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6/6/2003
SPECIAL REPORT: Reviews positive on OOIDA’s run compliant effort

Truckdrivers are telling the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association about their participation in June Safety Month, where drivers across the country are running their rigs in strict compliance with all state laws, including speed limits and federal regulations.

Truckers are logging as on-duty all time spent at shipping and receiving facilities; time during traffic slowdowns; actual time spent doing required paperwork, fueling and truck servicing and time spent locating a parking space.

Many drivers tell of positive experiences – mostly involving carriers that have told their drivers they support OOIDA’s safety effort. However, some shippers and brokers continue to pressure drivers to “run illegally.”

For example, one driver who works for one of the nation’s largest carriers said he was told he’d receive a late-load notice that would be placed in his file, and he’d be subject to a 30-day performance review. Why? Because the driver waited up to 10 hours before being loaded – and under federal law, was required to rest eight hours. The driver said he should have documented his time.

“Our Business Services unit is calling all carriers we hear about from truckers,” Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA, said. “It’s important to note these calls are being made whether the driver’s experience was negative or positive.”

Spencer also said it’s important for drivers to write down “time in and time out” periods on the bill of lading to ensure there’s a written record of any pressure.

Here are some other observations as June Safety month gets under way:

Nationally, the word is out. For example, running compliant has been a hot topic on trucking radio shows. Drivers are also calling their state representatives asking for support.

Several states, including Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Louisiana and Michigan, have approved resolutions commending OOIDA’s effort. Moreover, a resolution will soon be introduced in the U.S. Senate to recognize OOIDA’s safety initiative.

Most drivers say carriers are responsive to OOIDA’s safety effort, but brokers are still pressuring truckers to get freight delivered “at any cost,” one driver said. Another said he thought brokers were at least making an effort to steer drivers away from problem shippers.

A trucker in the Northeast said most older truckers are observing June Safety Month, but regretfully, some younger drivers working for a grocery chain are doing “business as usual” for fear of losing their jobs.

A driver after passing a CAT scale discovered his drive axles were over the required weight by 1,560 pounds. He was told “to go ahead and run the load – this company does it all the time for this shipper.”

Another driver reported that no trucker passed him on the highway while he was observing the speed limit. The driver also noticed that rest areas were pretty full and a lot more trucks were parked, meaning “everyone is taking the required breaks,” the trucker said.

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