Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Company Policy - CSA 2010

Today, something that I figured would happen, did.
I didn't know exactly WHAT they were going to implement, but I figured that they would make some kind of rule or policy concerning commercial drivers within our company relating to the CSA regulations that have come about that make a warning as bad as getting an actual ticket.

The company is having every driver read and sign a document. The document lists infractions and what is going to happen to you. Basically, if you get pulled over and are giving a ticket or a warning, you will be issued a written warning by the company and you take a day off without pay. If it happens a second time, you get another written warning and you are docked another day's pay. If it happens a third time within 12 consecutive months, bye bye, baby, you are history.

This is a side-effect of the new regulations that I knew was going to happen when I started examining these new regulations last year: companies will have no choice but to get rid of drivers that get too many warnings because, enough drivers getting too many warnings and the government can now come in and actually shut that company's commercial vehicle operations down.

I stated in this blog last year that a lot of drivers are going to lose their careers over this new regulatory BS and I am standing behind that statement. This isn't reckless drivers that have a lot of accidents or even tickets, either. I haven't been in an at-fault trucking accident since 1985. I haven't had any kind of ticket in about 12 years now. Many other commercial vehicle drivers are the same. But, the FMCSA has "determined" that these new rules will help identify "unsafe" drivers and target the companies that employ them.

It's a total load of BS. When America starts running out of truck drivers who have been forced out of the occupation because of this junk - give it a few years before a crisis starts rising up for truck driver shortages, you'll see it in the news - then and only then will this become a public issue with scrutiny to identify that the side-effects of these regulations are going to get "rid" of otherwise excellent drivers who post no threat to the motoring public on the highways and byways of America. (finishing this in the morning).

Here's the biggest problem: DOT (Department of Transportation) officers out on the roads. There are a large number of them in any given state that have as their main duty the directive to pull over commercial vehicles, all day long, do inspections and write fix-it tickets or hand out warnings.

The problem is the "god-like" attitude that many of these individuals exhibit and the fact that they will find something wrong with your truck, regardless of how good a condition it is in. Case in point was a driving who was driving a brand new truck that just came off the dealer's parking lot. Mr. Dot decided to PUT THE TRUCK OUT OF SERVICE, not just hand out warnings, after he pulled the truck over. The driver balked at this "official" and asked for that as supervisor be sent out, who, when presented with the facts, did an over-ride on the officer's "judgement" and let the truck and driver go without any warnings.

That was an extreme example, but it isn't that far off, at least where I live in Arizona, where these DOT officers are hanging out in their pickup trucks and randomly pulling over big rigs and - handing out warnings or tickets.

My take? If I get pulled over again and am handed a bogus warning, I am demanding a supervisor. I don't care if I have to wait 3 hours. The truck I drive is in excellent condition. We keep it that way on purpose: to ward off these officers that seem to take joy in giving grief to truck drivers.

The fact of the matter is, however and as already stated, there is going to be fallout with these new regulations that may or may not have been intended. I have no idea what the intentions of those people that crafted these regulations were: to get rid of drivers/shut down trucking companies or REALLY make the roadways safer to travel with trucks on them?

Let me tell you something, to make the roadways safer, it is far often more true than not that it's people driving cars and pickup trucks that are messing with trucks on the roadways. Cutting trucks off and slamming on their brakes in front of them; doing all kinds of idiotic, stupid moves that, in my case, sometimes makes me mad because the move that that person just did almost got THEM killed.

I could write incident after incident where someone - usually texting or talking on a cellphone and paying NO attention to the driving that should be their number one priority - just makes moves in traffic without even looking, apparently. I have almost run into several of them because they inserted their vehicle directly in front of mine without any forewarning or signals being used, totally out of the blue, you have a car that's going 15 mph slower than you are and you are both trying to not run into the car AND not jack knife the truck at the same time.

Whether my statements here actually come true remains to be seen in reality. But mark my words: it might take a couple of years, maybe less, but this situation is going to implode upon itself when drivers who have had successful, 10, 20, 30 plus years are suddenly finding themselves unemployed and unemployable in the field of commercial driving because of these new regulations.

ben

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