Public Awareness

Discussion in 'Questions To Truckers From The General Public' started by GungHoGal, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. GungHoGal

    GungHoGal <strong>"Miss Oh! Don't get me started"</strong>

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    I am a new driver, however I have grown up in a trucking family, married a trucker, so I have been around the industry a bit . I am absolutely livid about the upcoming "amendment" to our HOS. Something that has really been on my mind this past week is the lack of information that the general public has on our issues. The only significant sources of information that I have seen have been in industry publications, the forums, and satellite radio trucking channels. Correct me if I am wrong, but more than the well being of the nation's truckers is at stake here. I think the general public needs to be aware of the facts.. that accidents involving trucks are currently down with the hours of service as they currently stand, as well as how the new changes will affect THEM. They have no idea that the rise in transportation costs will be passed on to them. Do the environmental groups know that the new rules will cause more fossil fuels to be wasted on increased idle time? If you were to walk up to the average person on the street and ask them their opinion on the HOS amendment, of course they would think its a great idea to reduce driving time but what are they basing their opinion on? They are highly uninformed and MISinformed. What can we do to change that? There is a whole world full of people out there, not in the trucking industry nor involved with Public Citizen, who might have the common sense and intelligence to understand what is truly happening here and help put a stop to it. Maybe a good start would be to compose letters for the Public Forum page in our local newspapers. I can't help but believe it would help. In my opinion, we have no real right to complain until we have at least made a valiant attempt to take control and do something positive to help our situation. It's going to take more than just what the FMCSA, ATA, and OOIDA can do... We, the individuals, need to make everyone aware.. not just those in the trucking industry. Anybody have any thoughts or comments?
     
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  3. jcash1

    jcash1 Bobtail Member

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    unfortunately I don't think the general public cares about what is going on. To them trucks are big slow moving things that prevent them from going 200 mph down the freeway, they don't care about the people behind the wheel of the semi's. If only more people could see websites like this, they could really get a idea of whats going on out there. I know I have since I joined!:yes2557:
     
  4. Peeping_Tom

    Peeping_Tom Light Load Member

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    you know personally i haven't heard a thing about the new hos until i saw it posted here. it just totally amazes me that they keep messing with this and are just making it harder for us to make any money.
     
  5. rwings

    rwings <strong>"Jet Force"</strong>

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    Gunghogal, I agree 100% percent. Most of the public has the opinion that all drivers are misfits that can’t do anything else and that anyone could just jump in a truck and do that job. I would love to see more people educated about the difficulties encountered by drivers everyday. I had hopes for the “Ice Road” series, but in my opinion, that show does not help our image very much. They sure could have found some more professional drives to represent our industry.
    :biggrin_25513:
     
  6. BobC

    BobC Medium Load Member

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    In what segment of the industry would you find those "more professional" drivers? Would that same segment be as newsworthy?

    Let's face it, most of trucking is about drones going from point A to point B. Sure, in each segment there's deviations from the norm but to what degree really? Worth building a series around? Nah.

    Except for some great scenery, the show would be just another documentary filled with things the general public would complain about. Perhaps if an actor of sufficient fame played a role as a trucker you might get a crowd...for a little while anyway. Sonny Pruit's been gone a long time.
    Unless you get their attention in some way. You'll only be in the forefront of their minds if/when you get blamed for being in their way, roll over one of their 4 wheeler bretheren, get caught carrying something illegal etc. You will receive very little aclaim by saving one of them from themselves even to the extent of killing yourself.

    Unless they spent a great deal of time looking over & learning what this and other websites really convey, I bet they just come away with "What a bunch of whiners these truckers are". "I have my own problems at work & these guys got nuthin on me & my problems."
    I don't think anyone really knows if the accident rate is down & if true, if it's because of the HOS or something else.There's just not enough data to support a conclusion just yet. Statistics are a funny thing & are usually skewed in the direction of the writers' politics.

    I'm sure there's segments of the industry that found the new HOS favorable to them. I'm also sure that there's another branch of the industry that the same HOS were detrimental to.

    Under the now defunct HOS, an employer basically demanded more driving time from you per week. You had an extra 1hr of driving per day & then after the reset, you got more to drive. Depending on how your company operated, you ended up with less off time than ever.

    As to that 14 hr clock, all it did was force drivers to run tired when they would otherwise have stopped for a nap. It gave companies the reason to push their drivers even harder to make an appointment that only had minutes of fudge factor built in to start with.

    Did the new, now defunct, HOS really stop the cheating? Perhaps to some degree. In other cases it simply meant finding a new way of creative logging.

    The primary reason, as near as I can tell, for creating these HOS was to force drivers to show their actual dock times & give the drivers a legal excuse for doing so. i.e. To give drivers lacking intestinal fortitude a reason to say no to their dispatchers.

    Frankly, I've never needed a law to use as an excuse to say no to something I knew was illegal or would cause me trouble down the road.

    I think this has been the reason all along for all the screwing around with HOS. Some, maybe most, drivers didn't have the cahones' to just say "ummm I don't think that's possible with my available hours without cheating."

    I can't speak for the bulk of drivers out there any more than you can.

    My personal feeling was I liked the old original HOS where I could split my breaks as I saw fit. I liked getting off the road during rush hours. I liked being able to "trash around" a little to break up my day. On top of that, I'm not a "solar powered" driver that needs off the road at night. I prefer the night actually.

    The 10hr driving rule was just fine by me. Why should I have to put in more hours than my dispatcher? I know some dispatchers put in more than 8 hrs a day but not everyday. Also, you need to figure in the extra non-driving hours you put in on top of that driving time. That alone comes out to many more hours a day than your typical dispatcher. Do you get overtime for those? Nope. Do you even get paid regular time for those? Unlikely.

    How will scrapping the new HOS affect the public?
    I think, if anything, it will get more trucks off the roads during the rush hours & benefit everybody. Drivers won't be as stressed due to the 14hr clock running out. Drivers will likely avail themselves of that lil nap more often than not. Of course that may not apply to local or regional folks having strict appointments but OTR might benefit.
    Did transportation costs drop with the inception of the last HOS?
    I don't think it did or it was marginal. Everyone operated just fine with the old HOS. The new 11hr driving day only benefited the carriers, it did little for the driver except to make his/her day that much longer & be pushed harder.
    Do you really think it will increase? There's only so many hours in the day. If you could idle unfettered by local law, how many hours would that be? You drive 10 so that leaves 14. Out of that 14 when do you idle? At most there's going to be an hour more of idling for lack of driving time.

    Even then, the local laws prevent you from idling for more than a few minutes out of the hour so really, how much more do you think it'll be? Not much I'll bet.
    Help what though? Keep you on the road an hour longer each day? Prevent you from finding a nesting spot to miss rush hours? Admonish you to keep going even when your eyes are closing? Cheat you out of the time off per week that everyone else seems to enjoy?
    I think there's other things a bit more important to bring to the publics' attention. I could be wrong.

    I think a more important issue might be along the lines of getting drivers included into the FLSA overtime protections. We're excluded now. That way, you get paid for all your time on the clock (on duty-not driving) instead of hoping for your boss to throw you a bone for all those extra hours that accessorial pay doesn't cover.
    Depending on what you're trying to accomplish, there's a proper organization, group or agency to turn to.

    The FMCSA is not going to fight for you unless your needs fit theirs. They only want control of you & your company. That control comes in the shape of regulations that remain controversial in many respects & expect you to color perfectly inside the lines even when the lines don't make sense.

    The ATA? Now there's a group to be afraid of. They are not here for you; the driver. They are a membership of trucking companies looking to use their collective power to make themselves richer on your backs. You are just a necessary expense to them & would just as soon replace you with much cheaper imported labor ASAP. Obviously you haven't read the latest of their petitions for proposed rule changes they presented to the FMCSA. Do that some time. It's all available on the FMCSA web sites including and especially the comment section to the NPRM's.

    OOIDA? Ok, A worthwhile organization if you are part of a class action suit or need their insurance packages. Have a pretty good magazine with a fair to good amount of pertinent info. They may or may not involve themselves in your singular problems unless enough others write in presenting a similar issue...and some money might be made on it. I don't have a problem with that but I wouldn't count on much help from them regarding many of the day to day problems we face.

    Newspapers aren't generally intrigued by truckdrivers unless it's a follow up on an accident. Even then they manage to screw it up & get the facts wrong.

    Lastly, I think if you really need something changed, you're better off getting on a podium & attracting opinions/support from your bretheren drivers who will write to their Senators & Congresspeople.
     
  7. GungHoGal

    GungHoGal <strong>"Miss Oh! Don't get me started"</strong>

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    Bob, since you so thoroughly ripped this apart and negated pretty much everything that was said by myself and other responders, what are some of YOUR ideas and thoughts that would show truckers in a POSITIVE light? I still believe that educating the general public about the trucking industry would be a good thing.. can't say it isn't so since it's never really been tried, right? As far as the idling issue that I mentioned, if a driver logs all of his time at a shipper or receiver,, then drives, its easy to see how he could use up his 70 hours in a 5 day period. IF that happens, that driver, under the new ruling abolishing the 34 hr restart, will not be able to drive for 3 full days. In 6 days, 2 full days... 7 days-- 1 full day. THAT'S the idling that I am talking about. How often are you bothered in a truck stop for idling? To me, it's also common sense that IF drivers log legally once the changes take effect, that there will be a rise in transportation costs since it will take longer to go from point A to point B. Theoretically, it could cause companies to have to put more trucks on the road and re-power more loads. Still don't see how it could cause an increase in transportation costs?

    There are studies out there showing that accidents have decreased, and I agree.. unsure what attributes to the decrease. Regardless of the reasons, the studies are there. They also show that 4 wheelers cause most of the accidents, which is one of the reasons that I am an advocate for public awareness. The public NEEDS to be educated and they need to know that we are not just a bunch of
    . How can their opinions of us change if we just continue to allow them to view us as such?

    Ok.. so.. you said that there is a proper agency to turn to ... yet even you,, yourself, just admonished all three of them! So.. who does that leave as a proper agency? Once again, I say that something different needs to be done because just like that old saying goes.. " If you continue to do what you've done, you will continue to get what you got"


     
  8. Ducks

    Ducks "Token Four-Wheeler"

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    As I read this, I can't help but to think...

    If you educate the public about the rules and regulations of the trucking industry and the ramifications thereof, I suspect the public (or four-wheelers, as you indicate in this case) will then feel educated enough to want a say in those regulations. Being there are a lot more four-wheelers than there are truckers, are you prepared for this?

    You could be opening a great big ol' can of worms.
     
  9. GungHoGal

    GungHoGal <strong>"Miss Oh! Don't get me started"</strong>

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    I gotta admit, you make a very good point. It's just very frustrating to feel so helpless about our own demise. I hate the though of rolling over and playing dead.
     
  10. GungHoGal

    GungHoGal <strong>"Miss Oh! Don't get me started"</strong>

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    Are we supposed to leave tips for the shower cleaner??? I thought that the truck stops paid you to do your job. Mister shower cleaner.. if it weren't for the truckers you wouldn't have that job. I would hardly call it a free shower after dropping $600 in fuel, $10/person for a meal plus all the overpriced convenience items that we purchase in your store. The company that I work for will remove you from the fueling network for unsanitary, unsafe conditions, as well as poor attitudes from employees. When a company has over $3000 trucks, thats a pretty significant loss to a truck stop.

    I commend you if you are one of the employees who truly cleans the showers, but that is not always the case. Today, for example, we showered at the Flying J in Perrysburg, OH. It wasn't busy, however there was quite a long wait to get a shower...less drivers waiting than there were showers that were not yet clean. I didn't make a fuss.. much.. about the blood smear and splatters on the wall. I just avoided it and took my shower.. after I was done, I brought it to the cleaners attention so that the next driver wouldn't have to look at it as well. That is only a minor instance. I have seen some pretty nasty things in those clean showers.

    Don't get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for that shower, and I do agree that some drivers can be filthy pigs and I apologize on their behalf, but please remember that those "free" showers are given to the drivers as a token of your stores appreciation for OUR business. You might want to re-evaluate your thinking in regards to that. And seriously.. I never knew that a gratuity was expected.
     
  11. BobC

    BobC Medium Load Member

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    Sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Guess I've been around too long.
    There's a few things to try.
    I don't know how much success you'll have.

    Hold media reporters to a higher standard of reporting wherein they don't lead the general public to thinking it's the truckers fault for every skirmish on the roads. Incorporate a truck awareness course/section within the passenger vehicle licensing courses & tests. Make a few public service safety commercials to play at prime time that teach something about acting correctly around a "Big Truck".

    At the same time, re-educate the idiot truckdriver's who feel the need to fill the back windows & mirrors of passenger vehicles with that ragged toothed bug screen.

    These are the same truckdrivers that can't seem to stop themselves from blowing by campers just to watch them weaving or splash some rain or snow onto the passenger vehicles windshields just to say I can go faster in the weather than you.

    It really just comes down to average everyday common courtesy to your fellow road travellers. 4 wheelers need to understand what is right or wrong with their behavior around a Big Truck as do many truck drivers lacking the understanding of what it takes to ingratiate themselves with the passenger car public.
    It's been tried. It continues to be tried in many venues. There's numerous organizations out there that attempt to provide that education to the general public. Trouble is, it's not very newsworthy & can't get spread out as easily as Brittany's hair color of the day.

    In the end, you just can't regulate stoopit. If there's something in your mind that expects the feds to do anything positive for a truckers image, let it go. Not happenin'.
    I see we're arguing semantics here.
    Idling to me is just that. Sitting in one place with the truck running.
    I'm inclined to name your scenario "Out of Hours".

    If it goes back to something like the original HOS, you're allowed 70 hrs of driving in 8 days.

    At the end of your 70 hrs, you "pick-up" the driving hrs that fall off the log counting back to the 8th day previous.

    If you wrote 10hrs of driving everyday, you'd simply wait until midnite on the 8th day & "pickup" another 10 hrs of available driving. Of course, if you only showed 5 hrs of driving on that day, you'd only pickup those 5 hrs that fell off the log.

    If you log it right, you can not run out of driving hrs.
    If drivers logged legally almost none of this present screwing around with HOS would be necessary.

    As it stands now, companies are on a continual buying spree for new trucks anyway. They're screaming for new drivers even under the 11/14 hour rules. That part won't change much. Recurring equipment costs to the companies remains about the same.

    There's nothing really wrong with repowering a load to get it somewhere. It's basic logistics. Not only that but teams were invented for this eventuality. Teams worked out well for keeping a load moving.

    There's only a couple reasons to repower a load (other than equp failure). One would be that simple logistics dictates it & second, someone had unrealistic expectations in delivering the load to start with.

    I'm hoping that companies faced with a driver shortage will raise their payscales to something realistic in order to attract & keep new & veteran drivers.
    I'll defer to your stats as far as accidents going down in number since I don't feel like looking that stat up right now.

    I'll agree with you on the need for education as evidenced in my other statements above.
    I have no magic formula for making you look like heroes in the publics' eyes. That's something each of you must find a way to do when or if the rare opportunity presents itself. Even when you get a chance to shine, the public forgets quickly.

    There's a few organizations in the trucking realm that bring trucking to schools & other venues. These are limited in scope & benefit. Of the many you might try to swing your way, the few might comprehend & follow. The rest just forget what you tried to do.

    The only ones to remember are the children & they aren't in a position to do you any good.

    In my mind, I can't worry about what the general population thinks about me or my truck unless they're being conn'ed into signing some ridiculous petition created by a psuedo safety org that is going to restrict or remove my rights in some way.

    I see it all as just CYA. You have a thankless job to do. There's myraid rules & opinions working against you. Changing the publics' perception of a trucker is not going to get you what you need in your lives to be profitable or less stressed.

    All you can really hope to do is educate the passenger car people regarding the safe way to act around a truck & make yours & your fellow drivers' lives easier by sticking together & petitioning the powers that be to provide the rule changes that make sense & protect the majority of truckdrivers.

    The powers that be are the NHTSA, FMCSA, DOL, OSHA etc. Thru writing/calling your Senators & Congresspeople, these are the places to focus your attentions & energies. Sometimes there's a duplication of efforts between these agencies & those of OOIDA, PATT, CRASH, Public Citizen etc. However, they may not be in it for the same reasons you are & you may not get what you were looking for.

    Even as we speak there's a very important piece of legislation that several trucking savvy attorneys & organizations have been working long & hard for.

    It is the improvement of the STAA's Whistleblower protections. This, in my mind, is considerably more important than how the public looks at a truck. It protects the driver from the unfair acts that companies impose on their drivers.

    I won't poopoo yours or anyone's well intentioned efforts to ingratiate yourselves in the publics heart. I just can't see the extra effort when there's so much more to be gained in more important areas in trucking.
     
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