Special interests shouldn’t compromise truck safety

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In regards to the letter “Unpopular CTHRC products should be shelved” (Mailbag, January/February issue), it might be worthwhile to remember that “Earning Your Wheels” was a sector initiative – simply put, developed by the industry, for the industry.

Some have had a virtual heyday slogging the CTHRC. Perhaps we should question why anyone in the industry would not want new drivers to have the best training possible.

The problem is that as long as government funding continues to be directed toward quantity rather than quality, schools will simply offer a cheaper alternative.

We should be working together to improve the skills of entry level drivers – we reportedly need 50,000 new drivers today and over the next 10 years some 80,000 will retire.

Who among us would compromise safety, but then we all have our special interests, don’t we?

Jon Cooper
The Alliance Personnel Group

Fuel prices are steep but not quite that high

Sometimes working with proportional numbers can be confusing. I am sure you don’t mean that diesel prices have risen 176% over the past year (Viewpoint, January/February issue). I am in the trucking business and I too keep a close eye on where the cost of fuel has gone in the past 12 months or so.

If the price of fuel had gone up 100% it would have doubled. I think what you mean is that the price has risen by 76%, not 176%. Sorry to be so picky.

Don Slack,
Daswood Lumber Co. Ltd.
Abbotsford, BC

Your “pickiness” is most welcome. Thank you for pointing out the obvious error. — Editor

Speed limits should be lowered for all vehicles

In your story about the APTA renewing its push for split speed limits (Industry Watch, November/December issue) Paul Easson of Easson Transport gives the following reasons for supporting the move: “better fuel economy, lower brake-related expenses and decreased tire costs.”

Wow! Did it ever occur to Easson and other members of the APTA that safety on our highways should be a major, (main?) consideration?

I too support lower speed limits and certainly speed governors on commercial vehicles. But I also believe in lower speeds for all vehicles. Split speed limits have their own problems. Not only do I support lower speed limits, I think there should also be stricter enforcement and penalties that induce compliance for all speeders.

Ed Wesselius,
Safety Consultant
Guelph, Ont.

Too often money overrides everything, including the driver

In regards to the driver shortage (“The industry is 50,000 short of what it needs” November/December issue), maybe the problem isn’t with drivers at all. Perhaps management and dispatchers simply are not capable of addressing the real needs of this issue.

When you are sitting in an office a thousand miles away from your driver your viewpoint and attitudes can change very quickly when confronted with an anxious shipper. As they say, money makes the world go round and in too many occasions it overrides anything else including the driver. I have experienced too many occasions where safety and logbooks are irrelevant if the need arises. Just get the freight delivered, period. I do not drive anymore, but I still think what might have been if people would have dealt realistically with drivers 15 years ago.

And in response to your Viewpoint column about truckers who haul freight to the Port of Vancouver for $46 per hour (September/October issue), the Port has forced this issue because of short-term planning.

First, the Port has taken the steps to increase volume dramatically but has taken little notice of the manpower and equipment needed to reduce the waiting times to load and unload. Second, the space and access to the port has become very congested and confusing, causing major headaches for everybody. Third, shippers have become so convinced that truckers can attain the impossible that many of them leave their requirements to the last minute, then expect instant delivery. Also many trucking companies themselves are guilty of putting too much onus on the driver to resolve all the delivery problems associated with the Port of Vancouver.

Timothy Sutherland

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