Channel 19

Todd Dills

More O/O challenges: Image, health, parking…

| August 16, 2012

Owner-operator Don Lanier
We need to stand together. If we do that one simple thing, we can influence our industry, our lives and the country. Stop being a CB warrior and start being a Congressional warrior. Start writing and get involved, and be professionals day-in, day-out. We are the kings of the road, 21st-century kings, we need that to show and shine. 

The governing bodies that write and interpret the laws have gotten off track. They figure we can burden the truckers with this mandate, that device, these requirements without considering how it really effects their bottom line. I see laws and such now that are simply offering my bones up to be picked clean by the sleep industry. Unnecessary regulations costing $3,000 to $5,000 per driver for tests and such because the sleep lobby wants to push through mandates and claims we’re all sleep deprived. Hogwash. 

We cant use our own family doctor who graduated from Harvard because these medical-clinic chains want a monopoly on the money made from mandatory physicals, and yes some of the worst physicals I’ve ever had came form these chains. I had one recently: I was asked about 10 questions, had my blood pressure taken, my eyes checked, and the doctor sent me on my way.

At once, I was subjected to sleep apnea testing and forced to participate in an apnea screening program when the recommendations for this aren’t even finalized. I’ve since been cleared of any issue with the testing, and found the entire process much like very expensive robbery. I have started walking more, and I’ve lost weight, and yes many of us are overweight, but it doesn’t make us all unsafe!

Frankly, drivers, we need to stand up to this pickpocketing and demand some drivers be on the boards that recommend new health regs, not just PHDs and lobbyists. We need to be proactive in the rules and regs, and we need to stick up for each other. Unions may have good and bad, but without a unified voice, you’re alone against the billion-dollar lobby seeking to force you to buy, use and maintain the thing they have invested in. For me, the money I spend on OOIDA membership is worth every penny. Be involved, use your voice, write and petition congress to get what truckers need, not what’s shoved down our throats.

Landstar’s Joe Beacom
Beacom took the unity topic in a straight business direction, with an acknowledgment of the public perception problem as well.  

In general, owner-operators and drivers have a tendency to be misunderstood and misrepresented. Our industry is very fragmented and the opinions, preferences and operating habits of owner-operators are often different than those of large fleets. The owner-operator’s solution lies in finding a company that has the same values, principles and priorities as they do. Do your homework, find the right fit and your biggest problem just got solved.

For the owner-operator who is not aligned with an exclusively owner-operator company, the problem is knowing if he/she is getting access to all the loading opportunities or only those that company-owned trucks were not able to transport. As an owner-operator, being treated as the backbone of the company’s capacity rather than as flex capacity that is only a short-term priority is critical. 

For owner-operators who run on their own authority, the challenge can be his/her ability to manage regulatory issues, to manage cash flow due to slow-paying customers and his/her inability to obtain discounts on fuel, tires or equipment that are available to large organizations, which impacts profitability.

Prime’s Don Lacy
Mortality rates for truck drivers are several degrees higher than men in other industries. Prime has developed its own series of DVDs detailing exercises that can be done in and around a truck. Prime also offers sound nutritional advice and has a wellness assessment program, as well as smoking cessation programs and workout  facilities in its terminals.

Lacy went on to cite the example of former Prime-leased owner-operator/champion swimmer and triathlete Siphiwe Baleka (pictured), now serving with the company as a wellness counselor — he was likewise instrumental in making that series of DVDs Lacy mentioned above — as a great example of what drivers can do with the right kind of support.   

Allen Smith
For years drivers have had to deal with a difficult lifestyle: long hours, long periods away from home, lack of exercise, poor food choices and eating habits, irregular sleep patterns. This has all led to increasing prevalence of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, and others.

  • Linda Caffee

    Todd great show tonight with lots of good info! I really enjoyed listening to Tom Blake

  • Todd Dills

    Yes, Linda, Tom’s a good guy and knows his business — the key to success, don’t you think? strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.