Roses and Razzberries – March/April 2020

March-April 2020

Terry Scruton


ROSES to Illinois State Trooper Clausing for a post she wrote a while back on the state police Facebook page detailing her interaction with a truck driver named Malinda. It started when Malinda’s truck broke down and Trooper Clausing came across her by the side of the road.

It was only 20 degrees that day, so Trooper Clausing invited Malinda into her squad car while she waited for help from her company to arrive. The pair spent the time talking about the importance of safety and how truckers – and police alike – treat each other like family and always have each other’s backs.

It was a good example of two people in fields that don’t always see eye to eye showing a mutual respect for each other. We need more of that on the road.

ROSES to Transport for New South Wales (as in Australia) for taking the truck parking problem – which is apparently happening in Australia as well – seriously and doing something about it.

Specifically, according to Australian Transport News, they are testing changes to the parking rules at a couple of stops along the Pacific Highway. That includes enforcing fines for light vehicles parked in spaces reserved for heavy trucks along with four-hour time restrictions on light vehicles.

It’s good to know there are at least some countries out there interested in dealing with their truck parking issues in ways that actually benefit truckers.

RAZZBERRIES for the lawmakers in Wyoming who are considering adding tolls to Interstate 80. A bill has been filed for consideration in this year’s legislative session that would authorize the state DOT to come up with a plan to toll the 400-mile interstate.

Look, we get it. We know times are tough and states are desperate for cash to pay for roads and bridges. And it doesn’t help that the federal government won’t get off its collective keister and do anything about funding at that level. But why is it tolls seem to be the only thing so many states can come up with? It’s tempting to say, hey, let’s be grateful it isn’t truck-only tolls like Rhode Island or what Connecticut is considering. But let’s face it – I-80 is a main thoroughfare for most truckers passing through the state, and we all know they’ll be the ones footing most of the bill.

ROSES to a lawmaker in Virginia who has worked his way out of the RAZZBERRY column. Del. Terry Austin, R-Roanoke, filed a bill in December that would have mandated all trucks in the state be outfitted with truck-specific GPS devices to help avoid prohibited roads and low clearance bridges.

But after OOIDA reached out to Austin, he was quick to respond and decided to drop the bill altogether. Not only that, but he expressed a willingness to work with OOIDA to come up with other solutions to the problems he was trying to address. Now there’s something you don’t hear every day.

Here’s hoping some lawmakers at the federal level are taking notes.

ROSES to Rep. Brian Babin of Texas for being one of the few lawmakers at the federal level who doesn’t need to take notes. He’s got this.

In a letter to FMCSA acting Administrator Jim Mullen, Babin said the National Consumer Complaint Database, which in spite of its name is supposed to be where truckers can file coercion complaints, is ineffective and that the confidence truckers have in their complaints being resolved has “evaporated.”

OOIDA has been pointing out the problems with driver coercion – and the FMCSA’s lack of a response to it – for years. It’s good to see someone in Washington getting on board and speaking out on behalf of truckers.

RAZZBERRIES to the FMCSA for its botched rollout of the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse website back in January.

From its confusing messaging about the Jan. 6 date – it was a launch date, not a deadline – to its unpreparedness for the overwhelming traffic the website had in that first week, it was clear the administration wasn’t ready for this one at all.

And when you consider the fact that the FMCSA had recently delayed the requirement for states to use the database by two years, you realize that it could have been even worse. LL

Terry Scruton

Terry Scruton brought nine years of journalism experience when he joined Land Line Magazine in 2005, and that experience continues to serve him on the radio show. Terry’s must-read “Roses & Razzberries” is also a popular feature with Land Line Now listeners.