Letters to the editor

I enjoyed Paul Hartley’s review of the Peterbilt 389 in the December issue. He states that the 379 has “a stylistic lineage that dates to the Johnson administration.” Actually, the 379 dates to the early part of the Eisenhower administration. If you were to compare the last of the Fageols to modern Peterbilts, you would see the family resemblance. The 351, introduced in 1954, clearly is the ancestor of Peterbilt’s the 379 dates to the early part of the Eisenhower administration. If you were to compare the last of the Fageols to modern Peterbilts, you would see the family resemblance. The 351, introduced in 1954, clearly is the ancestor of Peterbilt’s version of the large car. This is the famous “Narrow Nose.” This introduced the cab that was used for early 359s, known as the “Small Window,” the seamless radiator shell that Peterbilt grilles of today emulate, and the round fenders that are the same as 379 fenders. The 351 has a classic look that really was absent in the 359. Peterbilts tapered from the back of the cab to the radiator shell. With the same cab, and the wider 359 hood, this smooth taper was eliminated, and reintroduced only in the 379. Even if I continue to drive a non-Peterbilt for work, I look forward to seeing 388s and 389s on the road.
Lakewood, N.J.

After reading about Henry Albert [“Dream team,” February] we were wondering how you picked a man who evidently knows nothing about maintenance. Has he ever broken down with brakes frozen up? Would he know if his fuel filter is plugged up?

There are times when you are out in the boondocks and cell phones don’t work that you have to fix stuff yourself. Our experience at the local garage is like everything else; they just do what they have to and don’t check anything else.

As for the shirt and tie, is this what he wears when he is loading a flatbed? Does he crawl under equipment to put chains on the axles?

Has he ever delivered to a job site in the mud where you have to have a D-9 Cat pull you out? Or picked up in a steel mill where you have to drive through the muck? Has he ever delivered to a garbage dump?

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It appears this driver doesn’t even drive across this great country of ours.

As for pulling over on the shoulder to avoid a car, what would he have done if the car saw him in their mirror and pulled back on the shoulder?

There are many true owner-operators who started from the bottom and have gone through many difficult times.

We are owner-operators who run team and try to make a living. Do a story on a real driver the next time.
East Canton, Ohio

Editor’s note: While Albert is able to maintain his own truck, he uses a repair facility so that he can spend more time with his family.

The American Trucking Associations and nine large carriers have petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to require speed limiters so that all large trucks top out at 68 mph.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that two-tenths of 1 percent of truck crashes occur at speeds above 70 mph. Limiting the speed to 68 mph would address only a fraction of the safety issue. Ludicrous!

Safety has nothing to do with their petition.

Because some large carriers have chosen to limit their trucks’ speeds for fuel-saving reasons, they have become less competitive in the driver recruitment market. With driver turnover rates in excess of 100 percent at most of these large carriers, I would suggest that they focus their energy on people issues and not delude themselves with 68-mph limiters.
CEO, Right Way Trucking
Bountiful, Utah

The problem with onboard recorders is flexibility. If a driver has been out running for three weeks, and he gets to within 50 miles of home, do you think he will stop for 10 hours if he runs out of hours? If he delivers a load in a major city and lives 20 miles away, does he shut down for 10 hours if he runs out of hours?

Lots of people want the driver to be perfect when it comes to rules, but they don’t want that same scrutiny when it comes to their own occupations. This job already is tough enough. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration should deliver the freight.
Decatur, Texas

As with many actions from government and big business, placing black boxes (electronic onboard recorders) in the trucks of violating companies is merely an “ease into acceptance.”

Take the oil companies. In 1999, if fuel shot to $3 per gallon in one push, owner-operators would have sold their trucks and many people would have parked their cars. So, the oil companies chose to slowly raise the price. Now, $2.50 is accepted and $3 is just high.

Lawmakers also know that the American people will not accept abrupt changes in control. Law enforcement surveillance started with cameras at intersections, and now you hardly can go anywhere without being on camera.

When the hours of service regulations were being reworked by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration a few years back, they were seriously considering black boxes. But would veteran drivers accept such changes? No. Therefore, FMCSA scrapped the idea until later. Now regulators say they are looking at monitoring only bad truck lines. But that’s now. Later, black boxes will be on every truck.

Add rising fuel prices to our lack of control with black boxes and we’ll soon see owner-operators selling their trucks because they will not take a pay cut by becoming a company driver.

The government slowly is working to gain full control of this industry. The problem is, these lawmakers are not thinking of 10, 15 or 20 years down the road, and what will be acceptable to those who may enter this industry.

One foundation of this country is free trade. This is why you don’t see fuel price caps and why monopolies are not allowed. If two construction companies bid for a job and one says it can do it quicker, should it be rejected by the government?

Yet this is being done with the proposal for speed regulators. I usually only do 65 mph – even if I’m in a 75 mph zone – just to save fuel. But if the load needs to be there quickly, I can do 75 mph, and I would have a better chance at getting that job than a company with regulated trucks. Who should tell me that I’m not allowed to get the product there quicker as long as it is done legally?
Lansing, Mich.

The majority of accidents involving trucks are caused by car drivers, yet the American Trucking Associations wants to limit trucks’ speed. ATA does not deal with cars going 100 miles per hour, driving in front of a truck, crossing three or even four lanes of traffic just to make the exit.

If the proposal to limit trucks’ speed to 68 mph becomes reality, I will sell my home and use the proceeds to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court. Truck drivers already have started a petition to require all cars sold in North America to be factory-limited to 55 mph.

Granted, we have a few bad truck drivers, but most of us are professionals and act like it.

I have more than 1 million miles without an accident. There are about 80 drivers in my company, and 25 percent of us have in excess of 1 million safe miles, and four of those have more than 2 million safe miles.

The problem isn’t trucks going 70 mph, it’s the car that cuts us off that causes accidents.
Charlo, Mont.

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.

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