Truckers throw their weight behind Safety Month
Truckers say June is their chance to change the industry.

OOIDA’s June initiative has spurred considerable buzz among truckers in the field, and many have voiced their convictions to Land Line. We shared some of those in past issues. Here’s more supportive comments that have crossed our desks since the initiative was announced:

Truckers have a mission too
I want to start off by writing in words that I support what OOIDA is doing for the trucking community. I wish I could do more to support your action in June, but like most Guard and Reserve units, I was called up to arms in support of “Enduring Freedom.”

My unit is the 1136th medium-duty transport company out of Bangor, ME. We are, as I am writing, still in the states waiting to be deployed.

My civilian job: I am a laborer/driver at a paper mill. I always dreamed of going back on the road full time instead of just on vacations or days off, but seeing the trouble truckers are having, I am second-guessing on my decision. I love driving and going places and operating a piece of equipment that I simply enjoy doing. People say I’m nuts to want to live a life of a trucker, but I grew up in trucks, and it is the main topic of discussion with my father who, at 65 is still trucking.

What you plan to do in June — my hat is off to you. It’s as important what you do in June for the trucking industry as what I am doing on the fight against terrorism. Kick butt and good luck.

When I come back I want to see positive changes to an industry I love and want to be a part of. To all the truckdrivers, owner-operators and company drivers — you have a long and proud history, so keep it alive. Only in numbers can change be achieved. Don’t be afraid of changes, especially when it can only benefit your industry.

The trucking community moves America and the Armed Forces. Carry on.

Sgt. Steven Guimond
1136th Transport Company
Fort Dix, NJ

Running compliant is a good idea
Running legal is a good idea. I’ve heard it said on the CB for many years now.

It will cost us in pay, and owner-operators will hurt the most. I’m one of those who went out of business in 2001. I haven’t got anything else to lose, and I’m tired of working my butt off for nothing. I’m in.

It’s only a start folks, but this industry is going backward. We have to do something to rattle the cage; we can see by the fuel prices that Washington, DC, and our beloved state governments won’t listen. Just look at the fuel taxes per gallon.

It’s up to us. Show ’em just exactly how the law reads and hit ’em where it hurts: in the wallet.

T.S. Seltzer
Billings, MT

We’re doing our part for Safety Month
My husband and I are both members and will do our best to pass on the word about June Safety Month to all who will listen.

I have just ordered some supplies in order to get the word out. We as members do appreciate all that you are doing and try always to be involved in anything that may help this industry.

Mike has been a company driver as well as an owner-operator for 31 years, and I have also been a company driver and owner-operator for the past 21 years.

We are both very excited about the prospect of changing the way this industry is run and to let the political side see just how foolish they have been all these years thinking their policies and rules work.

Deanna Davis
Oak Grove, MO

It’s time to show what we can do together
I think it’s time for all truckdrivers and owners to stand behind OOIDA in June.

It is time to show lawmakers just how ignorant the regulations are of the industry. More laws are not the answer. Better working conditions and being compensated for the work and time it takes to do the job are.

I wish that this industry would pull together as one and show what we can do together.

Steve Kennedy
Fredericktown, MO

Be proud, fight back and log it compliant
I read your article on what’s happening in June (Running Legal), and I’m excited about it. I just hope the drivers out there will stand together to make a change.

I’ve been trucking for over 30 years and can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the complaints of how it’s hard to earn a living and run a legal log. Well, there are two sides to every coin, aren’t there? Truth is, the logbook can be your best friend or your worst enemy, and you get to choose. What I mean is this: All of us can say that we’re tired of sitting at the docks to load and unload, we’re tired of donating six, eight and nine hours a day of our time only to have to drive all night to keep a schedule.

June is an opportunity to get the monkey off your back and put it where it belongs: on the shipper, the receiver or your company. They’re all guilty of using you for free labor.

This time, the logbook is going to be your friend; make it work for you. Log it legal, and when you have to tell your company they have to reschedule the load because you’re out of time for the day, let them worry about it.

Truth is, nobody can force you to run an illegal log. That is a choice you make on your own. Does it get you anything or help you advance up the corporate ladder? I don’t think so. If you were paid for all the time you sit and wait, you wouldn’t have to work so hard to earn a living.

Can you get yourself in trouble for running a legal log? Only with those you work for, but for them to fire you for doing it would be tough. I know you say they would find some other way of getting rid of you. Well, so what. If you’re worth your salt, there are good companies out there who would love to have you. And anyway, if you’re with a company that thinks you have an obligation to donate 20 or 30 hours of your time every week, as most of the truckload carriers do, then it’s time for a change.

Stand up and fight back in June. Use that logbook to your advantage and make it work for you.

If you want trucking to be a better job for you then you have to fight for it. Don’t sit on the sidelines and ignore the fight. Get in it, get dirty and then stand proud when you see the changes are made, and you can say, “I fought for that. I helped to make trucking a better place to be.”

Be proud, fight back and log it legal in June.

William Jacobs
Crystal Beach, TX

Include the lumpers in Safety Month
Just a note to say I think Safety Month is something we should have done a while ago. I also have an additional suggestion. I believe we should include lumpers in Safety Month.

How so? We all know lumpers are paid cash under the table and are the second largest source of unreported income in the United States, second only to the illegal drug trade. Most lumpers I know of never sign their real name, SSN or address on the labor receipts.

I think anyone lumping should show proof of their eligibility to work in the United States by providing a Social Security card along with some sort of official picture ID. After all, isn’t that the law? You and I are required to show proof of eligibility to work; so should the lumpers.

I suspect receivers would throw one heck of a fit about this, but then they would either back it up or unload the shipment themselves. And they would not have a leg to stand on if they complained too seriously about it. In fact, I think it would make them look mighty stupid if they tried.

This might be a can of worms we don’t want to open; yet I think it’s a suggestion worth consideration.

Jesse Oldham
Great Falls, MT

Something to look forward to
Having some 30-plus years in this industry, finally I’m getting something to look forward to: Namely, the proposed June Truck Safety Month.

I realize you and all at OOIDA are very busy keeping a watchful eye on those who would bring us ill will. I’m a proud member of OOIDA, almost 10 years now, and could not be prouder.

As I’m sure you know, there are still some who say this can’t and won’t work. To them I say, with less than 1 percent participation in the ’80s, we brought about a fuel surcharge during the hostage problems with Iran. Although not perfect, it was still a little help to those in need, the owner-operators.

We shall overcome and be victorious once more come June. I, along with many others, will participate. All will benefit from the sacrifice of the few, and then maybe all the second-guessing will stop.

This is not a slap at those who choose not to try to change the wrongs done to us on a regular basis; rather, it’s a start to get more of us on board and try to change the things that need change.

I will not stop till I see the whites of their eyes.

Ron Lacroix
Tiverton, RI