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Truckers News Staff | September 01, 2011

Safety comes first … really?

I know a lot of companies and the DOT preach about safety, but I myself don’t see what they are doing about it.

There are ways to get the awareness out to the motoring public. The motoring public needs to be more aware of the dangers of big trucks on the road. We have safety awareness weeks for motorcycles during the year. How about safety awareness month about the trucking industry?

Give them a learning experience by using television, radio (XM, public broadcasting and Sirius) and billboards across America. Give them examples of accidents, the workings of a truck and how long it takes to react to situations, and what could happen when a blowout happens. Inform the motoring public about the dangers of tailgating.

Introduce trucking safety in driving school for teens. They are the new face of driving, and this would give them a better idea about hazards on the open road. Give them a grasp on the trucking industry and the dangers about the subjects listed above.

I have been driving for 20+ years in the trucking industry, and I have seen a lot of accidents that could have been prevented with a better safety program in place countrywide. It has to start somewhere, and why not here in the United States where the motoring public is getting larger every year?

Cynthia E. Kidder

Channelview, Texas

 

So-called sleep apnea

Over the past several months, I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about sleep apnea. Apnea shmapnea. It’s a non-issue for truck drivers. Us drivers know the reality out here. Not the self-serving, self-important bureaucrats. Here’s how it is.

Say you just backed into your parking spot for the night at some truckstop. Then, on your left backs in an owner-op with twin 8-inch chrome stacks droning away at low frequency. Along with that, his or her reefer is set on constant run to keep the box at -10 degrees. So it’s cycling away from fast to slow to fast about every 3 minutes. On your right comes a flatbed with a 5-year-old APU and a muffler that went bad two years ago. So it’s thumping away while blowing blue smoke on your tractor. The other side of that truck is a bobtail with a bad air pressure relief valve. You know the sound. Psssssssssh sst sst sst sst sst sst. Every 10 seconds or so. On top of that, you’re parked close to the shop. It was a hot day. Lots of blowouts. So you also get to listen to an air hammer pound away on lug nuts well into the night.

This is a typical night at a truckstop. Not the dreamland Shangri-La the TSA thinks it is. What do they think we’re running out here, a Boy Scout camp? Now, let’s look at your sleeping quarters. The usual is a 4-inch foam rubber pad stuffed in an area about the size of a coffin. You shove your way in, kiss the wall goodnight and try to catch a few Z’s.

So-called sleep apnea has been a human condition ever since we slithered out of the water, teetered up on two legs and discovered fire. It has been with us throughout the ages. And we humans seem to be living just fine. It strikes me as pathetic that there are those who are trying to blow up this issue into some kind of job-limiting disability.

What’s it going to be next? That we all have to be blond-haired and blue-eyed? Butt out, TSA. You are just showing us your ineptitude on trucking issues.

Randall J. Stevenson

New Port Richey, Fla.

 

 

An hours solution

As a driver for a large trucking firm, the FMCSA is restricting my freedom to work as hard as I want in the name of safety. Here is a suggestion on HOS.

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