George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

Data analysis: Ten years isn’t a lifetime…for Yoda

| November 24, 2013

So I sat down and watched the little meeting Two Day Annie had with the representatives. I actually followed along and listened intently for about 20 minutes. I became extremely distracted by the fact the lighting in the hearing room made Anne’s hair look really brassy. Also, she could probably stand a haircut. I realize not everyone has the benefit of having the Goddess of Hair as their best friend, but seriously, I’m sending Anne one of Robin’s cards. Bless her heart.

Oldest man in the worldI also got a little off track when she was asked how the change in the HOS that happened in 2003 affected the industry. The answer, “I believe that data is still being analyzed,” was completely unacceptable to me. In what universe does it take 10 years to analyze data? We have supercomputers, Wikipedia and Google. What the hell else do you need? I immediately imagined The Oldest Man in the World, of Carol Burnett fame, shuffling around Anne’s office, analyzing data. (Yet another of my ancient comedy references, but really, was there ever anything funnier than the Carol Burnett Show on television? I think not.)

I surprised myself by agreeing with a lot of things she had to say. The HOS are just a small part of the problem with the industry. Her comments about driver pay are completely founded in reality, unlike the vague and often referenced “data” that is apparently impervious to being analyzed. And I realize this hearing was only about the hours of service, but no one wanted to hear anything about factors that directly correlate with the HOS, like low pay and problems with shippers, receivers and brokers.

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All in all, I have to admit I was kind of impressed by Anne. She was alone, sitting in front of a bunch of people who wanted answers from her, and she did a good job giving them. I would cave in a situation like that — I’m not good at meetings in general — but meetings involving me being asked a bunch of questions by a bunch of people I don’t know are avoided at all costs. As a matter of fact, the last phone conference we had with five guys from a corporate office (who shall remain unnamed) resulted in the scribble pad I keep on my desk being filled with notes like, “DM dies from rabies in my next fiction story. Much pain and writhing about.”

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As much as I’d like to be able to write a happy ending for the HOS story, I can’t. The HOS are just the tip of the iceberg. Until wages and fuel prices are discussed you will still have people out there breaking all the rules just to survive. Even in a perfect world, where drivers are paid what they’re worth, you’re going to have idiots out there breaking the rules. It happens in every profession, not just truck driving, but every profession doesn’t involve the lives of innocent people on the road. The press is quick to make truckers out to be the bad guys — you will hear a hundred bad things to one good thing about the industry on the news. When you’re fighting odds like that, promoting a good image is all the more important.

Here’s a shout-out to the drivers out there who do just that. Thank you for doing an almost thankless job, and doing it safely and well. There are people who notice and appreciate you. In the immortal words of whoever said it first, “Keep on truckin’…”



  • Patrick

    You understate the issue, paid what drivers are worth, arguably the dominant issue about this whole HOS debacle. Companies can afford to raise pay, they do not, drivers are so easy to manipulate to lower costs and, drivers are propagandized. Now is time for drivers to stop being corporate bitches.
    “Even in a perfect world, where drivers are paid what they’re worth, you’re going to have idiots out there breaking the rules.”

  • g

    They are sure taking their time doing all this analysis…not only they cant Drive..they seem to Stupid to analyze either….

  • MercenaryMan

    Must be using the Computer system that was built for the British way back in WW2, Thats all they can afford down there at the DOT….and the Mexican data analysts are having issues with the British lingo, therefore leading to a Bi Lateral Discombobulation…..but those punch cards the got from the EOBR folks were cheap….

  • Kurt Keilhofer

    Time to bring Clara Peller back, and say “Where’s the Data?”

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    The Britsh were breaking codes from all over the world at Benchley Park using a pencil and paper, or a chalkboard.
    Ferro is being deliberately obtuse and obstructionist; she knows that data from 2003 DOES NOT support her recent unilateral imposition of rules, so she had any report or conclusion buried.
    Notice how she constantly uses data from Europe or Australia to support her positions, by seldom if ever mentions anything pertinent to the U.S.

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