Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Roses to St. Christopher supporters, razzberries to skinflints

OOIDA has long been a supporter of the St. Christopher Trucker Development and Relief Fund, a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to professional truck drivers who have medical problems and who are in need of financial assistance.

The SCF receives 30-45 applications for assistance each month. The fund has already given more than $204,000 in assistance this year to get drivers through a rough patch and back on the road. An additional $10,200 has been approved to pay as soon as the bills come in.

SCF says applicants have a wide range of medical issues, everything from broken ankles to terminal cancer. The average age of all applicants is 50, too young to retire or to get Social Security. The majority have no health insurance or accident insurance, short-term or long-term disability, or money in savings, so when a medical event takes them off the road, it’s financially catastrophic for the driver and it’s bad news for the company he or she drives for.

Where does the funding to help these drivers come from? TravelCenters of America’s Band Together campaign provides most of the donations. Here at Land Line we like to hand out roses and razzberries, so roses to TA, the employees and all the truckers who donated during the Band Together campaign.

And roses to those carriers, brokers and key industry service providers who quietly make sizey donations from their companies. Roses, too, to drivers making donations directly to SCF. The St. Christopher Fund says drivers make up than 80 percent of the individuals who open their wallet for the St. Christopher Fund.

But looking at the list of contributors, there are some skinflints who are noticeably absent. Who is somebody who could really benefit from getting those drivers back behind the wheel and who could sure benefit from keeping them in the industry? Somebody that deserves a big fat razzberry.

Let me give you a clue who they are.

The St. Christopher Fund says they’ve helped drivers from 578 different motor carriers. Do you know how many of those trucking companies have ever contributed funds to the trucker fund? Only two.

I don’t know about you, but to me – that’s shameful.

There’s no doubt those motor carriers are among those having problems putting drivers in their trucks. It seems like the words “driver shortage” and “retention” are in every trucking headline. You would think they would be supportive of those charitable organizations that work hard to put their sidelined drivers back on the road.