Letters from Readers

| December 12, 2008

MEDIA DON’T UNDERSTAND TRUCK SAFETY
Although trucking was not my choice of profession, it’s my hobby, and I stay in touch at big truck stops and via the Internet. I was impressed by your July Viewpoint column about the possible bias in Parade magazine’s upcoming story on truck safety. It is a shame that the media target the trucking industry. I’m sure there are some bad apples out there, but are there not good and bad in most professions? Unfortunately, all it takes is one incident, and the media feed on it.

Why can’t the media look at the many positive stories of trucking? For example, the drivers who hit the million-mile mark and beyond, who are accident-free and very safety-minded. What about the truckers who have pulled people from wrecks, even burning cars, just before an explosion happened?

My biggest concern is the No-Zone. Four-wheelers have no idea what a dangerous area that is around a big rig. Do people read the signs on the back of trailers that say, “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you”?

As the column says, most of the time car-truck crashes are the fault of the four-wheeler. The general public, including the media, is ignorant of that, and doesn’t understand what it takes to manage 18 wheels and keep safe.
STEPHEN HOMER
Streetsboro, Ohio


WATCH THAT BRIDGE
I’ve always loved reading your magazine, especially since the Kenworth I used to drive was in Reader Rigs back in ’93.

I need to get the word out about a low bridge a lot of guys have found the hard way.

Off exit 8A on the New Jersey Turnpike is the small town of Jamesburg. On county Route 522 entering the town is a Conrail trestle that stands 12 feet. There are warning signs, but almost every day a driver winds up there, usually because of a dispatcher’s directions. The bridge is not marked on any atlas.

If you wind up at the bridge, you’ll have to back up about 1,000 feet and turn around. Not the easiest of tasks. Plus, if the cops see you, it is automatically 4 points on your license and something like $500 in fines.

You don’t even want to hear about the guys that hit the bridge. I’ve helped back lots of rigs out before they were caught, but lots more aren’t so lucky.

I was taught early on to help fellow drivers if you can. Sonny Pruitt may have been only a character on TV’s Movin’ On, but to guys like me, he was the mold for our lives.
RUSTY ALLEN
Monroe Township, N.J.


PROVE YOURSELF; SUCCESS FOLLOWS
At 58, after trucking for 36 years, I’ve decided this will be my last year behind the wheel. I have been leased to Green Tree Transportation out of Pittsburgh, and I will miss the work.

I have been a heavy hauler for most of my trucking career, and my cost per mile is different from someone who has a flat, dry box or reefer. Do you want to make money, or are you just filling the seat so you can say you know what you are doing? If you are just filling the seat, it might be time to think of another profession. You are not doing yourself any good, and you are not helping your fellow trucker by taking the cheap freight.

My freight paid top dollar, but I did not make that kind of money when I first got started. You have to perform and show that you know the job before getting the better loads and runs.
MIKE MCRAE
Elkins, W.Va.


SUSPICIOUS OF CENTRAL AMERICAN FREE TRADE
CAFTA sounds like
NAFTA to me. Let’s see what American industry this trade agreement kills.
CHARLIE JOHNSON
Athens, Ga.

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