Friday, August 14, 2015

Good news, bad news, and a handful of roses and razzies to distribute

We’ve probably mentioned a time or two here how the “Roses and Razzberries beat” is the purview of our “Land Line Now” radio colleague Terry Scruton. Not to step on Terry’s toes, but there are a couple of stories that have made the rounds this week that we feel are worthy of both.

First, the razzberry.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

In the wake of Tracy Morgan crash, technology should also come under scrutiny

Now that the National Transportation Safety Board has issued its report on last year’s fatal New Jersey Turnpike crash involving a Walmart tractor trailer and a limousine van carrying actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and others, the investigation may be closed, but the fallout could be just beginning.

The NTSB issued nine recommendations to various state and federal agencies, and reiterated another half-dozen previously issued recommendations on everything from guidance for traffic engineers on the use of supplemental traffic control strategies for work zones to minimum training standards for organizations providing emergency medical services on the New Jersey turnpike.

Mark Valentini, OOIDA director of legislative affairs, said the incident garnered more attention than usual because of the involvement of a celebrity like Morgan.

“There’s a chance that something actionable might come of it on the regulatory side,” he said. “I think the industry needs to be prepared for that.”

#TBT: The trucking town of Skidmore, Mo., has a dark past

Editor’s note: It’s “Throwback Thursday” and we’re taking another digital stroll down memory lane to a 2010 feature by Contributing Writer Charlie Morasch about the town of Skidmore, Mo. In addition to the feature, Charlie shared the following background on our blog about the town's unsettling history.

About 20 yellow sticky notes sit crumpled on my desk this afternoon, evidence of my effort to mark interesting sections of a true crime novel about Skidmore, Mo.

The November edition of Land Line includes a feature story on the farming and trucking town of Skidmore.

Skidmore has unfortunately become famous for being the site of several awful crimes, including the 1981 shooting of noted bully Ken Rex McElroy.

Originally, I started marking the most interesting portions of the book, “In Broad Daylight,” as I read it. After the 20th sticky note, it seemed half the book was covered in sticky notes.

I was sort of looking for names of people who might be key players to revisit nearly 30 years later. We found a handful of truckers, diesel mechanics and several OOIDA members to use as sources for our article.

Monday, August 10, 2015

To truckers from the St. Christopher Fund: Thanks a ‘million’

August is a big fundraising month for the St. Christopher Fund with a major campaign headlined by TravelCenters of America’s Band Together effort and now a brand-new campaign: Sapp Brothers’ monthlong fundraiser. And later in the month, SCF will be in Dallas for the Great American Trucking Show.

The St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund is a 501(c)(3) truck driver charity, which helps drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship. Recently, SCF achieved a milestone never before accomplished in the trucking industry. It announced it has now given more than $1 million dollars to help truck drivers and their families since 2008. Are you blown away yet? One. Million. Dollars.
Photo courtesy of SCF

Dr. John McElligott and SCF's Executive Director Donna Kennedy

Assistance may be in the form of direct payment for medical services or prescription drugs, assistance with expenses while recovering from illness and out of work, and/or providing information on how to negotiate price reductions with medical providers and hospitals.

Because SCF pays bills directly, every dollar is accounted for, says Dr. Donna Kennedy, who has served as the executive director since it was established in 2007.

I’ve served on the SCF board for several years, and in my opinion Donna provides much of the stability critical to establishing an efficient charity with a solid reputation. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Tennessee, an M.S. in Research Psychology from the UT in Chattanooga, and a Ph.D. in Health Research Psychology from UT. Qualified in every way, she is all about helping truckers.