Line One
Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

A very special bunch of ROSES goes out to all of the nominees for this year's Goodyear Highway Hero award.

The award is handed out every year at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, and every year these guys have some amazing stories to tell. This year, we had one guy who performed CPR on a man who would more than likely have died otherwise and another one who did the same thing to save the life of a 7-year-old little girl.

And that's not to mention this year's winner, OOIDA Member Tilden Curl, who rescued an unconscious man when the car he and his wife were driving stalled on railroad tracks as a train was bearing down on them.

There just aren't enough ROSES in the world for these folks who can truly be called heroes.

We have several RAZZBERRIES we need to hand out to Washington, DC, this time around, so let's start with the Environmental Protection Agency for spending U.S. tax money to fund emission retrofits for Mexican-owned trucks through the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

As of April, the program had doled out at least $78,000 in retrofit money. A spokesman for the Department of Environmental Quality told Land Line Magazine that the reason they are doing it is because of pollution problems in Arizona along the border.

That may be, but at a time when we can't even figure out how to fund our own transportation needs, do we really need to be sending more money south of the border?

And speaking of sending money south, we really have to give some major RAZZBERRIES to the U.S. DOT and the Obama administration for continuing to push ahead with the cross-border trucking program with Mexico in spite of opposition from pretty much everyone on the north side of that border.

We've listed the problems with this program before, but they bear repeating. It will cost U.S. trucking jobs at a time when the economic recovery is shaky at best; there are still numerous safety and enforcement problems that have not been adequately addressed; and the U.S. taxpayers should not have to foot the bill to place electronic on-board recorders on Mexico-domiciled trucks.

First it's retrofits, then on-board recorders. What's next? Why don't we just buy Mexico a whole new fleet of trucks while we're at it? Uh oh. We probably shouldn't have said that.

Let's throw a little affection Washington's way with some ROSES for everyone in the House and Senate who voted in favor of repealing the burdensome IRS Form 1099 reporting requirement.

This silly requirement became law as part of the Obama administration's health care bill this past year and would have required business owners to submit a separate 1099 form for business-to-business transactions that total more than $600 in a given year.

Thankfully, Washington was overcome by a rare fit of common sense and did away with the thing before it could do any real harm.


We have to give out a double batch of RAZZBERRIES to horror author Stephen King for taking several unfair swipes at truck drivers in his recent books.

The first happened in his book "Under the Dome," which featured a truck driver as a very minor character who was suggested to possibly be on meth. That might have been forgivable by itself, but his most recent book, "Full Dark, No Stars," is a collection of short stories, one of which is about a woman who is raped, beaten and left for dead – and who seeks revenge against her attacker. Bet you can't guess what her attacker does for a living.

As if that's not enough, in the afterword of the book, King explains that he got the idea for the story when he was at a rest stop and saw a trucker helping a woman change a flat (which is how the story begins in the book). So let's get this straight, you saw a trucker doing something nice and that gave you an idea for a horror story?

I know writers' minds work that way sometimes, but come on, Uncle Stevie, you can do better than that. Then again, this is the man who wrote and directed "Maximum Overdrive," so maybe we're asking a bit too much.LL