Regs drive trucker out of biz
I love trucks and over-the-road driving, but if I can’t split my bunk time, I quit. I have been a part-time company driver (summers, with Floyd Wild Trucking) for the past two years because of family and farm concerns. I was planning to go back to full-time driving as an owner-operator, but no longer.
The government, perhaps as a pawn of someone, is doing the best it can to deny OTR drivers the flexibility needed to do the job. I see no safety benefit to the new sleeper berth mandate. Best of luck to the rest of you.
D. MARK SHIFFLETT
Rule change ends downtime flexibility
Before Oct. 1: I get to the pickup or delivery point and am told they won’t be ready for four hours. I say, “That’s cool.” I go to a parking area and sleep four hours. I pick up the other six hours of sleep later.
After Oct. 1: I get upset because four hours off 14 means I will lose a connection for another load. Because of the 14-hour regulation in the new hours of service rule, I’m too perturbed to sleep as I add up the loss of income to my family.
Before Oct. 1: I approach a large city and instead of hitting rush-hour traffic, I stop and sleep four hours. I will pick up the other six hours’ sleep at the delivery point.
After Oct. 1: I can’t stop, or the 14-hour clock will catch me before I reach my destination. I must fight NASCAR traffic against the 14-hour clock.
Before Oct. 1: After I knock off 10 hours, the load is ready at 4 p.m. I have until 9 a.m. the next morning to get there. In the waning hours of the morning, I pull over and sleep five hours. I still make my 9 a.m. delivery safely.
After Oct. 1: I must allow for traffic delays to reach my delivery point. If I happen to nap too long, I’ll miss delivery because of the 14-hour rule.
These scenes are played out on a daily basis. Which driver is going to be cool and awake under pressure? Drivers don’t have an on/off switch installed in their necks. Flexibility is the key to safety.
Follow the rule of five
I am no math nerd or environmentalist whacko, just an owner-operator concerned about what truck drivers can do to combat high fuel costs.
If we follow a simple Rule of Five, we can drastically reduce the cost of fuel by:
- Slowing down to between 55 and 60 miles per hour.
- Cutting idling 5 percent.
- Checking at least five places before we buy fuel.
- Contacting our five main representatives – two senators, one congressman, one local official and the president – every month.
- Convincing five friends to follow the Rule of Five.
By doing this, we can affect not only our pocketbooks, but our neighbors’, and they in return can affect ours again.
Every time this turns over, we can gain more momentum. Then we can move on to the next problem and change it the same way.
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