Industry should address real problems
I read Randy Grider’s article in the Truckers News December 2009 issue on page 8. I thought I was by myself on this smoke screen that the FMCSA had put out in regards to CSA 2010.
The truth is that FMCSA and major trucking companies are trying to appease the organizations who are against the unlawful tactics of the trucking industry and the laws that govern them. I’ve only been trucking for 20-plus years, and I may not be as knowledgeable about many things, but if you are looking to straighten out a part of an industry that has been creating havoc on our nation’s highways then you would need to attack the source of why truckers are having so many violations and accidents.
I’ve talked to more than 400 truckers, and during my interviews with them I didn’t hear even one driver say that a load is more important than my life, I drive over 14 or more hours because I love driving that much or my dispatcher’s reputation is so important that I’ll do what I can to get that load delivered on time even if it kills me. But that is what is going on out here, and to make it worse, if you do not agree to do something you know would clearly put a person in violation then your pay will be affected from the next paycheck on. So how do you stay in the good graces of your fleet manager or dispatcher and be compliant, too? You got it: You can’t!
Here are some steps I propose to resolve truckers’ problems that prevent us from being classified as professionals in our industry:
1. Dispatch drivers on loads based on the hours the QualComm system already knows the driver has.
2. Utilize www.MaximizerTM.com to calculate a trip from beginning to end, whether a trip can be accepted with 11 hours or less each day and whether the driver has the hours based on his last 8 days of service. The site enables drivers to adjust certain fields for a legal trip and locate fuel stops en route in case fatigue sets in; it also gives notifications of potential violations and ETA. It can pre-generate log sheets to show potential violations before the truck even moves.
3. Penalize shippers and/or receivers who force drivers to violate their hours of service by forcing them off property after being informed that they are out of hours, or at least enforce by law that a shipper and/or receiver must notify all companies that drivers will not be able to reside on property after deliveries and/or pickups. This enforcement should be mandatory for all trucking companies to post or notify drivers so that they may properly adjust for such conditions.
4. Penalize dispatchers who knowingly give or even accept confirmations from any driver on load acceptances knowing that the driver doesn’t have the hours to do it.
5. If a road is shut down because of weather or accident then any and all drivers that are affected by it would be compensated by a fraction of whatever the driver would have made if the incident had not resulted in a major road shutdown.
6. If a driver has to take an indirect route because of road construction or closure, allowances should be made for the out-of-route miles.
I can go on all day with the “ifs,” but if you want to address the problems with trucking then you must force drivers to run legal by training them with the tools that can give them this outcome every time and force dispatchers not to continue the practice of the “if you don’t do it my way then there’s no pay” theory. If drivers’ companies, shippers, receivers and law officials are not playing by the rulebook then how can you expect the drivers to do so?
Mark A. Porter Sr., Odessa, Texas
Cut the racist talk
In a predominantly white male industry, I don’t listen to the CB because of too many hateful, racist Billy Badass wannabes. They all look and think one way; they can’t even think on their own but just believe what someone else tells them to. Some of them obviously have low self-esteem but can see fault in everyone who is not like them.