Lay Off the 'Dirt Bag' Talk

This is in response to the January letter to the editor about “dirt bag” truckers. I feel the entire article is offensive to the vast majority of truck drivers.

As a professional driver of almost 30 years, I can safely say I have never once observed a driver relieving himself on the fuel island, and most assuredly never in the full view of the restaurant window, since the fuel islands are usually in the rear and the restaurants are generally in the front.

The writer who claimed he or she had to assist a DOT officer picking up urine-filled bottles at a scale was either the world’s biggest liar or trying to kiss up to the DOT to avoid a violation of his or her own – probably got caught throwing out his or her own bottle and that was the penalty for getting caught.

I don’t dispute that many drivers may carry and use a jug for emergencies or unavoidable situations, but most do not throw them along scales or highways or even in truckstops. After all, the use of urine containers is practiced in hospitals, and I don’t hear any complaints there. The individual doing the complaining is likely one of the numerous four-wheelers or RVers who are too lazy or ignorant and park in truck spaces in rest areas so drivers have no access to rest areas.

The majority of us out here are away from our homes and families for weeks at a time, and the thanks we get is dirt bags complaining and finding fault with every little thing they can. What I never hear them say is thank God that trucker brought the food, clothing, gas or any other good they use each and every day, which, without the “dirt-bag trucker,” as they call us, they wouldn’t have.
Cleve Bowers
Casa Grande, Ariz.

Please, Just Let Me Do My Job
I’ve been an OTR /driver for 23 years and achieved a few recognitions in my time – Highway Angel and winning the 2004 North Dakota ATA Truck Driving Rodeo First Place Sleeper. I have been diagnosed a type 2 diabetic for 6 years. In today’s recession, with people losing jobs, I find it funny that I have to worry because some government idiots say you may cause an accident if you have low blood sugar or high blood sugar. You may be stressing and have an accident.

I have a job and am working. I don’t bother anyone. I pay $586 a month for insurance and $277 a month for medications for my diabetes. I see a doctor three times a year. That’s because I can drive and do my job. Now the great and powerful government wants to stick its nose where it doesn’t belong again. A1C number is 8.3, and they want it 7 and below. Now they take away my license, or rather my medical certification. If I can’t drive, that means there is no insurance, no seeing doctors, no medication. I would join the unemployed food-stamp receivers, try for unemployment and join all these social programs I didn’t need until big government stuck its Uncle Sam Pinocchio nose into something it knows nothing about.

This doesn’t only affect me but all the drivers who are good, productive drivers – and their families. Will they retrain us? Are we eligible for Social Security Disability money since our A1Cs disqualify us to drive? Make me a social parasite by taking my driving OTR from me.

Let American Society take care of me instead of me paying, as I have been for 23 years. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have a heart attack while I’m driving my personal vehicle or have a diabetes attack and kill myself or someone else. No one knows, so why worry about the unknown? Why limit our abilities by saying this may happen. Live your life; don’t let our government dictate our lives. “You can’t drive because you have diabetes.” Hey, government, leave us truck drivers alone! Let me pursue my happiness of being left alone to do my job.
Daryl “Diablo” Osborn
Hillsboro, N.D.

A New Career
I’ve been reading your magazine for several months and find it to be very informative. I have wanted to start a career in the trucking industry for many years and recently took my first step in that direction by attending a professional truck driver training program.

The first time I read Truckers News I was sure this was the career I was searching for. I realize that the majority of your readers are already working in the industry, but there are many people like myself who want to but don’t know the right way to get a start. I was fortunate to find a good school close to where I live and want to share that experience with others. With the need for new drivers on the rise, I want to do my part to inspire others to take that important first step toward becoming a professional driver.
Richard Koester
Greeley, Colo.

Let’s be honest here
This is response to the letter you received from Frank “TANK” Zepada (March 2009 issue).

As I sat there reading his letter I couldn’t help but smile and chuckle to myself. I mean, I have been driving for 22 years, and I can’t say all that he claimed in his letter. And I know drivers who have been driving longer than I have who can’t say they never tailgate or have never hit a curb, let alone that they shower every day. A lot of the things on his “list” of what he does and doesn’t do are just normal, everyday stuff any normal adult strives to do. Things like treating people nice and driving in a safe manner (watching out for other motorists, observing the speed limit, etc.). But let’s face it, I don’t care how long you have been out here there are days you just can’t shower. And I guarantee there will be a day you will hit a curb or end up tailgating someone. And if he drives long enough he will have stuff on the dash. It is just nature. As for speeding, you stay out here long enough you will get a ticket. (I read that is a statistic.)

I don’t advocate doing this stuff on purpose, but it will happen. I read that letter to a group of drivers at the truckstop I was at, and we came to a conclusion or one line of thought: This guy has never been to New York City – or downtown Detroit or Chicago, for that matter. He must be either a local driver or working for a company where he has time to shower everyday. If that is the case, I would almost say he is not making very much money, and in the end, that is what we are out here trying to do. But one driver I talked to wanted to know if he is still in driving school.
Richard Young
Russellville, Ark.

What’s the solution to the U.S.-Mexican cross-border trucking dilemma?
“It doesn’t matter. The freight’s going to get here somehow.”
– Falcon Transport company driver
Kevin Robinson, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

“They should stay on that side of the border, and we should stay on ours. If you look at the history, most of American jobs are moving out of the country, anyway. You’re only going to take jobs away from Americans by opening the border to Mexican trucks.”
– F. Chapman, owner-operator leased
to Fuller Trucking, Columbus, Ga.

“I’m not really sure what it should be, but I know I don’t want to go to Mexico. And Mexican truckers will work for pennies coming over here. It will lower the price of freight for everybody and take our jobs.”
– Kevin Lynde, owner-operator leased
to Dart Transit, Los Angeles, Calif.

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