Monday, October 27, 2008

Hey, there’s a human in here

Have you noticed how often someone comes up with a “brilliant” idea to solve the problems in the trucking industry and forgets that people, human beings, actually drive those trucks?

We’ve been down this road with hours of service regs and idling restrictions, and now the California Air Resources Board is moving toward mandating fuel-efficient retrofits.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is constantly forcing the think tanks, politicians and such to think beyond the solution they are trying to achieve and look at the unintended consequences. What is the real-life impact of your proposal?

This is routinely met with blank stares. The concept that there is an impact on human life seems to completely escape them.

We have to point out that idling restrictions, coupled with hours of service regs, can land a trucker in a sleeper-berth in below freezing temperatures for eight hours.

You can see the puzzled look on their face followed by yet another stroke of “genius.”

“Why don’t they just buy a generator?”

“Do you have $7,000 to $10,000 just laying around? Truckers don’t either.”

“They could get a loan,” comes the inevitable response.

“Hello? Credit crunch.”

It’s a frustrating situation to battle day in and day out. Yet it’s one that must be fought.

I stumbled on to my own personal stroke of genius recently when I had this debate with a friend who has no comprehension of the trucking industry, but thinks he has all the answers.

I told him that I could cut my grocery bill by 90 percent starting right now. Look at all the money I’ll save, I told him. I’ll be able to buy a new car in no time.

He took the bait and asked how I could cut my grocery bill that much.

“Simple, we just won’t eat.”

The human consequence.

I think it sunk in.


  1. Yes most corporate CEO and lawmakers love to make "rules" without thinking them thru this one is the same as asking them to spend 8 hours in their home with no electricity, no heat, dark etc..
    Oh BTW they forget once again everything they see, eat, touch, use ,drive, wear etc.. also was on a truck at one time or another.

  2. I guess I'll be a criminal, a warm one, as I have no intention of obeying idle laws that risk my health and safety. Getting proper rest does not include waking up every hour to run the the truck for 20 minutes, when it's 25 below with a 50 below wind chill factor. Where is P.A.T.T. (Parents Against Tired Truckers) on this issue? Sleep well, political hacks, as you as you cowtow to environmental Marxism. When the twenty minute engine run period is over at 3:00 am, shall I call you and have you turn off your furnace? Or will you sign legislation some day soon that forces government control of the thermostat in your home?

  3. They really have no concept of what anyone who isn't in their position has by way of income/outgo of cash. The fuel prices are just now starting to go down, do they honestly think just anyone can go out and get a generator? It used to be that if you needed an answer you went to someone who was involved and qualified to give an opinion. Now apparently any paper pusher can look at polls/statistics and give a 'professional' opinion on how we should do our jobs. I would never pretend that I know as much as a doctor but apparently it's ok for everyone else to have a say about ours. Since when does that make sense? And we let them do this?

  4. While not a current driver, I do have almost 2 million miles, coast to coast, done from the 1970s to the 1990s. And I am not surprised by the politics that are used today to get votes, not to protect or serve. Truckers are human? I have never seen that in any legislation. They have no idea what it's all about because the majority have never even ridden in a truck. It's been the same since I started driving, and before that, too. Check out a movie called "They Drive By Night" and you will see what I mean.
    Good Luck, Stay Safe, and thanks for bringing me my food, clothing, and all the rest!
    The Texas Rocketman

  5. Linda Sunkle-PieruckiOctober 28, 2008 at 10:27 AM

    These idiots also dont stop to think that company/employee drivers dont have a choice on generators. . .they arent allowed to retrofit. And many of the big carriers see this legislation as the best of both worlds: they arent forced to retrofit, their drivers are fined for idling and they can, once again, blame the EPA or whatever governmental group is responsible. They save the fuel cost-and dont much care if their driver's quit. After all, they're getting govt funding in one way or another to hire and train NEW drivers-who likely will be making less than the guy that quit.

    Makes ya wonder exactly who IS writing this legislation?

  6. The job I now have requires me to spend only 1 to 4 nights per month in the sleeper, so the owner/operator I drive for won't spend the money for a generator (I wouldn't even dream of asking him), and I'll get up and start my truck once every hour the minute that the lawmakers turn off their heaters/ac units in their homes and get up every hour to run them for a few minutes and then turn them off again...all night long, every night... If I'm going to be safe out there (and I pull a tanker hauling fuel), I MUST get a restful sleep.

  7. I drive for a large company which has about 5,000 trucks on the road.
    With the exception of our very oldest stuff we are getting APU's and the new trucks have the California clean air sticker on the hood. Still we have had 4 drivers cited in California, in every case one of our lawyers on staff has made a call to the local prosicuter's office, started talking about safety and got the ticket dismissed.
    I agree that these rules are insane
    written by fools that have forgotten the human factor or what the humans involved are supposed to do. Yet, it seems that at least some that are charged with the inforcement of these rules are not so crazy as those who dream them up.
    If you get one of these citations, don't pay, fight, at least you stand a chance talking to someone with some common sense.

  8. The Movies; THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT and THE GRAPES OF WRATH are well worth seeing to re-focus your distrust towards polititians and other assorted "Doo Gooders" that think things are somehow going to change by their input.
    Money is still the root problem of this industry as it was years ago.


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