Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

ROSES to truck driver David Warren Stone and his family for their handling of a tragic situation.

Stone was hauling a load of building materials near his home in Rocky Mount, N.C., last summer when he swerved to avoid a crash with a four-wheeler that had pulled into the intersection trying to make a right turn. His truck hit a bridge railing and slid down into a rain-swollen creek. He was killed in the wreck.

The driver of the car was a 16-year-old girl whose own father said she owes her life to Stone’s actions that day. Where Stone’s family comes into the picture is that his sons were able to forgive the driver, asking only that she plead guilty to a charge of failing to yield, pay the fine, and accept responsibility for the crash. Which she did.

It even brought tears to the eyes of the judge, who knew the father of the girl who was driving the car. Now ordinarily he’d probably have to recuse himself, but Stone’s family insisted that he preside over the case anyway. This is a tragic story, but it earns ROSES nonetheless for everyone involved for handling the whole thing with dignity and class.

RAZZBERRIES to the Reason Foundation for a study it published suggesting that all interstate highways should become toll roads in the future, with the average toll for a truck being 14 cents a mile.

Right. Because trucks clearly don’t pay enough to drive our roads as it is, what with fuel taxes, a heavy vehicle use tax, an excise tax on heavy equipment, tire taxes and registration fees. And let’s not forget the state mileage taxes and whatever other state and local taxes you’d care to throw in there.

Nope. Truckers don’t pay enough already, so let’s charge ’em even more. We’re not sure why it’s called the Reason Foundation when they obviously threw reason out the window a long time ago. 

RAZZBERRIES to U.S. Rep. Matthew Cartwright of Pennsylvania for his bill introduced in Congress earlier this year attempting to raise minimum liability insurance requirements for trucking companies.

Cartwright claimed it was all about safety, but a quick check into his background shows there’s more here at work. Cartwright is a licensed attorney and used to be part owner of a law firm that specialized in lawsuits against trucking companies. Who benefits from increasing the amount truckers are required to pay for insurance? Not the trucking companies.

The sad part is this isn’t even enough to violate congressional ethics rules. Someone needs to get Congressman Cartwright – heck, all of Congress – a dictionary. Because if this isn’t the very definition of a conflict of interest, we don’t know what is.

RAZZBERRIES to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which is planning to make another run at getting speed limiters into heavy duty trucks.

They plan to deliver a notice of proposed rulemaking to the Secretary of Transportation’s office in November on behalf of the ATA and Roadsafe America. Once again, they are claiming this is all about safety, but which is safer? Trucks that are forced to go slower speeds than everyone else, blocking roads, creating traffic problems and leading to unsafe maneuvering by four-wheelers trying to get around them? Or trucks that have highly trained drivers behind the wheel who can properly judge for themselves the safest speed for their vehicle and the conditions in which they’re traveling?

Where’s that dictionary? There are some folks in D.C. who could also use a proper definition of “safety.”

RAZZBERRIES to those geniuses who think it’s a good idea to heave rocks at vehicles on roads, like the case near Colorado Springs this past summer.

David Husman, of Colorado Springs has been charged with such a crime. He, along with a juvenile, allegedly went on multiple raids to throw rocks and other projectiles at passing vehicles from April to July of this year. The pair supposedly hid on overpasses or wherever else they could get a good view.

This is certainly not the first time we’ve heard of something like this happening, and the same question comes to mind every single time: Why? Who knows? Maybe these people are trying to get rid of the rocks in their head. LL

 

Got an idea for a ROSE or a RAZZBERRY? Email it to terry_scruton@landlinemag.com. You can also check out the official Facebook page at facebook.com/rosesandrazzberries.