Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

Here’s an unusual batch of ROSES because they go out to a law office that specializes in personal injury lawsuits. Never thought you’d see that, did you? Well neither did we. And yet we have to give these out to the law office of Aaron Sachs and Associates, which is based out of Springfield, MO.

Following a horrific accident on I-44 near Springfield that involved a smaller truck and a semi, the law firm posted a blog about accidents between big trucks and smaller vehicles. But rather than the usual ambulance-chasing screed about big, bad, evil trucks on the highways, this post got its facts straight: “The majority of collisions involving commercial trucks aren’t caused by truck drivers. More often, drivers of passenger cars and trucks are at fault.”

Well you could have knocked us over with a feather. But they got those facts from the Missouri Highway Patrol, which was also quoted in several news stories about the accident. So ROSES to the Highway Patrol for getting the truth out and ROSES to this law firm for hearing it. 

RAZZBERRIES to Congress for including the EOBR mandate in the final version of the highway bill, which was passed just under the wire in late June. It seems the letters and phone calls from truckers across the country fell on deaf ears and the mandate made it through.

But that was not the end of the story. At least some in Washington were listening, as Reps. Jeff Landry and Nick Rahall proposed a separate action that would prevent federal funds from being used to implement the mandate. The measure was approved by the House, and at press time had not yet been approved by the Senate.

So, in addition to those RAZZBERRIES, we also have to hand out some ROSES to Landry and Rahall for sponsoring the bill, as well as even more ROSES to each and every truck driver who called or wrote in urging Congress to drop the original EOBR mandate. This fight is far from done and we anticipate handing out a lot more ROSES before it’s over with.

Speaking of ROSES and the highway bill, there were a couple of good things in it that are worthy of recognition. First, Jason’s Law made it in, thus making safe parking for truckers a national priority. And we have to give a special bouquet of ROSES to Hope Rivenburg, widow of truck driver Jason Rivenburg, for never giving up the fight after Jason was shot and killed in a darkened, abandoned gas station parking lot.

The other ROSES in the bill are for a section that calls for a study into the crashworthiness of heavy-duty trucks, including roof strength, pillar strength, air bags, occupant protection standards, and front and back wall standards.

That particular mandate was the result of a long fight led by Sarah Van Wasshnova, whose husband, Carl, was killed two years ago while driving just 30 miles per hour. Carl veered to avoid a possible collision in front of him and hit an empty trailer. Sarah has been fighting for increased crashworthiness standards in heavy-duty trucks ever since.

So ROSES and hats off to both of these courageous women who continued to fight for their respective causes long after many people would have given up. Truckers everywhere should be grateful they didn’t.

OOIDA Member Jonathan Hayes of Lingle, WY, would like to send some RAZZBERRIES to his fellow truckers and other motorists who couldn’t be bothered to stop and help at the scene of a recent accident not long ago.

Jonathan said he and his wife witnessed the accident, which involved a big truck, and stopped to help – keeping the driver conscious and staying with him until paramedics arrived. During that time, Jonathan said not one other truck driver stopped to help. What’s worse is that his wife told him when he got back to his own truck that other drivers were on the CB making jokes about the wreck.

Well, Jonathan, you raise a great point. It’s bad enough that folks won’t stop to help, but to crack jokes while flying by a scene where a fellow truck driver has been seriously injured is just unconscionable. So RAZZBERRIES to those jokers, Jonathan, but ROSES to you for doing the right thing. LL


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