Letters to the editor

BROKERS GET MORE THAN THEIR SHARE
One of our major problems is that brokers have taken over the industry. The rates that brokers give for loads are a rip-off to the carrier compared to those 20 years ago. The costs of fuel, insurance and maintenance are rising, and those costs are the responsibility of the carrier. The broker doesn’t have to take any responsibility, but calls the shots as to the amount the carrier gets.

Carriers have to deal with the International Fuel Tax Agreement, the U.S. Department of Transportation and other regulatory concerns. Brokers do not.

Carriers should get at least a third of what shippers pay the brokers. Let’s take trucking out of the broker’s hand and put it back into the shipper’s and carrier’s hands.

Unless things change, the only thing left will be big trucking companies, and the independent carriers will be forced out of business. If the government were to get involved, there would be better attitudes on the truckers’ part and a better industry as a whole.
ALBERT SPURLIN SR.
Albany, Ga.


PERCEPTIONS START WITH OUR ACTIONS
I agree with Frank Gonzalez’ letter [“No one appreciates what truckers do for others,” August] about the public perception of truck drivers. But you have to ask why the public views us in this light.

How many times have you stood in line at the fuel desk, and the driver in front of you smells so bad that it makes you want to vomit? How many times have you gone to a shipper, receiver or truck stop, and there is a driver raking some poor woman over the coals because her register went down or the sales ticket didn’t come out right? How many times have you seen a truck driver unexpectedly whip into the left lane and cut off a passing four-wheeler?

Then there is the talk on the CB. Everyone knows that some drivers like to take their children or wife with them for a treat, and there are a lot of RV and camper drivers who carry CB radios. Yet they turn on the radio and hear drivers cussing them for being in the way, or just talking general filth. I am only 38, but I remember going with my father when I was young and never heard anything close to what is being said today.

The public is going to continue to perceive us as scumbags as long as we act like scumbags. Just because you don’t need much of an education to be a truck driver doesn’t mean you have to act like you don’t have one. Let’s clean it up, and maybe our industry will be perceived in a more positive light.
RAY MCCLELLAN
Statesville, N.C.


FOOD-BASED FUEL IS A RISKY STRATEGY
We headed down the wrong road with using corn-based fuel. I once read of an ancient war that was won by the taking of land where the enemy grew food. I also have read that we now import more of our food, which means a growing chance that someone could poison it.

What happens if we have a long drought, as we did in the 1930s Dust Bowl? Are we going to have to choose food over fuel? Just look at what happened with some of the melamine-tainted animal feed from China.

We need to stop turning corn into fuel, and start building new refineries and expanding nuclear power stations for our electricity needs. We also need to start drilling for our own oil again. But the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) folks stand in the way.
BERNIE BEVERLY
Waukesha, Wis.


HIGHLIGHT TRUCKING’S BEST, NOT ITS WORST
I found the Channel 19 item “Go ahead, get it off your chest” [June] inappropriate for a publication that usually portrays the trucking industry in a positive manner.

The references to an alcoholic trucker being “pretty much always drunk” and the Mercedes that was smashed in a hit-and-run are negative portrayals of professional truckers. The comment about the stolen wallet didn’t help either. What were you thinking when you printed this?

On the other hand, the “Knights of the Road” feature is highly commendable. During the 1950s, Hobbs Trailer Co. had a “Knights of the Road” program that honored highway heroes such as Jim Hoffman. A close friend of mine who has since passed away received one of the Hobbs Knights of the Road awards in 1954 for actions similar to Hoffman’s recent heroics. This kind of story puts trucking’s best foot forward. You need to publish more positive articles such as this.
WARREN REYNOLDS
Tucson, Ariz.


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 smackay@rrpub.com. Letters are subject to editing for length and content.

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