Letters: Highway Terrorists, Broker Bond Issues

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Oct. 24 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Highway Terrorists

There is a transportation crisis on our highways caused not by accident rates, but by poor-quality drivers.

I own a small motor carrier and drive as well. In the past 38 years, I have driven trucks all across the United States, both regional and cross country, and I am reaching the end of my career with more than 3 million safe miles covered.



For the past 12 years, I’ve done heavy-haul trucking, transporting oversize and overweight loads. The “oversize load” signs on my truck don’t seem to matter to the many other truck drivers who crowd me all the time.

Drivers — both car and truck — are out of control. Speed limits, lane restrictions and other traffic appear not to matter to them. Many highways — Interstate 40, coast-to-coast, for example — are treated like race tracks by many truck drivers. Every day, I see them tailgating, speeding and using cellphones — not just on the highways but even in truck stops.

Truck-stop accidents happen every day, causing major damage to other trucks in the parking lots. Nothing is more irritating than to see a commercial driver using his or her cellphone while trying to back into a truck-stop parking space. I also see truck drivers flying through truck stops way too fast for their congestion and confusion.

Nor do construction zones mean anything to many truck drivers. If their truck is governed to 65 mph, they will try to drive that fast everywhere.

Many times I will holler at other drivers on my CB radio, telling them to slow down in a construction zone or heavy traffic, or to stop tailgating. The answer I get most of the time is, “You drive your truck, and I’ll drive mine” — which is usually a truck they don’t own themselves.

Most accidents are preventable, but the new breed of highway terrorists do not care.

There seems to be a code that says not to criticize other truck drivers. But if as a fellow driver I don’t speak up, I am accepting their dangerous driving.

I have called companies to report unsafe drivers, but most of the time, I feel my complaints just go in one ear and out the other.

The new federal Compliance, Safety, Accountability program doesn’t seem to have any effect, and law enforcement also is lacking.

Sure, every now and then I see a cop parked with radar or cruising down the highway, but many times I’ll travel a couple of hundred miles through a state and the only cops I see are working at weigh stations. They spend most of their efforts checking logbooks or inspecting trucks, even though statistics show that fewer than 3% of all truck accidents are caused by defective equipment.

Accidents are way down per ton-mile than in the past, but they can go lower still if drivers and companies really care and make a serious effort to police their drivers.

Carriers need to take a serious look at how their drivers actually behave on the road. I suggest that companies big or small send their managers out on the road to see how their drivers operate.

Given the high number of truck drivers who’ve lost their jobs because of the recession, managers can and should concentrate on allowing only the highest quality drivers behind the wheel of their trucks.

They also should make a serious effort to rid their companies of the highway terrorists who put everyone at risk.

Richard Marsh

President and CEO

SpecializedCarrier.Com Inc.

Pahrump, Nev.

Broker Bond Issues

Do we really want to subject to the bureaucratic monopoly in Washington yet another industry that reaches thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of people in transportation cost savings on retail products in America?

The proposed increase in broker bond requirements will invariably kill a small business entity that brings value to shippers and customers.

What about the talk of stimulating the economy? This increase would be yet another dart in the heart of small business around the country.

Now is not the time, when we have fallen into the abyss of failed industries, banking, housing, construction, manufacturing and the like, and we now have the squeeze on transportation.

Please let your voice be heard on this matter.

Carl Ciaglo

Owner

Carron Express Inc.

Corona, Calif.

 

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