Letters to the Editor: Distracted Driving, Cap & Trade Redux

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Oct. 12 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Distracted Driving

Cell-phone use, particularly texting while driving any vehicle, is as dangerous an act as is driving while impaired and makes no sense at all — especially while driving a commercial motor vehicle. (Click here for previous story.)

Cell-phone use, particularly texting while driving any vehicle, is as dangerous an act as is driving while impaired and makes no sense at all — especially while driving a commercial motor vehicle.

Unfortunately, this is common practice today, and many of us in trucking safety who have experienced the discovery and interrogatory production process of plaintiff’s attorneys during lawsuits stemming from accidents involving serious injury know all too well how the potential use of these devices comes into play during litigation.

Trying to get the drivers to understand and to cooperate with the non-use of these devices while they are driving is a real challenge. Although one cannot expect compliance by all the drivers, as long as there is a specific company policy in place against the use of these devices, along with driver education as to the potential hazards surrounding their use, some, at least, will get the message and comply.

As with any good safety policy, without the support of upper-level management and cooperation from the operations staff, no-cell-phone and no-texting-while-driving policies will not be effective.

If your company not only issues these devices but also actively engages in — and initiates — “on duty” conversations with drivers, take heed: If a serious accident takes place and conversations can be traced to having taken place while the driver either was driving or was supposed to be using the sleeper berth, this will all play out in court. Make sure drivers know they are to use the devices only while parked or pulled over.

Lawrence Hartung
Director of Safety
deBoer Transportation, Inc.
Blenker, Wis.

Here we go again. If text-messaging and cell-phone use are the reasons for the proposed changes to increase safety on our highways, why should it be just for commercial vehicles?

The government needs to come up with a total ban on cell-phone use while driving, period. What is going to be safer about a truck driver who cannot use his cell phone while others around his vehicle are using cell phones constantly? I am sorry, but this idea does not make good safety sense.

Our company currently prohibits our driving force from using cell phones while driving, and we strictly enforce this rule. But that still does not keep someone else from hitting our units while talking on the phone or texting.

Let’s not just throw a stick at the problem. Let’s use the whole tree and stop unsafe behavior while driving. Put some teeth into the law and enforce it for a change.

John Hill
Safety Manager
Georgia Tank Lines

Texting should be banned for all drivers! Not just truck drivers, but all drivers. What percentage of accidents involving trucks is caused by cars? It’s more than 85%, depending on which statistics you look at. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood needs to open his eyes.

Dennis Turkette
Mickey’s Transportation
Fort Wayne, Ind.

This sounds like the Department of Transportation wants technology for what it wants to use, but the agency doesn’t want the drivers to be able to use it.

Glenn McLain
Titusville, Fla.

Cap and Trade Redux

Thanks to the writer of the letter headlined “Cap and Trade” who asked, “How can we have an honest argument about climate change, formerly known as ‘global warming,’ when the entire premise is a lie?” (9-28, p. 9; click here for Sept. 28 letters)

The writer made many additional points, mentioning “our deceitful government” and “blackmail” of companies, as well as saying, “I do not think you could design a system more open to corruption and abuse of power,” and, “The government gains incredible power under the guise of protecting the environment.” In my opinion, these are some very insightful observations.  

However, they fall short of identifying the real damage about to be done to American industry by the politicians and the environmentalists under the guise of cap-and-trade legislation. The U.S. government will not be the recipient of the tax penalties (carbon credits) levied on American industry. The government will retain the power to effectively blackmail certain companies, industries or individuals under the cloak of protecting our planet by setting mandates for reduction of greenhouse gases (carbon caps).

Private supranational organizations, whose unelected executives stand to gain trillions of dollars by selling carbon credits, will yield the ultimate power over American industry by legislating mandates for reduced carbon emissions far into the future.

These supranational organizations — whose unelected executives include Al Gore and many former congressmen, senators and past administration appointees of both parties, along with a multitude of Goldman Sachs alumni — are lining up at the trough to feast on trillions of dollars coming from American industry and siphoned off before Congress even thinks of taxing the American people. CBS recently reported that Congress will ask for another $200 billion — at $1,761 per year from each taxpayer in additional taxes.

The American taxpayer also will be paying for the trillions of dollars American industry will pay in carbon credits — taxes in the form of higher prices on their products and services.

Ed Sinclair
Castagno Real Estate Inc.
Portland, Ore.


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