No trucks, no food nor homes

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I am writing to you in reply to John Wylde’s article in his Transport Matters column.

I cannot believe that the Gazette would publish such a one-sided slur about the haulage industry. I have waited for a long time for him to write something about road haulage and to be honest was not expecting a glowing report as he seems to be very pro-railways and maybe has the misguided thought that, through time, all freight will go on the railways.

I am a third-generation haulier and take great pride in my trade. Mr Wylde and his buddy the so-called (ahem) transport expert Grahame Boyes are talking complete drivel.

Yes, there are a few rogue operators as there is in every industry. The article seems to be totally anti-truck. Tacho fiddling is virtually a thing of the past, because the haulage industry is one of the most over-regulated industries.

VOSA/DVSA are the authority that governs us and you cannot get away with anything from being fined for torn mud-flaps to being jailed for being a few minutes over your driving hours. You get stopped and fined for a load which you have carried safely for years that they think is insecure.

As for speeding, shock horror, call the Polis! I regularly sit at 50mph on single-carriageway sections of the A1, which I believe is safer than 40, which has been the limit since the ’60s when brakes and mechanical knowhow was light years from today’s ABS/EBS systems, and the cars usually run steady behind. There’s always the odd nutter that will push past, but usually most motorists go with the flow. However, if I sit at 40mph, cars are fighting to be past at every opportunity whether it’s safe or not.

As for wagons going over 60mph – they are governed to 56 and if they reach 60, a warning will tell them to back off, and if VOSA checks your card for regularly going 60-plus, you’re in serious trouble.

Saying the excessive speeding is typical of the industry for gain – frankly you’re talking out of your backside. Maybe it was true in the ’70s, but it’s not now.

Mr Wylde seems to hate the industry. Has he ever sat in a wagon, never mind driven one?

There’s an old saying, those who teach can’t do.

I would quite happily take him out one day and he could see what we are actually up against. It might have been more appropriate to write an article about the state of the infrastructure or about parking issues and diesel theft, fuel prices, unfair foreign competition ... I could go on.

Love or hate them, you can’t live without them. You can’t deliver bricks to a building site or straw to a hill farm on a train.

Just think, without trucks you’d be hungry, homeless and naked.

Steve Douglas,

Longhoughton