Thursday, April 9, 2009

Anti-Idle Laws Mean I Go Back To The Shelter

Okay, time for me to put in my two cents about this global warming thing.

First, I just wanna say that it is affecting both Matt and I already, even though the polar ice caps have not melted and we are not flooded out of our truck. No. Both of us, myself for certain, will be out of the truck long before then. And here's why:

Several states are passing legislation to outlaw truck engine idling. That means that when Matt and I park for the night at a truck stop, rest area or other approved truck parking area, the engine will have to be shut off during our D.O.T required 10 hour rest period.

"Oh, that is wonderful," you may say. "We will all breathe easier, and the sun will shine brighter, and roses and lollipops and all that crap-ola!"

What many of you non-truckers, or 4-wheelers as Matt likes to call them, fail to realize is that we actually live in these trucks, and in order for the interior of the cab to warm up to temperatures comparable to the ones in your own bedrooms at night, the engine must be running. You know, like in your car for instance.

Now to be fair, I should point out that most states will allow the trucks to idle when the temperature drops....TO 40 DEGREES!!! Other states will only allow idling at 32 or even 25 degrees or less! Now ask yourselves, how cold does it have to get outside before we turn on the furnace in our own home? And at what temperature do we set it? How warm do you think it gets in a truck with the engine off when the outside temperature is 40 degrees? Not very. And how rested will we be after sleeping in the freezing cold? Do you really want us on the road after that?

Technology has been very slow to catch up to the chicken-little-global-warming-hysteria. Yes there are things called APU's (auxiliary power unit) that attach to the sides of trucks which handle the interior cold and heat admirably. In fact our company has installed them on some of the older trucks, while Freightliner and International have sold us new trucks which have in-cab heaters that don't require engine idling. Problem solved, right?

NO! The APU's have these really expensive air filters which collect a lot of pet dander and hair and then require expensive maintenance. So expensive, in fact, that our company will not allow pets in trucks that have APU's. The same goes with the new trucks and their in-cab heaters. NO PETS ALLOWED. So Matt and I will be idling our old truck whenever we feel it necessary, and skirting the law in our outdated idle-only heat and A/C source, risking fines of between $300 and $500 per violation. The only alternatives would be to get a hotel room every night at $75 a pop ($60 + $15 pet fee, that comes to around $2,250 per month, and NOT reimbursed by the company), or running over our legal D.O.T. hours of service to get to the next idle friendly state and risking fines of $1,000 or more and months of imprisonment, OR sleeping with the engine off and catching pneumonia and even possibly freezing to death. Did I fail to mention that within 2 years most of the anti-idling states will no longer allow idling at ANY temperature? I will have to vacate the truck and return to the shelter, or Matt will have to find a local driving job in the middle of a nasty recession (which will not improve anytime soon if Obama imposes his Nazi-like Green Plans on industry).

Factories in third world countries and cow flatulence produce more green house gasses than us trying to keep warm at night. If these attitudes of idiot state legislators continue and more stupid laws are passed, trucking will become just another job that Americans won't do. Add it to the list of picking lettuce, construction, factory work, custodial duties, housekeeping, etc... Do we really want illegal immigrants who cannot speak English driving those big 80,000 lbs semi trucks down our nation's highways? And if not them then who? Ex-felons? Hate to tell you this, but that's already happening. Can you picture an ex-felon in every semi truck? They were felons in the first place because they couldn't control their impulses. Can you picture the road rage element?

Matt and I both love clean air and clear water and believe in a certain intelligent level of government regulation and oversight. But hysterically cramming it down our throats with "the sky is falling" attitudes means that some will be trampled upon in the ensuing stampede. I thought these liberals believed in no one left behind. Only when it suits them, I guess.