ATA OVERSTEPS ITS BOUNDS BY SUPPORTING SPEED GOVERNORS
The American Trucking Associations’ petition to install speed limiters on all new trucks [“ATA asks for 68 mph mandate,” Logbook, November 2006] is a sick and distorted attempt to control what it thinks is best for the trucking community.
I am an owner-operator and have been in the industry for more than 20 years. And now ATA wants to regulate my speed? That is putting a cap on my income! Things are tough enough out here with cheap freight, long hours away from my family, rude dock hands, “trash truck” stops, over-priced everything and slow traffic.
I maintain a legal log book. I run the posted speed limits. I can set my cruise at 70 mph and stay there all day long. I am not hurting anyone; I am making a living.
ATA President Bill Graves says the petition “goes a long way toward a national dialogue on excessive speed.” Please define excessive speed. Where are the studies, documents, crashes related to excessive speed involving semis?
Graves needs to sit behind the wheel of a semi for a week or two. He would find out that the “excessive speed” problem and related crashes are mainly due to four-wheelers. Truckers cause some accidents, but if ATA’s research is legitimate, it should indicate that a majority of those accidents were not caused by excessive speed.
As for the competitive advantage of speeding, it doesn’t pan out. Higher speed means faster tire wear, faster fuel consumption, wear and tear on engine, chance of tickets and getting tired faster.
ATA members are either trucking company CEOs or are in the top levels of the companies they work for. This is a conflict of interest.
SQUEEZING OUT VISIBILITY?
Regarding the October cover photo of the 2006 Pride & Polish show truck winners, I wonder if the driver of Freshly Squeezed can safely see traffic signals or overhead signs, let alone into the distance on any roadway, with the exterior sun visor that is shown.
The appearance is nice, but I think it is unsafe, especially if the driver constantly has to crane his neck to see anything that would otherwise be at eye level.
KNOW COMPANY HISTORY BEFORE SIGNING LEASE
The industry needs a wake-up call. We are taxed from the turn of the key, and when the wheels start turning, the expenses just get bigger. We don’t look for all the write-offs; we concentrate on keeping more of our hard-earned money in our pockets.
Anyone looking to lease with a company should take a strong look at the company’s history, ask lots of questions and talk to the long-term lessors.
‘SAY NO TO CHEAP FREIGHT’
Since the price of fuel has dropped, so has the rate of freight. We don’t need more miles; we need rate increases.
Minimum wage won’t affect you, but hauling cheap freight will. Truckers who haul cheap freight hold everyone else back. If you aren’t getting $2 per mile minimum, you aren’t getting enough for your hard work.
Send the message that we need a pay increase, too. Take a stand: Say no to cheap freight.
PUTTING SPEED LIMITERS ON CARS WILL BE NEXT
If you force owner-operators to drive like grandma or grandpa, it will cause more accidents because those four-wheelers will never see that slow-moving truck.
There are young drivers out there still wet behind the ears, and if you put an 18-year-old driver out there without a seasoned driver, he’s going to kill someone because he does not have the exprience. This is why most insurance companies insist on a 23- to 25-year age threshold before they even think about allowing him or her driving long haul.
Think about this real hard if you agree that trucks need to be limited on speed, because your car or pickup truck will be next.
Pea Ridge, Ark.
SONIC AD MALIGNS TRUCK DRIVERS
Sonic Drive-In restaurants have a new national television campaign that depicts the typical truck driver as a complete imbecile. What follows is from a copy of a letter I sent Sonic headquarters, which I hope represents the reaction of those of us who take pride in our industry:
“It was amazing to see your most recent television advertisement, in which you insult hundreds of thousands of men and women who work in trucking.
“In this masterpiece of advertising, one of two guys parked at a Sonic jokes about ‘eating like a truck driver.’ If that wasn’t enough, he then begins to mimic a truck driver, talking like a complete moron, babbling on a make-believe CB radio.
“As a retired owner-operator, I found the satirical message insulting and demeaning. I can’t help but wonder how proud you made the people who deliver products to your restaurants.
“The real irony here is you have chosen to degrade a significant number of patrons of the fast food industry in order to be cute and attract new customers.”
Send letters to Write On, Overdrive, P.O. Box 3187, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403, or fax to (205) 750-8070, or e-mail [email protected]. Letters are subject to editing for length and content.