Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, "Land Line Now" senior correspondent

ROSES to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who, earlier this year, stopped off at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop in Walcott and did the unthinkable – actually spent some time talking to truck drivers. Zuckerberg has said he wants to spend time with real Americans and hear about their thoughts and concerns. He no doubt got an earful from the never-shy trucking population.

Zuckerberg said he talked to one trucker who put eight kids through college and another who team drives with his wife from Chicago to Reno every week along with their three dogs. But more than that, he also talked to drivers about the issues and challenges they face – specifically with regard to electronic logs and autonomous vehicles.

Zuckerberg seems to support both of those ideas – but we have to give him credit for reaching out and spending time doing what so few others will do.

ROSES to David Schwartz, a man from – fittingly enough – Rose Creek, Minn., who hauled bales of hay from his farm all the way to Kansas last spring to help the victims of wildfires there.

While many folks did things like this to lend a hand during those trying times, what makes Schwartz’s actions especially ROSE-worthy is the reason he did it. According to KTTC, an NBC affiliate out of Rochester, Minn., he did it to honor his wife, Mary, who passed away back in February. Schwartz also lost eight other friends and relatives over the last two years and wanted to honor their memories as well.

So Schwartz loaded up his Freightliner and joined a group of fellow farmers from the area, hauling more than 41 tons of his own hay to five families who had lost about 40,000 acres to the fires.

A fitting way to remember beloved friends and family, to be sure.

ROSES to an editorial that appeared on NorthernAg.net, home of the Northern Ag Network – a news source for agricultural professionals Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. The editorial was written by truck driver Logan Yost and railed against the ELD mandate, outlining some of the real-world consequences if it should come to pass.

Yost wrote that under the mandate “it will no longer be possible to get cargo delivered in the safest or most efficient way possible. There is now a literal race against the clock.”

He talked about the possibility that ELDs will make hauling goods more expensive and therefore drive up the costs of those goods and how the mandate presents a danger to livestock.

A tip of the cowboy hat to Logan for a very well-written piece highlighting the problems of this not-so-very-well-thought-out regulation.

Some memorial ROSES go to the timely demise of a bad regulation. The so-called minimum insurance requirement regulation, which would have increased the amount of liability coverage truckers are required to carry, was unceremoniously killed by the FMCSA earlier this year.

And while we can’t give ROSES to the FMCSA for that because (let’s face it) they never should have considered it in the first place, we can certainly celebrate the fact that it is gone. This was a bad idea from the beginning that had nothing to do with safety and everything to do with money.

And while there is always the chance it could rise from the grave like the horrible monster it is, for now it is dead and the village is safe. Here’s hoping many more monsters are slain this year.

RAZZBERRIES to Wisconsin Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, for a proposal that would see heavy trucks paying a per-mile fee that would go toward the state’s transportation fund. While we’re certainly in favor of transportation funding (yet another method that targets truckers only), ignoring the millions of other vehicles that use the roads is something we just don’t need.

On the other hand, some ROSES must go to state Rep. John Spiros, R-Marshfield, for opposing the idea. Spiros works at Roehl Transport and told WSAW-TV that such a fee could drive many small-business trucking operations out of business and would punish “companies both big and small for doing business in Wisconsin.”

It’s a tale of two lawmakers – one who gets it and one who doesn’t. It’s not hard to see which one would have our vote. LL