Monday, April 21, 2008

Oregon continues smear campaign

There’s really nothing else you can call Operation Trucker Check conducted by the Oregon Department of Transportation. It’s a smear campaign.

Results aren’t in from the 72-hour enforcement blitz that ran from April 15-17 are out, but guess what – they’re still touting drug tests from the last one where basically 10 percent of all truckers are doped up, driving bad equipment with no sleep.

Enforcement blitzes happen all the time, and the results are seldom what we’d like to see in terms of overall compliance with the regs. But generally the percentages of violations are far lower than what we see out of Oregon.

One has to wonder why that is.

Take the final results from Operation Trucker Check XIII this past fall. In that enforcement blitz, 468 commercial drivers provided voluntary urine samples. Tests found 8.7 percent tested positive for “at least one drug.”

There are so many things wrong with that statement; I don’t even really know where to begin.

There were 468 truckers who provided “voluntary” urine samples. It doesn’t take anyone with much common sense to question just how voluntarily those samples were given. How nicely were truckers asked to give up the sample? I’d bet those using illegal drugs were less than eager in volunteering their tainted samples. Yet for some reason they gave it up.

Here’s another thing, I made a big distinction there – I mentioned the use of illegal drugs. Oregon DOT doesn’t make that distinction. “Tests found 8.7 percent tested positive for at least one drug.” There’s no “illegal” in that sentence. That means over-the-counter drugs were counted in the “positive” results.

After the final results of Operation Trucker Check XIII came out, I put a call into the Oregon DOT. These tests were not conducted using DOT-mandated procedures. There were no split-samples. There were no concentration cutoff levels to help weed out false positives, so even minute amounts of legal over-the-counter drugs were counted in the test results. And there was no follow-up to ensure the initial test results were accurate.

I really want to know why the Oregon DOT feels compelled to conduct these roadside tests. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration already reported a well-documented 2 percent of truckers are busted using illegal drugs.

If Oregon thinks that 2 percent is low or inaccurate, step up to the plate and conduct the testing up to federal standards.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that if you use illegal drugs you don’t belong behind the wheel of truck.

But, for crying out loud, what the Oregon DOT is doing is asinine. They are hurting the reputation of the professional truckers on the road. They are using their stature as a law enforcement agency to vouch for the validity of their less-than-credible testing.

As suspected, their test results are being touted by the safety groups. Truckers are, once again, the reckless children who run with scissors and have no regard for public safety. If given enough time and traction, these bogus results are only going to hurt the honest men and women in the industry.

Safety groups are going to demand more testing. More of your time off the road proving, once again, you’re clean.

I got it: Let’s test all of the cops in Oregon. Maybe once those test results show that nearly 10 percent of all cops use, they’ll understand how ridiculous testing is just another cog in the anti-trucker smear campaign.

Editor's note: The original post of this blog neglected to point out that the Oregon State Police also participated in Operation Trucker Check along with the Oregon DOT commercial vehicle enforcement.

14 comments:

  1. I've lived in the mid west, and on the east coast. Now I live in Oregon. I've been here for seven years. I agree with you %100 on this issue. This is one messed up state in many different ways. When my son is done with his education, we're outta here. You hit this topic right on the head. Mike
    Hansen

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  2. Are these so-called enforcement blitzes announced or do they just "happen"? Most everyone knows about these activities before they commence even if they are a "secret". When this is going on don't go there!!! Go around that state. Take the time off and stay home. In June when the DOT does their 72 hour DOT I always took that time off. I didn't have anything to hide, but I wasn't interested in dealing with the bull that goes along with it. It just doesn't make sense to me to set yourself up for a fall when it can be avoided. No, no one is out there running out of compliance, but as we all know if the DOT wants to find something they darn sure will. Since our law enforcement is also "commercial" why aren't they subjected to the same scrutiny as the trucks? These law officials go flying down the road endangering everyone around them. Is it always warranted? No way. Why do they continue to stop motorists on the sides of the roads? Instead of having everyone understand that the shoulder of the road is just for emergencies why do the law officials continue to use it for their own gain? Now states have had to pass laws to have everyone move over to allow these people to do their jobs. We as truckers who have respect for ourselves and others have always done this. They show all these videos of motorists running over them while they are stopped on the shoulder. Don't people realize that if an officer wants to stop them that they will follow them to wherever it is that they stop? They can go to the next exit ramp and be assured they will be followed. When people decide to swap drivers go to the next ramp. I've seen so many stop on the shoulder just before an exit or rest area or drive past it then stop. I've even seen some that will stop on the shoulder in front of the rest area. Why do they endanger themselves and everyone else so carelessly? I see elderly people do this regularly and it is so frightening. If they paid attention to the news about all those that have been stopped on the shoulder for whatever the reason and run over, killed, etc. they would never do this again. If an officer wants to write a ticket they will follow you anywhere. If they question why you didn't stop before making the exit let them know if they don't care about their own lives at least the person they are pulling over does. Go as far as to tell them you are not only saving your own life, but the officer's as well. Truckers, if they want you they will stay with you forever until you pull over. All you have to do is give them an indication that you know they are there. A turn signal, four ways, etc. Once you are at a safe place pull off then stop. The officer will probably pitch a fit, but just let them.
    If any of these states wish to use us truckers as scape goats and guinea pigs then do your best to avoid it and let them have their days. They are only trying to increase their revenue anyway. They can call it whatever they want. It is all in the money.

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  3. Forget about drug testing the cops - they're as misunderstood and abused as truckers...

    TEST THE OFFICE HOLDERS AND THEIR STAFFS!

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  4. When I was in the Marine Corps, we used to have the ten per cent rule. Ten per cent of any group of people will give the other 90 a bad name. (Except when it comes to lawyers, where 90% gives the other ten a bad name.)

    Over the years I have seen how accurate the 10% rule is. It applies to truckers as well. But from what I have seen, in the case of professional drivers, the 10% giving the other 90 a bad name are doing simple things like riding the left lane, following to close, etc.

    I have only been out here a little better than 4 years, but I have yet to meet the doped up driver lawyers keep warning the public about.

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  5. With fuel prices soaring.Trucking companies are no longer hauling "cheap freight" because they can no longer afford it.Companies that have the higher paying freight know that it has become a shippers market.They will begin to exercise the leverage by telling the trucking companies when they want the freight delivered,and not when the trucking company says they can deliver it due to regulations.So the companies that can deliver will be getting the choice freight to haul,and the others will begin to fall by the wayside as we're seeing now.I use to count 5 trucks for every 10 cars.Now there are 2 to 3 trucks for every car,and it's only going to get worse.With all of this now we still have to deal with the DOT showing their "rears".At some point something is going to have to give,and soon.

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  6. Ha-ha Your completely inaccurate reporting has been exposed and the best you can
    muster is:

    Editor's note: The original post of this blog neglected to point out
    that the Oregon State Police also participated in Operation Trucker
    Check along with the Oregon DOT commercial vehicle enforcement.

    We all now know what degree of journalistic integrity you possess. Don't
    let the truth get in the way of a good story. You want to be taken seriously? Good luck.

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  7. Oh-oh. Looks like somebody at Land Line better step up and take a drug test. You could not have gotten the facts more incorrect had you tried. I suggest you get a better source for your material. Folks all across the country in the know are yucking it up over this blunder !

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  8. Oops !! You boogered this one up ! Operation Trucker Check has been done a dozen times by the Oregon State Police and in fact the work has been really sponsored by FMCSA since they paid for most of it with their MCSAP federal grant. You just flat out got it wrong by laying this at the feet of the Oregon DOT. Knowing you got the basic facts so wring makes it hard to assign much credibility to your subjective opinions. Maybe you should just share advice about good places to eat on the road.

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  9. Truckers, start doing what I do. I charge a $250.00 Calif surcharge. This helps cover hotels, abuse etc etc. It started at $100 but has increased. Now, I do not get many loads going there but I do not care if I don't. So, Now I will charge a drug test surcharge of $150.00 to go to Oregon., Larry Schroeder

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  10. Isn't it amazing that "anonymous" sends in these blogs and doesn't have the b.... to sign them? Must be the Oregon DOT's flunky trying to take up for them. Too many people are very well aware of their tactics and they are not on the up and up. Everyone else surely can't be wrong about it. Stop whining and know that the truth is out. Oregon DOT is a joke and nothing more than a ripoff to the trucking industry. They have proven over and over again that they are not interested in trucks even being in there, but they have to get supplies some way don't they. As is usually the case someone tries to make all look bad and it usually involves a small percentage that are in the wrong making the majority get the blame.

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  11. I agree with the writer that commented on the writers that do not sign their name to what they write. Most newspapers will not publish a letter to the editor that is unsigned.
    Regarding the drug testing: This testing sounds as though it is being done in a very unprofessional manner. Although there are certainly over the counter (and prescription) medications that can effect a persons ability to drive, it is currently not illegal to take them & so these drugs should definitely not be catagorized with the illegal substances. Kind of a comparing apples to kangaroos sort of situation. Shame on Oregon, if that is what they are doing.

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  12. This is really rich. The blog itself invites folks to select "anonymous" when choosing an identity and readers blame commenters for the way the blog is structured. These are really critical thinkers getting right to the core of the issues at hand. If you want to hear Oregon's opinion of what they are attempting to accomplish why don't you interview them? Is it because writing a one-sided rant is somehow more satisfying to this readership? While you are seeking interviews, ask John Hill at FMCSA what his opinion is of Oregon's efforts. You might be surprised what you learn from a legitimate journalistic approach as opposed to this sophomoric entertainment media name calling.

    Signed, Larry ... feel better?

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  13. The truth bites doesn't it, Larry? Stop whining. More people than not have first hand experience with Oregon. They aren't all wrong. The "anonymous" writer that talks trash is afraid to state who he/she is because of just that....talking trash.

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  14. I'm going to agree with Debbie. Land Line has more than proven that they can, will and do call public officials, and that they can, will and do get the story straight - more often, in fact, that most of the lame media the majority of America reads. Apparently "Larry" - and we're assuming that's his real name - doesn't understand what a blog is. Look at the editorial page of a newspaper, "Larry" - it's also call the "opinion" page. That's what this blog is to Land Line. In fact, that's what blogs are, period. News pages are objective; opinion pages contain ... well, opinions. This seems silly to point out, but apparently, "Larry" missed that part of middle school. I would also add that this writer's opinion is more than backed up by the facts. Well, here's the straight scoop. Oregon's officials need to justify their agency's existence, and their own jobs and salaries. Making it look like evil, drug-crazed truckers are running our roads makes those salaries look real important. If "Larry" or the Oregon DOT don't understand the difference between someone on cocaine and someone who took a Sudafed for clogged sinusus, they're the ones who have a problem. Me? I like being able to buy groceries. And I know it got there on a truck. My thanks to America's truck drivers. Oh, and please note the name, which is mine, below.

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