One of the lucky things I get to do as part of my job is go 'live' on the Sirius Satellite radio channel 147 every week (Monday's 9 am to 10 am) to discuss trucking issues with truck drivers -- folks calling in from the road all across the country. It's part of the 'Open Road Cafe' morning program on on channel 147 -- dubbed the 'Road Dog Trucking network' -- which is hosted by veteran radio newsman Mark Willis in Dallas, TX, while producer Elizabeth Walsh keeps everything on track in New York City. (For more information on the program, check out www.openroadcafe.net)
After doing this for almost four years now, I can tell you one thing for sure -- trucks drivers are a lot smarter than almost anyone gives them credit for. Recently I talked to one driver about the move to build more toll roads and lease existing ones to private companies -- in some cases foreign-owned ones. I think toll roads are a bad idea -- they create massive bottlenecks and force a lot of trucks onto local roads as drivers try to avoid tolls. This driver, however, said private toll companies are a good idea. Why? Because privatization brings market forces to bear on toll roads -- which should improve road quality, encourage development of ways to reduce bottlenecks at toll plazas and make toll companies more repsonsive to customer needs. Another driver cited Ohio's efforts to provide frequent rest areas and free showers to drivers after raising their tolls.
Agree or disagree with these opinions you may, but they were both argued clearly, concisely and forcefully. That's just an example of the benefits I glean from listening to what drivers have to say.