Dear Editor:

I had read recently that approximately 75 percent of all major highway accidents involve large trucks, and the main cause of these accidents are from speeding, or going too fast for road conditions. This is a statistic that must be considered a top priority for safety concerns with the Department of Transportation throughout this country, right now. Whatever happened to the law for large, heavy load trucks to only be allowed to be traveling in the right lane, and with passing another vehicle only if necessary?

The other day while my wife and I were on our way to Wilkes-Barre on route 81 North, a tractor-trailer passed us doing at least 80 miles per hour, judging from the speed I was going. How would the driver of this truck be able to stop suddenly in case of an emergency situation? A serious accident would more than likely occur, causing possible death or serious injury to someone.

When I worked as a shipping department manager years ago, I had the opportunity to converse with all different types of over the road truck drivers, along with local truck drivers. During this time, there were a lot of Midwest farmers who were forced out of their farming businesses through bankruptcy, and had become "long haul" truck drivers. They were considered "independent" truckers, because they were nonunion, while the truckers under contract, who worked for my company, were all members of the Teamsters union.

From my experience in dealing with truck drivers over the past years, I believe this is the main reason we are having so many unnecessary accidents involving large trucks on our highways today. The reason being; when you are a Union truck driver, you are paid by the hour, and when you are an independent truck driver you are paid by the load. It stands to reason, the more loads delivered the more money the truck driver will earn, and the faster they will have to travel.

However, under the terms of their contract, if a Union truck driver receives more than (3) serious traffic violations, or was involved in an accident proven to be their fault during their career as a company driver, they were immediately terminated regardless of their years of service with no help from the Union.

I still remember arguing with a Union truck driver working for my company back then, over making a delivery to Crisfield, Maryland in less time than it was taking him previously. He informed me with good reason, that he was not going over the posted speed limit on route 95 South, but he would make every effort to deliver the load safely, as soon as possible following the laws of the roadway. He was right, and I was only thinking of the costly time factor, as most company shipping managers would, and was not considering the dangers of him driving too fast.

John M. "Jack" Selby

Hometown