Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

ROSES to OOIDA Member Linda Caffee of Silex, Mo., for being awarded an Outstanding Trucker Buddy Award from Trucker Buddy International.

And the “international” part of that is key here, because the Trucker Buddy class Bob and Linda Caffee have been sending letters and post cards to is in St. Malo, France. It turns out a teacher over there got on the Trucker Buddy website and asked to be connected with a U.S. trucker. Bob and Linda certainly fit the bill, so Trucker Buddy made it happen.

The kids do reports on the postcards in English as a way of learning a new language. They also follow the Caffees’ blog and at Christmas time send them letters and photos of themselves.

So to the Caffees, as they might say in France, bravo mes amis!

ROSES to Montana trucker Matt Hopkins who, earlier this year, attempted to climb one of the world’s seven summits to raise money and awareness for Truckers Against Trafficking.

Matt set out to raise a goal of $22,837, a dollar for every foot of his climb up Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. Unfortunately, he was unable to complete the climb – which he attempted in February – because he developed symptoms of high-altitude pulmonary edema (or severe altitude illness) once he reached about 20,000 feet.

In spite of that, we still have to give a tip of the cap to Matt for his valiant effort to help out a good cause.

RAZZBERRIES to the Obama administration for its announcement earlier this year of a second round of fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks.

The announcement came in February, calling for greater efficiency for engines and powertrains, aerodynamics, weight reductions, rolling resistance and a number of other areas – all of which will surely add even more to the bottom line cost of a truck.

The trouble is, we haven’t even seen the full effect of the first round of regulations on the trucking industry. You know, the ones that started with the 2014 model year trucks? Yes, that would be this year.

Oh, and let’s not forget that earlier EPA mandates from 2004 through 2010 added $21,000 to the price of new trucks, sending the cost of doing business and staying compliant through the roof.

And now they want to add more to it? While we’re still ducking and dodging punches from round one, here comes the president with round No. 2 and the bell hasn’t even rung yet.

Seems to us like this is one fight where the fix is in and it’s not in our favor.

RAZZBERRIES to the National Transportation Safety Board for missing the big picture on one of the headliner items on its annual list of the “Most Wanted” regulatory items it wants to see happen in the transportation industry.

The board published its 2014 list earlier this year, and one of the top items on the list called for increasing the protection of vehicle occupants in the event of crashes. Which is a good thing, but apparently that includes only the occupants of passenger vehicles. The NTSB wants better occupant protection for cars, buses and even trains. Amazingly, trucks and truck operators were somehow left off that list.

Apparently the lives of truck drivers don’t matter as much as everyone else’s, at least in the eyes of NTSB. Especially when you consider that the fuel economy regulations we just mentioned will likely lead to manufacturers looking for ways to lighten the weight of truck cabs.

Let’s finish this with one more bushel of RAZZBERRIES and these go to Michael Lee Sherley, a truck driver out of Memphis, who recently pleaded guilty to the theft of an interstate shipment.

In May of last year, Sherley stole $73,000 dollars’ worth of canned corn from a truck stop in West Plains, Mo. Apparently he was part of a theft ring that would drive bobtail trucks through truck stops looking for unattached trailers. They’d hook up, drive the trailers off and sell whatever was in them for cash.

Now that alone would be RAZZBERRY-worthy enough, but the fact that the load of corn stolen by Sherley was on its way to an Arkansas food bank makes this especially heinous. I mean, really? I wonder if he kicked any puppies while he was at it. LL


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