What Might Have Been
I wanted to write to let you know that I was impressed with John Latta’s column titled, “Dreaming,” in the May 2003 issue.
I once had a dream, about 20 years ago, of being a country music singer, and I’ll always believe that I could’ve somehow made it – not big-time like Alan Jackson – but I could’ve made a living at it as many of the alternative country singers are doing this very day. Really, that’s all I ever wanted from it, to be able to make a living doing what I loved and what I am good at. About 12 years ago, I gave up, went to driving school, and I’ve been driving for eight years now. It’s OK, I make OK money, so I guess it all worked out. Now, at age 46, I realize that I’m too old to be starting out in music, but I’ll always cling to a thread of my aspirations, my dream. I carry my two guitars around in the truck, and I play every day for an hour or so in the sleeper, sometimes more when I have time such as a layover. I tell (try to convince) myself that it would’ve never happened anyhow, but do I really know for sure? No. I see those who’ve made it, who are living the life I wanted, the life that could’ve been mine and, yes, it bothers me a little. I try not to dwell on the subject very long. I have even secretly cried a time or two because my dream didn’t happen, and now I’m helpless to do anything about it except not to let it bother me too much.
My message to anyone with a dream is to not – and I mean not ever – listen to losers as I did, because losers want everyone else to be losers as they are. Dreams can come true if you don’t wait too long and you really believe.
I have been an over-the-road driver off and on for 12 years. I’m concerned about these new hours-of-service rules.
Frankly I don’t see how we are going to enforce 10 hours off duty. Where are we supposed to park for 10 hours? Especially across I-80, if you don’t park at a truckstop before 3 p.m., there is hardly any parking left. In some states [there's] “No overnight parking or sleeping on the ramps throughout the state.”
Why are the DOT allowed to go into rest areas and wake up a driver that is on their 8-hour sleep time to do a DOT check? Those huge expensive new weigh stations were built for just that purpose.
If the cops and DOT wake up a driver while on their sleep time and they have to move their truck, then the driver gets a ticket for breaking up his eight hours. Is that fair? They should not be allowed to do that.
The government needs to put a parking area every 50 miles or so big enough to park 50 to 75 trucks and restrict it to trucks only.
One Load at a Time
OOIDA’s run compliant in June was a step to show the public what it is like for us to run by the book. The next step we must take is one load at a time refusing loads that we cannot afford to haul. If you think the rate is too low, don’t take the load! Yes, there may be someone who will take that load later that is running a piece of junk truck for nothing. But for every load that you take because someone else will take it later, it buries the industry a little deeper. That is what the mega carriers want. When they have us out of the way, they will set rates in their favor. We don’t need government regulations that set a minimum rate for the loads we haul. The wonderful ATA would get involved and do their best to get the lowest possible rate for the shippers. They really need to change that T to an S for shippers.
Legal Ground to Stand On
Since it is illegal for a company to fine a driver, they’re doing the next best thing – retaining their $300 quarterly bonuses.
Here’s the real kicker. I was asked to “work my magic” and get a load somewhere since no other driver was in the area only to have that week audited and lose my quarterly bonus. Isn’t that convenient?
I must have been mistaken when I understood that these practices would not be allowed. Isn’t that what was said when the ATA and other trucking organizations fought against the implementation of GPS systems on commercial trucks?