Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

ROSES (and a bag of peanuts) to a pair of elephants who helped rescue a truck they were riding in when it got stuck in the mud somewhere between New Orleans and Dallas.

It happened back in March on Interstate 49 when the 18-wheeler pulled off the side of the road and got stuck in the mud, according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s office. When sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene, they were surprised to find two elephants outside the rig, using their weight and strength to keep the truck from overturning.

The elephants were being transported from Florida to a circus in the Dallas area when they were enlisted to help with the truck that was carrying them. How would you enter that on a logbook?

OOIDA Life Member Michael Goldstein of Caddo, Texas, sends out some ROSES to Wells Fargo for a cool ad they ran awhile back featuring a truck driver. The driver was shown stopping every now and then to pick up small rocks as he made his way across the country. The viewer is left wondering why until the driver gets home and gives them to his young daughter, telling her about the places he got them.

As she joyfully adds them to her collection, a voiceover touts the fact that Wells Fargo can help the driver save up money for his daughter’s education – so she can one day become a geologist.

It’s a sweet ad that, thankfully for a change, portrays truckers in a positive light.

ROSES to OOIDA Senior Member Danny Schnautz for his testimony before a congressional subcommittee laying out the truth about the FMCSA’s deeply flawed CSA program. Schnautz told the committee that it is, in fact, entirely possible for a safe carrier to get a poor safety rating under the system and that the FMCSA’s standards for compliance were impossible to meet.

Schnautz also called out the FMCSA for its ongoing focus on technology, saying that it actually makes the roads less safe by putting more pressure on drivers. While we’re at it, we’ve also got to hand out some ROSES to Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., who is the chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee Schnautz testified before. Graves took the FMCSA to task for its push to increase insurance requirements for truckers calling it “a solution in search of a problem.”

If you’ve ever wondered whether politicians listen when OOIDA asks you to make those calls, well, here’s your answer.

ROSES to OOIDA members and, well, everyone involved in the annual Mother’s Day Convoy for Make-A-Wish. A convoy of 380 trucks rolled through central Pennsylvania on Mother’s Day, May 10, raising more than $300,000 for the Philadelphia, Northern Delaware and Susquehanna Valley chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The annual Mother’s Day Convoy is the primary fundraiser for the foundation, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. It started 26 years ago when a young boy expressed a wish to ride in a truck and talk on the CB radio. More than 40 truckers responded, and the charity event has grown steadily since. About 100 Make-A-Wish children rode along with truckers in the convoy this year.

The amount raised typically grants wishes for 30 to 35 children.

RoadPro Products, a $20,000 sponsor of this year’s convoy, called it “the most beneficial traffic jam of the year.” We couldn’t have said this better ourselves.

RAZZBERRIES to the American Trucking Associations for twisting statistics about truck speeds and accidents to fit their argument in favor of speed limiters.

Earlier this year the ATA issued a statement urging the government to make speed limiters mandatory on all trucks and lower the national speed limit to 65 mph. The statement also claimed that driving too fast was the primary cause for 18 percent of all fatal accidents where a large truck was found to be at fault.

However, OOIDA and the National Motorists Association pointed out that most fatal crashes involving trucks in recent years were on roads that already had lower speed limits and that many larger fleets already have speed limiters and still have higher crash ratings.

What’s that old saying about lies, damn lies and statistics? LL