This letter is in reference to the article “Nature’s Fury” (page 8, February 2001)
I drove through the Tuscaloosa, Ala., area where the tornado had struck about three days later, and the destruction was frightful. Even the CAT Scales were out of order at both truckstops.
The article reminded me of something that I have argued about for years to no avail. It is that nationwide, all AM and FM radio stations, and the weather band channels, for that matter, broadcast severe weather warning information in a format that is of little use to truck drivers, RV operators or out-of-town four-wheelers.
The broadcasts usually cite counties or cities. Out-of-town drivers who listen to the broadcasts, usually do not know which county they are presently in and which county is only a few more miles down the road in the direction of travel.
Perhaps you can convince the National Weather Service to issue warnings with the traveler in mind. In addition to the format that it gives the warning in now, all there is to add are traveler specific locations including interstates or highways and mile markers. It would help if the broadcasts would give some shelter areas for travelers, too. This would paint an understandable picture for the traveler as to where the danger areas are.
New Castle, Pa.
I just finished reading the article in the April 2001 edition of Truckers News about the driver who can’t understand why drivers idle their trucks. While I agree that there are those who do idle their trucks excessively, I do not agree with the view point of the article.
As a driver, I idle my truck for comfort. I have no other way to provide heat or air conditioning. Even on a 60-degree day, if the sun is shining, it can reach temperatures of above 90 degrees inside the cab, and on cold days, if I shut down my truck, there is a real possibility that it may not start again in the morning.
Also, there is a personal safety issue. Leave your windows open all night, and there is a very real possibility that you could not wake up at all the next morning because you made a tempting target for a would be thief turned murderer. Windows in the sleeper do not provide enough air flow to do any good. If the driver in the article wants to put an end to truck idling, then he needs to advocate laws to make it possible for drivers to be safe and comfortable in their trucks while they are trying to get the rest they need to operate safely the next day.
I agree that auxiliary generator units are the answer, but until they become cheap, reliable and lightweight, or the government allows for the weight, I do not see many companies investing in them.
Cost of Fuel is Everyone’s Problem
In the April issue of Truckers News, you ask drivers if the rising cost of fuel has affected them. One or two of them irritated me because they said they didn’t care because they were company drivers.
For those truckers, I have a question. What are you going to do when your company has to downsize because of high fuel prices and you are without a job? I’m sure you didn’t think about that. Don’t say that your company can’t or won’t downsize.
My husband worked for a good company, but suddenly they had to downsize, and he was out of a job for months before he found another one. And, yes, he watches the fuel prices because he cares for the company he drives for and knows that they have to pay. He tries to get the best fuel prices he can.
I ask you to stop and think about that.
While reading the April Truckers News, I once again read about the hours-of-service issue. I drive for Werner Enterprise. My comments are not to hail or criticize the electronic system that we use, but rather to discuss the safety issue.
It seems that truckers are being held accountable for many safety aspects over which they have no control, namely, other motorists who drive unsafely. Examples include the total disregard for posted speed limits especially in construction zones, running of lights, cutoffs and cell phone usage.
I agree that something needs to be done, but don’t target 10 percent when it’s the other 90 percent who need a refresher course.
The laws we now have are good laws, but they have to be enforced. If a sign says 55 mph, that’s the law for everyone not just big trucks. Most drivers do try to obey traffic regulations because it’s their livelihood. If we could convince the other 150 million drivers to do the same, our highways would be much safer. Let’s have equal justice for all.
Gilmer E. Monk