Professional CDL truck drivers have seen many changes over the past several years which have had a direct effect on their job abilities. From seemingly small changes such as the abolished use of cell phones ruling in 2011 to the larger Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) program, extensive regulatory implementations continue to drive a large number of skilled, experienced truck drivers away from the vocation.
Many veteran drivers are ready to explain that the main reason they have chosen to leave their trucking career is due to the restrictions that these regulations place on them, preventing the opportunity to earn a livable wage. Industry professionals also voice their discernment over the effect that these growing regulations continue to stifle the industry as a whole, leading to the ever-continual truck driver shortage.
A large majority of professional truck drivers will agree that a simple solution to any such driver shortage would be to: “Focus on increasing driver pay, develop and implement cdl training standards for new driver entrants, either through federal or a state-to-state action, and to stop pushing drivers to violate federal regulations.”
However, problems faced by drivers on a regular basis, far exceed the three issues stated above:
- Beyond the CSA and training standards, drivers are pushed to their limits via the Hours of Service (HOS) rules
- In particular areas across the country, the ability to find a safe and secure place to park is not only problematic, but often life threatening
- The soon-to-be ruling on the Electronic Logging Device (ELD’s) mandate which many drivers consider an invasive and harassing tool
- The lifestyle which for many, result in poor driver health issues
- The fight against the truck driver DAC report, used by many companies as a retaliation tool against drivers
- The treatment of drivers by the shippers and receivers
- The long periods of time away from home and family
- The unethical recruiting tactics by many motor carriers
A list pertaining to the struggles and sacrifices faced by the professional truck driver is seemingly endless. While the idea is raised that increasing driver pay is certainly one avenue in maintaining an interest in the vocation, is it the only answer? As a driver facing all of the problems and issues within the industry, and looking down the road to the future of trucking, would receiving a good and decent pay raise be enough for you to remain in the career?
Is the amount of pay the complete answer to all truck driver issues? Would you as a driver, gladly continue receiving poor treatment from those shippers and receivers who hold no moral or ethical standards toward drivers, if your paycheck was big enough? Would you still be willing to face the health issues and being away from home for months at a time, if your paycheck was substantial?
Are you content in being forced to violate HOS and to accept forced dispatching and future regulatory restrictions, if your paycheck was big enough? Are you saying that you are more than willing in continuing to be spoken down to by dispatchers, shippers, receivers, law enforcement, the media and the general public, if only your paycheck was big enough?
The industry maintains its concern over a driver shortage and a possible solution to retaining drivers. Are drivers really saying that the amount of their paycheck is the only aspect preventing them from entering or remaining within the vocation?
If so, then the industry now has its answer in regards to all of these issues. If not, the industry needs to listen to the drivers’ greater concerns and reasons and come to address all of the issues at hand.
© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.