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Truckers News Staff | December 01, 2010

Bad Health Doesn’t Come With the Job

This is my response to Daryl Osborn from Hillsboro, N.D., about the body mass index issue:

Let’s face it, we’re not all “fat boys and girls,” it’s not our line of work and if you do eat right and exercise your BMI will go down. You don’t have to sit for 11 straight hours, and the food out here doesn’t make it impossible to keep your BMI down. You don’t have to walk down the 14-foot-long, 163-types-of-high-sugar-candy aisle (if you stood there long enough to count the candy selection you had enough time to exercise). You don’t have to eat the brownies, cakes and cookies. It’s called temptation; mind over matter.

You also don’t have to drink 97 percent of what’s in the drink coolers when you’re thirsty. They do have what’s called diet sodas, Gatorade, juices, unsweetened tea and — oh, yeah — water. When you spend your $5.99 on a salad bar ask for low-fat dressing. Don’t stop at McDonald’s or wherever, go to Subway and order a veggie sub for $5. Subways are everywhere, so you won’t have any problem finding them. You also don’t have to put sugar in your oatmeal or jelly on your toast.

You say, “the jobs we choose promote no control over BMI.” I say that’s crap. We have 10-hour breaks and 34-hour restarts. The average person doesn’t sleep 10 hours a day. So when you wake up, get out of the truck and stretch, walk around for a half-hour breather in the fresh air and enjoy the world around you for a moment. If you do this, guess what: You’re exercising by walking. When you get to the truckstops or restaurants park in the back row and walk inside, and once again you just exercised. When lying in bed try doing a couple sit-ups. It is not impossible to exercise, which will get you healthier and lower your BMI. As a type 2 diabetic 60 pounds overweight, you need exercise because you are putting yourself at risk for a heart attack.

I’m sorry you have to pay more for insurance, and I’m glad you pay your taxes and do what’s right, but the government is never going to simply leave us alone and let us do our jobs. None of us is “trying to keep up with the Joneses,” we’re just trying to survive. You say bad government, bad changes and bad secretary of transportation. To me, bad government, yes; bad change, no, because I would like to see healthier drivers as well. How would you feel if your family was driving beside a truck when the driver fell asleep because of sleep apena?

You say it’s what you do between life and death that determines happiness; but isn’t it your health that determines how long you get to enjoy it? You also ask who has the right to decide that having health care is a right and BMI should determine where you work or don’t work; you say that only a dictator makes these decisions. To me, having health care and a healthy BMI is just good, common sense.

With all this said, for the truck drivers out there who are worried about losing their jobs, getting laid off or being disqualified because of their BMI, go on a diet, start eating right and for Pete’s sake, exercise!

Joey Lemon

Memphis, Tenn.


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How do you think the U.S. midterm election results will impact the trucking industry?

VIA FACEBOOK

Republicans want to do to help their friends in big business. Gut the EPA, OSHA, FDA, BLM, etc. … All in the name of a better economy. (Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge.)

— Rick R.

Mess it up more than it already is. Probably more restrictions or harder to make money, harder than it already is!

— Robin D.

It won’t make a difference one way or the other. We will still have e-Logs and CSA 2010, and hours of service will change to where we drive shorter hours a week, which is the government’s way of creating new jobs. Total bull[expletive]. The sad part is there’s no one in power that can or will stop it.

— Chuck A.

Make things worse as usual.

— James W.

Lawmakers better educate themselves about the transportation industry real quick. It’s in dire need of help, and over-regulating it isn’t the way to fix it. Helping people gain credit to purchase equipment to expand/start up would be a good start. Here in California it just got worse. With Brown elected the next governor and Prop 23 not passing, the air regulations will strangle the trucking industry to near death. If any lawmakers actually care, CARB needs to withdraw the truck rules and let this state get back to profiting once again. Until then, it’ll keep sliding into financial doom.

— Brian C.

It won’t have any effect. It will be business as usual, and nothing will get better in the industry. Nothing ever gets better.

— Aric C.



Are EPA Heavy-Truck Fuel-Mileage Mandates a Good Idea?

By Henry Albert


The Environmental Protection Agency, for all its good intentions, was responsible for the light-truck, SUV and big-van craze of the 1970s on. The only time that fact seems to have everyone’s attention is when fuel prices are high, and then only for a fleeting moment until we get used to the new price.

Henry Albert was Overdrive’s 2007 Trucker of the Year and is the independent owner-operator of Albert Transport. He lives in Statesville, N.C., and blogs as part of Freightliner Trucks’ Slice of Life program at http://sliceoftruckerlife.com/blogs/henry-albert.

There is a plethora of services that trucks are put into, which makes it very difficult to set an achievable fuel-mileage standard. We can be hauling insulation one day with a load weight of 5,000 pounds on flat ground and the next day have a load of 45,000 pounds of paper on mountainous terrain. This creates quite a large variance in specific requirements for one trailer behind one tractor. Truck use is nowhere near as cookie-cutter as the use of an average automobile, where the load-carrying capacity only varies by 800 lbs.

Automobiles represent the very low-hanging fruit for increased fuel-mileage. Most cars get less than 30 mpg and do not carry much weight at all. A truck carrying 45,000 lbs. is much more efficient per pound, for instance. EPA has already mandated fuel mileage for automobiles. When they originally did this, they sent families from the normal family sedan or coupe into light trucks, vans, SUVs and, in recent times, three-quarter-ton pickup trucks.

With fuel being our No. 1 cost, myself and many others have taken steps to improve our fuel efficiency, as this directly affects our bottom line. I have increased the sustainability of my trucking operation by doing everything reasonably possible to increase fuel mileage. I operate a 2011 Cascadia with all the latest aerodynamics enhancements available from the factory. Another thing I have done is add a few additional items to make my vehicle even more aerodynamic. I have added a Nose Cone air deflector to the front of my trailer, Fleet Engineers side skirts on my trailer, aerodynamic mudflaps and Michelin wide-base single tires. More recently, I covered the rain gutter on the upper rear of my trailer, among other items I have modified.

Items I do not have are hood-mounted mirrors, a sun visor or a bug deflector, all of which produce drag in the wind. The result of this is a truck that is averaging just shy of 9 mpg at 65 mph.

It is my opinion that the EPA will not do any better of a job regulating heavy truck fuel mileage than they did the automobile industry. The real potential for fuel-economy gains remains in vehicles used for personal transportation.



What concerns do you have about CSA 2010?


“The points. Looks like they can add up, as far as little things accumulating into a lot of points.”

— Arthur Brown, Denver, Colo., independent owner-operator



“I don’t. I don’t really worry about it. I just do my job.”

— Dom Trammell, Chickasha, Okla., company driver for Hoffman Trucking




“I think it’s a good program — something that should have been done a long time ago. Especially the health part. There are a lot of drivers who have health problems, and if you do, you should have to verify it.”

— Allen Means, Little Rock, Ark., company driver for Design Transportation


“I need to read up some more and find out what exactly I need to be doing to comply, but it looks like it’s going to be pretty stiff, pretty hard on the drivers.”

— Robert Lynch, Atlanta, company driver for Cieute Transportation

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