New proposed regulations in the trucking industry have caught storm in the media and all of the country. It seems that everyone has an opinion on the trucking industry and rulemaking. The uproar is due to the long allies of the trucking industry, the Republicans, and the latest proposal that will be voted on by the House in the upcoming weeks.
What has everybody blasting opinions, many with no name attached? We love it! Simple, the trucking industry wants to add bigger trucks to our nation’s roads. This would allow trucks to have longer trailers. The trucking industry wants to break away from the Department of Transportation, rightfully so. Not completely because we do need boundaries, but we don’t need the DOT breathing down the industries throat as they have been. And as always, how many hours are deemed safe for our country’s truck drivers.
One Bad Walmart Driver
Remember when Tracy Morgan was hit by a Walmart truck driver? Due to Morgan’s popularity and the truck driver’s bad wrap, the trucking industry received a lot of bad blood for it. The democrat party hasn’t helped much. Now that the Republicans have majority, this is an advantage for the trucking industry. It’s no secret that the republican party has been a supporter of the trucking industry for decades.
2014 was a record year in the trucking industry. Trucking industry revenue in 2014 was $700.4 billion with what I would label as “needless regulations and rulemaking.” The industry was limited, even as we saw the 34 hour restart rollback.
Proposals And Appropriations Bill
Let’s talk about the new proposals included in the appropriations bill. What about trucks be allowed to have longer trailers. I see nothing wrong with this. This would aid the truck driver shortage to an extent. Not much, but a small boost. Longer trailers mean more items in the truck, meaning smaller loads and less trucks elsewhere, right? For those of you that may not know, the current rule is for 28 foot trailers. The new rule would give trailers 5 extra feet to 33 feet.
Could longer trailers be more dangerous on the roads? Sure, so can another drunk driver. You will always have danger when it comes to traveling freight. Bigger loads on our nation’s highways, it’s being called foolish. If you ask me, I’d rather be driving side by side an experienced truck driver compared to some of the people I’ve seen driving over the years. I worry more about them, like “how in the hell did they get their license?”
Department Of Transportation
The DOT is again right in the mix. How much power should the Department of Transportation have over the trucking industry? Is it not enough now? The big issue on the docket between the DOT and trucking industry is raising the minimum insurance rates on truck drivers. Does anyone know how much these insurance rates are now? Independent drivers and small carriers would suffer.
Minimum Insurance Rates For Drivers
Here’s what I hate about insurance hikes in the trucking industry, raising minimum requirements. If you’re an independent truck driver, owner-operator or a small carrier, the cost to operate your business can be a daily struggle. It cost a lot of money to drive a truck. You’re always a few loads away from being unemployed, it’s not easy. Especially new carriers and independents, it’s a tough economy and market, even when everything is going good.
Truck Driver Hours
Truck driver hours are again being discussed. This is a tough one for me because I know there’s a safety issue here. You don’t need to be fully loaded down the interstate with no sleep, I get it, I truly do. Truck drivers do push those limits. But you have to understand, the roadways are a dangerous place. We don’t think anything is going to happen when we drive out to the store or to work. But truth be told, the danger is everywhere, not just big trucks.
Hours do need to be regulated. Anyone that has driven long miles can agree that driving can wear you out. We didn’t need the 34 hour restart rule. Truck drivers should be allowed to drive the hours they choose as long as they have proper rest in between shifts.
There’s always an alarm for trucking accidents. We don’t want them. Of course not, but thee numbers are never actually accurate. In 2013, 3,964 people died in accidents involving big trucks. Question. How many of the big trucks were at fault? Fair question, right? We don’t know!
Would it be safe to say that 50 percent of those deaths were at the fault of truck drivers? This is why the data is inaccurate. We don’t know that truck drivers were completely responsible for those deaths.
One death is too many. Safety should always be a top priority. I believe the trucking industry has made great progress with safety and I know some rulemaking can be thanked for it.
Trucking And The U.S. Economy
The trucking industry is a crucial component of the U.S. economy. Look at 2014, we saw record highs in trucking, stocks breaking records, a strong U.S. economy. When trucking is doing good, it’s often a strong indicator for the U.S. economy being good. We have to continue to work together and make compromise when needed.
I’m not saying we should take short cuts, not at all. I’ve never seen government so shut down as I have in the last 8 years. We’re lucky to have seen the progress we have. When I hear people discussing our industry and talking about foolish rulemaking, it pisses me off. There’s nothing foolish about our industry’s proposals. If you don’t like it Jack, go live in another country.