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Roadmap to Equity

What?

June Safety Month is an effort by truckers across the country to run their rigs in strict compliance with all state laws and federal regulations. This includes speed limits.

Why?

OOIDA President Jim Johnston: “For nearly 65 years, shippers and carriers have pressured drivers to break state and federal regulations. In addition, drivers who refuse to make deliveries on unrealistic and illegal time schedules demanded by shippers are routinely denied business and forced from their jobs. The only concern of many shippers and receivers is that their loads are delivered on time. Shippers also routinely make truckers wait for long periods of time before they are allowed to load or unload their truck. Some even require drivers to unload their truck and perform warehouse work such as restacking pallets. Shippers do not pay for this time and work, and have no incentive to treat drivers differently. Not only is this work unpaid, but it steals the time that drivers have under the rules to do the work they are paid for: driving the truck.

“Regarding the practicality of the regulations, strict compliance will finally bring this farce and its true impact to light. This will provide the incentive and the opportunity to begin working on revisions that actually do make sense, hopefully reducing or eliminating the need for falsification and the potential liability this creates.”

Objectives

June Safety Month will help underscore the self-serving attitudes of those motor carriers, shippers and receivers who pressure truckers into violating existing regulations as the way to increase driver productivity without having to adequately compensate truckdrivers. Participation provides all truckers with a golden opportunity to work within the system to accomplish acceptable solutions for drivers, federal and state regulators and the entire trucking industry.

Impact

June Safety Month will change loading and unloading problems as they relate to the excessive amount of time drivers endure without compensation at shipping and receiving points.

This uncompensated time, industrywide, amounts to an average of between 30 to 40 hours per week, per driver. Other wasted hours are required by regulations to be logged. If all this time is logged legally, according to regulations, it will substantially reduce available driving time. Carriers, shippers and receivers will soon realize the need to address this problem to prevent disruptions in freight movement.

Early Support

U.S. Congress: June Safety Month gained crucial congressional support from leaders who want to go the extra mile and establish a National Truck Safety Month each year. The legislators introduced a congressional resolution to heighten awareness about the contributions, needs and safety-related issues of the nation’s truckdrivers. The resolution, sponsored by Missouri Rep. Sam Graves, asks President George W. Bush to issue a proclamation commending all truckers for their extra effort this June to comply with truck safety regulations. Graves serves on the House Agriculture, Small Business and Transportation committees.

“The pressure on truckdrivers is real and, at times, can be immense,” OOIDA President Jim Johnston said. “We appreciate this effort by Congress, and encourage all truckers to contact their U.S. representative and ask them to sign on as a cosponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 164.”

Cosponsors include Rep. Mac Collins, R-GA, a small-business owner, who started Collins Trucking at the age of 18. A native of Georgia, he is serving his sixth term in the U.S. Congress and is a member of the House Ways & Means Committee. Other cosponsors include: Rep. Kevin Brady, R-TX, who also serves on the House Ways & Means Committee; and Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-MN, senior Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The resolution calls on all highway users, shippers, receivers, motor carriers and federal and state regulatory and law-enforcement officials to support the efforts of truckdrivers to make the nation’s highways a safer place to travel and to work.

The resolution cited several reasons behind the need for a National Truck Safety Month. They include:

More than 2 million long-haul trucks and 138 million cars share the nation’s highways each day.

The loss of more than 5,000 lives each year in accidents involving large trucks raises important safety issues.

Truckdrivers, who experience more workplace fatalities than any other single occupation, are acutely aware of their responsibility to contribute to highway safety.

The U.S. economy depends upon the nation’s long-haul truckers, who deliver 71 percent of the dollar value of freight hauled in the United States.

Truck safety has become the highest priority of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the federal government invests nearly $200 million in truck safety enforcement activities each year.

Truckdrivers have committed themselves to make June a model month for compliance with all truck safety rules.

Joe Kroening, general manager of Andy’s Transfer & Storage, Glendale, CA: “(We fully support) the plan to have all drivers operate strictly within the DOT and FMCSA rules and regulations. We would like to add that we think each and every month should be safety month. We are well aware of the business pressures in the environment today and really know what (truckers) are up against.”

Tracy Bradford, president, Safe Highway Operation Workforce: “Perhaps we should think about extending Truck Safety Month to Truck Safety Decade.”

Linda Minnix, broker, Lady Lake, FL: “I am a broker by trade who completely agrees with the frustration drivers feel about donating their time at the docks. The shippers and receivers are to blame, but also carriers and brokers who stand by and do nothing to obtain compensation for their own people, so unfairly taken advantage of.”

Jerry Novak, professional truckdriver: “I’m going back to work at the right time. I was in Kuwait for a while and I got hurt over there ... I’m finally getting over my injury, and I’m going to be released to go back to work on the first of June. I’m looking forward to going back to work not only from that perspective but also to make a stand in the interest of public safety. There is no better way to do it.”

Peter Turner, the Truckers Voice, representing Canadian truckers and small-business operators: “We fully support OOIDA’s June National Truck Safety Month. It could have a huge and positive impact on the future of professional truckdrivers. Truckers everywhere have a chance to stand together and operate in strict compliance with all laws to bring to light the true dilemma of a fatally flawed trucking industry. Over the last 15 years, the trucking industry has cut things to the bone to compete with itself, and it comes on the backs of the drivers. All Canadian truckers and motor carriers who are truly interested in improving the industry’s performance should be participating.”

T.S. Seltzer, professional truckdriver: “Running legal is a good idea. We have to do something to rattle the cages.”

Michael Belzer, associate professor and academic director at the College of Urban Labor and Metropolitan Affairs at Wayne State University, and author of “Sweatshops on Wheels”: “Great demonstration of the power of the independent trucker.”

Bill Moore, professional truckdriver: “Even the electronic logs and ‘Yoda’s’ prepass box don’t take into consideration the non-driving truck-related duties we just take on and accept as part of the job. There needs to be a shift in thinking here.”

Chuck Kemner, vice president of the National Association of Show Trucks and a professional truckdriver: “Participating in June Safety Month will demonstrate how well ‘by the book’ works. Just-in-time shippers and receivers will be running a little behind, and the trucker will be trucking by the rules and living like the shippers and receivers live their lives.”

Michael E. Demont, senior vice president, Suddath Relocation Systems, Jacksonville, FL, says his company respects and appreciates all its drivers - independent owner-operators and employees. Responding to Jim Johnston’s letter explaining the need for June Safety Month, he wrote: “I want you to know that you have our company’s support in the context of keeping our drivers safe, healthy and financially secure. Simply stated, the success of our business is dependent upon their (trucker’s) welfare, safety and good work. We value their services.”

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