Channel 19

Todd Dills

The aggro lead — USA Today’s latest

| June 08, 2009

“Debate is heating up over an issue likely to strike terror in the heart of any driver,” wrote Larry Copeland in the lead of a USA Today story last week. He wasn’t talking about terror among truckers, though, only those who had ever “spied an 18-wheeler looming in the rearview mirror as [they scrambled] into the slow lane.”

While the truck-driver community has its speeders, for certain, I imagine you’d take exception to the assumption made here: that truckers tailgating four-wheelers in the fast lane is altogether common. Not so. Though itself not a common practice, trucker tailgating is most likely to happen in the slow lane, with the big truck the one most likely hammering down not on the throttle but on the brakes, or scrambling to get over into the fast lane early to avoid a slow-moving four-wheeler. Which is to say nothing of the issue of four-wheeler tailgating. . . .

In any case, Copeland gets around to the issue in question in the second graph of the story, the notion that allowing the phased-in use of 97,000-pound trucks on the National Highway System (with a tridem-axle setup on the trailer) instead of continuing the federal cap on interstates at 80,000 will be a boon to fuel-efficiency, mitigating any future return of a driver shortage, etc. etc. While he gives the issue its due attention, he’s a little short of representatives of the nation’s drivers, the biggest constituency to oppose larger trucks beyond the general public. For more coverage of the issue, see this story at eTrucker and/or my blog post about the issue from March.

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