CSA points system no good
Well, the time has come to give us points on how we act and drive and how we keep the company trucks maintained. What happens when we go down the road, hit a pothole on these poorly maintained roads and blow an airbag? It’s hard to tell while riding down the road that you have blown that airbag. You come up to a scale house and DOT wants to inspect you — lo and behold, they find the blown airbag. Now you have a ticket, plus points.
Go figure. What a crock this is going to be! What I suggest is if these states and the government can give us points then let’s give them points for every little thing they do or lie about, or for poorly maintained cowpath roads. Then when those in office have so many points, let’s snatch them out of office and put someone else in there, and if they do the same, keep snatching them out of office until they get it right.
All this points system is going to do is make a whole lot of disgruntled employees. The government and DOT won’t be happy until they have the American trucker off the road and have foreign, low-paid drivers answering their every beck and call. American drivers, WAKE UP. If we run legal then the DOT can’t make any money off of us, and maybe they will leave us alone and go pick on someone else. Oh well, let me stop dreaming. You all be safe.
Steven Bounds, Maxton, N.C.
Take your time in California
You know, I drove tractor-trailer for 35 years. I started in 1972. I first started hauling fruit out of the fields into the canneries around California.
I got entrusted driving cross-country, had no CDL back then. Yes, we had to put up with the DOT, but I would always see to it that my paperwork was right-on accurate.
Well, the CDL came out in the ’80s, then they passed the 34-hour rule.
To me the 34-hour rule was really great. If you were out or close on running out, you could park in Arizona or Nevada or Oregon, take your time off, then run California. Yes, California has always been rough doing 55 mph. Yes, I had my share of tickets in California. Yes, you all know California fines are high.
Don’t do as I say, do as I would advise you: Take your time in California. Make sure your paperwork is right, and make sure your tractor-trailer is cleaned up, and everything will be A-OK. To all of you out there, have a safe trip and a good day.
Jack Gilliland Jr., Louisville, Ky.
Maybe unionizing is the answer
I’ve been a truck driver for 51 years. I’ve driven as a union driver, a non-union driver and for the past 25 years, I’ve been an owner-operator, leased to a carrier. In all these years, the story remains the same. From the truck strikes in 1967 to the protests in the ’70s and continuing today, shippers and receivers keep truckers waiting hours and hours or even days to load or unload. This is done with no pay for truckers and no consideration of the high price of fuel or the cheap freight rates. When times are good this is bad for us, but when times are bad this is worse!
For years I have been reading in the national trucking magazines — Overdrive, The Trucker and Landline, to name a few — about the plight of today’s owner-operators. “Having a hard time of it,” “can barely survive” and “going out of business in record numbers” are phrases that should not be in a professional truck driver’s vocabulary. As the cost of operating continues to rise, while freight rates remain frozen, and the cost of living, including food, clothing, utilities and taxes, rises in leaps and bounds, the small businessman or -woman doesn’t have a chance to survive. Besides, survival is not the reason people work. They work for a sustainable profit!
For our own protection and survival, is an owner-operator truckers’ union the answer? Could we profit by speaking in one voice and have the power to control our future? We could call it the UTW — United Transportation Workers. Or should we just continue whining as usual? Our union slogan could be, “If you got it, a truck brought it!”
David P. Gaibis, New Castle, Penn.
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If you were in charge of rulemaking for the trucking industry and could make/change one rule, what would it be?
Make each and every truck have proper insurances and regulate the per-mile/hourly rates to proper levels so their price doesn’t win them loads, their quality of service does. Lowering rates just to get work is hurting the whole industry. If the proper profit margins were in place HOS issues wouldn’t be such a big deal.
— Brian C.
Go back to the days before deregulation.
— Gladson Transport
Implement psychological screening, and more random drug screenings. Too many undesirables being allowed to represent the trucking industry.
— Teresa F.
Pay by the hour would eliminate a lot of other problems because it would take away the incentive to run beyond safe limits.
— Michael F.
I would change the split sleeper break rule. It was easier for team driving when you could split it however you wanted as long as one of the breaks was at least two hours.
— Jamie R.
I would use the upcoming CSA 2010 rule to further enhance the HOS rules. I would allow drivers increased discretion based upon their previous safety record, as well as their record with DOT. For example, a driver with 1 million verifiable safe miles and a clean CSA record with DOT would be allowed more flexibility to operate beyond the 14-hour rule, and the current 70/8 rule. This would probably require electronic logs, which I’m not yet sold on, though.
— Tom B.
Take some power from DOT/cops.
— Brian C.
I think the 14-hour rule needs to be refined. As it is now, drivers are forced to drive tired or in rush hour traffic. A two-hour nap could help keep them fresh or let traffic clear out. This would benefit drivers and reduce pollution.
— Marshall P.
Do you think the economy is currently improving, declining or holding steady? Why?
“I think it’s declining because … you still can’t go out and take care of your obligations because you’re not making enough miles.”
— Clyde Williams, Bowman Gin, Orangeburg, S.C.
“Just holding steady, and the reason why I think is because of fuel prices. Nobody is paying any money because the economy and the fuel costs so much.”
— Johnny Morris, Owner-operator, McCalla, Ala.
“It’s hard to tell because you know you have jobs here, and you don’t have jobs there. You have houses that are sold and houses that aren’t sold. It’s just hard to tell what the economy is doing, but it really does need to improve. Right now it’s kind of holding steady … but if something isn’t done, it’s going to decline at a rapid pace.”
— Harry Grimes, Owner-operator leased to U.S. Express, Phoenix, Ariz.
“I think it’s declining because I’m having to drive a truck. I’m a construction worker and have been in the union for 30 years and can’t get enough work to even finish my retirement. I build bridges for a living. I’m a certified welder for Cal Trailers, and I’m out here driving a truck because I can’t get enough work.”
— Jerome Helms, Patterson Transportation, Los Angeles, Calif.