Don't govern speed — educate

As usual our ATA has come up with a Band-Aid solution. For the last 10 years highway fatalities involving big trucks have steadily declined. Out of those accidents a larger percent were caused by four wheelers than the trucks.

This plan will increase the bottlenecks on major roadways. Ever seen a truck traveling at 68.1 passing a truck traveling at 68? I’ve seen it take five minutes to pass, creating a back-up in the hammer lane. That’s as it stands now, God forbid if this becomes law.

I am a driver going on 1.7 million miles with no chargeable accidents, and a former police officer. Educating the drivers and weeding out the bad ones is a better route to take. Restricting passing power by this limitation will cause more accidents and road rage than it is meant to solve.
Lloyd M. Genus
Allen, Texas

Speed Limiters Not the Answer
It seems to me that the large companies that endorse mandatory speed limiters aren’t looking for safer roads. They already have their trucks governed. They are looking to reduce competition. They already undercut prices; now they are looking to undercut the time it takes to get from point A to B.
Joe “Curb Jumper” Flange
Lincoln Park, Mich.

When High-tech Goes Haywire
After reading your commentary in the November 2006 Truckers News, I thought I might share my thoughts on some of the new technology you wrote about.

I currently drive a 2007 truck equipped with Automatic Traction Control and anti-rollover. Recently while going down the west side of Wolf Creek Pass, in the snow, with 49,000 pounds of shingles, I had a wheel slip and lost traction. No big problem, happens sometimes, just blip the throttle lightly and it will catch, right? Nope, don’t have time for that before the ATC decides that the other three drive tires are spinning and applies the brakes to them and locks them up, followed by a very sharp increase in my blood pressure, making necessary a fancy steering maneuver and a change of underwear at the bottom of the hill.

I reported the malfunction to the company road service department, who sent me to a dealership, who called the company who built the traction control, and after some time got an engineer on the line to diagnose and try to fix the problem.

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Said engineer told me after hearing my story and looking at the data e-mailed to him that the system didn’t malfunction, it did exactly what it was designed to do as it is designed to detect wheel spin and not wheel slip. As for locking up the wheels, I was told that I was driving the truck wrong because I wasn’t using the brakes when said incident happened, so the system didn’t know how much brake pressure to apply. When I told him that of course I wasn’t using the brakes because Wolf Creek is 7 miles of grades between 5 and 7 percent, his answer was it shouldn’t make much difference how long or steep the grade was, I should be using the brakes and not the gears to control the truck down hill.

Can you say brake fade? I bet you can. Mr. Engineer, I think you need to get out from behind that desk and figure out what you are designing before you start designing it.

I’m reminded of a movie that I saw once where the computer in the spaceship thought the human was doing the wrong things and wound up killing the human trying to save his life.

Not all the new technology out there is all it’s cracked up to be, so I think I am going to dust off the old cornbinder cabover and get it back on the road. I’ll have to find a new company to work for, but at least I don’t have to worry about it killing me because the engineer who designed it obviously didn’t have a clue about big trucks in wintertime mountain conditions.
Richard Henley
Calhan, Colo.

Show Us the Money
I enjoy reading these ridiculous articles about driver shortages while sitting in a packed truckstop waiting for a load.

They can quit going to so-called experts in the studies of why there is 100-plus turnover rates in the industry. The answer is simple – money. It doesn’t matter how much schooling you have but how much you will pay for us to lose out on life (social and health). If it wasn’t for our economy outsourcing all of our good manufacturing jobs, I wouldn’t be out here. I made just as much money working a full-time and a part-time job as I did as a company driver.

Not only that but I was at home with a social life every night and in good shape and health. Every time I read your magazine, I see articles of how the industry wants to change things in the name of safety but only make it worse for the drivers. What is offered out on the road to a single driver? Not much unless you are into alternative lifestyles. What is offered out here to a married driver? A distant/downhill relationship with little hometime because of small pay.

Thanks to the industry leaders lowering our wages, the only kinds of people you see around a truckstop is the homeless, prostitutes and police. Money could change everything.
Shawn Friesland
Lenoir, N.C.

Write us
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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