Letters to the editor

Golf ball balancing advocate takes a swing at ‘myth’ report
Whoa, not so fast. Golf balls, ball bearings and marbles will, in fact, balance a tire [“Myth Information,” January]. Ask Centramatic.

A basic law of physics is this: Any rotating mass will attempt to balance itself. A tire cannot balance itself because it has no movable parts. Introduce any sphere into the tire, and at a certain speed, about 20 mph, the tire will begin to balance itself. Introduce enough weight, and the tire will be in balance. Interestingly, more weight than necessary will not put the tire out of balance.

I use golf balls in all my tires. The new solid-core golf balls will not disintegrate, nor will they melt. I know from personal experience, having removed worn tires and finding the balls nearly black but otherwise not damaged.

Your experts simply don’t want this little secret out in the trucking world.
TOM KOLLER
Denver


Uniform federal skills test needed
In response to your January column on entry-level training requirements [“Basic Training,” Viewpoint], I agree that what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration came up with for basic requirements is puzzling and insufficient.

It does nothing to determine if a driver can back a trailer into the last spot at any Pilot truck stop around 10 p.m., or make a sharp 90-degree turn on a downtown street without hitting anything or anyone.

As a driving instructor at James Rumsey Technical Institute, I feel that our 12-week, 360-hour program is still not enough time to teach these skills to certain people. Not everyone is cut out to be a truck driver, and our program cannot filter out all those who I feel probably won’t make it. We try to be honest with the risky students, steering them to more of a Class B-type job.

The state CDL skills exams across the country need to have a federally uniform test that is comprehensive and demanding. Virginia, for instance, has the driver straight-line back a few feet with a slight curve to it. Other states require tests on parallel parking, serpentine backing and 45-degree alley docking.

A tough standardized skills and knowledge test would better serve transportation safety than driver wellness and whistleblower protection.
MIKE TIMMER
Martinsburg, W.V.


FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE, WHERE ART THOU?
I have wondered for a long time: Why can’t the trucking industry make a front-wheel drive truck? You lose a lot of horsepower in the driveline and rear end. The reason they started making front-wheel drive cars was for the gas mileage. Obviously there were other reasons, but that seems to be the main reason.

I can’t see why they couldn’t make a front-wheel drive truck that would work.
LEON HADLEY
Brandon, Miss.


CALENDAR APPRECIATION
Our company receives Overdrive. Today I was pleasantly surprised by receiving the 2006 calendar. My first thought before I opened it was, “I hope this is something we can hang in our office.”

I know you had several choices and could have gone down the pornography road as, sadly, some companies often do. I am glad we can proudly display this great calendar.
JIM BULLOCK
Fort Worth, Texas


Send letters to Write On, Overdrive, P.O. Box 3187, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403, or fax to (205) 750-8070, or e-mail smackay@rrpub.com. Letters are subject to editing for length and content.

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