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January 5, 2009 10:50 AM, EST

Letters to the Editor: California Filters, Medical Certificates, Broker Legislation, HOS Challenge

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Jan. 5 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

California Filters

We have to stop going to California; that’s the bottom line. First, they (the ports) put emission standards on who could go into the ports in the Los Angeles area.

Now, the California Air Resources Board has passed emission standards that force you to put a particulate filter on semis by 2011. This is a system that costs in the neighborhood of $7,000 every few years — not to mention the original outlay of cash to retrofit the first one on an older truck.

I wonder if it even works. I have emptied a catalytic converter that was bad on a car, and it still passed an emissions test, so it just makes me wonder.

If the politicians bring up global warming, laugh at them. It doesn’t exist. It’s 8-to-1 in the science community saying climate change is not because of people. It is a naturally occurring phenomenon.

I remember that back in the ’70s, an “ice age” was coming. Think about it. I live in Minnesota at the time I am writing this, and it is 6 degrees below zero outside when it should be about 22 degrees above. I think the global warming crew is as big a problem as high fuel prices. In fact, I believe they are part of the fuel price problem.

So, I believe the only way to stop the crazy laws California comes up with is to stop going there. If you have a trucking company based in California, move to Arizona or Nevada. If you make deliveries to California, stop. Let the crops rot and products manufactured in California sit in the warehouses.

We have the power to stop this if we all stick together. We have to stop the insanity that usually starts in California and then pops up in other states. It will affect everyone, with higher food prices and product prices or with our livelihood of trucking.

I stopped going to California more than a year ago and won’t go back in a big truck again. Just say “No” to California.

Rick Crosby

Owner

Tykatie Transport

Ramsey, Minn.

This is just another indication that the government is trying to phase out the little trucker and attempt to get trucking down to where there are only four companies nationwide, giving them more control over rates, etc. This is an idea that has been around for many years.

The only problem is that the shippers and receivers with “on demand” needs to reduce warehousing and product stockpiling cannot be served by only four companies. It has been tried and proven to fail.

Jim Eldridge

Driver-Owner

Flatbed Express

Dunkirk, N.Y.

I guess we will make the shippers in California pay the bill to update our trucks. If they want the freight moved out of California, they will have to pay a California surcharge.

Dean Frink

Owner

Dean Frink Transportation

Bonne Terre, Mo.

Medical Certificates

In your Dec. 15 issue, you published a letter whose writer voiced a complaint about drivers holding multiple medical (examiner’s) certificates, citing this condition as a “potential hazard.” I would like to point out some things the letter writer may not have considered:

He asked that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration “stop trucking companies from hiring” commercial drivers who “get a new medical certificate each time they change jobs.”

I am not sure the letter writer understands that it is the responsibility of each motor carrier to ensure that every driver employed by that carrier is medically fit to operate a commercial motor vehicle. This is done primarily through the physical examination process, with the motor carrier typically requiring the prospective driver to undergo an examination by a physician chosen by the motor carrier.

The writer states his belief that “most doctors do not give the same physical.” This is certainly true and is the basis for the current proposal that physicians earn FMCSA approval to perform Department of Transportation physicals. It also is the basis of the preference by many motor carriers to have prospective drivers seen by a physician chosen by the carrier. Doing so enables the carrier to have at least some measure of control over the quality of the examination provided.

Both factors contribute to the multiple medical certificate “problem” referred to by the writer. The condition exists because motor carriers are doing exactly what they should do.

While he is correct in sensing a “potential hazard” in drivers who hold multiple medical certificates, the hazard does not lie where he seems to believe it does. The true hazard is the fact that such a driver, evidenced purely by the holding of multiple certificates from different employers, shows a lack of employment stability. Many such drivers are going from job to job and staying just one jump ahead of a questionable past, or they perform badly and are released in a short period of time.

The plain fact is that many carriers will put a driver on before the full background on that driver has been developed. The holding of multiple medical certificates is thus, in my opinion, a symptom of a much bigger problem.

Christopher Prioli

Safety & Compliance Manager

SJ Transportation Co. Inc.

Woodstown, N.J.

Broker Legislation

I may be incorrect in this statement, and with all due respect to the writer of the Dec. 15 letter headlined “Broker Legislation,” I must disagree with his statement concerning 49 U.S.C. 101 et seq. (the so-called I.C.C. Termination Act, also known as Public Law 104-88).

While I am not an attorney, I am responding to his allegation of coercion at 49 U.S.C. 14103(b). In my opinion, coercion, either attempted or actual, cannot exist until or unless the consignor/consignee fails to provide assistance in loading or unloading.

Because the consignor and/or consignee bring materials to/from

the rear of the trailer (because consignors/consignees don’t want drivers wandering through their warehouses and because drivers and motor carriers usually don’t know where items are within a warehouse), as required at 14103(a), that consignor/consignee is then assisting and is therefore in compliance with 14103 in its entirety. His allegation of the coercion factor at 14103(b) becomes a moot and invalid assumption.

Francis Amiot

Hazmat Specialist, Retired

U.S. Department of Transportation

Monroe, Mich.

HOS Challenge

Maybe it’s time all these safety-minded advocacy groups, along with the unions, focused their attention in another direction and put to rest their continual badgering over the trucking industry’s safety record and the hours-of-service regulations. It’s time for every one of these “do-gooders” to accept and recognize the fact that the trucking industry is now and has been a leader in highway safety for some time.

No other industry or organization has promoted and/or taken steps to train its drivers in safe-driving practices, along with the motoring public, as has the trucking industry.

We not only practice what we preach, but we also demand safe driving throughout our behind-the-wheel workforce, and our highway safety record proves it.

The do-gooders should switch gears and give their attention to the real problem in highway safety — the unregulated side of transportation. Go after individual states’ lack of continuing driver education for licensed drivers who haven’t been retrained or retested since they were issued a driver’s license. That’s where the meat of the matter lies — all those millions of untrained, unsafe drivers who occupy the nation’s highways each and every day right next to our trained, experienced truck drivers.

If you want to make a change for the better, target this group of drivers and leave the professionals alone.

Lawrence Hartung

Director of Safety

deBoer Transportation Inc.

Blenker, Wis.