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Roses & Razzberries

A bouquet of British ROSES goes to BBC News for a story it did not long ago featuring OOIDA member DuWayne Marshall from Watertown, WI.

The story, titled “A trucker’s view of the U.S. economy,” featured a ride-along with DuWayne, who was happy to share with the reporter a trucker’s perspective on fuel, the economy and truck stop food.

But rather than the one-sided hatchet jobs we’re used to seeing from some American media, BBC News presented a fair, honest look at the American economy and how hard it has hit the trucking industry.

And while we’re at it, here are some additional ROSES for DuWayne himself, for putting a positive image of an American truck driver out there for the whole world to see.

We’re not sure who gets this RAZZBERRY, but somebody deserves one for this whole situation.

Apparently, toll collectors on the Massachusetts Turnpike have been armed for decades.

But the Boston Herald reported that someone at the Turnpike Authority finally realized that the toll collectors had little training and were not properly maintaining the weapons, so they are being taken away. Seems like a good idea to us.

Apparently, not everyone agrees. The union is planning to fight the Turnpike Authority, claiming that the collectors need the guns to protect themselves when they’re transporting cash from the toll booths to a central holding facility.

We’re not sure that’s enough to justify having toll collectors armed. Seems to us a properly trained police escort could do the same thing.

Maybe they should take those guns and give them to Canadian border guards who half of, at last report, were still waiting for theirs.

A whole bunch of ROSES go to truck driver Leonard Roach of Villa Park, IL.

Leonard was traveling behind a car on Interstate 94 in Indiana when the car hit a patch of ice, lost control, and rolled over into a water-filled ditch.

The car landed in the ditch upside down and started to fill up with water. According to news reports, Leonard stopped his truck, ran to the car, pried open the door, and pulled the driver to safety.

The car was totaled, but the driver, Ernesto Soto, is alive and well thanks to, who else? A truck driver.

ROSES go out to the Virginia House Transportation Committee for killing a couple of bills recently that would have made life difficult for truckers.

In spite of the fact that Virginia State Police already have a procedure for investigating truck wrecks, one bill would have required truckers involved in wrecks to be treated with “reasonable suspicion” that they were driving under the influence.

What’s more, it would have applied only to CDL holders involved in wrecks.

A second bill would have required truck drivers to submit to random and unannounced drug and alcohol tests. Oh, yeah, and the truck drivers would have had to pay for the tests themselves, too.

We’re no legal experts, but we’d like to introduce the folks in Virginia who sponsored this legislation to a little phrase we enjoy at times like this: “innocent until proven guilty.” Oh yeah, and another concept called discrimination.

We’re glad those bills were dropped, but what we can’t figure out is why the people who came up with them in the first place are so concerned about truckers drinking when it’s quite obvious they’ve been tipping back more than a few themselves. 

RAZZBERRIES to the Department of Homeland Security for seriously considering new technology that would allow law enforcement officers to slow and stop vehicles’ engines with remote control devices operated from patrol cars.

And an even larger serving of RAZZBERRIES to the trucking companies who are using similar technology already.

While we understand certain safety concerns and the need for officers to be able to safely stop a fleeing vehicle to avoid a dangerous high-speed chase, the possibility of these things causing more hazards than they prevent is just too great.

Has anyone at Homeland Security ever considered what would happen if – forgive us for sounding like a bad spy movie – this technology were to fall into the wrong hands?

Honestly, if Homeland Security is so concerned about terrorists hijacking trucks carrying hazardous materials, why does the agency insist on creating technology that would just make it easier for them to do it? LL

Terry Scruton may be reached at