I’m sitting in a truckstop for 34 hours and earning no income for the second consecutive week. As an OTR driver, I have reason to believe these long, unproductive shutdowns will become the rule rather than the exception.
I did the math, having little else to do. Thirty-four hours a week multiplied by 52 weeks is 1768 hours a year, which is almost exactly 20 percent of a year. The revised HOS regulations have, in essence, reduced my income by 20 percent, to say nothing about my standard of living.
All of which begs the question, “Why drive OTR under these regulations?” I can see no reason to do so any longer. I will soon hang up my logbook for a local job. I have upwards of 800,000 miles of experience in all types of weather conditions, over all types of terrain and in several types of vehicles. I have an excellent MVR with only minor incidents, my last being several years ago. My last moving violation was over three years ago. Who will replace me on the interstate highways and urban streets? Most likely a young driver, just out of school and just through his company-sponsored training period with very little appreciation for what lies ahead of him in terms of the dangers inherent in driving Class 8 articulated vehicles. I knew about three-quarters of nothing when I started; what I know now came hard, and I’ve learned it well because of it. Will our new driver have accidents? Certainly. Will he have a serious accident? I pray he does not.
Would that the whiz kids at USDOT read this letter and rethink the new HOS regulations. Skilled, experienced drivers will soon leave the ranks to be replaced by green wannabes. It does not bode well for the future safety of our friends and loved ones on our nation’s highways. If the regulations are intelligently revised in the future, I would return to longhaul because I enjoy working alone. But considering it took almost 70 years to bring forth this travesty under which we are now forced to labor, I have declined to hold my breath.
And another thing