Readers Speak Out

Fishing Across the United States
I am a truck driver for Hendrickson Trucking and an avid fisherman. I work hard with the rest of the professional drivers on the interstates across the United States. I talk to many drivers over the CB, and most of us have one thing in common: We fish.

While I’m laid over in a city because I’ve run out of hours, it would be nice to go fishing, but I don’t have a fishing license in every state. Many other drivers and I would like to take advantage of opportunities to fish lakes and streams in the states where our deliveries take us. The only problem is the high fees we currently have to pay to do so. Depending on the state, a three-day fishing license costs between $10 and $20. Most of us would be able to spend only a few short hours fishing.

What I would like to see is the Department of Fish and Game issue a special fishing license to Class A truck drivers, allowing us to use the license in any state. If every driver who desired a fishing license were able to purchase the license in their state for around $100, the state and the federal government could split the fee, giving half to the state where the license was issued and the other half to the federal wildlife fund, which could be used by any other state to replenish lakes, streams and rivers across America.

It would be nice to have the support of the trucking industry, and the companies that we work with, to see this license become a reality.
Thomas R. Campbell
Wheatland, Calif.

Column Kudos; Driving Schools
In response to Randy Grider’s column, “Power of the Pen,” in the February issue, I must say that some things never change. The tanker accident in Birmingham, Ala., seems to further illustrate what I have always thought about the television news media and its inaccurate reporting about accidents. Too often the media’s omission – whether intentional or not – does a great disservice to the majority of professional truck drivers on America’s highways. The bottom line is the young car driver’s judgment, or lack of it, ultimately cost this tanker driver his life as well as depriving his wife and children of a beloved husband and father.

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Switching gears, I would like to comment on another subject. There has been so much controversy surrounding truck driving schools. I, too, had a bad experience with a school located in North Carolina on a college campus. About one half of all the students who enrolled were failed for some foolish reason. One reason given was for scratching a gear when skip-shifting, upshifting or downshifting. We had one student who failed eight out of 10 written tests and who had just been released from prison for drug dealing. Not only did this student pass, but according to another student he was No. 4 in the class. The most ironic thing in the school is that the instructors were very good, including the chief instructor. He told the whole class that the school didn’t have to pay homage to anyone with the exception of the North Carolina state legislators.

I recently had a diesel mechanic bad-mouth truck driving schools. He stated that truck driving schools were the problem with drivers. I defended the truck driving schools, including the one that I attended, by saying that they are needed to impart good driving skills and teach safety virtues. There are some bad schools out there, but I think this country is much better off because of truck driving schools, and we can certainly attribute a lower accident rate to the presence of these schools.

Keep these articles coming, Randy. I look forward to stopping at the truckstop each month in Benson so I can read this magazine from cover to cover. The editors and all the staff who put these stories together can be very proud of a truly special magazine that represents all the professional truck drivers around this great nation of ours. Drive safely, my brothers and sisters.
Wendell Ballou
Morrisville, N.C.

Say No to Federal ID Cards
Regarding the column in the March issue, “Driving on the Front Lines,” in general, the article and good intentions that it promotes are commendable.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t touch on the reverse problems of an overly controlling government. Sure we understand and respect the new era we live in as a result of Sept. 11. But let’s not forget what can happen when our own government becomes too invasive in the name of terrorism – you’ll recall the cries of “communism” only a short time ago. It seems to me that we are all too quick in giving up control of our personal freedoms and privacy in the name of “safety” and patriotism. Throughout time, history has shown this to be a very bad decision, inevitably leading to bad things when a few individuals control the majority of power. My personal opinion is that a federal identification card is a bad idea and leads us down a road of no return. It should be opposed at all levels since it puts too much control in the hands of only a few individuals.
Alan Corbeil
Taos, N.M.

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