Stop Cussing That Trucker

by Wayne Patterson

There are numerous new rulings that were placedinto effect September 30, 2002 that will affectany trucker holding a Commercial Driver's License.Most people are aware of the fact that truck driversare required to take specialized tests depending onthe type of vehicle that wish to drive. What they donot realize that this requirement applies to churchbus drivers, school bus drivers, and various othervehicles 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 offthe roads. What we disagree with is the fact thattruckers are being singled out and other drivers withmuch 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 faultof another vehicle. Truck drivers are truly the "Knights of the Road" and this country dependsupon them for almost every aspect of our daily livesfrom food to shelter. If you look around you almosteverything you can touch was delivered by truck.

Truck drivers need to be aware of these new regulations and how they can impact their abilityto earn a livelihood. The major change is that allviolations a person receives, even if they are ina personal car, can result in the loss of theirCDL 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 theyare being targeted by law enforcement in somejurisdictions. News articles and letters attestingto the unfair treatment of truckers by judges,officers, and politicians are online at with full details of the new regulations.

In addition many states are increasing the finesand penalties for truckers. North Carolina hasenacted a law that doubles the fines and pointsif 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 chargedouble for the same violation? Most officersand judges are fair but they are still human.

The next time you are on the road be courteousto 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 didyou try to pass on the right? Stop cussing that trucker and just try to drive as safely as theydo.