Letters: Appreciating Dan England, Cellphone Ban, To the Candidates


These Letters to the Editor appear in the Dec. 19 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Appreciating Dan England

I am writing to express my appreciation for the recent story on Dan England’s installation as ATA chairman.

England’s professionalism and interest in our industry’s success are evident. His leadership is needed and will be valued as our country’s economy regains strength.

Thank you for the encouraging read.

Michael Morris

Business Development Manager

Bonded Logistics Inc.

Charlotte, N.C.

Don’t Ban — Teach

Truck drivers have used citizens band (CB) radios for many years. When cellphones were invented, we were among the first to install and use these marvels. In fact, many truck drivers were proud of being able to use both of these — even while sipping a coffee-to-go, shifting gears and steering with their knees. The result, in general, was absolutely nothing.

We realized the precariousness of the situation and drove accordingly. The new safety orthodoxy hasn’t eliminated cellphone use; it’s just driven it underground — or, more specifically, below the field of view.

Truck drivers routinely see car drivers still texting while driving, but now the car drivers have the cellphone on their laps instead of the arguably more responsible heads-up position on top of the wheel. The unintended result is that their eyes are directed down and well away from the road, or their attention is devoted to watching out for police.

That’s an improvement, right?

“Safety theatre” (for that’s what it surely is) makes all parties feel good while disguising the real issue: how to train drivers to use the new technologies without compromising safety. Let’s see some more imaginative solutions than outright banning.

Mike Smith


Kamloops, British Columbia


To the Contenders

Dear Presidential Candidates:

The regulatory agencies are under the executive branch of our government. These agencies have been allowed to grow into powerful, monolithic, bureaucratically controlled, unelected and unaccountable monstrosities that freely infiltrate our personal and professional lives. Through their massive and complex regulations, they have virtually made unknowing criminals of us all, except, of course, our elected representatives.

The Internal Revenue Service has enormous power over all citizens regarding the federal income tax regulations that are tens of thousands of pages long and require highly paid tax attorneys and certified public accountants to understand and interpret so a tax payer can prove his innocence and make sure he’s paying “his fair share.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has been allowed to regulate everything from stormwater runoff to toilet-bowl size or light-bulb wattage and design — without any common sense check or balance.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has unleashed an unprecedented barrage of rulemaking that will cripple one of the few industries left in the United States that hasn’t been devastated by the federal bureaucracy. They are now proposing a “five-year plan” to regulate the “entire transportation life cycle,” which includes shippers, manufacturers, brokers and freight forwarders, all in the name of “public safety.” This is clearly beyond their scope of authority.

Everyone who has run for political office for the past two decades has promised to reel in the federal bureaucracy, and every one of them has failed to deliver on this political promise. On the contrary, the agencies have become exponentially larger and more all-encompassing.

I believe any presidential candidate who actually has a plan and the political courage to implement his plan to turn back this regulatory mania will easily win the votes and support of the entire business community, small and large.

My plan would involve an executive order that called for a one-year freeze or moratorium on all regulatory rulemaking. I would then instruct those agencies to spend that year going over all existing regulations, eliminating unfunded, unenforceable and outdated regulations and simplifying the regulations to an understandable size so their value could be assessed.

The second phase would be to eliminate from the federal regs and give back to the states the many questionably unconstitutional issues that rightfully belong to the citizenry and state and local governments.

David Owen


National Association of Small Trucking Companies

Hendersonville, Tenn.


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