Among respondents to my post Friday last week about part of the two days I spent running with Ohio-based owner-operator Scott Reed was Gary Carlisle, whom regular readers will remember as a past owner-operator now heading up oil-field-services company Agri-Empresa’s small fleet. Carlisle’s been an outspoken advocate for change in the hours of service — for the sake of safety. Specifically, as many others around the industry do — “I too would like to see us go to 10 on, 10 off, without the 14 hour limit,” wrote Michael Sutton, for instance — Carlisle has contended numerous times that the 14-hour rule signaled the end of any chance at actually improving safety outcomes as a result of the hours of service.
After reading the story about Reed, who feels similarly about it and was candid about his choices to drive, or rest, in our conversation — hear more from it in the podcast at this link — Carlisle sent in the following response:
Very interesting article about a guy trying to make it work out there in the real world. The tragedy is that tens of thousands of owner-operators and small carriers are doing the same thing and have been ever since the 14-hour rule was imposed on the transportation industry. All those paper-hanger and Millennial-managerial types and government do-gooders sit back and boast of improving safety in the trucking business, and all they have done is complicate the job of one of America’s toughest professions.
Unkowningly, those tough professional drivers do more work, put in more hours for less pay, than any other career professional in America. And all they ask is to be given freedom to do their job as safely as they know how. Truck drivers aren’t in the news every day demanding overtime, which very few get, yet they work 70 hours in 8 days continually. Sure they deserve it, but how can our economy stand that expense. Good news/bad news is that with the ELD mandate, eventually, drivers may become hourly. But given the nature of our economic system and private enterprise, many ower-operators and small carriers will have to go bankrupt first.
Unfortunately, those guys are the backbone of our transportation industry. Pretty sad — all those guys want and need is to be allowed to do their job. Allow them to make the decision when they are fatigued and need a break — remove the penalty of lost work time if they take a break. Reward those guys who choose to take a break for whatever they need. Stop forcing older experienced drivers out of the industry with regulations.
More voices on hours:
Clinton Seals: I feel that if they just give us a 16-hour window and let us have our 11-hour drive time, and give us a four-hour on-duty, for example, and let us decide when we want to take our breaks and quit forcing that silly half-hour rule down our throats, maybe we might have this hour of service problem resolved. In other words, give us our 15-hour day [on-duty] but give us a 16-hour window to do it — this would not only improve safety by allowing the driver room for a nap, it will also allow a bit more efficiency and room for the unexpected issues we truckers are always encountering.
Walter Prychodko: A two hour sleeper berth at any time in a 16-hour window [to] extend the 14 to 16 …
James Guilbault: Good luck getting these lawmakers to listen to the people who actually live this job.
Phil Casey: The one way to stop all this: Pay the driver and the truck by the hour during the 14-hour window. Caught in traffic due to an accident. The forklift driver has a two-hour meeting before he unloads you. Doesn’t matter the reason, pay by the hour for every minute of the 14-hour clock. Pay the driver and pay for the truck to sit during “the meeting.” I know it is wishful thinking. But if I am an owner and I have to pay you while my forklift driver is in a meeting, I will have the lift driver unload the truck …
Richard Davis: Their is always an excuse [as to] why they take so long to do their job. The driver did his job, so they need to do their job. Or pay.