Friday, February 5, 2016

‘Groundbreaking’ study on driver retention not so groundbreaking

A recent “groundbreaking” study by Stay Metrics says that allowing truck drivers time away from work leads to improved performance and retention.

In other news, the same company has released studies revealing that water is wet, and fire is hot.

Seriously, it’s great that Stay Metrics is working to share this important information with motor carriers, and hopefully it will lead to better working conditions for all truck drivers.

However, the fact that large carriers need to be told this sort of thing is the problem. Truck drivers aren’t different from workers from any industry. We all expect a fair wage, good working conditions, a chance to succeed, and good benefits like vacation.

No study should be required to tell you that if you treat an employee right that he or she is more likely to work hard and want to stay with your company.

These are not new ideas or concepts in any other industry. But somehow when it comes to truck drivers, this type of information is “groundbreaking.” I can’t wait for the findings from the fire study. 

Wild Bill

A compilation of stories as remembered by OOIDA and Land Line friends

They didn’t call him Wild Bill for nothin’.

OOIDA Board member, Association Treasurer, and trucking activist William G. Rode of Eagle, Idaho, was a family man, a trucker, a ranch hand, a cowboy poet, a forest firefighter, and a bush pilot. He packed supplies into the wilderness for the U.S. Forestry Service and built bridges as an Army combat engineer in Germany.
"Wild Bill" Rode

Bill passed away Monday at the age of 82. It’s been a week of sadness for his family and friends, and a week full of recollecting the stories he had shared with us about his remarkable life.

Cowboyin’ being in the family, Bill got out of high school and went to work for the U.S. Forestry Service packing mules, opening and clearing the trails in the primitive areas of Idaho. This meant covering 1,800 miles a year on horseback and spending weeks on some pretty rough trails. Some of his duties included supplying the lookout towers with enough provisions to last two weeks at a time. Sometimes, he was a firefighter and whatever else they needed him to be.

Bill and his young wife, Mary, lived in a primitive cabin in the Salmon River wilderness area of what used to be called the Boise National Forest. The closest road to where they lived on the river was 27 miles. Everything that went in or out was by plane or horse.

“There was no electricity,” said Bill, “but there was a good spring.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Now in T-shirts: ‘Don’t like trucks? Stop buying stuff’

A few days ago, I was tooling through the grocery store and saw a lady down the aisle from me. She was wearing a T-shirt that said, “Don’t like trucks? Quit buying stuff. Problem solved!” in giant print across the back.

There was no way to miss it. And I had to giggle to myself as I saw other people spying what it said. They read it, kind of looked around. The wheels were turning. Were opinions changed? Who knows, but it got them thinking. That’s for sure.

Come to find out it was a co-worker here at OOIDA, and that’s a T-shirt now offered in our Cheap Freight store. 

For those who don’t know, it was about this time last year – just before the Mid-America Trucking Show – that OOIDA Executive VP Todd Spencer strolled into the cafeteria and plopped down a couple of giant trailer stickers with the same message.

Monday, February 1, 2016

When comparing the bids, Optimus Prime was a steal

NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick was not shy with his money this past weekend as he reportedly spent nearly $4 million on several vehicles at the Barrett-Jackson Collector-Car Auction in Arizona.

Hendrick paid $1.65 million for three Corvettes from 1955, 1956 and 1957 — all with VIN No. 001. He acquired the first production 2017 Acura NSX hybrid sports car for $1.2 million. He also dropped $525,000 on a 1969 Corvette roadster.

However, Hendrick’s best bargain may have been his $110,000 bid to purchase Optimus Prime, the 1992 custom Peterbilt truck that was used in the first “Transformers” movie.

Hendrick even earned a walk-in spot in the next “Transformers” movie by being the winning bidder.

It takes just one person to spur big change

It all began with one email sent by one person.

I receive several news tips every week. Some tips include news items Land Line has already looked into. Other story ideas we have to pass on for a variety of reasons. Few tips are exclusive, and even fewer of those pan out to reveal anything of substance.

North Bend resident and OOIDA Member
Joyce Hibma.
Advocacy journalism is chock-full of hits and misses … mostly misses. But one hit is worth more than the dozens of misses that came before it, and it takes only one citizen to get that ball rolling.

Two weeks ago, OOIDA President Jim Johnston forwarded Land Line an email from OOIDA Member Joyce Hibma of North Bend, Wash. The city of North Bend was going to hold a public hearing that would essentially put an end to any future truck parking spaces, including stifling expansion of the lone truck stop in town. It became my assignment to see what was up.

Similar amendments to municipal code pop up in towns across the country periodically, to the dismay of many. However, this ban on truck parking spaces was more significant. North Bend is the last stop on Interstate 90 before Snoqualmie Pass, a mountainous region that is shut down frequently due to weather-related events (and sometimes crashes). When Snoqualmie Pass is closed, truckers have no choice but to stop in North Bend. The nearest truck stop from North Bend is approximately 45 minutes away.