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Todd Dills

Baltimore columnist: ‘Can’t avoid jackknifing? Don’t be a truck driver’

| February 17, 2010

Michael Dresser, writing in the Baltimore Sun after the deluge of snow that blanketed the East Coast over the Super Bowl weekend, singled out several jackknifed rigs and their drivers in the Baltimore area as “Public Enemy No. 1.” One such jackknifing incident, he writes, turned I-95 into a parking lot for the entirety of that Saturday afternoon.

In a more recent follow-up column, Dresser reveals that the response from truckers around the nation was voluminous, to say the least — “I never knew there were so many synonyms for ‘idiot,’” he wrote — most of it questioning his authority to prognosticate on a series of jackknifings without knowing whether the trucker was cut off by another car, was moving too fast for conditions, or what exactly caused the incident. Dresser admits he’s never driven a big rig, but defends his judgment this way:

Neither could I throw a curveball to save my life. But I’ve watched the Orioles long enough to know what happens when one hangs up over the plate, and I possess all the qualifications it takes to yell for the managers to get the bum out of there if a pitcher repeatedly serves up gopher balls to the Yankees lineup. Were baseball the subject of my column, I’d put it in print that Pitcher A could use more time in the minors.

He then goes on to quote several of the drivers who wrote, many with sage words for us all about the extreme difficulty of safely navigating the nation’s highways, snowstorm or not. He singles out, finally, Jackson, Mich.-based hauler Greg Myers, who notes efforts I’ve written about as recently as yesterday.

I’d recommend checking out the full column, but here’s the relevant bit, in Dresser and Myers’ words:

Myers said members of the industry who care about its public image are taking steps to out the “bad actors” in the business – taking pictures of them when they behave boorishly and using the Internet “to highlight the achievements of our less than desirable ‘co-workers.’ ” He’d like to see the industry “weed out the steering wheel holders from the true professionals.”

“That’s a day,” Dresser writes, ”all people who use the road responsibly — four-wheeler drivers and the vast majority of truckers — can look forward to.”

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