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February 21, 2011 8:00 AM, EST

Letters: CSA, Help in a Blizzard,Top 11 Lacking?

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Feb. 21 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

CSA

I don’t understand how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program got going without all the pitfalls being known ahead of time.

Fewer than 12% of the carriers are even rated. How can that be a fair measurement?

Who is going to check the 600,000-plus trucking firms not on CSA?

How will the insurance companies rate companies not on CSA vs. those on CSA?

Michael Valente Sr.

President

Valente Trucking Inc.

Calumet Park, Ill.

Help in a Blizzard

I am the safety director for Long Haul Trucking in Albertville, Minn., and would like you to read the letter below, which we received recently. We really think this is a worthwhile story to be told.

Mark Theis

Safety Director

Long Haul Trucking

Albertville, Minn.

We are writing to advise you of a situation of heroic proportions that occurred on the evening of Feb. 3. One of your drivers, John Crozman, quite literally saved our lives on Interstate 29 outside Summit, S.D. John put his own life in danger at a rest stop access at Exit 213, where my husband and I were stranded in our vehicle in a terrifying snowstorm. Although we thought we were equipped for such a situation, we were sorely mistaken.

We had been trapped in our vehicle on the hill for approximately four hours while winds of 45 mph to 60 mph rocked our vehicle. The wind chill was recorded at approximately minus-60 degrees.

There were groups of vehicles a mile ahead of us and a half-mile behind (safety in numbers), but we were alone. We were nearly hypo-thermic when we saw a gentleman struggling through the snow and wind to check on us. John had been making his way back to a truck stop in Summit when he saw a candle flickering in our vehicle and made the lifesaving decision to check out the situation.

When we opened our door to him, we were shivering uncontrollably and terribly frightened. Fighting strong, sub-zero winds, John led us to his vehicle, ensured that we were okay and continued to make his way back to the truck stop.

He not only escorted us into the truck stop and made sure that we had hot coffee, but he put us up in his warm vehicle for the night, giving up his bed to us. The next day, he made sure our vehicle was rescued prior to making his own way to deliver his load.

We always have had the utmost respect for those individuals involved in the trucking industry, and now we owe our lives to one of them. John is a humble man who did not want us to make a fuss over him. However, we know that we must relay this information and have him receive the recognition he deserves. John is a fine man — he is our hero and we never will forget what he did for us on that frigid night on I-29. John speaks very highly of the company he represents and of the individuals with whom he works.

My husband and I are retired from the education system in Manitoba. We were returning from a cycling vacation in Arizona at the time, and, thanks to John, we are warm, safe and well in a hotel room and almost home. Upon our return home to Winnipeg, we will follow up this e-mail with a letter we hope you will kindly forward to John on our behalf. Thank you again, John, and thank you, Long Haul Trucking, for having this fine gentleman in your employ. God bless; we are forever in your debt.

Thomas Fischer and Mary Lynne Fischer

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Canada

Top 11 Lacking?

After reading the Jan. 24 Opinion piece, “Truck Maintenance Tips: The Top 11 for 2011,” I was disappointed, but not surprised, that balancing complete wheel assemblies didn’t make the writer’s list.

In my opinion, nothing else available comes close to the return-on-investment produced by balancing complete wheel assemblies. The lack of awareness of the value of balancing all complete wheel assemblies eventually will be recognized as the greatest oversight by the trucking industry since its very beginning.

Part of the reason for this is that, at one time, it was impossible to balance complete wheel assemblies. Now, however, the problem is that the trucking industry is being fed conflicting information on this subject because almost all the information on balancing complete wheel assemblies is coming from industries that stand either to lose or gain from the effects of balancing tires and complete wheel assemblies. Time will tell who is right.

The trucking industry should listen to fleet operators with nothing to lose or to gain by passing along their experience with balancing all complete wheel assemblies. More and more fleets are coming forward with reports of the tremendous saving it produces in increased tire life, fuel-economy improvement, reductions in cargo and vehicle-vibration damages, improvement in ride for the drivers and more.

We also are aware of other fleets, some very large, that have been balancing all complete wheel assemblies for the past five or six years and have not come forward. Due to the tremendous importance of this issue, we would like them to do so and to share their experiences with the rest of the industry.

Roger Le Blanc

President

Counteract Balancing Beads Inc.

Georgetown, Ontario

Canada

New HOS Rules

Rules! Rules! Rules! All we ever get are more rules. Now it’s the shortening of the day — a great way to stimulate the economy.

The so-called safety factor is getting a little out of hand by saying that a truck driver is a total threat to society after putting in a 10-hour shift, while the so-called citizen is a super being who can work a 12-hour shift at a different type of commercial job and still be in full control of all his faculties to embark on a 16-hour drive across country or to the cottage. The rule-makers need their heads examined to think this is safe.

Rules should apply to all people the same way, regardless of what job function they have. Fair is fair, right?

The new rules will make the roads a lot more dangerous because speeds will increase to make up time, and chances will be taken that otherwise wouldn’t happen.

The rule-makers should be looking to have shippers, receivers, etc., work the same hours we do on the road, 24/7. It’s only fair that shipments be received and loaded when the truck gets there, not only when it’s convenient for them. This way, the trucking industry could work within the parameters and rules already set out. A shorter workweek is not what is needed, just unification in the whole system.

With these new rules, is the government going to ensure that the drivers are going to be paid fairly, or are they going to leave that issue alone? If I have to work fewer hours, shouldn’t I get the same amount of money as I do now? Or do I have to take a two- or three-hour rollback in wages?

Maybe the politicians should sell off their shares in the railroads and not try to put a stop to the industry that is actually trying to do something for the country without subsidies from the taxpayer.

Another unfortunate thing is that the trucking industry doesn’t have the guts either to shut down — or even slow down — to make the point. It’s really too bad.

As for the rule-makers and enforcers, I would like to see them do my job and try to follow their own rules and see how silly most of them are.

Dave Patraschuk

President

Patraschuk Trucking Ltd.

Creston, British Columbia

Canada