One Trucker Team’s Ideas For Needed Changes To Make Trucking Safer

Jeff and Linda Halling, a husband/wife independent owner-operator team, recently made some comments on a facebook page about what they think needs to be done to make trucking safer:

While we totally agree with the dangers increasing with trucks putting even more regulations is not the answer. There are more rules and regulations in the trucking industry then there are in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Micromanaging every move never works. Here is the list of changes that we feel need to be made:

1) Better training for new entrants into the industry. Way too many of the mega carriers give their new drivers two weeks classroom one week driving and turn them loose on their own. Part of the problem is that the government classifies us as unskilled labor. Really!!?? A heavy equipment operator is considered skilled labor but a person driving at 80 thousand pound rig is not. Bullshit! By reclassifying Trucking as a skilled labor will increase training and better pay.

2) The hours of service have to be totally redone. One size does not fit all. 11 hours of driving and 70 hours in 8 days is more than enough. However the 14-hour rule is what causes the most safety problems. A driver starts working at 6 a.m. He goes to make his delivery and sits at the dock for 5 hours waiting to be unloaded. He gets paid nothing for that time. He then drives 45 minutes across town to make his pickup. He sits at that dock for 4 hours waiting to get loaded. He gets nothing for that time. The load he picks up goes 500 miles for delivery the next day. But he can only work for another 4 hours because his 14 hours are up. All the time that he spent at the dock was spent resting. But under the current rules he can only work four more hours before he is required to take a 10-hour break. The rule should be if you are in your sleeper for 4 hours or more you can extend the 14-hour clock.

3) There needs to be much more safe secure adequate parking for us to take a required rest period. A lot of drivers that fall asleep are not doing it because they’re pushing themselves to make a delivery they are doing it because they couldn’t find a place to park. All the electronic gadgetry in the world telling the driver to park does no good unless there is a place to park.

Those are the three main things that Linda and I see that will improve safety. We have also been a firm believer that the answer to this industry is not company drivers but independent owner-operators like us. Pride in ownership means a lot more than driving a truck for somebody that thinks you are nothing more than a number. Owner operators have much more flexibility in their pickups and deliveries than a company driver. They also have much more to lose if they mess up.

The bottom line is you’re right — changes need to be made — but the RIGHT changes need to be made.

Facebook post on which Jeff Halling was commenting:

Talkin together

Let’s all get together and talk about how to make the roads safer.

One thought on “One Trucker Team’s Ideas For Needed Changes To Make Trucking Safer

  1. An OTR Drivers time is regulated 24/7 when they are “In Service to the Employer”.
    An OTR Driver is paid per piece which gives value to production.
    An OTR Drivers TIME has no value or they wouldn’t be held up at docks waiting.

    Waiting is a Job Duty that must be preformed yet it is generally unpaid.
    Therefore, because production has value, the onus is placed on the Driver to go as Far as Possible AS Fast as Possible so that We may make pick up and deliver within schedules that may further prevent Us from producing pieces due to more unpaid Wait Time.
    The cycle continues thus Providing the Need for US to continue Going As Far As Possible AS Fast As Possible.
    The regulations that govern our TIME Now get in the way of OUR Producing Pieces as efficiently as possible for OUR Own Net Gain. 
We Want More Working Hours???

    Those who utilize our services, “We The People” are the ones who have given US the privilege of utilizing “We The Peoples” roadways.
    “We The People” have therefore exercised OUR Right to establish Regulations as to How WE Drivers may use the roadways.

    “We The People” are not paying for the TIME it takes for US OTR Drivers to Serve ‘We The People”.
    Are the Regulations “We The People” govern OUR Time by the PROBLEM???

    The regulations have been amended to provide More Time and Flexibility for Us to produce pieces in.
    1. 70hrs in 8 days
    2. The ability to log “Off Duty” while waiting at shippers/receivers.
    3. The 34hr reset
    We have also been given tools to permit Us to produce more.
    1. Longer trailers
    2. Heavier load capacity
    3. Higher speed limits

    Most OTR Drivers do not consider that they sold a weeks time, 168hrs, to a carrier and that the carrier “controls and regulates” the Employee OTR Drivers Time.
    The Drivers TIME is owned by the carrier who has the Operating Authority granted them per “We The People”.
    Most Drivers do not understand that they have been granted the privilege to drive and the carrier has been granted the privilege to operate.
    Most Drivers do not realize that they have sold an ability to possibly produce pieces within a given time frame. 
They are Not being paid for the TIME it takes to produce pieces.

    Drivers complain about regulations that control the Time it takes to produce pieces and when they are granted more Time and Flexibility it still is not enough as Employee Drivers are treated like dogs to chase rabbits so that the carrier can have Rabbit Stew for dinner.

    Carriers then take advantage of the system they have set up for their profit and put more capacity into the market, as they can afford to, because they do not have to Pay for the Time their Drivers have sold them.
    We Drivers then find ourselves Worth Less due to oversupply.

    The carriers then complain about a Driver shortage and “We The People” subsidize carrier based Driving schools that teach Entry Level Drivers to become Lease Purchase Operators who then become Driver Trainers so that they can afford the lease payments. We have inexperienced Drivers Training inexperienced Divers because they are inexperienced Businessmen who can not afford to operate a business they have been trained to take on. 
Am I the only one who sees a problem here???
    The Drivers shortage is a Profitable Business model for the Self Insured carriers that establish sub standard labor rates that We all Have to compete against in a market that has over capacity.

    Off the top of my head, I believe that over 300,000 CDL’s are issued every year.
    We know the average career length of an Entry Level Driver is 3.2 years.
    We know that the turnover rate for truckload carriers has exceeded 80% for the past 30yrs.
    We know that the regulations are a hinderance to a Drivers ability to earn because Drivers are typically paid piece work wages.

    We know that piece work wages were converted to Time Based Methods of paying employees back in the early 1900’s Because Piece Work Wages were the cause of many who lost life or limb as they rushed to produce pieces. The Piece Work Wage method of paying employees has been proven to create an unsafe working atmosphere for the employees who were paid in this manner!!!

    We Drivers operate amongst the public and are paid in a manner that is proven to create an unsafe working atmosphere.
    The Public, “We The People” who are the Government regulate the time we Drivers have available to produce pieces in.
    The industry uses profitable tactics that decreases the Drivers Value and gives the least experienced, the least expensive, the majority of the workload meaning the most experienced must work for less in order to have work.

    The Drivers then believe that regulations need to be eliminated so that they may work more. Doing so would then place More Available Working Hours into the Market ON TOP OF The Black Market Hours that exist within the market.
    Oversupply Decreases the VALUE of Supply!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    There are many more CDL holders than there are CDL Jobs.
    Freight is not piled up on the docks waiting to be picked up, TRUCKS are waiting in line to be loaded or offloaded!

    “We The People” seem intent to spend money subsidizing jobs that are not needed so that those who are taken off of welfare may go back on welfare in 3.2 years while padding the pockets of those who Flood the Market in order to keep labor cost low.

    “We The People” then regulate due to the unsafe practices of Inexperienced Drivers who do all of the heavy lifting because of the low labor cost they provide.
    Experienced Drivers then feel that they have to operate illegally and unsafely in order to pay the bills.
    “Get rid of the Regulations” they cry as they struggle to survive.
    “Let’s make illegal and unsafe practices Legal and WE Will Then Be Able to Work More For LESS” is the general train of thought amongst OTR Drivers.

    I contend that if Employee OTR Drivers were paid a Fair and Decent wage fitting the 24/7 job that they preform the Regulations would Not Be a Problem.
    I contend that by paying Employee OTR Drivers by the same clock that governs them they would have no reason to take unnecessary risk.
    I contend that if Employee OTR Drivers were paid a living wage fitting the job, the rest of Us would be able to earn a living wage fitting the job!

    Are the Regulations the Problem???
    Or, is the Drivers Ability to Afford working within the Regulations the Problem???

    Pat Hockaday (JoJo)

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