Letters to the editor
Regs drive trucker out of biz
I love trucks and over-the-road driving, but if I can’t split my bunk time, I quit. I have been a part-time company driver (summers, with Floyd Wild Trucking) for the past two years because of family and farm concerns. I was planning to go back to full-time driving as an owner-operator, but no longer.
The government, perhaps as a pawn of someone, is doing the best it can to deny OTR drivers the flexibility needed to do the job. I see no safety benefit to the new sleeper berth mandate. Best of luck to the rest of you.
D. MARK SHIFFLETT
Rule change ends downtime flexibility
Before Oct. 1: I get to the pickup or delivery point and am told they won’t be ready for four hours. I say, “That’s cool.” I go to a parking area and sleep four hours. I pick up the other six hours of sleep later.
After Oct. 1: I get upset because four hours off 14 means I will lose a connection for another load. Because of the 14-hour regulation in the new hours of service rule, I’m too perturbed to sleep as I add up the loss of income to my family.
Before Oct. 1: I approach a large city and instead of hitting rush-hour traffic, I stop and sleep four hours. I will pick up the other six hours’ sleep at the delivery point.
After Oct. 1: I can’t stop, or the 14-hour clock will catch me before I reach my destination. I must fight NASCAR traffic against the 14-hour clock.
Before Oct. 1: After I knock off 10 hours, the load is ready at 4 p.m. I have until 9 a.m. the next morning to get there. In the waning hours of the morning, I pull over and sleep five hours. I still make my 9 a.m. delivery safely.
After Oct. 1: I must allow for traffic delays to reach my delivery point. If I happen to nap too long, I’ll miss delivery because of the 14-hour rule.
These scenes are played out on a daily basis. Which driver is going to be cool and awake under pressure? Drivers don’t have an on/off switch installed in their necks. Flexibility is the key to safety.
Follow the rule of five
I am no math nerd or environmentalist whacko, just an owner-operator concerned about what truck drivers can do to combat high fuel costs.
If we follow a simple Rule of Five, we can drastically reduce the cost of fuel by:
- Slowing down to between 55 and 60 miles per hour.
- Cutting idling 5 percent.
- Checking at least five places before we buy fuel.
- Contacting our five main representatives – two senators, one congressman, one local official and the president – every month.
- Convincing five friends to follow the Rule of Five.
By doing this, we can affect not only our pocketbooks, but our neighbors’, and they in return can affect ours again.