Why the Public Should Care More About Trucking

As truckers, we often times feel isolated from the rest of the world and yet we are what makes it possible for the rest of the world to function. Because of this detachment, the general public only learns about what we really do from the “trucker friendly” media. That is the reason we need to have a greater influence to spread the truth to as many people as we can. In short, Why the Public Should Care More About Trucking.

I plan to start a short series on these issues. I plan to explain why the public should care. These issues may become talking points that you can use to inform your representatives or your neighbors and friends. My selection of the subjects are not based on importance; simply what strikes me as important this week. That said, each of these issues need to be brought to a greater awareness to the public and our representatives. Let our voices be heard!

The first issue that I think needs a huge spotlight is the issue of self insurance. First, here is why truckers should care. Self insurance allows the large (mega) companies to employ the lowest experience drivers and NOT pay any more than is absolutely necessary to get these drivers in the seat. Because they cost relatively nothing extra to insure (because the companies are self insured) and can be hired cheap, you as experienced drivers are only worth what you can be replaced for. If they had to insure these drivers based on the risk exposure, you (the experienced driver) would be worth far more because you could be insured much more easily and less expensively. Driver pay and driver turnover would be FAR less of a problem if we had a system that valued a driver based on his record and experience. Companies would want to hold onto their more experienced drivers to enhance their overall experience statistics to get lower rates. Insurance companies would evaluate each driver based on their risk exposure.

Large companies say they want to level the playing field. This is double speak. Meaning, they (self insured companies) want to twist another regulation in favor of the company and against a driver that may be trying to operate a competitive business and survive without the abuse of the large companies. They don’t want to compete in a fair market. They want to play in a market that is slanted in their favor. They would like nothing more than to have experienced drivers fail at their own business so those drivers would have to come to work for the company to survive. How many times have you heard, “I had my own authority once but couldn’t make it.”?

There is a myth I’ve heard many times promoted by these companies that says that independents are undercutting the rates and making it harder. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Independents only make up about 10% of the trucks on the road but about half of the operating authorities issued. We are forced to compete with companies that have drastically lower insurance, equipment and driver cost. Really,… Who do you think can run cheaper? We run safer and more efficiently. They run less expensively.

I’ve written a position paper on the subject that you can find here under My Pages. It is a much more complete argument on the subject of repeal of the self insurance provision.

In short, the self insurance provision:

  • Makes our public less safe
  • Devalues experience
  • Artificially lowers freight rates through the exploitation of cheap labor
  • Increases driver turnover
  • Holds no minimum training standards
  • Delays settlements in most cases
  • Forces a victim to negotiate directly with the offending party for settlement
  • Reduced settlement offers
  • Allows for the arrogant stand of the self insured to simply say “sue me” to get settlement

I currently have a claim with a well known company from Montana that occurred on February 28, 2014 that is as of today (September 10, 2014) yet unsettled. They backed into my truck while I was in the sleeper. How hard is it to determine responsibility? I am learning from others that my experiences are not unusual.

I hope many of you will join me in educating the public and fellow drivers alike in this gross overreach of privilege and reduction of safety. Also, please join me in contacting your representatives to repeal the self insurance privilege in the upcoming transportation bill. You can call the Whitehouse Switchboard at (202)-224-3121 or contact all three at the same time by going to FightingForTruckers.com . We have a voice. We must use it where it counts!

4 thoughts on “Why the Public Should Care More About Trucking

  1. Pingback: The Truth about Insurance Minimum Increases | Tecco Trucking

  2. Pingback: Pay the drivers, already: Voices on the future of the industry | Overdrive - Owner Operators Trucking Magazine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s