Driver Harassment

This week OOIDA Foundation released a rebuttal to the conclusions of FMCSA regarding a study they commissioned on harassment and ELD’s.

I have a recent post about the Truth About ELD’s that should shed some light on this subject as well. The fact is pretty clear that the FMCSA has been corrupted by its agenda. They [FMCSA] seem to want the information to say something different than what it really says. In the OOIDA article by Dave Tanner, he points out some interesting statistics. I took the liberty of picking some of those findings out to share with you.

The study was conducted by Maine Way Services of Fryeburg, Maine. They interviewed 628 professional truckers to gather their findings. According to the survey, 341 used ELDs. 287 used paper logs. The total number of drivers used in this survey represents .0002% of the estimated commercial drivers in America today.

About 70% of drivers surveyed were company drivers and 29% were owner/operators. Current ELD users are made up of 80% company drivers and 18% were owner/operators. 35% of drivers said that they believed ELDs would not make the road safer.

The study said 19% of drivers were asked by carriers to do things that were clearly illegal, such as falsify logs or duty status. It also revealed that 13% of office employees and managers would somewhat routinely ask drivers to operate illegally or to falsify logs. The study revealed that some drivers experienced threats of firing, and retribution for refusing loads that the driver felt unsafe or illegal to move. Drivers also reported threats (by management) to call officers for ignoring calls during off duty time.

With these things in mind, the FMCSA interpreted this information to say that ELDs did not contribute significantly to harassment. They plan to move forward with the ELD requirement. The way I read this information, it says that ELDs do nothing to reduce harassment. It is clear from the findings of the study that driver harassment is alive and well.

The problem I have with all of this is that it actually does nothing to improve safety or reduce harassment. It simply adds costs for the driver or small company that serves no purpose at all.

FMCSA holds listening sessions for input from the public. It seems that the information gathered at these sessions is recorded and subsequently disregarded. The opinions of the seasoned drivers seem to be discounted in favor of the more influential lobbyists.

It is imperative that we become proactive by contacting our representatives and go over the head of the out of control FMCSA. The easiest way to do this is through the Fighting for Truckers web site. You can find more information about Fixing FMCSA here. You can also find much more information there about improving safety and other concerns of the trucking industry.


This week has been a special week for me. I share my birthday with Veterans Day. This also was the week that OOIDA held the annual Truckers For Troops telethon. You might guess that veterans hold a special place in my heart and I think we should take better care of them. Our military people are taught the meaning of patriotism in a very physical I started asking myself what it means to serve our country. That is what I want to share with you.

I was fortunate enough to be too young to go to Vietnam before it ended. After that, America enjoyed a relatively peaceful time. There were conflicts that came along and I don’t ever want to minimize the service of anyone. At that time, my country didn’t need me. By the time Desert Storm came along, I was too old to go. The military was looking for a younger man.

This has left me in a real strange position. I love my country and would fight for it any day. Yet, I am not a veteran. I never will be. I will never be honored for my military service to our country. At the same time, 2 of my 3 best friends are Vietnam Vets. My oldest brother was a vet from the same war. A guy from my church got drafted and then returned with part of the muscle on his left arm blown off. I feel a deep appreciation for the fact that I didn’t have to go to war because of the sacrifices my friends made. I have a cousin that was a chopper pilot in Vietnam Nam. I remember when he came home after his tour showing me his helmet that he wore. It had a bullet hole through the top of it barely missing his head by a fraction of an inch. I feel somewhat guilty that I didn’t serve as they did. When I confronted my vet friends about this, they said that I shouldn’t feel guilty for anything. I should be happy that I didn’t have to go. They helped me to understand that fighting for our country meant more than dodging bullets and serving in the military.

That’s where this story really begins. I started to define the meaning of serving my country. My friends helped me by explaining that if I wasn’t here (paying taxes) doing what I do that they wouldn’t have been provided for there. However, my duties to country go much deeper than paying taxes. Serving our country as citizens also includes respect for authority, honor, duty, and country. We also have the responsibility to direct our government. We are a government that was conceived with the idea that we could be self governing and support the best interests of the citizens and country. That doesn’t mean that we have to choose a party and reject any idea from the other party. It means that we are supposed to sit down and discuss ideals with an open mind to be able to choose the best path for our country. These ideals are not limited to a national scope. They are intended to start at the local level and dictate the direction of the community which will be a voice in the next larger body of citizens and so on until the will of the people has filtered to the national level. It is our patriotic duty to participate in this process.

Supporting our troops is a popular emotion shared by many Americans. What this entails is much more than putting a sticker of a ribbon on our cars! It is our duty to country to never allow our troops to be sent into harms way for any purpose other than the protection of our country. Not pay back. Not profiteering. Not country building. Not the spread of western values. We are to lead by example to be the guiding light to the rest of the world. Entice others to embrace the values we hold dear based on their merits.

Our obligation is to establish the authority that we respect. Honor our creation by establishing standards that the rest of the world can look toward as a beacon of freedom. Answer the call of duty to our country notwithstanding membership in our military, but at all levels of civic duty. Of the most important duties we are charged with is duty to country. We must educate ourselves with an open mind to seek out the best options for our country. This is how we honor our military people. We must never allow any soldiers’ service to be in vain. That is the ultimate in disrespect.

As we get older and more mature, we are better able to provide a more diverse solution to our problems. This is based in the theory that we learn more as we get older. Not become set in our ways but grow as our knowledge increases. Much of our future can be sorted out by simply looking at the past. Most of the situations that we face today or at least something similar, our forefathers faced in the past. We must not forge ahead with the mindset that we are the first to face these challenges. We have a very good template established with well thought out guidelines. Take time to read the constitution. As you read, understand that serving our country started with a relatively small group of people that held dear the ideals that founded and have served our country well many years ago. The more you know of history the better you will be at directing the future. Don’t allow special interest to sway a decision that is not in the best interest of our country.

I find peace in the knowledge that I am fighting for our country right here on the home front. I embrace the same values that our soldiers fight for. That is for me to have the right to express my opinion. Remember, it is not “this” country, it is “our” country.


Safety……. Safety, Safety, Safety. That is the one theme that has been consistent throughout my working life. From growing up on a farm to working in the oil fields of Alaska and continuing on into my trucking career. There is no doubt that safety is important and one of the foremost concerns of  labor and the government alike. Safety always seemed to be more about common sense and awareness then much anything else. That is, until I started to become involved in trucking advocacy.

There are many government agencies that are supposed to be about safety in the workplace. The ones that are the most prominent in the trucking world are DOT, FMCSA, FHWA and, NHTSA. There are also many private safety organizations and coalitions of trucking companies and trucking associations like Road Safe America, First Student, Inc., Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH),Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.), Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), American Trucking Association (ATA) and, National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) just to name some of the more active players.

The problem I have is that issues of safety today no longer seem to be based in common sense. The idea of safety seems to be decided by economic or emotional influences in today’s world. When you look at who each of these very vocal groups are and what they represent, you start to see the problem. In almost every case, there is a special interest involved in each opinion that is being heard or voiced at the table of rule making today. Not  that all of the positions are bad. It is simply important to understand the origin of their opinions.

Some of these entities have suffered loss of family members in truck involved crashes. Some are motivated by financial gains. Others are motivated to give the people they represent a greater advantage in the market place. There is only one association that represents the individual driver’s point of view on safety. That is OOIDA. Each of the others have agendas that are good for their group but not necessarily for safety in general.

I would like to touch on a few things that I think should be considered.

How about I start with one of the oldest mandates, Driver Training. There has been a congressional mandate for over 20 years to establish training standards but only in the last year has any real movement been made and that is, in large part, thanks to OOIDA’s constant call for responsible rules and the creation of This to me is common sense.

HOS is a big one. Where do I start? The hours of service are a perfect example of what happens when emotion and the opportunity to make money collide. Any reasonable person would agree that we need rules to prevent exploitation of drivers by insensitive employers and to limit over zealous drivers. With that said, none of the rules put control of a schedule in the hands of properly trained and proven safe drivers. If you try to apply the same logic to your personal schedule it doesn’t really work so well. For example, the 14 hour on duty limit sounds reasonable for a truck driver but not with the different scenarios in your own life. Likewise, a trucker needs to be able to work when it is safest for all involved. Yet, in times of disaster the FMCSA will temporarily revoke the HOS rules to get people some much needed aid. There has been no public study to show ANY diminished safety to the public by allowing these drivers to operate on their own best judgment. Without going in depth about the HOS rules, that is the point! There have been no studies that show diminished safety when experienced truckers work on their own best judgments.

ELDs (electronic logging devices) are touted to be for safety. Please refer to my previous post to see the reality of ELDs. They can only record place and time somewhat accurately. All other duty statuses can be falsified. They also remove all flexibility from a driver sometimes causing them to be in violation while attempting to reach safe haven in situations that are beyond the drivers control.

Speed limiters have been proposed as a mandatory item on CMVs. Any evidence to show a safety benefit can just as easily be countered with evidence to the opposite. Yet the band plays on.

One of the latest scams on safety is the proposed increase of minimum liability being introduced into congress by Rep. Cartwright. His family made their fortune suing trucking companies. Conflict of interest? I guess not if you are a U.S. Representative. The current minimum liability limit for a trucking company is $750,000. Most companies carry $1 mil. in coverage. This representative wants to put minimums at $4.4 million! That would put many small business truckers out of business and force them to go to work for a company that is self insured just to stay in trucking. Many of our experienced drivers today are choosing to get off the road because of regulations like this. Those very experienced drivers are being replaced by entry level drivers that still have no driver training standards by the companies that don’t have to purchase insurance because of their influences in government rule making.

There is so much more to this subject that would turn this blog into a novel if I were to address all the characters and issues involved. My simple request is to research a little bit about the players involved in our so called safety programs and their recommendations. If its not really about bringing greater safety to the public at a reasonable cost, I ask you to get involved and let your voice be heard by your representatives.