The Trucking Industry’s Slow Death
In the last few years and months, there has been saboteurs hired to take out the backbone of American Consummation. This person(s) have been given a clean and clear shot at bringing down the trucking industry. It appears that only a few have been able to see this travesty mounting and the attack unrelenting but those few have little voice or influence in stopping this menace before they are able to succeed with their plan.
I’m talking about those hired to fix the industry because it’s them who seems to be taking it down this proverbial rabbit hole from whence it may never return. Those who believe that making it mandatory for driver’s to sleep 10 hours when that is naturally impossible. Those who believe that once that semi stops moving that the hours it is stopped should count toward the total driving time. Those who believe that a driver with 5 plus years of driving experience needs to be told when to pull over and rest before going on. Those who make these rules unbeknownst that these rules force those who are desperately trying to make a living, provide for their families and pay their bills need the flexibility to think for themselves in order to survive. Those who think that these rules will reduce semi traffic accidents but seem to not be aware that since inception, semi vehicle accidents have increased. These are the saboteurs I am talking about. Are you one?
Here it is in a nutshell, the increase in accidents are not mostly from driver’s lack of sleep but from drivers trying to make a certain amount of money each week because they know that is what it will take to survive and thrive. With all of the incidental costs it takes to operate a semi-tractor trailer in today’s economy, there is very little left for the driver and family to live off of so in order to be that provider they all wish to be, they have got to push further than they would normally. The increase in accidents is a combination of frustration with the new rules passed down by those who were hired to help and that automobile driver that see semi trucks as dollar signs with wheels. It’s an experienced driver knowing that going into Chicago at a particular time means that he/she will have to go bumper to bumper instead of doing a more intelligent thing which is pulling over and waiting until the traffic dies down but waiting means that the time he sits will count against his driving time and make his search for a return trip that much more stressful.
Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been quoted as saying “If the regulations are so strict that a driver can’t stop and take a break or take a nap when they need to, then I don’t know how you can conclude anything other than the regulations have made highway less safe,” But I think Mr. Spencer forgets that yes, the deadlines imposed upon these drivers to get the freight from point “A” to point “B” by trucking companies, shippers and consignees also contribute to this. A fact sheet provided for a NBC News agency provided by Marissa Padilla states “No matter what the limits on driving and work hours are, if the motor carrier and driver plan the schedule so tightly that the driver can barely complete the run legally, this problem will occur.” Now while she does have a point, loaders and un-loaders also contribute by refusing to load a truck or unload a truck because of many reasons mostly because the truck arrived too close to quitting time. If the loaders and un-loaders refuse to load or unload a truck, those truckers have a choice of waiting until the next day, which throws them behind schedule or dropping the load. Many reliable and honest truckers will never drop a load intentionally. What about the shippers who close at a certain time and even though they know that they driver is stuck in traffic trying to get there, will not honor that knowledge and close anyway. All these contribute to the increase of accidents not forgetting the human factor.
Here’s an idea, change the times back to 10 hours driving and 8 hours down time. Do not count down time toward driving time and allow drivers to even use an extra down time to counter their loading and unloading times if necessary. You see, no matter what you try the trucking industry will never die. There will always be a need for truckers unless every store or place that sells or houses anything is moved and is situated very close to a rail line. Today, I do not see railways located behind or through places like Wal-Mart, Target or any of the other stores, that being the case, you will need truckers. So why not make life a little easier on them so that we can bring more truckers back to trucking and get even more product to the shelves? Just my opinion, I could be wrong and if so ME CULPA.