Mike Clemente’s comments in the March 2004 Letters to the Editor that 90 percent of all truckers are unsafe drivers is inaccurate and totally unfair. Let’s face reality. In the United States 43,000 traffic fatalities occur annually. Large trucks (more than 10,000 pounds) are involved in 12 percent of all traffic fatalities, and most 18-wheeler/car crashes are directly caused by passenger vehicles. Many truckers have driven many years collision- and ticket-free. Truckers also possess the safest driving records. Surveys also show motorists proportionately worse than truckers for speeding and following too closely. The vast majority of traffic violations, crashes and fatalities don’t involve large trucks.
Trucks stand out in traffic, resulting in unfair/exaggerated, one-sided criticism. Often while a minority of truckers are unsafe/discourteous, many motorists are unobservant of their speeding, poor driving acts and how to properly share the road with large vehicles. Truckers and motorists often have valid complaints on bad motorists.
Misguided, selfish hypocrites unfairly demand laws, bans and enforcement for trucking but none for themselves or cars! Unsafe cars and motorist fatigue has caused far more fatalities than trucks, yet unsafe trucks and trucker fatigue have been hyped and unfairly singled out. Safety is for all road users – not just trucks.
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
MORE TRUCKING SONGS
I really enjoyed the piece on songs related to trucking [“Tuned in to Yesteryear,” April 2004]. It was a great and nostalgic review of many timeless classics, reminding us that despite being misunderstood by many, there remains a long-standing reverence for truckers in America.
If you are sensing a “but” here, there is one. Randy Grider was probably correct in anticipating that some may not agree with the order of his ranking, though that is purely subjective.
What was amiss, though, was that all his trucking classics were country-western.
Don’t get me wrong. Country music is great, but it is not the only genre that explores the world of trucking. Linda Ronstadt’s “Willing” (lyrics by the late Lowell George) is arguably the greatest testament to the American trucker ever written. Jackson Brown’s “Shakeytown,” and even Lyle Lovett’s “Nothin’ But a Good Ride,” are just a couple more examples how rock and folk-rock have anted up their efforts in honor of the Great American Driver. I think these and more are worthy of mention on anyone’s list.
WHO’S LOOKING OUT FOR US?
I can understand the well-meaning bureaucrats looking at the statistics and wanting to wave the magic wand of government and make everything better. What they have done however is make every split driver drive an extra sleepy hour. Instead of four-hour shifts they now have to be five. That extra hour of driving is especially tough from 12 to 5 a.m. And 10 hours sleep – I have never slept 10 hours in my life. Just take a look in the Flying J lounge; you will see drivers watching TV, playing video games. In California you can only drive 55 mph. With the bad roads, traffic and high fuel cost, there is no way an owner-operator can make a living. Your well-meaning bureaucrats have put thousands of good hardworking people out of work. I don’t think anyone out there is looking out for the trucker.
Morgan Hills, Calif.
LET’S GET UNIONIZED
Y’all need to tell drivers how to be a part of a union, and let’s get organized. Let’s not go with the flow as you all would have us do, meaning people who have no idea how to operate a big truck: the government, media, general public. Without big trucks the economy would stop; nothing would get taken any place. Car drivers need to be held more accountable for their actions and what they do to big truck drivers. They cause most of the accidents, and statistics will show that.
The Europeans practice democracy better than we so-called Americans do because when the drivers feel they are all getting mistreated they all go on strike right where they are at. One week is all that it would take to receive a whole lot more pay, and whatever we ask for would be given to us gladly.
God bless and thank you to big truck drivers.
Send your letters to Randy Grider, Truckers News, 3200 Rice Mine Road N.E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35406, by fax to (205) 750-8070 or by e-mail to [email protected].
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