Letters From Readers

TOO MUCH WORK UNDER NEW RULE

As a professional driver with 26 years and more than 3 million miles of safe driving, I am extremely disappointed to see the revised hours-of-service rule that I must soon live under.

I agree that there is a very real problem with fatigue among professional drivers. As I understand it, the new hours-of-service regulations were designed to address this problem and increase safety. But how can allowing our employers to encourage us to work almost 30 more hours every week be the solution?

The old rule entitled me to take three days off to rest and to spend time with my family.

Under the new rule, if I work 14 hours a day for five days, and I take 34 hours off, I can work 28 more hours, for a total of 98 hours in eight days. Or if I had taken advantage of the 16-hour rule on the last day, that would be 100 hours on duty in eight days! And, I’d still have two more 14-hour days and one 12-hour day to work until I’d get another whole day off.

I feel less fatigued already.

Brian Smith
Gastonia, N.C.


OUR PAY SHOULD RISE WITH OTHERS

Although the trucking industry keeps stores stocked with merchandise such as food, clothing, fuel and other items we need daily, many owner-operators and small trucking companies are going out of business. And this is happening while our government is subsidizing airline companies so they can stay in business.

Freight rates have not gone up to match the rising cost of operation, and trucks move the majority of the freight in this country. What would happen if trucks stopped rolling for 30 days? The people who take for granted their ability to go to the store and purchase what they need would find nothing more than bare shelves.

Truck drivers truly are the unsung heroes who are often over-worked and always under-paid. All we ask for is equal pay increases in comparison to other industries. This would allow us to have the quality of life everyone in this country has come to expect. Let’s all work together to keep America’s trucks rolling!

John Eaton
Lexington, Okla.


ENGINE BRAKES NEED LIGHTS, TOO

I’m concerned about what has become the norm for what I call “flatland drivers” using a Jake brake for normal braking.

Driving in Indiana, I had the trailer of a truck in front of me “come at me” without seeing any brake lights. I rolled the window down to listen and indeed it was the Jake slowing the vehicle to a stop with no downgrade in sight.

Having been an owner, driver and broker of trucks, I know that using my brakes alerted the driver behind me that I was slowing down, thanks to my brake lights. I have yet to see a truck with brake lights coming on to alert the following driver that an engine brake is being used.

I know an engine brake helps conserve wear on brakes and components, and we should remain at a safe following distance to allow for sudden changes of speed, but how many people do that? What you see instead are people tailgating trucks all the time. This often causes a chain reaction of four-wheelers and trucks slamming on brakes.

I am surprised that there has not been a public comment of this before and a modification to illuminate the brake lights when using the Jake. Something needs to be done about this.

Gary Green
Cicero, Ind.

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