“I wish every four-wheeler driver could read your article. The general public just doesn’t realize that a truck can’t stop on a dime.”
FOUR-WHEELERS DON’T UNDERSTAND
I have just finished reading your article, “Licensed to Kill” [Part 1, September]. I am the wife of a long-time trucker, and all but one of our sons also drive trucks, as well three sons-in-law.
Everyone getting a driver’s license should spend at least one day riding with a trucker. I know that is not possible, but it sure would teach a lot of them what a dangerous job truckers have.
We transport mobile homes, and you would be surprised how many people don’t even know what a pilot car is for. They try to squeeze around and turn alongside of the home and all sorts of crazy things that could cause a disaster. Yet when there is an accident, the poor trucker usually gets the worst end of the deal. If the four-wheelers had to pay our insurance costs for just one month, maybe they would wake up!
I wish every four-wheeler driver could read your article. The general public just doesn’t realize that a truck can’t stop on a dime.
TRUCKER COMPENSATION DOESN’T MATCH SKILLS
Since when did over-the-road driving become a 40-hour-a-week job, regimented between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., with a regular lunch hour and designated coffee breaks?
Unlike regular jobs, it is impossible to keep to a regulated schedule. One has to deal with ridiculous demands on delivery and pick-up times, and most places now require a scheduled appointment to deliver.
Now the DOT is implementing a new regulation on logging hours. Even if a driver were able to have everything go according to plan, one has to take into consideration traffic, road construction and speed zones.
Even though the driver is a professional, in the eyes of our government he is considered such only when it comes to taxes, logging regulations and driving ability. When it comes down to compensation for lost duty time due to regulations, illness or accident (even work-related), he is viewed as an unskilled, part-time, minimum-wage earner.
If all drivers were paid on the same level as, say, a mechanic, for their expertise in driving and also for skills in strapping, tarping and load securement, they would be making a paycheck worthy of their time. Instead, all drivers, whether flatbed, van or reefer, put in many hours of such service that are never compensated.
I am married to an owner-operator, and I travel with him. I not only hear his side of the story, but I also get to experience it. If the real issues in trucking were addressed, many owner-operators would breathe a little easier about being in this business and about the future of their families.
NEW HOURS RULE CHANGES NOTHING
We officially have the power to turn loads down or to run them in a manner we deem to be safe. But in reality, if we don’t deliver on time, we are seen as not being trustworthy, and future loads are usually restricted in an effort to starve us out. Or we have to take an extra day away from our family – something we don’t get enough of even when we meet our schedules.
We need something that keeps companies from retaliating against us for running legally and something that keeps receivers from rejecting loads when we arrive an hour late.
I love driving, but I get tired of the struggle to appear legal and to keep a schedule that’s impossible to run legally. They can change the hours-of-service rule all they want, but it won’t do a lot to get this situation under control. Until shippers and receivers have to pay legally mandated retention time, we have nothing.