Share
June 27, 2007 8:50 AM, EDT

Letters to the Editor: SafeStat Scores, Seat Belts

These letters appear in the June 25 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

SafeStat Scores (Cont'd.)



This is in response to the letter headlined “SafeStat Scores” that ran in your June 4 issue (p. 9). The letter read: “Give me a break! Stop complaining about your SafeStat scores and fix your problems.”

Has the letter writer ever owned or operated a trucking company? Has he worked for the Department of Transportation?

We have had many examples of questionable DOT inspections — including two we had last month in Idaho on the same owner-operator’s tractor-trailer that were clean, but not Level 1s, which are the most thorough standardized inspections and include brake performance and an inspection of the driver’s qualifications, licensing and hours of service.

When our driver asked the officer to conduct a Level 1 inspection, which would help our SafeStat score, the officer told him the inspectors are “not qualified” to do those.

They’re qualified to write us up out-of-service, but not to give us a clean Level 1 that would help our score?

Another inspector, this time in Pennsylvania, wrote up the air tank on the trailer between the axles for being loose. However, they are supposed to be rubber-mounted to keep them from breaking off, and that may seem a little loose to a new inspector. The inspector was nice and told our driver he could tighten them up and go on, or he could go to the next truck stop and have them do it. But on an out-of-service inspection — which the officer did write for this alleged defect — that’s against federal regulations.

Most drivers say “yes sir, no sir” and don’t argue — it won’t help. Some inspectors won’t take the time to even show the driver the defect, or when shown that what they wrote up is not in fact defective, the inspectors say, “It’s too late, I can’t erase it.”

So how do we fix that? Complain to the state DOT office and have them let everyone know to be on the lookout for our trucks?

We require our owner-operators to get four Level 1 inspections per year — 400% of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requirements. We don’t have a high operating ratio or maintenance costs. I object to the letter writer’s saying he “can guarantee the drivers’ logs are a mess and the maintenance records are a mess.”

Randy Workman
Vice President of Administration
TMT Inc.
Madisonville, Ky.

Seat Belts

This is in reference to the letter in the June 11 issue (“Seat Belt Use,” pp. 8-9) advocating stiff fines and penalties for those who don’t use seat belts:

A $1,000 fine? Denying medical insurance after an accident? Let’s be realistic — a seat-belt violation should not destroy a person financially for life.

Scott Martin
Inside Sales/Customer Service
Alpha Freight Systems
Stow, Ohio

I have been a maintenance manager for many years and my complaint is mostly always the same; I find it difficult to understand why companies are continuing to be plagued by penalties because of driver neglect.

In your publication dated June 11, someone wrote a letter recommending we increase the penalty to the driver — which I find OK (“Seat Belt Use,” pp. 8-9).

Then he goes on to want to fine the company $1,000 because the driver didn’t do what he was supposed to. I have never seen a company do anything to deter a driver from wearing his seat belt. Then the letter writer suggested taking the truck out of service. This also costs the company thousands of dollars.

Drivers don’t do as they are supposed to because they are providing their own consequences. If these thousands of dollars of fines the letter writer recommends are levied on the person who has violated the law, there might be a change.

I say we quit punishing the company that is providing good, well-paying jobs to drivers who ignore the law as well as their own safety and punish the perpetrator. The law should help encourage drivers to be safe and to follow the rules. All the reputable trucking companies already do.

Joe Boyd
Division Maintenance Manager
Key Energy Services
Cleburne, Texas

/>

This is in response to the letter headlined “SafeStat Scores” that ran in your June 4 issue (p. 9). The letter read: “Give me a break! Stop complaining about your SafeStat scores and fix your problems.”

Has the letter writer ever owned or operated a trucking company? Has he worked for the Department of Transportation?

We have had many examples of questionable DOT inspections — including two we had last month in Idaho on the same owner-operator’s tractor-trailer that were clean, but not Level 1s, which are the most thorough standardized inspections and include brake performance and an inspection of the driver’s qualifications, licensing and hours of service.

When our driver asked the officer to conduct a Level 1 inspection, which would help our SafeStat score, the officer told him the inspectors are “not qualified” to do those.

They’re qualified to write us up out-of-service, but not to give us a clean Level 1 that would help our score?

Another inspector, this time in Pennsylvania, wrote up the air tank on the trailer between the axles for being loose. However, they are supposed to be rubber-mounted to keep them from breaking off, and that may seem a little loose to a new inspector. The inspector was nice and told our driver he could tighten them up and go on, or he could go to the next truck stop and have them do it. But on an out-of-service inspection — which the officer did write for this alleged defect — that’s against federal regulations.

Most drivers say “yes sir, no sir” and don’t argue — it won’t help. Some inspectors won’t take the time to even show the driver the defect, or when shown that what they wrote up is not in fact defective, the inspectors say, “It’s too late, I can’t erase it.”

So how do we fix that? Complain to the state DOT office and have them let everyone know to be on the lookout for our trucks?

We require our owner-operators to get four Level 1 inspections per year — 400% of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requirements. We don’t have a high operating ratio or maintenance costs. I object to the letter writer’s saying he “can guarantee the drivers’ logs are a mess and the maintenance records are a mess.”

Randy Workman
Vice President of Administration
TMT Inc.
Madisonville, Ky.

Seat Belts

This is in reference to the letter in the June 11 issue (“Seat Belt Use,” pp. 8-9) advocating stiff fines and penalties for those who don’t use seat belts:

A $1,000 fine? Denying medical insurance after an accident? Let’s be realistic — a seat-belt violation should not destroy a person financially for life.

Scott Martin
Inside Sales/Customer Service
Alpha Freight Systems
Stow, Ohio

I have been a maintenance manager for many years and my complaint is mostly always the same; I find it difficult to understand why companies are continuing to be plagued by penalties because of driver neglect.

In your publication dated June 11, someone wrote a letter recommending we increase the penalty to the driver — which I find OK (“Seat Belt Use,” pp. 8-9).

Then he goes on to want to fine the company $1,000 because the driver didn’t do what he was supposed to. I have never seen a company do anything to deter a driver from wearing his seat belt. Then the letter writer suggested taking the truck out of service. This also costs the company thousands of dollars.

Drivers don’t do as they are supposed to because they are providing their own consequences. If these thousands of dollars of fines the letter writer recommends are levied on the person who has violated the law, there might be a change.

I say we quit punishing the company that is providing good, well-paying jobs to drivers who ignore the law as well as their own safety and punish the perpetrator. The law should help encourage drivers to be safe and to follow the rules. All the reputable trucking companies already do.

Joe Boyd
Division Maintenance Manager
Key Energy Services
Cleburne, Texas