Broad, sweeping statements are all poppycock

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Last week was a doozy. I spent probably a total of 100 hours at my computer, firing off letters, gathering information, studying who gets money from what source in campaign donations, and watching the progress of the movements in D.C.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Kent, Wash., with admiration and astonishment.

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you avoid tyranny.”“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you avoid tyranny.”

I don’t think I’m the only one who was pretty shocked at the West Coast demonstration numbers. I fully expected there to be some ruckus in D.C, but I was not prepared to see the numbers the Sikhs brought to the table, in both D.C and Sacramento. I wasn’t just shocked, I was super-impressed with the precision in which they executed their demonstrations in Kent, Wash., and Sacramento. I was impressed with everyone who went and talked to reps and officials – all of you did a great job and I’m so happy it went off peacefully.

Now it’s time for broad, sweeping statements.

“You can’t get two truckers to agree the sky is blue.”
Honey, hush.

I guess that broad, sweeping statement can be put to rest. While it’s evident that not all of these particular people who came together last week are all asking for the same things, they did indeed come together, and they made quite an impression when they did.

As someone who sits on the back end at a computer and sends out information and queries to these reps on a daily basis, I can tell you from experience that you have to publicly insult someone to get them to pay attention to you in written form. It’s sad but true. A face to face is definitely better.

These demonstrations finally put trucking in the face of some of these reps, and I think they get the idea that we’re not fooling around. They also have correct information about something most of them have absolutely no knowledge of. You can’t believe the number of reps I have heard say they “weren’t aware of some of these implications” or “weren’t very clear on the ELD issue.”

It’s not because they didn’t have the information. It’s because they are inundated with eleven million dumpster fires within our gubmint right now and they need to have a very squeaky wheel to grab their attention. And these folks grabbed it.

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“Everyone fighting for this just wants to cheat.”
You can toot that horn somewhere else, because it’s unequivocally untrue.

Let me be very clear about this. This is not about cheating, or even about the ELD specifically. It’s about allowing the gubmint to enact laws based on incorrect and contrived information, and frighten the public with threats of “safety” to make it look like they’re doing everyone a favor. It’s classic “we’re from the gubmint and we’re here to help.”

They don’t tell doctors what stethoscope to use and they don’t tell mechanics what wrenches they can wrench with. The fact that we are allowing them to come in and mandate a clock we don’t want, without any empirical evidence that it is indeed a safety device, as they are asserting it is, is just one more step forward in allowing tyranny.

And here’s a little nugget to add to that: you don’t have to cheat on electronic logs to make money. I have personally been in the truck with George on a 748-mile day, parked with one minute to spare and obeying the speed limits. Here’s another: those logs can be manipulated — you just have to know how to do it. Lack of knowledge about the ELD is hurting a lot of opinions, I could not agree more.

It does not change the fact that it’s not a safety device. It’s a clock. And just like my digital clock or your wind-up clock, we should be able to choose the method in which we keep time.

“People fighting for this are keeping trucking status-quo, instead of helping it advance.”

Why in the world should the driver bear the burden of making shippers and receivers act right? There are plenty of other ways to make them accountable for time. This is a digital age, if someone chooses to use an ELD to do the same thing a simple smartphone app could do, let them. There are other resources and venues in which to hold shippers and receivers accountable. The brokers and dispatchers should have the same kind of accountability and transparency. Why are the drivers the only ones tasked to complete and total transparency with their time?

People fighting for this have made the case that there are professionals being forced to carry professional amounts of insurance and taking professional-sized fines and 96 percent of them are doing a damn professional job of it out there, as far as safety goes, and it’s ridiculous to force them to change their mode of operation based on a safety argument – which we can’t forget is the core here – when they’re already being safe.

What keeps trucking status-quo is accepting regulation and law on top of regulation and law without addressing what the real issue in safety is, and we can all agree on this – it’s training and retention. There isn’t an industry in the world that can be made safer when it has a 100 percent churn in the 4 percent of people the safety laws are being based upon.

Let’s cut the broad, sweeping statements about each other, OK? We’ve got some momentum in D.C. If we can get them to look at this, we can get them to help us address the core issues affecting safety in the industry. We all know the HOS, churn and training are the answer. We have to get them to understand it.

Remember, you can’t always get what you want, (sing along, now) but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.