Show Some Common Courtesy

How often when you are driving these days do you hear a bear report without having to call out to the opposite traffic for a half hour? Or better yet, at free will? Or how about getting the “blink blink” when you pass someone or the reverse for a thank you?

Today it seems all you hear on the CB are ignorant steering-wheel holders talking about how big their **** is or showing how badass of a CB Rambo they can be. Seriously, y’all sound like a bunch of second-graders out here and act like kindergarteners. We are supposed to be professionals — start acting like one. I was trying to get some local information the other day, and do you know what I was told after about a half hour or so? “Shut up, stupid, and buy a map.” Oh, I’m sorry if my question interrupted you from getting that lot lizard over to your truck.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like to have fun out here, too. I’ve been doing this almost 20 years. When I’m behind the wheel going down the road I take pride in what I am doing. Always have and always will. Now I run [oversize], so 90 percent of the time I cannot see behind me. I admit I drive an older truck, but c’mon, people. Have a little common courtesy and sense. Flash your lights, let us or any truck that passes you know it’s OK to come over. I don’t think the truck manufacturers put the headlight switch someplace you can’t reach it anymore. Or for that matter, your four-way or clearance-light switch to say thanks.

I could go on for days about how the quality of the driver has deteriorated, but I will just say a few more things. Every Sunday I try to find a place to watch NASCAR on TV or maybe even get to the track. I won’t bother anymore. I’ve been sitting here for a few days at a Love’s, and I have a NASCAR race right in front of me.

What is wrong with you people? You are in a truckstop, not a racetrack. You are in a congested area with limited visibility and people walking around. What on God’s green earth do you need to be grabbing gears and doing 40 mph in the lot for? Seriously, I saw a driver actually smoke his trailer tires yesterday, he was going so fast.

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I was taught, as a rule of thumb, not to go any faster than a person walks. OK, maybe that’s a little slow, but I understand what I was being told. Ten mph is plenty fast. That parking spot won’t go anywhere, and if it does, there are plenty more — trust me. So have a little common sense and slow down before you kill somebody.

I’m not meaning any disrespect to any of us. I’m just a driver who is concerned about our future. Be safe.

Steve Sawicki Lake Placid, Fla.

Driver shortage is lie

Please stop spreading this fallacy and fairy tale about a driver shortage! There is no such thing! What there is is a shortage of good companies willing to pay a fair and decent wage for the hours and days spent doing the OTR sector of this career field. There is a shortage of companies that will treat you like a human being and not like a piece of equipment.

You need decent home time so you can actually have a life outside of trucking and to maintain your family life. This shortage fallacy is all drummed up by major companies who would like nothing more than to have cheap foreign labor imported to fill the trucks that they have sitting around. (Just because you bought 15,000 trucks and cannot fill them doesn’t mean there is a shortage.) They would love to have labor that doesn’t care about their standard of living. What you have is a churning problem in this industry.

James Maxwell, Kansas City, Mo.

Industry not the same

After 22 years in an 18-wheeler and six more in straight trucks and concrete mixers, I was laid off April 1, 2007. In the time since then I have been told I have been out of a truck too long and don’t have enough OTR experience in recent years to qualify for a driving job. Even with the local job I had I ran 80,000-90,000 miles a year for the last 8-10 years.

I am thoroughly convinced companies want trainees and/or illegal aliens to drive their trucks for less money. Experienced drivers want and deserve more than trainees and might stay and retire, costing companies more than inexperienced drivers. I will be 50 this month. This is a different trade than it was when I was 19 and starting out.

I am going back to being a mechanic like I started out. At this age I should be making my case for retirement, I am jobless, homeless, broke, divorced and starting over. I’ve been cheated out of a lot of bonus and wage dollars as well as reimbursement money. I love trucks, the hands that drive them and the places I’ve been and seen. But with new regs, rules and a shaky economy, why would anybody want to come into this trade?

Charles Williams, Paris, Ky.

What do you think of the forecast for a severe driver shortage in the near future?


When I see it reflected in my pay, I’ll believe it — after all, supply and demand says that if they are short of drivers, they should be paying higher rates to those that they have.

— Bruce B.

I don’t see one. Fact is that most major and medium companies continue to recruit fresh drivers on a weekly basis. Most of these drivers are green drivers, filled with high hopes and dreams about how they can make “all this money driving a semi.” Furthermore, a majority of those drivers are ones that have no idea of what trucking is about and are in it for the paycheck. Fact is that a large percent of the trucking schools these days are just “driver mills.”

— Scott G.

There may be a shortage in certain areas of the country, but we are still waiting for freight in the Northeast. Pay has increased for the new drivers, but the companies are doing very little to keep the experienced veteran drivers. They are still wanting cheap drivers.

— Robert S.

There is going to be a huge shortage. When I drive by bases of operation and see large numbers of trucks sitting idle that tells me that they are not getting filled, and when all the new “green drivers” find out how hard it is on the road they will disappear. Today’s youth (for the most part) are lazy and don’t want to work.

— David C.

I don’t really believe that there is a driver shortage. It is a matter of poor planning on the part of load planners, shippers, dispatchers, consignees. Just-in-time deliveries only work if proper planning is done.

— Scott K.

I believe in the driver shortage. I have my CDL, and no one wants me to drive. They said to me, “No experience, can’t help you. Come back when you have experience.” This is why there will be a driver shortage. All my friends hear the same — no experience, so stay home. I read in the newspaper a few weeks ago: 120,000 trucks are needed for 2012. If they said the same thing to all the others that they said to me, then good luck to all the companies that want new green drivers.

— Simon H.

This has been forecasted and said for so many years that some major carriers even started hiring drivers from other countries at one point in time. I see too many truckers sitting and waiting for me to believe that there is or will be a shortage.

— Aric C.

The way I see it, a driver shortage means more miles and freight for the current drivers. I am local, but for my friends that are OTR, I think they will get better and longer runs.

— Jamie R.


There are plenty of experienced drivers out of work right now (like myself). There’s no need for a driver shortage if companies would hire us!


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What do you enjoy about coming to trucking shows?

See all of the new products. Getting new ideas. Seeing all of the new stuff you can have for your truck. The new products kind of give you new ideas for your own truck.

— Kelly Eckhardt, Lander, Wyo., independent owner-operator

I come to look at the parts and the different products they have at the booths. Mostly, APU units is what I look at. That’s what I’m interested in.

— Luther Acker, Compton, Calif., independent owner-operator

I like looking at the old trucks they have fixed up. Then, checking out the new designs on the new trucks, seeing the new features and innovations they have been working on.

— Omar Diaz, Carson, Calif., dispatcher for California Transport

Looking at everybody’s work — we come to see the trucks in Pride and Polish.

— Floyd Johnson, Reno, Nev., independent owner-operator

The Pride and Polish trucks. I like to look at the different levels of customizing. I like to see all of the different people that come and check out what the vendors are offering.

— Arnold May, Anaheim, Calif., independent owner-operator

The Business Manual for Owner-Operators
Overdrive editors and ATBS present the industry’s best manual for prospective and committed owner-operators. You’ll find exceptional depth on many issues in the 2022 edition of Partners in Business.
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