Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, "Land Line Now" senior correspondent

RAZZBERRIES to the Texas law firm of Lee, Gober & Reyna for a piece they published a while back on the Law Firm Newswire blasting the Collins Amendment – which rolled back hours of service rules and prevented the FMCSA from enforcing new rules pending a study on the effects of those rules.

In the editorial, the law firm claims that “industry pundits suggest the trucking industry cheated to make sure they got what they wanted.” They also say it’s “an open secret” that the industry believes it needs fewer regulations.

Let’s straighten that one up right away. What the trucking industry wants is fewer regulations that don’t actually work. As for cheating, well, if you call lobbying lawmakers and working to make the voices of the actual human beings behind the wheel heard “cheating” then you need a lesson in Government 101.

RAZZBERRIES for the FMCSA for its confusing stance on driver privacy in the legal brief filed in response to OOIDA’s legal challenge to the electronic logging device mandate.

In addressing the shortcomings of electronic logs, the agency says the mandate is not intended to track drivers beyond the time they spend driving the truck and says that to automatically track all hours-of-service compliance of a driver (such as on-duty, not driving) would be intrusive to driver privacy and that isn’t what was meant by the congressional mandate.

But then they flip-flop by arguing that trucks don’t have as much of a right to privacy as a home, because trucks are part of an industry that has a long tradition of close government supervision. In other words, we’ve been watching you this long, we’re not about to stop now.

Well, which is it? Do drivers have a right to privacy or not? The agency seems to want to have it both ways whenever it suits their argument.

ROSES for OOIDA Member Mike Manuel from Front Royal, Va.

Mike is pretty well-known in the show truck circuit and took home a bunch of awards at the Wildwood Pride and Polish competition not long ago.

But where the ROSES come in involves the truck he created to win all of those awards. It’s a 2015 blue Peterbilt and a MAC curtainside trailer decked out in puzzle pieces – more than 2,000 individual ones cut and placed by hand. The truck is called “Autism: One of Many” and is dedicated to Mike’s own daughter Kara, who is 22 years old and is affected with a nonverbal form of autism. She also has epilepsy and is prone to seizures.

Her name is etched on a puzzle piece that sits inside the cab, just beside the shifter so she is with him every time he leaves home.

ROSES to an unnamed trucker whose dashcam video made the rounds online earlier this year after he helped a motorcyclist to safety on a busy highway.

It happened on Interstate 90 in Chicago when the motorcyclist’s bike broke down in heavy traffic. As she sat there trying to figure out how she could safely get out of the way, the truck rolled up behind her and stopped, forcing traffic to go around her.

Not content with that, the truck driver then slowly maneuvered his truck at an angle along the highway, giving the motorcyclist a clear path to the shoulder. No one else seemed concerned with stopping to help. It’s good to see at least some people are still looking out for others on the road.

RAZZBERRIES to people who keep thinking it’s a good idea to throw things at moving vehicles – whether it’s from an overpass or another vehicle. One of the most egregious examples was caught on a dashcam earlier this year near Mobile, Ala.

The video shows truck driver Charles Jones heading down Highway 98 near Mobile when someone launches a jug of water from the back window of a red truck. The impact, as you would imagine, shattered the windshield of Jones’ truck. To his credit, he managed to get the truck over to the side of the road without hurting anyone else. But for his troubles Jones was left temporarily blinded – his eyes swollen shut and filled with glass.

We report on dozens of these stories each year and it never gets any less stupid. Neither do the people who keep doing it.