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I am a truck driver. This is my life;

I am exempt from the Fair Labor Standards act. This means that I am not required to be paid minimum wage, I am not required to be paid overtime. Most truck drivers are paid either by mileage or a percentage of the rate the load pays, with no provisions to be paid for time spent loading or unloading, or for delays caused by weather or traffic conditions. Bad accident in LA on the 405? You just volunteered a couple of hours. Roads closed because of weather? Find a truckstop and lay over for a day or two, trying not to eat too much because you will have an even smaller than usual paycheck coming. My personal record is arriving at a shipper at about 10 AM on Wednesday, and finally leaving at 6 PM Friday. No way to take a shower and either a taco truck or vending machines for food. My total wages for those days was zero.

Add to this the Federal Motor Carrier Administration Hours Of Service regulations and you have an even stronger recipe for poverty. The FMCSA says you can be on duty for 14 consecutive hours and drive for 11 of those before taking a mandatory 10 hour break. If you are delayed at a shipper or receiver those hours come out of your 14, even if you are in the sleeper taking a nap. The same is true if you are delayed by an accident or weather. You can't stop for a healthy meal, you need to use all of your 11 hours of drive time, take your 10 off and get behind the wheel again as quickly as possible. Drivers end up getting whatever kind of fast food they can find, wolfing it down behind the wheel and dealing with obesity, heart disease and diabetes as a consequence. In my own efforts to maximize my productivity & earnings I regularly skip meals or grab junk food from a truck stop, drive into inclement weather that I would really rather sit out, and plunge into the worst traffic, knowing full-well that I am wasting fuel and adding to the congestion. All this in the name of safety.

I am also prohibited from being on duty more than 70 hours in an 8 day period. If I use up my 70 hours in less time, I must then wait to gain back the hours I worked on the 8th prior day or take 34 consecutive hours off duty to “reset” my logbook and give me a fresh 70 hours to work with. That's why I spent last Christmas camped out in a truck stop in Roseburg Oregon. My 70 hours ran out on Christmas Eve and I would gain back only about 4 hours to drive on Christmas Day, about half of what I needed to get home. So I spent most of Christmas Eve and all of Christmas Day, huddled in my cold truck, eating Arby's (The only food available) and waiting for 2 AM on the 26th to arrive so I could finish my 34 hour reset and start driving. I experience variations on this situation regularly. The load that my carrier normally gives me to get me home runs me out of hours when I am 5 hours from home. So, I sleep for 10 hours in my truck without a shower when I could be getting a home cooked, nutritious meal, a hot shower and resting in my own bed. Instead of a full two day weekend, I get a day and a half before I have to deliver and start a new week on Monday morning. I wish someone could explain to me whose safety is being enhanced by all this.

If the above is not enough the government now wants to require that all trucks be equipped with electronic devices to record the speed and location of the vehicle. Several large fleets have already equipped their trucks with Electronic On Board Recorders (EOBR's). One friend of mine has reported being called by his dispatcher who demanded to know why he was parked when he still had time left to drive that day. He explained that he was merely taking a break & he was planning to finish out his 11 hours of driving shortly. Instead of using EOBR's to increase safety, fleets will use them to harass their drivers into driving when they don't want to or don't feel it's safe. What little control and independence was left for drivers is fast disappearing.

The inflexibility of the Hours Of Service regulations interacts with many other facets of a driver's daily life as well. I always seek to maximize my productivity by getting as close to the location where I am delivering as possible before I shut down for the night. Doing so gives me a full 14 hours the next day to deliver, reload and get as many miles behind me (Remember, I only get paid for actually driving) as possible the next day. Unfortunately, in recent years many municipalities have made it illegal for trucks to park in the very industrial and commercial areas that they serve. I operate in the western part of the country, California has become horrible for this, I have the parking citations to prove it;

A $125.00 ticket for parking in the far corner of Home Depot parking lot in Fontana CA. The store would not unload before my appointment time, I was out of hours when they were finished. There wasn't a four-wheeler parked within 100 yards of me, either when I went to sleep, or when I woke up to find the ticket on my window.

A $147.00 citation for parking on the street in an industrial area of Anaheim CA, on a side street just around the corner from a lumber yard. I have delivered to this location several times over the past 20 years & have never seen any parking prohibitions posted on the route to there from the freeway. There are never any cars parked there when I arrive and I leave before any of the employees of the businesses on the block arrive for work.

My personal favorite is the $68.50 ticket for parking on the street behind a Home Depot in Burbank CA. The officer was thoughtful enough to give me a second citation, for another $68.50, for my trailer. The officer was with the Glendale PD, I was sure I was in Burbank, and the posting for no truck parking  was a full block further down the street towards Glendale. I tried to protest, got nowhere & paid both citations.

Of course, employers do not pay for their drivers parking or traffic citations, so all of these came out of my pocket.

It seems positively Orwellian at times. The law essentially forces me to park in a location knowing that the law will then fine me for parking there. The amount of fuel wasted and traffic congestion created by trucks in order to deal with parking restrictions, with shippers who have a scale, but refuse to axle weigh your truck, and to comply with nonsensical Hours Of Service regulations doesn't seem to matter at all to the authorities or the public. They just want to have their stuff delivered, and then have the trucks (and the drivers) disappear.

States and municipalities seem to regard trucks as 18 wheel ATM machines. They know they can cite a driver for whatever picayune violation they can find and the chances of  them taking the time to travel from their home back to contest the citation is almost nil.  

My current situation is actually a bit different that what I've outlined above. I am currently an Owner/Operator. That is, I own my truck and lease it to a carrier. I pull their trailer and haul their freight, paying them a percentage of the revenue for each load. I'm both lucky and wise. I have been around trucks all my life. I know how to perform the due diligence required to ensure that I choose a good company to lease to. I'm lucky in that the carrier I chose has continued to treat me fairly. Many do not, instead exploiting their lessee's and relying on a constant turnover of uninformed new Owner/Operators to take the places of the ones who just left or failed. The largest carriers are notoriously ruthless in this, offering their drivers lease-purchase plans in which they lease the driver a truck and contract the driver to haul for them. This saves the carrier a great deal of money, as the drivers are no longer employees and also allows the carrier to profit on the truck lease as well. The carrier effectively has total control over the truck and the driver without incurring any payroll costs and shifts the liability for the operation of the truck on to the driver. Drivers are commonly lied to or coerced into the arrangements and the failure rates or huge. It's no wonder that experienced drivers call them “fleece purchases”.

My biggest current personal concern is The California Air Resources Board. CARB Has decreed that all trucks traveling in the state must meet 2008 emissions standards as of next year. Even though my truck is licensed in Oregon, even though only about 30% of my total miles are spent in California, I still have to meet the California standards. My truck is a 2005, to bring it up to 2008 standards will cost me about $15,000. For that cost I will get about one mile-per-gallon  less in fuel mileage, which will increase my fuel cost by about $1,000.00 per month. My engine will lose about 100 horsepower, which will decrease my productivity. My maintenance costs will increase and the life expectancy of my engine will be shortened. The only alternatives to this scenario are to go even deeper in debt to buy an emissions compliant truck or  to move to another state and find a job that will not require me to operate in California.

It's worth noting that the ultimate effect of this law is a transfer of wealth. Trucking has long been means for those with few assets to move further up the socioeconomic ladder; Get your CDL, spend some time learning the business while you save up some money to buy an inexpensive used truck to start your business. If you cared for and improved the truck you could get years, even decades, of service from it after it was paid for. With no payments and the lower license and insurance costs associated with an older truck an owner/operator would have profits from the business to invest in a home, college for his children, a retirement account, or any number of other possibilities. With owner/operators now forced to purchase newer, emissions compliant equipment this will no longer be possible. The monies that once could be saved or reinvested will now flow to the manufacturers of the new trucks, the lenders who finance them and the dealers who perform the complex repairs on the notoriously unreliable engines. Since the emissions compliant engines frequently get much poorer fuel mileage than their earlier counterparts, the oil companies profit as well. The owner/operators are left with huge truck payments, higher operating costs, and a declining standard of living.

The largest trucking companies, aka mega-carriers, see all of this as a wonderful opportunity. With their cheap borrowing costs and massive buying power they can buy new equipment and fuel at huge discounts relative to what small carriers and owner/operators must pay. They ruthlessly exploit their drivers by not paying them overtime or minimum wage, not paying them for time spent loading or unloading, or for waiting time. Many large carriers have driver turnover rates exceeding 100% while they survive on razor thin operating margins.

It's small wonder that many truckers hold some truly reactionary political views. Every portion of their working life is micro-managed by government regulations, many of which are contradictory, ineffective, and just plain non-nonsensical. Drivers are, by government regulation, prevented from spending time with their families and loved ones, forced to drive into unsafe/unproductive situations and engage in personal behaviors inimical to their physical and emotional well being.

 A few simple acts of legislation, such as the following, would go far to improve the lives of all drivers,  save precious energy, reduce traffic congestion and improve safety. I call the following The Truckers Bill Of Rights;

1. Drivers need to be covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

2. Truckers need a law permitting them to park safely in commercial or industrial areas for a period of up to 11 hours in order to fulfill federal Hours Of Service requirements. The combination of municipal parking restrictions and Hours Of Service rules waste enormous amounts of fuel, and add to traffic congestion and pollution while limiting productivity.

3. There needs to be some flexibility in Hours Of Service regulations. The current rules actually force drivers to drive when fatigued and to drive into adverse traffic and weather conditions. They mandate that drivers must spend time sitting away from home, thus depriving them of time with their families and loved ones. They add to traffic congestion and waste precious fuel.

4. Electronic On Board Recorders should not be mandatory. They are an outrageous invasion of privacy, and there is no evidence that they improve safety in any way. Instead they give companies a way to even further micro manage the behavior of their drivers, including forcing levels of productivity that may not be safe for the driver in question.

5. Driver training standards need to be improved. The current practice seems to be to give a CDL to almost anyone, offer them minimal training, and then enforce performance and safety by attempting to micro-manage their every action and behavior. Everyone would benefit if much more rigorous training and licensing standards were put in place and drivers were allowed more flexibility in their actions.

6. An effort needs to be made to educate automobile drivers about truck safety. An awareness campaign  as simple as explaining the blind spots in a truck drivers vision and the stopping distances required for an 80,000 pound truck would certainly decrease accidents. The majority of accidents between a truck and a car are found to be caused by the driver of the car. The public needs to understand that everything they have, eat or use in their daily lives was brought to them on a truck.

Hug a trucker, We're way cuddlier than trees.

Originally posted to Hey Driver on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 05:42 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (185+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buddabelly, JeffW, swampyankee, MsGrin, Texknight, HoosierDeb, Robert Helmuth, Polly Syllabic, Proud Mom and Grandma, sceptical observer, My Spin, OldSoldier99, fugwb, sawgrass727, chimene, FG, revsue, koNko, pixxer, icemilkcoffee, defluxion10, JWK, Uncle Moji, snoopydawg, US Blues, Gordon20024, mookins, BlackSheep1, Lost and Found, begone, Nebraskablue, trkingmomoe, Eileen B, Chaddiwicker, Jlukes, bvljac, carpunder, Bonsai66, HarpboyAK, JesseCW, yuriwho, Seldom Seen, la urracca, GeorgeXVIII, dennis1958, artr2, concernedamerican, Limelite, Gardener in PA, erratic, 417els, Actbriniel, DRo, sodalis, left rev, ER Doc, gloriana, Tinfoil Hat, third Party please, MHB, stlsophos, evelette, Buzzer, BoiseBlue, afox, Sandy on Signal, Yasuragi, undercovercalico, cv lurking gf, wxorknot, lost, GwenM, JimWilson, slowbutsure, blue91, freerad, Dr Squid, LibChicAZ, Grandma Susie, Bob Friend, lineatus, marykk, AnnCetera, SteelerGrrl, emmasnacker, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, RUNDOWN, cosette, whoknu, Alexandra Lynch, jalbert, norwood, blueoasis, happy camper, zerelda, LoreleiHI, Denver11, GDbot, Trendar, mslat27, PeterHug, asym, soarbird, Sarahsaturn, bunsk, Azazello, NoMoJoe, blueoregon, JoanMar, Mr Robert, WiseFerret, xxdr zombiexx, mconvente, implicate order, unfangus, karmsy, CroneWit, old wobbly, Vetwife, CorinaR, kwong, TheDuckManCometh, Ed in Montana, greycat, GAS, FakeNews, commonmass, ichibon, marleycat, mikeconwell, psnyder, Ozzie, dizzydean, Its a New Day, daddybunny, Sun Tzu, Miss Blue, Brian B, cassidy3, mrsgoo, TexDem, Aunt Pat, WI Deadhead, BlueMississippi, FindingMyVoice, libnewsie, allergywoman, jnhobbs, Laurel in CA, WakeUpNeo, enhydra lutris, elwior, Simplify, roses, exiledfromTN, Meteor Blades, pdxteacher, 207wickedgood, ruleoflaw, worldlotus, Laura Wnderer, Fairlithe, VoteWisdom, quill, Oh Mary Oh, vigilant meerkat, Youffraita, chicagorich, tardis10, El Camino, nswalls, dannyboy1, ColoTim, Bud Fields, ladybug53, Jollie Ollie Orange, Pilotshark, HeyMikey, milkbone, whaddaya, Senor Unoball, Robynhood too, Late Again, scotths, Jakkalbessie
  •  Or, just go back to rail... (31+ / 0-)

    ...for long distance hauls, since trains get upwards of 400 MPG/ton.  Then, you can specialize in shorter haul runs from the local rail yard to local businesses.  Then you can unionize to get better wages, have an 8 hour work day, and be home every evening.

    Not only do we save fuel (and carbon emissions) we also save wear and tear on infrastructure, as anyone who has noticed the rutting in the right lanes of their local interstate can attest to.  

    Even better would be to modernize our rail system.  High speed rail (150 MPH+) powered by electricity provided by clean electrical generation.  You could move goods from the harbor area of Los Angeles to Chicago in fewer than 20 hours.  From there, the goods would be delivered locally to business in smaller, more efficient trucks (such as the hybrid trucks developed by Hino-Toyota and Volvo) by drivers who are paid by the hour and work normal shifts.  Not to mention the economic boon the country would enjoy by such a massive infrastructure improvement process.

    But I don't know.  The oil companies would have a fit if we went back to early 20th century technology that was less reliant on their product.      

    •  Where I'm at there are many, many open jobs for (7+ / 0-)

      truck drivers, so I suspect that the Diary has an agenda. As for the comment, it clearly has an opposing agenda. I've thought for some time that the answer is probably some place in the middle of the two positions.

      I suspect that long haul trucking probably pays better than short haul trucking, but that it's probably like farming in that it's as much a lifestyle choice as a mere job. Clearly not for everyone, and that fact is making for better pay overall.

      Short haul definitely works better for the 1% (thus Warren Buffet owns trains and not trucks). And for union drivers. I have nothing against The Teamsters.

      For me, I'd take either one in a heartbeat, but, since I drove around truck loads of pot 30 years ago, I don't qualify.

      Cest la vie.

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 07:01:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This assumes all freight is centralized in (9+ / 0-)

      rail yards...?  Drivers pick up freight from warehouses and from manufacturers.  Warehouses would have to move to train yards?  Steel mills? Farms?  Factories?

      While "simply" replacing trucking with trains might seem like an easy fix (esp in ads made by railroads) there is a greater infrastructure that would need to change.  This isn't simply about how things are moved.  For instance, most of the food in the northeast is purchased by the C&S group for packing and resale to the major supermarkets.  They purchase baked goods, and frozen fish, and fresh produce, and bananas and all manner of frozen foods in centralized warehouses that break these down and repalletize them for delivery to individual stores (Stop n Shops, A&Ps, Targets, etc) all over the northeast.  In order for this to work with trains, all the C&S warehouses would have to move and be centralized around railroad yards.  This would move jobs that are currently employing folks in many different localities to fewer train yards.  You would have to centralize jobs and either cause employees to move, or drive more, or lose their employment. This is now a much more complex issue. Just for example.  
      I agree that we should find environmentally sound efficiencies, but I think simply suggesting an easy swap of trains for trucks is not all that easy.

      "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

      by Uncle Moji on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 09:51:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  People who don't work in transporation always (15+ / 0-)

        think this is really simple - they don't get that picking up 45,000 lbs from the shipper and driving 300 miles to consignee is much faster and more efficient than driving 35 miles to rail head to have load sit for 12 hours untill it gets on a train going to the right destination and then offloading again to drive 35 miles from the rail head on the other end to actually make the drop.

        It seems so simple, if you've never worked in transportation.

        Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

        by JesseCW on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:07:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Also, local deliveries of perishables = no go (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BoiseBlue, WI Deadhead, JesseCW

          You load up your 30 foot straight job, or even a 53 foot trailer, and you're ready to go.

          A train with many rail cars is not moving until every single one is filled to the max (or at least everyone is filled to completion).  That adds precious hours for perishable items.  And come to think of it, I don't think I've ever even seen a reefer rail car.

          This is the type of stuff I mentioned in my lower comments.  People think that moving to rail - because Europe does it or whatever - is the way to go.  But it just complicates things in a whole different set of ways.

          "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

          by mconvente on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:03:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's the easiest, simplest job in the world, (4+ / 0-)

            managing transportation, isn't it?

            Until you're actually doing it.

            One thing I love about being in this business: NO ONE loves Christmas. NO ONE looks forward to the holidays. Bill O'Rielly's head would explode if he knew what people in this biz were thinking and saying every December.

            P.S. I am not a crackpot.

            by BoiseBlue on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:26:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Reefer railroad cars exist.... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WI Deadhead, 207wickedgood

   fact, the development of said cars is what allowed Anheuser-Busch to establish the first nationwide brewing empire.  Prior to that, brewing was local:  the beer you drank was made two blocks away.  It was Adolphus Busch who realized that refrigerated rail cars made it possible to transport beer cross-country.

            Again, this is early 1900s technology.  And it built our economy. It wasn't until the 50s when oil companies decided it wasn't profitable enough for them when we were convinced it doesn't work.  

            In the early 1900s, we had the greatest rail freight system in the world.  It underpinned our entire economy.  Had we not abandoned it to a more oil-dependent trucking system and continued to develop it, I can't even imagine how good it would be today.


            •  Actually, it was when the amount of (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              freight skyrocketed and the rails couldn't keep up.

              Rail is AWESOME for some stuff.  There's no better way to move bulk goods that aren't time sensitive.  

              But rail is highly efficient when you've got long trains going very long distances.  

              I'm all for electrifying our existing rail infrastructure and adding more heavy cross country rail - what we've got now is pretty close to capacity, btw.

              Once upon a time, we sailed freight around the Horn.  It "worked" and "built our economy".  But it's far from being the answer for all our transportation needs.

              Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

              by JesseCW on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 11:44:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I never said it was simple. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wonmug, OrdinaryIowan

          In fact, it's quite expensive and complicated.  

          It would take billions of dollars in public and private funding, and a ton of political resolve.  

          Or, we can choose the easy thing (according to oil companies) and just keep burning oil like there's no tomorrow. Oddly enough, this is a self-fulfilling prophesy:  If we keep burning oil like there's no tomorrow, there won't be one.  

          •  Just getting our current rail network (0+ / 0-)

            - even the primary trunk lines - electrified would be an great start for reducing carbon.  I have no doubt that at least a substantial minority of those right of way miles are good places to put up windmills, too.

            Train companies that produce their own fuel will be pretty damned profitable.

            But transportation companies really aren't stupid.  The reason you see trailers mounted on rail cars all over the place is that most of the freight that is best sent by rail is already being sent by rail - it's a lot cheaper.

            Rail is slow.  Not because trains are slow - they're not.  Because goods have to be taken from the shipper to a rail yard, get loaded, and then cannot depart until the train departs.  At the other end, they have be taken off and loaded on to a truck again, even if it's a drop and hook situation it takes considerable time.

            Trains will never be able to take the most direct route from point a to point b.  Trucks can.

            Rail also isn't efficient if trains have to make lots of stops.

            Hell, I'm an advocate of bringing back Windjammers for bulk cargoes like grain.  I do not object to improving our transportation carbon costs by looking either forward or backward.

            The good news is that trucks can get a lot more efficient,  I'm talking 12-13 mpg instead of 6-8.  While batteries are still way too heavy for long-haul trucks, they can run on bio-fuels just fine.  If the promising research with algae pays off, producing that fuel won't be difficult.

            But trains just don't work for all loads in a country as wide open as ours.  The ones they do work well for are already on trains.

            Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

            by JesseCW on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 11:55:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Plus the train has to start and stop (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mconvente, JesseCW

          Repeatedly starting/stopping the entire train in order to offload 1% of its cargo carries a massive efficiency penalty.

          "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

          by nosleep4u on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 04:02:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Those big trucks can be far far more efficient (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Texknight, mconvente, Simplify

      than the little ones.

      8 mpg, moving 40,000 pounds....or four trucks moving 10,000 lbs each getting 14 mpg?

      It depends on the size of the load you're delivering.  If you've got a full trailer worth of material to send to a single receiver, or if you have multiple stops that are all along a straight route, that big truck is a lot more fuel efficient.

      Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

      by JesseCW on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:10:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I love Australia's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        road trains.

        •  That one is a good case where you would have (0+ / 0-)

          to think about the carbon cost of building and maintaining rail to service those cattle stations and mines, instead of supplying them by trucks running dirt roads.

          Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

          by JesseCW on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 02:50:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Interestingly... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...driverless cars might well be better carbon wise than buses. I wonder if driverless trucks (because they are coming) will be more efficient than rail?

      •  Hybrid trucks as well (0+ / 0-)

        Class 8 trucks use 100 year old technology to this day- aside from some useless emissions tech they are still trying to implement.

        Locomotives have employed electromotive technology for years - long before the Prius ever annoyed ... err graced our roads -

        “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

        by RUNDOWN on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 08:00:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Most people in the industry would love to (7+ / 0-)

      just throw everything on the rail and be done with it, but it doesn't work that way. You're adding an additional week or so to the transit time, and someone still has to take the load from a shipper to the rail yard.

      Also, anyone in the industry will tell you that the rail lines are completely unwilling to work with anyone. They're the evil stepchild of the industry, no one wants to work with them.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 05:07:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Intermodal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whoknu, RerumCognoscereCausas

      is the term and has already exploded in the industry.

      "Coast to coast" trucking is fast becoming a thing of the past.

      “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

      by RUNDOWN on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 07:53:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice diary! (14+ / 0-)

    I added some tags.
    Would sure be nice if the laws actually supported your livelihood and your safety.

    "This is the best bad idea we have by far..." ~Argo

    by MsGrin on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 06:58:08 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the diary (17+ / 0-)

    I did not realize that you had to put up with all those problems driving a truck (I guess long haul trucks).

    This diary should be read by someone who wants to be a long haul truck driver.

  •  thanks for the info, HD (5+ / 0-)

    #1 is amazing -- I mean, amazing that it is the way it is currently!

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 08:16:20 PM PDT

  •  Simple Question (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texknight, MsGrin, Mr Robert, mconvente

    Do you know much about the conditions for truck drivers in Europe and how that compares to the situation in USA?

    Because, generally, labor law in Europe is more fair, but I have no idea if this is so for truckers.

    400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

    by koNko on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 08:43:39 PM PDT

  •  Terrific diary. My brain was stuck back (21+ / 0-)

    in the time when long-haul trucking was a fine job, paying good wages - as you say, a gateway to the middle class. I'm really sorry to hear that it is no longer so. Thanks for your prescriptions for fixing what's wrong. I hope this diary makes the reclist (I did my part) b/c it is well worth our attention. Thanks.

  •  Had flashbacks to the 4 months I tried trucking.. (28+ / 0-)

    my hat goes off to the Diarist. I couldn't take it. Conditions were really quite abysmal.  One was literally working 14 hours a day, getting paid for 11 (or less).

    One guy I rode with in training was depressing. I asked him one day what he did for fun/hobbies etc. Nothing. He drove truck.  What about family? Didn't see them much he said. He did say his kids were in trouble a lot.

    If you were lucky enough to get a truly long haul run...cross'd drive 11 hours, take 10 hrs off, then drive again for 11...but as you can see, this schedule resets your sleep cycle constantly.  I tried a few runs driving 11 hours, taking 13 hours off, then driving 11 hours etc to keep my 24 hour clock consistent. But company didn't like that. Plus, those 3 extra hours add up over a week...21 hours i could have been driving and making money.

    I agree with the suggestion the Diarist outlines...not so much for me, because I'm pretty much done with Truck Driving, but for the drivers out there. I know what they're going through.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

    by JWK on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 09:25:31 PM PDT

    •  Sorry it didn't work out for you. (17+ / 0-)

      If you can make it through a few years and pay your dues there are still a few decent jobs out here. The problem is that they are disappearing every day.

      The saying is; Work 100, log 70, get paid for 40, if you're lucky.

      I really don't have a problem with the hours. I grew up on a ranch, I've never had a 40 hour per week job in my life.  & I'm not sure I would want one.

      I would just like the chance to move up the socioeconomic pyramid a bit for all the work I do put in. And it frustrates me to no end that it seems to be the fucking government keeping from doing it.

      •  Yeah, I grew up on a farm too...working long hours (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vatexia, RUNDOWN, asym, Mr Robert, mconvente

        is something I'm used to. Heck, don't even mind working weekends really.

        It's also quite lonely. I'm an introvert by nature, so I thought it wouldn't be bad...but holy shit, even I couldn't take the lack of human contact. On the flip side, I could barely stand being cooped up with my trainers 24/7.  No happy medium it seems.

        Oh, and did I mention the anxiety I experienced that at any moment I'd get into an accident and kill a motorist? haha. The training videos they make you watch worked too well on me.

        Yeah, I was pretty much not cut out for the job.

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

        by JWK on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:14:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You have very similar issues as Taxi Workers ... (24+ / 0-)

    "Independent Contractors" - Check
    "Not covered by Unions" - Check
    "City/State in Cahoots with Bosses" - Check
    "Onerous regulations with compliance costs moved to low-wage workers" - Check
    "Risk Transference to Employee; Rewards to Owners" - Check

    The New York Taxi Workers Alliance has done a great job of pushing back; maybe there are lessons there for trucking?

  •  My dad is a trucker, 35 year veteran. (13+ / 0-)

    Been cross country twice with him and my brother, up and down the east coast way more. Memories I'll never forget. I consider myself very lucky to have driven through 38 states at 26 years old. I feel that so many of my generation are the reverse of me: they've been all over the world but have skipped everything here except the coasts. I really wish there'd be a way to instill a sense of domestic travel in millennials.

    •  Same situation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My dad has been driving for probably about 45 years now and every summer vacation from when I was probably 7 - 13 I spent a couple of weeks with him on the road.  By 15 I had been through all 48 states of the continental U.S.  I got to see the St. Louis Arch, the Las Vegas strip, the Statue of Liberty, and all kinds of other amazing landmarks and cities... I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything... Even now at age 28 I still think about trying to find some time to take off of work to spend some time out there with him once more...

  •  All I can think about this diary is -- (13+ / 0-)


    The Teamsters organized 90% of the over the road drivers half a century or more ago.

    Nader and Carter deregulated it, and now we see what used to be a fine middle class job has become a rat race.

    There used to be 500,000 union drivers, now there are 50,000, and another 450,000 sad jobs as described in this diary.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 10:28:27 PM PDT

  •  It is a difficult job. I am retired now from it. (18+ / 0-)

    I am a female that drove a lot by myself.  It changed when Regan deregulated some of it.  That was when drivers began to see their income go down.  All the changes in regulations since has protected the interests of the large carriers.  

    Good diary that is spot on.  

  •  A trucker once explained it to me this way. (13+ / 0-)

    Truckers are professionals when their companies want them to be professionals.  Otherwise, they are unskilled laborers.

    Drive safe.

    ...someday - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it. --Steinbeck

    by Seldom Seen on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 10:43:46 PM PDT

  •  Great Diary. I have millions of (17+ / 0-)

    miles both as a OO and a driver mostly long haul and am now retired. Actually I think it is even worse than you describe. For a couple of years I made three trips a month to Hunts Point Market in the Bronx from California every month. That is averaging 600 miles a day, everyday. including loading and unloading and when hauling produce one might have 10 pickups 4 or five not being unusual and many times one had to wait for it to be ready. It was brutal. People are ignorant of the nonsense drivers have to put up with.
    PS. A very good friend of mine hated to addressed by a cop or a weigh station guy as Hey Driver. He would really piss them off by just ignoring them.

    Join the War on Thinking. Watch Fox News- John Lucas

    by Jlukes on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 10:55:37 PM PDT

  •  Time for all truckers to rejoin the Teamsters! n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    djMikulec, daysey, 6412093

    "Everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die" --- Albert King

    by HarpboyAK on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 10:59:11 PM PDT

  •  EOBR would be fine by me as a trade off (6+ / 0-)

    for full coverage by Federal Labor Law.

    The whole reason it was legal to pay Drivers by the mile in the first place was that in the 1930's when the laws were passed there was no way to tell if a Driver was working or not.

    Now, I've worked local with GPS monitoring.  If you have an idiot boss, it can be a problem. My favorite was the supervisor who claimed I "sat around for an hour and a half a block from the delivery".

    I was being unloaded on the far side of the mall from the address that showed up as the delivery location (the whole mall has the same address).

    But, well a shitty boss will be a shitty boss either way.  He could have just called the receiving department.

    Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

    by JesseCW on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:00:04 PM PDT

  •  I have a good deal of respect... for most drivers. (8+ / 0-)

    I come from a family of truck drivers, from my grandfather who worked for an outfit called Central Wisconsin back in the 60s to my father who worked for CF out of Indy. I've also seen truck driver safety go down the toilet over the years and recklessness seems to be the order of the day. Like the one's who ride my ass in the right lane down the Bluegrass Parkway, even though I'm already doing 5mph over the posted just trying to stay out of the fuck out of their way (I commute 4 hours a day, I could write a book).

    Stay safe out there.

  •  A very informative diary, thx for sharing (11+ / 0-)

    These are the type of diaries that keep me coming back to DK. And thanks to the ranger that spotted it.

    Listen to Netroots Radio or to our pods on Stitcher. "We are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place" <- Me

    by yuriwho on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:07:37 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this diary. I learned a lot from (11+ / 0-)

    your account of your working conditions.  By the time I arrived at the paragraph in which you note that it's little wonder that most truckers are reactionary or anti-government, it was like a light bulb went on over my head.  I understood where those truckers would be coming from if they ranted against "big government."  And I found myself agreeing with you that these regulations are insane.

    I have a couple of questions after reading.  First of all, I want to know more about the CARB's mandate re: 2008 emissions standards, and about who wrote that legislation, and how it was that the legislation didn't take into account the needs of truckers.  

    I also wanted to know about who came up with the "safety" rules regarding x number of hours driving, x number of hours resting, driving no more than x number of hours or face a time penalty, etc.  Who came up with these?  They're supposed to be in place for the "safety" of the driver-- but it doesn't sound as though they benefit drivers at all.  

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 02:57:22 AM PDT

    •  The American Trucking Ass (ATA) (the owners) (18+ / 0-)

      are always the ones coming up with schemes.

      Trucking, not unlike most jobs in America has and is being squeezed by the 'supply and demand' concept.

      Manufacturing has left America for the cheapest locales around the globe that the Corporates can find but trucking can't be outsourced, but it can be insourced.

      This would be a long response so I will shorten it.

      American workers are desperate for work so many enroll in truck driving schools and once finished they find themselves financially committed to driving to regain at least those costs back and potentially, make a decent living.

      Of course companies are taking this desperation to their advantage and abusing the drivers as outlined in the original diary.  And this abuse goes beyond 'the newbies' whom the owners play off against the mature drivers.

      And of course the owners via the ATA, are always 'lobbying' Washington to allow unsuspecting immigrants either via HB-1 visas or other entry ways, to come to America to fill the 'truck driver shortage'.

      All of this of course drives down the wages and working condition standards for the whole industry, including the Unionized (which I am) because it puts downward pressure on rates (what shippers are charged for shipping product) which makes everyone less profitable.

      As long as I have been a driver (20 years teamster) their has always been a claim of a driver shortage in America via the ATA but they ignore everything that's wrong with the industry and just seek cheap alternatives as outlined above.

      Here's a story from 2006.

      Trucking Industry Experts Predict a Surge in the Requirement for Truck Drivers Over the Next Eight Years

      In October 2006, a study was completed by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) that outlines critical issues confronting the US trucking industry. The number one concern was the shortage of skilled truck drivers to meet the growing transportation demand over the next decade. Fuel issues were next, followed by concerns over high driver turn over and retention issues. At a cost of $4000-$8000 for driver recruiting and training it is an obvious concern

      read it all here-

      And 2013

      According to ATA’s Trucking Activity Report, quarterly turnover at large truckload fleets – fleets with at least $30 million annual revenue – rose in the first quarter to an annualized rate of 97% from 90% in the fourth quarter of 2012. The rate was the highest it has been since the third quarter of 2012 when it was 104% and just below the average rate in 2012 of 98%.

      At smaller truckload fleets, the rate rose to 82% in the first quarter from 76% in the previous quarter. The rate matches the 2012 annual average, but is below the most recent high of 94% in the third quarter of last year.

    •  The smog laws (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      concernedamerican, mconvente

      Were conceived by the California Air Resources Board. I would like to write more about this specifically in the future.

      The hugely irritating thing about this to me is that I didn't vote for anyone on CARB. I have a saying; A bureaucracy is not a democracy. Our elected representatives avoid responsibility by having appointed officials promulgate all of these moronic rules that control our lives. I didn't vote for anyone who is in charge at CARB, DOT, FMCSA, or the local building department for that matter.

      I've been told, although I don't know if it's true, that the largest trucking companies are actually behind the scenes supporters of many of these regulations as well. They believe they will force out smaller companies, especially the single truck independents. I do know that a couple of the largest ones warned their shareholders of reduced profits due to the most recent Hours Of Service revisions.

      •  How else are we going to reduce emissions? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Those emissions have serious health and environmental impacts.

        Of course, a policy more respectful of small business could offer upgrade subsidies or the like.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 02:59:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  About those smog laws (0+ / 0-)

        If you lived in Cal, you could vote for the governor.  They appoint the CARB members.  If you didn't like the appointments, vote for a different governor.

        Millions of Californians live in foul air.  They need less air pollution. Scientific studies found that small particles from burning diesel fuel, like in trucks, (aka diesel particulate) were a crucial health risk and they're trying to reduce those dangers.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 07:42:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  While I am at it, here's a response not published (9+ / 0-)

    by a mouth piece of the Canadian Trucking Association I sent in......

    The Role of Foreign Workers in Trucking

              By Ralph Lockwood


    In the midst of all the recent brouhaha about the Royal Bank’s wildly cynical, save-a-buck-at-all-costs hiring practices — and the federal government’s blind approval of them — I think there’s confusion about the role of foreign workers in trucking. There’s no comparison to be made here.

    The Royal Bank has been hiring offshore help, albeit indirectly through a contractor, to do work that has always been done and could still be done by Canadians but at a fraction of the cost. The only goal has been to save money. Worse yet, and this is unbelievably insensitive, the Canucks being turfed have apparently been tasked with training their offshore replacements before their employment dries up!

    Given the billions of profit dollars this bank produces every year, you’d think there might be a little room for spending what it takes to support Canadians and Canada. Guess not.

    The Royal Bank is surely not alone in doing this, but it’s the one that got caught and it’s paying the price. A lame public apology a week after the obligatory initial denial doesn’t wash with me, nor, it seems, with anyone else.

    Anger continues to grow.

    When Canadian trucking outfits hire outside the country, it’s a very different scenario. No doubt there are cases where saving a buck is the motivator, but mostly it’s a simple reason that sends recruiters offshore — there are no Canadians to do the job.

    Lord knows there’s been enough written about the so-called driver shortage, and I’m a little reluctant to dive into this murky water yet again. I’m doing so because the Conference Board of Canada (CBOC) recently published a report on the matter — Understanding the Truck Driver Supply and Demand Gap and Its Implications for the Canadian Economy by Vijay Gill and Alicia Macdonald — and because this past week I had lunch with an HR consultant and my interest in the driver challenge was rekindled.

    This comes a year after the Canadian Trucking Alliance launched its Blue Ribbon Task Force to examine our chronic shortage of qualified drivers.

    The CBOC described the country’s labor challenge as a “demographic tsunami that will have a profound impact on our society.” It isn’t just an issue for trucking.

    As far as I can see, the CBOC report didn’t advance our ­knowledge very much, though it did apply some numbers to the problem. Its stated goal was “to quantify the truck driver supply requirements and the resulting pressure that the for-hire trucking industry will face to attract new drivers. In a business-as-usual scenario where the trucking industry continues to have difficulty in attracting younger workers to long-haul trucking occupations in particular, we find that the driver supply will remain relatively stagnant until 2020. Yet a significant portion of those industries in Canada that are in a growth stage depends on services from the for-hire trucking industry for sourcing materials, delivering goods to and from distribution centres, and delivering their final products to customers. As these industries continue to grow, so too will their demand for trucking services, which will result in a need for an increased supply of drivers.”

    Among the important things that report tells us is that the age of the average truck driver has increased more rapidly than the age of the average worker due to fewer young workers entering the industry. But I think most of us knew that.

    It also quantified the shortage, saying that the demand for truck drivers will increase through 2020, when the gap between the supply and demand of drivers is expected to be 25,000. This number could exceed 33,000, assuming a lower rate of productivity growth, the CBOC says. Those numbers aren’t new either.

    The report concludes that this supply/demand gap could be reduced if the industry contracts, which is unlikely, or if it finds new ways to increase productivity, which is conceivable to a point. More usefully, the CBOC suggests that “a significant improvement in industry working conditions or wages, marketing of the truck driving occupation, and driver training/licensing” would help. To which I say, you bet. I say the same to its next suggestion, namely “a reorganization of trucking activity and supply chains in order to reduce the demand for long-haul drivers.”

    Finally, the report’s authors suggest that a change in policy to allow the truck driving occupation to be recognized as a skilled trade would make a difference. I’m not so sure about that one.

    In any event, to reiterate my first point, all of this is very ­different from the Royal Bank’s profit grab. For trucking, finding drivers is a matter of survival.

    My response.............

    "I think there’s confusion about the role of foreign workers in trucking. There’s no comparison to be made here".

    The comparison is quite simple.

    Since driving jobs can't be outsourced to Bangladesh or China or wherever, bring drivers in from low wage countries to suppress the wages and working conditions here.

    In the USA driver turnover rates have been 100% for years and even over 100% in this recession.

    I can't seem to find similar stats for Canada but from hanging around truck stops, the majority are not happy and are looking for something else.

    Senior drivers tell us that they made the same money 30 years ago !

    If a trucking company has 100 drivers, but at the end of the year not one of those drivers is still working there, what kind of a message is that?

    But how could that be one might ask.

    The owners of these trucking companies are taking advantage of desperate people and short changing them at every opportunity imaginable whether it be on 'down time pay', wages or hours of service. Because they can't get people to do this job they push their drivers to work 70 hours (or more) a week.

    The ATA and the CTA, each countries respective industry lobbying arm, keeps trying to get politicians to allow for more 'importation' of drivers based on this faux claim of driver shortage so that they have a new group of workers to exploit. The Canadian scam by declaring Drivers a Skilled Trade was the best because that enabled these companies to recruit from overseas under the Skilled Trades program which was originally intended for Machinists , Electricians, Engineers etcetera after WW2.

    It's all supply and demand and the demand is not there or else the wages and benefits along with working conditions would have improved.

    The ATA and CTA puts out a lot of propaganda through various websites and magazines it runs bemoaning the driver shortage but oddly they avoid the issues mentioned in the Blue Ribbon Task Force results.

    As for those results I am troubled by the 'carriers, operating on 1-2% margins, supposed to come up with the extra cash?' question.

    Is the problem, too many carriers working for nothing?

    I can't think of a business I would go into where the potential profit margin is 1 to 2%.

    Either these carriers are not being truthful about their profit margins or they are about to go out of biz today.

    But then again my employer has been in operating for over 60 years yet when it comes to a raise, claims to have never made a profit so maybe I'm the one who just doesn't understand how this biz 'really works'.

    At the end of the day any industry that is affected by these 'temporary foreign workers' will change the 'supply and demand' factor for both workers and carriers.

    Domestic workers will be squeezed out because they can't afford to work for such low wages and carriers will be competing with each other slashing rates by finding the cheapest workers they can exploit from around the globe.....


    •  Great response (0+ / 0-)

      You pretty much nailed it. I want to write about the effect of immigrants on the wages/rates in the industry.

      John Galt is a fictional character in a poorly written novel by an adulterous Russian philosopher who believed that selfishness is a virtue and that God and the family have no place in society.

      by Hey Driver on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 10:54:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You need a union! (11+ / 0-)

    I'm a retired trucker, and other than the first few months of my career, it was all as a union member. I got payed by the hour, spent the whole Halloween blizzard of 1991 on overtime! Had health insurance and a pension I'm now enjoying too.

    If you can't find a union job, get out of trucking. If you honestly do the numbers and count all your "off the logbook" time doing truck repairs, paperwork, etc. you'll find you're probably not even making minimum wage. As for the CA regs requiring 2007 or later trucks, running over the road you shouldn't be running a truck over 10 years old anyway.

    So it's time for non-union truckers to quit buying into the fantasies and get union or get out... When you can make better wages working at McDonald's than driving, why drive? Let the big shippers and their doesn't even pay the cost of fuel cheap freight sit and rot!

    •  In the age of right to work, easier said than done (0+ / 0-)

      and let's not forget, a lot of people vote against their best interests..........

    •  Way wrong there driver (0+ / 0-)

      1. The percentage of union jobs left in the entire economy is abysmal, trucking is no exception. If you can't get a union job at Wal Mart, should you not work retail?

      2. I don't want to work for a union, I want to work for myself.

      3. A properly driven & maintained big rig should last at least 2 million miles. My last driving job was in a 1999 Peterbilt 379 'hood. 1.8 million miles, the cylinder head had never been off, the transmission & rear ends had never been opened up, the truck was tight, rode & handled great.

      Of course nothing will last that long if it gets corporate maintenance and is driven by an LTL monkey steering wheel holder.

      John Galt is a fictional character in a poorly written novel by an adulterous Russian philosopher who believed that selfishness is a virtue and that God and the family have no place in society.

      by Hey Driver on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 11:02:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I didn't understand before (8+ / 0-)

    why there are SO many ads for CDL over the road drivers here in rural Wisconsin. We have a local tech school that trains them, and it seems as though they are pumping them out at a high rate of speed. I guess they need them to go into debt for the training so that they can become disillusioned with the industry, but have to work anyway.

    My oldest daughter's significant asshole (did I type that out loud?) is thinking of trying the industry. I'll let him know what's in store, but I don't think he'd qualify for a CDL-too many traffic violations, because he's an idiot.

    I have taken a full year of Law and Government Class and have determined that government and politics are my left ass cheek.-my 18 year old daughter

    by left rev on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 05:04:40 AM PDT

  •  Good diary (5+ / 0-)

    As a buddy of mine said the other day, "This is legislation searching for a reason."

    I see what the drivers go through and it does suck for them. Especially when we have to send them to or from California. We've had so many people just tell us flat out that they won't take any loads to or from there. Our product is heavy and we do pay a premium to get that product into CA.

    I'm fortunate enough that the trucking company I do the most work with is locally based and the drivers are hourly and they are paid well. The manager grumbles at me every time one of the guys is stuck at the port because he has to pay overtime. The drivers hate being stuck overnight, but at least they do get paid for it.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 05:30:04 AM PDT

  •  Behold the wonders of the free market! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    Brought to you by the uber-savvy CEOs and financiers of America.

    Don't you just love the freedom? Aren't you glad we're not socialist?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 06:33:29 AM PDT

  •  STAY OUT OF THE FAST LANE! (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:


    •  Four wheelers cause "most" of the accidents (8+ / 0-)

      Extensively documented.

      i used to drive a truck so i know the truth.
      And a pickup truck don't count.

      If you ever did drive eighteen wheels, you would know some things like, big trucks often required to run the left lane in construction zones for safety - due to short entry ramps, slower posted speeds for big trucks than cars, and heavy loads slowing trucks on grade.

      “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

      by RUNDOWN on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 08:16:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup. (7+ / 0-)

        The irony of people bitching about 18-wheelers, when those same people are probably the ones that ride on the truck's ass or cut them off when they pass them.

        They don't realize that many trucks are fitted to make it impossible to go over 65 mph, for fuel efficiency standards AND safety. We really don't want trucks hauling 45,000 lbs going 80 mph just so you don't face the dread of losing 5 minutes on your commute.

        P.S. I am not a crackpot.

        by BoiseBlue on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 08:46:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  then stay out of the fast lane. (0+ / 0-)

          see i really did drive a 'big rig'  you get close behind the truck in front of you .the aerodynamic advantage makes it feel like you have more power. the truck in front starts going up hill. you pull out to pass as he slows down. once you get into the dirty air you lose all that power you thought you had and take 10 miles to pull off your pass as a line of cars accordions behind you. and out here in the promised land it is pull over OR slow down for highway workers. not both. stay in your friggin lane and slow down to 50. most truck drivers are not professionals. they graduated from 'american truck driving academy- class of tuesday(afternoon). the are as competent and professional as taxi drivers. ( which i also drove) You don't make me drive 25 mph under the speed limit up the side of one of my many local mountains and i won't brake check you when i do get around.  how's that for a fair bargain?

          •  Please go fuck yourself (2+ / 1-)
            Recommended by:
            mattc129, Remembering Jello
            Hidden by:

            I honestly don't care if people HR this.  Go the fuck right ahead.

            Your attitude is exactly the type of shit my dad and many other truckers have to deal with.

            I'm sorry you have to drive the speed limit now instead of going 85 miles an hour.  And btw, any truck built within the last 10 years (especially the ones built for out west trucking) all have Cat 600s or better.  So they can go up that 7% grade at 60 MPH anyway, but they aren't because they are smart to pare the speed down for that eventual descent.

            I think they might even be going slow on purpose to piss assholes like you off...

            "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

            by mconvente on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:10:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You could have made your point a little better. (0+ / 0-)

              From the FAQ...

              Any and all insults are HRable. Although users are never required to uprate any comment, it is considered a violation of site policy to uprate a comment with an insult in it.
              •  I know what the site rules are (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Remembering Jello, mattc129

                I've been here long enough.  Like I said, either HR me or don't, I don't care.  But looks like even if people aren't willing to give me a comment tip, they aren't willing to HR either.

                Says something, doesn't it?

                "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

                by mconvente on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 05:48:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  You poor thing (5+ / 0-)

            I can't imagine how traumatic it is for you to drive SLOW. OMG, that has to be torture!

            And I bet you complain when your favorite establishment is out of your favorite thing. Everyone gripes about trucks while they eat all their vegetables and meat and fruits and milk. Goddamn those truckers, getting shit safely from one point to the next.

            Tell ya what, you go without those slow truckers for one week- and I don't just mean buying local, because even locally grown corn and potatoes have to be transported in those god-forsaken trucks.

            You go without that, and without your computer that was certainly manufactured overseas, shipped to the US, then long-hauled to the warehouse closest to you, and go without every other luxury you have that I PROMISE you was once on one of those dastardly trucks (you'd be flabbergasted if you knew how much product I ship is considered, and mostly is, essential), and then you can bitch about trucks and how they make everything so hard and miserable in you life.

            P.S. I am not a crackpot.

            by BoiseBlue on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:35:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Trucker attrition rate? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Perhaps you can confirm: I read recently that about 80% of new over the road truckers leave the job after a year or less? Is that accurate, in your opinion?

  •  You can thank the trucking lobby and (8+ / 0-)

    insurance companies for the dysfunctional laws and rules. Govt is rarely the culprit in the laws legislated but the lobbying for the industries. The mess of all the rules are designed to take the money out of the pockets of the drivers to the pockets of the carriers. The labor practices as you described are horrible and should be changed. As you say no wonder so many truckers have such extreme political views given how you are treated and the isolation from family and friends. RW talk radio doesn't help either.

    •  Your point is KEY! Drivers need to understand (7+ / 0-)

      that it is the industry that creates the most onerous of the rules, and even where there are safety issues (e.g., the limits on how many hours you can drive in a day), the industry makes sure that the safety rule is also set up as a "savings" rule (e.g., the examples given in the diary about dock waiting time, road shutdown time, etc.).

      Easier said than done, but educating drivers about where the worse of the regs come from might help them understand and recognize the true enemy.

      •  Yes everytime someone complains to me (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Denver11, dizzydean, worldlotus

        about Govt regulations I always counter with it is not the govt wanting them but the industries or insurance companies. Of course that is too easy to accept. Since when does a legislator really have an original idea of what laws need to be voted on? They are representatives of people and businesses aren't they? They get fed the ideas for laws to enact and vote on. It is easier to blame the EPA, OSHA, NTSB or any other govt agency.

  •  My only gripe with truckers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denver11, scrambler

    is the truck going 56 mph in the left lane passing the truck going 55 mph in the right lane.

    It's like watching two glaciers drag race.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 07:34:23 AM PDT

  •  I work for a car hauler (9+ / 0-)

    that has around 500 owner/operators. I will say that they generally treat their drivers well in relation to how other companies do. They will negotiate a wait time charge when a truck is contracted for a load and then has to wait if it is more than a half an hour. They pay 100% of the fuel surcharge to the owner/operators, done a lot to get a better rate for insurance and they make it a mission to give drivers loads to get them back home or to their next load so they are not driving empty.  

    I work in the accounting side and we make sure drivers are paid all they earned and don't pay for stuff they don't need to - there is a lot more opportunity for damage than in other types of cargo. However, the amount of money that owner/operators have to pay just to run is pretty high and the rates have only recently started to rise. The reason for this is that the financial meltdown put a lot of trucking companies out of business so there is less competition when contracts are negotiated. If you want to see someone load or unload as fast as possible, just watch a car hauler at the dealership or yard. They climb those racks and drive the cars on and off on small rails so fast it is almost scary but fascinating to watch. As for parking, some dealers won't even let the trucks near their lot because of where they are located. We have done a lot to give drivers a heads up as to where they can load and unload or park and whether they can drop after hours (many can). As for parking, the long haul trucks have the problems that you cite, but when near a terminal or port, there is usually a place for them to park and we have a lot of terminals.

    Since I work in an area where there are a lot of trucks I see a crapload of local gravel trucks and they are a menace. The trucks get paid by the load so of course when empty they haul ass and if you don't get out of their way they will run you down. As for regular trucks, they are generally the ones who will go out of their way to avoid accidents by driving defensively against all the other idiots on the road. I give them a lot of respect mostly because I know they deserve it. They do a lot to keep me safe.

    One interesting side-note. When negotiating with a German manufacturer, they were perplexed why we didn't have drivers located at various points across the country to expedite their loads so that when one was out of hours, the new guy could take over. Of course that is not realistic, but it makes me curious on how they do it over there, in a much smaller country of course.

    Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

    by whoknu on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 08:35:18 AM PDT

    •  Having just shipped a car - a question for you... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What is the real deal between "brokers" and "carriers"?  Seems I got lots of quotes from brokers and they were pretty much all over the place.  Ended up just coordinating through my main mover and probably paid a premium for that, but at least I had a face to the system.

      •  Brokers are third party (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        whoknu, Denver11, Mr Robert, WI Deadhead

        I know you didn't ask ME, but I'll answer anyway.

        The carrier is the actual business entity that is moving your car, whether it's a company that employs dozens or an independent driver, that is the carrier.

        The broker is a company that doesn't actually move product (most of the time, sometimes they do have their own equipment).

        When you go to a carrier, you are paying the carrier. When you go to the broker, they go out to several carriers, get the best price, then mark it up and charge you for the move and their services.

        You pay the broker and the broker pays the carrier. Or you just pay the carrier.

        There are pros and cons to both. If you go through a broker, the odds are they can recover the load should something happen. Say, if your car is supposed to be picked up on Tuesday but the driver got stuck at a receiver so they can't pick up until Wednesday,the broker is in a better position to get an alternate truck to pick up on Tuesday as originally planned.

        At the same time, it is a third party so it can be frustrating. If you need information, the broker goes to the carrier and the carrier gets back to the broker and the broker gets back to you. If you are working with the carrier instead, it's not so much of a waiting game.

        P.S. I am not a crackpot.

        by BoiseBlue on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 09:50:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We have contracts and also (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Denver11, Mr Robert

          act as the broker on what we term 'auction' loads (basically used cars). The broker gets anywhere from 5 to 20% (10-15% would be more usual) of the total price. If the broker has to go to a carrier who owns the contract, there would be a premium as both need to make a percentage - this would be new cars. There are a lot of small operators out there that pick up loads off of internet sites that are posted with a rate. We do a small amount of that if we need freight to fill a hole on a route or to get a truck back to the terminal.

          Brokers generally set rates based on a rate per mile, fuel cost and what the 'market' will bear. It also depends a lot on if you need it right away and the truck would be shipping it with a lot of empty slots,  then the price would be higher. If you are willing to wait until there is a truck going that way with a full load the price goes down. For us, if you are off the main routes, the price goes up. As an example, our trucks rarely go to North or South Dakota because we don't have any contracts up there so the price for one car would be pretty high as we can't combine it with any other freight. and a truck may not be available for several days. Then he has to come back empty, so we try to get the rate high enough to compensate if we can't find anything coming back.  If you are shipping into New York City, drivers are available, we have freight going that way, but tolls and congestion would add a small premium. If you want door service, that could be more as opposed to shipping it to your local dealer and having you come pick it up.

          We have had some pretty odd drop off points. One was a COD on the "bridge by Home Depot" in a Texas town that was close to the Mexican border. You can imagine what that was all about since we don't go into Mexico. We did get burned on that deal and I was kind of pissed. I gave the dispatcher hell for that one... LOL.

          Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

          by whoknu on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:09:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks to you and BoiseBlue (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I had the added issue of putting on a boat to HI to factor in too.  At least the Denver to West coast docks was a busy route.  And the car did make it just fine, except for the dead battery on pick-up.  I have done several ocean shipping events with cars, and I'd say 50%+ of the time, battery dead at other end.  Don't know if it is the down time, the salt air, or some mystery battery sucking cosmic sinkhole between HI and CA, but that has been my experience.  :-)

            •  Stupid question (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Denver11, whoknu

              but was the battery disconnected? If the battery was left connected there would be enough of a trickle to the car's computer that it could drain the battery.

              I have an "airport car" that sits for months at a time and I actually put a solar-powered battery minder on it.

              If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

              by Major Kong on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:36:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Dunno about the battery disconnect, as it was (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                connected (obviously) when the carrier drove it onto his truck.  No idea what they do after that.  The problem was that it wouldn't hold a charge on arrival, so either it was already on last legs, or so drained that it got past some point of no return.

                •  they don't disconnect batteries (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  at least that I am aware of. Could be they left the keys in and on accessory while on the truck. Though they are not supposed to do that either.

                  Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

                  by whoknu on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 12:06:36 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  BB - see my comment below to whoknu (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Thanks for the info.

  •  How's your Spanish ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Hard to believe, but Mexican truckers think you have a dream job and, thanks to NAFTA, they're coming north.

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 09:28:28 AM PDT

    •  Sorry, but NAFTA has precisely zero to do with (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the working conditions of long-haul trucking.

      There are a lot of immigrants who take the job because they like it, but most of them are actually Russian.

      NAFTA has nothing to do with immigrants drivers coming north. They still have to comply with the same regulations that natural born citizens do.

      I'm no fan of NAFTA, but let's please not be ignorant about what it actually does.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:00:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think what it has to do with (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mconvente, Azazello

        is Mexican trucks being allowed to carry freight from Mexico further into the US rather than switching it over to US carriers at or near the border.

        Correct me if I'm wrong on that, but I thought the Teamsters were making an issue of it.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:08:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Please be careful about calling others ignorant, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        or at least do some minimal research before you do. One of the provisions of NAFTA was, indeed, to allow Mexican trucking companies to enter the US market. The implementation of the provisions on trucking has so far been delayed, mostly over safety concerns, but it will happen. US companies will be able to cut their labor costs by buying into Mexican companies and using Mexican drivers.
        Here's the Teamsters. ☛ Join the Battle Against Unsafe Mexican Trucks
        Here are a series of links on the subject of NAFTA from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assoc. ☛ OIDA
        I leave it to you to research the current working conditions of Mexican truck drivers.
        Have a nice day.

        The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

        by Azazello on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:20:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not disputing any of that (0+ / 0-)

          But the issue still has zero to do with NAFTA. They are related to other legislation, all of which, for the record, I oppose.

          P.S. I am not a crackpot.

          by BoiseBlue on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:40:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're dead wrong. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

            by Azazello on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:41:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It has everything to do with Free Trades (0+ / 0-)

            Supply and Demand.

            America has an over supply of workers and an under demand of jobs.

            How many millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost since 1999 alone?

            It is circular you know, (sorry for that), but all of these unemployed people who don't have the mans to buy a house or new vehicle or furniture etcetera have crumpled the middle (working) class.

            Not only are these people desperate for jobs, the basic concept of growth resulting from decent paying jobs is lost......

      •  NAFTA has a lot to do with it (0+ / 0-)

        But not the HB-1 visas which is a separate issue.

        If a driver from Mexico is making 10 cents a mile and can maintain a decent lifestyle from that wage but an American needs 50 cents a mile to maintain their lifestyle, well, which 3rd party trucker do you think the shipper will hire?

        I have met many immigrants from Russia, Poland etc., who came as drivers and signed on the dotted line for a 5 year lease on a $150,000.00 truck and can't wait for that to expire.

        It was their only way to emigrate.......

  •  2 words: Holy Shit. (4+ / 0-)
  •  Wow, thanks for a fascinating diary. (5+ / 0-)

    I've been in Roseburg, can't imagine having to stay over on xmas. that sucks. If you're ever stuck in Portland, kosmail me and I'll try to get you a hot meal from buckman. It really is crazy that cities don't understand the need for trucks to park while sleeping.  It makes me wonder though, if a lot of the bs regulations you cite aren't pushed on the gov't by the companies in search of greater profits.

    Racial hostility, homophobia and misogyny are braided together like strands of the same rope. When we fight one, we fight them all. - Charles M. Blow

    by blueoregon on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 09:47:59 AM PDT

  •  This is such a complicated business (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    implicate order

    But it seems to be rendered even more complex by the trucker's themselves buying into the fantasy that you can be an "owner/operator" and solo driver. Basically, you can't make real money unless you are driving tandem with another person so that person can start driving when you have to stop and/or if you could subcontract with a local person to supervise the unloading and you could turn around and go right back to work regardless of the screw up schedule of the people who you are delivering to.

    If you can't unionize, which would be the best thing, another way to go would be to construct some kind of crowd sourced combination between a union and a temp agency which would handle sleeping and loading and driving issues for you in hub cities. If you could organize with other driver/owners you could create a fund that would enable you to grab a cab or a lift to a pre-paid hotel room.  Why should you be forced to sleep by the side of the road or in your truck?  If shippers want their stuff to be safe they can pay for storage on the road at set intervals, send out fresh drivers to complete the run, etc...etc...etc...

    •  No, teams aren't the answer (5+ / 0-)

      Here's the deal: there are two types of moving product in trucks. One is FTL (full truck load) and the other is LTL (less than truckload, i.e, a few pallets).

      When you see those FedEx or ABF trucks on the road with three trailers, what you're seeing is about twenty orders that are consolidated onto one trailer. The driver takes those trailers to the nearest hub in the route where it's unloaded then placed on other trailers, which go to the nearest hub and the process starts all over again. Those are LTL shipments.

      FTL shipments are when there is one dedicated truck to an order. Those are the big 53 footers you see on the highway, and those are the loads where one driver on one truck takes the whole thing from point A to point B.

      It does get there faster if there are two drivers, but I won't pay for a team. I'll pay $2,500 for this load to get from California to Texas, but not a dime over.

      So drivers bid on the lane and the cheapest one gets it. A team is more than welcome to take the load, but then that's two people who will split the 2.5K rather than one who will take the whole thing.

      The ONLY time I'll pay for a team is when I need an FTL expedited, which means I need a truck delivering to Home Depot tomorrow rather than three days from now.

      Then I'll pay 3.5K, but the team still gets a smaller share of the pie than the single driver who can deliver in three days for 2.5.

      Does that make sense?

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:14:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, double-teaming is for rare use (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        My dad double-teams a decent amount, but he's in sports television trucking.  So if you're doing an event in Los Angeles one weekend and an event in Miami the next weekend, the only way you can get that truck and production trailer there with enough time for set up is by double teaming.  But then again, sports television is flush with cash, so they have more than enough money to pay for it.

        Good points with your comments.

        "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

        by mconvente on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 06:08:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you so very much for this diary (4+ / 0-)

    Proud son of a 35 year (and counting) truck driver father.  Over 3.5 million safe miles.  He's done it all - hauling 115,000 lbs. of produce from Cali back in the 80s (and outsmarting the Smokeys), paper products, started his own enclosed auto transport business, and has been working in sports television since 2002.  Monday Night Football, college football, golf, baseball, basketball, pretty much anything for ESPN.

    I entirely agree with everything in your diary.  Truckers have to deal with idiot dispatchers that don't know shit about what it's actually like to be on the road.  Fuck, having traveled with my dad at least 10 times - including two 3-week cross country trips - I know more about trucking than most of these moronic dispatcher bean counters.

    Truckers are an easy target, especially for your typical suburban soccer mom - and dare I say, a fair amount of Daily Kos members.  Yeah, I said it.  These diaries don't come up too frequently, but I've had some arguments with members here who think trucking is this evil polluting and no-value industry.

    Hmm, ok, but then don't complain when your fresh produce or Snapple or milk or literally everything is missing from your local grocery store.  How the hell do people think stuff gets to stores?

    OK, so I'm going into rant mode, so I'll end it here.  I don't really have much else to say but to say thank you to you and to let you know that I hear your concerns, I agree with them 100%, and ping ping truck 'em up.

    "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

    by mconvente on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 09:54:52 AM PDT

    •  Also, added respect for being an Owner/Operator (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psnyder, worldlotus

      I remember when diesel was 90 cents (yes, cents) a gallon in Georgia in the late 90s and even early 2000s.  What is it now, $5 a gallon?  Owner/Operators have to pay for all of that.  It's crazy expensive.  And you have to pay for all maintenance and repairs.

      "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

      by mconvente on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 09:58:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was married for years (6+ / 0-)

    to a long haul over the road trucker.  There is hardly any family life in this situation and the money is bad for a 48 state driver.  Kenworths, Macks, Peterbilts, seen quite a few with the sleepers and reefers.   Seen the nightmare of logs and weigh stations not to mention dead heading.

    My x was driving in the 70's and 80's and the only time we were not fighting was when I was with him because to tell you the is a lonesome road for both, it is a broke life as the road takes any money you make and the work is very hard.  I am grateful I traveled the country but no one mentioned those showers, the long waits to be dispatched, not knowing where to next and hoping the company don't cheat ya.  You may end up selling the cargo right off the truck to get home.   There are mountains and plains and  it is a way of life where one would kill for a real home cooked meal... I think the bigger companies with local 3 day runs is the way to go...  We never had too many of those.  I hope you are lucky enough not to have to unload your own cargo, or at least have the money to pay for help in that area...  

    None think of blind spots, shifting loads and runaway ramps.. I have seen all of that too close.....

    Good diary.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:16:56 AM PDT

  •  This is a great inside (6+ / 0-)

    view of an occupation few of us think much about, but one that employs many people.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:19:36 AM PDT

  •  What I find interesting here (6+ / 0-)

    is that your duty regulations are in some ways more restrictive than mine as an airline pilot.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:22:52 AM PDT

    •  Amazing, huh? (0+ / 0-)

      I've never understood that myself. Do airline pilots get random drug tests? I've been told some of the have Adderall prescriptions. I've been told the military furnishes high quality stimulants to their pilots.

      John Galt is a fictional character in a poorly written novel by an adulterous Russian philosopher who believed that selfishness is a virtue and that God and the family have no place in society.

      by Hey Driver on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 11:10:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How about the DOT Medical Exam for truckers? (5+ / 0-)

    That bar is being raised by the FMCSA > Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, with the impending requirement to use an examiner certified by the NRCME > National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

    Examples of the standards include:
    blood pressure standard tougher than that for airline pilots
    all smokers > age 35 should have pulmonary function test
    sleep apnea is a BIG deal and show-stopper for many

    Maybe your employer will pay for your DOT exam, but then who pays for the tests and workup that the NRCME examiner may require prior to passing you. With or without Obamacare the trucker will likely be faced with $$hundreds-thousands  out-of-pocket just to get medically cleared.

    •  and neck measurement (0+ / 0-)

      if your neck is over a certain circumference you have to to be screened for sleep apnea is America's Blog of Record

      by WI Deadhead on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 06:11:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some companies go by BMI (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WI Deadhead

        Starting next year any doctor that does a CDL physical will have to be certified by the DOT. I predict a shortage of doctors and higher prices for physicals.

        John Galt is a fictional character in a poorly written novel by an adulterous Russian philosopher who believed that selfishness is a virtue and that God and the family have no place in society.

        by Hey Driver on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 11:12:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  maybe a network of lawyers to fight parking ticket (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on contract fees.

    I swear half of winning any court case is showing up.

    would you be willing to pay 20% of the ticket face
    to see if a local barrister would show up, argue your case?

  •  I like how you identify specific problems, (4+ / 0-)

    especially problems with the unintended consequences of safety regulations, and propose sensible corrections. At first, what I thought I was reading was anti-regulation, but instead was an insider's view of how regulations could be tweaked to, as you say, increase both safety and productivity and ask municipalities to cooperate with truckers in following the law. Very well thought out.

    There is a precedent for the self-regulation of an industry of mostly independent operators: the lobster industry in Maine. Now, there are certainly laws and regulations passed and enforced by the State, but long before that and still today, lobstermen and women have been regulating themselves. They've had to, because even half a century and more ago, these fisherfolk have understood that keeping the fishery sustainable is in everyone's best interest. So they decided to regulate themselves before government ever thought about doing so. Your approach reminds me of conversations I've heard my friends who lobster here in Maine have with one another over a game of cards at the co-op.  It shows a depth of knowledge and experience combined with a healthy respect for the trade and a commitment to conserving precious resources.

    I'm not surprised that a trucker would have thought all this out. As you explain, you have a lot of down time to contemplate how to make the industry better for everyone and get our goods where they need to go.

    This well-considered diary was much appreciated.

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 11:16:00 AM PDT

    •  Unintended consequences - indeed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh, BoiseBlue

      The "11 hours on, 10 hours off" rule was initially proposed, or at least branded, as a pro-safety measure.  The reasoning was that truckers would have 11 hours (or more, I don't entirely remember) of on time, but loading/unloading didn't count.

      So a driver could drive 5 hours, load/unload for 2-3, and drive another 6 hours.  That's a total of 13-14 hours awake, and apparently that's not so good for driving a huge vehicle on a highway.

      So it was proposed, I believe by the DOT, to move to the 11 hours on, 10 hours off rule.  But the unintended consequence with this, as Hey Driver clearly states, is that now drivers are running way fast to make up for lost time loading/unloading that now counts as part of the 11 hours on the clock.  Having truckers consistently driving over the speed limit is a lot more dangerous than having them awake for another 2-3 hours.

      "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

      by mconvente on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 06:13:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some of the nicest people I've met are truck (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, worldlotus, Oh Mary Oh

    drivers. I get a lot of deliveries for my store and I've never met a driver who was in a bad mood. I have a lot of respect for what you all do. BTW, The Baculum King published a great diary that he posts every year or so that highlights a lot of the issues regular car drivers should be aware of when they try to play around with any kind of truck on the road. I highly recommend it.

    A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. - Greek proverb

    by marleycat on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 11:32:41 AM PDT

  •  new HOS regs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, Oh Mary Oh

    I am curious to hear your thoughts on the new Hours of Service rules. Do you think it will require more drivers to cover the same number of loads? Will any locations need to change receiving/ shipping hours (if they are now open only from 0100-600, for example).

    Drivers are squeezed between the trucking companies and the shippers, no doubt of that. Average age is something like 54 now, and that number is going up. is America's Blog of Record

    by WI Deadhead on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 01:17:30 PM PDT

  •  THANK YOU ALL! (9+ / 0-)

    I'm truly amazed & gratified by the response to my diary. I really didn't think anyone would care. I would like to know if I can continue it with additional entries. Lord knows I got a lot more to say!

    Thanks again,


  •  It's all true, far as I can tell. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife, mconvente, worldlotus

    I work with truck drivers but do not drive, myself. Good luck.

    •  You know.. upthread I read about all (5+ / 0-)

      those citations.  It is really bad and have been a witness to it when a cop will barter with a hard working truck driver...well it is actually extortion...and probably not too common today with the puter age but saw bad county cops withold a ticket in exchange for that new channel CB.
      I have seen a lot out there that was wrong.. Issuing a ticket in Connecticut at a weigh station for not having white sheets.  Wierd stuff that only a truck driver or his wife could talk to you about... The pushing and log lying..
      The terror of steep grades and scary feeling with weight back when crossing Hoover Dam but seeing the beauty lights from afar into Vegas only to get pushed into Reno and then climb Donner's pass in the wintertime on I-80.

      Mt. Eagle...The Grapevine and The Cabbage.   The best day I recall was spending some time on layover and as my x slept I was all over an Indian reservaation and talking to the indians and snapping pics of a Buffalo.  Near Flasgstaff I believe.

      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 05:08:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey, if I had known, you could have stayed with me (0+ / 0-)

    at Christmas, seeing as I lived in Roseburg at the time.

    Not sure what you are saying that there is only Arby's in Roseburg though.  There are a ton of chain and local restaurants, and there is a city-wide delivery service that serves all of the restaurants, so it's not like you even have to walk anywhere.

    You weren't stuck in the boonies, ffs.

    Methinks you are exaggerating everything when you so seriously exaggerate this part.

    •  Loves Truck Stop (0+ / 0-)

      I can't legally drive the truck with a loaded trailer attached while I'm logging off duty & virtually no truck stops will allow dropped trailers.

      I could have called a cab & taken it  to a motel, but That creates budget issues. I wanted to make 7 Feathers, but I didn't have enough hours and the Boomer Hill scale has a well deserved reputation for being open when you least expect it and fucking with you whenever they can.

      John Galt is a fictional character in a poorly written novel by an adulterous Russian philosopher who believed that selfishness is a virtue and that God and the family have no place in society.

      by Hey Driver on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 11:20:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rules obviously do need changing. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But the emphasis should still be on ensuring that truckers do not drive fatigued.  About 10 years ago, a truck driver pulled out in front of my sister on an Interstate in Florida.  My sister swerved to avoid it and hit the guardrail in the median.  The impact killed my 17-year-old nephew.  Many years later, I was driving my niece (who survived the crash), and every time we drove by a truck, she would scream out 'careful, he's pulling over' (but of course he wasn't).

    I'm sure that you are a careful driver.  I'm sure that really most or even all truckers are.  But in a contest between a truck and a car there is no contest.  

    I don't the story of the trucker that cost my nephew his life.  He was never caught/found.  He must have seen the accident he caused and didn't stop.   He may have had to pull over in my sister's lane to avoid an accident himself.  We don't know since he didn't stop to explain himself.  

    Could MORE rules have avoided that accident, one of thousands that occur every day?  Possibly.  Maybe not.  Have the current rules prevented other accidents like the one above from occurring?  Possibly.  Maybe not.  All I know is that my sweet nephew is dead.  At the funeral, parents of kids my sister didn't even know would tell her stories about how he stood up to bullies for their child, and she didn't even know about that.  

    He is dead, and I blame a trucker, rightly or wrongly.

    "In 20 years, the GOP will be small enough to drown in a bathtub." - me

    by estamm on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:17:34 AM PDT

  •  Interesting story, driver. (0+ / 0-)

    Sounds like circumstances have created a perfect opportunity to retire, sell the truck,and get that job on the loading dock at Home Depot.

    Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
    Left/Right: -7.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

    by Bud Fields on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 06:51:05 AM PDT

    •  I have a better idea (0+ / 0-)

      I'll do whatever I have to so I can qualify for as many assistance programs as possible- SSI, SDI, Section 8, food stamps, etc. I'll grow pot in the Natl. Forest, cook crank in the bath tub and rob an occasional liquor store for extra cash.

      Hey, it seems like it works for some people.

      John Galt is a fictional character in a poorly written novel by an adulterous Russian philosopher who believed that selfishness is a virtue and that God and the family have no place in society.

      by Hey Driver on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 11:25:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  perhaps (0+ / 0-)

        but I really don't think you have the constitution for that lifestyle. Most folks finding themselves living like that do so because they have exhausted every other possible option; not the unwillingness to live otherwise,

        Drivers are not eligible for unemployment in any state (or, at least were when I was driving) because of the number of available jobs. Believe me, if there were those kinds of numbers of available jobs for those "others" you speak of, you would be much busier, having many more pickups and deliveries, and being paid a much higher wage....

        See how that works? :)

        Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
        Left/Right: -7.75
        Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

        by Bud Fields on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 02:24:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not really (0+ / 0-)

          There is an abundance of work (loads) available. It's as much the Hours Of Service laws that limit my income.

          Also, I plan to write a future diary about the large number of immigrants, a substantial percentage of which can be presumed to be here (or at least to have come here) illegally and their effect on the transportation marketplace.

          I think you're right about my lacking the constitution for that particular lifestyle. My new plan is to join the Rainbow People.

          John Galt is a fictional character in a poorly written novel by an adulterous Russian philosopher who believed that selfishness is a virtue and that God and the family have no place in society.

          by Hey Driver on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 08:23:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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