TRUCKER’S ‘L.A. STORY’ ALSO FRAUGHT WITH HEAVY TRAFFIC
Two corrections need to be made to your August story on congestion, “L.A. Story.” The freeway you referred to as “I-60” is actually California Highway 60, also known as the Pomona Freeway. Secondly, U.S. 101 is known as the Ventura Freeway, not “Ventura Highway.”
Freeway. Secondly, U.S. 101 is known as the Ventura Freeway, not “Ventura Highway.”
I can verify David Rivera’s difficulty in coping with mounting congestion. After a seven-year stint as an over-the-road driver, I now work locally in Los Angeles County. I first drove a day shift, and it routinely took me 10 to 12 hours to complete my assigned route.
For five years I have driven at night; my employer is a contract carrier for a major auto manufacturer, and our freight is mostly expedited just-in-time parts. While it is easier to maintain a delivery schedule at night, there is little margin for delay. There is only about a two-to-three hour window, typically midnight to 3 a.m., when most county thoroughfares are relatively devoid of traffic.
Believe it or not, the inbound commuter rush can start as early as 3 a.m. in places such as Palmdale, my turnaround point. In order for me to complete my route by 6 a.m., I must depart Palmdale no later than 2 a.m. In the five years that I have been running this late-night route, traffic on nearby freeways has increased substantially. The number of collisions and attendant lane closures also has increased.
Southern California has but one remaining feature a professional driver could consider heavenly: its weather. And that, too, is changing.
Santa Clarita, Calif.
KEYSTONE STATE RAILROADS DRIVER
We have a very zealous Pennsylvania Vehicle Code officer in our region. A trucker friend was stopped in a routine road safety check. A couple of small things were out of order, but my friend was allowed to correct them.
During the check, it was discovered that his license had expired 11 days earlier. He received a summons for this and had to park the truck. The boss came and took care of the delivery, and later that afternoon they renewed his license via computer. My friend pleaded guilty to the summons and sent in $180 for the fine.
Two weeks later he received a letter saying his CDL will be suspended for six months. He was never informed of this wrinkle at his time of summons. Efforts to reverse this have proved futile because he pleaded guilty by paying the fine.
To all drivers: Check when your license expires, and don’t plead guilty to anything until you are sure of the outcome.
ONBOARD RECORDERS A NEW HASSLE
What a wonderful morale booster – record my every move with an electronic onboard recorder! Why didn’t we think of that sooner?
Forget getting paid for load/unload time, forget lane restrictions, forget the American Trucking Associations trying to get speed governors installed on trucks at the factory. What we’ve needed all along is to drive a 64 mph truck in the right lane to a five-hour loading appointment we won’t get paid for, and record every move.
I feel better already.
STOLEN LICENSE PLATE IS CAUSE FOR CONCERN
I recently stopped in Jerome, Idaho, for fuel and a sandwich. While fueling, I completed my walk-around vehicle check and saw my license plate in its proper place. I paid for the fuel and pulled out of the station and drove until I stopped at a rest area on I-86. I went to bed in the truck and woke up at 7:30 a.m. When I went to do my vehicle inspection, I discovered my license plate was missing.
When I notified the state of Idaho about the plate, the only thing they were interested in was my purchasing a trip permit so that I would be running legal. That’s some great safety and security measures – in a nation concerned with terrorism, one would think a stolen license plate would be of high concern rather than collecting revenue from a trucker. Even if we are the nation’s cash cow.
Crooked River Ranch, Ore.
NO MORE INTRUSIONS
I am responding to Herb Dunn’s comment on speed governors [WriteOn, July]. The trucking industry does not need more regulations.
There are so many variables, such as load weights, rear ends, transmissions and tire size, that there is no way a governed truck would work. We would have to order every truck with the same specs.
There are many places where truck traffic is extremely heavy, and if all trucks were governed the same it would create a never-ending traffic jam. Fuel being what it is, imagine the amount of money wasted and time lost as a result of the congestion.
My truck runs at any speed, yet to save fuel I seldom run above 65 mph. We are not just truck drivers; we are individuals and should be able to make our own decisions.
Sure, we will make mistakes, but let it be my decision, as is my right.
If the feds want to regulate something, let them regulate fuel prices and unfair toll roads.
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