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Truckers Speak Out

Giving young drivers a chance
By Kathy Warren, Windsor, NY

My husband has driven a truck long haul since he was 18 years old. As a small company, we are hoping to be able to put our son in his own truck in late February or early March. We feel there are some drivers out there who are over the age of 21 who should not be driving an 18-wheeler, but they have a CDL. And the people who are doing a lot of the stupid things on the road are the ones who think they can handle the truck. They know it all. But some new drivers know they will never know the truck they are driving. My son has been around trucks all his life and held a job in a service center locally and was able to work on big trucks, but is not allowed to drive one because he cannot get a CDL.

My husband says he would rather hire an 18-year-old in his truck because he can train him to respect his truck and know what to look for (in what might be a preventable accident). Older drivers already think they know everything and don’t do a real inspection on their company trucks.

Deal with the driver shortage at the root
By Wolfgang Wilz, Florence, MT

I recently listened to National Public Radio interviewing the Arkansas Trucking Association’s president about their proposal to amend the law to train and qualify 18-year-olds to own and operate a CDL. No amount of training can prepare a 18-year-old for the stress that comes with dealing with over-ambitious shippers and cops and bad directions. Why not deal with the driver shortage problem at the root, i.e. poor compensation. People call trucking a lifestyle. Nonsense, a lifestyle is what one experiences after completing one’s life work. Well-paying jobs allow one to experience a lifestyle at the same time as your life’s work. The ATA needs its slack adjusters tightened up.