FEEDBACK/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Demand respect and take responsibility
Letters from drivers complaining about bad treatment have become a staple of magazines like this one. The over-the-road lifestyle can, over time, make one feel as if they are low-class. I have seen drivers who entered the profession from other lines of work and move on quickly, flabbergasted over how they were treated. For example, spending a weekend killing time, without pay, in a run-down truckstop is something no true professional should tolerate, or be expected to.
If others perceive you as cheap, it is easy for them to treat you that way. In my 27 years behind the wheel I am ashamed at how often I have allowed myself to be used and abused. But one day I finally wised up and learned to command respect. You can, too.
If a dispatcher gives you a load assignment or vehicle that you know is not reasonable or safe, simply respond with something like, “I am not going to do that (or drive that) and I don’t care what the consequences are.” Use a firm but polite tone of voice. Do not raise your voice. Do not make any kind of threat or allow yourself to be threatened. Once you have communicated your stance, accept nothing less than respect. If you are a safe and reliable driver, they will make some other arrangement, because it is easier than replacing you.
Do not be tempted to prove to yourself and others how much you can accomplish. That will get you added to the list of people who can be counted on to do it again; that is, to take ownership of a problem that is rightly someone else’s. They will use flattering language like, “We knew we could count on you to get-r-done.” But a driver is like the captain of a ship: fully in charge and fully responsible. A captain who yields his authority to those who are not responsible for his ship is no captain at all.
No one will stand behind you if you get in trouble with the law or the safety department, and no one should. You are in no way responsible for someone else’s bad planning or poor judgment. No one else is responsible for yours.
Grove City, Pa.
Hours of Service
The government needs to leave the hours of service alone. It’s wrong how they want to control us. It’s very wrong that [the average American] can jump in their car, drive for two days with no sleep and not a word would be said to them. When they go on vacation, I think that RVs and campers should have to go by the same rules we do. Make them do a log book, too. But that’s a joke; that’ll never happen.
We can’t do what we need to do to pay our bills. We are adults, and we need to be treated like adults. For the drivers that don’t know how to go to bed, they don’t need to be driving at all!!! They need to quit judging all of us by what one driver does. Cause last time I checked this is suppose to be the land of the free and the country to better yourself, not to be controlled by the government.
More on hours
I don’t normally write in to any of the industry magazines; however, I couldn’t help myself tonight. I’ll keep it short.
I can’t say this enough: Thank you for saying what’s on many drivers’ and owner-operators’ minds. There’s no way a person can believe forcing a driver to take a 30-minute meal break or requiring two nighttime off-duty periods for a 34-hour reset is going to fix the problems in the trucking industry.
If these HOS changes, CSA 2010, electronic logs, etc., were really about drivers and public safety, then fix our house’s foundation instead of giving it a new paint job! Is it really just simply all about money?
Once again, thank you.
CARB going over board
You weren’t here for the vote we had awhile back ago on California’s law about putting $20,000 filters on commercial vehicles. I for one voted yes on Proposition 23 to hold off this law from CARB. Unfortunately, drivers received absolutely no support from trucking unions or trucking companies. The only ones standing in the lawmakers’ path were Valero and another petroleum company the special interest groups called “big Texas oil” and decided to make this into a big Texas oil issue of outsiders’ influence. The reason they got involved is the proposition also required gas stations to mount new $8,000 filters on their stations for gas fumes emitted in the air. So no one stood in their way that could make an impact. There were more attack ads on Valero than they could fight against. No one in the trucking industry came to the owner-operator’s defense and said, “Hey, we cannot afford these filters. This will force us to park our trucks or sell them.” They just let CARB walk all over us.
Like you said in a previous article, the problem with CARB is their bills go to the lawmakers in Sacramento and don’t require voter approval beforehand unless someone objects to it like Valero did. No one in California stands up to CARB or any other environmental agency here, so they walk all over us. Then when you do get to vote it can be overturned by a judge.