The feedback over The New York Times article about professional truck drivers, one of whom made the headline with the comment about truckers being “throwaway people,” continues to wind up in our inbox.
The latest is from Stephanie Klang, who along with her cat Fred, travels the United States for CFI.
Klang’s credentials to speak about such a subject are impeccable.
She’s been on the road for 37 years, seven as a team driver, the rest as a solo driver and has logged more than 3 million miles for CFI.
She served as a 2013-2014 America’s Road Team captain.
Stephanie sent along an aerial map of a warehouse in Dallas.
“I always look forward to your editorials, so I thought I would share an example of why we feel less than valuable sometimes.
“This warehouse in Dallas treated me with such disrespect, and their so-called bobtail parking opportunities were bad compared with other warehouses that were not as strict.
“I always arrive on time, clean, and with a smile, no matter how bad a day I am having. And most customers are wonderful.
“But, as you can see, it is the few bad apples that we remember.
“This delivery was a year ago, and I will forever dread going in there again.
“[There are] other places that give us our bills at the exit guard shack, with no place to park as we type in our load info.”
Stephanie also sent along instructions the shipper/receiver gives to drivers.
Some of it makes sense, but more of it is demeaning to any respectable human being, let alone a professional truck driver.
To wit (material in parentheses are our comments):
“Take BACK-end of trailer and put it on red line ahead. Do not block employee exit. Guard will break seal there. If trailer has a bolt, driver will break it. Request bolt cutters if needed.
“Disconnect the trailer and exit premises (in other words, get the h*** out). Drivers are not permitted to stay on premises unless given express permission.
“Call G.E. dispatch at (972) ***-4602 (the number was actually in larger type than what can be replicated here, we suppose in case driver has lost his/her reading glasses) to verify whether trailer is ready. Approximate wait time is 1-2 hours.
“Return to G.E. and proceed to reconnect to trailer.
“Stop at stop sign for guard to verify empty trailer. Please do not go beyond sign to speed up process; doing so blocks employee exit (second reference to blocking employee exit, perhaps employees should stop and think they wouldn’t have a job were it not for professional truck drivers). Walk to guard shack if guard is unaware you are waiting (he might be sleeping). Close trailer doors before exiting premises (yeah, like a professional truck driver is going to head down the road with trailer doors flapping).
“Concerning Parking: G.E. does not offer parking. Finding a spot to park is at the discretion of the driver. There are many areas to park around the warehouse area (that’s what a driver in Oakland was told, and now he’s dead).
“All Other Questions: For all other questions refer to dispatch. Guard will not know if load is ready (remember, he might be sleeping).”
We know that by no means do all shippers/receivers treat drivers like “throwaway” people, but we also know from comments we receive that many do.
It’s time for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to take a long look at the treatment of drivers at shippers/receivers, including detention time, which we are told is growing worse by the day.
After all, shippers/receivers are also part of our industry.