May 2002

LEXUS VEXED US, READERS SAY

A full-page Lexus ad in USA Today ballyhoos the luxury car’s new cruise control, which slows itself during congestion and returns automatically to cruising speed when traffic clears. The ad begins:

“There you are on the highway, safely traveling in lockstep with the posted speed limit, when a big rig merges into your lane. It’s going a cool 45 mph. With any ordinary cruise control, you would need to press on the brake. The LS 430, however, is no ordinary car.”
hazards, and he called the toll-free number in the ad – (800) 872-5398 – to say so.

“I told them I didn’t think that was very appropriate,” says Wehmeyer, a longtime owner-operator who’s now a company driver for Callaway Carriers of Kingdom City, Mo.

“I also asked them, ‘I wonder what that big rig was loaded down with, to be moving so slow? Maybe a load of new Lexuses, or the fuel to run them?'”



DROP AND ROOK

A fast operator stole a rig from one man, sold it to another for $10,000 cash, then stole it back from the buyer so he could return it to the rightful owner before it was missed, according to the Grant County, Wash., sheriff’s department. Charges are pending.



QUOTABLES

California’s ringmaster

“These clowns just won’t slow down.”

– D.O. “Spike” Helmick, California Highway Patrol commissioner, on truckers

Milked at the scales

“Our whole weight system has become a cash cow.”

– Ron Olinger, lobbyist for the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, complaining about steep overweight fines

They don’t miss you, either

“We used to have one truck wreck a week, which made it dangerous, and it scared people.”

– Russell Blaylock, a Mountainburg, Ark., store owner, saying U.S. 71 is a nicer road since truck traffic moved to I-540

Speak no evil

“They clammed up.”

– Oklahoma legislator Wayne Pettigrew, dismayed that not even his fellow Republicans spoke in support of his proposal to raise the state diesel tax 2 cents a gallon

But it adds up

“It’s affordable. The amount of money we’re talking about out of the average driver’s pocket is about $50 a year.”

– Legislator Frank Chopp, speaker of the House in Washington state, on a tax-increase proposal that also would raise trucking fees 20 percent

Beef bust

“A lot of steaks have gone to waste.”

– Police Sgt. Bruce McKee, after a cattle-truck wreck on I-80 near Davenport, Iowa

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