Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday - Serious Trucking Information

"- The following is the latest scoop on the changing world of logistics. The trucking shortage is still there although more trucks have successfully made it back onto the roadways. Now we have something new to worry about. By the end of this year our government (the DOT) is expected to roll out the "Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010" which is a safe trucking directive. A driver's bad safety record will become a liability to a motor carrier's safety rating. A driver's history of tickets, crashes, and other violations will effect their employer's safety rating. Trucking company's will be expected to keep ratings above a certain level to stay in business. Motor carriers will be forced to employ the safest drivers available. This will probably raise freight rates. Furthermore, the government will require on board electronic recorders that monitor driver activity. The hours of service laws will be enforced. Motor carriers who do not abide by the hours of service laws will have their licence revoked. All this adds cost. The government expects 10% of the current driver pool will be disqualified as soon as the new laws are announced. If drivers get wrote up for a load securement violation such as an improperly hooked chain, it will carry the same penalty as a driver getting a DUI. The new laws will also place some liability on the shipper. If a service center uses the cheapest carriers and disregards their low "rating" they could be held liable if an accident occurs. All of the above points to higher cost shipping and a new facet to sourcing transportation based on a safety record. Maybe our freight quotes next year will look like rental agreements. Would you like to waive the logistics liability insurance mister customer? Initial here and sign here ...... "

WHAT is wrong with this crap?

I heard even MORE from other sources today. Body fat index will be used. At whatever level they determine, if you are above that, the doc will not pass you, you don't get a renewed med card, you're driving career is toast. There are plenty of "fat" people out there that are quite healthy. This is nothing short of an outrage. I am not fat, well, I'm 10 pounds overweight, not enough, I would hope, to have me disqualified.

The entire thing is outrageous. 10% of drivers will be disqualified when this new system is put into place? Folks, that is a LOT of drivers - I just looked it up: there are an estimated 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. Take out 350,000 of them and then what? Take out even more for minor infractions as this thing evolves, inspections are one and drivers are faulted.

This is scary stuff - to say the least. My career - and really ANY trucker's career - is in jeopardy. We apparently are supposed to be perfect, make no mistakes and one mistake is going to cost you - DEARLY.
But, that isn't really the worst of it. A huge portion of America's goods are transported on trucks. For the material transported on rail, a good portion of that has to be transported from a rail station to - wherever - via a truck. Alleged statistics declare that 70% of America's freight is delivered via truck. Estimated 255.5 BILLION total revenues generated. That's a quarter of a TRILLION dollars. Let's NEVER get too comfortable with the word trillion and the government being put together in the same sentence. BILLIONS - when first coming into the horizon years and years ago, was appalling to me. But TRILLIONS? NO-ONE should EVER be comfortable with a government that is willing to get into THAT kind of indebtedness to the likes of nations such as China.

Of the material that is directly delivered via rail to a corporation with the use of a truck, it is almost always true that a TRUCK has to take that material from that place to wherever it is sold.

The point is clear and obvious. First off, 350,000 truck drivers instantaneously out of work. Second, as truck drivers are disqualified after that initial fact, less and less goods will make it to the stores on time. Meaning empty shelves in your grocery stores. Kmart's and Sears and WalMarts will be short of qualified drivers. The remaining pool? What, you think we're going to sit here and be forced to live under all these EXTREME baggage of regulation and not want more in terms of pay rates to compensate?

There is no perfect driver, we all make mistakes. It becomes obvious that making a mistake can cost a driver - and dearly. What am I going to do if I get caught in a mistake - a simple one - it puts points onto my record and I lose my job?

This is going to escalate out of control. Public outcry will occur when all of this starts hitting the stores and shops and outlets that you go to which rely on trucks to bring your goods there. News stories will start cropping up and people are going to see WHY the store's shelves are empty.

The economy is already trashed, this is going to make it MUCH worse. I haven't read that ANYWHERE, but I am making a logical assumption.

So, I get a ticket from a camera that tells Redflex that I am speeding and I am issued a ticket. I was NOT driving a commercial vehicle. It goes against my commercial driver's license, anyway, if I lose in court. I can't go to driving school because the feds revoked that opportunity years ago now: commercial license = no school, period.

Now, I have to be nervous about this situation again. I MUST win, however that entails within moral limits. I have done my homework, I am doing more. BUT, if I lose in the lower court, is it not now prudent for me to get a lawyer for an appeals court? Too bad I can't possibly afford a lawyer right now.

However, I have identified yet another "loophole", if you will, in the signage. I took pics while driving down the freeway today - no warning signs that you are about to enter a photo radar enforcement zone. MUST have by state law. Let them prove that they were there at the time of the offense, they can't, there are no pictures of it on that day.

My head is full of this stuff. I would have made a good lawyer, I do believe. I love the challenge, I love reading endless documents, state law, articles, opinions about a court challenge when I am personally involved with it. I stopped writing this entry to read even more. Another hour's worth.

Well, onto other things. I will be prepared for court in 2 days, yes I will. No guarantee of a win, but I WILL be prepared.

Ummm, well, I got a raise today. I will not speak here what the amount is because - I have no idea if, out of some remote possibility, co-workers from other branches might possibly know about my blog here and perhaps, happen to read this blog at any given time. I have no idea what other drivers might have received, therefore, I am only going to say that it was a decent raise considering the economy and I was happy to get it. You don't expect a raise when the economy is sour - even toxic. Kudos to my company, I have always liked working for this corporation. Even greater kudos to our region's general manager - he's down to earth, has an open-door policy and makes it easy enough for a man in his position to talk to and even make requests.

Though, I am not making requests right now. I am happy to be employed. Whatever problems - small problems I would add considering employment I have had in the past - I have are moot. I care but I don't care. I swirl things around in my mind and then dismiss them - it's bad times we're going through, deal with it, benb, deal with it.

It just sucks that on the homefront, I have such severe financial problems. It isn't all bad, just FAR from optimal.

I did go out there and dig today - but only for a short while. It is very humid out there coupled with high heat, I don't want anything to do with it.

I have to be AT work at 4:45 am in the morning. That means getting up at or even a little before 4:00 am. I'm tired thinking about it. I'm going to bed in 1 hour - 8:00 pm. I have been sleeping better for several days in a row now.

There is more, but I have enough to do in the next hour before bed that I must be about it.



Happy Independence Day to everyone! Beautiful day in northeast Texas. Well, it's hot and humid but oh well lol. Good day to re-read th...