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January 23, 2012 9:00 AM, EST

Letters: New HOS Rules, Tolls Cartoon

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Jan. 23 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

New HOS Rules

The new hours-of-service rules passed recently by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are a concern for us because our drivers rely on the 34-hour reset as it stands now (“HOS Rule Keeps 11th Hour, Truckers Blast Changes to Restart Provisions,” 1-2, p. 1).

By including the two consecutive 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods, they have effectively cut drivers’ pay and productivity. We will now have to wait until Monday morning to get out, which puts our trucks in morning traffic with an increased risk of accidents.

While some may say hiring more drivers would be the answer, at this time of the year our drivers are waiting for freight. I would have liked to have seen the FMCSA rework the sleeper berth rule to allow more flexibility when using the sleeper on a regular basis — i.e., five hours on, five hours off. I believe the new ruling will cause a loss of revenue to owner-operators and hurt the economy by slowing down freight movement.

Larry Kurth

Safety Manager

Tri Star Freight System Inc.

Houston

I would like to know why it is that when people take vacations, they are not forced to abide by the same rules imposed on the transportation industry? I can get in my personal car and run until I fall over, and no one cares.

There probably are more drivers in cars falling asleep while driving than in trucks, but it seems no one wants to track those statistics.

I say that whatever rules apply to the transportation industry should also go for anyone traveling more than the minimum hours truckers are allowed to drive. Force them to show room receipts, unless they are in a recreational vehicle. Force them to keep logbooks.

I think every rule that applies to commercial transportation also should apply to all the traveling public — inspections, logbooks, out-of-service, the same fine amounts and the same infractions on their driver’s license.

Only when someone has the guts to do this will we see a real decrease in deaths on our nation’s highways and show that we really are interested in public safety.

Danny Knatcal

Director of Midwest Region

Genpro Inc.

Nixa, Mo.

Tolls Cartoon

This is about the cartoon on p. 8 of the Jan. 9 issue showing a tractor-trailer at a weigh station explaining to a trooper that his smaller extra trailer, which has paper money sticking out of every crack, doesn’t count because it’s “just for my tolls.”

That cartoon should be made with a Rhode Island state trooper stopping a driver for going over the Interstate 95 bridge in Pawtucket, R.I.

The bridge was written up in the Providence Journal because there is a trooper at both ends waiting for truckers to miss the detour signs and cross the bridge — which is restricted to two axles and a maximum of 18 tons — and then pulls them over and charges them $3,000.

 

The troopers don’t attempt to detour the trucks prior to the bridge — they wait until the trucks have crossed it. As of now, truckers have paid in excess of $3 million.

Philip Malouin

Trailer Driver

ABF System

West Warwick, R.I.

Editor’s Note: According to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, the $3,000 violation is for the trucking company, whereas the driver gets an $85 ticket. However, in a phone conversation, the letter writer told Transport Topics that, often as not, the trucking company sticks the driver with the $3,000 charge. But relief may be on the way: RIDOT reports that a new bridge is under construction. On the other hand, The Associated Press reported that some of the work on that bridge has had to be redone because of misaligned supports.