Pay drivers for what they do and there’ll will be no shortage
Dear editor: I'm writing here today to express my opinion about the so-called "driver shortage."
First, let me congratulate you on your newspaper; it is the most complete source of information for truckers today.
I would say that a large percentage of your readers, at age 5, dreamed of driving a truck and seeing America through a windshield. So where are those grown dreamers today? We are still here. There is no shortage of us. What there is, is a shortage of people willing to put up with all the junk there is behind the wheel with such small pay.
I love to drive a big rig. If money wasn't an issue, there is nothing else I'd rather do; but money is the issue.
I drove chemical tankers, and go figure, after three years with 1/2 million safe miles, a hazmat endorsement and no violations, I made less money than the previous year. So I decided to move on. I should be able to get a well paying job, right? Wrong.
Every over-the-road company I contacted was happy to hire me, but not happy to pay what I wanted.
The best deal came from a local company: no hazmat, no computers, no logbooks and home every night. The answer was hourly pay.
I get paid for the work I do, no more, no less. The company wants you legal, so no speeding tickets because there's no need to rush to be on time with that poorly dispatched load; no need to forge a logbook to stay legal, because you only work 12 hours (and you get paid for every single minute of it). The list of pros over the cons goes on, but all is decided by the bottom line. I almost doubled my income.
Do I miss be OTR? Yes, but why would I go back when I can make more money sleeping at home every night?
Here is a reality check for the trucking industry: pay truckers for the work they do.
Do you think your loads get delivered safely on time by the grace of God (sure wasn't for your dispatch)? There is a lot of uncompensated work behind every delivery, work that must be done.
Driver appreciation day? Sure, that should be every day of the year, and I'd rather take appreciation in cash, and not a lousy sandwich.
Contrary to your opinion, we don't drive a truck because we can't do anything else; we do it because we are passionate about it, we are professionals behind the wheel, and we will always do our job regardless of how you scorn.
Remember: we drive your business, not you.