Trucker bombs and tornadoes

Editor’s Journal

Checking in on this month’s post-deadline happenings

By Randy Grider


Randy Grider is editor of Truckers News. Write him at [email protected].

The last deadline for Truckers News, other than my column, is the news section. We push the deadline to the end to get the latest news in the issue before we have to ship the magazine. It must be written, edited, sent to our art director for layout and then uploaded to the printer.

Of course, news doesn’t stop just because we hit our appointed deadline. Each month, we weigh whether we need to pull a page back and update it. We reserve this for breaking news that affects a large number of truckers such as hours of service or electronic onboard recorders. This month, after-deadline stories included pee bottles in the Dakotas, window tinting for trucks and a tornado that hit a major carrier’s facility in Texas.

Several media outlets ran stories and editorials on the growing problem of urine bottles, or “trucker bombs” as they are often called, littering roads in North Dakota. The increasing number of urine bottles coincides with the boom in demand for trucks to work the oil patches in this region. Some stories blamed North Dakota’s lack of public rest areas, but that is no excuse. Responsible truckers are as disgusted (and embarrassed) by the minority of drivers who do this as the general public. It’s time to defuse trucker bombs everywhere. If you use a bottle to relieve yourself, dispose of it responsibly when you stop. End of debate.

Another story added clarification to the controversy about window tinting and commercial vehicles. The International Window Film Association, citing an October letter from the Federal Motor Carriers Administration, reports it is legal for truck owners to tint their windshields and side windows. The group says as long as 70 percent of the transmitted light gets through the window, it is legal. Tinting can help block dangerous ultraviolet rays that can lead to skin cancer, especially prevalent on the left side of the face and arms of truckers. Good news for health-conscious drivers.

Many of us watched in amazement the videos of a Dallas-area tornado tossing around like paper some very recognizable orange trailers. Wisconsin-based carrier Schneider National reported that about 100 pieces of equipment were damaged at its Dallas facility. While it was a financial hit for Schneider, no one was injured in the storm and the company was able to reopen the facility the following day.

Considering how powerful the storms were, and the recent history of violent tornadoes turning deadly, this is the best story on any day.