At the risk of getting a full-blown discussion started which will
ultimately solve ALL the world's problems, I'll add a few more selected
comments:

Paying truckers a decent salary is fine, but most of the truckers I talk
with are not so dissatisfied with their salaries as much as they are
disillusioned with the treatment they receive--or don't receive, as the
case may be--from many of the people they associate with during the
course of doing their job--lessors, dispatchers, shippers, consignees,
warehouse personnel, overzealous scale personnel, etc., just to name a
few.  Shipping schedules oftentimes result in actually forcing drivers to
violate log book regulations and most truckers I know run at least two
logbooks because if they don't they won't be able to do the job that
their employer, shipper, dispatcher--or whatever--demands of them.  Have
you ever been ordered to intentionally drive your vehicle down the road
when you know you're so tired you can't think straight?...Or have you
ever been so distraught over having just been forced to unload your own
truck or wait another day to unload (therefore making you be late to your
next appointment) because you reported in to the unloading dock ten
minutes later than you were told to because some inspector had held you
up at the scale just to prove that he could, that you made a poor
decision or two?  
It's not all about salary--some decency and respect for another human
being's self-concept goes a long way too. 

Pay teachers more, too?....I'll be one of the last to argue with that
because I was a teacher before I started a career as a truck driver, but
the reason I'm no longer  teaching has nothing to do with money--I wasn't
getting rich but I got by and the work was what I had always wanted to do
so it really wasn't work for me in a sense. But I developed a problem
dealing with kids whose parents were convinced that they could do no
wrong. When I was in school myself I could have been every teacher's
nightmare but I wasn't because I knew what my dad would do to me if he
found out about it....not a pretty sight!  That, sadly, is no longer
true. Somehow, a 'time-out' just doesn't seem to pack it. If you're
wondering why there's a teacher shortage I think there are more suitable
other things to attribute it to than just low salaries--ask any teacher.
The same holds true for the shortage of good, qualified truck drivers.
Enough said about that.

Limiting and monitoring speeds for trucks? Keep in mind that many of
today's trucks are finely engineered machines monitored by computers and
are fully capable of going with the flow of today's traffic, but have
been programmed to stay within the limitations imposed by regulatory
authorities. Of course there are ways to override those limitations and
'turn up' the horsepower and I guess that's fine until you get caught or
twist a driveshaft or get too many speeding tickets. Hopefully you don't
kill or maim somebody first.

The way we do it in Montana is to be avoided, in my opinion. We set a
daytime speed limit on secondary (two lane) highways of 60 mph for trucks
and 70 mph for all other vehicles (except for Canadian trucks--they can
go as fast as they want to at all times anywhere--NAFTA?). Now picture
yourself in a line of traffic 1/2 mile long behind a trucker trying to go
the speed limit of 60 because a speeding ticket may cost him his job, a
tremendous raise in insurance rates, his CDL...or any combination. Of
course you don't know that he is going as fast as he legally can, so you
take a chance and try to work your way to the front of the line--as does
everybody else--so you can pass the slower truck and be on your way. Do
you flip him the bird as you go around?  Of course you do!  Does it make
him happy? Of course it doesn't! Is he even more upset and frustrated now
than he was yesterday? Probably. Is he more likely now to be involved in
a mishap because his attention has been compromised? Hopefully not but
probably.
The legislature, in all it's wisdom, passed this law. I don't know if all
states deal with this, but this is what some results have been around
here.
 
Yes, it's not easy to get a CDL, especially class A type 1 w/hazardous
materials endorsement which is very often required, and it's much easier
to lose one. That's the way it should be but it needs to go further by
extending to all operators. The statistics for fatalities and injuries
involving trucks are misleading at best. To use an analogy, of the people
that have been attacked by lions in the past century, a large percentage
of that number have probably been injured severely or even killed. This
would lead you to feel--and rightfully so--that lions are to be feared
and avoided. On the other hand,  a much smaller percentage of the people
attacked by dogs over the same period of time have probably suffered much
less in all respects, and although there have probably been a far greater
number of these dog attacks than there have been lion attacks, I don't
think dogs are generally feared nor are they to be avoided. The point
here is that trucks really do get a bad rap because when they kill or
injure they can do it much more easily, as can a lion.  However if you
study the statistics you'll discover that they really are involved in a
much lower number of incidents--they just stand out because the results
are so much more disasterous.

I have to stop this ranting and this seems like a good place to do that.
 

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