Truck drivers work in highly regulated business

Published 11:04 pm Saturday, May 19, 2012

I am writing to you in regards to the letter written by Marie Renaud titled Slow Down the Big Rigs.

As a driver of a big rig for more than 12 years, I agree there may be a few hot-rodders out there, who may speed at times. The speed limit on the section of U.S. 61 she’s referring to has a speed limit of 55 mph.

Has she ever been on Interstate 20 where the speed limit is 60 and maybe speed up to 65 or 70? Has she ever seen a car in a 55 mph zone doing 25 or 35 mph? At 55 mph, a truck, as big as a semi, approximately 70- to 73-feet long, might look faster going by her.

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We drivers work in the most regulated job anywhere. Between the Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and other agencies, we have to report to and abide by their rules and regulations. We work long, hard, tiresome hours to ensure shelves at her stores are not empty.

Instead of concentrating on a few big rigs doing 5 mph over the speed limit, maybe try to see other cars and pickups. At 55 mph it takes a semi loaded to 80,000 pounds 100 yards to fully stop.

Has she ever seen a car in the passing lane doing 10- to 15-mph under the posted speed limit and you come up behind them in a rig and they shoot you the finger like you did something wrong? Has she ever seen a car wait until a truck gets 10 feet from its turn and maybe turn on a blinker, maybe not, but slam on the brakes and turns so quick it’s on two wheels? What about the people who have a 100-foot turn lane and wait until the last-second feet to get in it? What about the car driving in a rainstorm with no lights on? It is a state law to have headlights on during a storm.

I agree that is a high-traffic area for both cars and trucks.

But is it really necessary to say slow down the big rigs when there are cars on the same road doing 65 to 70 mph weaving in and out of traffic?

Guess it’s hard to see the little things when big things are so easy to concentrate on.

Lamar Fortenberry