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Todd Dills

NPR correspondent gets "worst roads" lesson from owner-operator

| November 24, 2009

Yesterday on National Public Radio’s banner afternoon news program, All Things Considered, correspondent Ina Jaffe detailed her ridealong with one Randy Park, who drives for Apex Logistics. They ran down a stretch I-10 in California that Overdrive readers last year named among the worst in the country, singling out the state for No. 4 in our annual survey for Worst Roads in the country.

Our owner-operator readers weren’t off target, as usual. The Road Information Program, or TRIP, released this in-depth study in May that said a full 35 percent of California’s roadways were in “Poor” condition. Add in the percentage of roads with the next best rating, or “Mediocre,” and you account for almost 70 percent of all the state’s roadways. According to the study, only New Jersey had a greater share of poor roads within its borders.

At least Jaffe got the skinny on the situation from those who feel the pain most. “When you hit a pothole enough times,” Park told her, “it jars the front end, then the front end gets out of line, then the tires start wearing funny and then you start cracking the frame. Eventually, it just tears up equipment.” And the driver, he added later. He told Jaffe he changed his route from time to time to avoid the particular bad stretches to save not only his truck but internal organs and back.

To listen to or read the full story, follow this link. And for an update All Things Considered ran on the status of the federal highway bill (more delay, yes) immediatly following this report, click here.

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