SAFETY ISN’T PART OF 68 MPH PUSH
Your June issue examines the industry-driven proposal to govern all trucks at 68 mph. Safety is not the underlying reason for this proposal. Money is more likely the real motivation, since several companies seem to think that the path to success is running their trucks all day and night.
Despite all the fleets talking about safety to their drivers, their operations departments never seem to get the message. The companies’ big safety campaigns go into the trash, along with all the other rules that are supposed to assure safe operation.
The only way to make this industry safe is to go back to federal regulation. You need to have a legitimate freight rate that is closer to $2.50 or $3 per mile, instead of the ridiculous rates that brokers now are offering. That way, a company could afford to let the drivers take their 10-hour rest periods and still make a reasonable profit. You could make money with 550 miles each day.
The public is more than willing to pay for safety. Shipping charges still are only a small percentage of the cost of a retail item. You could double the freight rates and still sell the products.
Carriers and owner-operators could run legal and still make a reasonable profit. That would put an end to drivers who fall asleep at the wheel.
Drivers don’t need a black box to know when they are tired. And they don’t need a speed-limiter to tell them how fast to go. The government and the fleet owners need to allow drivers to do their job in a safe and reasonable manner, free from nonsense rules.
IGNORING DRIVERS’ BEST INTERESTS
I read the Viewpoint column “No More Chicken Little” [June 2007] by Linda Longton with disgust. How can you make light of two of the most important issues facing not only my industry, but our nation as a whole? I’m talking about the leasing of our toll roads and the Mexican truckers coming into our country.
But what else would I expect from the publisher of Transportista, the Spanish-language magazine for the “American” trucker? I was appalled by your attack on Todd Spencer of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. He and OOIDA President Jim Johnston have done more good for truck drivers than anyone. And you would have to prove to me where James P. Hoffa has lied in his comments about Mexican drivers.
You do not have the interests of the truck driver in mind, but are more inclined to the thinking of the American Trucking Associations.
A DREAM COME TRUE
I’m a retired postal letter carrier who has achieved his lifelong dream: Becoming an owner-operator with a straight truck, leasing and working for FedEx Custom Critical.
I pursued this dream for two reasons: 1) I was raised in a construction family, and had great opportunity to live in Brazil, Canada, Chile and many places in the United States. Travel is in my blood, and making some good money would be great. 2) This career also will offer the opportunity to visit relatives and friends throughout America.
I have enjoyed reading Overdrive and have incorporated many articles into my business.
OPINION BETRAYS INDEPENDENT DRIVERS
In your June Viewpoint column [“No More Chicken Little”], you note that all exaggerated declarations “are clouded by a particular agenda.” How true!
Your anti-independent, pro-big fleet agenda is so pathetically obvious that even the most ignorant “Billy-Bob” drivers would be outraged if only they had time to read and understand it instead of killing themselves trying to earn a decent living.
How can you sleep at night with such cynical attempted manipulations of decent working men and women dancing in your head? I wonder what you are being paid to back the fleet perspective.
Do you recall the most memorable truck you ever owned? Perhaps it was your first and not much to look at, but one you were proud of nonetheless. Or maybe it’s one that served you well beyond a million miles, defying all odds of longevity.
How about your most memorable haul? The one where everything went wrong, or the one where you encountered a bizarre situation, or one where you received – or gave – a special kindness in time of need.
Send your submissions, with contact information, to Overdrive, P.O. Box 3187, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403, or e-mail to email@example.com. For most memorable truck, include a print or digital photo; prints will be returned.
Published submitters will receive an Overdrive hat, license plate and newly designed T-shirt.
Send letters to the editor to Write On, Overdrive, P.O. Box 3187, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403, or fax to (205) 750-8070, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters are subject to editing for length and content.