Readers Speak Out
The Learning Curve Never Ends
I am writing in response to a letter to the editor titled, “Unfit for the Road.” (February 2002) Mrs. Grebs claims that all truck driving schools should be investigated. I find this to be an injustice to the schools that do training in a proper and professional manner, as it should be done. It would be unfair of me to say all long-haul drivers are idiots, just as it is unfair of her to say all schools should be investigated. Yes, it is unfortunate that her future son-in-law got a bad deal. Maybe her future son-in-law should have done a little investigating before starting the school.
I am 52 years old and have spent 25 years as an over-the-road driver. But for the last two years I have been a driving instructor for a truck driving school. I am also a third party CDL examiner for the state.
The school that employs me has certain criteria for its instructors. All of the instructors must have a minimum of four years road experience. I discovered from doing this for two years that if an individual has the desire and willingness to learn, he can and will become a good future driver. People who come out of the schools are not truck drivers, they are individuals who have the basic knowledge to become a truck driver. All truck drivers are students because you learn something new every day that you’re on the road. The day you stop learning is the day you need to stop driving.
James E. Paridon
A Better Combo?
The articles on green technologies, UPS electric minivans and biodiesel fuel (December 2001) are subjects I’ve brought up for the past 15 years in conversations with other drivers and companies that use diesel or gas equipment.
I’ve seen many types of off-road equipment that use a combustion motor to drive a hydraulic pump to drive motors, or a combustion motor to transfer torque through clutches, gears and shafts. The most interesting is a combustion motor that drives a generator that powers electric motors.
Most trucks that operate in the United States use either a torque conversion or hydraulic conversion to power the drive wheels. Both require a large horsepower plant and a transmission. When pulling 80,000 pounds, a smaller power plant, no trans or drive shaft needed, a 50-gallon or less fuel tank may be the answer to weight and fuel use.
In trucks with their own power plant on board of 120, 230 and 460 volts of electricity, the engine is less than 100 horsepower. The weight of a smaller engine saves the owner money. If a driver carries his sleeping arrangements, he can lower his cost of air conditioning and appliances on board.
For example: Truck A uses a 500hp diesel with a 10-speed transmission, drive shafts, dual 100-gallon fuel tanks, direct current, appliances, and four or five 1,000 amp. batteries. Truck B has a 100hp diesel with a three phase generator, one 1,000 amp. battery, a 50-gallon fuel tank, two A.C. 460 volt induction motors and AC 120 volt appliances. You will save 2,000 to 3,000 pounds on truck B.
If both trucks can travel at a top speed of 105 mph, can refuel at a service station, and have CDL operators, the cost would be less for the diesel electric. One could then use the saved money and pay off their equipment sooner.
The fuel miles per gallon on a vehicle would be estimated at 18 to 23. Drivers would use less effort to operate because there is no shifting the gears, only flipping a switch.
I enjoy reading your magazine over and over and then I pass it on to others who are interested in reading your articles.
I agree 100 percent (with Tim Barton’s First Person Column ‘Women Needed’, January 2002) that we need more women working in the trucking industry business. I have worked for small and large corporations in the trucking industry. It has been a big battlefield for me all the way around. Because I am a woman, I have been told my place is at home and not on the road.
For the last 10 years, I have been raising two children on my own. Coming out of a very abusive marriage, I feel I have succeeded in teaching important life issues to my children. I own a home with six acres. I’m a 33-year-old lady and plan on succeeding in owning my own trucking company. It’s just like my beloved mom and dad have always told me, “If you want something in life, don’t ever, ever give up on it!”
Carrier A. Riddle
Saluting the Drivers
Thanks for delivering such a wonderful magazine. Your staff and writers are great.
Truckers News wrote a very touching story about a trucker who stopped and helped a handicapped lady from her burning vehicle. I drove semis for almost a year and a half until I came off the road in March 2001 due to health problems. I started in the business of towing with a company in Denver. Working in the towing business, I’m usually out of town.
While I was on the road I saw all kinds of things. Many people don’t give us truckers enough credit on our performance, our help, and courtesy we give other people on the road.
I think we need to recognize all of the wonderful truckers and all the wonderful help that we give out there on the road.
Without truckers there would be no freight and people wouldn’t have what they need.
Keep up the great work!