XTL Transport is a Canadian company that does many cross-border runs and they were having a problem filling their trucks due to all of the delays that drivers face, especially at the border. As we know, most of the time these delays go unpaid. XTL took a page from my book and started paying its drivers HOURLY for all on duty time. Guess what? No more driver shortage at XTL! 18 empty trucks now have drivers. They said that this change increased their labor costs so they increased their rates! What a novel idea! It turns out that drivers don't like working for free. Why doesn't this spread? I've only found a few places that pay this way for OTR drivers. I believe this is not becoming the industry norm because drivers are currently willing to sit around for nothing. From a companies perspective, why should they pay you if you are willing to work for free? You see, this is how we end all of this unpaid time. We have to stop participating in it. I get emails every week from people sitting around 15, 20 or more hours a week for no pay. My response is to QUIT. You can sit at home for free. All of our time should be paid. When looking for a company to drive for be sure to ask about their pay policies. This outdated mileage based pay that is still around needs to go. You can check out the article HERE.
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Its been fast and furious this week as an article came out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that said there in fact is NO DRIVER SHORTAGE and that the poor old ATA would get enough drivers if they just paid them more and treated them better. Well. Bob Costello, who is the chief economist and head of propaganda at the ATA, didn't like that article very much. For many years the American Trucking Association has been lamenting the fact that their member companies, which include most of the mega carriers in the United States among others, just can't get enough drivers so therefore there is a driver shortage. Now that this BLS article has come out and totally debunked that lie Costello has had a chance to better hone the message of the ATA and says now that the problem is not that carriers can't get enough drivers its that they can't get enought QUALIFIED drivers. He said they get plenty of applicants but reject up to 90% for various reasons. Costello says that since trucking wages consistently exceeded those of other blue-collar jobs that is proof that there is a driver shortage. The problem is that he is wrong and that is not proof of anything. Sure, our wages may exceed those of other blue-collar jobs but we are still severely UNDERPAID. We have to be gone from our homes for weeks, sometimes months, we get looked down on by the public, talked down to by dispatch, despised by shippers, can't even use the bathroom at places and have to follow ridiculous governmental regulations that limit our day while there is no where to park. An over the road truck driver today with experience should get AT LEAST $2000 a week. Some of these ATA companies are giving 30 cents a mile and then complaining everyone quits. DUH. Most of his member companies provide little to no training and then complain they can't find qualified drivers. DUH. Costello is just another corporate talking head who has never driven a truck (I think) and has no idea what he is talking about. Check out the article HERE.
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An astute viewer tipped me off to this. Swift Transportation is going to settle a lawsuit that they misclassified lease-purchase drivers as independent contractors and not as employees. To be independent, you need to be able to set your own schedule and work for anyone you want for any length of time you like. If you leased a truck through Swift Transportation and Interstate Leasing, that was basically impossible. The Prime case that said you did not have to go to arbitration was why this settled. I will have a YouTube video out on this soon. Swift will pay up to 100 MILLION dollars and likely not admit wrongdoing as is usually the case. Swift Transportation has also stopped leasing in California. That Prime case was an important win for trucking. Folks, don't lease a truck from a company. You are just a company driver that has bought your job. This settlement could go back as far as 1999! If this is you, I will have the information here as soon as it becomes available to get your share of the settlement.
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Michigan recently announced it will expand a controversial roadside mouth swab drug testing program to the entire state after the initial trial phase was a complete disaster. In Michigan if a trooper suspects you are driving while impaired that trooper can require you to submit to a mouth swab for drugs. Refusal to submit is a civil infraction. I can only imagine what your company would think if you got a ticket for refusing to submit to a drug test. The trooper must suspect you are impaired and they said the troopers will look for signs of impairment such as:
Weaving in your lane
Driving too fast
Driving too slow (look out Prime)
Not using your turn signal
Once you do your drug test you think everything is fine, right? Wrong. Of the 92 tests they did in the trial period, 20 were determined by blood test to have been FALSE POSITIVES. 9 more were false negatives. That means nearly a third of tests were wrong. Isn't that great? So, you get arrested, the truck is impounded, most companies would fire you and then 2 days later you are released because the blood work came back. If you owned the truck the load may spoil or it will certainly be delayed. Also, you now have a drug arrest which is public record. That Michigan wants to expand this program is just more evidence of a government that just wants money and arrests not safety. An arrest like this can ruin your career. It is criminal for Michigan to do this to people. Some of those arrested will need to get an attorney to file a class-action against the state for violation of their civil rights.
Check out the article HERE.
I got my tickets to the Mid-America truck show in the mail yesterday! Hope to see you all there!
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A truck driver in California was sleeping on the shoulder of the interstate (yes, really) and was hit by a vehicle. 3 people in the SUV died and one is in critical condition. They are still determining what caused the accident but the police pointed out that the truck would not have been hit had it not been there. The truck driver was sleeping at the time and did admit that he parked there because he was nearly out of time on his ELD and did not want to get a violation. Is that an excuse, though? By the way, the truck driver was charged with illegal parking but they said those charges could be upgraded. The truck driver said it is nearly impossible to find parking where he was going. What is the solution? Parking on the shoulder is certainly not the answer. That driver should have parked long before he got close to his time especially since he admits knowing that there is not going to be any safe legal parking when he got to his destination. Until we as drivers allow these loads to be late and we allow the warehouses to empty out will there be any action on the hours of service. Yes, the FMCSA has said they are looking into changes and that announcement will come this month. If you have to park 2 hours away, so be it. These companies need to understand that you won't violate the HOS rules. By the way, it is illegal for a company to take any action against you for not violating the FMCSA rules. Let that freight sit. Violating and cheating on the logs is what got us here in the first place.
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Does your company have a driver facing camera? What do you think of it? Many in the trucking industry tout these as a safety feature. Let's take a look at their claims. If the presence of a camera watching you changes the way you drive you weren't being a safe driver to start with. Could these cameras make some drivers more patient on the road, maybe not follow too closely when they otherwise would have? Yes, that is certainly possible. Accidents and other incidents do go down at companies when they start using the cameras. I believe this same result could be obtained from a forward facing camera as well. A driver would still space out better and perhaps not be as aggressive on the road.
One of the other things people always say is the camera can exonerate a driver in the event of an accident. I have yet to find even one case where the evidence from a camera pointed at the driver is the reason the driver was not charged in whatever scenario that has played out. Could it happen? Maybe. If someone knows of this happening I would like to know about it. The driver facing camera certainly can be used against the driver, especially if the driver was drowsy or not paying attention.
The make or break of these drive cams like Lytx and Smart Drive is the coaching drivers receive from the company. Some companies are reasonable about it and some are just bonkers about calling drivers on every little thing. This coaching as it is called should only be done by a CDL licensed driver. How is some dispatcher who is legally prohibited from driving a class 8 vehicle going to tell me how to drive? I'll tell you this, I wouldn't listen to them. Do dispatchers tell their doctor how to perform an operation? I doubt it because they don't know how to do it and they are also legally barred from performing an operation without a license. So, companies, if you are going to have someone talk to the drivers about their driving it should at least be another experienced driver who has reviewed the footage. Also, it should not be the brown-noser that everybody hates. You know who I am talking about.
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Hi! Welcome. I'm Mark and I've been a professional truck driver for over 33 years, the last 19 years at the same company. It is time that drivers got paid for every minute that we work and we are treated like the licensed professionals we are.