Hey, FMCSA: ‘Stop coming after us!’
Owner-operators had some strong words for federal regulators at a March Mid-America Trucking Show listening session devoted to electronic onboard recorders and their potential use to harass drivers. Operators urged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration panel to address the real problems, such as long detention time at docks and piecemeal pay by the mile. Regarding EOBRs and other federal initiatives, owner-operator Greg Petit (pictured) said, “Stop coming after us with all of this!”
Air Force vet finds third life in trucking
A mid-life career shift brought 52-year-old Hoffman Estates, Ill., native Edwin Peig to his current gig. The on-highway driver and trainer for Prime Inc. began investigating trucking after job cuts forced him out of work as an information technology analyst.
Now in his fourth year with the carrier, Peig loves nothing more than “to see the reaction of a student the first time we roll out,” he says. The trainees include “some laid off, some just out of the military, some just trying to find themselves. I teach them to look at it as an adventure, to have faith and to be responsible.”
His instruction works. Peig hasn’t had a student fail yet.
Peig brings authenticity to his work, particularly with former military personnel. He traveled the world while in the Air Force, living in Asia and Europe. When considering the driving profession, he knew trucking could be similarly adventurous. It helped that Peig’s son and wife had previously mentioned trucking as a lucrative career option.
Peig found Prime at a veterans’ job fair and signed on for the carrier’s CDL program. He ran 50,000 miles as a trainee in 2009 before hauling alone as a company driver. After a year, Peig’s trainer persuaded him to become an on-highway instructor himself.
“The future of trucking is bright,” he says. “We haul America. You can’t outsource truckers, no matter how much you outsource the products we haul.” — Elizabeth Manning
Toll roads top route planning list
Ninety-five percent of owner-operators can choose their loads, though having control over routes is more elusive, according to a survey of owner-operators by the University of Arkansas’ Mack-Blackwell Rural Transportation Center. The most important factor in route planning is toll roads, respondents say. The other factors, in order of importance, are congestion, trip duration, number of fuel stops, distance from home and location of weigh stations.
Reefer rates soared 16 cents from February to March, while dry van and flatbed increased 14 cents and 11 cents, respectively, says Internet Truckstop. “We expect pricing to remain squarely on the side of the carrier in 2012,” says Larry Gross of FTR financial consulting firm.
Warm late-winter temps and early spring growth over much of the East and Midwest has had bee haulers in overdrive to keep up with demand for hive transport. “Most of the bees that pollinate Michigan fruit crops either overwintered in Florida or just finished pollinating almonds in California,” wrote Mark Longstroth in the Western Farm Press last month. “One problem is trucking. Most of the truckers that haul bees are booked.”
Protect yourself against the canceled load
Owner-operator blogger Phil Madsen (overdriveonline.com/madsen) wrote March 27 about the challenge of protecting yourself against shippers who cancel loads and/or the carriers who cater to them. One operator on Twitter objected to Madsen’s recommendation that operators “insist on payment for your services.”