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Roses & Razzberries

A secure RAZZBERRY goes to the Transportation Security Administration. Proving once again that our security officials are right on top of things, a contractor working with the TSA lost two laptops containing the private information of nearly 4,000 truck drivers.

The information included names, birthdays, CDL numbers and, in some cases, Social Security numbers. Oh, and the drivers were hazmat haulers. Oh, and it also happened within a week of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program starting up at the Port of Wilmington in Delaware.

The TSA later instructed the contractor to fully encrypt hard drives from now on. Call us crazy, but shouldn’t that have been the policy from the beginning? Why do the people charged with our security only seem to think of these brilliant ideas after the fact?

Anybody out there feel safer yet? We didn’t think so. Somebody needs to remind the TSA that Security is their middle name.

A West Coast RAZZBERRY to the California Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for recent hot fuel legislation that was signed into law.

The legislation calls for a survey and a cost-benefit analysis of the issue and requires that recommendations be made to the legislature about possible future regulations.

But, wait, I thought we wanted the government to take an interest in the hot fuel situation. Well, yes, but something about the California bill sounds oddly familiar. Hmm, where have we heard that before?

Oh, yes, here it is: A press release from the Partnership for Uniform Marketing Practices. That’s the group of oil companies and fuel retailers, many of whom are being sued in federal court about the issue of hot fuel.

“The coalition is asking government officials and regulators to conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit study of the issue…”

So, congratulations, California, for playing right into their hands.

A ROSE to truck driver Wayne Fittery, who was involved in a wreck with a school bus in Virginia back in October.

The bus pulled in front of Fittery’s tractor and he was unable to stop in time. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured.

But the students who were on board the bus later told WSET-TV, a local ABC affiliate, that Fittery was a hero. Fittery was injured himself, but he refused to accept treatment until all of the kids were safely off the bus.

The kids may have been the students, but we think everyone could learn a little something from Wayne Fittery.

Another RAZZBERRY to the state of California, this time for picking on an innocent truck driver.

Dave Seibert’s rig struck four cows that had wandered onto the road in Tracy, CA, last summer. The encounter caused more than $16,000 worth of damage to his truck. The cows had escaped from a nearby state-run dairy farm by knocking over a rotted wood fence.

At press time the state was refusing to pay. As if that wasn’t enough, the state’s attorney general sent off a letter to Seibert’s company claiming that Seibert spotted the cows 10 feet away and didn’t stop. The letter also alleged that Seibert was speeding because he told a police officer he was doing 58 mph in a 55 mph zone.

Mr. Attorney General, you obviously haven’t spent a lot of time around trucks, so let us clue you in. First off, three miles over the speed limit is hardly what any rational person would call speeding. Second, have you ever tried to stop a truck traveling faster than 55 mph in less than 10 feet? It can’t be done. It’s physically impossible.

And while we’re in an educating mood, do you know what they call a male cow, Mr. Attorney General? Bull.

Bunches of fully insured ROSES go out to the Geico insurance company. In the fall edition of the its customer magazine, the company ran an article titled “A View From the Rig.”

But far from being the usual stuff we’ve come to expect from the insurance industry – touting the dangers of big rigs on the road – this article instead urged Geico’s customers to use caution when driving around trucks. The article also contains information about truck driving, such as hours-of-service regulations, and tips from truckers themselves on how to best share the road.

We got so many calls and letters on this we just had to give it a ROSE. Maybe others in the insurance industry and elsewhere can take a lesson from Geico. Being nice to truckers – it’s so easy an insurance company can do it. LL

Terry Scruton may be reached at