There’s a mounting trend in the media regarding the Trucking industry, I‘d like to call it TIA or Trucker Issue Awareness. For years, drivers have attempted to put their issues in front of mainstream media, and it appears that some of driver concerns are indeed creeping in.
Let’s first review (AGAIN) just some of the issues that affect many drivers: Low wages( including not being paid for all work such as detention time), over regulations, driver harassment, lack of truck parking, cheap freight, lack of respect by employers, shippers, and even law enforcement, retaliation, poor CDL training, etc…
For many years drivers have been frustrated with the image that has been placed on them, portraying them as reckless speeding thugs blazing down the highway, without thought or care for others on the highway. Everywhere you looked there would be statistics of how many deaths occur each year involving fatal accidents with trucks, even though, almost always, stats prove that trucks were at fault only about 20% of the time.
Truckers concerns always seem to have fallen on deaf ears in the past, however of late, many of these issues have received attention by non-trucking publications.
The media has honed in for years on the topic of truck driver fatigue, giving the impression to the general public that drivers deliberately go hours and hours without sleep in order to increase their individual profits. It wasn’t until the recent Walmart Tracy Morgan accident that the media started to investigate and understand the dilemma drivers face regarding Hours of Service, ELD’s, and that “precious time” remaining on the drivers 14 hour clock. That time which is often carefully guarded by companies to ensure that none is wasted.
I believe another reason there is more attention given to driver problems is the extensive industry claim to the truck driver shortage. It isn’t until the general public is faced with the fear of how “things will affect them”, that so many begin to take notice. That’s when people start to care and begin to ask, “why is there a shortage?” It’s this general public concern which has opened the door to discussion of driver issues, driver pay being a lead topic by many.
A major topic which was revealed on our Truth About Trucking ‘Live” radio show was the lack of truck parking which is causing serious problems for professional drivers and compromising the safety of all using the highways. “Truck Parking Shortage: Drivers at Risk”
Many shippers and receivers, even though they are aware of the parking shortage problems that drivers face, still do not allow drivers to park on their property prior to PU or delivery. This was the case for Michael Boeglin who was shot and killed as he waited outside the property of shipper ThysennKrupp. The same can be said for Jason Rivenburg who was also shot and killed in 2009. Jason’s Law for more safe Truck Parking is now in MAP21.
Another issue which was brought up on the show that night was the fact that law enforcement is in the practice of waking drivers up during their federally mandated breaks. This led to a following radio show with Kenny Capell and Martin Hill as they shared their story on Truth about Trucking Lives’ show titled, “Truckers Right to Sleep and the 4th Amendment” Martin Hill is the founder of Don’t Wake Me Up
CDL driver Kenny Cappel explains how he was arrested for obstructing justice by Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Officer Leigh A. Parsons as he refused to violate the Federally mandated Hours of Service rule. This led to SBTC ( Small Business in Transportation Coalition) to File a Police Misconduct Complaint with U.S. Dept. of Justice. Kenny is scheduled for a court date on October 10th so it will be interesting to see how the US DOJ handles this complaint. Read more here
The most recent story covered by the media was by ABC’s 20/20 as they interviewed Abe Attallah To watch the 20/20 show “The Dangers of Forcing Truck Drivers to Drive Sleep Deprived”
Let’ us conclude by saying that it is not just mainstream media that needs to understand the truth about driver issues, but the industry as a whole needs to become involved and become accountable in order to solve the problems that professional driver face. Drivers are the backbone of the industry, and for all those who claim they are concerned about drivers, their concerns, and the possibility of a driver shortage, then must be taken, just talking about things isn’t going to cut it.
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