Line One
Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

OOIDA Life Member Leigh Moseman of Yantis, TX, would like to offer up some ROSES to an officer with the city of Lonoke, AR. Leigh was driving through there not long ago when the officer stopped him, not to give him a citation, but simply to let him know that his trailer lights weren’t working. Leigh had forgotten to hit the switch after he stopped to fuel up his truck.

Rather than slap him with a fine, the officer simply pointed out the problem, wished Leigh a good day, and told him to drive safe. Leigh said the officer was just looking out for his safety and compliance and is “one of the good guys.” It’s nice to know that the “good guys” are still out there.

RAZZBERRIES to the FMCSA for somehow missing some pretty significant details about at least one of the companies participating in the cross-border trucking program between the U.S. and Mexico.

OOIDA discovered earlier this year that Baja Express failed to disclose any affiliations with other motor carriers in its application for authority, even though it is required to do so. In fact, two other carriers are affiliated with the same person who applied for Baja Express. Both appear to be one-truck operations out of Tijuana and one has the same mailing address as Baja Express.

The FMCSA later issued a response saying that the application had been corrected, but that the wrong one had been posted by mistake. Right. It’s amazing how quickly the “corrected” version miraculously appeared only after OOIDA pointed out the lack of full disclosure in the original version. That’s a feat of misdirection and sleight of hand that would make David Copperfield jealous.

ROSES to the 68 members of Congress who signed a joint letter in March urging the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to take action to curb speculation in the oil market.

The letter cites a report from the St. Louis Federal Reserve citing two factors that contribute to large price swings at the pump. One is global demand shocks, which can be caused by things like the current situation with Iran.

The other – you guessed it – is excessive speculation, which the report says played a significant role in the record-setting oil price increases we saw in 2008 and is also playing a role in the current price run-up.

And while we applaud the members of Congress for taking a stand and sending this letter, we have to give some RAZZBERRIES to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission because, well, it really shouldn’t take an act of Congress just to get you to do your job.

RAZZBERRIES to the EPA and their budget proposal put before Congress earlier this year.

The proposal contained language that shows the agency is poised to develop a second phase of greenhouse gas regulations targeting the trucking industry in 2013.

Um, yeah, EPA, we haven’t even figured out how we’re going to comply with the first set of rules you just dumped on us last September and you’re already gearing up for round No. 2?

And considering that you didn’t even bother talking with actual truckers for the first round, we can only imagine what your communication will be like this time around. And, no, talking to your best friend’s sister’s cousin’s roommate who once knew a girl who dated a trucker doesn’t count.

RAZZBERRIES to the Transportation Alliance Bank for the fiasco that ensued in March when the company tried to upgrade its computer system. Technical glitches resulted in customers struggling with their accounts for more than a month after the upgrade, with some unable to get deposits credited and others unable to use their fuel cards at all, leaving them stranded at truck stops across the country.

Sure it was a mistake, but it was a mess nonetheless. So, razzberries to TAB for not being able to take care of its customers. We had reports from countless OOIDA members who sent numerous e-mails to the bank to try to correct their problems and received nothing in reply but overdraft notices that shouldn’t have existed in the first place. And this was several weeks after the upgrade. Some members report as many as 30 hours spent on their cellphone trying to correct accounting errors. Imagine the phone bills for that? While TAB might be waiving overdraft fees, etc. – you can bet the phone company won’t be giving anyone a break.

Sadly, this is not an uncommon story. Something goes wrong and, as usual, truckers get stuck with the “tab.” LL


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