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March 3, 2014 4:00 AM, EST

Letters: Obama on Emissions, Truck Speed Limiters, Safety

These Letters to the Editor appear in the March 3 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Obama on Emissions

This is in reference to the story headlined “Industry Reacts Quickly to Obama’s Truck Emissions Proposal.” One of the trucking executives quoted in that story said:

“Not only will the upfront technological costs be significant — the 12% federal excise tax and traditional finance requirements on down payment, typically 20% or more of the truck sales price, including FET, in the form of cash, trade equity or combined — will be a significant burden for fleets and owner-operators.”

Sadly, that’s not even a consideration of this administration; we all know it. Rather, it sounds like something said more to be considered as having a position on record.

It’s a pity we can’t come right out and say this administration just wishes trucks and our industry would go away — except for the union ones, of course.

Gary Chambers

Managing Director

SearchPath

Waxhaw, N.C.

Truck Speed Limiters

Regarding your article titled “ATA, Road Safe America Urge Quick Action on Truck Speed Limiters”: I’m at a loss as to what they are referring to in the article.

Road “speed limiters” have been installed on trucks for years. Engine control modules have parameter settings that companies can set to limit cruise/pedal vehicle speed, rpm and a host of other changeable parameters.

So, what are they saying? Do they want these settings “locked” from the factory at a preset maximum, or do they want laws requiring companies and owners to set their ECMs at a defined maximum speed?

And how would this be policed at roadside, since even road speed limiting parameters can be exceeded under certain situations and the only way to verify road speed limiting parameters would be to connect to the ECM with a diagnostic tool?

Jim McCoy

Shop Foreman

Swift Transportation

Greer, S.C.

Safety

To all in the trucking industry: As a 45-year veteran of this wonderful industry, company driver for the first 22 years, owner-operator for 21 years, during which I was a chairman on the Maryland Motor Truck Association board — and for the past two years back to company driver — I have some comments on safety.

The media hype — and I mean the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and especially the National Traffic Safety Board — would have you believe trucking is on the downside of safety. Not as far as I can see.

Certainly, there are some scofflaws in our industry, and that needs to be the priority of enforcement.

Electronic logs are good to a point, but I say, how would you like to be 20 miles from home and have your vehicle shut down because your meeting (unloading appointment) ran over an hour and you are out of time to be awake and you have been traveling all week?

The 30-minute break: Please, we are adults and know we need a break, but a trip to the bathroom, a quick check of our truck and trailer, and to be on our way is sufficient.

The motoring public needs to be held to the same rigid standards as truckers to keep the balance.

Handheld devices, especially texting devices, are just wrong when driving. I can’t hold my phone (and I love my Bluetooth with both hands on the wheel). Why should anyone? Double standards are wrong, just as split-speed limits.

Many years ago, we had Troopers and Truckers. It was a ride-along, as the title says. I was fortunate enough to host a state trooper in my truck for a day, and this guy was astounded at what he witnessed in that day. I believe my friend Anne Ferro has done the same. Maybe Deb Hersman should do the same and get a real picture of what the highways are like.

Trucking is an essential part of America; we are not perfect and will never be, unfortunately, but our safety record improves and our crash numbers improve. So, maybe it is time to beat another drum for a while.

William Colfelt

Owner (Retired)

Colfelt Transport

Salt Springs, Fla.