George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

Why the general public should also know what ‘barratry’ means

| June 04, 2014

Serial KillerSerial killer.

It’s an attention grabber, click bait, something to make you stop and exclaim, “Oh my! Did I miss an episode of Snapped?”

It’s also being used by a Texas law firm as an ominous descriptive phrase, superimposed above the grille of a stripped down and curiously-missing-the-emblem Kenworth in a full-page ad, offering the firm’s services to those on the road who have been wronged by the evil and fabulously wealthy trucking industry. (Even I know that’s a K-dub grille, and I’m a trucking infant.)

OK, it doesn’t have that language specifically, but it does give a lot of numbers, that stretch into the millions, without the actual facts to back them up. And while they never come out and say, “We go after truckers,” they really don’t have to, as they have already planted the image of a serial-killing truck in our minds, through slick photography and computer magic.

It’s unfortunate these ploys are legal, and it seems at least one of the attorneys practicing at the firm represented by the ad has plenty of experience skirting the line between legal and illegal solicitation of clients. According to this article in the local news site mysanantonio.com, Alexander Begum has been involved in as many as five different lawsuits involving barratry, a “shadowy and illegal practice” in which clients are solicited at a disaster site or litigation for harassment or profit is waged. “Ambulance chasing” is specifically used as a description for the word from some sources. Sounds like a real stand-up guy.

It’s also unfortunate that it’s our reality out here – the big, bad, environment-killing, traffic-mauling trucker, who just ruins everything by even being around and breathing regular human air. It’s an image we really need to address, and I think we should probably start with something we can actually affect – like the sales of the magazine running this ad in truck stops.

Don’t buy it. Don’t participate in their stupidity. Tell the manager of the place you see the magazine in that you’d prefer they not support a publication that sells advertisements to people who imply truckers are serial killers. We respectfully requested these outlets take it off their newsstands, as we think this small show of support is the least both could do to show a little love for the industry they profit the most from. I’m fairly certain the loss of sales from a month of Maxim magazine won’t make or break either one of them.

Related

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In a perfect world, Maxim would immediately recognize the error of their ways, and realize they desperately need the evil trucking industry to transport their magazines to the various places in which they are sold. They would not only sever ties with the firm, but they would offer a full-page ad for Truckers Against Trafficking, free of charge, to raise awareness for something that matters, instead of take-home pay for ambulance chasers.

But that’s a perfect world. Until we craft one of those, just keep writing those letters. 

**Addendum**
Here’s to Pilot/Flying J:

The following statement was issued a couple of hours after a corporate meeting today, held specifically to address the concerns issued publicly by drivers and those advocating for drivers.

MEDIA STATEMENT
June 4, 2014

Pilot Flying J is pulling all current copies of Maxim Magazine from the shelves at its more than 650 travel centers and travel plazas across North America because of an ad that the company does not believe accurately depicts professional drivers.

Pilot Flying J is proud to serve professional drivers and grateful for the important work that they do.

Anne LeZotte
Pilot Flying J

Lauren Christ
Moxley Carmichael

 

EDITOR’s note: TravelCenters of America likewise followed suit similarly shortly after this story was published. 

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  • Kerry Housh

    Having spent a lifetime in the trucking industry, I can say with absolute certainty, the biggest percentage of drivers are very good hard working people just trying to make a living the best way they know how. Are there bad ones? Oh yes, but the percentage is extremely low considering the work environment. Most people can’t do the job, it takes a special mindset to be a full time over the road driver. If you ever have the chance to go with a driver for a trip or two. It’s life changing. You’ll never view truckers or 4 wheelers the same again.

  • N M

    I’d like to point out the ad doesn’t target Truckers,but their web page does.

  • Ancient Squirrel

    Good for Pilot Flying J. I think I have a little more respect for that company after that decision. Whether it’s a direct or indirect slight against the trucking industry, we should all stick together and support each other. Any service industry can fall prey to bottom feeders but that is no reason to stand idly by and tolerate it.

  • Todd Modderman

    A way to be part of the protest, if you see the magazine, take it out, turn it around and place it back on the news stand.

  • Cynthia

    This is really sad. I have been in the legal business for over 34 years; personal injury for plaintiff. I have been involved in ONE trucking accident over those years. That is a very very low percentage of the cases out there. Statistically speaking most semi/auto accidents are caused by those in the automobile. That being said, when a professional driver IS at fault, the damage is usually big and thus the money paid out is large. The ad is misleading. I’ve noticed even the media skews public perception about these accidents. There was a recent incident in the Seattle area involving a semi and 4-wheeler. The 4-wheeler was driving too fast for the conditions (late at night, very rainy) and hit some water and went flying over 3 lanes and went under the semi. Guess how the media reported it – “Fatality accident involving semi.” The semi just happened to be on the road.

  • Craig Leonard

    How can you possibly believe that the ad, which clearly labels trucks as “serial killers”, is not targeting truckers?

  • norm

    all to often

  • James

    YEAH! What Craig said…

  • James

    Seems to me that you won’t see bad drivers (driving trucks) staying with any Companies for long. (In the case of O/O’s,they don’t take long to put themselves out of business-I see their trucks for sale cheap often,to pay on legal bills and lawsuit settlements,etc. Besides-no CDL-no driving for a living anymore,right?) Most that have fleets aren’t willing to keep bad drivers on the payroll for long,because it causes rate increases and more down time for truck damage and accident repairs,which shoots the profit margin in the foot. I could be wrong,I’m expecting there will be some employers who “play the law of averages” and figure drivers that play fast-n-loose with their trucks earn the business enough extra to cover the eventual breakdowns,accidents and lawsuits,but I doubt that line of thought will pay off in the long run.
    Just my opinion and observations.

  • whooops

    Affect – emotion state related.
    Effect – ability to bring about a result.

    Th@ auto-complete/predictive/auto – correct gets me every time too. Lol

    Anyway, good points & this no LOL.. Back later…

  • whooops

    True

  • whooops

    Yup. Was i64West of Richmond after blizzard blew through & gal fussing eye makeup driving jeep suddenly did few donuts & went back forth (started center lane) & ended up slide skidding to stop by center median. Was far right lane 3-4truck lengths back & on less slippery mostly clear pavement & able to break it down & observe her vehicle’s loss of control from safe distance. BUT if she had done that seconds earlier on way by my rig, results would have been distinctly different.
    Now women drivers, plz don’t get annoyed w/me. Am gal too & jeep driver happens to be 1 of perhaps dozen female drivers over 47 years of driving (not all CDL, but all Stick) doing an ugly.
    Ask u to plz focus on this in context of a good/positive outcome comparison example versus her sliding underneath trailer when lost control. Usually 9999 out of 10000 drivers chop lane change on my nose are men… cars motorcycles buses RV PU-with-Tow. Yup. Read it & weep, bcaus typically watch that same male driver most times give another male driver more space when passing.
    P.S. A lot of you guys (if i didnt know better I’d say it appeared as if) you seem to believe solo female trucker must be gay & not ProLife & that lights short Fuze & next thing u know, u r doin’ improper lane change 5 ft off nose. Well, I’m NOT, many of us aren’t, & if i was, it’d be none of your darn biz anyway. So, I love trucking & hitting open road, but my experience of these hard working male drivers isn’t same as yours (up above another comment).
    P.S.S. Fact is the classic Big Nose Kenworth is much safer on road. A big nose better handles on road when shipper loads nose legal but heavier because front axle end about 1300LBS heavier & responds better in emergency evasive maneuvers due to better overall/macro load weight distribution. For my money, I prefer a Big Nose every time & believe button nose (columbia, etc ) less safe especially in hands of new drivers.

  • whooops

    ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
    THK U for standing behind Truckers & pulling that rag.
    ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

  • whooops

    Yup

  • s.

    So Maxim will lose some newsrack revenue as punishment for taking a ton of money for a full page ad. Maybe that gets their attention, maybe not. But they didn’t create the ad, VB did. I wonder if the partners of that distinguished firm are familar with he concept of class-action defamation lawsuit? Shalll we find out?

  • Patrick Nevins

    Double yeah!! What Craig Leonard said…

  • Billy Walker

    It’s a pity that these creeps manipulate stats to draw business when the real stats are quite the opposite. the serial killer is on four wheels! What about the truckers families when their loved ones are killed or injured? it’s always the same “no one knows why the driver of the CAR lost control and caused the accident” and no accountability is passed down. I hate people who do these things or act out against drivers like this. To hell with maxim and all who stand against truckers,we have to take the good with the bad and stand together.

  • godfearingrebel

    Triple yeah. What Craig said

  • whooops

    4 Yeah, what Craig said

  • whooops

    Yup, Billy. Car driver license test in automatic & no hills. Seems too too many people in cars drive ignorant to stupid. Ignoranct of fact that 80,000 LBS & way over 100,000 LBS is on their ass when new driver does improper lane change & plops in front 10 ft or less from rig; & trucker now likely for safety needs to pop 4-Ways & brake it down. Makes everything cost more too due to wasted fuel reaccelerating. Around cities, urban areas (somewhat less OTR) can lose over hour & half of drive hours if exercise caution especially around holidays when folk do more distraction driving.
    Also, interstates should be 3-lanes & have plenty of shoulder on both sides. Need that 3rd or Middle ‘Lane of Least Resistance’.
    Need not to be governed under posted speed limit of interstate which throws trucker back over into ON/OFF Ramp Lane whether 2, 3, or, 4 lanes.
    Also plz pass whatever so can
    ONLY PASS ON LEFT.
    Can’t tell you how many times two cars from either side of 3 or 5-lane have made the grab for my ‘space cushion’ in front of me RUSH HOURS city/urban areas. Oh yeah, that incidence went way up since new reset 1-5 am rules change. Yup.
    Glad to hear they PULLED AD!

  • Craig Vecellio

    This article has nothing to do with “battle of the sexes” politics. Stop trying to stir up trouble. Most guys I know, both CDL and nonCDL do the opposite..if they can clearly see another driver is a woman, they give her extra room. Some do it because they’re assume she doesn’t know how to drive because she’s a woman, others to be polite, like holding a door for a woman.