This week, the transportation industry breached a communication barrier with the general public and was able to reach large audiences through mainstream media outlets such as ABC News and the Atlantic magazine.
The stories give the public a frank, first-hand account on what life on the road is, of its rewards and its challenges and may go a long way in combatting the industry’s bad rep. At the very least, it might educate people about an industry that’s crucial to the economy.
Loren West, a former trucker from Wisconsin, spoke with ABC’s “20/20” about going on the long haul. The full story can be read on ABCNews and will air on Friday, Nov. 22 at 10 p.m. ET.
“After this past year-and-a-half I’ve gained an enormous amount of respect for the men and women who pilot their rigs through dangerous neighborhoods and weave past and through a motoring public more concerned with checking their phones than checking their mirrors,” West writes.
His best and worst roads?
Most Scenic Routes:
- Highway 83N from I-90 at Vivian to Pierre, S.D.
West describes it as “32 miles of land so flat and barren it allows for visibility in distances seldom seen in other places.”
He’s only been to four Canadian provinces, he says, so perhaps he hasn’t visited Saskatchewan.
- Route 389N from Baie-Comeau, Quebec, to Labrador City, Newfoundland.
Not every driver will agree with West on this route. Many claim it’s a nasty road to drive down on, but for West, it’s “a 9-hour, 365 mile stretch of isolated wilderness featuring a hairpin 18-percent gravel grade onto a one-lane bridge over a dizzying gorge at the base of Manicougar Dam.”
- Interstate 70 from Denver to Gypsum, Colo.
- Interstate 68 across the panhandle of Maryland from Frostburg to Hagerstown.
Least-Liked Cities to Drive:
- Boston, Mass.
“Though I’ve never been within the city limits, the older outlying areas are narrow, crowded, fast traffic, low-hanging wires, limited parking, etc.,” West says.
- Montreal, Quebec.
“Crumbling infrastructure, crowded, all French street signs.”
“From Beloit, Wis., to Gary, Ind., no matter what route you choose, it takes 2.5 hours.”
- Brooklyn, N.Y.
“One-way streets and Verrazano Bridge congestion.”
The Atlantic magazine also wrote an in-depth story about EOBRs and what they might mean for the transportation industry.
They spoke with the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), who won a lawsuit against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2011, as well as owner-operators and large carriers who have switched their fleets to EOBRs.
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