Stop Cussing That Trucker

by Wayne Patterson

There are numerous new rulings that were placed into effect September 30, 2002 that will affect any trucker holding a Commercial Driver's License. Most people are aware of the fact that truck drivers are required to take specialized tests depending on the type of vehicle that wish to drive. What they do not realize that this requirement applies to church bus drivers, school bus drivers, and various other vehicles such as those carrying hazardous materials.

In an effort to increase safety the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has broadened the reasons a driver may be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle. We support their actions since we all want unsafe drivers off the roads. What we disagree with is the fact that truckers are being singled out and other drivers with much worse records are still allowed to drive.

Despite some of the publicity, the trucking industry has an excellent safety record. In most cases involving a truck, the accident is actually the fault of another vehicle. Truck drivers are truly the "Knights of the Road" and this country depends upon them for almost every aspect of our daily lives from food to shelter. If you look around you almost everything you can touch was delivered by truck.

Truck drivers need to be aware of these new regulations and how they can impact their ability to earn a livelihood. The major change is that all violations a person receives, even if they are in a personal car, can result in the loss of their CDL License. Many drivers exceed 100,000 miles per year. If they receive three citations for speeding in three years or 300,000 miles, their license will be suspended.

Drivers also have to face the reality that they are being targeted by law enforcement in some jurisdictions. News articles and letters attesting to the unfair treatment of truckers by judges, officers, and politicians are online at along with full details of the new regulations.

In addition many states are increasing the fines and penalties for truckers. North Carolina has enacted a law that doubles the fines and points if it is a commercial motor vehicle. Will an officer stop a truck instead of a car for the same infraction when the city or county can charge double for the same violation? Most officers and judges are fair but they are still human.

The next time you are on the road be courteous to that trucker. He is a professional and deserves to be treated as such. Did you change lanes in front of him going down a hill? Were you so close behind him that he could not see you in his mirrors? When he swung wide to turn right did you try to pass on the right? Stop cussing that trucker and just try to drive as safely as they do.