Monday, April 21, 2008

Would they put up with this crap?

Idling regulations and restrictions continue to proliferate across the country.

Lacking any central decision by the federal government, states, counties and cities have taken the lead on the issue, creating a patchwork of often conflicting regulations that truckers have to navigate in order to avoid frequently prohibitive fines.

It’s an issue that matters to anyone who’s spent a night in a sleeper berth. And it caused one trucker to say this:

Maybe they should try it.

The example he gave was a good one: a proposal in Pennsylvania that would restrict diesel-powered commercial vehicles to no more than five minutes idling per hour. The only exceptions – if the temperature is lower than 40 degrees or higher than 75 degrees.

Why don’t the folks writing the law try living that way, the trucker asked. Would they tolerate living in a house that was 40 degrees inside?

I’ve heard truckers make this case before, and I think lawmakers write it off. They justify blowing off this argument by saying it’s not the same.

Well, it is, plain and simple. You, as a U.S. citizen, are entitled under the 14th Amendment to our Constitution to equal protection under the law.

What other American worker would accept these conditions in their workplace? If there were a business like that, we’d call it a sweatshop.

What other American citizen would accept these conditions in their home? To many truckers, that cab is home. Most over-the-road truckers spend more time in the truck than their own bed, and some live in the cab full time. And if we required people in an apartment complex to live in those conditions, we’d call it a slum.

Electrical generation to warm or cool homes creates far more in the way of greenhouse gas than trucks.

Call your lawmakers, and remind them of that. Remind them that in our nation, those who run things are supposed to follow the same rules as those they govern.