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Todd Dills

Anne Ferro on a haul — finally

| November 05, 2013

To all of you who’ve clamored for it in commentary here, well — it finally happened. Anne Ferro went out on a two-day haul with owner-operator Leo Wilkins, and David Tanner over at Land Line told the story following the haul. Wilkins took Ferro on a couple drops between Maryland and St. Louis. (The OOIDA Life Member also happens to be one of the drivers recognized by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association with an award for his 21 years of safety at the Heart of America Trucking Show last month.)

Related

Owner-operator walk-and-talk with Anne Ferro

Several operators took the opportunity the Trucking Solutions Group's health walk at MATS represented to walk-and-talk issues with FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.

Part of what Ferro gleaned from the trip, Tanner reported, was a new perspective on the challenges the hours of service place on the driver’s schedule, but also this, on spending the night in Wilkins’ bunk in Indianapolis as he took a hotel room: 

[Wilkins' bunk] is a lovely sleeping cabin. I looked at that and thought about what it would be like to be in a normal sleeper berth, and how difficult it is to change your clothes, how difficult it is to get fresh water, how you have to get up in the middle of the night or in the middle of your rest period to go to the bathroom at the truck stop if you don’t have something like this accommodation….

Related

Joe Biden on the big-rig business

Trucking could use a little more of what the Vice President seems to have had back in 1973, a true empathy for the realities of the independent trucking business.

Read the full Land Line piece via this link.

And as for Wilkins, he was appreciative of Ferro’s effort, as Tanner wrote Wilkins’ thoughts:

Coming along with me to get a firsthand look at things, I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart for doing that for me and for other truckers out there that are facing these problems. … I’ve learned a lot about her job and she’s learned a lot about ours. 

Tell us what you think about the Administrator’s effort in the comments. Again, here’s the full story. 

  • Whiskey

    WOW Ms. Ferro!

    With all due respect…an ENTIRE 2 days with multiple stops…you must truly have an excellent idea of what we do day after day after day for several weeks at a time, sometimes months.

    How did you cope with not seeing your friends and family for such a long time? And sleeping in your “hotel on wheels” with its very large sleeper must have really thrown you for a loop. Wow, I bet you’re totally exhausted!

    You should have really taken on this experience for at least a week, in a normal condo sleeper, while BOTH of you try an cope with each others body in the way, hour after hour. AND you should have done it in the middle of a severe snow event over the course of your 34 hour restart masterpiece…now that’s where the fun really happens…trekking through the snow and freezing temps just to use the restroom, get a hot dog, or even a bottle of water. Yup Ms. Ferro, that’s where the fun truly starts.

    Had you tagged along on a real venture, over the course of our “normal” 168 week you’d then realize that YOUR new HOS is literally running some of us right out of business. You should have really taken a full true run of 2 weeks covering 336 hours so you can see just how fun it is to do a recap and still try to make money without the benefit of another 34 hour restart. About 10 days into it you may just run out of hours after working only 4, depending how your previous week went.

    Honestly, Ms. Ferro, I think you just reached back and slapped every truck driver in the USA right across the jaw with your “2 day blitz”. I would be absolutely embarrassed to let anyone know I took a 2 day trip and called it a fact-finding mission.

    I wish you would invite me to tag along with you for a couple of days while you attempt to make the transportation industry “safer”. I think at the end of my OJT experience with you I’d be able to take over your job at a moments notice. Please do let me know when you’re going on vacation as that seems like a good opportunity for me to step in and showcase what I learned during my 2 day OJT with you.

  • haller

    So Ferro took a two day ride in a truck as a passenger, it means nothing and who cares..

  • g

    That is pretty funny….at least Anne had the Guts to go out
    for a couple days…..and sleep in the rig??? She is the Only Washington official to do this…Anthony Foxx is Way to Scared to do Anythng like that….very commendable Anne!!

  • Jason Haggard

    Here we have the perfect example of a Washington official who was appointed into there position instead of being voted in on their merit. She went out overnight in a non typical truck on a non typical run yet she was able to come away with a new understanding of things that impact the typical driver. This is the methodology used by politicians, its akin to watching a Youtube video on how to fix a light bulb on a car and then claiming you are now a certified mechanic.

    There is also the part of this where Ferro has lied in the past on different occasions not only to the public but to congress as well, so are we know all of a sudden supposed to take her at face value?

    If you want to make this realistic then you put them in a truck for at least a month and you do it via a random drawing of an everyday driver, not one who was selected as a driver of the year candidate in a competition that Ferro and OOIDA were playing footsie in together.

  • goldfisheb

    It’s not great, but at least she made the effort & got a tiny hint of what it’s like. It’s more than she had before.

  • Robin

    Isn’t that the truth. I give her a star for effort. But, she can’t really come away with a full understanding of the challenges. Lack of parking, hours to unload/load, an inspection by an incompetent officer or one with an attitude, fuel lines, and the other obstacles faced.

  • Danny Murdock

    I do appreciate the effort but that is far from the 23 days out that the people most affected spend.At least she did try and did learn a few things.
    I wonder where she spent the night.I would like to see her stay at the T/A in Ontario or anywhere in Gary for a real eye opener.

  • William McKelvie

    Horse and Pony Show …….. that is all. Please return to your regularly scheduled programming and industry choking regulations.

  • Ron

    While it’s maybe a gesture at best, let’s see what happens under more longterm conditions. Also lets see about getting “ridealongs” for some other applications than otr- like vocational/ or haz-mat.

  • Sam

    OOIDA blew it.
    I want to believe that OOIDA has real owner operators best interests in mind, but time and time again it seems they are just as bad as the politicians and rule-makers they claim to defend us from.
    This excuse of a real run is supposed to demonstrate how real everyday drivers live and work! A 2 day trip in a large-car with all the amenities of an apartment. Well done OOIDA.
    You had the opportunity to put Anne Ferro in a real truck, with a real driver, on a real run. Instead, you chose to book her on a pleasure cruise, in a luxurious truck with a driver who (no offense to Mr. Wilkins) does not represent the truck driver community as a whole.
    I am sure many drivers aspire to be as respected and successful as Mr. Wilkins, but face it, under the new regulations and economic conditions, most drivers are struggling to sustain a moderate lifestyle.

  • Stormy

    You have that right, Sam. Once again… Do not think for one second that Anne Ferro is your friend.

  • Kyle Gringeri

    AMEN to that brother

  • FedUp

    For many of you commenting here, no effort by this lady would be good enough. If she had taken a full 168 we would be hearing from you about how useless she is and why do we need her at all. That she made the effort to come out and learn at a time when she also has more than a full time job means a lot to me. It means Ferro is open to listening and we should be willing to join that conversation.
    This time the drivers might have a voice instead management and administration being the only ones at the table. Let’s not waste the opportunity. Get out a pencil and paper and write the person a letter.
    This is not a time to stand around trying to push a rope.

  • Ken

    Hi guys, it’s me again!

    I think the point everyone missed is that we all screamed for someone to be placed in her position to have actual prior… extensive professional experience, not the other way around. Riding along does not give you the nerves of steel and know how like my brethren (well..the legally licensed and tenured) out there as they approach low clearances, slow down on icy turns, get cut of by a four wheeler speeding to get no where, get a maneuver just right in a dead end, and suffer the pressures of some unjust reg. passed by a buffoon. Trust all the drivers out there when they tell you that 2 days and a few stops won’t make you a career driver or a weathered veteran by any means or standards nor will it enable you to make heavy hitting decisions that impact hundreds of thousands of drivers whilst affecting their families as well when limitations and restrictions are enforced. Safety should not even be uttered by those including Ms. Ferro up their on the hill. Why….. because It takes your average driver sometimes the length of a season to appreciate how some minor changes in their performance and safety practices have benefited their routine or lowered overhead costs for them. Can anyone on the hill provide any previous experience in their resume or documented elsewhere this much needed experience in order to implement /perform their “appointed” duties. C’mon people, why is this even post/headline/news/gossip worthy anyways, not even a blip on the radar of progress if you ask me.

    But, so I don’t get bombarded with nay say’s…….. Nice try Ms. Ferro, for your efforts I must afford you a ~golf clap~ BRAVO!

    Ken <– Cheering sarcastically over keyboard ;-)

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    When I was a little kid and my Dad worked for the Nickel Plate Road, I got to ride in a yard switcher and blow the air horns.

    I’M AN ENGINEER WHEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

  • matt

    she last longer then the police out in Seattle did. they only made it until lunch time on day one. I guess the truth was more then settles police could handle. and 2 days was probably all the time they could afford in ferro’s schedule. and it probably took a couple of months to schedule the 2 day ride along.

  • johnny dark

    i saw a tv show about brain surgery once , but i didn’t make the mistake of thinking that because i had watched something , it now meant i knew anything about it. someone with power and money please help us and protect us from clowns like this.

  • T Martin

    Wow, 2 whole days? Get back to me when she is out for a month and her
    dispatcher is giving her the run around. And put her in a cramped
    company truck, that doesn’t have the power to pull a hill, or pass a
    slow moving vehicle.

    Riding in the passenger seat, is nothing like doing the actual driving.
    And do it when the D.O.T. is doing one of their 72 hour crackdowns, so
    she can actually see how arrogant and ignorant these officers actually
    are. I’m sure every scale house in the country knew what truck she was
    in, and what area she was in, and the green light was given at every
    scale.

    Her intent to see what trucking is really like is a nice gesture, but her “visit” to our world was a mockery.

    Run her through Baton Rouge at rush hour on a Friday going east, so she
    can see how our hours are eaten by a 15 mile backup. Keep her out there
    so she has to wash cloths at a truck stop. Have her hunt for a place to
    park at 3:00 in the morning. Let her lump some canned goods, for 3 or4
    hours and then go load up and be 500 miles down the road by 7:00 am
    tomorrow.

    Sorry Anne, but your “visit” doesn’t impress me at all. You have seen nothing by taking a cushy 48 hour ride.

  • Donald Dierdorff

    It must have been completely exhausting for such a dainty bureaucrat, but it’s time for her to return to her ivory town and tell all her stuffy, arrogant fellow bureaucrats how much she has done for all of us.