Breaking Rules to Follow Rules

This is a follow-up letter to the issues of diabetic truck drivers. I am still on the road doing my thing. The rules have changed a little since I last wrote you. They changed the A1C numbers for diabetics from seven to eight for qualifications, and my last visit to the doctor I came in with a 7.6 A1C number. So I’m staying afloat and doing what I need to do to be left alone to do my job.

However, it came with a price. The FDA has taken off the market a drug that helps combat diabetes. The drug Advantamet was taken off the list because they say it can cause heart attacks. Before the FDA took it off the market, I was taking Advantamet, and my AIC numbers were 6.2 to 6.4 every time I gave blood. They took me off the Advantamet, and my numbers shot up to between 8.6 and 8.8. So when Uncle Sam stuck his Pinocchio nose in my medication, things got worse.

This makes me uneasy about health-care reform. I am back on Advantamet, but to get it, I have to cross the border to Canada or Mexico and buy a 90-day supply and bring it back into the United States, which probably makes me an outlaw according to the U.S. government.

So what does that tell you? We have to break the law for personal health. I still have my job because people have to eat. I’m still paying for my own health insurance, which is 8 percent of my annual income. I’m not being a leech on society. I took the lesson of my Grandpa Glenn, who is 92 years old and still living a productive and active life. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. Treat other people with the respect that you want yourself.

Finally, if you have more than you can use, share the rest with those less fortunate after you are taken care of first. Use common sense, which is one thing our government doesn’t have.

By the way, I read the issue of Truckers News containing the story on cross-border trucking, and I believe we ought to take the advice of the Mexican truck driver who says to let American truck drivers drive in the U.S. and the Mexican drivers drive in Mexico.

Also, when people advise you to talk to your senator or congressman, it doesn’t work. You have to take matters into your own hands to get something done, even if you have to become an outlaw to achieve government regulations and standards.
Daryl “Diablo” Osborn
Fargo, N.D.

Criminal or victim?
I must address an issue that I’ve encountered recently and am sure I’m not the only one in this boat. It is a prime example of the difference between legal and right, just and unsure, and the ever-growing laws and restrictions being heaped on a truck driver.

To date, after beginning my trucking career in 1979, I have driven almost 3 million accident-free miles – no issues, no incidents, nothing (well, maybe a speeding ticket or two). But all in all, I have a pretty good track record and never had a problem getting a job a little better than the last. I’ve worked for seven companies in 30 years. I recently decided to purchase my first truck and finish my career “my way.”

Here’s the issue. In 2004, while engaged in farming, a part-time job I’ve done for years, I was returning an empty anhydrous ammonia tank to the dealer after finishing a late-season application. I was on a rural country gravel road in central Illinois, about a mile from the plant to which I was going, pulling the tank with a pickup truck. The sun had set, but it was still light out, and I had my headlights and four-ways on.

I was passed by a Champaign County sheriff’s deputy who stopped me, checked license, etc., and proceeded to put me under arrest. I was taken to the jail, my pickup was seized, and I was charged with “unlawful transportation of anhydrous ammonia,” which in Illinois is a Class 4 felony. This, again, all arose due to the hour of day, still light but past the legal hours. The farmer I was working for, the fertilizer dealer and a neighbor all testified on my behalf saying I was doing what all farmers do in rural areas, but to no avail. The Champaign County prosecutor told my lawyer that if I planned to plead not guilty to this one charge, he would add an additional three charges, all methamphetamine related [anhydrous ammonia can be a key ingredient], and even though I’ve never been in any trouble whatsoever, they carried a mandatory prison sentence. My lawyer advised me, to avoid a possible prison sentence and a really healthy legal bill, to plead guilty. I always considered this legal blackmail, but what do you do?

I have checked with a few companies about leasing a truck on, and when the word “felony” comes up, it’s been, “Uh, sorry, we can’t hire you.” My question is this: Who is the criminal and who is the victim?
Todd Mitchell
Fithian, Ill.

Build up America
In his book “Talking Straight,” Lee Iacocca explains to a group of Japanese businessmen: “If you take away all American jobs, who will buy your products?” For too long, the U.S. government has borrowed money to keep the economy strong instead of keeping jobs in America.

When an American loses a job, the U.S. government loses revenue from income tax. Many foreign corporations built factories in America partly to escape currency fluctuations. If the dollar loses value on foreign money markets, the cost of imports rises and lowers the cost of exports.

I believe the root cause is investing overseas. Building factories in America is “trickle down,” while investing overseas is “draining out.”
Thomas Young
French Creek, W.Va.

Brokers taking profits
We have documented proof the brokers are the ones getting rich. Last year we moved an oversize military vehicle from Dover, Del., to Anniston, Ala. In June 2008 it paid $3,600, and one year later the same load paid $1,700.

So if you think you are getting legally raped, the brokers are the ones doing it. I wait for the day when all of this nonsense ends and we can return the favor to the brokers.

American truckers need to be shown some respect, and people should learn to respect us since, if they didn’t have truckers, they wouldn’t have any of luxuries that they have now.

Americans need to know that we run for weeks away from our families, we sleep in places that most people wouldn’t consider fit for their animals and we are paid dirt wages. I believe that most Americans, if they had a choice to trade places with us, would decline, because as we know it takes a special type of person to do what we do.

So I salute our fellow truckers and wish them a speedy return home and to be safe on the road.
Bill & Theresa Curley
Dover, Del.

Share your thoughts on health-care reform.
Via Twitter:
Health care is not a right. Gun ownership is a constitutional right, but the government is not giving out free guns.
– @JohnPJensen

We need something in this country. For too long people that can’t afford health-care benefits have been falling through the cracks. Other countries have this. The United States use to be one of the world’s powers, and for all that power it don’t mean much if you can’t take care of the people of your country. And the people are the ones that put other people INTO office, and ones in office lose, and have lost sight of that already! This should be done to honor the memory of Sen. Ted Kennedy, who fought for all the ‘little guys’ around the country that fall through the cracks. Like children, elderly and unemployed.
– @blczz999

The government has no constitutional right to mandate, provide or otherwise meddle in health care or entitlement slavery. Government, get the hell out!
– @912Truck

Via Facebook:
I don’t use a doctor, so why should I pay for someone else to use one? You use, you pay.
– Charlie N.

Health care, you’re kidding, aren’t you? It’s a joke. It should be called death care. We will never get proper health care if we get this. I watched a speech by our president, and he bragged on how he and his family have the best health care that money can buy. He’s on national TV bragging, and this country is in dismay. I just don’t get it.
– Rick R.

Health care DOES need reform. It DOESN’T need government management.
– Roni S.