, called Clark Products. I wanted to put all their freight on the ground because they wanted $100 to unload their freight and we got into a word match and I lost. It sucks. They unload it, they make money by the hour, and I make mine by the mile. 

Steve Rohrs
Reeds Spring, MO

Move freight, make money
I would like to respond to the “Trucker to Trucker” fair share article. Wow, did Ray hammer the nail down on this article. I’ve been aware of the fuel discount deal and insurance and some other things. All the things in the article happen to owner-operators and some of them happened to drivers as with insurance, advances on cash, etc. That is why there is a shortage of drivers, but not really. The trucking companies are making money off the owner-operators and their own drivers. That’s why they don’t care if you quit. That’s why they don’t care if you sit around for two days. They’re still making money. We need the freight to move. That’s how we make money. But they don’t care. So as Land Line says, “Roses” – and ice cream and any other good thing to Ray and other OOIDA members for this outstanding article.

Dave Hicks 
Salem, AR

Eighteen-year-olds need close supervision
I’m writing in response to Ray Kasicki’s article on 18-year-olds in the June issue of Land Line. I agree with him 100 percent. When I hear the argument made for allowing 18-year-olds to operate 18-wheelers interstate, it’s usually accompanied by “18-year-olds are allowed to drive tanks and operate other sophisticated heavy equipment in the military.” What they fail to acknowledge is that in the military, 18-year-olds are under close supervision and discipline, subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which keeps them in tow. An 18-year-old over-the-road truckdriver would not be subject to any such restraints and would most likely behave like, well, an 18-year-old.

Jim Dougherty
Coatesville, PA

Truckers on the silver screen
I invite you to watch a movie that is currently being shown on HBO. The movie is entitled “Payback” starring Mel Gibson. This has only one scene involving a truck.

Mel Gibson has been captured by some bad guys and is being taken for a ride in a big Cadillac. He manages to get in some good licks, break a window out of the car and escape by clinging onto the side of a flatbed straight truck. Prior to this scene you see the driver of said truck, driving along with his cocaine on the steering wheel, snorting it and later of course, swearing because of almost spilling it as a result of the Cadillac bashing into the side attempting to knock the star off the truck. The entire dope thing was totally irrelevant. However, the perception is very evident.

Bradford Holt
Lomira, WI

Watch and see
On the border situation, being born and raised in Texas, my concern is cheap Mexican trucking coming up here hauling for half of what we are hauling for and anyone who thinks the large shippers won’t take advantage of that is blind. When the Mexican trucks come north, and sooner or later they will come, it will be devastating for Texas truckers. 

The large carriers, as well as the small, will utilize the Mexican drivers to fill the shortage. I’m already running into foreigners who are driving over here. Our politicians are fast putting this country out of business, open your eyes and look around you. Independents can’t financially stand much more, yet it seems no one is paying any attention or even cares except independent truckers and OOIDA. I have had several discussions with friends who are owner-operators and they speak of the same things. Time will tell. I’ll hide and watch now and see what happens.

Brandon Flynn
Hawkins, TX

Three big gripes
I am an owner-operator and have been around trucks all of my 27 years with my dad. He has shown me how to work on, load, and handle certain situations in trucking. Many of the older truckers have been an inspiration to me and took me under their wings to show me the real meaning of being a truckdriver. My major gripe is that so many “wannabes” are acting like they are it on the road and trying to be know-it-alls and loud mouths, but the truth is most of them barely know where the hood is, much less know how to check the oil.

My other gripe is all these driving-school students. I can’t blame them because all they know is what they have been taught, which in many cases is not a lot. I firmly believe that if these driving schools are going to teach they should not lie to the students when they say, “Fully trained in four to six weeks.” Someone tell me how that is possible! These schools train someone in the summer and turn them loose on the “grapevine” or some other mountain with snow and ice and expect them to know what to do. I believe this is one reason there are so many accidents with trucks and the insurance for drivers is going out the roof. 

My last gripe, is about companies like J.B. Hunt. They haul freight so cheap and make their money off volume. To me that is good if you are a convenience store, but when you are in trucking I believe this is wrong because it forces smaller companies to haul farther for cheaper, and this in turn is harder on the drivers being paid by percentage and the owner-operator. J.B. once said, “If he could clear two cents per mile he was happy and could make a fortune.” To me this is being greedy. I’m not picking on J.B., he is just an example of the many companies that do this everyday and I think it is past due for the real truckers and trucking companies to stand up and say enough is enough!

Brandon & Kathy Thorpe
Arcadia, LA

Article on Ruth
I love your magazine. I was an owner-operator for four years until I lost my truck due to a fire on March 13, 2001. I’m now a company driver again and will continue to be a member of OOIDA. Your article on Ruth Jones (July 2001) was very touching and informative. May God bless her and her family for her good work.

Leonard Casimier
Colonial Beach, VA

Reflect on this
After putting conspicuity tape on all my trailers, seeing how well it works and then reading a study by NHTSA claiming a 29 percent reduction in accidents, I believe it is something the nation’s railroads should be doing. Think how many fatal accidents at railroad crossings which are not lighted; obscured by fog at darkness, might be prevented by having railroad rolling stock glow in the dark? 

Chuck Dunning
Tonopah, AZ

Drivers, take care of yourselves 
My father Jim Shupe, an OOIDA member and very proud of it, is in the hospital. We thought it was a cold. To our amazement he was told through tests they gave him that he has two “pretty good sized” blood clots in his lungs. He doesn’t have any medical insurance. I know this is something that everyone should have and we have been trying to find him some for a while. But he thought that what they were asking for in charges was outrageous. Now we know the premiums are not as outrageous as the hospital bills now.

I want to inform all drivers out there this is a problem more common in your profession than others because of the sitting time drivers do. Be aware, the doctors say walk a lot, stop your truck and walk a good walk 15-20 minutes, every couple of hours. Get that blood circulating, get your heart rate going a little. Don’t just drive straight and shut off the truck and go to bed. Second, to warn drivers, my dad is a stubborn man and thought there was nothing wrong, with a pain in his side and getting winded walking. Get it checked. His foot would swell up and he still went across the country to deliver his load even though he passed his home state. Please go get checked because you could end up like my dad in the hospital, hooked up to machines and going on medication maybe for the rest of your life. 

Jodi Trujillo
Thornton, Colorado

Idling truck engines 
After reading the article in the August/September issue on “idling your profits away,” just wanted to let you know we have used Pro-Heat Auxiliary Heaters engine heaters for the past five years and they have performed excellently. I would recommend them to everyone in the trucking industry as a fuel-saving device.

Douglas Gravel
Dyersville, IA

Sounding off
I have been a member of OOIDA since I bought my first truck and have always agreed with you until this fuel surcharge. We need to get the government out of our business. I don’t want their help. I want them off my back. I can get my own fuel surcharge or a high enough rate to make a profit or I don’t take the load. It is that simple. If every owner-operator would quit taking loads just to cover fuel, the cheap freight would disappear.

On the point of younger drivers, I have mixed feelings. I have four boys. Two of them are 19 and 20. I don’t think they are mature enough. About the Mexico border, I for one am not afraid of the competition, but don’t give them U.S. tax dollars to re-do their trucks to meet our standards and then make me compete.

Herbert Carter
Cocoa, FL

Welcome to the NFL…
What is the comparison of driving at 18 to being in the military at 18? When I was in the Army, there were officers and NCO’s watching us most of the time. We didn’t wander off alone, unless going AWOL.

No one has mentioned the effect of driving on 18-year-olds. I believe the turnover would be close to 90 percent. Those people would be anti-truck because it would be a harmful experience for them. I think learning to drive at a younger age is beneficial. But, it should be under close supervision, like within a radius of 100 miles from home and not being gone over a few days at a time. There is a world of difference between being a star football player in high school and being in the NFL.

By pushing 18-year-olds into over-the-road trucking, we are, in effect, throwing a high school player into a pro-game, where only bad results should be expected. Don’t send a boy to do a man’s job.

Richard B. Hoban
Elkhorn, NE