September 2002

| October 07, 2002

AIRLINE REGS TOUGHER THAN TRUCKING’S

I am responding to Anne Hannigan’s letter, “Courts are Against Truckers” [June]. I am a company driver hauling U.S. mail part time, and I am also a commercial aircraft electrician. While the trucking industry does need some reform in its policies, the commercial airline industry is not as relaxed as Hannigan reports. It is regulated far more strictly than the trucking industry.

One major difference is enforcement. If any maintenance faults appear before a flight, they must be fixed before the plane can fly. Pilots have restricted hours of service, but they require more time off duty between flights – 12 hours from touchdown to takeoff. The dispatchers for pilots follow these regulations and force their pilots to follow them also, whereas trucking dispatchers don’t seem to care as long as it looks good on a log book line.

Pilots require more than 100 hours of simulator time before they can haul people; truckers don’t have required simulator time. You must have 1,200 hours of flight time before you can get a commercial rating to fly, as opposed to a three-week or four-week truck driving school.

Don’t break the laws, no matter how stupid you think they are. Follow them or try to change them, but don’t complain that the police are out to get you.

Dustin Lowdermilk
Clarksburg, W.V.



LIVING A DREAM

About a year ago I went on the road with a friend for about two weeks. I had the time of my life, and I learned about a whole new world out there. When I came home, nothing in my life seemed the same anymore. So I decided to go to school to learn all I could about the big rigs.

Now I have graduated from truck driving training, and I am now the proud owner of a hazmat-endorsed CDL. My boyfriend kicked me out when he knew I was serious about going on the road. I am more focused about doing this than anything I have ever done in my life, and I have made some really good friends in the process. I have never been happier – even with all of my belongings in storage and living out of my pickup truck.

I have made a great accomplishment just by making a decision. If you have a dream, go for it! If you fail, at least you have given change a chance, and if you want something bad enough, you won’t fail.

Carla Beagle
Lawrenceburg, Ky.


SOMEONE ELSE NEEDS TO PAY ROAD COSTS

The person who wrote the editorial in The Jackson (Mich.) Patriot ["Tax those truckers," June Overdrive] desperately needs to learn how to use a calculator. Maybe a 25-cent tax on gasoline would be better for the roads, being that the cars, pickups and SUVs far outnumber heavy-truck registrations.

Steve Wiederkehr
Topeka, Kan.


HOW’S THEIR DRIVING?

I have recently gone back to driving a truck and noticed a lot of tractor-trailers have the “(800) How’s My Driving” sticker on the back of their trailers. And a lot of four-wheelers call that number to complain about the trucker’s driving. I propose that truck drivers should be able to call an 800-number to report four-wheelers. After all, they cause more accidents than trucks.

It’s only fair. Why should only the trucker or the bus driver get a bad name all the time? All the license plates are in a database, so we should be able to call and report any vehicle no matter what state it’s from. The driver should get a letter about the report. After a third notice, the driver should be retested for his or her license.

Kitty Anderson
Middlebury Vt.


LARGER TRUCKS WOULD WIPE OUT OWNER-OPERATORS

I’m dismayed over Linda Longton’s Viewpoint column ["No cars allowed," July] about the proposed truck-only toll lanes.

I’ve been trucking since 1977. I’ve lived through the changes wrought since deregulation. If there is one absolute, it is that there is no correlation between higher weight limits and larger trailers and the revenues I get.

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