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Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry

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Without Truck Drivers America Stops


Without Truck Drivers America StopsShould you ever find the time to sit down with an “old timer” truck driver and listen to the tales of “the good ole’ days” in trucking, you just may be surprised at how the industry has changed.

You will hear stories of how drivers worked together and created the “brotherhood” between the professional trucker;  tales of camaraderie and respect as well as pride in their chosen profession.

In those days, there were no barrier between the driver and motor carrier.  The trucking company and truck driver worked as a team with each one valuing the other and sharing the same respect.  They understood that each needed the other and worked together for both of their success.  The driver asked for an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, and the carrier delivered on their promise.  As difficult as it is to believe, in day’s past, the truck driver and motor carrier were actually friends.

In those days, the trucking company knew the driver by name, understanding that they had bills to pay and a family to support and the company did its best to “take care” of their drivers.  In “the good ole’ days” of trucking, there existed an unspoken bond between trucker and carrier, each realizing their dependence on each other and even more so, appreciating what each had to offer.

As deregulation hit the industry, the shared respect slipped away and the brotherhood began a slow descent toward extinction.  Customer service meant nothing as the industry fought for survival and money became the primary focus.  Mega-sized motor carriers formed and for many, the truck driver was transformed into nothing more than a pawn as one truck driver shared his thoughts on today’s trucking career:

” The industry has destroyed driver’s rights and wages, perpetuated market corruption, and let insurance companies dictate policy. The industry is weakening families with unnatural and damaging work schedules.”

As the U. S. trucking industry became a “dog eat dog world”, many motor carriers distanced themselves from their former practice of honesty, integrity and character.  Understanding that a business is in business to make money, they took it one step further by discarding such values and their primary objective evolved into doing whatever it took to grow larger and more powerful, all off the backs of the hardworking truck driver.

Government truck driver training subsidies, ranging between $50,000 and $222,000 led to the practice of starving out drivers and money-making programs such as the trucking company lease purchase became the newest transportation discovery.  CDL truck driver training schools and so-called “company paid training” programs evolved into a multi-million dollar business within a multi-billion dollar industry, all with the promise of an exciting, high paying career.

Potential new drivers to the industry became nothing more than a dollar sign and the formation of cheap freight led to the downfall of the spirit of entrepreneurship for an unknown number of truck owner operators.  Trucker Joe Jones is now known as driver number 265443 and recent CDL graduates are expected to work for .25 cents per mile.  Veteran drivers have seen truck driver pay go virtually unchanged for nearly 30 years and the bond between motor carrier and truck driver has diminished into retaliatory games such as the DAC report.

All of this and more having been thrown upon the backs of the professional truck driver by an industry which largely continues to regard the CMV driver as nothing more than “unskilled labor.”  Although some motor carriers still strive for excellence and understand that drivers are their greatest distinction, far too many fail to follow their lead.

I contend that trucking companies do not move America, but truck drivers do.  I understand that motor carriers are very much needed by way of providing jobs to millions of Americans, but I would recommend providing careers, not “jobs.”

Understand that truckers can move on to other jobs and even though you may have built a successful business . . . without truck drivers . . . you would have no business.

There is no contesting the fact that without truck drivers, America stops.



© 2012, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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2 Responses to Without Truck Drivers America Stops. - Post a Comment

  1. Mr N

    I do believe this falls directly in line with your article. The numbers you describe are eye opening as for the amounts of the subsidies for training drivers. Thats just mind boggling but it makes a piece of the puzzle fit as to why the company here being sued does business the way it does.

  2. Mr N

    I would like to add some additional thoughts on this or ramblings, whatever they add up to. I’m rather new to the industry with only about 5 yrs behind me but I’m not new to the planet as i once told the management of CRS. I understand business fundamentals and the principles of responsible business practices. The trucking industry is one of many in this country that has fallen victim to all the focus on the money-end and not the product-end.

    We have witnessed one major industry falter after the next. As well it seems we have created and established a criminal and fraud industry in its place. I think we need more advocates such as yourself speaking out who are in particular, able to articulate with accuracy better than I, the ramifications of what is going on in this industry.

    But it needs to reach the average Joe, so he understands how it affects his home and household as well as the judicial systems, lawyers, courts and politicians. We need to use the means that so many of these crooks use to manipulate us … the media.

    Using the media to inform the public in various ways. Positive images that show potential as well as negative that show the path we are heading down. A lot of money is spent in Washington on both sides of the coin. I think TV shows like the Ice Road Truckers and such, that people are so fond of, could be used to pitch the need for the public to look at this industry with more care and concern and start using that care and concern to move votes to make change.

    The country won’t fix itself. The crooks are definitely not going to fix it. Something has to be done.

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