Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry

How to Ensure Fair Trucker Wages in the 2015 Transportation Bill


In Early November, The House passed their 325 billion dollar long term Transportation Bill. Within the bill were items of concern for drivers, including the Denham Amendment, which would prove, if passed, to negatively affect driver wages. The amendment was slipped into the House Bill at the 11th hour, suggesting that its true agenda for being there would hopefully go unnoticed.

Denham Amendment Vote No

The Denham amendment was not included in the Senate version of their highway bill. In order for an amendment to become law, it must first be a part of the final Transportation Bill, and before the Transportation bill can be final, both the House and the Senate must agree, including all of the provisions.
In order to get to this final version of the highway bill, a conference committee made up of the representatives (conferees) – from both the House and Senate are meeting this week to negotiate their differences in the 2 bills.
The decision as to whether or not to include the provision eliminating your rights (Denham Amendment) was scheduled for November 20, 2015, when funding would run out. However, the U.S. House passed by a voice vote late Monday a short-term highway funding bill that extends federal highway funding to Dec. 4.

 How concerned should drivers be and why?
If the Denham amendment is added to the final Transportation Bill, it would be devastating to wages for professional drivers. In a nutshell, trucking companies would legally only have to pay drivers for the miles they drive, not any other work they do.

Last week we began an all out awareness and action campaign, requesting that  professional drivers  call their representatives to put an end to the Denham Amendment and unfair wages. THIS CALL STILL STANDS  202-224-3121

Truckers make their pleas to fellow drivers:

Ernesto Guierrez video “Say “NO” to Denham Amendment and Trucker Wage Theft”

Allen Smith Video The Truth About Trucking Network says NO to the Denham Amendment

Hal Kiah- The Denham Amendment Must be Defeated For Truckers and Their Families

On Saturday November 14th we aired a radio show on AskTheTrucker “live’ where our guest Aashish Desai, attorney advocate, explained exactly what the amendment is and how it would affect trucker wages. You can listen to the specific segment of the 2 part show here,

During the show, Jerry Fritz, a 50 year veteran of the trucking industry called in and had this to say,

“This is the most egregious and dangerous act that is about to confront and affect truck drivers and their families in the 50 or more years I know.” Jerry Fritz

How concerned should drivers be about the Denham Amendment?

Another comment made by veteran Andrew Richard Eatough driver posted in Driver voices raised against highway bill amendment to resolve state/federal legal conflicts

“This is the most frightening piece of trucking legislation I have read. It literally pays the driver for time on duty driving only. Nothing else. It could literally do away with the On Duty Not Driving line or any compensation for any work done when not driving, hold and detention, loading and unloading, fuel bonuses, safety bonuses, just sitting in the first seat and driving down the road on duty driving. You will literally become steering wheel holders at the stroke of a pen, because that is all you will be paid for. I will say this one more time, drivers. You do not need a union to do collective bargaining.” Andrew Richard Eatough

When you want a law passed, just include the word SAFE

As drivers know, whenever they see a new proposed rule or law which claims to be in the name of “safety” ,drivers know they must stop and look carefully, as this will usually mean another detrimental outcome is in store for them. The Denham Amendment is no exception.

This is true from the article from California Trucking Association
“Representatives Jeff Denham (R-CA) and his allies offered this amendment to H.R. 3763 (highway reauthorization bill) to clarify that state break requirements and state laws restricting productivity based pay are pre-empted under federal law.

They continue to say, “The amendment will help preserve the ability of trucking companies to continue to provide safe, productive, and efficient services.”

Read that carefully again, the words “productivity based pay”… in other words… “ only paid for miles driven” Now read this once more also, “The amendment will help preserve the ability of trucking companies to continue to provide safe, productive, and efficient services.” Here is that word “safe”, and notice it’s associated with the words “productive” and ”efficient.”

I ask you this, how is it possible for a driver to be safe, knowing they will only be paid for their miles driven, and all while racing an obstacle and challenge ridden 14 hour clock?
How is it safe to be held up at a dock, not being compensated for the time you are detained, and yet you then have to “race” to make your next appointment,  as you fight to legally get enough miles for a decent paycheck? Not only that, but encouraged by your employer to “strategically log”, so you can maximize your hours.  In doing so, this assures your company gets their “product moved efficiently” while not having to pay you for any of your waiting time.  Safe?  I think not.

I ask you drivers, why are we consistently asking for more miles to earn more money? Why aren’t we asking to be paid for ALL TIME?   Which reminds me,
Here is part of the Denham Amendment that is most concerning to OTR Truckers, or at least it should be

‘‘(B) A State, political subdivision of a State, or political authority of 2 or more States may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law that requires a motor carrier that compensates employees on a piece-rate basis to pay those employees separate or additional compensation, provided that the motor carrier pays the employee a total sum that when divided by the total number of hours worked during the corresponding work period is equal to or greater than the applicable hourly minimum wage of the State, political subdivision of the State, or political authority of 2 or more States.

On Monday, November 16th, OOIDA put out a Call to Action to their members to oppose the Denham Amendment.

As lawmakers continue resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Highway Bill this week in Washington, we would like to draw your attention to language that, if included, is certain to impact your bottom line. This language was introduced via amendment, by Congressman Jeff Denham (R-CA/10th), as a result of a 9th circuit court decision to enforce a 100 year old law in California pertaining to meal and rest breaks for employees. However, the language also includes an ambitious overreach that would limit the states’ ability to allow for any other driver compensation except mileage pay. OOIDA stands firmly opposed to this language.

The Denham amendment was passed by the House in early November by a 248-180 vote, but was not included in the Senate’s version of the highway bill. OOIDA needs you to speak out and oppose the Denham amendment because it would unravel mandated fair-pay for drivers and would empower large carriers to further reduce driver wages. It would also gut the ability for states to address critical items like payment for detention time, safety training and medical examinations or other costs associated with licensing procedures.

The teamsters also had this to say;

“But as lawmakers in the House and Senate move to conference to work out differences in their bills before funding runs out on Nov. 20, we must insist that lawmakers not eliminate meal and rest break provisions that allow truckers to receive a much-needed respite while going about the rigors of their jobs. They should also remove language which would directly hinder the ability of drivers who are paid on a piece rate basis to receive the full wages they deserve for a hard day’s work.”

Drivers, make no mistake, The Denham Amendment would ensure that trucking companies would NOT have to ever pay you for ALL your time, but would only have to pay you for what you “produce”, or miles driven.

This bill is designed to meet the self-interest of the trucking companies while undermining fairness for workers, safety for all drivers, and the rights of the states to enact laws designed to protect workers and advance the health and safety of the citizens of the state.

What is the justification to add the Denham Amendment to the Transportation Bill?

The amendment was proposed as a solutions to what many see as state-to-state encroachment (particularly, today, in California) on federal authority over transportation. The Federal Aviation Administration Act’s section on intrastate trucking services effectively de-regulated intrastate transportation in 1994, turning those states that continued to set rates for intrastate carriers, into what the national industry had become by that time, in large part, following interstate deregulation that began with the 1980 Motor Carrier Act.

Because there are those who desired to fit the amendment to suit their agenda, the Denham Amendment appears to be redefining legislation, even suggesting that Congress intended back in 1994 when it passed the FAAAA, to in fact preempt ( prevent) all states’ rights from maintaining or enacting their own wage laws, including minimum wage laws and meal and rest break laws, in relation to truck drivers.
However, there is no such express intent to be found ANYWHERE in the 1994 Act.
Moreover, in the Dilts v. Penske decision, the Ninth Circuit ruled last year that in fact no such preemption based on the FAAAA existed, either express or implied. Thereafter, the United States Supreme Court denied review of the decision, making it the binding law of the Ninth Circuit.

The Denham Bill says that all these state laws are “preempted” by the federal deregulation law. The trucking industry has argued this issue and lost in the federal and state courts. The Supreme Court refused to even hear them. They now seek to run around these court decisions by slipping in this amendment. 

To strengthen the argument for states’ laws, there is the default and minimum wage protection law in the country shown in the Fair Labor Standards ActFLSA, which provides just that – minimum protections. Moreover, the FLSA specifically includes a “savings clause”, which Congress expressly reserved to all the states the right to enact additional wage laws which could offer their workers rights in excess of the minimums provided by the FLSA.  They further provided that the states could never offer less than that provided by the FLSA. In other words, the FLSA was established as a minimum for workers pay rights, but certainly not a ceiling.

Consistent with the rights afforded by the FLSA, California and many other states have in fact enacted wage laws and protections which exceed the FLSA’s minimums.
It appears now however, Representative Denham seeks to default back to the minimum protections afforded by the FLSA, by preempting states laws that exceed those allowed at the federal level, as revised by the Motor Carriers Act.

The Denham Amendment would, if included, essentially eradicate any state’s laws, which were created to protect drivers from wage theft. The amendment will allow trucking companies to pay drivers only for the time they spend driving, despite the fact that drivers are required to spend a great deal of time performing non-driving duties in fulfillment of their employment, often well in excess of 20% of their work day.

On our AskTheTrucker Live Special Alert broadcast on Tuesday 11/17/15, it was concluded that ATA is behind the Denham Amendment, not the federal government, which so many drivers had believed to be the case.

The (ATA), has attempted to have meal and rest breaks thrown out by the federal courts but have lost.. Again, The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that such breaks are not a violation of U.S. law. Now they are trying a different back door approach, Congress.

This pending amendment intendeds to provide to the industry an altered interpretation of the law ,which the courts, including even the Supreme Court, would not issue.

SO if the courts rule against you…. Go find a Congressman.

Say No to Denham Amendment

So I, along with many others are calling upon truckers and their families to act swiftly, and Call your Rep at the US Capitol Switchboard today before it’s too late at, 202-224-3121

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AskTheTrucker “Live” 2 Crucial Trucking Topics for drivers


MARK it DOWN !  Saturday Nov 14th at 6PM ET  AskTheTrucker ‘Live’ Trucking Open Forum

AskTheTrucker ‘Live” Addressing 2 Crucial Trucking Topics for Professional Drivers

AskTheTrucker Live

Two Crucial Trucking Topics affecting professional drivers will be discussed Saturday 6PM ET Call in number 347-826-9170

Mikes Law

‘Mikes Law’ and the Right to Carry

  1.  At 6PM ET  ” The importance of ‘Mike’s Law’ and the CDL driver”
    Mike’s Law bill for Americans working in interstate commerce,  protects and promotes the Second and Fourteenth Amendment Rights of Americans working in interstate commerce, allowing them to be able to carry firearms for self protection nationwide. Many Professional drivers carry legally, having their concealed carry permit from their home state.  But many times the issue  comes up where a drivers’ home state carry permit is not acknowledged in another state.   It can be confusing as there are state reciprocity laws, and they are complicated, especially in states such as NY, NJ, and Illinois.  Here is an example of how Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity Maps

    Mike’s Law would  set up an EXTRA, OPTIONAL permitting system that overrides anti-gun states on the basis of Federal power which regulates interstate commerce. So for example, if you work in interstate commerce, and you are traveling through New York and law enforcement asks to see your state permit, you get to say “Aha, I have a Mike’s Law Federal permit” and that trumps their state laws.
    Read ABC News
  2. James Lamb- Chairman of Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC)

    James Lamb- Chairman of Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC)

    SBTC Chairman James Lamb joins us as our first guest. He has asked the NRA to support the SBTC’s proposed bill entitled “Americans Working in Interstate Commerce Protection Act,” (commonly referred to as “Mike’s Law” named after an over-the-road truck driver named Michael Boeglin who was murdered and burned in his truck on June 26, 2014), which calls for the creation of a new business carry firearms permitting program for Americans working across state lines.


2  At 7PM ET  We will discuss the Denham Amendment, an amendment that few truckers are aware of.  The amendment was slipped into the the U.S. House Transportation Bill which cleared Nov 4th.

House of Representatives (2)
The amendment, introduced by Representative Jeff Denham from Turlock, California, has introduced legislation which could substantially reduce the amount truckers are compensated and eliminate their right to take breaks under the laws provided by their state. After  battling in the courts for years (trucking companies) and losing these issues, the trucking industry is now trying to sneak in a provision eliminating your rights in a larger transportation bill in hopes that the provision will go unnoticed.

Read more what the Teamsters had to say about the amendment
“House Moves Multi-Year Transportation Bill Forward, but Concerns for Drivers Remain”
“But as lawmakers in the House and Senate move to conference to work out differences in their bills before funding runs out on Nov. 20, we must insist that lawmakers not eliminate meal and rest break provisions that allow truckers to receive a much-needed respite while going about the rigors of their jobs. They should also remove language which would directly hinder the ability of drivers who are paid on a piece rate basis to receive the full wages they deserve for a hard day’s work.”

Our guest will be  attorney and advocate, Aashish Desai of the Desai Law Firm
Mr Desai represent thousands of truck drivers in wage disputes with their employers. His firm has spent the last several years filing wage and hour class actions against the trucking industry in California. He has reviewed tens of thousands of payroll documents, sat through hundreds of truck driver and industry depositions, and knows the real reason for this amendment to existing law.

DRIVERS: Your urgent action is needed to stop THE DENHAM AMENDMENT from happening!   A decision as to whether or not to include the provision eliminating your rights will be made by November 20, 2015.
now! Contact each representative below and let them know that you do not support the Denham Amendment to the Transportation Bill.

Sam Graves (R-Mo.): (202) 225-7041 Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.);(202) 225-5635
Candice Miller (R-Mich.): (202) 225-2106 Corrine Brown (D-Fla.); (202) 225-0123
Rick Crawford (R-Ark.): (202) 225-4076
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) (202) 225-8885
Lou Barletta (R-Pa.): (202) 225-6511 Elijah Cummings (D-Md.); (202) 225-4741
Blake Farenthold (R-Texas); (202) 225-7742 Rick Larsen (D-Wash.); (202) 225-2605
Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio); (202) 225-6265 Michael Capuano (D-Mass.); (202) 225-5111
Jeff Denham (R-Calif.); (202) 225-4540
Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.); (202) 225- 5256
Reid Ribble (R-Wis.); (202) 225-5665 Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.); (202) 225-5701
Scott Perry (R-Pa.); (202)225-5836 Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.); (202) 225-3265
Rob Woodall (R-Ga.); (202) 225-4272 Albio Sires (D-N.J.) (202) 225-7919
John Katko (R-N.Y.); (202) 225-3701
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) (202) 225-8050
Brian Babin (R-Texas); (202) 225-1555   Cresent Hardy (R-Nev.) (202) 225-9894
Garret Graves (R-La.) (202) 225-3901

Saturday November 14th 6PM ET
Listen via your computer
Click on the Player below
Listen via phone  347-826-9170

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Veteran Health Care and CMV drivers


Elaine Papp-Founder and CEO of

Veteran Health Care and CMV drivers

On October 9, 2015, Congressman Rob Woodall of Georgia introduced a bill, H.R. 3739, Veterans Expanded Trucking Opportunities Act see the text of the bill 

What does this bill mean?
If passed, this bill would exempt Veterans Affairs (VA) health care providers from the National Registry regulation. It would allow VA health care providers to provide physical qualification examinations for those veterans who qualify for VA health care benefits.  The VA health care providers would not need to be trained or tested or listed on the National Registry of Certified medical examiners.



I have concern for veterans and the cost of health care. I also have concern for road safety. I don’t think exempting VA health care providers from the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (National Registry) is a good idea. Below is my alternative. It addresses the concerns of health care cost for veterans, maintains the constancy and integrity of the National Registry system and maintains the ability to transfer medical certificate information electronically to the state driver’s licensing agencies, thus, eliminating the need for CMV drivers to take their records into the SDLA ( state driver’s licensing agencies) office.

I understand that some CMV drivers are veterans who qualify for Veterans’ Affairs (VA)     Health Benefits, yet, are required to undergo a physical examination by a National Registry Certified Medical Examiner. I also understand that some of these drivers are  concerned about the additional cost for the examination since few VA health care          providers are listed on the National Registry. In addition, I understand that many drivers prefer to see their primary care provider for their FMCSA medical certificate. In the paragraphs below I address these concerns and offer my alternative.

I propose that congress draft and pass a bill that requires referral to the National Registry provider and reimbursement of costs for those veterans who are CMV drivers and qualify for VA benefits. This should be done if the VA health care center does not employ a certified medical examiner. This referral and reimbursement process is already utilized by the VA when a veteran needs care of a specialist not available at the VA Health center.  My alternative does not set a precedent and it addresses the cost and accessibility of the National Registry certified medical examiners for veterans who qualify for VA healthy benefits.

My reasons for offering this alternative are listed below.

veteran health care

Veteran Health Care

1) The need for the National Registry

Prior to the establishment of the National Registry, many CMV drivers saw their primary care provider to obtain their medical certificates. Over time it was discovered that most primary care providers are not familiar with

a) the role and responsibility of a CMV driver

b) the difference between operating a CMV and automobile

c) the FMCSA regulations and guidance. Serious crashes involving loss of life resulted from improperly medically certified drivers. Thus, Congress mandated that the Agency develop a method for ensuring that health care professionals performing the physical examinations are trained and proficient in the requirements of driving.   The National Registry Program was developed over a period of several years and was published for public comment as required. Thus public input was included.

2) Primary health care professionals qualifications.

Primary health care professionals as well as those listed on the National Registry are qualified medical professionals, licensed to practice in the United States. But, just as some medical professionals take courses and board certification examinations to become certified as a specialist (e.g. endocrinologist, cardiologist, etc.), so, too, health care professionals take the training and the tests to become proficient in transportation health, to become certified on the National Registry.   The professionals on the National Registry understand the FMCSA regulations and can synthesize the driver’s medical information with the regulations and the ability to safely operate a CMV in interstate commerce. National registry Medical Examiners also contact and obtain information for the primary care provider as needed.

Several studies have shown that since primary care providers have a personal relationship with their patient they often will bend to the patient’s requests to help their patient receive a benefit.   In the past, some of these primary care providers have issued medical certificates when the driver’s medical condition was not conducive to safe operation of a CMV in interstate commerce.

3) Inconsistency of driver qualifications.

Congressman Woodall’s bill exempts VA health care professionals from the National Registry and gives some CMV drivers the ability to see their primary care provider while others CMV drivers must go to a National Registry provider — so a double standard will be set and inconsistency will result.

4) Adverse impact on electronic transfer of medical certificates to SDLAs

Mr. Woodall’s bill also impacts the data entry system that electronically transfers medical certificate information to the SDLAs for CMV driver licenses. Drivers and SDLAs requested that driver medical certificates be electronically transferred from the Medical Examiner through the National Registry to the SDLAs. FMCSA just finalized a regulation to enable this function. If CMV drivers are examined and issued medical certificates for a medical provider not on the National Registry, the data transfer function will be circumvented and the driver will need to make the medical certificate into the SDLA. The electronic data transfer system will be adversely affected.

5) Veteran Affairs Health Care Clinics

VA Health Clinics are overwhelmed with numbers of veterans seeking care. This is well documented. Thus, it may be difficult for CMV drivers to get a timely appointment for a medical examination to obtain a CMV driver’s medical certificate. By utilizing a referral and reimbursement process, the VA Health center will minimize the number of patients to be seen at its facility and meet the CMV driver’s need.

I am concerned about veterans and all CMV drivers. But I am also concerned about the safety of our roads. . I believe veteran’s concerns can be integrated with concerns for the safety of our roads and integrated into the already existing system.

I recommend that you consider my ideas and take action writing to your congressman and to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. To learn more about the committee and which congressman serves on it., go to: Transportation House

Contact information fro writing or collating the committee is:

2251 Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-6715

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I-95 Corridor Coalition to advise OTR CMV drivers about available truck parking


The Truck ‘N Park Demonstration System Goes Live on November 20, 2015.

Truck 'N Park The I-95 Corridor Coalition

Truck ‘N Park


 Real-Time Truck Parking Space Availability Information

At Rest Areas

WHAT:           The I-95 Corridor Coalition, an alliance of transportation agencies along the Eastern Seaboard, is testing an automated technology to advise over-the-road commercial vehicle drivers on the real-time availability of truck parking spaces. This effort will initially involve two public rest areas in Virginia and Maryland.
The Truck ‘N Park Demonstration System can be accessed by website or phone.

WHO:              Truckers traveling northbound along the I-95 corridor are invited to try out the system.

WHY:              Save time and quickly find parking spaces when you are nearing a break.

WHERE:         The demonstration system provides the number of empty parking spaces in real time at the following public rest area locations:

  • I-95 Ladysmith Rest Area, Northbound, Ladysmith, VA (MM 107, approximately 30 miles north of Richmond).
  • I-95 Welcome Center, Northbound, Laurel, MD (MM 37, approximately 20 miles south of Baltimore).

WHEN:           The test period will begin on November 20, 2015, and continue for approximately four months. During that period, truckers may use the system as often as needed. There is no charge for using the system. This is your opportunity to test the system and furnish feedback.

HOW:              To access the Truck ‘N Park system, please do one or more of the following:

  • Before beginning your trip, go to the website, Click on “Parking Map.” Then click on the large red “dots” to display current parking information at Ladysmith or the Maryland Welcome Center.
  • From the road, when safe to do so, call 855-TRK-PARK (855-875-7275). Menu options will be verbally listed for you. When prompted, say “Find Parking” or “List Locations.” Then say “Ladysmith” or “Maryland Welcome Center” for current parking information at those lots.
  • The system also has a specialized Call-Back feature which automatically calls your cell phone with updates on the number of empty parking spaces in the lot you’ve chosen. There are two ways to set up a call back:
    • From the website, select “Call Back Setup.” Register for the service (we do not track your information), select the lot, and schedule the call back. If you need help, see the “FAQ” section on the website.
    • On the phone system, say “Call Me Back.” Then say “Ladysmith” or “Maryland Welcome Center.” Select the time interval for the call back.

BE SAFE:       While driving, calls to the Truck ‘N Park system should be made using a hands-free device only. When a call back is received, please take the call only when it is safe to do so. If you are unable to answer, the system will stop calling after several rings and try you again later. Safety first!

PRIVACY:      Your privacy will be maintained. No data will be retained about you or your vehicle.

FEEDBACK:  We would appreciate your feedback. After using the Truck ‘N Park test system, you will be invited to provide feedback on your experiences. You may do so at any time during the test period by clicking on “Feedback” on the website, or staying on the phone line.  855-TRK-PARK (855-875-7275

Thank you for testing the Truck ‘N Park Demonstration System!

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SBTC Challenges the NRA to Stand Up for Truckers’ Gun Rights



SBTC Challenges the NRA to Stand Up for Truckers’ Gun Rights

Small Business in Transportation Coalition Challenges the National Rifle Association to Protect and Promote Truckers’ Gun Rights

SBTC Small Business Transportation Coalition

The Chairman of the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (“SBTC”) issued a bold statement today challenging the National Rifle Association to protect and promote the Second and Fourteenth Amendment Rights of Americans working in interstate commerce to be able to carry firearms for self protection nationwide. SBTC Chairman James Lamb asked the NRA to support the SBTC’s proposed bill entitled “Americans Working in Interstate Commerce Protection Act,” (commonly referred to as “Mike’s Law” named after an over-the-road truck driver named Michael Boeglin who was murdered and burned in his truck on June 26, 2014), which calls for the creation of a new business carry firearms permitting program for Americans working across state lines.

"Mike's Law" Sign the petition -Trucker Mike Boeglin, murdered on June 26, 2014

“Mike’s Law” Sign the petition -Trucker Mike Boeglin, murdered on June 26, 2014


“We understand the NRA has been asking members of Congress that we have approached not to sponsor the Mike’s Law bill and support their national concealed carry reciprocity bill instead. We would respectfully request the NRA reconsider their position as we believe our bill is a stepping-stone to national reciprocity.




“Mike’s Law is the back door to national reciprocity for all Americans.”

Whereas the NRA bill could be challenged on 10th Amendment “states’ rights” grounds, our bill is firmly grounded on the Commerce Clause. Mike’s Law also invokes the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection of the laws” guarantee in that truckers should receive the same right to possess firearms while they sleep in their trucks as the majority of Americans, who sleep in residential buildings,” SBTC Chairman James Lamb said today.

Lamb’s Petition to Congress has been signed by approximately 11,000 Americans so far who are in favor of a business carry permit that allows Americans working between states to carry firearms concealed under Federal authority, in accordance with the government’s power to regulate interstate commerce under the United States Constitution.

“U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has personally expressed to me he is in support of Mike’s Law and even indicated he would sign it into law if elected president. And we believe once Mike’s Law is passed and signed into law, the NRA could seek it to be extended to all Americans who “engage” in any form of interstate commerce, including as consumers, on 14th Amendment grounds. Mike’s Law is the back door to national reciprocity for all Americans,” Lamb added.

Lamb indicated he hopes on behalf of nearly 9 million Americans who work in the transportation industry, many of whom are NRA members, that the SBTC would hear from the NRA that they have decided to support Mike’s Law and stand up for truckers’ gun rights.

Contact Information James Lamb/Kevin Rea SBTC

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The Evolution of the Driver Shortage, Trucker Wages, and Safety


Allen Smith- Truck Driver Shortage

Truck Driver Shortage: Addressing Safety,  Driver Wages, Retention, Driver Job Hopping and Turnover rates.

The time has come for everyone within the trucking industry to address the facts about the infamous truck driver shortage. The driver shortage is not really a shortage per say, but rather a reduction in the abundance of excess drivers that were previously available in the past. It is also the inability for the trucking industry to retain their drivers.

Before I go on, let me start out with this statement: truck driver wages have not changed in 25 years.

Here is a breakdown of the difference between the truck driver shortage of the past and the present so called truck driver shortage:

In the last few decades it has been common to have as high as a 125% turnover rate for drivers within the trucking industry. As long as I can remember ads have been claiming there has been a truck driver shortage, a ploy to attract thousands into the driving sector of the trucking industry.

The ads would read something like this:

“Make 100 thousand dollars driving a truck, see the countryside, no skill needed.”

Those entering the industry would receive their CDL license, many times from a trucking school, sign-on with a starter company which completed their training, and basically run team from anywhere between 18-25 cpm, driving with a trainer. They would be out for weeks or months at a time earning a weekly paycheck of between $200-$400. During this time there were many abuses existing, but that’s another topic.

Also during this time, many carriers did not raise the wages for their veteran drivers, mainly because they could get their freight moved cheaper by the steady influx of new drivers entering the industry.

Most new drivers left the industry, disillusioned after less than a year, only to be replaced by others, and so the churning of new CDL drivers continued as well as the high turnover rate. The result? Freight rates remained low and so the race to the bottom evolved along with low retention rates.

There was no REAL driver shortage as it was a business strategy to get people to enter the industry and to keep wages down. There was actually an overabundance of drivers, but they were not staying and the carriers did not care. Mission accomplished. Freight was being moved cheaply and veteran drivers would not complain about wages or treatment in fear of being replaced. Life was good for the carrier. Truckers complained in the Trucking Forums and truck stops where their voices went largely unheard.

What has changed now when referring to a truck driver shortage?

The short story is people are leaving the trucking industry, and less, rather than more as in the past, are entering. For the experienced veteran, it is no longer worth staying and for any potential newcomer, it is not worth entering. The short answer to the “why” equation is simple: wages do not match the time and sacrifice of the vocation. Many drivers who have opted to stay cannot find employment (unqualified), which we will explain.

The average age of the driver today is around 50 years old although I know many who are older. Many veteran drivers began their careers in the 70’s and 80’s when wages were envied and drivers were respected. As we entered the 90’s, the rise of Truck Driving Schools became popular and the FMCSA set requirements for a CDL License. Driving schools, company training, Government Subsidies, and cheap labor were common terms. Along with it came many other terms such as cheap freight, DAC reporting, retaliatory treatment, and starving out.

CDL training, both school and company training, became the formula for higher profits.

The industry’s business model has been the same for decades: claim a driver shortage, attract more people to the industry, receive government subsidies, move freight with low entry level wages, keep freight rates low, and eventually make it difficult for owner operators to compete with the giant “company driver” carriers.

Drivers paid by mile seek more hours to work rather than higher wages

Governed by the Clock- Paid by the Clock

Driver Productivity Increases as Wages Plummet

Veteran drivers accepted the fact that their wages would no longer rise as well as the fact that many hours of unpaid labor would continue to be a part of the vocation. This became an acceptable part of the job. Drivers would be pushed to their limits against Hours of Service in order to maximize profits, often pushed to go over the legal hours. Trucks reported by drivers with mechanical problems were told to “keep going” and if they complained, they could be “punished” with “no miles.” During these times drivers would receive DOT violations, such as over hours or mechanical problems, while the company did NOT receive the violation. Was the safety of the driver a company concern or did company profits trump safety?

Drivers began “Job hopping” looking for that “better job” or that better company which would pay and treat them better. Sometimes they found it but most often they did not as again, this is the standard business model for the industry.

So what has changed? How is the “driver shortage” different than it was in the past? Is there now a real driver shortage and if so, how can it be resolved?

  • WAGES – As the years roll by, drivers are now leaving because they have not been adequately compensated for their sacrifices and TIME. This is more evident than in the past as the cost of living continues to rise and driver wages have not gone up in the last 20-plus years. Time away from home and being available while out on the road 24/7 must be considered, not just the piece work or CPM. Drivers must be paid for ALL work. A salary would solve many of the issues drivers are confronted with.

    Pat Hockaday of has a detailed solution for Drivers Wages. We urge everyone to look at it.

  • Health and Retirement : Yes it is true that the average age of veteran drivers is 49 and many will be retiring soon, but it is not just their age, it is also their decision to retire. Again, a main reason is that the sacrifice of the job does not meet today’s required wages. Also, the lifestyle leads to many health concerns such as the availability of nutritious food, lack of exercise due to the sedentary lifestyle, lack of medical resources while over the road and the inability to take time off to address an illness for fear of not being paid. A salary wage would address this problem: a suggested one-week paid vacation and five personal days to address illness and medical appointments.
  • The Qualified Truck Driver – The implementation of CSA has now made the carrier and the driver responsible for violations and crashes, not just the driver.
    Companies have a safety score which is public and used by shippers, brokers, and insurance companies. Drivers do not have a public score, however they have a PSP report which reflect their last few years violations and crashes. Carriers look at this and based on the driver’s PSP, determine if that particular driver would be a “risk” for violations, thus used as a predictor for compromising carrier CSA scores.

This has greatly affected how Carriers Hire. The result is THOUSANDS of drivers looking for employment but not being hired. What does the ATA say about this? According to the October 2015 Truck Driver Shortage report:

“Many carriers, despite being short drivers, are highly selective in hiring drivers because they have made safety and professionalism high priorities.”

Is it safety or is it their CSA scores and insurance premiums? After all, prior to CSA,  they never appeared to be quite as concerned about safety. This is an unarguable fact.

Read more – Defining the Truck Driver Shortage and the “Qualified Driver”

  • Job Hopping – According to the ATA 2015 Truck Driver Analysis – Drivers who are looking for better jobs, including better pay and better treatment and who appear to be “job hopping” are considered “not qualified.”  In other words, they are available for employment and though not technically considered part of the “driver shortage” the fact that companies are reluctant to hire them, makes them unavailable for the hiring process. The ATA blames this on other companies trying to lure their good drivers to drive for them instead by offering the driver a hefty sign-on bonus. The question is, if their current carrier is such a great company, why are they not staying with them and why do they continue to job hop?
  • Regulations – Drivers are leaving because of added or modified regulations such as Hours of Service, ELD’s, anticipation of Speed Limiters, etc. Many regulations which in theory are intended to increase safety, actually have an opposite effect when drivers are being paid by their productivity and CPM. These regulations that are put in place limit driver productivity and their wages, creating an urgency by the driver to get more miles and therefore become a safety risk. A solutions is higher driver wages, again, preferably salary.

Interestingly enough, Carriers look at Regulations, specifically HOS, as a cause for the driver shortage also, only with a twist.

Motor carriers think of truck driver Hours of Service as reducing industry productivity.
According to the recent 2015 ATA Truck Driver shortage report:

“Reductions in productivity exacerbate the driver shortage as it requires more trucks, and thus more drivers, to move the same amount of freight.”

Drivers look at regulations as reducing their wages, especially when they are fighting a 14 hour clock, ELD’s, speed limiters and unpaid work, including detention time. Just as companies are concerned about their bottom line and productivity in regards to HOS regulations, the drivers are also concerned about their productivity, in other words their cpm wages. As long as drivers are paid CPM this will always be the case.

  • Entering Drivers – Because of the internet and Social Media, those entering the industry are aware of the low wages, lack of respect and health problems related to trucking. In the past, the inflated ads worked, but for today’s tech-savvy generation, they no longer do. Again, the sacrifice of being away for extended periods of time does not appeal to many, especially when their initial take home will be less than $500.00 per week and the opportunity to earn much more will be slow-coming. When they calculate their hours with their take home pay, most often it is below minimum wage.

Solutions for Ending the Driver Shortage

  • Driver Solutions

Higher wages -Paid personal days and vacation and more respect. Wages must represent an acceptable living wage and equal to the sacrifice of the job. Being Paid for ALL time working. Preferably a salary.

More At-Home Time

Driver Image – Drivers want to regain the honorable driver image of the past because they want more respect and higher wages. Hire those who have a high self worth and self esteem. This will be achieved when driver wages are increased.

CDL Industry Training Standards – Promote motivated and highly trained competent drivers into the industry. This will be achieved by quality training. This is another topic which deserves more discussion later.

Better treatment – By all aspects of the supply chain, including: trucking companies, shippers, receivers and brokers.

  • Industry Solutions

Raise Wages – Unfortunately, what is classified as a significant raise, even at a 15% increase, only represents a .06 CPM raise and still does nothing to compensate for being paid for ALL work or time on the job.

More At-Home Time – Potential drivers are often hesitant to take a job that requires so much time away from home, especially at the beginning of the new vocation.

Driver Image – The Trucking Industry wants to improve Driver Image to attract more people into the industry as well, but many veteran drivers believe this is only for giving the illusion of a well paying and respected job and to draw from the younger generation who today, are showing no signs of interest.

Lower Driving Age – Interstate driving currently has an age minimum of 21. The 18-20 year old segment has the highest rate of unemployment of any age group, yet this is an entire segment that the industry cannot access with the exception of local routes, which is generally reserved for seniority. This could prove to be a dangerous choice as the industry looks to those recently receiving a license with little life experience and allowed to drive an 80, 000 pound vehicle safely. This would once again create another new driver industry churn as years ago as it would continue the industry’s business model of bringing them in at low wages, move the freight cheap, and when they leave, just replace them.

Hiring Military – I am all for hiring our military vets as long as the industry does not exploit them using the same business model as encouraging them to get more miles through an underpaid, unfair, and unsafe CPM only wage model.

Better Treatment by the Supply Chain – Compounding the already difficult lifestyle, drivers often complain of mistreatment at shipping and receiving facilities. Complaints range from restricting access to restrooms to having to wait extended periods of time before the trailer is loaded or unloaded. Improving the experience for drivers at drop-off and pickup locations would provide for a more attractive career choice. All companies in the supply chain, including trucking companies, shippers, receivers and brokers must treat drivers with the respect that they deserve.

Conclusion – Make no mistake: carriers fully understand that the combination of being paid CPM while being compliant with HOS, ELD’s, Speed limiters, etc.,  while combined with hours of non-paid waiting time and hours of work while not driving and not being paid will reduce the drivers paycheck.

Carriers also realize that drivers are at risk for being unsafe as they try to get as many miles as they can to increase their paycheck. They also understand that drivers contend with HOS, additional anticipated regulations that by the way, are supported by ATA such as ELD’s and Speed Limiters, as well as weather, delays, and many other unpreventable factors which can interfere with the 14-hour clock, forcing many drivers to operate in an unsafe manner.

Carriers also fully understand that driver perform hours of unpaid work and unpaid waiting time. They know drivers are not happy and are leaving because of the uncompensated lifestyle. They know that the word is out that drivers are not making enough money so new drivers are not entering the industry.

The industry claims there are not enough drivers, but it is more accurate to say that there is not the previous abundance of drivers to compensate for the “churn” and high turnover?
Yet, SIGNIFICANT wage increases which would include being “paid for all time” are not being considered as a solution. Why? Motor carriers claim that they cannot afford it as freight rates do not allow it.

Easy Fix Consider driver wages as part of the formula for profit and allow rates to rise.

After all, the industry created cheap rates years ago by hiring new drivers at low wages and then churning them out. Just reverse the concept and remedy the problem. Allowing freight rates to rise not only would allow for increased wages, but would then aid Owner Operators to also make higher profits.

Drivers paid by CPM, while their job is based on an hourly clock which includes work and wait time without piece production no longer makes sense in today’s age of trucking.

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Recruiting New Truck Drivers 101


When someone mentions the term “Recruiting,” most folks wouldn’t associate marketing with it. Moreover, most people see the world of marketing and advertising as an annoying practice lacking any sense of boundaries. In the end though, marketing plays a vital role in selling products, promoting services, and even attracting professional drivers to the trucking industry.

Recruiting, Marketing. and then Retaining professional drivers

Recruiting and Marketing to professional drivers- What’s the difference?

While a truck driver is far from a new brand of cereal, some aspects of marketing remain constant. This is particularly true for trucking companies seeking to recruit new truck drivers. The problem is that marketing can be a meticulous and complex endeavor, full of different tactics and approaches.

In fact, I have outlined a few basic marketing practices that can help attract and retain drivers, if done right that is.



Who are you recruiting?

That may seem like a simple question since this post is about recruiting truck drivers. More often than not though, many marketing campaigns miss their marks. In other words, a successful marketing campaign needs to remain focused on a target audience, which in this case is truck drivers and those desiring to be truck drivers

Now that we know we’re targeting the truck-driving demographic, we can use that to create marketing material that speaks directly to that particular group. Marketing material can be anything from blog posts and articles, to classified ads, to social media advertising, and even promotional products.

Be truthful

New Drivers– This is where a problem has been and it continues to be when trying to attract  and retain professional truck drivers, especially new people to the industry.

It has been the practice of the trucking industry, when recruiting newcomers to the industry, to be less than completely truthful.
The problem is, you can’t use the same marketing approach as one would use to sell a box of sugary cereal to kids (or their parents), misleading them into thinking “it’s good for you”.
Using this approach, they (drivers) may try it, but they’re not going to stay.

The Trucking Marketing Hurdle:
Attracting people to the trucking industry and then retaining those who you convinced to enter in the first place.

For new people coming in, you MUST explain the lifestyle, it’s not easy an easy job. It may however attract and fit a specific mindset of many. Find those people.

You must also, at some point, explain that upon graduating, you will have to go to a “starter company”, a company which will finish your training, These companies are self-insured which will allow them to bypass the 2-3 year driving experience required by most carrier insurance companies. This also means they will be driving OTR and will be away from home for extended periods of time. In other words, “No, you most likely will not get a local driving job upon graduating CDl school” And “No” unless things change, you are not going to make 60K your first year.

The career of truck driving is for a specific group of individuals, it is not for everyone. The challenge of the recruiter, or “marketer” if you will, is to tap into the market of those personality characteristics which will be best suited for the profession… and then pay them well ( which is another topic)

You want to attract more people into trucking? Do a scientific study and understand what type of people would be most attracted to the lifestyle of the trucking industry, then create your ad copy highlighting the benefits which appeal to that specific group…. and then reach those specific people.

Veteran drivers are more savvy to the inflated promises in many of the hiring ads, almost to the point of sometimes being overly cynical, but can you blame them?
The advantage is, they already know the lifestyle and what to expect. The challenge is different with this group, however honesty of job description, realistic wages, benefits, treatment, and home time remains crucial if you want to retain these drivers.
Simply put, be honest and you will eliminate the problem of “trucker job hopping

Be specific…

There are many types of drivers including (but not limited too) over-the-road and long-haul, owner-operator, team, hazardous materials, certification-specific, etc… If you’re recruiting for a firm that employs a diverse array of drivers, then this doesn’t necessarily apply.

For firms that are looking for a specific type of truck driver, the marketing campaign may need to be adjusted to target only a specific type. After narrowing down the search, you can now begin focusing solely on the habits and trend of a particular niche. To do this, you need to focus on how this type of driver might encounter certain media as this will tell you which type of advertising—traditional, online, etc.—to use.

Online and Offline Marketing

In a nutshell, this is where you put your marketing to work. There are all kinds of innovative marketing techniques being used, but for the most part, marketing can be divided into two main categories—online and offline.

Offline marketing includes physical advertising mediums such as flyers and job postings, as well as promotional items like personalized luggage identifiers, trucker’s hats, and squeeze balls. Online marketing really only took shape two decades ago when the Internet began to take shape. As the name suggests, online marketing takes place virtually by utilizing blogs, websites, and social media.

While traditional offline marketing is antiquated to say the least, it has stood the test of time, proving to be a tried-and-true tactic. Online marketing has one distinct advantage though. Instead of being limited to a tangible area as with offline marketing, online marketing is broadcasted to potentially millions of web users across the globe.

In either case, the key to successful marketing, in respect to attracting and then retaining professional drivers, is honesty.
That may mean those hiring, will need to change their business model in order to keep their promises.

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DOT Announcement- Plans to gather info on Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)


Elaine Papp-Founder and CEO of

On October 1, 2015 the US Department of Transportation published its Monthly Report of Significant Rulemaking. In that report, DOT published an announcement that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) were planning to jointly publish an advanced notice of proposed rule making (ANPRM) on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The documents Numbered 47 and 55 are entitled, “Medical Certification of Transportation Workers in Safety Sensitive Positions; Individuals Exhibiting Risk Factors for Moderate-to-Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.”

In DOT’s October report, they announce that the FMCSA/FRA ANPRM is to gather data and information on the prevalence of moderate-to-severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the economic impact and the safety benefits of a rule making on obstructive sleep apnea.

The publication schedule for the ANPRM is December 11, 2015 with the close of the comment period being February, 2016.


Report on DOT Significant Rulemakings- Access to the Report -October 2015 Significant Rulemaking Report

So what does this mean for the transportation industry? for truckers? if this a concern? Will FMCSA be issuing a rule of OSA imminently?

In my opinion, the Agencies issuing a request for data and more information is a good thing. It is an opportunity for truckers and others in the industry to get involved in the rule-making — to become active.


The Agency is asking for information and data — They want to gather information on whether or not this regulations would have too high an economic burden? Or, if it would be have an important safety impact — They want to develop an evidence-based regulation, if they decide to do one. They want to know facts.

So drivers, if you have information about the cost of OSA testing and treatment and how it affects you, plan to participate and respond to the request for information. Drivers, carriers, safety advocates, law enforcement, researchers, if you have information on the safety impact of a rule on OSA, participate in the rule-making.

The purpose of an ANPRM is to notify the public that the Agency(ies) are
1) considering a rule making and
2) are requesting information on the topic that the Agency(ies) can utilize in their deliberations. So, Comments that are most helpful are those that give substantive information to help the Agency make its decision.

Does requesting information and data mean the OSA rule is imminent?
NO, not at all.
Once the Agencies get the information they may decide not to pursue it any further. A new President may not want to pursue this subject. It may not be part of his/her Agenda. There are lots of processes involved. This is the first step and an important one for all of us. We don’t want regulations to be developed based on a whim. The FRA and FMCSA are taking responsible steps to ensure that whatever direction they take it will be based on the most recent data and information. The best way for them to make their decision is get a lot of comments, including lots of data and information from a wide range of people in the regulated community.

So keep informed and participate!


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Defining the Truck Driver Shortage and the “Qualified Driver”

The Truck Driver Shortage- Defining the Qualified Driver

The Truck Driver Shortage- Defining the Qualified Driver

The Truck Driver Shortage- Part 1
Defining the Qualified Truck Driver

In the recent ATA press release, addressing the continuous “driver shortage” plaguing the trucking industry, their analysis states that the shortage has grown to nearly 48,00 and could increase more due to industry growth and the retiring truck driver community. According to analysis and if the current trend holds, the shortage may balloon to almost 175,000 by 2024

This October 6th report from the ATA raised questions about the “Driver Shortage” dilemma ,which has been a topic of discussion for as long as I can remember.
The first question that came to mind, is the definition of a driver shortage, and who is defining it, the driver or the carrier?

It is the definition of truck driver shortage which will also shape and define the cause and effects of the shortage, as ones perception of cause will also ultimately dictate their solutions for the shortage.

A drivers’ definition of a truck driver shortage “A lack of drivers willing to work for low wages”
A carriers’ definition is , “A driver shortage is a lack of qualified  drivers”

Those are vastly different definitions! In order to address a problem, such as the Driver Shortage, both sides will need to at least recognize each ones perception of the problem. If not, solutions will be a long way off.

Defining the Qualified Driver

Let’s first begin with the definition of “Qualified Drivers”
Drivers would state that a qualified driver is one with knowledge, experience, and a safe driving record.
On the other hand, according to the ATA President and CEO Bill Graves, “The ability to find enough qualified drivers is one of our industry’s biggest challenges”

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said “An important thing we learned in this analysis is that this isn’t strictly a numbers problem, it is a quality problem too,” … “Fleets consistently report receiving applications for open positions, but that many of those candidates do not meet the criteria to be hired. According our research, 88% of carriers said most applicants are not qualified.”

Understanding the difference between the terms: driver shortage and qualified driver shortage.

The ATA report goes on to say, The truck driver shortage probably seems much worse to motor carriers than the current figures suggest because of a quality versus quantity issue. Many carriers have strict hiring criteria based on driving history, experience and other factors.

We spoke to John Peroyea, president of, who reviews thousands of driver applications. We asked him the question,
“Do you find many applicants who are not qualified to be hired? If so, what are the major reasons?

This was John’s reply:

“We are certainly not seeing a lack of experienced drivers registering for our website to apply for truck driver jobs. Many drivers have years of experience in various types of driver jobs and hold many endorsements. What can hold drivers back however are the specific application requirements at various carriers.

A factor that can disqualify otherwise experienced drivers is preventable accidents within a certain time frame and/or number of jobs held within the last few years. Also, many carriers have various requirements for length of time since a felony conviction or DWI for example.

Since the criteria varies from company to company an experienced driver may meet the criteria for most companies but fall short of others.”
John Peroyea, President of 

FindATrucker is a trusted AskTheTrucker partner providing a truck driver employment website, matching drivers to their specific job needs.

Now, I can definitely understand the questioning of “time since the last felony conviction or DWI”, but the idea of basing a drivers’ quality by “number of jobs held within the last few years”, raised my eyebrows.   Why are drivers going from “job to Job?” Are employers asking drivers this question?

What does the ATA say about that?

In the ATA’s Truck Driver Shortage Analysis it states, Turnover is a reflection of demand for drivers, with higher rates generally indicating strong demand for drivers. The vast majority of driver turnover is churn in the industry – drivers going from one carrier to another. As demand for drivers increases, trucking companies try to take drivers from other carriers by offering sign- on bonuses, newer trucks, and better routes.”

Really?  Drivers are leaving a great well paying job for a shinier truck and better route? But if the ATA says that drivers keep hopping, then why aren’t they staying with the company offering the shiny truck and better route?  Are they then leaving for a shinier truck and an even better route? Or could it be something more sinister, like higher wages, better treatment, or maybe even being paid for all hours, such as detention time pay?

The idea that a driver is considered “not qualified” because they’re seeking better employment is ludicrous, and equally absurd is that the driver moves on to this next job with better promise… and yet does not STAY with them. Why aren’t they?
Are drivers really this fickle? Do they enjoy leaving one job and going to another, or is it possible that the industry continues to make promises they don’t keep.

If the job was truly what is was described as, would drivers not stay?
So is the problem therefore retention? And what is the correct cause of such driver behavior… Is it unstable drivers or perhaps companies who paint a rosy picture but do not follow through?

If criteria of a “qualified driver” is based somewhat upon driver job stability, and yet the employers are not following through on their driver hiring expectations causing driver instability, then I say, the industry MUST admit to at least partial responsibility  of driver job hopping.
If they do, they may have to become accountable for the driver shortage problem.

For most of you reading this, this is nothing more than the age old recruiting tactics that have been going on for decades. The only difference is that they worked in the past, bringing in thousands of people to the trucking industry, only to see them leave after a short time. Turnover was not as serious a problem back in the day, it was welcome and part of the cheap labor business model.

Truck Driver Shortage is Industry Created

It didn’t matter in the past as drivers were a commodity, used for cheap labor. The difference is now, drivers are an asset and companies would prefer to retain their drivers, mainly because those now entering the industry are fewer and have higher expectations. In other words, working 70+ hours/wk, living in a truck, and being away from home for weeks at a time, all for a whopping $500.00/week, just isn’t cutting it for those entering.

Truck driver retention and the generation gap

The fact is this, drivers go to job from job because they are dissatisfied with their job. Most often the promises made by the hiring company, which looked so appealing, were not kept.  Drivers leave and continue to look for better employment.

Want to cure the number of jobs held within the last few years aspect of the “qualified driver problem”?
Answer:  Pay and treat drivers well and keep the promises you made upon hiring.

Real Solutions to the Truck Driver Shortage

Stay tuned for Part 2
The Truck Driver Shortage- Causes and Solutions


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FMCSA Introduces Driver Wellness Programs


by Elaine Papp

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Driver Wellness Programs

Elaine Papp- founder of Health and Safety Works, LLC

Elaine Papp of attended joint MCSAC and MRB meeting September 21st 2015. The 2 day meeting was devoted to CMV driver wellness programs.

So, what is it all about? The FMCSA, a regulatory agency, is talking about wellness for truckers?? HMMM — should drivers be worried? Why is FMCSA doing this? Is it an attempt by the federal government to tell drivers what to do with their bodies? Are they going to regulate our exercise, smoking and weight?

These are some of the questions drivers are asking about FMCSA’s new initiative to provide wellness programs in a private/public partnership. The questions arise from an announcement about a public meeting between the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) and the Medical Review Board (MRB). Both groups are advisory committees that provide recommendations to FMCSA regarding specific questions, ideas, or concerns about commercial motor vehicle operation.

The latest joint meeting, September 21 and 22, 2015, was devoted to CMV driver wellness programs. According to the meeting announcement, “Together, the MCSAC and MRB will identify concepts the Agency and stakeholders should consider in relation to the issue of health and wellness of drivers of commercial motor vehicles and the establishment of a driver wellness initiative, a non-regulatory public-private partnership of stakeholders to improve drivers’ health. The MRB and MCSAC will discuss the structure, content, delivery, and evaluation of this initiative.”

Elaine Papp 2015

Elaine Papp, founder of Health and Safety Works, LLC, a transportation and occupational health consulting company promoting health and safety on the road and in the workplace.

I attended the first day of the meetings and listened to the presentations about current wellness program activity from OOIDA, FMCSA, American Bus Association, as well as a member of the MRB. I heard the questions of the committee members and the comments from the public. I learned statistics about the current driver health risks compared to the average American. I was impressed with the sincerity, the concern and the depth of the discussion. It is exciting to hear all the activity around helping drivers stay healthy and live longer!

Having heard the non-regulatory direction in which the Agency is moving. I applaud the effort!

A few of the statistics presented by Dr. Morris of the MRB show that a high percentage of drivers have adverse health risk factors:



  • Most Tucker’s are 40 to 54 years old
  • 86% are overweight or Obese (2007 data)
  • 69% are obese, twice that of US population
  • 8% exercise regularly, compared to 21% of adults in the US who exercise regularly.
  • 51% drivers smoke, compared to 17.8% of US population who smoke
  • Less healthy than average person
  • Many have at least two risk factors for heart disease

So knowing that the average driver is less healthy than the average American and knowing that the driver’s health status affects his/her ability to earn a livelihood, the Agency and many other organizations are moving to help drivers.

FMCSA is seeking ways to help drivers stay healthy, minimize illness and diseases complications that will cut their driving career and perhaps their life short! One part of their initiative is a new web page on driver wellness. It will be an on-line newsletter updated quarterly with articles about various health topics pertinent to drivers. It will include recipes of the month, driver success stories and healthy eating tips.   The page will also include links to other sites that will be helpful to drivers.

The Agency is also looking at ways to get more data about what drivers need and they reported on a study of driver health conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).   But, as one member of the MRB stated, “We need more biometric data,” especially to measure the programs success. So the Agency is looking to private organizations who can gather data anonymously and can report on any changes that occur over time .   Do drivers lose weight and, if so, does their blood sugar level improve? Does their blood pressure improve. If drivers exercise more do they lose weight? What is most effective in aiding weight loss?

OOIDA reported on their wellness initiative and discussed ways to expand their initiative. The American Bus Association presented information about the Bus Athlete Programs.

Group discussion brought out a lot of important information . For example the Teamsters have a long history of wellness programs but no measurements. Some organization are starting health coaching at truck stops.

My impressions from the meeting are 1) much of what is happening in driver wellness is a shotgun approach with little coordination; 2) Many of the driver wellness programs offer what they think the driver needs and they don’t measure to determine what helps, what works and what doesn’t – what approach is successful. 3) FMCSA is trying to bring some coordination and continuity to driver wellness programs, working with non-governmental organization and private industry.

During the first day of the meeting several ideas arose, such as:

  • Programs for each driver should be individualized.
  • One-to one, face-to-face contact is important in motivating people.
  • Be sure to get families involved.
  • There is a lack of literature on nutrition, health and wellness at truck stops.
  • Drivers don’t know the nutritional content of the foods served at the truck stops
  • Get all aspects of the trucking industry working together – truck stops, fleets, drivers, associations, etc.
  • Give Medical Examiners information on wellness to hand out to drivers.
  • Assist medical examiners to educate drivers on attaining optimum health and maintaining wellness.

It seems that when it comes to wellness and health we all need to trust one another and work together to help drivers and their families minimize illness and the costs associated with it, increase health and the energy that comes with it. Having an agency coordinate the effort is a valuable, worthwhile venture that can have really dramatic results for drivers.

I look forward to seeing the MCSAC/MRB joint recommendations for FMCSA. Since I wasn’t able to attend the second day of the meeting, when they developed the recommendations, like you, I will have to wait until the recommendations are published to see what transpired. But, in any case the effort is underway. It is a significant move for a regulatory agency to develop a non-regulatory program.

As soon as I learn about the recommendations and the Agency’s next steps, I will let you know in another article.

“Driver Wellness Programs and the FMCSA – What’s it all about?:


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