TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- 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 magazine. Overdrive is the nation's leading magazine for owner-operators.
Among the chief complaints: the conditions of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-78 and I-80, and poor signage. Owner-operator Bernard Linkhauer says Keystone State highways "will beat and bang you around." The Pittsburgh-area resident says repairs along the turnpike amount to a Band-Aid. "It looks good, and it lasts a little whil, but then it's back to square one."
For the second year in a row, the Lone Star State shines with the best roads. Not all truckers agree, though. Texan Judy Selzer disputes Overdrive readers' high praise of Texas highways. "Any time I get on 1-35 to go to San Antonio, [the road is] rough, and it will tear your equipment up," she says.
The Overdrive survey not only ranked roads, but also the drivers who traverse 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.
Trucker Allen Pickard of the Los Angeles suburb of Glendora agrees with these findings. He blames congestion and the pressure of driving in southern California, where commutes can take hours. "I can imagine how they can get pretty upset," he says.
New Jersey owner-operator Kevin Sweeney says New York and Connecticut drivers are the worst. Stuck in lower New England congestion, they fast become frustrated. "You don't get road rage out in the country," he adds.
When it comes to 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 laws regarding trucking, including tough anti-idling penalties. 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. Alabama, on the other hand, has experienced a shortage of state troopers for several years.
About Overdrive's Highway Report Card
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 Overdrive's December issue.
HIGHWAY REPORT CARD 2005
|WORST ROADS||BEST ROADS|
|Michigan||Georgia, Ohio (tie)|
|California||Nevada, Virginia (tie)|
|WORST HIGHWAY||BEST HIGHWAY|
|I-10 Louisiana||I-75 Florida|
|I-44 Missouri||I-40 Tennessee|
|I-95 New York||I-10 Texas|
MOST IMPROVED HIGHWAY
- I-40 Arkansas
- I-80 Pennsylvania
- I-30 Arkansas
WORST AUTOMOBILE DRIVERS
- New York