“I have been driving for over 20 years and began working locally with a company about a year ago. I have to say that the hours of service rules for truckers can be a killer for drivers, and perhaps more so for local drivers and those new to the industry. My shift is suppose to start at 7 A.M., but often me and my slip-seat partner runs late due to various reasons beyond our control, and many times he does not make it back until 2 P.M. or later. I am accustomed to getting up around 5 A.M., so going back to sleep is impossible.”
“So, up at 5 A.M., make it to work at 2 P.M., put in a 14 hour day, so I’m done at 4 A.M., home by 4:30 A.M. On this particular day, I have been up and awake for twenty three and a half hours. This type of schedule happens very often in local driving work. Even squeezing in the 10 hour break, you are either running behind all week or completely drained of all energy for the remainder of the week, just from your first day of work. If I say anything to dispatch, I am met with “So what are you saying? Are you turning down the load?” Drivers accept this challenge everyday and do their jobs professionally, but I see no safety in this type of operation, when the industry is constantly talking about “Safety First.”
This is very typical of trucking and is the main reason why veteran drivers will always stress that trucking is not a job, but a lifestyle. Regardless, how can trucking companies stress the importance of driver safety when so many drivers are expected to operate under this kind of schedule? Too many variables in the real world can stop the fourteen hour clock instantly: traffic accidents and delays at the shipper and receiver just to mention a few. Is driver and public safety a real concern for trucking companies and the powerful trucking organizations? Or is greed the primary motive for the continuance of pushing professional truck drivers to their limits?
Just last year in 2009, a major retail corporation lobbied to Congress to push truck drivers into a 16 hour work day. Luckily, that proposal was shot down. Anyone who has driven long enough and far enough will agree that driver fatigue is a major factor within the industry. Those who say otherwise, have not driven a truck for a real living. With the hours of service rule pushing drivers harder and further, allowing their lives to be controlled by the driver logbook, the fact that there are as few big rig accidents than there are, is only a testimony to the professionalism and skill of truckers.
The regulations set forth by the hours of service rules, only makes it more difficult for drivers, while allowing the industry itself to reap greater monetary rewards . . . all on the backs of the truck drivers. Why are truckers forced to work 70 hour work weeks and 14-plus hour days with no regard to the many obstacles that are thrown in their paths? At the same time, they are required to maintain their logbooks in a legal fashion.
Is safety a real issue or is greed the motivating factor within the trucking industry? Are the current HOS rules working for professional truck drivers and does it even take into consideration the safety and health factors of truck drivers?
Truth About Trucking “LIVE” talk radio presented: Truckers 14 Hour Service Rule – Safety vs Greed on Thursday, March 11th, 2010 at 7 PM EST :
“How safe is the truck driver 14 hours of service rule? Truckers can work 70 hour work weeks with trucking companies, shippers and receivers showing little regard to the safety and health of the drivers. With the current HOS rules for drivers, many local truck drivers can easily be up for 20 or more hours at a time. Is the trucking industry really concerned with safety or is it nothing more than greed?”
Discussing truck driver safety on Blog Talk Radio with co-host: Barry Szczucki. If you missed the “live” show catch it now:
© 2010, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.