Reader: FMCSA attacks safety ‘from the wrong end of the beast’

| December 03, 2012

If FMCSA with all their education and all their data took the time out to go and sit behind the wheel of a truck the driver is making payments on, if they got out here and saw just how low rates are and how many people have their hands in the pockets of truck drivers, they would not be so quick to make so many crazy rules and regulations.  They might just try to fix the low rates that brokers are giving drivers.

We as drivers pick up for some companies only to get to the delivery and be told it will cost anywhere from $50 to $375 to have the product unloaded. In some cases we have to pay to be loaded as well. This is one practice that is downright crazy and unfair.  This type of payment should be prepaid by the shipper and/or receiver.

We as truck drivers are just out here trying to make the best living we can by keeping America moving, providing for our families and just maybe getting a little slice of the American dream.

If rates were up where they should be, drivers wouldn’t have to complain about receiving and loading fees one bit. How can a broker honestly expect a driver to operate a truck for $1.50 a mile with fuel up at $4-plus per gallon? I am using $1.50 just being nice — some rates are down at $0.90 per mile, and the brokers think this is good money to run 2,300 miles across the country in some cases.  I run with a refrigerated trailer hauling dairy, produce and meat. Most brokers want you to run your reefer continuously to ensure that the product is fresh and edible on delivery. Now you cannot expect a driver at $1.50 a mile to be able to afford to put fuel in both truck and trailer. If you think this is an adequate rate you’re in the dark about the cost of owning and operating a trucking business.

At the very least, loads like this should be at $2.75 per mile – or better yet $3. Maintenance on a vehicle never stops and is very costly – it’s not a question of if something will break, rather when. The government has set minimum wages for the regular working American — why don’t truck drivers have this set into place for them? Who is looking out for us?
–Greg Trott, Second Wind owner and operator, DeLand, Fla.

  • Gary McDaniel

    Great article!!

  • Joseph C Morris

    Preaching to the choir.

  • Coffeeclue

    um… why are YOU taking these loads??? Brokers can offer them, but you don’t have to take them. I’m an owner operator and nothing goes in my truck (dry van) unless it averages $2/mile on a round trip.

  • txinsurancepro

    I love it! Great article! Drivers must continue voicing their opinions. As an insurance agent, I get frustrated when a driver calls me and tells me that his payment is late because he had a hard time paying for a load. I agree with Coffeeclue. Don’t take the loads.

    On several occasions, my cousins that own their own trucks have plugged me into their broker phone calls. Many times, I notice that the broker rep is simply trying to “low ball” the driver in hopes of his being ignorant to the cost of operating his business.

    Without fail, my guys turn the loads down and tell the broker what the loads should pay. 90-95% of the time, the broker calls back and says something like, “if I get you the amount you’re asking for, can you have a truck on the yard at (whatever time)?”

    Stand your ground guys! Between brokers, fuel, maintenance, taxes, additional fed regulation, and (not to mention) insurance, there’s very little room for error. It’s likely that the guys that come up with these rules have never driven a truck. Also, make sure that you guys voice your opinions on the proposed FMCSA rule changes. Quite often the fed passes new rules without hearing from the most important people on the road… you! THE OWNER OPERATOR!

  • Joette HH

    We have been saying for some time now! Glad to see it in print! We don’t take the cheap loads either, but you have to sort through so many til you find one that pays decent and that takes a lot of time. And, time is money! Shipper and brokers that don’t have trucking experience have no idea what it takes to run a truck between high priced fuel, taxes, insurance, etc!! The way to get the rates up is to not take the cheap loads, but the bigger companies that deal in volume can afford to do that.and keep prices down for the rest of us trying to make a living. Who IS looking out for us????

  • Marty Marsh

    FMCSA is nothing more than a money making joke.

  • Gregga Trott

    No Coffeeclue I am not taking this loads I am taking any thing less than $2.00 a mile. I am on the road to $3.00 if I can get it.

  • Gregga Trott

    You know the funny thing is I from Bermuda and owned a crane truck , over in Bermuda the owner states the price per hour or per load and that is that the price is the price. Brokers should really just put a good rate on the load board so we don’t have to waste time calling every cheap broker in the US and Canada before getting a good rate strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.