Bill Weaver is a helluva songwriter, strums a mean guitar and sings songs with titles like “We Drive On.” He’s a trucker, and an artist, and he’s either lost his dang mind or he’s crazy like a fox.
You see, Bill’s decided, on pretty much the eve of the ELD mandate going into effect, to make the transition from company driver to owner-operator for the first time in his more than 20-year trucking career.
Now, Bill may or may not be known to be a little hard-headed, but he’s also known to be pretty quick on the uptake, and no one who knows him would call him stupid. (At least not to his face.) All kidding aside, Bill’s a smart guy, and he’s not making the change because he thinks it’s a bad business deal. Bill says, “I’ve been looking at the possibility for a while now. As much as I’ve enjoyed hauling boats for Ranger, I miss that smooth-bore hazmat tanker more. When Heniff Transport out of Joilet, Ill., offered me the opportunity to lease on as an owner-op, everything just fell into place with it. They understand and support my music. I’m looking forward to working with them.”
As far as the ELD mandate, Bill is opposed to the law based on the same reason a lot of people are: “This is most certainly not a safety device, and it will not save lives. What it will do is force the hand of a lot of shippers to raise rates, but it will also force a lot of small business trucking companies to incur a cost burden they shouldn’t have to. You can’t ask people who have proven safety records to be safer than safe.”
He also notes the same thought we’ve all heard over and over again – it’s not the ELD, it’s the hours of service where problems lie from an ELD enforcement perspective. “A lot of people left the industry back in 2004, when they started messing with the hours of service,” Weaver says. “But a lot of them came back, because they have bills to pay and a family to feed and driving trucks is what they do. It’s what I do, and I’m going to keep on doing it.”
He goes on to say, “The one good thing I can say about the ELD law is the number of people who have come together in the industry over it. We need more of that. And we need to keep the momentum up, and get people to make comments when they’re asked for.”
Bill leaves out with his last Ranger Boat load tonight, and after December 21, you can look for the ol’ hard-headed fox in a 2014 Pete 579, yanking a smooth-bore hazmat Haniff tanker, and smiling from ear to ear.
Good luck, Bill. Fair winds, brother.