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Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

A “corporate mouthpiece” responds

| March 25, 2011

A few readers have taken me to task for my March editorial. One, asking to cancel his subscription, notes “a corporate mouthpiece type of opinion in every issue, the latest being from Max Heine.”

I had argued that the proposed mandate for electronic onboard recorders could eventually put pressure to raise pay. Carriers that have been cheating on hours, assuming they even stay in business under the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, would need more trucks and drivers to do legally the same amount of hauling they’ve been doing illegally. More demand for drivers means higher pay.

The other reader, retired owner-operator H.J. Steele, in a letter to the editor, says my argument made him chuckle to himself. “I heard this same song and dance when the CDL came into being and again when having a Hazmat endorsement meant undergoing a background check and fingerprinting,” Steele writes. “It didn’t happen in either of those two examples and I don’t believe it will happen with the advent of EOBRs.”

We’ll never know for sure. There are many forces affecting driver pay, mostly to push it higher. But even the best industry economist would be stretching it to strictly attribute any part of a pay raise in the coming months to an EOBR mandate.

Click the “responses” button below and tell us what you think.

  • Don Shipley

    Sorry it did not happen before and I blame the Big three trucking companies for the lack of incresas. THey inport drivers from other countries, train steering whell holders. Yes they call it truck driver school but in fact they barely know hw to hold the sterring wheel in a prking lot.
    THier sales representives run around teh US telling customers [ shipper] the price is going up for lack of drivers. Than when they raise the price, it all goes into thier corporate pockets. The drivers lone voice is ran over again.
    50 Years in the Bussiness, 40 years behind the wheel. Forced to retire. over 5,000,000 loged miles driven. The drivers will take it on the chin again, belive me. Shippers wll say its thier fault , and they will get nothing.

  • Gordon A

    Every page I turn, every converstion I hear,Every trucking program on the radio spout the same rhetoric about how EOBR’s will make our highways safer. La Hood and cronies get your facts straight and quit trying to BS the drivers that keep you Fed, Clothed and Housed.
    Carriers, quit being a bobble head and agreeing with every thing the Government says. Stand up and tell them what will and what won’t work. We have been doing this longer than you have been in politics La Hood.
    The same to those that think EOBR’s are the best thing since bias tires in keeping our highways safer.
    Tell me all you knowledgable government people, how the EOBR will stop the tailgaters, speeders and other driving habits that contribute to accidents.
    I am listening.
    It will not improve your rest period. It will not prevent you from being fatigued. I will not keekp you from every day stress encounterd in trucking.
    It will be nothing more than telling safe professional drivers that they are liars, and non professionals with a CDL and this will cause many professionals to leave the industry. This will leave the vacancies to be filled with unskilled drivers.
    The only benefit I see is to help the drivers that dispatchers push, now have a legal stand to say no I don’t have the hours and the long standing story of the customer laying off will become obsolete.
    EOBR are nothing more than total control of the transportation system and when the government does that your freedoms will be quickely flushed down the highway toilet.
    Ross Perrot told you years ago what was going to happen and no-one listened. Are you NOW?

  • Rob T.

    I have to agree with Don and Gordon. In theory, EOBR’s would seem to be a good idea. Force everyone into complying with the Hours-of-Service rules, and the “outlaws” would be shut down thereby pushing the pay of legal drivers upward. The big flaw in this theory is that EOBR’s can be manipulated also. I know of a large company using PeopleNet that changes its electronic logs on a regular basis to show that it is in compliance when it is not. This is done by office personnel to force drivers to continue rolling. Only an in-depth audit by DOT would ever reveal it, and only then if the auditors compared logged hours with actual driver pay. Not likely in a world of increasing government cutbacks….DOT simply does not have the manpower. Mr. Steele is right. I have been driving for 23 years and have been around the industry my entire life, and real wages have gone steadily down regardless of the promises of the CDL and HazMat programs. Driver wages cannot go up until they are fairly compensated for detention time. Driver wages cannot go up until the flood of cheap foreign labor is stemmed. And driver wages cannot go up until drivers are somehow brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act and no longer treated like second-class citizens by the law.

  • Linn Prudhomme

    Well to begin with, it is time the “experienced” drivers realize that they did not come out the “egg” as truck drivers. this comes from someone that has 20 years in trucking, mostly as owner/operator of 5 trucks heavy hauling included.
    what is missing in trucking now days is the loss of helpful drivers.
    It is easier to criticize than to be helpful.
    I learned from my father, uncles and others who wanted me to learn the right way. Also I want to comment on the CB radio language I hear these days. It is nasty, ugly and extremely critical of other drivers…totally un-civil…and mostly from the “experienced” drivers. Take a mental break and think before you pick up that microphone and think how you would react and feel if someone didn’t take the time to show you how to get started. No one started in a vacuum, someone helped you.

    As to driver pay, we as drivers should take a stand, get organized in some fashion, OOida to start with, pick a national holiday for instance, no one takes a load for 12 hours….next learn how to contact direct shippers…make it easier to contact shippers, have a load board for shippers to post loads.
    Ask every broker/dispatcher for the amount the shipper paid the brokerage, (legally they have to tell you) then you will know if you are getting a fair percentage…learn the fuel sur-charge rates, demand politely for a better rate.Look for and haul for brokers that do pay better (I know in the real world this might be hard) last year I hauled for less than 10 brokers, with a lot of repeat pick up and drop off locations.

    Just my thoughts.

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