I’m a new driver in the trucking industry, so I’m not going to pretend to be an expert. But I already see a lot of things that work against drivers that are BS.
There have been several times even after having 10 hours off that I couldn’t move because of the 70-hour rule. I think this rule needs to be done away with. If a driver has 10 hours off, there should be no reason he shouldn’t be able to drive.
Another thing working against drivers is shippers and receivers taking their sweet time loading and unloading, getting your paperwork, making drivers wait hours or even a day or longer. They should have to compensate drivers for their time. Even truck companies waste drivers’ time, with not keeping them loaded, short runs, going out of route to swap trailers with other drivers and going to a fuel stop only to have it canceled on them.
Then you have states like Oregon or California that make drivers chain up when there is very little or no snow on the roads. Then there is the pay, which is a joke. Trucking right now is a minimum-wage job. The hours I put in and what I get paid comes to making maybe just over minimum wage.
If companies want people to become drivers and stay drivers, and shippers and receivers want their goods trucked, they need to pay us better and not waste our time needlessly. I like the job, but if things don’t change, I don’t know if I’ll stay with it.
Run Right and Get Labeled ‘Job Hopper’
I need help. I am a truck driver with more than 20 years’ experience. I have perfect safety and legal compliance records. My problem is that I am “unemployable” because I’ve had too many jobs in the past 10 years. I don’t lie, cheat or steal, and I don’t associate with people that do. However, when a company lies to me, cheats me or steals from me I quit.
I quit a very large flooring company because they would not maintain/repair their equipment properly. Every day they would bring me a trailer with bald tires, lights out, wheel seals leaking, brakes out of adjustment, etc. When one of the drivers was nearly killed as a result of their refusal to comply, I quit. A very large and respected company fired me when I told them I could not pull an empty trailer from Milwaukee, Wis., to Green Bay in 60-mph winds on 10 inches of ice and snow. I was told by a large and respected company that if I did not falsify my logs — if I ran 100 percent legal and logged it exactly as I ran it — that I would “have a rough row to hoe” at that company. I quit.
The other drivers at one company vandalized my truck because I refused to take illegal loads. They told me if I didn’t take the loads, then they had to. Two drivers died in crashes because they were getting no sleep. I quit.
As a result I am considered a “job hopper.” I’ve had too many jobs. What can I do? I have a perfect record otherwise. I take my driving very seriously. I am safe above all else. I am legal and have undergone numerous DOT inspections with no violations. I always run legal, and I log it exactly as I run it.
I need to get a copy of my DAC to see what is on it, and who is on it. There may be companies I have worked for that are not listed. I don’t know how to get a copy of it.
I am unemployed now and am living in a 1984 Dodge van. I have never failed a drug test, and am in perfect physical condition. I have been an over-the-road trainer and a CDL instructor.
With all the talk about driver shortages and the new CSA safety program, I feel like there should be something I can do. If a company has large turnover, it’s no big deal. They just hire more drivers to replace the ones they are losing. How long should a driver put up with cheating, lying and stealing from their company to prove he is not a “job hopper”? How many times would your wife have to cheat on you before you decided to leave? To me it’s the same thing. Loyalty and dependability are extremely important to me.
Jonathan C. Burnett Sr.
Little Rock, Ark.
To request a copy of your DAC Report (required by law to be free once a year), visit www.hireright.com/Consumers-Applicants.aspx or request by phone/fax at (800) 381-0645/(918) 664-5520, by mail at HireRight, Attn: Consumers Department, P.O. Box 33181, Tulsa, OK 74134.
I read with interest the column by Max Kvidera about becoming an owner-operator. The part about logbooks caught my attention.
I have been told I write “like a girl.” I studied Civil Engineering at the University of Kentucky; penmanship was an important part of our training. But getting back to the “neatness counts” phrase that Bernadette Schein mentioned, I can vouch for that.
I have been inspected eight times in the past three years, and every time I am, I get compliments from the inspectors. Even my home state of Kentucky says good penmanship is the key to avoiding a deeper inspection. My carrier uses one or two of my logs as examples in orientation.
Just thought I’d drop in my two cents. Great publication you all have. Keep up the great work!
Jon Strunk, aka “Dizzy Rascal”
What do you think of the Obama administration’s proposal to end the cross-border trucking dispute with Mexico?
Have you seen how those idiots drive? I picked up a load in Laredo two weeks ago to go to Cali, and from a woman truck driver’s point of view, they scare me. They look at me like I’m a “man toy.” I don’t think so! I’ve been to Mexico, and I don’t like how they treat their women. I damn sure don’t like the way they look at me! I say Obama needs to keep them on their side of the border and us on ours!
— Lisa M.
Obama … talks about needing to bring more jobs to the U.S. Yet we’re gonna let these sorry drivers bring loads across our border in their broken-down trucks and take jobs away from U.S. drivers. I say Obama needs to shape up or ship out.
— David G.
I don’t want to take loads in or out of Mexico. It’s too dangerous. Also, I don’t think we need the competition for freight and driving jobs from Mexicans.
— Bill R.
I see it as a big mistake. … More drugs will cross the border. And soon the American trucker will cease to make a good living, and … it won’t take long before they start crossing the Canadian border too. Once again a politician throws Americans under the bus for their political gain.
— David E.
Hey, Mexico, simple solution: Follow NAFTA, and you get entry into the Good Ol’ USA. Until then, shut up and take your tariffs and move them to the cartels.
— Anthony V.
CSA is supposed to remove up to 170,000 drivers from the ranks. Solution? Mexican truckers who, by the way, will haul that freight a whole lot cheaper then those 170,000 American drivers put out of work. You guys should be rioting over this.
— Kev H.
What do you think of the plan to require EOBRs in trucks?
— Darryl Owens, Atlanta, Ga.,driver for Stevens Transport
“It’s dumb as hell. It doesn’t give drivers any leeway to do what they need to do. They need to start letting drivers do what they’re supposed to do and get the job done without all of the interference. It’s an invasion of our privacy.”
— Robert Rathburn, Jaffrey, N.H., driver for Metroplitan Trucking
“It sucks. There are enough regulations for drivers as is. We’ve got our logbooks and our electronic logbooks. That’s enough. One man in one truck — he’s just trying to do his job. I don’t think it’s going to help do anything except make things more difficult.”
— Eddie Payne, Tremonton, Utah, driver for Mountain States
— James Booth, Long View, Texas, driver for Martin Transport
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An owner-operator has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in ...