Letters: HOS Change, Snow on Trucks, Costly Misconception

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Nov. 9 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

HOS Change

Here we go again!

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in response to a legal challenge to the current hours-of-service regulations, will completely rewrite the 2008 HOS regulations. The agency will issue a proposed rulemaking within nine months and a new final rule in less than two years. (Click here for previous story.)

This settlement is in response to a legal challenge brought against FMCSA by Public Citizen, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Truck Safety Coalition and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. In March 2009, the groups asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to throw out the HOS rule. The March 2009 challenge was the third challenge to the Bush administration’s HOS rules.

With the current political climate in Washington, only bad can come of this settlement. Talk about an economic deterrent; I don’t see any good coming out of this at all. The current Washington administration, the unions and the so-called citizens safety groups are out to cripple our transportation system and, in doing so, will inevitably cripple the economic growth and stabilization of this country.

There is no industry in the United States that is as safety conscious as the trucking industry, and our safe-driving record shows that beyond a doubt. By continuing to interfere with and change the way our highway transportation is conducted, it also will interfere with and create hardships and setbacks for all manufacturers that depend on safe, reliable transportation to haul their products. The effects inevitably will trickle down to the consumers and every household across this country.

Wake up FMCSA and Department of Transportation! Look at the handwriting on the wall. It doesn’t take a genius to see the big picture here. Common sense and a realistic understanding of trucking are what’s needed here!

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

Snow on Trucks

This comment is about the story headlined “N.J. Enacts Law on Snow Removal From Vehicles” that ran in your online edition Oct. 21. (Click here for previous story.)

It read in part: “New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) signed a law Tuesday that would set fines for vehicles with ‘dangerous accumulations’ of snow or ice on them . . . Fines will range from $25 to $75

. . . The law is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, though New Jersey and several other states already have laws that impose stiff fines on drivers if snow flies from their vehicles and causes damage or an injury.”

Now that New Jersey has enacted this law, will they assume the liability when a driver falls

and injures himself or herself or gets killed?

I drive a flat with a rolling tarp on it. I can’t — and won’t — stand on it to shovel it off. What will I do?

I know, I know — I’ll avoid going to New Jersey . . . like that is a hardship.

Dave Wadsworth
Dray Lorry Cartage
Lolo, Mont.

Costly Misconception

There is a false belief that replacing shock absorbers will solve vibrations caused by out-of-balance wheel assemblies. The shock absorbers’ function is to stabilize the spring suspension and dampen shock.

After hitting a bump on the road, the spring suspension would continue bouncing up and down for four or five rebounces before gradually settling down. A properly working shock absorber will stabilize the spring in one or two rebounces. This is why it is important to have good working shocks on trucks for the overall control and safety of the vehicle.

Out-of-balance wheel assemblies produce the same type of effect as that bump on the road at every revolution, rendering the shock absorbers almost useless to prevent the out-of-balance wheel assemblies’ axle hop.

What most people have problems understanding are the multiplying forces at play in an out-of-balance rotating wheel assembly. Some out-of-balance wheel assembly axle hops can be amplified after hitting a bump, and this happens when the heavy spot of the wheel assembly is at the top end of the turn and turns down to hit the pavement, at the same time as the suspension and the vehicle gravity force drive it down.

This creates a rebound at the resonated frequency of the suspension. The heavy spot will keep that axle hop going forever, unless the vehicle speed is reduced or increased below or past the resonate frequency of the suspension.

The shock absorber can dampen that shock wave but cannot stop it. As a result, the oil in the shock heats up from being overworked, and the oil viscosity drops, allowing for freer movement of the oil or less shock dampening. This is a design function of shock absorbers to prevent overheating.

This problem has only one solution, which is to balance all of the complete wheel assemblies. This balancing has proven to improve fuel economy, increase tire life expectancy and improve the life expectancy of the casing. There are also good solid reasons to believe that out-of-balance truck tires are shortening the life of pavement and bridges in the same manner that they shorten tire life.

Roger Le Blanc
Counteract Balancing Beads Inc.
Georgetown, Ontario


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