Perish the thought! Drivers want to actually make money

By Jami Jones, managing editor

Today’s trucking environment is riddled with the blame game. Fingers are pointing and fur is flying over who is responsible for the problems in the industry.

Enter Jerry Moyes of Swift who professed in a couple of other industry publications to know exactly what’s wrong with the industry.

Here’s the exact quote:

“I’ve been in this business for 45 years, and the No. 1 problem has always been drivers. It’s not going to change.”

If that’s the first time you’ve read that, I’ll bet your blood pressure went through the roof. I know mine did.

Now, to be fair, Moyes went on to offer a solution to this problem. (You’ll love this.)

And I quote: “For us to solve this, we’ve got to give them a lot more money.”

Makes you want to smack yourself upside the head and wonder why on earth you didn’t think of that, right? No. It doesn’t.

Driver pay does need to go up. It really is that simple.

Employee turnover is a huge expense for any company in any business. When you see a company with turnover of more than 100 percent, you are looking at a company with a bottom line that’s taking an unnecessary hit.

Hearing turnover numbers upward of 100 percent is not at all uncommon in trucking. For years I’ve read SEC filings from the publicly traded companies where the reports lament the pains of driver turnover.

The blame there too always goes back on the driver.

Presumably, managers of large motor carriers are smart people. But I will never understand why they won’t stop putting the blame on drivers long enough to take a good long hard look at their operations. If they ever did, they would see that low driver pay and terrible driver treatment (i.e., lack of benefits) are the real reason they can’t keep even unqualified butts in the seat.

Hiring and keeping good quality drivers can be done. There are companies out there who do it.

The secret of their success? You got it. Driver pay.

Mr. Moyes has either just punched into the real problem of driver treatment and driver pay, or he is just paying lip service. I lean toward the latter option because of how he suggests driver pay should be increased.

The way he uses the word “we” in the “we’ve got to give them a lot more money,” is kinda like the way my kids use the word “we” when it’s time to clean a litter box, take out the trash, or mow the yard. “We” really means anyone but me.

I can tell you that despite the fact that he’s gone oh-so-public with this declaration/challenge, I won’t be holding my breath waiting for the royal “we” to put their money where their mouth is. LL