Archive for April, 2010

If you’re going to Protest, please pick something worthwhile

April 30th, 2010

The so-called protest that some 200 truckers and countless others are trying to get started is ridiculous.

If you’re going to protest something, why not protest something that’s worthwhile? The immigration law that Arizona has put in place is not something worth protesting about.

I mean come on, it involves carrying one extra piece of paper, and besides that it’s not a new law anyway, it’s the same law that is already in effect at the federal level but now the state can enforce it.

I say if you’re going to protest something let’s protest EOBR’s, or California and CARB for their unjust “laws” set forth on truck drivers. How about all the anti-idling laws? How about protesting against driver pay, or the lack thereof while sitting at the docks? Or how about the fact that the FMCSA is talking about adding sleep studies and BMI requirements to DOT physicals? How about the decree placed upon truckers about texting? This is how some of you run your businesses. But the DOT is being unconstitutional with it – Amendment VIII – $2750.00 is excessive for a fine.

How about protesting the inadequate training many of these new drivers are receiving from CDL mills? There are hundreds of things that are happening that need to be protested against, illegal immigration enforcement is not one of them. How about the fact the government is trying to take your jobs away by opening the Mexican border up, and allowing the Mexican trucks to come in here and haul your freight?

When are some of you drivers going to wake up and realize it’s about time to stop this penny ante bologna, instead of “boycotting” something that is good for the nation, spend some time thinking about issues that effect all of trucking. To quote Earl Pitts, “Wake up, America!”

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Ambulance Chasing Lawyer Portrays Trucker as Killer

April 27th, 2010

These so-called kind of “lawyers” really irritate me. Yes, I am talking about all of those ambulance chasers out there. It’s bad enough when there is an accident, but then we have to read that truckers are killers too. What the hell is your problem Mr. Brett Emison? Is business that bad that you have to write this garbage, and fill it full of lies to try to get money to go off on your weekend golf retreat?

Google has ruined real news reporting by allowing these jokers to write these lies to try and drum up some business. “Kirksville, MO Man Killed When Run Down By Tractor Trailer” wow sounds like the trucker actually was meaning to hit this guys bicycle. In Mr. Brett Emison’s “trashy” article his first paragraph he states himself that news reports say that the man was riding his bicycle and was run down by a tractor trailer. But when you read the news article that Mr. ambulance chaser copied into his own article you learn that in fact the tractor trailer didn’t “run” the bicyclist down, but unfortunately did collide with the bicycle which was also going the same direction as the tractor trailer. Also, Mr. Emison neglects to mention in his writing that the time of the accident was 2:09AM.

Then he writes “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who knew the victim.” But his next sentence really gets to me. “Avoidable trucking crashes like these need to stop.” While I do agree that accidents are bad, and that “Avoidable accidents” do need to stop. I don’t agree that an ambulance chasing lawyer has already blamed the truck driver. How can this “lawyer” already put blame on the trucker? The victim was killed, and the original news article says it is still being investigated.

Crashes like these do not have to happen and are often preventable through the use of simple precautions, such as avoiding distractions while driving and ensuring that all equipment is in proper working condition. It is up to all of us to make sure trucking companies and truck drivers put safety first

How do you Mr. Brett Emison know exactly what happened? It could be that the time of the accident (It was dark) and the fact that the bicycle was traveling the same direction played a big part of this accident. Or maybe the bicyclist veered in front of the truck, I don’t know I was not there and neither were you.

I know I am just beating a dead horse here by complaining, but it really pisses me off. I intend to write Google and express my concern about these types of “lawyers” being allowed to post articles like this one. I’m also not linking the article, you can search on Google news for it.

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Bicycle Infrastructure ‘Low Investment’ but is it needed

April 26th, 2010

I never realized we even had a “bicycle infrastructure” as bicycles don’t run on any type of fuel in order to be taxed so it can be maintained.

So who is going to pay for this “project” that the Secretary of Transportation is saying is needed? Are they going to start taxing bike riders? Seems appropriate, they have thrown around the idea of building truck only lanes and charging a toll price to maintenance it. So why not for bicycles?

As long as trucks and the drivers didn’t have to pay for the bike paths in tax money, myself and a few million other drivers would not have a problem with it. The Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said on his blog site today: “Well, bike infrastructure is relatively inexpensive–particularly if you compare it to, say, adding a lane to an existing roadway.” and a few more lines down he says: “So, even for those folks who have no interest in bicycling, this relatively low investment actually pays dividends for those who still choose to drive. Everybody wins.”

Sounds to me like we will be paying for this “project,” as usual. I just don’t see enough people that are going to be riding their bicycles enough to justify everybody else paying for this. Now we can add to the list of things that are needed, but not a high priority – bicycle infrastructure – at this day and time. We already have billions spent on “mass transit” for state parks, and the train infrastructure of which only hauls about 13 percent of the freight.

What has trucking been given? A decree of banning a way for some truck drivers to operate their business. Also, talks about opening the border up to Mexican trucks, when clearly they (Mexico) have not proved they are ready to comply with our safety standards and legal to operate in the US. And some construction money for needed road improvements – oh wait, trucks paid for road improvements, so that one does not count.

I do appreciate the fact that Ray LaHood is seeing what truckers are saying online as he also mentioned in his blog post today: “I’ll say it again–because I want my online friends in commercial trucking and the people who make their living behind the wheel, to know–we are not out to make their jobs any harder than they already are.” But listening and doing is two completely different things.

I just don’t see how bicycles qualify higher on a list of “infrastructures” than trucks, or at least it seems that way with trucking not getting anything yet, but having things taken away. Safer and more parking is a must have thing at the moment, but it looks to be low on the list. Bridges need to be rebuilt so they can withstand the weights of trucks now, but it seems to be low on the list as well. Increasing the weight trucks can carry is NOT needed as it is and will be a safety concern. But it seems to rank higher on the infrastructure list.

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An End to a Truckers’ Career

April 25th, 2010

A young man had a dream after a year of being married and trying to support his new family, it turned out that his job as an EMT was no longer sufficiently supporting his new family. So he set out in search of a new career, he had already been a poor farmer for years before, and then he was an EMT saving lives. But it came to an end after almost a year of marriage, and something had to change.

After doing the normal searches, of going to the unemployment office, he read in a newspaper one evening something that would change his life forever. He made the call and was received and started truck driving school. Back then schools were few and far between not like today. He had to travel to another state in order to obtain his CDL to end a dream of becoming a truck driver.

No, it was not in his blood nor in his family, but he had decided that trucking was what he wanted to do, and to make a new career and a better life for his family. A three week course he underwent and graduated at the top of his class, and he picked a company to start working for. Yes, of course it was a bad choice and he lasted up until December of 96′ and he quit. With merely three months of driving under his belt he quit his dream.

Once home he began searching for another job, and read about a local job just a few miles from his home. He applied and was accepted. It was a job driving a dilapidated old International cab over pulling an even older 40 foot Benson dump trailer, hauling rock, sand, coal, salt, and anything else that could be dumped. It was the beginning of his career. The only training that he had was, being handed the keys and told to show up at a rock quarry and to have the loader operator to load 40 tons of rock on his trailer, and then to drive this load to its destination. I guess the owner figured if the young man survived the day and did not kill anyone including himself, driving the crooked roads of southern Ohio and northern Kentucky, then he would be just fine.

Even though he had been diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea, he underwent the surgeries to have this corrected. Then, he also underwent a surgery on his left ear that year in which he lost his hearing. But he continued to work.

The young man survived for two more years until the company closed, and he was again forced to seek other employment, and again he found yet another driving job. In the next few years he had several more driving jobs, and was experienced in several different types of driving positions. The year 2004 started as bad year, as he was involved in a horrendous crash with 27 other vehicles. This would be the start of the end of his trucking career.

In 2005 the young man was again hurt when the hood of a truck slammed into his head and neck and back putting him off work for two years, and left him wondering if he would ever drive another truck, as he could barely walk. After the company he had worked for, at the time of his severe injury nearly bankrupted him, he had to make a decision to return to work forcing himself to endure the pain. But only to have another injury in 2009 that would unknowingly end his career as a truck driver.

July 1st, 2009 marked the end of his truck driving career. He had fought long and hard to survive and was doing fairly well, but upon request of the company he had worked at for him to get a physical to be able to return to work. He failed his physical because of the hearing loss, and because the company had added a few extras that he no longer could physically do.

March 27th, 2010 by order of a “law judge” in good standing in the Commonwealth of Kentucky he was hereby ordered to never return to operating a tractor trailer, or any vehicle that a CDL was required to have in order to drive it legally.

Just so all you brothers and sisters out on the road know, even though I am no longer out on the road with you, I am here for support, and will be fighting right alongside of you trying to better the trucking industry. Be safe out there and remember I am, but a phone call, email or a message through Twitter or Facebook away.

© 2010, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Arizona’s New Illegal Immigration Law – Some Truckers Plan to Protest

April 24th, 2010

Why? That is about the only question I can come up with right now.

This is a bill that is needed in probably every state.

Do these same truckers complain and protest because they have to stop at the Canadian border and show documents as well? I don’t see a problem with it if you are truly here legally.

Oh yea I remember now the argument is that this will lead to “Racial Profiling.” Wikipedia says: “Racial profiling” is the inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether a person is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime or an illegal act or to behave in a “predictable” manner. It is often confused with the more comprehensive offender profiling and has been perceived to be directed most often toward non white individuals. Although this practice has been common for centuries, the practice became particularly controversial toward the end of the 20th century in the United States, as the potential for abuse by law enforcement came to light.

Homeland Security estimates 20 million illegal immigrants are in the United States and an average of 700,000 more enter the US every year. Don’t you think it is time for some to go back? I don’t have problems with immigrants coming into the US to better themselves, but they need to do it legally.

Collin Stewart, the chairman of the Arizona Trucking Association said in another article: “I wouldn’t expect that a “CB radio revolt” by independent owner-operators to affect distribution significantly.”

And that is about all this will turn out to be. But if they do plan to boycott I would have to say with freight the way it is, there probably won’t be many loads missed. I would have to say for as many as will participate there is probably triple of that will gladly haul their freight for them.

Truck drivers have been “racially profiled” for many years. Just because you pull up to the scale house driving a tractor trailer, doesn’t mean you are a truck driver because if you get checked you have to “show proof” by showing your CDL, and physical card just to be sure. Are they boycotting that as well? Essentially it is the same thing as this Illegal Immigrant law.

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Trains and Walmart Commercials – or Marketing Schemes

April 24th, 2010

What is Walmart thinking? Sounds like a marketing scheme to me.

They (Walmart) are trying to join in on the “green movement” and sell some stuff doing it. Everybody knows or they should know that when a store rolls back prices or runs a sale the store usually has that item marked up to begin with. Then, they can afford to take less money for the item and still make a profit, and it seems like the consumer is really getting a good deal.

Then Walmart comes out with “Rollback Mike” who I assume is a driver for Walmart’s trucking division that delivers most of the products to their own stores and distribution centers. If you watched the commercial you will hear “Mike” say that Walmart is saving the consumer money by packing their trailers “fuller.” Sorry Mike but “fuller” was the wrong word to use.


So does that mean Walmart was ripping people off before fuel prices skyrocketed? It’s just part of a marketing scheme to make the consumer believe that they are getting a better deal as Walmart is not adding the higher fuel cost into the prices of their products. But wait a minute. This is Walmart we are discussing here, they shouldn’t be adding the cost of fuel into their “own products” that they haul to their “own stores” to sell to the consumers, should they?

Same can be said for CSX and it’s commercial saying that a train can haul 2,000 pounds 400+ miles on one gallon of diesel fuel. That really sounds awesome, and it is true if you look at the picture and do a bunch of figuring up. For the amount of tons that trains hauled and the amount of fuel that trains used. Or is it? But then to really get what CSX claims you would need to figure in some more parts to the equation, wouldn’t you?

Some more parts of the equation they are not figuring into this is the fact that trains loose rail cars all the time. And what I mean is they send them in the wrong direction, and when that happens trucks are called in to haul the freight. This freight charge should be figured in as well. They also forget to mention that a lot of places can’t handle that much freight at one time, so trucks haul it. Trucks hauled 10.2 billion tons of freight in 2008 that’s about 83 percent out of all the freight hauled, trains are around 13 percent.

But it really sounds good when they make these marketing scheme commercials:

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Rail System vs Highway Infrastructure – Transportation Forecasting

April 23rd, 2010

Have you ever wondered how the DOT comes up with their “transportation forecast figures?” It is through a process called “transportation forecasting,” which consist of estimating the number of vehicles or travelers that will use a specific transportation facility in the future. It looks to me like anybody could do this job because there is no real way to look into the future, but the DOTs technical name for this is “guessing.”

If you do a little research into this process, then you will see why they (backers of the rail issues) are pushing the rail issue so much. This is how they came up with the numbers of travelers they say will use high-speed rail to travel between cities. $8 billion dollars was given away just a couple of months ago to all these states for high-speed rail. How can you justify $8 billion dollars given away on a “guess?” And it really wasn’t even a good educated guess, either.

Yes, of course they do “studies” to try to justify where they will spend the money. But one thing they always seem to not tell the public is there are inaccuracies in these so-called studies. Inaccuracies equaling 106 percent for rail, and up to 40 percent for highway studies.

When you start “following the money” and looking at whom invest in such projects and who is set to prevail from getting said projects approved, then it all makes sense, sorta. In my first article about the “Rail System vs Highway Infrastructure – Follow the Money” we found out who has the most say over where money is to be spent either on the highway infrastructure or the rail infrastructure – politicians. We also found out who is one of the biggest influences to these politicians – the real estate developers.

The real estate developers are contacted by the politicians who have seen the “future” so-to-speak and tell them what to buy up at a relatively cheap price, then they develop the land and sell it off for huge profits, and in turn give it back to the politicians in contributions. They make it “look” legal, but it’s really not legal as it seems to be the politicians are getting “inside information.” And then passing that information onto their biggest contributors to their campaigns.

With the country in the shape it is in now. Why do we need to build all these new “high-speed railways?” Why don’t they take that money and just upgrade our highway infrastructure? The DOT backs it because they say it is creating jobs, and is helping with the travel congestion. But as far as I know all these so-called high-speed rail travelers probably are not traveling to the same places. So instead of having congestion in some cities, we are essentially just moving the congestion to another city.

Because once the travelers get to their “destination city” they will still need to get in a car or a bus to get to their final destinations. And we are still going to have to work on the highway infrastructure anyway. How convenient for all the “players” involved and get all this inside information. It all boils down to the almighty dollar.

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Trains vs Trucks – Which is Safer

April 20th, 2010

Theoretically speaking trains should be safer to transport freight than trucks, just because of the numbers – there are more trucks on the road meaning there will be more accidents. But, when you look at the volume of material being hauled with trains vs trucks then the numbers would turn around.

Trucks haul an average of twenty tons per load, a train hauls an average 200,000 pounds or more per rail car times this by an average of 45 to 55 cars per train. But, I want to talk today about the tanker cars. Each tanker car hauls the equivalent to about four or five tanker truck loads. A tanker truck hauls between 6500 gallons up to 8000 gallons per trailer. A rail tanker hauls 30,000 gallons or more per tanker.

Trains around here – Kentucky and Southern Ohio – haul three main products: coal, lime, various chemicals. Trucks pulling hazardous materials have bypass routes and laws governing them from going through the middle of cities, tunnels, and near school zones unless they are going to a shipper or receiver. Trains on the other hand can haul right through a city near a school zone where ever the tracks lead them. When I was in kindergarten school it was located about a city block from the rail road tracks. My elementary school was less than a half-a-mile from the tracks it still is today.

Trucks and trains haul the same kinds of chemicals the only exception is the volume of each load. Why are trucks routed away from schools, and tunnels and school zones? Why are tanker trucks targeted at weigh stations? It takes a loaded tanker truck traveling at 55 mph around 400 feet to stop. A loaded train traveling that fast takes miles to stop.

A truck has an accident even if it spilled its entire load would only be up to 8,000 gallons. A train derails and you could have potentially millions of gallons spilled. Trucks pulling tankers can and are inspected several times per day – are trains inspected daily? I’ve told this story before in other articles. A train derailed behind my dad’s house a few years ago, it was three rail cars including one tanker car. The reason it derailed was the axle on the tanker car “fell out” from under the car. The guy heading up the clean-up talked to me and my dad and said the tanker car had been missing for three years.

Here is a good example of a rail tanker exploding:

The next time you are sitting at the rail crossing waiting on a train count the tankers that have a little small red sign on the side – this is the placard which is used to identify the product – red means flammable products. Then come back and watch this video again then tell me which is safer a train or a truck.

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ATA – ‘Why is everybody always picking on me’

April 19th, 2010

Up until a few months ago, I always thought the ATA was for the truck drivers. It was not until I really started paying attention to somethings that the ATA has said did I realize they are not for the drivers.

The ATA claims to be “The Voice of the Industry that Moves America’s Freight.” This must mean the voice for trucking companies and the shippers and receivers because many drivers agree they are NOT the voice for drivers.

Clayton W Boyce – Vice President of Public Affairs and Press Secretary – for the ATA, made contact with me through the online social network site Twitter. He was wanting a way to contact me by telephone to discuss somethings that were happening online. I was contacted by Clayton I must admit he had me convinced by the end of the conversation to “help them out online,” I was kinda feeling sorry for them.

I contacted Clayton by email to see if he would do an email interview, he agreed to answer all of the questions. So I set out to find some questions to get the ATA to answer. I contacted several people and asked if they had any questions for the ATA they wanted answers to. I received several replies, but I knew that the ATA would be busy, so I only sent part of the questions to Clayton for him to answer in his leisure.

That was in January of this year, I still don’t have all of the questions answered. Those must have been questions they (the ATA) did not want to answer. I will list the questions and the answers that I did receive from Clayton. These are the questions I sent Clayton in January and he answered a couple.

Q. What’s the ATA’s position on the “Dan Rather” segments about trucking school scams, and “training companies” making money off of undertrained drivers?We are concerned about the comments. Part 3 of his report was entirely on truck driving schools, and included a lot of disturbing information. If it is true that 78 percent of new drivers will not last in the trucking industry for more than four months, as the show said, than that is a problem for the drivers and the companies as well.

If driver candidates have to spend a lot of money but only 22 percent of them recoup it salaries, that’s not right. Trucking companies should be retaining as many drivers as they can from those that they hire. This is what companies tend to do because it develops safer, more dependable drivers. As for the allegation that companies reduce new drivers’ miles so that they could replace them with trainees who would make less, I don’t have any confirmation of that. If it is true, the companies are hurting drivers but also themselves, in the long run.

My next question involved several thing’s so I will list the main question and then list each segment separately.

Q. Where does the ATA stand on this: Clayton wrote: “I’m answering as many of these as I can, but some are cryptic or wrong”

  • little training – ATA supports more training and supports efforts by the PTDI to set standards for truck driver training. We want the states to perform rigorous testing of CDL candidates.
  • foreign driversI’m not sure what they mean by this. Anyone hired to drive in this country should be a U.S. citizen or have legal status to work in this country. We have heard that requiring of a background check for a TWIC has weeded out of port trucking some illegal alien drivers. Illegal aliens should never be hired for any job in the U.S.
  • ‘lawyering up’ to defend widespread unfair practicesthis is a loaded question that cannot be answered. You’d have to describe what the “unfair” practice is.
  • relaxing cabotage lawsI’m not sure what they mean with this but we agree with OOIDA and oppose any relaxation of cabotage laws if that means, for instance, that it would allow a Canadian driver to pick up a load in the U.S. and deliver that same load in the U.S. We oppose relaxing cabotage rules to allow that to occur.
  • EOBRsSome of our member companies have electronic units in their cabs, and FMCSA has stated that FMCSA can use data from those units to enforce HOS regulations whether or not the electronic units were installed for the purpose of automating HOS compliance and do away with a written log. Over the last several years, we heard from FMCSA that there would eventually be an EOBR requirement.
    We proposed that rather than immediately forcing all trucks in the U.S. to get EOBRs, DOT should first require that only drivers and companies that have a history of violating HOS regulations be required to have them. Unfortunately, when the Obama Administration came in they sidelined that regulation. The Obama Administration now has a new EOBR regulation awaiting approval at the White House. We don’t know what that calls for, but we expect it will force a lot more trucks to have EOBRs.
  • speed limitersNo answer given
  • carrier access to now-private medical informationNo answer given
  • new driver-compliance regulationNo answer given
  • more unpaid border hassle for driversNo answer given
  • so-called sleep-apnea and BMI ratingsNo answer given
  • in-cab monitors, outlawing cell phones and CBsNo answer given
  • punitive regulation against drivers instead of carriers -No answer given
  • Q. How does the ATA feel about the Heavier Truck bill? And why? -No answer given

    Q. What is the ATA’s position on the cross border issue, with Mexican Trucks being allowed in the U.S.? -No answer given

    Q. The ATA is suppose to help companies be a better place to work? What is the ATA doing to stop the “Bullying” and the “rapes” that we are all hearing about?No answer given

    Q. What position does the ATA hold on Natural gas vehicles? -No answer given

    Q. What will be the position the ATA holds for the HOS restructure? -No answer given

    I have given Clayton an ample amount of time to answer these few questions with no response from him. If he wishes he can come on this site and answer the questions in the comments section. I offered my help to them and they clearly didn’t want it, so I quit posting anything about them. After reading a few things about the ATA, I couldn’t care less if they ever did anything else to “help” the trucking industry. With friends like the ATA, who needs any enemies?

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Meet The Truck Driver

April 17th, 2010

These massive trucks rolling up and down the interstates over mountains and through small towns all across the United States.

People in cars and pick-ups usually are cursing when caught behind these behemoth trucks, and act like they are running scared when in front of one. Did you actually ever meet a truck driver?

These are simple folks just like anyone else, only thing is they give up a lot to do the jobs that they do for everybody. Most truck drivers are gone for up to weeks at a time, yes sometimes if they are lucky they might get to stop by the house for a break of about 10 hours or so. Then, it is getting right back out on the road, pushing the limits to get yours and mine – consumer products that we need every day delivered to your favorite store.

We see these trucks every day, but you hardly ever see who is behind the wheel man or woman I bet it’s probably one of the nicest people you could have the pleasure of meeting – it’s a professional truck driver. These men and women that drive these massive beast of trucks are moms and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters just like normal people. Most of the truck drivers usually have families that they have to be apart from, and may only see them two or three times a month. They have learned to deal with being apart from loved ones.

Most truck drivers if you were ever to see the inside of their trucks, have family pictures stuck up everywhere – or at least I did when I was driving. No it’s not so they won’t forget them, but it is a reminder that they have someone at home, and that they must get back home safely to see them. This is on the heart of every truck driver on the road – getting back home safely.

I wrote an article “Thank a Truck Driver” and have been asked a few times how one could go about doing this. Well, obviously I wouldn’t recommend going to the nearest truck stop and running up to their trucks. But there are several ways you can do this. The article wasn’t about giving a physical thank you to a truck driver. You can thank a truck driver by showing them courtesy while out on the highway with them. If you see a turn signal come on, don’t give the car gas and try to pass them, unless of course you are beside them. But let them merge over usually you will get a “flash of the tail lights” meaning thank you for letting them out.

Another way is to drive like you have some sense don’t hurry up and pass them only to slow down in front of them. Don’t yak on your cell phone in the left lane and forget you need of the exit to the right, and cut them off trying to hit your exit.

Here is one that always made me smile. If you have kids teach them to take their arm and pump it up and down while you are passing a truck driver this is the “international call” for a truck driver to blow his or her air horn. It always put a big smile on my face when a youngster would go pass wanting me to blow my air horn.

Here is another way, take a tablet and with a black magic marker write “Thank You” on it in big letters and as you pass have a passenger to hold it up to the window. I bet you will hear a blast from the air horn for that too. Also, when you teach the kids to do pump their arms also teach them to wave at the trucker after he or she blast the air horn.

Give these drivers the respect that they deserve, and I guarantee you it will be returned. Truck drivers may be classified as an unskilled laborer, but it takes a special kind of person to do what they do. Truckers are people too just remember that. Try to give them the space they need, don’t get up behind them with your bright lights on, don’t go past giving them the bird. You might be flipping off somebodies grandma or grandpa. Treat them the way that you would want to be treated and everything will turn out alright.

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