Letters to the editor

The movement for speed limiters was started in Canada by the Ontario Trucking Association, but its real intentions were not for safety or the environment. This was evident by the association’s first press release, which promised that limiters “will level the playing field.” What does this have to do with safety or the environment?

OTA’s real objective is driver retention and increased profits for large carriers. Since the first push for speed limiters, the American Trucking Associations jumped on the bandwagon, but it quickly learned through OTA’s mistake to base its proposal strictly on safety and the environment. In reality, ATA’s true objective is the same as OTA’s.

None of the supporters of these bills have mentioned limiting the speed of smaller vehicles. Yet these smaller vehicles pollute, and are they not involved in traffic accidents on our highways?

ATA, OTA and the Canadian Trucking Alliance are using a backdoor approach to retain drivers, when they simply should be paying them more.
Blenheim, Ontario, Canada

Your December cover story, “Fatal Flaws,” was true, but Pitfall No. 3 – chronic health problems and no medical coverage – should be No. 1.

On Aug. 24, 2006, I was delivering a load in San Antonio. While opening my doors, I suffered a massive heart attack. Taking care of your health is more important than a load of freight. I am only 39 years old and was otherwise physically fit when the heart attack happened.
Hudson, N.Y.

Regarding “ATA asks for 68 mph mandate” [Logbook, November], the American Trucking Associations claims that requiring speed limiters “is the right thing to do” and is needed to level the playing field.

If I choose to operate a truck that can be more efficient at 70 or 75 mph than at lower speeds, that’s my business, so long as I safely do it. Is it my fault if the majority of companies have the “how low can you go” mentality? They cannot afford to hire and retain capable and responsible drivers. Instead, they have locked themselves into contracts that do not allow for rate adjustment when dictated by the changing costs of operation. If we’re going to level the playing field, then the small operator is entitled to the same large discounts on fuel and tires that large companies receive.

There really is no shortage of trucks and drivers in this country. I guarantee you that I am not the only one refusing to work for less than the value of my service. Any business is entitled to a reasonable profit. It is not the government’s purpose to restrict some or to bail out others. Either the business is not needed, or it has been poorly managed.

Now ATA again is using the safety ploy to get further government intervention and restriction. We already know that split speed limits are hazardous and that generally it is slower or distracted drivers who cause accidents. Further regulation does not justify putting poorly qualified people on the road, whether in large trucks or small cars.

This nation did not become great by limiting those with ability and innovation who operated their businesses with honestly and integrity.
Osceola, Wis.

In response to John Scott’s letter on hazmat security screenings [WriteOn, December]:
Annoyed that he had to face security screening, he argues for profiling, suggesting that Arab Muslims are appropriate targets for scrutiny.

What profile would you use for Timothy McVeigh, a fine white Christian American who served proudly in the Armed Forces – and who blew up a federal building, murdering hundreds of people?
Waltham, Mass.

As a company driver who lives in Ohio, I will avoid spending money in a state that has a smoking ban. The new Ohio anti-smoking law went way too far.

I am aware that the State Health Dept. later exempted from the law truckers who smoke in their truck cabs. But this change will not affect a trucker’s right to take a break at a truck stop in Ohio and smoke while getting a cup of coffee, or to smoke in a lounge while waiting for a load. Other affected places include bars, which you might visit if you have an extended layover, and repair facility waiting rooms.

Truck stops are our homes away from home. We should be allowed to relax in the same manner as anyone who works for a living. Being allowed to smoke a cigarette after driving for hours on snow-covered highways isn’t a capital crime.

I ask all truckers to consider a protest of Ohio until it overturns the smoking ban and the statewide 55 mph speed limit.
Hopewell, Ohio

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.