Everyone from law-makers, lawyers, DOT officials, to the public; cries out “safety safety safety.” From the never stopping lawsuits against carriers, to the few bad apples in the crowd of the industry professionals that cause the major regulations and burdens associated with the ever elusive dark corners of the asphalt world.
However, let ME state a few facts for you ever endearing readers:
- Majority of accidents with commercial vehicles are caused by the noncommercial sector.
- Professional drivers overall, have the safest driving records, and history in the country, yet we pay some of the highest fees.
- Commercial Drivers will automatically lose their license for a minimum of 1 yr if they are under the influence.
- Commercial Drivers will be charged or can be charged for vehicular homicide if a death occurs during an accident and they did not follow the rules.
- The industry is understaffed and underpaid for the hours that the professionals actually work.
- Excessive freight is primary cause for the under staffing.
- Liability rests with the Driver 85% of the time, the other 15% is the carrier
- Commercial Transportation is responsible for billion and trillions of dollars of inventory, yet the least trusted industry.
- 70 hours is the maximum allowed time to work in a 8 day period, however, this includes loading, unloading, transport, DOT inspections, traffic, among anything else that comes in the way of a delivery.
- Electronic Logs are not easily cheatable, without technology based access.
Let me paint a picture for you.
I have personally seen drivers be paid for their work in a week for over $2500, not owning a company, not owning a truck, but merely driving as a CDL driver for a container company leasee (truck owner). Meaning they were just a driver for the truck owner who leased his truck to a carrier to operate under the carrier authority.
I have seen personally, this industry go from decent pay to pay that is struggling to make a decent wage for drivers.
Everyone thinks .40 per mile is good money on 3000 miles, $1200 Gross before taxes and deductions. On 70 plus hours weekly……..Do the math…..That is less than $20 per hour for the driver legally!!! That is not including time away from family, 24/7 responsibility for the cargo equipment and the public.
Drivers are the most responsible of any single individual in the country. These Professionals are trusted with Cargo Valuing in excess of over $15,000,000 annually hauled from their one truck/one driver cargo list for just a single year.
Some of us have hauled loads valued over $3,000,000, just for a single transport.
Some of our Equipment costs over $1,000,000 just for a trailer to haul loads.
Yet, we are not allowed more than $20 per hour? How convoluted is that picture?
How messed up is it that, a man risks his life on the public roads, being treated as a second hand, unwanted, and despised by many for his career choice, yet many of our brothers and sisters end up destitute and forced to work until death.
Now Picture this
Currently, majority of freight is moved consistently and within reasonable time. Most of us Old School Type drivers, due to the vast increase regulation, and hardship it has caused them lower earnings, lower capacity, and over bearing regulations has strained the economy….
Luckily, it is in my blood, so I was one that got to stay to find a place I wanted, even though every turn and every person tried to push me back into a truck. Hopefully for the best of the industry, however I am a bit partial…… It’s in my blood.
The Old School drivers will always be needed. Why? All that excessive freight that is currently moved by those type of drivers, is the freight when stopped; will amass to a portion of 25% or greater of the total cargo shipped nationwide via truck. Why is this important? Look at the current capacity needs, the drop in production is obvious—
25% less product on the shelves in this just in time logistic network can equate to regions of undelivered freight and produce going bad from not being delivered. This 25% is the equivalent of more than one countries combined GNP, sometimes more than 5 countries combined GNP……… no matter which way you cut it or slice it, its going to be a bad situation.
The crazy thing is that the major carriers are only moving about 15-25% of the countries freight. The rest is moved by small carriers and fleets, who fight to get better rates, so they can make a decent living one load at a time.
The majors steadily get increased rates, and decreasing production due to their implementation of the Electronic log book, mandated and implemented to every carrier in the country. Efficiency and Volume are their main game, the FMCSA has clearly showed they want VOLUME CARRIERS– the guys are easily allowing the regulators to starve out and kill off the little guys—All the current inventory of Volume Carriers going out of business—what is that really and truly saying.
What happens when the mandate appears and suddenly over 60% of the Carriers cannot afford the ELD,and you know we are already at a critical zone of understaffing and underpay? Now add a $15,000 system to the mix with those additional bills, per truck, and then the management fees monthly on top of the system costs per truck, then you have what I call a PERFECT STORM……..
This is when you will start seeing unregulated, old schooler’s come out and either make or break this and other industries that have strangled our business for years with low pay per mile, and unpaid detention, fees, and unpaid invoices.
Yep, we will come out and take what we want for rates, and tell you the only way it moves is by paying a rate you have never conceived paying because you need that customer on the delivery side to pay his bill for your products…….
When the Old School Drivers finally say “fuck it” and move the freight no matter the consequences, then you know it will get there. We all are guilty of it. I have took my fair share of Cash bonuses for a few particular runs……..just to get them there within a specific time frame for a client to corner a short term regional market…..
The reality is that I have yet to find a single driver who does not fudge their books to get that extra load or extra few hours to make little jimmies recital, or his field trip money .
I have yet to find a single driver that will not fudge their logs, at least 1 time a month. It don’t happen, because we know we will just run out of any carrier that get told no we won’t do something.
We know that not fudging, even the slightest, will have devastating effects on our families, an our pockets.
That even the fudging slightly, can affect the industry by billions of dollars annually. NEGATIVELY. Don’t allow us to fudge the books, the public goes hungry, or without. Sudden Gluttons of freight pops up with no ability to move it cause everyone is running legal and forced to stop due to regulation…………Current need for more and more drivers is really showing itself now; isn’t it?
Hence, why the industry is trying to get the driverless artificial intelligence technology in place and operational……..as soon as possible to the implementation of the ELD requirements, so that innovation will help save the day for the government to cover their ASS!!