Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, "Land Line Now" senior correspondent

ROSES to the Indiana state legislature, and specifically Rep. Mike Aylesworth, R-Hebron, for introducing a bill earlier this year that would do away with split speed limits on interstate highways in that state.

The bill would authorize trucks to travel 70 mph on rural stretches of interstates and the Indiana Toll Road. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that speed differentials are just a plain bad idea.

This marks the third time since 2013 such legislation has been introduced. While the other two efforts never made it out of committee, here’s hoping the third time is the charm and the dangerous speed differential will be gone from Indiana’s roads once and for all.

ROSES to the Love’s Truck Stop in New Baden, Ill., for creating a very special day for a man with developmental disabilities. According to Community Link – a group out of Breese, Ill., that works with folks with special needs helping them to learn, find a job, and live on their own – a man named Larry was asked if he could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Larry’s answer was simple. He wanted to go to the Love’s Travel Stop and watch the trucks pull in. According to a post on Community Link’s Facebook page, Larry did just that with a group of his friends. He talked with a truck driver and his wife, and the pair shared stories and sang songs. The folks at Love’s also sent him a gift bag full of all sorts of trucking-related items. The pictures on Facebook showed Larry grinning from ear to ear, and we were too.

ROSES to Averitt Express, a trucking company out of Cookville, Tenn. – for its continuing efforts to employ military veterans in the trucking industry. This company was recently recognized by the Missouri Division of Workplace Development with the Flag of Freedom honor for its commitment to hiring military veterans.

According to a news release, more than 20 percent of Averitt’s current employees have served in the military. What’s more the company has pledged to add 1,200 more veterans to its ranks by 2020. That’s pretty impressive.

We’ve always known the military and the trucking industry go hand in hand, and it’s good to see companies like this sharing in that belief.

RAZZBERRIES to the FMCSA for trying to circumvent the rulemaking process on sleep apnea. In a brief filed earlier this year as part of an ongoing legal action, OOIDA pointed out that in its final rule requiring certified medical examiners to use a new medical form the agency included a list of medical criteria for medical examiners to review in deciding whether to certify drivers.

That list – which was not included in the initial notice of proposed rulemaking – included sleep apnea as one of the areas for examiners to review. Trouble is the FMCSA has no rule regarding sleep apnea testing and appears to be trying to use this rulemaking as a backdoor to creating one without going through the legally required rulemaking process.

You may have thought you could slip that one by the goalie, FMCSA, but the goalies here at OOIDA carry some pretty big sticks. LL

OOIDA Life Member BJ Reino sends out some RAZZBERRIES to a rest area along I-40 near Dandridge, Tenn. BJ was there back in January after a big snowstorm. She posted a video of what she found there on Facebook, and you can see that the walkway on the side where the cars park is spotless. Completely clear and free of snow and ice. In the video, BJ walks through the welcome center and goes to the other side where the trucks are parked, and the walkway is an absolute mess. Packed hard with snow and ice.

BJ said it was not cleanable at that point because the snow had been packed down so much and iced over. What’s worse, she says the car parking was level with the building but on the truck side you had to walk up a slope to get to the building. Not cool, Tennessee. That’s just dangerous. At least the parking areas were clean, but it’s lucky some truckers didn’t slip and have a nasty fall on their way in to use the rest room. Talk about giving truckers a frosty welcome. LL