For the second consecutive year and the fifth time in a decade, truckers say Pennsylvania has the worst roads in the country, according to the annual Highway Report Card survey conducted by Overdrive, the nation’s leading magazine for owner-operators.
Among the chief complaints were the conditions of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Interstates 78 and 80, as well as poor signage. Owner-operator Bernard Linkhauer said Keystone State highways “will beat and bang you around.” The Pittsburgh-area resident said repairs along the turnpike amount to a Band-Aid. “It looks good, and it lasts a little while, but then it’s back to square one.”
For the second year in a row, Texas shines with the best roads. Not all truckers agree, though. I-35 to San Antonio “will tear your equipment up,” said Texan Judy Selzer.
The Overdrive survey ranked not only roads but also the drivers who travel them. Roughly two-thirds of respondents say road rage increased during the past year, with 36 percent calling the jump significant. The worst automobile drivers are in California, followed by Illinois and New York, respondents say.
Trucker Allen Pickard of the Los Angeles suburb of Glendora blamed congestion and the pressure of driving in Southern California, where commutes can take hours. “I can imagine how they can get pretty upset,” he said.
New York and Connecticut drivers are the worst, said New Jersey owner-operator Kevin Sweeney. Stuck in lower New England congestion, they fast become frustrated. “You don’t get road rage out in the country,” he added.
On safety, survey participants reasserted findings from years past: California has the nation’s toughest truck inspections, while Alabama has the most lax. California is well known for its truck laws, including tough anti-idling penalties. Alabama, on the other hand, has experienced a shortage of state troopers for several years.
More than 37 percent of respondents placed California tops on inspections; Ohio came in second with 8 percent of participants calling it the toughest state.
More than 300 Overdrive readers responded to the Highway Report Card survey in fall 2005. About 27 percent of respondents deliver in all 48 states, and 57 percent report 21 years or more in the industry. The complete report appears in the December issue of Overdrive.
OVERDRIVE HIGHWAY REPORT CARD 2005
4. Georgia, Ohio (tie)
5. Nevada, Virginia (tie)
1. I-10 Louisiana
2. I-44 Missouri
3. I-95 New York
1. I-75 Florida
2. I-40 Tennessee
3. I-10 Texas
MOST IMPROVED HIGHWAY
1. I-40 Arkansas
2. I-80 Pennsylvania
3. I-30 Arkansas
WORST AUTOMOBILE DRIVERS
3. New York