We have to remember that the DOT hours of service regulations we have now, were brought in with input from and the blessing of the trucking industry.
I don’t remember off hand how many years the rules in Canada were in the making….. something like twenty years, I believe. That is why David Bradley was so upset when Alberta decided to use the old hours of service for inter-provincial carriers.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance and all the provincial associations were consulted and gave input into this and were actually a champion of the rules as they are now. Having said that, I must now ask, does anybody truly believe these corporations, that are the membership of these associations, choose to give input based on safety or does it make more sense to realize they based it on economics? The DOT rules are designed so a driver can actually drive every day of the week if the company so desires.
If you are off 6am Saturday until 6pm Sunday, you’ve just done a 36 hour reset and can be scheduled to go back on the road. The rules are also designed to fit nicely with the electronic log recorders that are inevitable.
Personally, I don’t like nor dislike the hours of service rules enforced by the DOT. When I was doing long haul driving, I drove according to what i felt I was able to drive. Depending on my mood and health on any given day, I would just do what I felt was good enough for me and my load would get there when it got there.
Naturally, this isn’t as easy with produce, so I shied away from that kind of work and tried to stick to flat decking.
There are enough flaws in the regulations that nobody really should have found any difference in how they were driving. The important thing here, is that it is always up to the driver to do what he wants to.
The driver is responsible for the safety of the load, any tickets he may get and the safety of all on the roadways. With responsibility comes authority, so when the truck leaves the terminal, only the driver should be in control of that truck.
The dispatcher can plead and beg and threaten but, it is still the driver in control.
I found that making a decent living was easy enough, but that there were far too many hours donated to the company for loading and waiting etc. I was still able to make a decent living then, but now that I work by the hour, I can see it is far better.
Life on the road is also expensive and that cuts down a lot on the overall income and enjoyment of it.
Changes to the Trucking Industry
Things I would like to see changed? I would start by having the government respond to the needs of drivers rather than the desires of the industry, but drivers don’t give ‘Greycup tickets and large donations’.
I would like to see companies held responsible for the upkeep of the equipment as well as the well-being of their drivers. I would like to see better trained DOT officers and dispatchers and safety personnel.
There is a whole book of things I would like to see handled differently, but I will leave it at this for now. Thank you for this opportunity to voice my opinion.
Reply to David — Your opinions and views are important, David. You make some very good points.. especially regarding the point regarding the fact that the ‘trucking industry did have input’ into the DOT HOS regs, not just the legislating bodies.
A good driver MUST be in control of his truck. A demanding, arrogant dispatcher can bring about the death of a driver and others on the highway, so you’re absolutely right,… truckers need to take charge of their unit, and do the ‘right and safe thing’
by David Dudgeon