More February 2004 Letters

A lack of common sense
The new hours-of-service rules were made with a complete lack of common sense from the Department of Transportation.

It will force drivers to drive the maximum of 11 hours. Without logging off-duty for meals, breaks and loading and unloading, it will put drivers at greater risk of having an accident.

When was the last time you have driven 11 hours straight? In a car, it’s not that bad, but in a tractor-trailer on public roads, in and out of heavy traffic, it can take a toll on a driver to stay mentally alert.

David M. Redmond
Buford, GA

HOS creates more problems than it solves
I’m not at all pleased with these new hours-of-service regs. I think it’s very plain that they’ve been put together by persons who have no idea whatsoever how this industry works.

I just can’t imagine how we are going to spend more time down in truck stops. A lot of the truck stops I’ve used and have parked in could be considered the scum of the Earth as far as I’m concerned. And that’s just one problem.

The other, being the major problem that I see, are the shippers/receivers. If these people don’t start treating people in this industry as the professionals that we’re supposed to be, nothing is going to change for the better.

This is just a little venting on my part, but knowing my voice and opinion alone won’t make a difference, I’m doing everything in my power to try to move out of this industry.

Art Pruden
Monroe City, MO

New HOS: totally dysfunctional
Well, folks, they have done it again. The bureaucrats, in order to once again cater to a special interest group, have created a totally dysfunctional new hours-of-service policy.

This thing has so many vague areas, even the people who are supposed to enforce it don’t think it will ever fly.

Large trucking companies are already planning to buy more trailers and attempt to hire several thousand more drivers and put them out on the already crowded highways – all this to counteract the new HOS regs that are supposedly going to make the highways safer for private traffic, rather than commercial transportation and military traffic who, I might add, absorb the bulk of the expense used to maintain the system.

Spence Denning
Sparta, TN

We’re not doing this for fun, folks
I’m writing you about the new hours-of-service laws for us truck drivers. It seems we are sitting at shippers and receivers docks unloading and loading, and we aren’t being paid for it.

The key thing out here is that we’re losing lots of money, and the brokers and the big trucking companies are allowing this to happen even more.

Brokers tell me that they would pay me for sitting at docks, but when I bill them, I never see the money.

We can’t afford to lose everything that we worked hard for because of these new logging rules and all the sitting time at docks waiting to unload or load. Some drivers are talking about shutting down till the rates go up for us.

We don’t drive as a hobby or just for something to keep us busy. We have to make a living and pay our bills.

Robert Kuhle
Beloit, WI

The new HOS rules don’t work for me
In the article by Dick Larsen on the hours-of-service reform, he mentions that we get 3,366 hours to work under the new rules compared with 3,000 hours under the old rules. This might be true for the driver who only works five days a week. I work six to seven days on a trip and still can work only 70 hours in eight days. This works out to 8 3/4 hours a day average.

The only thing the new rules do to me is take away from my breaks, as they now count against my 14-hour day. This will make my breaks shorter, and my meals will be eaten faster. I will also have to drive for longer periods to keep from violating the 14-hour rule.

If anything, the new rules take two hours a day away from my time home or toward another run. The 10-hour rest rule must be for someone with a different metabolism than I have, as I have never spent 10 hours in bed at one time in my 57 years, or for that matter in a 24-hour period. If you total the two hours a day for a year, it is 730 hours. At 70 hours a week, that is 10 1/2 weeks I could be home or working.

Marlin Richardson
Hebron, NE

This may sound like a pipe dream
In light of the new “Hours of Service” regulations imposed on the transportation industry, I feel it is time for the industry to take a hard look at the way we companies and drivers are paid for our services.

What I am about to propose may sound like a pipe dream at first, but every person that I have talked to likes the concept.

First, the federal government wants us to be accountable for every minute of our workday. Most drivers don’t like the idea of “big brother” watching our every move. I feel that we should embrace this to some decree, but only with a change in the way we are paid.

By installing some kind of “black box,” let’s say a small onboard computer with GPS, everyone would know when a truck arrived and got loaded at a shipper, how long it took for a truck to transport said goods to the receiver, and how long the truck sat at the receiver to get unloaded. This information could then be transmitted to the company. The company would then bill the appropriate party an hourly rate for the use of the truck.

We all know that the current “paid by the mile system” promotes the daily falsification of logbooks. By adapting to and hourly pay system, the falsification of logbooks would all but disappear. Drivers would be paid for work actually performed. No longer would drivers be donating 15 to 30 hours per week in order to get their job done.

To implement this change would be a major undertaking, but it would be a change for the better. This change would benefit drivers, owner-operators and companies.

Roger Monette
Newport, ME

I would like to propose to all owner-operators and drivers, who are dissatisfied with the new hours-of-service rules, a means of registering their anger with the federal government.

As a means of silent, peaceful protest, when logging your daily activities in your logbooks, do not use the “off-duty line” anymore. Stay off that line, even when at home.

· Log your 11 hours driving time on the driving line.
· Log your pre-trip/post-trip, fueling, load/unload, etc. on the on-duty line but keep it to the bare minimum required.
· Log everything else on the sleeper berth line.

Patrick McDonald
Richmond Hill, GA

That’s what hazards are for
I was reading the November issue, and in the letter section there was a letter from a Chad Jessup about hazards.

They are called hazards and are to be used when you are in a situation that could cause a hazard to other vehicles – and not to your preferences.

I own my own truck and pull tankers with no baffles, so I take off slowly when I pull out on the highway. I use my hazards to warn other trucks that I am a slow-moving vehicle and they can move over.

Things have changed since 1967. I don’t think putting hazards on in different conditions will hurt anyone. It is a warning device, made to be used.

Leo J. Francoeur
St. Jerome, Quebec

Proud wife to trucker wannabes: It ain’t no rose garden
As I’m sitting in my comfortable office and thinking about my husband, an owner-operator hauling flammables.

I wonder if going in, he thought that knowing the rules and regulations and being an excellent driver were basically it? Not really, aside from the cost of maintaining the truck, absorbing the cost of doing business, i.e., road tax, quarterly taxes, etc. He has had to be prepared to know how much that truck makes per mile, every mile, and make it profitable.

He works unbelievably long hours driving the truck, then comes shopping for tires, taking the truck to the mechanic for maintenance, the paperwork, the banking, the bill paying and on and on. There’s not much left at the end of the day, but this man is so at ease doing this four-man job that others want to do the job because he has a fancy truck and he makes it look fun. And he does it profitably. His favorite phrase is, “They don’t pay the clown to juggle only one ball.”

I guess the gist of this commentary is being “just a truck driver” isn’t enough. I needed to write this because he gets so many calls from others wanting to do the job. Basically what they want is the fancy truck, the paycheck. My husband always assumes the caller knows all they’re getting into.

I believe his success in this industry requires his absolute full attention, commitment and dedication of a businessman.

Debbie Green
Grand Blanc, MI

Excuse me, but are you out of your mind?
I cannot believe my eyes. I just saw the poll results in the December/January issue of Land Line.

On the question regarding a national medical system: Are you people nuts? Tell me you are joking. You want the government to have even more control over your health care or any part of your life for that matter?

Let’s think a little before we speak, people. You want the same bunch of clowns that gave us the new HOS rules deciding what doctor will operate on you or your child? Let’s take back our country and give them less control, not more.

Since when does the greatest country in the history of the world go backward to follow Canada or England? Less and smaller government is the only way to regain our freedoms. We must not give away freedoms just because it sounds like a fuzzy, feel-good proposition.

We all know that anything the government gets ahold of gets worse, not better.

Bill Way
Sugar Grove, PA

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