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December 17, 2007 7:30 AM, EST

Letters to the Editor: Port Restrictions, Biodiesel, HOS

These letters appear in the Dec. 17 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Port Restrictions

Restricting older trucks in the ports seems to be restricting trade. If these trucks are legal to use in the state of California, they should be allowed in the ports.

To me, this looks like another attempt to make all the drivers employees so the unions, in a roundabout way, get more members.

If this goes through, truck rates will have to go up by 75% to 100% so drivers will be able to afford the new or newer trucks they’ll need to buy.

These drivers have to stick together and stop this.
Thank you and Merry Christmas to all (even the ports).

Rick Crosby
Owner-Operator
Tykatie Transport
Ramsey, Minn.

Biodiesel

It is my understanding that biodiesel cannot be produced in sufficient quantities to completely replace the need for diesel fuel. There simply is not enough land available to produce crops for the product.

Is biodiesel a short-term solution to fuel shortages or could it be used to replace regular diesel fuel?

Being a user of biodiesel for more than three years now, I have not seen any benefit in the way of a cost savings. Actually, the contrary has taken place.

Reduced emissions? At a B20 ratio (20% biodiesel, 80% regular diesel) minimum, some reduced emissions can be realized, which helps the air we breathe. However, it has been stated that more energy is used to produce biodiesel than is saved by burning the finished product.

So the real question is whether biodiesel is worth the expense. If producers, shippers and retailers of biodiesel can do all they can to keep the retail costs per gallon down to $3 per gallon or less, using biodiesel saves money when regular fuel costs are higher than $3 a gallon. In the long term, this will make a difference to large fleets or high-mileage fleets.

Brad Barker
Shop Supervisor
Park City School District
Park City, Utah

Hours of Service

Here we go again — another group stating they will propose another exemption to the hours-of-service rules: “ARTBA to Seek Exemption From HOS for Drivers in Construction Sector” (Click here for previous story).

The problem with this one is that in my home state, drivers from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association industries already violate these rules to the extreme with almost no enforcement from the motor carrier division of the state police.

Many drivers in my state are driving for the construction and transportation infrastructure people. Almost without exception, every driver from this/these industries with whom I have spoken to in my many years on the earth have stated they are using the 100 air mile radius rule (395.1).

Yet, without fail, these same drivers will tell you that their company requires them to work and drive in excess of the time allotted — in some cases as much as 18 hours daily.

How much more time will entities like ARTBA need? If this stated exemption is actually proposed, and if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration grants this exemption, we might as well just delete the hours-of-service rules from Title 49 CFR as mandated from Title 49 USC et seq.

Francis Edward Amiot
Retired
U.S. Department of Transportation
Monroe, Mich.

ATA, you have much support from the trucking industry and I hope at the hearing everyone will hear you. The 11-hour and 34-hour revision is the only sane revision made. The split-sleeper and 14-hour rules should be completely rewritten.

Roger Dunn
Safety Manager
Quality Distribution
High Point, N.C.