I would like to say that all the talk you are hearing about truck drivers going on strike and high fuel prices is just the final “straw” for truck drivers everywhere. I’m not down playing high fuel prices at all. As a matter of fact it was a serious enough problem to finally initiate some truckers to display their total anger and dissatisfaction and pursue a strike. However, what I am saying is that their source of being disgruntled is much more deep seeded than that.
I’ve written much about the trucking lifestyle and the sacrifices made in order to succeed in OTR trucking. I try to paint an honest picture to everyone in regards to what a trucking career is really like. I ‘ve written the song “The Trucking Brand” to express the sacrifices and obstacles truckers face on a daily basis. However, public apathy is a big part of a truckers dismay. The general public as a whole finds trucks “annoying” and truck drivers part of the problem of their “inconvenience”. In general, let’s face it, when was the last time you passed a truck and thought, “Oh great, there’s another wonderful truck driver bringing all the goods we need to our local stores.” I think never. It’s probably more like, “Man I hate these trucks, always in the way when I’m driving!”
Next, are the trucking companies themselves. Let’s face it, they’re out to make money and with a 128% turnover rate among truck drivers, they’re really not all that concerned about them, their families, or their futures. Then you have the brokers. I can’t even tell you how many shady brokers there are. A seasoned owner operator can get through this, but even the best can get fooled sometimes.
When you sum it all up; with sacrificial lifestyle, public apathy, lack of compassion, the poor attitudes of the trucking companies towards their drivers, and having to deal with some pretty shady brokers, you can see how increased fuel prices was the final last straw for truckers. Let’s face it, we all endure much in life to succeed. Some endure quite a bit just to make ends meet. But, when it comes down to it, if all your sacrifices lead you to little or no profit, where’s the reward? Why bother?
Something must be done to relieve these men and woman of this burden. There must be provisions made for them by our government somehow. As their profession becomes limited in its pay, their families suffer. The government can only be forced to comply with the effects of high-fuel prices if the public becomes more sympathetic to the problems of the truck driver.
I’m certainly not one to advocate the government is the answer to all our problems. Quite the contrary, the government is in large part, the problem. Oil is not the problem either. Oil brought us the industrial revolution; oil is the reason we enjoy the comfort of living we all experience. The problem lies with those who will not allow further drilling in this country. The problem lies with those who will not allow further plants to be built. I spent many years working in the oilfields of Oklahoma. Advancement in technology now allows us to set up a drilling rig, recruit the petroleum products we need and remove the drilling rig and barely leave a “dot” on the landscape.
As long as those groups continue to keep us from drilling in our own country and not allow for new plants to be built, then we all deserve what we will continue to get…high fuel prices. And, it’s not only the Middle East that we rely on so heavily either. In fact, our #1 source for oil is Canada…and our #2 source is Mexico! Alternative fuels are a good idea, but I don’t see that as a cure all. Take Ethanol for an example. The cost of producing Ethanol is far greater than what the product yields. Also, it will only lead to higher grocery prices…think about it!
Every consumer needs to support truck drivers , in particular the over the road owner operators that are feeling most of the impact. If we don’t, there will be far greater consequences for the consumer. It’s just a matter of time.