Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

ROSES to the folks at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems of Elyria, Ohio, for working with Habitat For Humanity to help provide a home for a local couple. More than 140 Bendix employees volunteered to help as part of the company’s employee volunteer program.

According to the Medina Gazette, many of the employees had little to no homebuilding experience, but wanted to help anyway. A spokeswoman for the company said the employees typically give back through fundraising and donations, but wanted to do more this year.

And that they did – building most of the home’s walls and kicking in $1,500 for the roof along with $5,000 toward a wheelchair lift for the 3-year-old son of the couple who will get the home. It’s good to see a brake manufacturer give folks a break of a different kind.

ROSES to everyone reading this who took the time to call their legislators during the battle against increasing insurance requirements for trucking operations that unfolded in Congress earlier this year. Thanks to your efforts, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to strike down an amendment in an appropriations bill that would have canceled out a provision that prohibited federal funds from being used to carry out the insurance increase.

In other words, the amendment would have helped clear the way to make life a lot more expensive for truckers everywhere. We don’t think we need to tell you again how ridiculous the whole idea is, because you’ve clearly gotten the message. And now, thanks to your e-mails and phone calls, Congress is getting the message as well. If someone would only pass it along to the FMCSA …

RAZZBERRIES to the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute for going ahead with a study examining the prevalence of sleep apnea in the Canadian trucking industry. While there would be nothing wrong with a study like that in and of itself, the problem is that the Institute is partnering with a company called BresoTec that, you guessed it, manufactures sleep-testing equipment and other sleep apnea-related products.

To be fair, someone has to provide the sleep-testing equipment that will be used in the test, but as our own Dave Tanner found out, BresoTec is hardly the most objective of partners. In fact, one of their products was developed by a team of scientists that includes Dr. Geoff Fernie, a biomedical and mechanical engineer who is also the director of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (you may remember them from the previous paragraph as the group that is conducting this “objective” study).

So the research group conducting the study is very much in bed with

the sleep apnea equipment manufacturer – and we don’t know how any of them sleep at night.

RAZZBERRIES to Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and some members of the state legislature for coming up with a plan that would add electronic tolls to major roadways, including federal highways, to pay for road funding projects. The hitch? It would apply only to trucks.

Yep, you read that right. A toll for trucks only. Oh, but don’t call it a toll. Federal law prohibits tolls on roads or bridges funded by the Highway Trust Fund, so they are calling it a “user fee.” Too bad it doesn’t apply to all users. But that doesn’t matter. Let’s just call it what it really is – a tax on truckers.

RAZZBERRIES to The New York Times for an editorial that ran in the paper this spring that got, well, pretty much everything wrong about trucking and truck safety. It started off by saying “the trucking industry is again pushing Congress to allow bigger and heavier trucks with overworked drivers behind the wheel and onto the country’s roads.”

Excuse us? We happen to think OOIDA is a pretty good representation of the trucking industry – the real trucking industry made up of small-business operations – and we can assure you that the “industry” wants no such thing.

The editorial went on to take a swipe at the battle over the 34-hour restart, once again demonstrating the mainstream media’s complete lack of understanding of how the trucking world really works. While we agree with the editorial’s overall stance that longer, heavier trucks would be a bad thing for our nation’s highways, we don’t agree with the low road the Times took to get there. LL