I heard the “a” word again used on drivers – attitude. It seems whenever a driver pointedly confronts a law enforcement official, raises his voice to be heard or argues over the facts, he has an attitude. Why is it always labeled attitude?
Oh, I know there are those few individuals driving trucks who really do have an attitude, but why isn’t the officer ever the one with an attitude? The old saying “a little bit of power corrupts a lot.” These people get a badge, a gun, the authority to arrest others and more knowledge of the current laws, and suddenly they can’t fit their hats on their big heads anymore.
Law enforcement officials are supposed to be trained to deal with these incidences, while drivers for the most part aren’t.
Driving is a tough job and requires a lot of the driver in any normal workday. Throw in being pulled over and cited for whatever reason on top of a day, week or a month over the road, and most drivers will be doing their best to have all their paperwork ready and stand there mostly quiet while answering to the officer and signing for the ticket. Maybe this attitude is the driver just trying to defend himself.
Corpus Christi, Texas
Hourly Pay is Not for Me
[In response to Editor Randy Grider’s column “A New Game Plan” in the September 2004 issue], you go ahead and work by the hour if you wish. If I have to settle for that, just send me to a factory. We need to drop all the limitations and simply log it as we drive it – be it eight hours or 18 hours. The truth is what they want anyway.
There is a situation that truckers who are in the Arlington, Texas, area need to know about. My husband hauls cars and met a customer in a parking lot there, picked up his car, turned the truck around and went into the restaurant located in the complex there to eat. The next thing he knew, the owner of the restaurant said, “Why is there a truck near yours?” The next thing they knew, the truck was disappearing around the corner. An Arlington abandoned vehicle towing company broke into his truck and drove it to their lot. It cost us $975 to get it back the next day. He was legally parked in the lot. The police were called, and they said there wasn’t a thing they could do. They also said that these thieves were a real pain in the butt. They are known to do this all the time. I think the word should be put out to all truckers, so this doesn’t happen to them.
Just Say No
Unfortunately, in the dozen or so fleets that I have driven for, not one offered a decent job at decent wages. I lasted as long as I did because I really loved the truck and the road. But in the end, the aggravation simply wasn’t worth it anymore.
As a driver, you can complain all you want. Owner-operators can stand in the street with signs of protest or block the interstates with their rigs. The most you will do is make the 6 o’clock news. But as long as you are willing to get back in your truck and haul the next load, nobody is going to pay you one thin dime more. The only way that things will ever get better is when you refuse to do the job any longer.
Ask yourself what it’s worth to stay in that cab week after week. Running hard all day and many times late into the evening. Dodging four-wheelers, radar rip-offs and DOT inspectors. Then look at your pay. Are you getting what you’re worth? Or are you simply driving your life away for chump change?
Drivers, the best thing you can possibly do for yourselves is tell them no more. That’s the only way you will ever get the respect and pay that you deserve. It’s your life. It’s up to you to get the most you can out of it.
Why Not Ask Us?
Instead of the government making rules and then someone saying the rules don’t have the truck driver’s health in mind, why not ask the truck driver? I prefer the new hours of service. I actually get more sleep. I have only been driving for three years, and to some I’m just a kid (and a woman to boot), but come on, we all had to start somewhere. I love driving and, from the words of my father (heavy equipment mechanic), “The day I stop learning is the day I hang up my keys.”
St. Cloud, Fla.