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Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry

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Industry Philosophy: Blame the Truck Driver

Blame the Truck Driver

Blame the Truck Driver

The trucking industry is a weak commerce when it comes to standing up and accepting responsibility for their actions.  During a conversation with another driver last night who works for an area company, he was telling me about an incident that recently took place that involved the termination of another driver.

His company had sent out a memo to all drivers that they were not to exceed the 14 hour rule under any circumstance.  If dispatched on a schedule that would push the 14 HOS rule, they were to immediately report it to their dispatcher and have it revised.

All was going well for the driver until he found himself caught in a traffic back-up due to a serious fatality accident on Highway 60, between Tampa and Bartow.

With no way to turn around, the driver lost three hours and kept his dispatcher informed.  Once moving again, he advised dispatch that he would not be able to do his next load because it would run over fourteen hours.  Dispatch responded with, “We have no other driver available to do it … can you run it just this time and make your logs work?”

The driver complied and seventeen hours later, shut down in his company yard.  Reporting to work the next day, he was informed that he had been terminated due to the EOBR recordings of his fourteen hour violation.  Taking his case to his supervisor and explaining what had happened, he was told that he should have refused the load.  The dispatcher received no verbal or written warnings and remained with his job.

For years, the philosophy of the trucking industry has always been to “blame the truck driver.”  This is a wide ideology of the general public, law enforcement and major news media as well and it has only gotten worse through the years.  From the logs department to the safety department, from the dispatcher to the terminal supervisor and up, whenever a violation occurs, the easiest and simpler route to take is to blame the driver.  None of these in-house transportation professionals ever seem to have the fortitude or deference to stand up and accept responsibility for their actions.

CDL Truck Driving Schools Blame the Graduate

It seems the blame game has now stretched from the CDL truck driving schools to the recent CDL graduate.  As most truck driving schools advertise, “Job Placement Assistance,”  it appears now that if the graduate is unable to find employment after completing the course, it is the direct fault of the graduate.  This post response received, sums it up:

“Maybe they don’t give more effort on applying.  It’s in the hand of the applicant to let employers nod to you, saying you’re hired.”

There is a good lesson here for CDL graduates to learn:  when it comes to trucking, especially OTR, when anything goes wrong, it’s the driver’s fault.  If you are a recent CDL graduate unable to find a truck driving job after completing training, then it is your fault.  It is the same “pass the buck” philosophy that I’ve listened to for 34 years: “Blame the “driver” or in this case . . . blame the graduate.

The “Job Placement Assistance” advertising that is used to lure in students is worth less than the letter of “Intent to Hire.” 

The CDL schools need to stop advertising JOB PLACEMENT ASSISTANCE.  They know that this is a major pull to bring students in, believing they will receive help in landing a job after paying thousands of dollars for a plastic driver license.   It is  more than false advertising by CDL truck driving schools . . . it is simply a lie in many cases.

All too many truck driving schools will take the money from anyone willing to shell it out, even if they know for certain that the student is not employable, due to a poor driving record, a past felony conviction, etc.

Yet still, they further entice them with  “Job Placement Assistance” and will receive a letter of “Intent to Hire” from some big name motor carrier to wave in front of the prospective student’s face.  Several months later when the graduate is still without a job, it must be the graduate’s fault.

Blame the truck driver . . . for this industry, it is an all too common practice.


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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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5 Responses to Industry Philosophy: Blame the Truck Driver. - Post a Comment

  1. […] Road Conditions RSS FEED 5 Oct Industry Philosophy: Blame the Truck Driver […]

  2. Truck Driver Training

    This was not at all a fault of truck driver, due to traffic no one could have been able to complete that task. So blaming on truck drivers in such case is really a wrong thing.

  3. Eric Gaither

    Greetings fellow Drivers and non drivers,

    It has been since Drivers began driving (or some short time after), to blame the Driver for everything regardless of origin.
    When a driver is late for a pickup or delivery, it must be the fault of the driver regardless of WEATHER, TRAFFIC–to include CONSTRUCTION, ACCIDENTS/WRECKS–, MECHANICAL–Engine, Drive Train, etc.–, which are OUT OF DRIVER CONTROL yet are not considered because WE THE DRIVERS are seen as magicians therefore there are no acceptable obstacles, not even death.

    IF/WHEN a Driver CHOOSES TO RUN OVER THEIR 14 HOUR CLOCK (with that pointless E-Log), the person(s) IS/ARE AT FAULT!!

    I’ve worked with E-Logs on short dedicated runs and while it’s good for LOCAL, it’s USELESS FOR OTR/LONG HAUL!!

    I’ll stick with PAPER LOGS, thank you.

    Drivers need to remember:
    CYA or Cover Your Assets!!

    NEVER, EVER “DO A FAVOR” for any dispatcher or other as such ALWAYS blows back in negative form and YOU THE DRIVER WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!!

    NO ONE HAS EVER BEEN TERMINATED FOR SAFETY and anyone that is subjected to such stupidity can easily BRING LEGAL ACTION AGAINST SUCH COMPANY!!
    IF, however, a Driver CHOOSES TO VIOLATE SAFETY, the Driver IS AT FAULT!!


  4. Eric Gaither

    Regarding “Driver Training Schools”,

    There are VERY FEW DRIVER TRAINING SCHOOLS that actually care about their Students and have any type Job Placement Assistance.
    Some Community Colleges offer courses and while these Courses require more time (8 weeks plus), they’re also ACCREDITED and hold value after completion.
    Some Trucking Companies only accept from specific Schools while some Companies only accept in house Training (with the typical “sign on/agree to stay for 1 to 1.5 years to settle Loan”).
    DO YOUR HOMEWORK before signing with ANY potential School as YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE once YOU SIGN the Contract and/or Student Loan agreement.
    MAKE SURE the School is P.T.D.I. Certified or you may well have wasted a few thousand dollars for nothing gained.
    Oh, sure, you’ll have gained a Commercial License yet WITHOUT PROPER TRAINING, you’ll be overlooked and like above, have WASTED YOUR TIME AND MONEY FOR NOTHING!!

    CYA or Cover Your Assets!!

  5. Eskimo Joe

    Amen Allen. I recently received a written warning for violating the 14 hour rule while broken down on the side of the interstate. I didn’t have a helicopter available at the time to get me home so I had to stay where I was and “Break” the rules.

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