Saturday, May 17, 2014

Honesty Is The Only Policy

I haven't gotten to where I am in life with lies and deceit.  When you are keeping a record of your duty status as a truck driver, you have to be as close to accurate as possible, yet mistakes do happen.  If you write a log entry incorrectly, you can correct it still be legal so long as you are honest about your entry.  Where people run into problems is with openly fraudulent entries on the log. 

I've brought up the log and the legal hours of service (HOS) before, but what people need to understand is that the system was created by bureaucrats in response to a supposed desire by society to control the people who operate large machinery in public.

In many cases this is a reasonable concern, however the foundation for why these drivers need to be controlled is shifting and has shifted over time.  In the past truckers might drive when fatigued because of pressure from the customer or their company dispatcher.  The trucker might drive tired because of the opportunity to make more money.  The trucker was completely free to do as he or she pleased until the log book and hours of service was created.

Even then, the penalties for log book violations were weak.  The log book became known as the comic book.  The issue became that drivers were able to safely drive their trucks for 20 hours a day, but now the law was restricting them to 10 hours and then an 8 hour sleeper break.  Since there's 24 hours in a day, they could drive 16 hours in a 24 hour period.

The real problems are that companies have too much control over the industry forcing people to work while tired, and that the drivers who are coming into trucking have little to no understanding of how the trucking industry actually works.  These people go to trucking school and are able to gain entry with relatively no barriers.

Since trucking companies are self insured and can be their own trucking school, they get all the new drivers that come into trucking.  As such they have a controlling function and a deciding force in who is behind the wheel of that 40 ton vehicle riding next to you and your family on your way to work and school.

There should be a better process and more oversight over who is allowed to come into trucking.  Because trucking companies have negotiated ownership over trucking students and new hires in the trucking field, they have done what most companies do: thresh out a better bottom line.  This has been accomplished by removing any and all opposition to the company itself and forcing anyone who works for the company to comply with all company policy or be faced with unemployment.

That would be fine except these drivers are having their pay cut to pad the pockets of the company's CEO and affiliated officers which is removing any incentive for someone who actually wants to behave professionally and safely to want to fill the driver's seat.  There are many people like myself who have dealt with these companies and come out on top, so far, but it hasn't been easy. 

The point here is that while you may come into trucking and honestly be a proficient capable safe operator, your first barrier to success is the trucking company that trained and hired you.  They want you to get from point A to point B for as little money as you're willing to work for and they won't take no for an answer.

You've got to maintain your honest character and proceed to work your way up and out of that company to become an owner if that's your goal.  Regardless of your goal, staying honest is the only way to go.   Without honesty, trust erodes and nobody likes a liar. 

You want to be the person that people like, trust, and depend on to get the job done.  It's harder than it sounds, but it's vital to running a trucking business.

No comments: