Letters From Readers

I would like to respond to your April Viewpoint editorial (“Act like an owner-operator”). I’ve been an owner-operator since 1996, and I do not spend money recklessly. When I started asan owner-operator, I was getting 90 cents a mile. Since 1999 I have seen prices of everything associated with owning a truck rise except for the rate per mile.

In January 1999 I was paying $1.04 per gallon for diesel fuel. By the end of 1999, it was $1.36 per gallon. Today the price is $1.58 per gallon, but I’m still only making the same 90 cents a mile that I was in 1996. The price of insurance, including health and bobtail, has gone up. The price I paid in 1999 for repairs in a repair shop was $55 per hour; today the same shop is charging $72.50 per hour. The price of tires and parts has gone up, but I’m still making the same 90 cents a mile.

It’s not just the trucking expenses; our taxes have gone up on our house. Utilities have gone up. Everything keeps going up except the rate per mile. Why is it that owner-operators have to keep taking the hits for prices going up?

For the last three or four years, all I keep reading about is that if you stick with it, things will get better. I’m not seeing this. All I keep getting is higher prices and excuses.

At the end of the month, I’m parking my truck because it has come down to paying either for repairs (I just had to replace a leaking fuel tank, which was the final straw) or the $1,184.91 payment on my 1999 International. I have already cut back as much as possible, but just keep hearing things will soon get better.
David Stanton
Syracuse, N.Y.

What is up with drivers who don’t speak English?

My husband went into the scale house to show his oversize permit and a driver came in to be checked. When he was asked what he was hauling, this driver could not answer because he spoke no English. The inspectors let him go because it was too much trouble to figure out what he was trying to say.

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Who’s to say he wasn’t hauling drugs or explosives? It could have been anything. Now, you tell me: What’s wrong with this picture?
Kelley McClendon
Slidell, La.

Send letters to Write On, Overdrive, P.O. Box 3187, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403, or fax to (205)750-8070, or send e-mail to [email protected]. Letters are subject to editing.