Trucker Perspectives
Truckers lowered the bar; they can raise it

James S. Bricken — Cibolo, TX

Recently, OOIDA sent me a pamphlet encouraging all drivers to run compliant in June. The goal, it seems, is a roundabout way to get an increase in rates.

The rates are not low because the shippers and carriers don’t want to pay more. The rates are low because the owners-operators/carriers are willing to accept the rate being offered.

The problem boils down to what is known as a low “barrier to entry.” That means anybody with two bits and a CDL can buy a truck and be in business. These people have no education and no business acumen. They think a balance sheet is something you get at a CAT scale and variable costs is when the price of fuel goes up.

Those who do know what we are doing are comforted by the fact that these guys will eventually be out of business. But the hazard is that we have to compete with them in the interim, and that costs the rest of us money.

The trucking industry has also created the great illusion known as the “driver shortage.” There has never been a driver shortage. I think what the companies are really saying is there is a shortage of drivers willing to work for the substandard wage they are offering.

If you look at the better companies in the industry, they never have a problem finding drivers. In fact, they usually have a waiting list to get on there.

The only solutions to this dilemma are to raise the barriers to entry by requiring increased education and training levels, and reducing productivity by lowering speed limits and hours of service.