Broker bill has pitfalls
The proposed bill to fight broker fraud in Congress (“Broker regulatory bill reintroduced,” August) has major weaknesses. First, for the U.S. Department of Transportation to institute even modest enforcement would entail phenomenal expenditures. The benefit to only a modest number of carriers would be insignificant.
Most importantly, carriers can check the viability and payment practices of any broker in a few seconds through two excellent credit-reporting entities with exhaustive information on every licensed broker. If a broker has no license, customers should avoid them. Truckers and carriers who have chosen brokers with poor ratings and payment practices are the ones now wanting the government to add another layer of protection to insulate them from their own poor business practices.
Nearly 60 percent of carriers use factors, whose major benefit is that they scrutinize credit. For carriers that do not use factors, the credit reporting services are modestly priced. And to trump that, the leading industry load boards note brokers’ creditworthiness when posting the load. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Bigger brokerage firms would have little problem obtaining the larger bond should the proposed bill become law. But small brokers would be forced to close, and the larger ones would get more of the business and dictate reduced rates to carriers.
If you think that is not going to happen, spend time in the office of either a broker or carrier. It is amazing to see how the two sides are constantly cognizant of the balance or imbalance to and from certain areas in the nation.
Reduce the number of brokers in the marketplace, and in no time you will hear carriers whispering to themselves, “Please bring back the good old days.”
JACKSON SALASKY | Owner, Jackson Express Inc. | Dallas
“Obama and his liberal minions are hell bent on destroying the capitalist system. I’m already looking for two draught horses and a wagon.”
— Trucker Paul Nicolay of Woodbury, Tenn., in response to the OverdriveOnline.com story “DOT updates rules timetable.”
With driver demand heating up, what are your thoughts about changing carriers?
“I think about changing carriers all the time.”
Owner-operator, N-Motion Logistics | Charlotte, N.C.
“I’m going to stay with who I’m with.”
Averitt Express company driver | Sparta, Tenn.
“I’m leased to Mercer. I just don’t see the need.”
“I’ve been with these people nine months now, and I like them. There’s no use in jumping around.”
Dynamic Transit company driver | Dothan, Ala.
“It depends if they are paying good. Some of them don’t pay much. I haven’t got any hesitation. I go for the company that pays the best.”
Poly Trucking company driver | Dallas
Sleep apnea a bigger problem
“I think a much larger problem is sleep apnea. I was diagnosed with it three years ago, got treatment and now I sleep well every night. One large fleet estimates that 30 percent of its drivers have the condition. It that’s true, then 30 percent of those drivers will still be fatigued, no matter what hours of service regulations get implemented… Change the direction of the proposed rule to allow and encourage drivers with a sleep problem to get help.”
Consider other safety measures
“We have operated under the same rule since it was changed in 2004. The amazing thing is that the safety numbers are better than they have ever been. If safety is important to federal regulators, they should assess automobile motorists, many of whom don’t know basic rules of the road; require that new drivers go through more training; and assess time wasted at shippers and receivers.”
RANDALL LEE HART
Cedar Spring, Mich.
Economic balance would suffer
“Changing the hours of service regulations would be a very bad idea for these reasons: A reduction in driving time and working hours would result in more inexperienced drivers on the road, and as a result highway safety would suffer. The proposed changes would be hard on the economy. Since the industry would have less capacity to haul freight, rates would rise. My family needs more income, not less.
“Critical parts of the nation’s distribution network would be disrupted because current routes and distribution centers are placed for the current hours of service rules. Fewer driving and working hours amounts to a pay cut at a time when drivers’ families are struggling to make ends meet.”