msnbc.com
updated 6/7/2005 3:42:12 PM ET 2005-06-07T19:42:12

An MSNBC.com report June 2 on urine jugs left along U.S. roads generated a flood of reaction from truckers, people in the industry and general readers. Below is a sampling of that emotional feedback.

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"A number of my fellow trainees at England (the largest refrigeration transport company in the US) experienced this and worse — where the trainer makes you urinate in a bottle to save time, no showers (after 10 days of that, a fellow student refused to travel anymore with that trainer and he, not the trainer, was chastised by the company).  This particular trainer also made him switch seats with the trainer while the truck was moving — 65 mph on the interstate so he could use the bottle or rest!

"Luckily, my first trainer was more hygienic (except for the showers), but after an accident (the trainer was at the wheel, thank God), my next trainer was great, following all the rules and getting the cargo there on time with showers every other day minimum.

"Regardless, about 10-15 percent of England trainers are real pieces of work and 90 percent will break DOT laws to make the trips work for the dispatchers.

"Now, England is probably the best for over-the-road training that I know of, and apparently the owners intend to do the right thing, but I think what happens is a serious lack of oversight and high turnover. With the exception of California and the northeast, I usually was able to find a place to sleep, and do my business in restrooms while on the interstates.

"I have my own truck now (trying to build a modest fleet) and tell my drivers to follow the rules, period.  I hate the smell of urine in the morning."
--This reader's name was withheld because he says he does business with England

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"Your article caught my eye with precise timing.  Let me explain, I am an instructor for diesel mechanics and work for a major OEM (original equipment manufacturer). Today I was teaching a class and this exact topic was discussed. We see all kinds of inappropriate leftovers that originate from the over the road drivers.

"The best one to date however is the mysterious hole in the sleeper floor. For some time I have been attempting to educate my technicians of the biohazards that a vehicle in this condition presents to them. The hole is used for high speed defecation. Drivers too busy to stop and urinate, then disposing this into bottles left alongside the road, is a big problem, but driving down the road and dumping some backside debris is quite disturbing. As an OEM dealer we have authorized our employees to be on the lookout for such modifications and refuse to service these vehicles.

"Your article brought to light the lack of respect over the road drivers have for the environment, themselves and those of us who would like to choose a better path to follow in our lives. I hope someone on your staff will take the time to investigate the additional information that I have provided for you."
--Scott Nalley

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As a previous truck driver, I would like to comment that in most states there aren’t that many rest areas. Like the state of Oklahoma only has one rest area in each direction. There are parking areas but not restrooms. No excuse for the littering, but I want to make you aware of the fact. Then in the summer time the campers take the parking area that is meant for trucks and the truckers get tickets for parking in the “car” parking. The states have shut down a lot of areas due to prostitution, or don’t have the money to maintain the areas.
--Velma Heesch

"I would like to point out that it is not all truckers that dump PEE bottles on the side of the road. I have witnessed people in vans and cars fill and dump bottles, jugs, cups and diapers on the road way and in rest areas, and right on the parking lot.
"I have seen people in motor homes do the same thing and in addition dump the black water tank on the shoulder.

"We truckers are not the only guilty persons here and we refuse to take the blame for all of it. Yes some truckers are guilty of being a slob and are the persons dropping some 'BOMBS' but we are not the sole group doing it.

"I do not dump 'bombs' nor other trash of any kind on the side of the road. I respect my country and I do not dump where I live. I dispose of it properly.

"The problem is not the BOMBs themselves but the disposal of them. 

Tell me sir, how would you like to see a person go into a bathroom at MSNBC and dump several bottles of urine in the toilet. This would gross you out and I promise you, you would raise a stink about it. (no pun intended) ...

"How would you handle it?  How about people that walk their dogs and never pickup behind them?  These are the very same people that dump "bombs" Your grass not theirs. They don't care.

"... I dare you to go to a truck stop and ask drivers what they think. We all without a dissenter would agree with you on certain facts. But we all would not be ready to take the complete blame for it.

"... I agree that in today field of trucking we have some very unqualified drivers, I call them 'DUMPSTER DIVERS drivers.' No self respect, no personal pride, no consideration for others.

"... I have been a professional trucker for over 35 years and I do not like to be blamed for the bad actions of a few. I am not a 'bomber.' I never have and never will be.

"I am the driver you never notice because I don't do anything to get your attention.

"It is called being a safe driver."
--Gordon Alkire

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"I'm a professional trucker. I've been pushing big rigs on and off for 30 years and steady since 1986. I've got 3 million miles under my belt in the 48 continental United States.

"The sight you describe in the so called 'trucker bomb' of one gallon milk or water jugs filled and left on the side of a road like that is abhorrent and a shameful act that could only be performed by low life trash scumbags who deserve to be taken out back and have some sense of decency physically slapped into them. Apparently they don't mind trashing their own parents for having had no proper upbringing.

"Having to deal with realities of the road is one thing, but one gallon jugs? One can only imagine how filthy they must live inside of their vehicles in considering the time it would take for the human body to accumulate one gallon of jug fill. That would be quite the thing to have sloshing about. Now if I as a trucker can conjure up that thought just what would the rest of the population of this country think of such a thing?

"But here's the problem I'm writing to you about today. You made sure that the rest of the population includes me in that thought when it comes to those individuals who are prayed upon because they can't get past group think. I don't appreciate the terming of this as 'trucker bombs'. In doing so you engage in group think and suggest that because someone drives a truck for a living they must be of this ilk. The last time I checked I and everyone else are still individuals and I expect to be treated and referred to accordingly. Stigmatizing truckers, a job description, by the acts of other individuals, while your own article in a very short sentence admits you don't even have the ability to claim that this filth is done by truckers, is dead wrong.

"When it comes to stereotypes, stigmatizing, coopting and perversion of the English language I'd feel far safer in using group think to describe news reporters and journalists. For an industry that claims to hold such contempt for discrimination and allegedly champions the minority of everything you certainly don't mind creating minority groups and seeing to it they are stereotyped along the way.

"Strange that the only people you seemed to find an interest in to refer to for comment about this issue was union reps. and association heads. Yet another group think? Should I be able to infer something in that little note? They don't even drive these trucks!

"... If you didn't create 'trucker bombs' you should have at least had the decency to keep such a thing out of the press or point out in chastise the ones who would refer to such filth in that way. If you expect to be respected as an individual you have to start treating people as individuals, not collectives.
--John Campbell

"If you were to ever travel from Vermont to Hartford, Conn., you would find that once south of White River Jct., Vt., there are NO rest stops with restroom facilities provided by the state and finding a place to stop to relieve yourself is next to impossible. But If you are headed North on I-91 you would find that they have rest stops with restrooms just over the border in Vermont but nowhere else until White River Jct, Vt. Looking at the rules as posted by the DOT shows that the states are supposed to prove that the rest area isn't needed before closure. Well I don't know who makes such decisions but the apparently haven't driven in this part of the country with exits being as far apart as 30 miles. Kind of hard to expect truckers or even the driving public not to do something such as this.

"I have seen both truckers as well as people in cars ejecting these things on the roadside. Maybe the rest area situation should be looked at. But I find no way to contact DOT directly by e-mail so have given up on trying to see if the situation could be changed.
--Timothy Rhoads

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"I'd like to applaud you on your article concerning the "jug problem." I've noticed it for years and basically I think it's due to just plain laziness and being inconsiderate. I carry a jug or bottle as the majority of drivers do but I never have disposed of it in the manner your article alludes to. Everywhere truckers park there is a trash problem. Seeing a truck stop parking lot in the morning is disgusting and depressing. 

":There is definitely a problem and I'm glad but also sorry that states are now getting involved but something has to be done. A lot of what these road crews are picking up along the interstates, etc., is not necessarily the cause of truckers but the "jug problem" definitely is.

"The road is a grind and will wear you out but unfortunately quite a few of my peers decide to 'advertise' their having been there."
--Fred Feddeman

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"Your article on 'Urine Bombs' is excellent, bulls-eye on target and a pain for 90 percent of the 'Over The Road' CDL drivers. We have had CB arguments galore with these 'MAJOR MALFUNCTIONAL MISFITS' that are directly responsible for all the urine bottles. 30-50 percent of the non-polluting OTR-CDL drivers have encounters with those containers where it got splashed on us, or we couldn't avoid stepping in the puddle left after someone ran over it.  When a big truck runs over it, it can atomize into the air and/or become a bath for anyone within 100 feet of the container.

"... I'm a 10+yr driver with a BBA degree from a university. I've had a great driving career except for the 'greed driven' schedules that have compromised my health. I started having prostrate problems,  I was a party to the greed, yet I, like the majority of drivers have little or no say in assigned delivery times. Company drivers today are at the mercy of one of the worst group of trucking company management staffs, undocumented company policies, unscrupulous and immature dispatchers who have no professional aspirations at all and more overwhelming "competition factors" than have ever existed in this industry. 

"... Truckers need stiff fines, and several states hiding hidden cameras with trip sensors at unacceptable locations, maybe even video cameras.  When 75-90 percent of OTR drivers have seen some driver committing the act, then getting caught and then getting prosecuted, the patterns will be imbedded in our memories, and will deter our dissociated drivers from trashing our highways. 
--Ken Mosburg

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"One thing to remember is that trucks and cars are very different. With a car, you can just run into any convenient gas station or restaurant and use their facilities. Try that in a truck, and you'll run into all kinds of trouble. The nationwide shortage of truck parking forces many drivers to take their DOT mandated breaks wherever they can find a place to park — and most of them don't have any facilities at all.

"... Even when there are facilities available (such as at a rest area or truck stop) it can be impossible to find a place to park a truck. The shortage of truck parking spaces (extreme in some areas of the country) can make it extremely difficult to find facilities to use.

"... There are many place in the country that ship and receive freight, but won't allow drivers to use their restroom facilities.  Water their flowers, and "urine trouble", so it's back to the jug.

"... There are quite a number of places that simply don't maintain their bathrooms properly.  Many is the time that I've gone into the facilities at a truck stop or rest area and turned right around and walked out again.

"Even when there are facilities and parking is available, it's not always safe to use them.  Many truckstops and rest areas are poorly lit (or not at all), and it can be dangerous to even get out of your truck.  Throw in a few unsavory characters hanging around, and a bottle is the answer.

"... There are pigs driving trucks, as well as in cars. In other cases, the driver is just too tired to make the effort. If the entire country had to put up with the work schedules that most truck drivers endure, there'd be riots and revolution."
--Don Lane

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