January 24, 2008 10:05 AM, EST

Letters to the Editor: HOS, Public Citizen, Fuel Prices, N.J. Turnpike, Fuel in New England

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

Hours of Service

So, we were able to keep two important features of the hours-of-service rules in place — which should have been no surprise to any one.

Keep in mind that all that was stated in the initial action was to ask the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to explain their rationale for the HOS changes. That was all FMCSA was asked to do — simply to clarify their actions, which they now have done. We shouldn’t expect any other revisions to take place.

As for the split-sleeper-berth provision, the time can be split as it is now, but the majority of drivers I deal with do not care to use this option anyway. This is the day and age of simplicity, and for today’s drivers, it is easier to wipe out previous driving time with one segment of sleeper-berth time and/or off-duty time.

Splitting this time would require some thinking and seems to work only for the experienced driver who fully understands the use of the rule.

Whatever cleanup is scheduled for the remainder of the FMCSA regulations probably will not affect the HOS rules.

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

Public Citizen

It is not an hours-of-service issue of safety; it is an issue of available parking for truckers to rest safely.

The number of trucks parked at night is staggering, to say the least. Maybe Public Citizen should be out of their warm beds at night with open eyes to see the reality of a parking problem and the laws governing the parking.

Well, reality is probably the operative word here, since when the safety advocates travel around in their respective four-wheeled conveyances of choice, they are mostly oblivious to the world around them as they travel 20 mph more than the limit in 3,000 pounds of steel while they text-message and yak on the phone, not having slept their last 11 hours.

Are these people extraordinary beings above all others? I think not. “Share the road and know where your children are” is still the best advice for all us ordinary humans traveling the highways of America.

Mark Schuman
Persistent Trucking Inc.
Lyndonville, N.Y.

In light of Public Citizen and other groups reactivating their lawsuits against the status quo of the hours-of-service regulations (1-14, p. 1), I believe it’s about time for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and American Trucking Associations to fight fire with fire by countersuing these groups for premeditated and malicious propagation of misinformation.

While I have my own misgivings about the current HOS regs, particularly as they relate to a driver’s inability to split the minimum required rest period and the fact that the rules do not mandate a driver to take short breaks during his/her tour of duty, I do strongly believe that the industry is better suited to evaluate the current rules’ safety than to allow amateurs to “set the record straight.”

André Perret
Fleet Safety/Compliance Specialist
Hamilton, Ontario

Fuel Prices

First of all, thank you for keeping up with the rising cost of diesel each week. However, have you thought about reporting on how the rising cost of fuel has hurt trucking companies’ business and how hard it is to stay in business?

Most trucking companies are not trying to make a killing; they are just trying to keep their families fed. This industry needs some serious help from somebody — and real soon.

Rick Adams
Driver Recruiter
Volume Transportation
Lithonia, Ga.

New Jersey Turnpike

Gov. Corzine of New Jersey was elected to reduce taxes, and it seems like all he does is raise them (Click here for previous story.)

For a businessman, he sure does not know how to run a state. All he has to do is cut a lot of pork spending and cut the corruption, and there will be plenty of money.

All he does is take our money. If he starts to raise money on the turnpike and parkway, maybe we will just jam up the other roads. He is out with the next election, as far as I go.

Nicholas Dianuzzo
Parsippany, N.J.

Fuel in New England

Some drivers will refuse loads coming to New England because the fuel prices there were again the highest in the country as of Jan. 7, according to the fuel prices listed in the Jan. 14 issue of Transport Topics (p. 26).

There has to be some kind of explanation. New England has fuel depots where tanker ships unload up and down the coast.

I believe Congress should be addressing this problem. But first, why is diesel fuel so much more at the pumps? Diesel is less costly to produce than gas.

If Congress can have something done from the refineries about the soaring price of fuel, maybe our whole economy might rebound. As you know, the rising prices for fuel are passed along to consumers through higher transport costs. Some owner-operators — more than fleet owners, who buy on volume — are finding it harder to make a living and are selling their rigs.

The central states seem to be the cheapest all the time, and all their fuel is railed or barged in. So again, why is New England the most costly?

Philip Malouin
Retired Driver
West Warwick, R.I.