Make Taxes Fairer for Truckers

The ATA cites privacy concerns over the mileage-based tax. I don’t see how that is cause for concern, seeing how we already provide miles driven in each state traveled in manually (speedometer) or via computer, QUALCOMM or other systems for tax purposes. I will agree that the current tax system hasn’t worked and that the money has been used for non-road-based purposes rather than on actual road and bridge infrastructure.

We must be vigilant in ensuring that small trucking businesses are able to make ends meet when all is said and done. We currently pay tax upon tax, tolls, highway-usage tax, fuel tax, fees, etc. We need a fair tax system that will meet our infrastructure demands in coming years without causing truckers and trucking businesses alike to go bankrupt. A vehicle mile-based tax system may be the system needed if all other taxes, fees, tolls and the like are eliminated, reduced, refunded, etc. for trucks. Details, I am sure, can be and could be worked out to benefit the trucking industry and the motoring public to ensure that the money goes for roads and bridge infrastructure and nothing else.
Randy Bouwens
Newark, N.Y.

Want a new label, Truckers? Earn it.
I started driving team with my husband a little more than 12 years ago. We have had a lot of fun out here on the road, but I got off the truck about six years ago to see how the internal things happen and learn new ropes while he was becoming an owner-operator. I have recently jumped back on the truck full-time because of downsizing.

Well, I am just so shocked how it is out here now. These drivers have no clue, everyone is rude, so impatient in truckstops waiting for the driver to park or get off the fuel island. On the highway no one is asking drivers who are pulled on the shoulder if they need help.

When you signal them it is OK to get over in the lane they don’t signal a thank-you. In truckstops that have IdleAire, they park in the quiet zone and idle all night instead of paying to hook up. As for how the women leave the bathrooms when they’re done, I would hate to see their home bathrooms. And, of course, there are the piss bottles.

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Yes all this went on 12 years ago, but it wasn’t so obvious. This is why truck drivers have that bad reputation as dirt bags. If we would just respect each other and the places we go to, this world would be a little better.

Here is what I say to my fellow truck drivers:
·Next time you see someone on the side of the road, turn the CB on and say, “Hey, driver, you OK?”
·If someone signals you it is OK to get over, just blink your lights to say thanks.
·Be patient at the truckstop; you were new before, too, and you will get where you’re going eventually.
·Don’t idle your truck in an IdleAire spot. I do realize the parking shortage we have, but think about the person who might actually park there and pay to hook up.
·In the bathroom: Please flush the toilet and make sure it goes down. Also, after you wash your hands take the paper towel and dry the sink up a little.
·Empty your piss bottle on the grass before you throw it in the trashcan. I’m sure it would be a great fertilizer.
·Lastly, remember we have a very cool job. We travel and see things most people would never see in their lifetimes and get paid to do it, even though we sacrifice a lot. So next time you walk past another driver smile a little and say hello. It might actually make you feel better.
Evie Campau
Boothwyn, Penn.

Shades revisited
I was a bit disappointed with the June Truckers News article about sunglasses (“Glare Reduction”). The title itself made me think you were going to hit on a subject I have been talking about for years: the difference between making things look darker and actually taking away the glare. The very last line of the article mentioned polarized coatings, which should have been the subject of the entire article.

If you are looking at glare from something in front of you, like snow or another vehicle’s glass, simply making the glare darker doesn’t solve the problem. The glare is still there, but you feel more comfortable. Polarized sunglasses don’t just darken the view, they actually filter out the glare. They do this by not allowing horizontally oriented light through. Glare is mostly horizontal light, so by blocking those light waves out polarized sunglasses cut the glare down to almost nothing.

That’s how sunglasses people use when fishing let you see below the water’s surface. It removes the glare from the top of the water.

A pair of quality sunglasses is a very important tool for a driver, both in winter and summer. Any sunglasses that are not polarized are not doing the job as well as it should be done. I have paid more than $150 for a pair of high-end sunglasses from Maui Jim Co. and have never regretted paying that much for them. When I am not driving, I have a cheap pair of sunglasses to use, so my good ones can stay safely in my truck. Even my cheap-o ones ($10 at Wal-Mart) are polarized. I don’t care if they are made by a big-name company any more than some cheap company; if they are not polarized, they are not worth wearing.
Jim Smith
Bensalem, Pa.

Diesel Exhaust Fluid is Completely Safe
In response to the June 2009 letter to the editor from Mr. Rob Williams about urea safety, I would like to refute the erroneous and misleading information he put forward. I am a chemist with 35 years experience in the field. I am also the general manager of a company that produces, stores and handles millions of gallons of urea solution per year. We ship truckloads of urea solutions, including DEF, around the country every day without safety issues.

Diesel Exhaust Fluid or DEF is 32.5 percent Urea and 67.5 percent water. It is not dangerous and is completely nonhazardous by every standard that exists: DOT, TSCA, OSHA and Cercla. Urea, the base material, is safe and widely used in animal feed, cosmetics and pharmaceutical applications and is even approved for food use. And DEF is currently being used, without safety problems, by nearly a million truckers in Europe, Japan and Australia.

The Material Safety Data Sheet references noted by Mr. Williams are in the first aid section of the MSDS. DEF is not intended to be put in one’s eyes, inhaled or swallowed. But in case the product is used inappropriately, the MSDS has a section on how to treat these issues.

The First Aid Measures for DEF are basically the same as for many household products such as Windex glass cleaner, for example, which are not considered unsafe. The first aid measures for DEF are minor and manageable for drivers, particularly when compared to the hazards and flammability outlined in the MSDS for fuels, oils, coolants and other fluids handled safely daily by drivers.

I am very disappointed Mr. Williams is providing misleading information to the trucking industry at a time when stakeholders are volunteering valuable hours and resources to deliver fact-based education programs for truckers and when the industry is just beginning to understand the economic and environmental benefits of SCR technology, which saves fuel and clears the air, reducing truck emissions to near-zero levels. DEF is safe, affordable and easy to use. Presenting it in any other way is grossly inaccurate.
Jim Spooner
VP & GM, Colonial Chemical Co.
Tabernacle, N.J.

On a scale of 1-10 (10 is best), rate President Obama’s first six months in office.
Via Twitter:
I’d give Obama a 1 rating. Higher fuel prices, less freight and less money in my pocket.
– @suzytrucker

Rate Obama? You’re kidding me, right? This man and his backers are nothing short of criminals and enemies of the State!
– @TZWilliams

Hey, guys: I give him a big FFFAAATTT 10!!!
– @blczz999

Via Facebook:
Negative 100. I never thought I would see the U.S.A. go socialist in my lifetime or my children’s lives. Totally dismayed by the stupidity of the people that elected him.
– Michael L.

3. Hundreds of thousands of union members blindly voted for the Democratic candidate as they always do. What did they get? Postal workers saw Obama say he’d save over $9 billion by cutting their benefits. I regularly travel to Canada and see Canadian media praising Obama for backing out of the “Buy American” plan and making sure we import plenty of Canadian steel. Ethanol producers went bankrupt when consumers saw ethanol wasn’t truly efficient. Now Obama is pushing ethanol so Illinois farmers can profit more on corn.
– Richard G.

Negative 10. So far I haven’t seen anything he promised. I think he was elected just so America could say we have our first black president. It had nothing to do with making the economy better.
– Ralph G.