Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

ROSES to Bonnie Omernick and the rest of the folks at Point Diesel of Plover, Wis., as well as all of the truckers who came together to make the dreams of a 4-year-old boy come true. We were tipped off to this story by OOIDA Life Member Dick Pingel, who was one of those truckers.

It all started with little Christopher Thrun, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a form of brain cancer, in 2012. Christopher loves big trucks, and his dream was to ride in one. Well, back in October, more than 60 truckers – along with the Plover Fire Department and a bunch of other folks – gathered at Point Diesel to make Christopher’s dream come true.

Pingel said truckers were lining up to give this boy a ride and to bring up a bunch of trucking-related gifts. His mother told a local news crew that she lost count of the number of trucks Christopher finally got to ride on. And we’ve lost count of the number of times truckers have risen to the occasion to help out a kid in need, but we’ll add one more to the list.

Another month, another batch of RAZZBERRIES to a personal injury attorney targeting truckers. This one comes courtesy of Jon Osburn, driver of the OOIDA tour truck, who spotted a billboard for this guy along I-10 in Baton Rouge, La. The one Jon told us about is bad enough. It features lawyer Gordon McKernan standing atop the hood of a truck like Superman, offering his services if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a truck.

But we dug a little deeper and it only got worse from there. It turns out there’s another version of the billboard, this one in 3D. No kidding. It features the same setup as above, but the picture of McKernan is now a full-on, three-dimensional statue perched atop the hood of a truck like the world’s worst hood ornament.

His website goes even further down the rabbit hole, claiming that trucking companies have “unlimited legal resources at their disposal and will use almost any means necessary in defense of their driver.” If this is how he really thinks the trucking industry works, we’d hate to see how he thinks the legal system works.

RAZZBERRIES to Jack Baruth, a writer with Road & Track Magazine for a column he wrote in October expressing his desire to confine truckers to the right lane of all highways. Baruth suggested legislation that would require truckers to stay in the right line, like they have in Europe. Which would be perfect for him if he only drove in the left lane. Too bad most highway entrance and off-ramps are in the right lane. Think it’d be any easier or any less dangerous getting on and off the highway through a wall of trucks that are unable to move out of your way?

He does at least acknowledge that truckers can lose money because of speed limiters, even being generous enough to say he doesn’t “blame them too much for inconveniencing and endangering the rest of us.” Gee, thanks, pal.

He goes on to say that “when you consider the sleep deprivation and drug use to which truckers often fall victim, the argument for keeping them out of the way and restricting them to a lower speed becomes nearly unassailable.”

Yeah, except that you just spent most of the column complaining about being stuck behind a speed-limited truck. Like too many four-wheelers out there on the road, this guy can’t decide which direction he’s going.

RAZZBERRIES to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for tossing all logic and facts out the window and moving forward with their plans to increase the required amount of insurance for trucking companies. A pre-rule seeking the increase cleared the Office of Management and Budget in November, and could already be open for comments by the time you read this.

So let’s get this straight: An agency with the word “Safety” right there in its name, has spent literally years dragging its feet on creating training standards for entry-level truck drivers – something that would undoubtedly improve safety. Yet it is now fast-tracking a rule that would do nothing to improve safety and everything to line the pockets of lawyers everywhere. Maybe that “S” in FMCSA should be a dollar sign. 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.