Roses & Razzberries – December 2019

December 2019/January 2020

Terry Scruton


RAZZBERRIES to a blogger with a website called Streetsblog NYC for an editorial that appeared earlier this year with the oh-so-trucker-friendly headline, “Here’s a remedy for truck drivers who kill.”

We should note that after we posted this item on the ROSES & RAZZBERRIES Facebook page, that headline was softened to this: “The simple way to keep truck fleets safe.”

Too bad they didn’t change the first line of the piece, which still read: “Trucks are a ‘necessary evil’ of urban life.” Gee, thanks for that, buddy. The article goes on to suggest that the use of telematics and other data-driven technology might help reduce truck accidents. OK, fine. There’s a discussion to be had there. But why lead it off by insulting and attacking truck drivers? That’s an unnecessary evil we could all do without.

ROSES to OOIDA member Walter “Skip” Tillett of Tillett Heavy Haul in Titusville, Fla., for making the August issue of NASA’s Spaceport Magazine. Tillett was featured for his role in hauling 14 massive work platforms the space agency uses for its Space Launch System at Kennedy Space Center.

The article detailed the challenges Tillett faces in hauling such a specialty cargo, including keeping it centered and secure and working with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office to help direct traffic and clear the way for the huge platforms.

And while we’re at it, ROSES to Spaceport Magazine, too, for spotlighting an everyday truck driver with a not-so-everyday job.

Stephen Bailiff, an OOIDA member from Gastonia, N.C., would like to send some ROSES to Kyle Fox, a trooper with the Ohio State Police. Bailiff was hauling a Chevy half-ton truck behind a Freightliner daycab along Interstate 71 near Columbus back in October when he hit a bad patch of road and a tire blew on his trailer, damaging the fender, brackets and tail light along with it.

To complicate matters, heavy winds were blowing the trailer around as Bailiff tried to fix it. That’s when Fox showed up. He not only redirected traffic around the scene, but he also grabbed his gloves and a socket set out of his own cruiser and went to work alongside Bailiff until the repairs were made and the mess was cleaned up. Thanks, Trooper Fox, for going above and beyond the call of duty.

ROSES to the Small Business Administration for chiming in their support of the FMCSA’s proposed changes to the hours-of-service regulations. In comments that echoed a lot of what OOIDA had to say in its own comments, the Administration cited “the need for greater flexibility” in the rules, especially for haulers of specialty or high-security loads.

The Administration cited traffic, adverse driving conditions and the lack of safe and secure parking as reasons that flexibility is needed so badly. Like OOIDA, they applauded the proposed changes but said they should go even further. It’s good to know truckers have some groups at the federal level looking out for them.

ROSES to former FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez, who left his post at the end of October after less than two years on the job. But in that two years he made a huge difference. He not only helped spearhead the aforementioned proposed changes to the hours-of-service regulations, he went out of his way to actually listen to what truck drivers had to say on that and many other issues.

Martinez appeared at numerous truck shows including MATS, GATS and even Guilty By Association in Joplin, Mo. We can’t think of a more active – or more actively engaged – administrator in the history of the FMCSA.

RAZZBERRIES to California Gov. Gavin Newsom who earlier this year decided it would be a good idea to divert $5 billion in revenue raised by fuel taxes away from roads and bridges. Newsom issued an executive order in October directing that the money instead be used for a program to reduce greenhouse gases and emissions by spending the money on rail and other projects.

While that’s certainly an important cause, so, too, is the need for road maintenance and upkeep – which is where that money was initially promised to go. We’re inclined to agree with Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, who called the whole thing a “bait and switch.” Transportation revenue should be spent on transportation. Period. 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.