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FMCSA Must Focus on Trucking Industry Reality

Mar
5,
2014
2
Ignoring the FMCSA

Ignoring the FMCSA

In the era of CSA, more regulations continue to be placed upon the professional truck driver. Safety groups and industry decision-makers continue to believe that in order to increase safety, additional regulations are needed.  It has become an industry which places regulations upon regulations.

Anne Ferro, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, has stated that “Zero truck deaths is the intended goal for the trucking industry accident rate”; an honorable goal, but an unrealistic one.

The manner in which the FMCSA and safety groups intend to reach such goals is apparently by enforcing more regulations upon drivers and the industry as a whole.

The FMCSA has a much bigger problem than they could ever imagine, or perhaps one they continue to ignore: how does the administration control the actions of individual dispatchers and others who have authority over the driver? This authority is directly related to the truck drivers’ ability to earn a living and to perform his or her job in a safe and professional manner.

The trucking industry is full of power-hungry dispatchers who enjoy holding this authority over their drivers, forcing them to continue operating the CMV under unsafe conditions and thumbing their noses at the FMCSA  and industry regulations.

The most recent evidence of this was shared by truck driver, Abe Attallah of K&B Transportation which went viral through his FaceBook Social Media page:

The professional driver who found himself in this all-too-often situation within the industry, was in his full rights to inform dispatch that continuing to drive would be unsafe. FMCSA Regulation § 392.3 clearly states:

“No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle.”

Truck drivers have the full right and authority to determine when it is unsafe to drive, period. Once the dispatcher is informed by the driver, the conversation should be over. Clearly, this is still not the case as evident in the video and this is just one example from one motor carrier who employs dispatchers who use fear and intimidation to force drivers to continue to operate in an unsafe manner. Keep in mind, there are hundreds of thousands of motor carriers in the United States of which a large majority of these incidents go unreported.

This is the type of dispatcher who has no respect for the driver, the general public, the FMCSA or the professionalism of the vocation and should be terminated immediately. Heavy fines should be placed upon the motor carrier to assist in future prevention of such actions by dispatchers who use “Drill Instructor” tactics against professional CDL drivers.

The majority of our Nation’s truck drivers are grown men and women who through commitment and professionalism keep America moving and those who perceive themselves in some kind of higher authority should not invoke fear in a driver who is already dealing with fatigue. In addition, the sheer act of pulling the driver’s wife and family into the conversation is further sign of threat and intimidation by these so-called professionals.

Safety groups, as well as the FMCSA, should realize the bigger problem at hand. Adding more regulations upon regulations for the sake of trucking industry safety is not the answer and never will be as long as this type of behavior by dispatchers and managers continue to go ignored.

Drivers who continue to accept these actions with excuses such as: “That’s trucking” or “Just man-up” are also contributors to the problem and although many of these pretend to be driver advocates, are in actuality, puppets-on-a-string motor-mouths for those carriers who press forced dispatch.

This recent abuse of drivers are more the reason truck drivers need to become more involved in the regulatory process by attending MCSAC meetings and sharing their comments with the FMCSA. In addition, MCSAC members largely consist of law enforcement personnel, motor carrier officials and anti-truck driver safety groups; not a single current, experienced professional truck driver.

Although K&B Transportation met with the driver and apologized for the actions of the dispatcher and upper managers stated that this type of behavior would never take place again, one can only assume that it is all due to the fact that they got caught through the power of trucking social media and by a driver who understood his legal rights.

As a professional truck driver, should you ever find yourself in such a situation, utilize your legal and federal rights under the law to stop this type of abusive behavior. Contact regulatory expert, Richard Wilson of TCRG Consulting and attorney Paul Taylor of the Truckers Justice Center.

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, as well as the FMCSA, must place this type of abusive behavior on their list of up-coming meetings and finally face an industry reality.

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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2 Responses to FMCSA Must Focus on Trucking Industry Reality. - Post a Comment

  1. Tom E

    I’m mixed on this situation.
    You are well within your rights to park the truck
    The company is well within their rights to terminate your employment for anything beside race,religion, age or illegal activity. Nobody is saying that is right, “at will” employment is the law in most states.

    You had adequate off duty time that is the way they see it.
    You were not terminated, irregular hours is the nature of the business that will not change.

    Livonia to Oak Creek is about 350 miles conservatively 7 hours with good weather and roads depending on traffic through Chicago. It is not as if anyone was telling you to run over hours.

    Put your dispatchers on the defense by bitching when they give you a crappy deal. Personally I would have done my best to get the rest. You can’t change the H.O.S. rules. If you had to wait in a companies yard for your load you can log it on duty and run yourself out of hours that way but then you just piss off your company. But if everybody did that customers would get used to waiting on the freight but then you are not making anything either.

    Always do what you can to keep them on the defensive, if things aren’t working start looking for another company.

  2. […] Once the dispatcher is informed by the driver, the conversation should be over, but that is not what happened to Abe.   Read more […]

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