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If safety No. 1 priority, why has Santa not been put OOS?



I’m sorry to have to write this, but we’re going to have to get real about Santa Claus.

I don’t mean the bit about whether he exists or not.

No sir. I’m talking about whether his reindeer and sleigh are up to safety code and if he even has a CDL or more to the point, a pilot’s license.

Also, I’m sure he has Hours of Service violations each year and flagrant violations of air pollution standards.

You don’t think flying reindeer have some pretty polluting emissions?

Come on. They’ve got to be worse than any greenhouse gases.

How much do the reindeer contribute to global warming? Why aren’t we reading about that in the newspapers, huh?

That’s not to mention that Santa is probably driving without his safety belt on. I bet he doesn’t even have electronic stability control on that thing, much less in-sleigh cameras or rear-view mirrors.

Heck. I doubt Santa has an ELD. No wonder he’s been able to get by with HOS violations for eons. What do you want to bet that some poor kid each year accidentally gets Santa’s “comic book” logs mixed in with her presents?

Come to think of it, maybe Santa wraps some gifts in his fake logs, what with the price of wrapping paper, tinsel and ribbon going up each year.

And speaking of eons, I bet that legally, Santa is too old to be driving a freight-delivery vehicle in the first place. How long has that guy been around?

I would venture to say that his body mass index is off the charts and his neck circumference is indicative of sleep apnea.

Think about it. He consumes cookies, hot chocolate, maybe even sandwiches and soda pop at EVERY SINGLE STOP.

No wonder he’s overweight. Sheesh.

And just because the reindeer are pulling the sleigh doesn’t mean it’s safe for Santa to nod off in his seat. And if he’s sleeping on the job because he has sleep apnea, you can bet the reindeer don’t keep to the prescribed route. Which means a bunch of kids are missing out.

I ask you this: Was there ever a Christmas when you were growing up that you didn’t get something you asked Santa for?

See, he was probably asleep in the sleigh while the reindeer did their own thing. They probably were making unscheduled rest and meal breaks so they could eat and take a load off.

What do reindeer eat you ask?

I looked it up and they eat leafy greens, bird eggs and “treats” like carrots and apples.

Oh, and mushrooms.

My goodness, you don’t want me to go there. Can you imagine having to hair test a herd of reindeer for magic mushrooms? Let’s not think about getting them to pee in a cup.

I’m not sure either kind of drug screening would turn up hallucinogenic mushrooms, anyway. That’s an accident waiting to happen.

And what if some of the eggnog left out for Santa is spiked? It could happen. Probably has happened.

And who’s to know if he inhales a bit of weed now and then?

He doesn’t get pulled over by troopers because even in a helicopter I don’t think they could keep up with him. Who’s ever heard of a helicopter landing safely on a roof, anyway. Doesn’t make a bit of sense. And no law enforcement department in the world has the finances to follow Santa around on Christmas night. Can you imagine the paperwork it would entail just to ask?

Yep. No doubt about it. Santa is one of the last of the lone ranger type of drivers and a safety risk if ever there was one.

And although I hate to suggest it, it might be better if he were put out-of-service.

Yeah, that would be a bummer for the whole planet, especially for the children.

But is safety the No. 1 priority or not?

Sometimes tough choices have to be made.

Wait just a minute. … Maybe that doesn’t have to happen. I mean, what if Santa could get an autonomous or a driverless sleigh? Sure, it would put the reindeer out of a job, but that would be better than placing the whole kit and caboodle OOS on Christmas Eve wouldn’t it?

I’ve ranted on about autonomous and driverless vehicles in this column many times but I may have to eat my words in this case.

Could I get some hot chocolate with that?

Be safe and God bless.

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Big rig loaded with mail crashes in Little Rock; tractor ends up on guard rail




Part of a tractor hangs over the Interstate 440 railing after the driver couldn’t decide which ramp to take and crashed. (Courtesy: ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The old saying about those who deliver the mail goes something like this: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

But Sunday some indecision did.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation posted on its social media site that the driver of a tractor-trailer carrying a load of mail couldn’t decide which ramp to take off Interstate 440 Terminal Interchange with Interstate 30 and ended up striking the guard rail.

The tractor separated from the trailer and wound up hanging partially over the bridge railing.

Officials said one of the tractor’s fuel tanks became dislodged and fell onto Interstate 30 below causing an explosion and fire.

The driver was taken to a hospital, but her condition is unknown.

Traffic was delayed on both I-30 and I-440 which is the main thoroughfare between Little Rock and the Bill and Hillary Clinton Newsal Airport.



Colorado DOT kicks off project to install media cable barriers on I-25




DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation kicked off a seven-month project in June that aims to install new median cable barriers along Interstate 25 between Pueblo and Colorado Springs as a safety measure to prevent median crossover crashes.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Colorado agency noted in a June 14 statement that it is using a “multi-phased approach” based on vehicle crash history and traffic volumes to specifically locate the new cable median barriers – part of its Whole System – Whole Safety initiative that takes a systematic approach to safety that includes driving behaviors, the built environment, and operations.

“Improving the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving safety conditions for travelers is our main goal,” Shoshana Lew, executive director of the Colorado DOT, said in a statement. “The statewide program’s whole system approach is unique in how it brings together all areas of the driving experience, resulting in improved and enhanced safety for motorists.”

The $3.5 million project – expected to be completed by December – will remove any existing barrier structures and replace it with media cable barrier along with “added offset” from the travel lane and flattened median side slopes.

That will continue to eliminate vehicle cross-over crashes, the agency noted, while additionally reducing nuisance hits as the northbound cable barrier can be removed. The net effect will allow better maintenance access, reduced maintenance costs, better traffic flow, and further enhancing safety, Colorado DOT said.

A 68-page study wrapped up last year by the Center for Transportation Research and Education at Iowa State University determined that cable median barriers “significantly” reduce motor vehicle crash fatalities and injuries, though they do lead to an increase in “property-damage only” crashes, according to the collected data examined by the school’s researchers.

That study found that out of the 6,718 median-related crashes it examined over a nine-year period stretching from 2007 to 2015, cable media barrier safety devices reduced fatalities, incapacitating injuries, and non-incapacitating injuries by 68.7, 36.8, and 23.9 percent, respectively.



Love’s opens new facilities in Michigan, Illinois and Pennsylvania




The Hampshire, Illinois, location is located at 201 Love’s Crossing near Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 20. (Courtesy: LOVE’S TRAVEL STOPS)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Love’s Travel Stops is now serving customers in three new locations — Bridgeport Charter Township, Michigan; Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania; and Hampshire, Illinois.

The Bridgeport Charter Township location at 6560 Dixie Highway (near Interstate 75 and Exit 144) adds 80 new jobs to Saginaw County and 87 truck parking spaces.

The Slippery Rock stop off Exit 105 and I-79, brings 40 jobs and 48 truck parking spaces.

The third location in Hampshire at 201 Love’s Crossing (near Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 20), has 177 truck parking spaces and brings 80 jobs.

In total, Love’s is adding 312 truck parking spaces for professional drivers.

“These three locations place us in the perfect spots to serve more customers,” said Tom Love, executive chairman and founder of Love’s. “All are along major interstates that are popular for trade routes and leisure travel. We’re proud to add truck parking in areas where our customers need it.”

The travel stops are open 24/7 and offer many amenities.

Bridgeport, Michigan

More than 12,000 square feet of space, Hardee’s restaurant, 87 truck parking spaces, 87 car parking spaces, eight diesel bays, Speedco location on-site, four RV parking spaces, eight showers, laundry facilities, bean to cup gourmet coffee, brand-name snacks, Mobile to Go Zone with the latest electronics, CAT scale.

Hampshire, Illinois

More than 10,000 square feet of space, Arby’s restaurant, 177 truck parking spaces, 53 car parking spaces, nine diesel bays, Speedco location on-site, three RV parking spaces, seven showers, laundry facilities, bean to cup gourmet coffee, brand-name snacks, Mobile to Go Zone with the latest electronics, CAT scale.

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

More than 10,000 square feet of space, Subway restaurant, 48 truck parking spaces, 60 car parking spaces, seven diesel bays, Love’s Truck Tire Care center, two RV parking spaces, six showers, laundry facilities, bean to cup gourmet coffee, brand-name snacks, Mobile to Go Zone with the latest electronics, CAT scale.

In honor of the grand opening, Love’s will host ribbon cuttings and donate $2,000 to the Bridgeport Historical Society, Northern Butler County Feed My Sheep Food Cupboard in Slippery Rock and Hampshire High School.









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