Richard D. Henderson's letter {July 27} on deregulated trucking prompts some comments on the need for better performance by large commercial vehicles.

As an old-time traveler on American roads, I recall the ancient perception that truckers are good and courteous drivers worthy of respect. Like the perception that roadside diners and restaurants with trucks parked outside always have good food, the idea that truck drivers are better than the rest of us, regrettably, is less true today than 25 years ago. With tractor-trailer accidents and costly delays a common occurrence, the public interest demands better performance by drivers and owners of trucks.

To motivate such improvement, I suggest the following fines with commensurate possible jail sentences, if not already in effect, as a minimum for offenses by commercial trucks over 1 1/2 tons.

1) Dropping gravel or other loaded material while in transit: $1,000 for the first offense, then double and triple that, with jeopardy to one's license.

2) Illegible or obscured tags: $300 for the first offense, then double, triple and quadruple that, with possible loss of one's license.

3) Moving and parking violations: three times the penalties for noncommercial vehicles, increased as appropriate. (Of course, special situations such as unloading would have to be considered.)

4) Emission pollution as defined in statutes: three times the noncommercial penalty, with mandatory correction within a week.

5) Overweight: increasing penalties, with a $550 minimum.

Persons who have suffered at the hands of maladroit and selfish truckers may wish to add their input for recodifications.

Finally, our excellent police and highway patrolmen should note well allegations that they permit truck drivers to get away with too much.

RICHARD G. AUGENBLICK Arlington