SPECIAL REPORT: June Safety Month - more positive reports

| 6/17/2003

Affirmative reviews by on-the-road truckers of June Safety Month continue to stream in each day to OOIDA’s Grain Valley, MO, headquarters. OOIDA President Jim Johnston says the positive reports are significant.

“The implications of these positive reports cannot be overstated. June is a chance for truckers to show the nation they can stick together and stand as one and send the right message,” said  Johnston. “We are building momentum, and the effort of truckers will make all the difference.”

One member says out on the road, there’s clear evidence of the worm turning.

“It’s looking up. From Georgia to Pennsylvania, I got paid $2.96 a mile one way for a no touch load, $2.50 from Georgia to DC, no touch one way,” says OOIDA member Fred Heard of Rydal, GA. “I haven’t seen rates like this for years.”

Heard says he just not playing the game anymore, and others must be doing the same because he’s hearing it from shippers and brokers.

Ray Kasicki, OOIDA member and board member from Cleveland, OH, agrees, says he’s running to the letter of the law and the good loads are keeping his wheels rollin’.

“I called my wife and said I wanted to come home, but I couldn’t turn down the good paying loads. I don’t haul cheap loads, and they know it,” he said. “Still, they keep calling me.”

Patrick Holzemer, member from Thackerville, OK, called to describe the support he’s seeing on the road, especially on the dock.

“I was in Hutchins, TX, at an air filter plant to pick up at my scheduled time, which was 7 a.m.,” he says, “I was told when I went to check in that I probably would not be loaded until around noon.”

To his surprise, upper management had different ideas. Holzemer overheard an order to get his truck loaded and “get him on his way.” The manager said, “We’ll not detain this driver.” He offered Holzemer a cup of coffee. In an hour, the truck was on its way.

That’s just a sample of comments received June 16 about OOIDA’s June Safety Month initiative, where truckers across the country are running in strict compliance with all state laws, including speed limits, and federal safety regulations. Here’s more.

A Texas trucker writes: "Once we remove the terminal-to-terminal truckers from the equation, it’s really clear that all the lost time that drivers have to endure isn't fiction, nor is it confined to owner-operators. It is flatbeds, vans and tanks …there can be a tremendous difference between logging legal and actually running in compliance with the rules. Shippers know this, carriers know this and drivers know this. Carriers will be the biggest beneficiaries of a system that doesn't exploit the time of drivers in the loading and unloading environment. The lost productivity of drivers is also a lost opportunity for carriers that employ them – and is there any bigger issue when it comes to driver retention? Many of us don't think so."

OOIDA officer and member Robert Esler, Taylor, MI, is director of safety at Laramie Inc. He says "We would like to join those who are in support of the efforts of OOIDA to promote safety on our nation's highway. Safety should be, and always remain, the primary goal of the transportation industry. This includes all those who play a part: from the carriers, to the shipper, to the receivers and brokers. We all need to be more aware that the professional driver, whether company or owner-operator, is the vital link that keeps the commerce of America moving. Every task we ask our professional drivers to complete should be executed with utmost regard for their safety. Again, congratulations to the board of directors and the membership of OOIDA in designating the month of June as National Truck Safety Month."

This from another driver: "I just wanted to say thanks for every one at OOIDA and all the members of OOIDA. Together we all can do anything. God bless you and God bless America."

The following comes from an ex-driver, now with the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicle Safety: “I would like to praise everyone out there that is trying to make the June Safety Month work. One of the reasons I became a truck cop is that I was tired of seeing the ‘cowboys’ out there making a bad name for all truckdrivers. You see, my dad retired a few years ago from driving, and I don't like anybody talking bad about my dad. So I am trying to make a difference from the other side. I said that just to say, I am proud of all those hands out there trying to make a difference. If I can ever be a help, just let me know!”

And this comes from an early enthusiast of OOIDA’s June Safety Month initiative: “We picked up ‘Run Compliant’ and “don’t haul cheap freight” decals at the truck show in Louisville and put them on the back doors of our trailer before we left the fairgrounds. We’ve had a lot of drivers ask us about them … and we’ve referred them to OOIDA. (My wife and I are driving as a team) and we’re proud to be members of such a great organization.”

This is from a driver and CDL examiner: “First, I want to thank OOIDA for doing such a great job in its activities and the information OOIDA provides for all drivers. I'm a company driver and have been staying up with the June Safety Month. I've been hearing some of the other company drivers complaining about long hours they experience on some days. I told them that I log my hours the way I run it. If I should run 19 hours in one period, that's how I log. When the company person who audits our logs wants to know what's going on, I'll simply point out the hours-of-service rules. I really believe that the law is on our side; if we do our job the right way and let the law do its job, it should prove to make driving a little easier and much safer, even if the road gets a little bumpy at first. This isn't only about the owner-operator. It's about safety for all drivers and those we share the road with.”