Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lighter Load: Even when rumors ignored, there are lots of changes happening for truckers


Monday, June 21, 2010
by BARB KAMPBELL

If you are bothered by change, don’t want an EOBR on your truck, like to talk on a cell phone and drive, or have been getting your annual physical check-up for your CDL at a place where anybody could pass no matter how bad their health is, get out now because it’s going to change.
If you are bothered by change, don’t want an EOBR on your truck, like to talk on a cell phone and drive, or have been getting your annual physical check-up for your CDL at a place where anybody could pass no matter how bad their health is, get out now because it’s going to change.

It’s taken me a while to get on board with you hard-working truckers who seem to be facing more new rules and regulations than ever at one time. On board, meaning I see how you can feel overwhelmed by the amount of change that’s coming down the rulemaking pipeline.

I know just a few weeks ago I told you in this column to ignore rumors, hinting that if you did that things would be alright. And I still stand by that: find out the facts, and don’t worry about the rest. Worry won’t get you anywhere unless you use it to find out the facts so you can stop fretting.

There are three distracted driving rules either out or coming soon (texting, cell phone, and on-board equipment).

CSA 2010, probably the most troubling for the whole industry, is coming soon and drivers are already in the system with records going back three years.

Then there are three rules concerning Electronic On-Board Recorders or EOBRs (one already out for the worst offenders, two more coming).

There’s a pre-employment screening rule that allows a driver’s roadside inspection records and crash history to be seen by potential employers, which may cut down on drivers hopping from company to company and perhaps staying where they are not happy, but at least knowing they have a job.

Also in process, the Hours of Service rule is being looked at with at least some minor changes expected.

There are more things in the works including medical examiners which is another can of worms for drivers because surely it will be tougher to find a certified examiner to give the physical. And as most have guessed, drivers would, under this regulation, find more scrutiny of their health.

Those are just the biggies that I am aware of that are near and dear to truckers and happening now or soon.

In President Bill Clinton’s apparent sympathy for the concerns of ordinary Americans his statement — “I feel your pain” — was often mocked by those who were not his fans.

I want to say I feel your pain, but I’m afraid the next time I’m at a truck stop interviewing drivers someone might throw a tomato at me.

I can’t feel your pain because I don’t sit in a big rig 14 hours a day and then sleep in it too.

I can’t feel your pain because I don’t have a lot of new rules that come at me all at once that have the potential to not only change my life, but could put me out of a job.

I can’t feel your pain because I don’t have to sit at shipping and receiving docks for hours knowing that every minute I sit there is unpaid time.

I can’t feel your pain that you are now hauling loads for less money than you did before the price of everything rose with the recession although I am feeling my own pain because of the economy.

I just can’t feel your pain. I have not walked in your shoes as a truck driver, so I would never claim that I know how you feel.

But, as you have read in my columns before, attitude can make or break a person.

Recently, I talked to a driver of 15 years, David Hallmark (you can read about him on our Truck Stop page). He said: “It’s all about attitude; how you handle stress. There are good days and bad days. Just take the miles as the come.” Good words to live by.

My advice — and again, I’m not out there doing your job, I just read a lot of rules and talk to a lot of drivers — is if you don’t love your job this may be the time to look for something you might enjoy more. If you are bothered by change, don’t want an EOBR on your truck, like to talk on a cell phone and drive, or have been getting your annual physical check-up for your CDL at a place where anybody could pass no matter how bad their health is, get out now because it’s going to change.

I don’t have scientific data to prove what I’m about to say, but I believe that people do a better job when they are happy or at least not in a place where they hate every moment of their job.

In truck driving, being unhappy and not doing a good job could mean a lack of attention to safety and thus a potential loss of lives.

I know that there are places in-between happy and miserable. If you happen to fall in the latter of the scale for safety’s sake it’s time to leave.          

Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at barbkampbell@thetrucker.com.

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