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Archive for October, 2014


Empty Seats: A Trucker Strike of a Different Kind

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Empty Seats - Trucker Strike

Empty Seats — Trucker Strike

The infamous truck driver shortage has been a continual news story for at least the past two to three decades as noted in this article from February of 1990: Driver Shortage Spurs Company Incentive Plans. This particular article from nearly 25 years ago, even makes the statement:

“With so many jobs to fill, trucking executives are taking a more sympathetic view of drivers. Once regarded as easily replaced commodities, drivers increasingly are courted–even pampered–by employers.”

Recently, ATA chief economist Bob Costello continued with his assessment of this “serious” issue within the trucking industry by stating: “. . . the continued high turnover rate demonstrates that the market for qualified, experienced drivers in the country remain tight.” However, should one look at this issue from a logical point of view, it would be determined that the continued high turnover rate would demonstrate a severe problem within the industry at it relates to the relationship with their drivers.

The truck driver shortage myth has been a popular news-getter for decades and even today there are stories expressing such worry as: “It has become so difficult to fill truck-driver jobs that pay has begun rising and companies are pursuing each others drivers.

In several previous articles I have closed with following comments such as: “The industry itself created the shortage, they continue to create the shortage and only they can stop it”, most notably in the post: Breaking Down Barriers to the Truck Driver Shortage.

In the Spring of 2012, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, the equivalent of the ATA,  shared the same sentiment by sharing the following findings through their report: Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Driver Shortage in Trucking:

“As indicated throughout this report, it is the carriers themselves – the entities that hire, fire, determine what and how to pay their drivers, who price their service and deal with their customers, who are ultimately responsible for their businesses and therefore for ensuring they are able to recruit and retain the people needed to do the work.”

The greatest problem today is that truck driving does not appeal to a younger generation who are saying “No, Thank you” to long hours, low pay and the never-ending signs of disrespect and abuse. The days of learning about potential vocations through the daily newspaper are over, as a tech-savvy generation can learn all they need to know about a carrier via trucking social media outlets within minutes.

Furthermore, as some carriers are “stepping up” with increases in wages, can one really see a two or three cents-per-mile increase as a “raise?”  According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, average CPM starting wages are between $0.28 and $0.40; the near very same as 20-25 years ago. Motor carriers advertising a raise increase to $0.38 cpm, I ask: where exactly is the raise?

Even as a few carriers report a wage increase to $0.48 to $0.51 cpm, this can still not be seen as a raise for the simple fact of adjusting for inflation and cost-of-living expenses from the previous 2-3 decades; this is simply bringing drivers up-to-date to where their wages should have already been in regards to the past 25 to 30 years. Perhaps a 2015 starting mileage rate of $0.65 to $0.70 for company drivers and $2.00 to $2.50 for lease owner operators could be seen as a real raise?

The trucking industry now finds itself faced with a new, upcoming generation which has a more human mindset of where they would rather “have a life” instead of “spending a life” in a truck, away from home and family for weeks or months at a time. Even if the OTR industry were to change to a complete regional mode of operation, allowing drivers to make it home every 2-3 days or every weekend, this new generation still disregards trucking as a viable career and only sees it as just another job.

Regardless of the astounding shortage for truck drivers in a terrible economy that is crying for jobs, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, 36% of those aged between 18 to 31 were living with their parents as of 2012; the highest proportion within the past 40 years. As 56% of adults aged 18 to 24 are living at home, this millennial generation has made it clear that trucking is not an option.

Low pay, the lifestyle, the disrespect, the classification as “unskilled” labor among many other factors, all play a part in this industry-made driver shortage. In addition, as many call for the FMCSA to finalize an industry training standard for entry-level drivers which some see as another means to fill the empty seats, we may have another 25 years of just talk.

The primary reason that there is still no standard has to do with costs; costs to the carriers who would have to bring in additionally trained instructors, more training supplies, etc. In an industry such as trucking, years passed can provide the truth to such issues: when a rule-making is based on safety versus costs, costs will always win for those who carry the most money for lobbying.

I have said it before and I will say it again: The industry itself created the shortage and only they can stop it. If not, this trucker strike of a very different kind will continue.

Recently a new movement has begun which will separate the complainers and blamers from the doers. The movement is part of the North American Trucking Alerts and it represents a call to all those who are actively choosing to be a part of real solutions rather than continual empty talk.

AAA = Awareness, Accountability, Action

The call is for awareness, accountability and action from all those involved in trucking, everyone: drivers, carriers, shippers, receivers, brokers, groups, CDL Schools, and Organizations. It is time to address the truck driver shortage, as well as all the issues facing the industry and professional driver and the facts that are leading up to them. The buck needs to stop at all who are concerned enough to offer support and be part of real solutions.

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: ata, Canadian Trucking Alliance, driver shortage, FMCSA, North American Trucking Alerts, trucker strike, Trucking

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

Safe truck parking, who’s responsibility is it?

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by Brian Carlson

DriveForFreedom- Brian Carlson

I am an individual that places people before anything monetary more often than not.Those that know me, or know of me, will tell you that with certainty.

However as the problems associated with safe truck parking here in America increase and concerns for a viable and sensible solution mount. I want to place money first in this case just briefly.

First, we understand that our nation operates on an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by ‘private owners’ for profit, rather than by the state. So knowing this, it is easy to see why we have so many problems in this particular area of our Industry.

Second, we look at the litigious state of our country, is it easy for us to ascertain why our shippers and receivers refuse to accommodate our nations valuable  OTR truckers regardless of personal safety? Yes it is.

Third, we look at our convoluted Insurance structure and notice that most policy’s are written based solely on ‘Liability’. Who can we blame or charge if something happens? How are we protected? Moreover ‘who’ are we protecting ourselves from. Or what are we protecting ourselves from? Well that’s easy, the answer is each other.

This reveals something stunningly sad, that a persons life will have value, after we have placed a value on what will protect them from their neighbor. What does this say about our priorities? So without ‘income’-as we have seen with drivers dying or being placed in harms way, senseless deaths have been the ‘outcome’! This is unacceptable.

Fourth, we look at the lack of care and concern that many who drive professionally and I use that term loosely with respect to some. Many drivers have shown a far less than savory attitude towards other peoples property,  its seen every day. As a result those that do not act this way are paying dearly. That ‘must’ weigh on the conscience of drivers. Or is it like a bag of bricks, all they have to do is drop it and keep on trucking? They should be racked with guilt?

Consequently by their actions those we do business with, have made it clear they will not give concessions to those that have not earned it, or have in the past squandered their good graces. The unfortunate down side is that the respectable drivers in our country are despicably punished for the thoughtless actions of others. Isn’t that always the way? This is another obvious reason why the private sector is unwilling to step up to the plate and help solve the problem.

So knowing the aforementioned, what is the solution to our plight? Well its 3 fold.

First, we must enlist our industry heads to step forward and confront our nations truck stop owners, our customers and other members of the private sector to implement a viable, sensible, workable solution for the very people they have hired to do a job for them.

This means that yes, it is the responsibility of our company owners to make certain that they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect their investment. Ahh, there would be the operative word, ‘Investment.’

The truck driver is and always will be the very first investment that a trucking company owner is duly bound morally, ethically, and financially obligated to protect. There in brings me to this word. ‘Obligation’. This word has ‘sharp teeth’ and when used goes directly against how mankind thinks, lives or operates. As human beings we live most days believing that we are not obligated to do anything for anyone. But, this cancer would be one of the biggest reasons we have a truck parking issue.

Second, all companies owners must send out a letter to their entire driver base informing them that as we work to correct the truck parking issue, and seek resolution in this matter, we ask all of our drivers to live with respect for not only themselves, but for those they interact with daily. To make a concerted effort to live differently in and around truck stops, around our customers and around the general public. When we make it clear to them- that even those that do not feel it is their concern, make it their concern… and show initiative.Then those that do not care at all, may just step up and live outside of their comfort zone for everyone else as well.

Third, knowing that cost will most certainly be associated in order for safe truck parking solutions to be presented and implemented, find a reasonable and sensible method of recouping those costs over a longer period of time, so as to avoid the solution presenting a financial ‘burden’ for the very people that ‘need’ the solution.

In other words, do not punish someone because they require something just because it somehow inconvenienced  us. That’s a nasty attitude, and it happens everyday in our country.

The truth is folks, it boils down to humanity and how willing are people here in a free America able to place their financial and personal beliefs aside, to tackle the problem for the benefit of everyone. Man is unwilling to give up the most powerful grip it has on Man,
Dominion. The effect of this, dependency. The cost, has been death, as was the case for recent murdered trucker Michael Boeglin.

So now lets place money aside as we redress our grievances? We see that it is a culmination of a great many things that has lead to this very serious problem. Sadly we have addressed it peaceably, to no avail.

So knowing this, we will deal with inadequate parking for truckers until the end of time. Unless all involved work together. Hmm…knowing Man. That’s going to be a tough one to get in the door, regardless of what angle we use.

© 2014, Brian Carlson. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: cdl drivers, otr truckers, safe truck parking, shippers, truck parking, truck stops, Truckers

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

The Power of CDL Drivers Credentials

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Truth About Trucking "LIVE"There are many topics of discussion open within the trucking industry, and depending on who you are, the tone for the discussion will be set according to how you view the issue.

Whether you’re the FMCSA, shipper, driver, carrier, safety advocacy group, trade group, broker, or any other part of the industry, the one thing that all will agree upon is that it is the professional driver who is responsible for getting the freight moved and in doing so has become the industry’s greatest asset.

With that being said, it’s no wonder that most of these major trucking issues involve drivers  in one way or another. Knowing all this, one would assume that professional drivers would be a much respected, highly regarded and sought after professional within the industry, but unfortunately, this is not the case. How could that be? How could the one part of the industry, who is responsible for the billions of dollars of revenue every year, not be considered as so essential? The answer lies within the drivers themselves. It involves how the driver perceives him or herself and how this perception has been propagated and even encouraged.

Our special guest, Kirk Kostoff draws from twenty years of combined skills in the B2B sales marketing and strategic business development arena, drawing from his experiences in the Fortune 500 market.

In 2011 Mr. Kostoff entered the logistics side of business through his introduction and interaction with CR England and what he refers to as their “self proclaimed” legitimate franchise. His recent actions with the ongoing CR England class action litigation associated with drivers’ rights, legitimate wages and living conditions has positioned him as an upcoming “voice of reason” and concern for the small business owner, just recently founding The Drivers Association of America.

Join us Thursday, October 2, 2014 as we discuss with our guest “The Power of Driver Credentials, The Driver Shortage Myth, Motor Carrier Truck Leasing and driver Remedies through Education and Implementation” via our Blog Talk Radio show: Truth About Trucking “LIVE.”

We invite everyone to consider these topics and call in with their perspectives as we will also discuss the CR England case as it is public knowledge and to reiterate for all the industry newcomers about motor carrier leasing scams to once again explain how it all works against the professional truck driver.

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: cdl, driver credentials, drivers association of america, Kirk Kostoff, regulations, Trucking

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog