I hope you remember me. It’s been a long time (more than 60 years) since I last sent you a Christmas wish list. If you are looking at that old list, I do want to thank you for the basketball and also let you know that I no longer need a transistor radio.
I’m not sure that this letter should be going to you, but I don’t know where else to turn. Nobody else seems to be listening, not Congress, state and local elected officials, federal and state regulatory agencies, our shippers or for that matter the general public. I’m hoping that you can help.
The wishes on my list for this year are not for me, but for the 3.5 million hardworking people in the trucking industry that are on the road daily -- you may pass more than a few of them on Christmas Eve. With the exception of the gifts that you deliver, the trucking industry transports everything else that we have in our homes, businesses, factories and stores. While our industry has many needs, I promise to keep my wish list short.
1. Honor and respect for truck drivers and others in our industry
The COVID pandemic has allowed the public to see how important the trucking industry is to our everyday lives. In turn I’m asking that the public accord the greater respect and honor due to the drivers and others in this essential industry.
2. More truck parking
Nightly, truck drivers face the difficult challenge of finding a safe parking spot so they might take their mandated rest. Despite all levels of government recognizing a dearth of parking as a problem, no one seems to do anything. Any help on encouraging our government agencies to provide more truck parking in safe locations would be appreciated.
3. Lower insurance rates and relief from lawsuit abuse
I’m not sure whether you have to purchase sleigh insurance, but if you do and it's similar to truck insurance rates, you have seen a substantial increase over the past few years. This has forced a number of small trucking companies to close while greatly impacting others. Much of this rate increase has been due to well-publicized "nuclear judgments" awarded by the courts -- outlandish payments, essentially, driven by trial attorneys who profit greatly. Any help in opening the eyes of state legislators and having them pass meaningful tort reform to curtail the abuses in this area would be welcome.
4. Reduced detention time
Our truck drivers wait for hours for their trailers to be loaded and unloaded at shippers and other customers. This is costly for both our drivers and companies. It is also unfair to drivers, who lose limited driving hours, and extend many of their trips, which means that they are away from their families longer. Please help our shippers recognize and appreciate our drivers by ensuring that loads are quickly loaded and unloaded.
5. Restoration of the supply chain
I’m sure if anyone can appreciate the difficulty in delivering goods at this time of year, it is you. As you may be aware, our supply chain is a mess, which has led to shortages, delays, and higher prices. The uncertainty and challenges associated with the supply chain have been particularly hard on truck drivers. We would welcome any assistance or pointers on your part in getting this system operating smoothly again.
The final and most important wish is to keep our truck drivers safe this holiday season. They have families and friends who love them and are awaiting their safe return from travels during this special season, so please do your best on this one.
I will be leaving cookies and milk for you but also thought that I would leave a five-gallon can of diesel fuel. (I’ve long suspected that with the greater weight in the sleigh these days you may be partially powering it with a diesel engine. If that isn’t the case, please feel free to leave it with one of the truck drivers on your list -- I'm sure they'll appreciate it.)
I wish you safe travels this Christmas Eve, and hope you have a very joyous holiday season.
Many thanks for all you do, and please also remember, “If it didn’t come by Santa, it came by truck.”