George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

No really, it’s that stupid

| January 06, 2017

I would suppose, in a mode of thought paralleling the driver training rule, that I’m at the very least a banking and tax professional, since I’ve demonstrated the ability to write a whopping tax check to the gubmint time and again. Oh, I’m also a fashion model, since I’ve demonstrated the ability to dress myself and walk in a straight line. Next thing you now, I’ll be a computer genius, because I demonstrate the ability to functionally use a keyboard. I should look into taking my medical boards, since I’m probably qualified to be a doctor and a veterinarian, because I can follow written directions on a medication bottle.

No really, it’s that stupid. It really is that stupid.

The FMCSA had a chance to do something truly effective about safety and in magnificent gubmint fashion, they made a mockery of it. Not only did they make a mockery of it, they made it a very expensive mockery – for all of us.

Let’s just say you’re going to school to be a welder. You know, the people who make sure bridges and buildings don’t fall apart. Yeah. Let’s say you take a welding course, but only once do you weld anything. You get a certificate saying you completed a welding course, but in fact, you have only ever welded once, because your class doesn’t have a mandatory number of hours for the actual act of welding. How prepared are you to go out and find a welding job that requires you to actually weld things? I mean, you could probably stand around and talk about welding pretty good, even pass written tests on it, but when the time comes to weld something, you’ll have next to zero practical experience doing it, even though you paid ten grand to get your “welding” certificate.

That. Is. Stupid.

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That’s actually beyond stupid, it’s borderline criminal. It’s bait and switch to the general public, who are unaware you have almost no practical experience, but trust that since you’ve been trained by an “accredited learning facility,” you’re able to physically perform the skills the training facility says you can. How long do you think it will take all the Mad Mother groups to find out and descend upon the industry training standard like litigious vultures? Mark my words, they will use this to disparage the industry either in a court of law or the many mainstream press outlets that delight in making us look like a bunch of uneducated fools.

Read the full text of FMCSA’s pre-CDL Entry Level Driver Training rule here.

Speaking of litigation, I’m also flabbergasted the FMCSA had the brass to put forth yet another “woefully deficient” set of rules. You’d think they’d have decided, twelve freaking years ago when they were told in Federal Court a driver training rule without mandatory hours behind the wheel was crap, they would at the very least try to make it a little different. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a job in which I got to screw around with a project for twelve years, present essentially the same flawed result I did the first time, and have no consequences whatsoever. Why are they not held accountable for the decade they’ve wasted on this?

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That. Is. Stupid.

The whole thing is now stupid. They took a good thing, something people cared about and fought hard for, took time out of their own work schedules to help craft, something that really could help safety standards in the industry, and they made it something stupid. Worse than that, it will be legal for training facilities to charge people large sums of money for this stupidity. In one fell swoop, they made the rules ineffective and gave outsiders yet another way to strangle money from the industry for no good reason.

Way to go, FMCSA! Thanks for looking out for us. Maybe you could focus your attention somewhere else, before you “help” us all die a fiery death on the highway with your “safety” standards.

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30 comments
truckingops
truckingops

I agree with one of the responses below, you can always hope. Hope is what may have tilted the scales into Trump's favor. I quit voting after Reagan because in my opinion, he was the last choice we had in a President. Not saying I am right or wrong, just saying I refuse to vote for the lesser of 2 evils.

Let's hope Trump can do better than he has done so far. Like most legislators, his talk and actions often go different directions. So far the border wall will now be paid for by taxpayers but we will bill Mexico...He says we must keep jobs in America but his clothing line is made in both Mexico and China...just 2 examples and he has yet to take office.

Again, one person, especially the President normally cannot make a huge difference. But arrogance and outright lies can only do harm.

Let's hope for the best.

wimop
wimop

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ShutUpRandy
ShutUpRandy

Hi Wendy. I agree, I've seen rule makers in action trying to make billion dollar decisions when its clear and obvious they never did more than a 5 minute briefing on the topic they were about to rule on. They take the word of an aid or an intern, and bluff their way through the meeting. What I see in this rule is, on the bright side, we can get more America born drivers into the industry. This rule will fast track our troops into a half decent job. If we don't fill seats with Americans, those seats WILL be filled with immigrants from war-torn country's. If you can survive boot camp, you should be able to drive a truck. Sure, some won't make it, but they're already fluent in the English language, giving them a leg up on most immigrants. I don't know what it takes to get a CDL transferred from Canada, Mexico, Somalia or Poland, but we need to tip the scales hard in favor of our troops and high school graduates or our industry will continue to be overrun with drivers that can't communicate with each other. 

   

ShutUpRandy
ShutUpRandy

@Coffeeclue No, I'm all for immigration which includes helping them find work, and I don't mind helping a guy out here and there with his language barriers, but imo its gotten out of hand, and they're driving down rates and wages, while Americans look at trucking wages and say no way. 


Coffeeclue
Coffeeclue

So trucking is somehow a "special" industry where immigrants are not welcome. Everywhere else it's OK? Even though these immigrants had to take and pass the CDL just like you did. There is no "transfer" process for a CDL from a foreign country.

By the way, I completely disagree with you about driving down the rates. Commodity rates that don't require special skills will always be low. If you want better rates, get into specialized transport.

ksum2014
ksum2014

@Coffeeclue Trucking is a special industry, it's what keeps this country going. Let's see you survive without it. 


Speaking as a dispatcher that has to deal with the foreign driver's inability to communicate, it makes this job harder than it needs to be and no, they didn't have to pass the CDL test the same way I did, because they don't speak or read English. They had translators and there have been enough stories in the last couple of years about some of these so called schools cheating and taking the test for them. Last I checked, all the road signs in this country are in English unless you know something that the rest of us don't. 


As to driving wages down, you're right, they don't. That being said they do make the job more dangerous because they don't follow the rules. They are working for companies run by family or friends and most all the money they make they send home. They don't worry about log books, they don't blink at doing a thousand miles overnight because they want to keep moving to make more money to send home. 


So, before you jump on your high horse and think  to ride it here by calling us xenophobic, think again. We have a reason for the opinion we hold and just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's wrong. 

Coffeeclue
Coffeeclue

How is this different from every other industry? Yes, some people don't speak English and that makes it more difficult to communicate. It's a minor inconvenience to you, but for a guy that spends all his time in a truck and doesn't have to talk to anybody aside from once a day it's a perfect job.

If they drive illegaly, they get caught. I've also seen plenty of non-immigrants drive illegaly. My point is, they are no more disruptive to the trucking business than the rest of us and trucking is no more special than construction, computer programming and all other businesses where immigrants thrive. Talk to Donald Trump. He gladly hired immigrants for his construction projects.

ksum2014
ksum2014

@Coffeeclue Trucking is more important than those industries because even those industries rely on trucks to keep their business moving. What don't you get about that? 


Without trucks there is no fuel for your car, there is no food in the stores or clothes or shoes. No office supplies delivered. No construction supplies delivered. How the hell do you think that stuff gets where you have access to it? Fairies? 


I have no problem with LEGAL immigrants driving trucks. I do however have a MAJOR problem with ILLEGAL immigrants doing it. Why you don't is beyond me. 

Coffeeclue
Coffeeclue

No one industry is more important than another. We all keep each other busy. If it weren't for all other industries, truckers would have nothing to do.

Most immigrants (with very few exceptions) that drive trucks are here legally. They may not be citizens, but they had to have valid SSN to get their CDLs.

My family came to US 40 years ago. My brother and I were young, so the language came easy. For my parents it was a different story. Try to learn a new language in your 50s. Not so easy. I respect all immigrants and I help them in every way I can.

shattah206
shattah206

@Coffeeclue are you aware that it is actuaklly written into FMCSA regs that folks must read & write English to be eligible for a CDL? Your repeated "how is trucking different than any other industry?" question makes me think you missed that detail. Brush up before commenting, please.

shattah206
shattah206

@Coffeeclue 

As for supporting immigrants and appreciation for the difficulty of learning a new language, those are completely separate topics. Anyone who speaks English as a second language is at least one ahead of me, and I tip my hat to them. My great grandparents were Germans from Russia, and settled among others from the same region. Not everyone from that first generation learned to speak English, but the ones who interacted with the public made a point to do so. Today's immigrants, especially those working in an industry where it is legally required, need to make that a priority also.

Coffeeclue
Coffeeclue

Yes, I'm well aware of this law. There are many traffic details that are being violated by all of us. We can pick and choose various violations to make our case. In my book, not being able to speak English well is a minor violation not a major one. It's between police officer and the driver and does not concern anyone else.

ksum2014
ksum2014

@Coffeeclue Well good for you but you strike me as a very naive individual. A valid SSN, that's a joke. Identity theft happens every day and if you think some of these carrier's being run by foreigners aren't acutely aware of how easy it is then you're even more naive than I thought. 

ksum2014
ksum2014

@Coffeeclue I think maybe you should change your name to Coffeeclueless. Truck drivers are held to a higher standard than a typical driver because they have more training than a typical driver. If they are being trained without being able to speak the language then they aren't learning everything they need to know to be a safe driver. 


You don't know anything about this industry other than what you read or see on TV, do you? 

Coffeeclue
Coffeeclue

@ksum2014

Having run my trucking company for 13 years, driving myself for 6, I think I know plenty. I've also met many of the non-English speaking people. If training is being done in their own language, they can do just fine. Road signs are universal, so no problems there either. Only in USA do they have to post explanation under each sign (e.g. no left turn). The rest of the world only uses signs, no words.

ksum2014
ksum2014

@Coffeeclue They don't post those explanations for professional drivers they post them for the idiots driving the four wheelers. 


If you own your own company and you've driven for 6 years yourself then it would seem to me that you would understand that without the trucking industry this country would come to a dead stop inside of a week. That is how important the trucking industry is. Yes, infrastructure is important but it's not going to disappear from the shelves of the supermarket or shut down a gas station. It requires maintenance yes, but it does not fuel the nation. 

Coffeeclue
Coffeeclue

@ksum2014 @Coffeeclue I just don't understand why the importance of the industry is measured by "if it disappears". Why would it disappear? This is a very silly argument. Many industries are very important. If automotive industry disappears, we will all be walking. If food industry disappears, we would all starve. This is stupid. Industry can be more or less efficient and yes, it's important to keep trucking efficient. As long as there are humans in the industry though, we must all work together so we can all make a decent living. Singling out a group of people because they speak a different language, have different religious beliefs or look differently from you is not what America is about.

ksum2014
ksum2014

@Coffeeclue What the hell does religion have to do with this? 


And the importance of this industry disappearing is simply because even if you still have all the other industries still up and running if you don't have trucks to move that freight it doesn't do anything but sit there. I just don't get how you can be in this industry and not understand how important it is. 

Coffeeclue
Coffeeclue

Industry does not disappear. It adjusts to current demands. Industry doesn't care that something's been done in a certain way for many years. If there is a better, more efficient way, it will change direction.The lesson is, change with it or get out. Don't look for scapegoats.

ksum2014
ksum2014

@Coffeeclue Did you understand the point of Wendy's post? There is no minimum requirement for the number of hours that a trainee must spend behind the wheel before he can test for his license. That is beyond stupid. They are willing to put someone behind the wheel of what could be an 80 thousand pound killing machine if the person operating it doesn't know what they are doing. 


The government is slowly but surely trying to regulate the entire trucking industry out of business. I've been watching it happen for years. 


Are you telling me that there is a better way for freight to be transported? If so, explain because I really want to know. 

Coffeeclue
Coffeeclue

@ksum2014  I actually fully agree with Wendy's article. There absolutely should be minimum requirements. I myself got my CDL after only 2 hours behind the wheel and that wasn't enough. This has nothing to do, however, with discussion about immigrants behind the wheel. My point is that not speaking English does not make one a bad driver. Driver training can be conducted in person's native language.

You're missing my point on importance of freight transportation. "If all trucks go away" is not an argument. This can't happen unless something better comes along in which case, good riddance. If laws of industry change, trucking industry will adjust. As long as there is demand, there will always be supply. You can't argue a point that can't logically happen. If government regulations tighten up, prices will go up. That's about it. Some operators will go out of business, but the industry will adjust. There is no threat of government shutting down the trucking industry.


ksum2014
ksum2014

@Coffeeclue Then explain to me why the government is heavily involved in what should be private enterprise. When the trucker's strike happened back in the 70's the government intervened because they are fully aware, as you should be, that if the trucks stop moving the country comes to a halt. Right now there is nothing in place to meet the demand that trucking meets and I don't see that changing. 


As to foreigners being trained in their native language, no. You moved here, you decided to make a life here so assimilate. Why should an entire country bend to the point of making our roads dangerous because the person behind the wheel has no ability to communicate outside his own language? If I were to move to another country and decide to become a citizen do you suppose they would afford me that accommodation? No, they wouldn't. 

Coffeeclue
Coffeeclue

@ksum2014 @Coffeeclue This is no different from any other major industry shutting down. Also in the 70s, before deregulation,  the regulation was much heavier than it is now. Government basically ran trucking companies. Most of the time strikes don't happen through the entire industry. THey happen in one company. These strikes did not lead to industry going out of business. Industry adjusted. Supply and demand like any other business.

My argument with immigrants is that they don't make the roads any less safe by not speaking English. Verbal skills have nothing to do with driving a truck. They may cause problems with dispatchers, but that's about it.

ksum2014
ksum2014

@Coffeeclue You know, I've come to the conclusion you don't own or run a trucking company any more than I do. If you did, you would understand the importance of the industry and the impact it has on this country as a whole. That you don't speaks volumes as far as I'm concerned. 

Truckman
Truckman

I have to say the President will have a LOT of stuff to un-f**k in his first 100 days! If his past is any indication,though,he WILL get it done.

Loose Cannon
Loose Cannon

It is my sincere hope, that with a new Sheriff in town, all the BS will come to an end.

YoteAnders
YoteAnders

remember what Reagan said "the scariest 9 words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'". And it just gets scarier....