The words that start the headline of this post came from a Houston-based owner-operator facing down the reality of today’s hours of service rule, a coming mandate for most truckers to use electronic logging devices, the problems of detention and parking and a set of not-so-great options for freight that pays. You can hear his and a bevy of other owner-operators’ voices in the latest mailbag podcast — in players above and below. Those callers offered perspective after Clifford “Chappy” Petersen’s early-May letter to the President about similar issues.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s official denial of the appeal made by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association for it to throw out the ELD rule, attention turned to the Trump administration and, more closely, Congress. Ohio-based small fleet owner and OOIDA Board Member Monte Wiederhold noted Congress “is all we have left” to bring about a repeal, and OOIDA spokesperson Norita Taylor urged members to “reach out to their lawmakers on this and other issues that affect them as small businesses.”
On that front, said Wiederhold yesterday, “I’m off to [Ohio Sen.] Sherrod Brown’s office in Cincinnati, to meet with the state deputy director and Southwest Ohio district manager.”
Amid calls for a shutdown from some commenters, plans around the October “ELD or Me” demonstration remained in place.
Voices were many following the news from the court yesterday.
Sam McClain: I pulled container out of Kansas City. I own my truck. Before, running paper logs, I was making $2,500 to $3,000 a week, easy. Then the company went to ELDs — my paychecks went down to $1,000 to $1,500. I pay $500 a week on the truck payment and pay for my own fuel. It’s hard to make truck payments and fuel and truck repairs and support my family of six on that. And not only did it affect my money, I was more tired on e-logs than I ever was on paper logs.
ELDs and safety: “ELDs are not the cure DOT hopes for.” —Victor J. Parry
David Harrison: Nobody deliver any toilet paper for about 3 weeks, then let’s see if it still stands.
David Stoner: Can’t OOIDA spearhead a truckers’ shutdown? I’d be the first one to shut down. The government is out of control and soon everyone will be monitored by them. Wake up, America.
Steve Bixler: No, OOIDA cannot organize or even support a shutdown, as this puts them in the position of interfering with the movement of goods and could leave them open to various criminal charges, or even face being shutdown themselves by the feds.
Steve Brandon: If the government is going to mandate ELDs and [faulty] hours of service, then the government should also mandate that shippers and receivers load and unload their own freight in a timely manner or pay mandatory detention time of $50 an hour per driver after the first hour of waiting, all of that money going to the driver. Shippers and receivers have always been bad about delaying the driver and it seems they have gotten worse since the new HOS rules came into affect.
Mike: $50 an hour? Try $150. Trucks are not cheap.
Redjebn: It’s here. Let’s work on getting the 14-hour clock to stop, the real problem.
Robinette Benton: Agreed. … I fully believe that when they messed with the 14-hour clock, they caused drivers to drive tired. You could no longer take a 4-hour nap (yes power naps have been proven to be beneficial) without it affecting the amount of time you had to make pickups/deliveries.
Victor J. Parry: Back in the ’80s word got the a truck driver with only a high-school education was making more money a year then three Ivy League college graduates were making. They got into politics and started making new regulations for drivers like the CDL. They said any accident involving a truck was the trucker’s fault. They started playing with our HOS, speed controls, and many more all in the name of safety. They never looked at the drunk in the car, or the idiot doing 90 in a 55 zone, another car, or the motorcycle splitting the lane. All the wrecks were blamed on the truck over a 15-minute error on his logbook. Yes, there were a few bad drivers in our profession, however the majority are good, safe drivers.
The ELDs force drivers to drive when they are tired, sleep on the side of the road because of unexpected delays en route, such as the stupid four-wheeler who failed to pay attention to the road and hit three cars before ending up under a big rig. I spent fie hours in that mess as it happened in front of me. ELDs are not the cure DOT hopes for.
Via Overdrive’s Facebook page:
Stacy Jourdain: I started driving in 1978, and I’ve been out here for nearly 40 years and it’s a sad day in the history of trucking. Some of you guys say, “Oh well I don’t want to drive more than 11 hours a day anyway.” You must have the perfect job. You’re not going to get caught an hour away from home and you have to lay down for 10 hours now. Or one of these days you are just two hours away from the top of the Colorado Rockies and you got to wait 10 hours. When you wake up the next morning with a foot of snow, when if you could’ve kept going the night before you would’ve been on dry ground. Or you have a load on that you could get delivered and then make it home for the night, but because you’re going to be two hours late you got a wait for the next day. Because of your logbook, you’re screwed for the weekend.
Branko Nastev: Time to consider getting an older truck.  and older are exempt!
Barry Laite: The Supreme Court is the puppet and the big-name carriers, the FMSCA and, of course, the ATA are the puppeteers. You may as well call them all Pinocchio. The more they open their mouths, the bigger their noses.
Helen Corbett: I hope we can now get paid by the hour. Like most drivers, I have been driving since 1993. I have seen a lot of the changes to commercial vehicle drivers. I had hoped and prayed this would never come to pass. But it has. I believe it time we do like Thomas Jefferson wrote about — the people of the United States take back the government from the government.