Friday, December 7, 2007

All dogs go to heaven, but lawyers and billboard writers aren’t dogs

It’s not unusual for the OOIDA switchboard operators to field 2,500 calls every day, and it’s not unusual for a number of those callers to have suggestions for the “Roses & Razzberries” column in Land Line.

It is also not unusual for the “Razzberry” suggestions to include law firms that have advertisements portraying truckers as wild-eyed speed demons or sleepy-eyed accidents waiting to happen. It seems that there is an entire subclass of ambulance chasers who prey on professional truckers, partly because they think trucking companies have deep pockets and partly because they believe all truckers are easy targets who break the law every day just for the fun of it.

So I wasn’t surprised recently when I took a call from an OOIDA member who was irked by yet another television commercial that was hawking legal services for people who had been in wrecks involving big trucks. The trucker who called in drives team with her husband. After they saw the commercial, she called the lawyers’ office in an attempt to raise their awareness about the realities of truckers and trucking.

Not too surprisingly, she was told that no one had time to talk to her.

Still steaming from that treatment, the OOIDA member hit the boiling point while driving through Utah on Interstate 15. Near the communities of Nephi and Fillmore she saw billboards that were apparently directed at speeding and sleepy truckers:

“Truck drivers go to heaven faster” “18 wheels and 40 winks don’t mix”

Needless to say, the messages outraged the OOIDA member and her husband, as well as those of us here at Land Line.

Unfortunately, the team drivers were not able to snap a photo of either billboard as they were driving southbound on I-15. They speculated that the Utah DOT was behind the messages, but as of press time Friday, Dec. 7, Land Line’s phone calls to the state DOT’s public information staff had not been returned.

Regardless who is responsible for the messages on those billboards, I’ve got a couple messages for them:

“Speeders go to heaven faster” “No number of wheels mixes well with 40 winks”

Truckers aren’t the problem on our highways. Bad drivers are the problem, and they drive everything from mopeds to 18-wheelers. We need driver training for all drivers, and we need it now.

We also need a photo of those billboards in Utah, so if you happen to see one, snap a shot and send it to me via e-mail or snail mail.