by Donna Smith
Monday evening Nov 9, 2009, Dan Rather Reports videoed part 2 of an ongoing trucking industry investigation at Willies Place Truck Stop in Carl’s Corner, Tx. The objective of this broadcast was to follow up from the Show of October 20th, “Queen of the Road” where Trucker Desiree and Tom Hansen discussed the poor practices going on in trucking, specifically the students in the CDL training mills and the new driver company training programs.
When the drivers first drove up and were entering Willies Place, some were confused, thinking that the show may create a poor image for drivers. After talking with many of them they soon realized that the intention of the show is to actually improve the image of the American driver by confronting the many scams that so many of them have faced throughout their career. The CDL school mills and new driver training programs are just 2 programs which are hurting the image of the drivers. This is because by churning out so many inexperienced drivers, not only are veterans being starved out of the business by newer lower paying drivers, but the lack of experience by these new drivers is not a true symbol of the excellent driving skills which so many veterans possess. I personally talked at length with trainer Jimmy Watson of KLLM. Jimmy at first came to Willies Place concerned about the possibility that his reputation would be damaged by exposing poor training tactics of other companies. It wasn’t until I explained that by exposing and eliminating the poor training practices of other companies, that his company would not have to endure any kind of negative stigma which may result from them.
In this week’s follow up, “Truck Talk “, Dan Rather visited the big truck stop at Carl’s Corner, Texas, to hear from others within the trucking Industry. Truckers from across the country were encouraged to attend the live videoing of the follow up program so they could witness first hand the questions and discussions going on among Dan Rather and the stage panel: Todd Spencer ( executive VP of OOIDA), Michael Belzer ( Economics Prof of Wayne State), Miles Verhoef ( O/O), Derek Leathers (COO of Werner ENT), Tom Dean( Veteran Driver for Werner Ent) and Guest audience speaker Allen Smith of AskTheTrucker.com. Many Truckers were in the audience including Desiree Wood from the first Dan Rather Reports trucking Video, along with owner operators, company drivers, company trainers, and even a student who came to Allen for help regarding a wrongful statement on his DAC report which has ended his short lived trucking career of less than 1 year.
As you will see after viewing the Dan Rather Truck Talk video, the greatest part of this program has been the fact that it has brought truckers, blogs and organizations together, discussing the problems and issues within the trucking industry. As you are aware, Allen Smith has been an advocate for students and drivers and has been talking about the scams within trucking for quite a number of years now. TruckerDesiree and Allen, AskTheTrucker, for the last year have had a synergistic relationship, fighting for the rights of students, new drivers, the harassment women in trucking trainees, and even the veterans who are being starved out. Other issues only being addressed by Allen, are the DAC abuse and the Trucking Lease Scams,which hopefully will gain the attention of others as they are crucial topics which must be addressed.
Now, we have agreement with Todd Spencer of OOIDA, who personally told TruckerDesiree what a great job she did in the first video. Also notice in the video that Todd Spencer brings up how there never was a driver shortage, but the problem is the 125% turnover rate, something which Allen has been trying to explain to people for years and actually devoted a chapter to in his book, “The Truth About Trucking.” When I heard Todd say that, I wanted to jump out of my chair and personally hug him!! I did mention it to him later, although I didn’t hug him… 🙂
I want to say that this meeting/forum at Willies Place has given me a hope that I have never felt before. I felt unity and comradeship, people standing around discussing problems together. I had a great talk with Norita Taylor, media spokesperson for the OOIDA, as we discussed things like the importance of Jason’s Law HR1256 and the CDL training problems. Norita told me also that her boss Todd Spencer said that Desiree’s depiction of CDL training was right on, and how great it was to be able to meet and speak amicably on all these important issues.
You see, we all need to have the same agenda, the same common goal….THE SUCCESS OF DRIVERS AND TO” RAISE THE STANDARDS OF THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY.”
Watch Both Dan Rather Reports Videos ( “Queen of the Road” and “Trucker Talk” on the right side column!
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