Channel 19

Todd Dills

Oh driver where art thou?

| October 14, 2010

Dear driver, I have been hearing there is a shortage of you. Is it because all the owner-operators are succumbing to that CSA 2010 bug and electronic logs? Or are all those newfangled hybrid trucks themselves cross-breeding with a new monster species of broker to drive them out of business?

Or, just maybe, since whether by virtue of force or choice home time appears to be up for most people, it’s on account of the honey-do lists going from one entry a week to one a day and nobody can get away from cleaning up the yard and catching the opossum living in the hole in the yard back by the garden. Have all the owner-operators looking for deals on used-truck lots gotten so indecisive — what with so many in-cab gadgets to constantly distract them and all — they’ve just run away from the trucking business screaming bloody-murder at the sight of so many choices?

I suspect, as with so much in America, it may have something to do with money.

Is it because freight rates haven’t changed much in a long time, and the companies can’t pay enough to keep you happy? Or did companies lay off too many recruiters during the Great Recession and now they’ve got a double shortage to deal with as things pick back up? Or is truck driving just too dang hard, and the employers would rather hire a new guy who didn’t know it than keep the one they have after he’s had up to you know where with the difficulties?

I don’t know, truly, and wish I did.

You tell me.

If it so happens you’re hauling down I-24 near Smyrna, Tenn., Friday, I’ll be out at the Nashville Rush Truck Center then for the first annual Rush Chrome & Class Truck Show in the early p.m. (Keys Trucker Jan McCarter is performing at 3:30, we hear, with Doug Jones and others with the Truckers Tracks series, and there’s a truck beauty competition, refreshments and more…).

Look for me if you happen to stop. I’ll be the guy in the dunce cap standing next to Bobbie Boofay.

Yours truly …

  • Jim McCarter

    You have really hit on a great issue Todd. Makes me wonder where this whole trucking thing is gonna wind up at. Will we finally say “ENOUGH” and we all just go home or will we just bend over and keep taking it up the wazoo? This is what happens when the Government gets too involved in anything, it goes directly into the crapper.

  • Rick Gaskill

    There is no shortage of drivers . Tens of thousands of them are out of work . There is a surplus of steering wheel holders CDL mills turn out by the hundreds . Companies hire newbies as $300 a week trainees then team them with a trainer that spends most of his time in a sleeper while the trainee drives . I’ve seen several trainers in forums brag about getting 5,000 miles a week .
    I don’t think electronic logs or CSA 2010 have anything to do with it . Shame on you for insinuating like James Hebe of Navistar that O/O’s have to run illegally to survive .
    WalMart will drive good drivers out by telling vendors their shipping charges are too high and their contractors will pick the product up . We’ll see more many private fleets shut down the way Emerson Electric did .

  • Todd Dills

    Shame on me? Well, Rick, this was written for the most part in the satirical vein, which I hoped was evident in the CSA 2010/EOBRs mention. Those honey-do lists, too, of course.

    You make good points about private fleets, no doubt, as well as the mills. “Shortage,” as driver Jeff Clark has noted, is just such a strange way of talking about all this stuff — As he put it: “THERE IS NO DRIVER SHORTAGE. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A DRIVER SHORTAGE. THERE NEVER WILL BE A DRIVER SHORTAGE…. If someone can not find a driver to deliver a load at the rate they want it deliverd at they whine ‘driver shortage.’ I want to buy a new Cadillac for $10,000. They would not sell it to me. Hmmm, must be a Cadillac shortage.”

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