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Safe and Sorry Thoughts on Triple Trucks

June 04, 1997

I am writing in response to "Are Drivers Facing a Triple Threat?" (May 13). The possibility of introducing triple trailers on Southern California freeways is totally irresponsible. The increase in traffic in the area has led to the narrowing of lanes on many of our freeways.

Not only do these lanes barely accommodate the large trucks, but their numbers and speed present a frightening experience.

Twenty years ago this would not have presented such a horrendous prospect. There were fewer cars on the road. Truck drivers and drivers in general were more courteous.

MARY NAKANE

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With every negative thing that we in Southern California face on a day-to-day basis, I can't imagine a more truly unnecessary thing we have to endure than triple tandem truck trailers.

Time, after time, we view TV news of accidents caused by trucks on our highways.

Regardless of the politics, I absolutely support the railroad industry in moving the goods of this country. I never will support the trucking industry trying to be a railroad--which is what they want to be on our roads.

CARROL McDONALD

Thousand Oaks

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I'm a trucker and over the years I've logged plenty of miles behind the wheel. I've always liked Ralph Vartabedian's "Your Wheels," because he knows what he's talking about. Well, most of the time.

He wrote a piece about triple trailer trucks--a basic story, quotes from both sides, that sort of thing. But Ralph, we don't have to take anybody's word about the safety of triple trailer trucks. They don't run in California, but they do run in 16 other states, and for more than 30 years in some of those states.

I've seen the safety record on triples, and in each of those states they are the safest thing on wheels, period. Now I know they're larger than what most people are used to. And if you don't drive a truck, they might seem a little intimidating at first glance. But the fact is, triples have a better safety record than any other trucks, and better than cars or buses too.

Usually you've got some of the best drivers handling triples. The companies have to have special permits and triples only run on certain roads and in certain weather conditions.

REYES GONZALEZ

Los Angeles

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Safety is primary. However, another aspect deserves careful study and publicity. That is financial cost. Material specifications for highways are determined by weight of the vehicles and the speed at which they travel. The greater the weight and speed, the greater the cost. Currently, interstate highways are not in good condition. Can they sustain triple trailers? Does the taxpayer want to delegate money to support 120,000-pound vehicles? Let's do our homework.

AIMEE ELSBREE

Claremont

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