Thursday, February 21, 2013

I've Done It AGAIN!

...Caused a controversy with my opinion.

We have a low railroad bridge in our town. For a very long time the clearance was 14 feet. That was low enough as it was, but the highway underneath had drainage problems so TX DOT - the state highway department - raised the level of the highway level with the curbs. Now the clearance is only 13 feet 7 inches.

Guess how many high loads still try to go under the bridge?! It is really amazing! Now we have signs at all points of the compass on the highways coming into town in plenty of time to turn around and take a detour. Still...loads hit the bridge. The worst culprits are the log haulers. They (as are other industries in the trucking business) are paid by the weight of the load, so they pile on another log or two.

My question is "How hard is it to put a tape measure on the load?!"

On our local newspaper's Facebook page, it was reported that on Monday, a guy hauling a piece of equipment (for the log industry) didn't just hit the bridge. Thank God no one was in the other lane.

People were blaming the highway department and the railroad. I basically commented that being from a truck driving family - the fault was the driver's and the driver's alone.

(Note not in my FB comment: After all the bridge does not rise and fall with the pull of the moon!)

OH MY GOODNESS! You would've thought I'd called him a murderer!! I didn't realize that I was being talked about nastily until I was showing someone here at the courthouse the photo the paper posted. Then I saw the comments - a woman (cousin/sister/something) took umbrage that I dare think it was the driver's fault. Then commented that someone who works for the county has no business commenting.

The county has no dog in this hunt. The bridge is within city limits. The highway is a state highway. The bridge is owned by the railroad. I did NOT comment as a county employee. I commented as being in a truckdriving family.

ARGGHHH!!! No one has even said whether the driver admitted being at fault. Of course, we all know whose name the ticket was issued in!

The shame of it about 2001 or 2002 a long hauler hit the bridge and knocked part of his load off his trailer. It landed on top of a jeep driven by a young man who had been married less than a year. He was killed instantly leaving a widow and two small stepchildren to mourn him along with his friends and the rest of his family.

A wrongful death lawsuit was considered, then the mother found out about the driver. He accepted responsibility and was taking it extremely hard - could not work and was barely functioning. In addition, log haulers and the indepent owners of the trucks/log yard/etc. are not rich people. She said that money would not bring back her son and she refused to file the lawsuit.

The point is - the driver took responsibility.

My dad, all three brothers, and my first husband were all truckdrivers. I imagine they had well over 150 years combined experience between them. One brother is still 'trucking.' NOT ONE OF THEM ever swiped a load off their trucks driving under low bridges!

My uncle did. He hauled a few loads of logs. He did hit the bridge with his last load and knocked off a couple of logs. Thank God no one was near enough to be hit. He got out of the log business real quick. He accepted responsiblity.

I decided I needed to label this C.O.W. - Cranky Old Woman 

Now - as soon as my boss returns from continuing education classes, I've got to fess up about the FB post. I will be removing my place of employment from my profile in the near future...but not just yet.

P.S. Found out that the driver received not one but three tickets! I know you are all totally surprised. Now - who was at fault?


Kar said...

Some people just need to take responsibility for the choices they make. It always amazes me also when I see big trucks trying to squeeze under low bridges. Really?! It isn't that hard to measure things.

Florida Farm Girl said...

We have one of those railroad bridges near here. Terrific height of 10 ft 8 inches. Know what happens when trucks and RVs try to go under that??? Most have learned, but every once in a while somebody forgets or ignores the flashing lights and signs and tries it anyway. Likely as in your case, the railroad was there long before the tall vehicles took to the road. We, as Rvers, have learned with a close call to know exactly how tall we are and to pay attention to bridges and overpasses.