Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry

otr truckingPoliticsTruck Stopstrucking showWoman Truckers

The Quest for The Truth About Trucking with Dan Rather Reports


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 Dan Rather Reports Truck Talkthe 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   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… 🙂

Donna Smith and Norita Taylor

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!

© 2009 – 2010, Max4health. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,



Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Responses to The Quest for The Truth About Trucking with Dan Rather Reports. - Post a Comment

  1. Amanda-Kay

    I have been keeping up with this on going investigation and I think concept is great. But not all new driver’s are the bad guy, my husband as been OTR for about two years now, he is a third generation driver on his dad’s side and second generation his moms side. I joined him this past summer and am a second generation driver. So we know how to drive and how all this works. We are n a lease from a company that shafts us every chance they get and they blantly do not care about there driver’s. We have resorted to living out of our truck because of the lack of stable miles. Here is an example of our companies turn over rate. Our friend quit and turned his truck in on October 30th 2009, on November 6th 2009 we saw a new driver in his truck at a reciever about 100 miles from the yard. It took them less than a week to have someone to fill his spot. We can complain all we want, they don’t care. They wont fire us but they will starve us to the point of quiting. Or so they hope! I am posting a blog about our daily trials feel free to check it out.

  2. Mike

    Outstanding.. I kinda stumbled on to this whole thing and I must say I am really impressed.. To be able to hear and to understand the many different perspectives on this issue has been quite enlightening.. I understand why some people didn’t show up for this conversation for their assumed concern of being cornered or unequally singaled out for whatever, but I decree shame unto the ATA for their disgraceful dismissal of “Trucker Desiree” for her legitimate claims of which I can personally attest to in my own experience.. To dismiss this drivers matter of fact, take or leave it perspective of a problem that certainly exists and any other trucker will attest, to dismiss these very real issues is simply incompetent on ATA’s part.. Further to lament that basically “your feelings have been hurt” by this one humble female driver and that is the reason you refuse to participate in this discussion is sickening.. Slander? I really don’t remember her ever saying anything pertaining directly to the ATA or it’s policies.. Something is very suspect with an organization that is so quick to be on the defensive and to reactively cast blame and shame on such a convenient target.. Are these people really on “our side”?


    You have been a driving force in my pursuit and career as a driver. I try to follow your web casts and always read the emails you send me. Now that I have been driving for 6 months, I guess I should apply for a trainers posn. LOL;>. I found Mr Leathers, though I laud his appearance, very vague in his answers. He basicaly sugar coated most to all issues. One thing I take seriously to heart is the pay aspect. As you are aware, I am a retired veteran. I have a pension comming in as well as a VA disability. I paid for my school upfront so I have no contract or repayment obligation. I run rather hard, Attempting to average no less than 2400 miles a week. Though my average is currently at 22.3. I did not take the medical or dental coverage, since I have that through the VA. My only deduction is for Open Road drivers plan. My average take home is $450 a week @ 28CPM. I am not the average CDL student. My point is, A fellow student, sold his truck to get the money to get to school, and live for 3 weeks. He has a wife and 3 kids. This would be his only income. Since he had to take the $0 down option, he has a $45 deduction for tuition per week. He has to take advantage of the medical and dental plan. Lets say that is $40 Per week. For the first 4 months he has a deduction of $25 for a recovery fee if he was to abandon the truck. His starting pay at $0 down is $.25CPM. Oh by the way our company has a mandatory 5% pay cut as of 1 June 09. Lets say he averages the same as me 2400 a month. Already he is having $110 Skimmed off of his gross. With the 5%, he is now at 23.25 CPM. Lets say he lives on $100. The 3 weeks that his out, which we know is impossible. So @ 23.25 X 2400= $ 558.00, without taxes. – $220, $338.00 a week. This is an what he has to support a family of 4. Keep in mind I stretched the deductions to an absolute minimum and did not withold taxes. $ 37,000 a year my ass. Here is your turnover. On a realistic note, he would be lucky after expenses to clear $175 a week. Like I said I am not the norm, But this is.
    Thanks for all you do .

  4. Allen Smith

    Thanks Mike, very well said. I’m glad people are getting it. These things have been going on for years and the industry never really has had anyone stand up, right in their face and tell them that it’s time for these abuses and scams to stop …. trust me, there is more to come … thanks for the post, Allen

  5. Allen Smith

    Hi MSGUSARET – I always appreciate it when drivers add posts such as yours revealing an inside look into OTR trucking and the scams such as the Owner Operator Lease Purchase Program. It’s not just me showing “The Truth About Trucking” — thanks, and good luck .. Allen

  6. Desiree

    Using the The term “not credible” or “their sources were suspect” was such a lame response it makes the ATA look worse in my opinion.

    That anyone even has to go to these lengths to ask for Safe Taining for an 80,000 lbd truck and Personal Safety within their own company with their own co-workers is probably the craziest thing about this entire event.

    I just finished my post about this followup show a few hours ago and it has had over 100 hits. ….

    Check it out at :

  7. tom

    Well I would like to add my story to the mix. I worked two years and trucking and became another victim of lease/purchase scams, hot loads, low yield income, and bad malicous dispatchers, and poor shop practices. The two companies I worked for blasted my dac report with petty incidents for which they have no grounds for. So I have been blacklisted. I however am disputing the dac report and their charges. One of which is on record giving me bad references so I cannot get work, whether trucking related or not. I have lost merchandise twice from being terminated, on two ocaasions which I am disputing now. Plus I am stuck with a school loan to pay. These companies are quick to get you in, then they are quick to disqualify you for anything they can find just to fire you once you have experience.

  8. Mick

    How an organization can send along comments but not give themselves a free 20 minutes of time to tell their story, refute, or for that matter just to even say, “we realize there are issues and we are here to help resolve those issues” would speak volumes. That alone would have been a huge step in the right direction. But no, send along some lame nonsense that immediately turned everyone off just speaks volumes as to what their underlying purposes and motives really are. Perhaps its time for a REAL organization to come that truly is what it claims to be, be created.

What do you have to say about this?

To the top