Letters: A Good Deed, Spot Freight, Costly Dirt, Democratized Data, Dear Mr. President, EOBRs Redux, Size & Weight

These letters appear in the Jan. 4 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

A Good Deed

I wanted to write to thank you or your Digest item “Wal-Mart Donates 35 Trucks to Food Banks” in the Nov. 16 issue, p. 33. In this economy, it is refreshing to read a positive, goodwill article.

I contacted Wal-Mart to tell them and their CEO what a great job they did. Without trucks, all the goodness of America wouldn’t be delivered.

I believe in the concept of doing good for society. I hope other companies will do similarly creative goodwill projects, donating time, food, beverages and excess inventory to keep America great.

I enjoy reading Transport Topics. Your publication keeps me up to date on the transport industry.

Robert Lister
‘A Friend of Trucking’
Orlando, Fla.

Spot Freight

This is written in response to a TTNews.com story with the headline “November Spot Freight 65% Over Last Year, TransCore Says,” Dec. 15. It begins: “Spot market freight availability increased by 65% in November compared with last year, according to the TransCore Freight Index, a measure of truckload freight volume found on load boards.”

TransCore didn’t do a fair comparison; everyone knows that volume dropped off the face of the earth beginning last October, so of course this November looks “robust” in comparison.

Anyone throwing out comparisons must use the prior two years to give a fair assessment of the situation. I would suspect this is needed for nine months before we can get back to year-over-year comparisons.

Then again, I guess anything positive is good news in the current environment.

Steve Fulton
Director Logistics
Downers Grove, Ill.

Dirt Is Costly

We just read the “Dirt Is Costly” letter (11-30, p. 7), and this is one that needs to be shared with many drivers. The letter writer really hits the nail on the head with this information. Thanks for printing this.

Bob and Linda Caffee
Leased to FedEx Custom Critical
Silex, Mo.

Editor’s Note: The letter in question outlined why it’s important to stick with an equipment-washing program even during hard times, for reasons ranging from damage to the equipment and safety concerns to more frequent visits by government inspectors and customers’ perception of your trucking operation. Click here to to read the letter in its entirety.

Democratized Data

I hope you’ve received other comments about the Nov. 23 op-ed headlined “Democratized Data Helps Carriers Compete” (p. 7; click here for previous Opinion piece). The writer could not have been more self-serving and uninformed about the AS400 data platform.

What an incredible slap in the face to the many major carriers that run their entire systems on AS400.

I hope someone has volunteered to write an opposing viewpoint — without trying to sell their services.

Scott Andrews
Group 33 Consulting
Lincoln, Neb.

Tell Our President

This is in regard to the article about the company that makes cabs for International trucks closing its plant because Navistar is moving the work to its own plant in Mexico (“CVG to Close Cab Assembly Plant,” TTNews.com, Dec. 14; click here for previous story).

I think we should forward this article to the president of the United States. Once again, we are losing jobs in the United States to Mexico. In fact, we’ve been shipping more and more jobs to Mexico and overseas.

If the president wants to fix this country, he needs to keep the jobs here.

Joe Liming
Western Sales Manager
Panelite Inc.
Lake Dallas, Texas

EOBRs Revisited

Over the past 15 years or so, the subject of electronic onboard recorders has come up many times.

EOBRs will happen for sure. There are many fleets that knowingly operate above and beyond the safety requirements set forth in today’s federal hours-of-service regulations as well as many that do not. There are carriers that should be required now to have EOBRs because of the type of cargo they transport and because of specific safety problems they have.

Any carrier that has multiple at-fault accidents, regardless of size, and especially any carrier, big or small, that transports people or any kind of hazardous material should be required to have EOBRs now.

As the owner and driver of a small carrier, I see what many trucking company managers do not see.

Too often, I observe speed limits being exceeded by trucks transporting hazmats — loads of explosives, bulk flammables such as gasoline, bulk chemicals — and buses loaded with people.

Every day I am on the road, I see overly aggressive drivers transporting passengers and hazmat loads.

Accidents involving hazmat and/or passengers are a greater risk to everyone on the road and should be more scrutinized.

I have mentioned before that all accidents, including those that happen on private property such as truck stops, should be reported and included in a carrier’s accident record.

A reward should be offered to carriers that are accident-free and maintain excellent safety records. Think about the cost savings for an accident-free carrier if they were allowed to opt out of using log books or other required regulations.

Rewards are a good incentive to be safe.

EOBRs for every motor carrier should not be a costly burden for safe and responsible carriers just because a small percentage of the bad guys continue to cause the majority of the safety problems on our highways.

Richard Marsh
SpecializedCarrier.Com Inc.
Pahrump, Nev.

Size & Weight Rules

Your Nov. 23 edition included an article on truck size and weight rules (p. 5; click here for previous article) that emanated from a panel discussion that took place at the Intermodal Expo conference recently held in Anaheim, Calif.

The story accurately captured BNSF’s willingness to work with shippers and American Trucking Associations to develop progressive changes to TS&W rules for the betterment of our nation’s transportation system, but it did not adequately address the essential condition that trucks must pay the full cost of their effect on roadway infrastructure first.

The current system of taxation is subsidizing trucks and therefore provides a competitive advantage to the trucking industry, to the detriment of our nation’s roads and overall transportation system. This inequity is exacerbated by the continual infusion of general funds into the Highway Trust Fund.

Incremental changes in TS&W regulations cannot be considered without comprehensive transportation policy changes that address this issue.

Stephen Branscum
BNSF Railway Co.
Group Vice President
Consumer Products
Business Unit
Fort Worth, Texas


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