During his address to Congress on August 12th, 1974, Gerald Ford said, “A government big enough to supply you with everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”
As our nation’s truck drivers face stricter regulations, one has to consider if truck driving can still be a viable career. We are called professionals, yet we are labeled as unskilled by the U. S. Department of Labor.
Career is defined as “an individual’s course or progress through life.” Is long-haul trucking a career or is it simply another job?
I can remember when trucking was fun and CDL training was when you jumped in the truck and taught yourself. I remember when ten drivers would stop along the road to help one trucker with a busted water hose and I can remember when the CB radio was the best tool for passing the miles away with thought provoking conversation and laughter. I can not remember the exact time when truck drivers turned on truck drivers.
Talk among drivers concerning a major strike in the United States has been going on for years. We have seen a few drivers strike with a 100 here or 500 there, but it is time to get pass the truck driver strike rhetoric. A U. S. nationwide trucker strike will never happen, nor should it. It could prove to be a horrendous act that would spin a country further down, what is already an economic chaos. Truck drivers in America can do more to shape the industry standards to fit their needs than executing a strike.
They can do so through action. Not action by force, but action first noted by Greek poet Euripides, who died around 406 B.C. when he said, “The tongue is mightier than the blade.” Through the writings of Edward Bulwer-Lytton from the 1839 play, Richelieu, it has become better known as, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
The FMCSA is accepting comments from truck drivers and industry execs concerning the implementation of speed limiters on all heavy duty trucks. With approximately four million CDL drivers in the U. S. and another four million CDL holders, you would think that eight million people could flood the comment page to capacity. Yet, at last count, only about 4,000 comments had been received. This works out to be a response rate of only 0.0005 per cent. Why would the industry regulators listen when basically nobody is responding? Furthermore, these so-called 4,000 comments were largely from a form letter by some safety group organization, where many simply copied and pasted to the comment section, giving an appearance of 4,000 comments. Politically motivated . . .
We can stand around at the shippers and receivers, we can sit together at our favorite truck stop or gather in the rest areas and talk about the over regulations of the industry and what its doing to the American truck driver, but nothing will change to better the industry for drivers unless we actually take the time to get involved and use the system as it was meant to be used.
How to submit comments to the FMCSA
To assist drivers in preparing comments submitted to the FMCSA, Truckers for a Cause, former FMCSA administrator John Hill and OOIDA regulatory affairs specialist Joe Raikovacz held a live conference call for drivers on Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 at 12:00 noon, Central Standard Time.
This was a live conference webinar meeting where drivers were able to ask questions and learn more about the best way to submit comments to the FMCSA. The call was recorded and is available through the meeting archives at the Truckers for a Cause website.
Truck drivers need to come together and use the tool that is more powerful than any strike could summon . . . pick up the pen.
© 2011, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.