Truck News

Blog

To be or Not to be?


It would be so easy to just give in right now wouldn’t it; everything you read hear and see is predicting doom and gloom. I read many of the industry magazines and editorials from both sides of the border and as you know it is not pretty out there, the only solace is that it appears that its not to pretty for any sector of the economy right now, sorry, not much comfort is it.
We have been in this funk for long enough for many of you to feel like it’s time to throw in the towel and say enough is enough. I hear it over and over and I totally understand the sentiment, should I give up now and minimize the damage and the stress? This is a question many owner operators are asking themselves right now, let alone company owners, fair enough, if you feel you can’t go on. What I have a problem with is this victim mentality that I hear, the, everyone is picking on me crap gets a little old for me after awhile, and believe it or not some groups actually fuel it and insight it for their own purposes.
Yes folks there are groups who actually feed off misery, they will pretend to be the defender of the down trodden and when they can’t find a bad guy they will invent one for you. The case of OBAC versus the OTA is a prime example of what I am talking about, freight is tight and cheap right now, join OBAC we’ll get those rotten OTA members, I don’t get enough FSC (fuel surcharge) join OBAC we’ll get those rotten company owners, I am not making enough money, join OBAC we know it’s the OTA members and the rest of the company owners who are screwing you and we’ll get them for you, just join up with us, what a crock and I am sick of hearing it, reading it and seeing it.
I believe that there is a space in this industry for an owner operators association and that it should be filled with competent representation. Owner Operators have unique issues and they are independent business people who represent a significant sector of this industry and they are vitally important to the transportation industry as a whole. And they deserve competent representation. So why would a group who supposedly represent the face of the Owner Operator make their primary effort for their membership to discredit the OTA? I’ll tell you why, because they need a bad guy to point at and blame for all the bad things that have happened to their current and prospective members. It doesn’t fix jack, it doesn’t serve any purpose but to foster a victim mentality and allow them to pretend that they are doing something concrete for the membership dollars, beside just funding their own positions and their need for exposure.
Don’t get me wrong here I have been not without my issues with many of the OTA’s policies and I have written about some of them in this column and have talked directly to decision makers about many others. Here is the plain truth though folks the OTA/CTA head off more bone head policy makers and their hair brain ideas about our industry in our government than most of us will ever know. Have no doubt without OTA/CTA we would be in far worse shape than we are, speed limiters or no speed limiters. One major issue I have had with the OTA/CTA is that they do not promote the many, many battles they do win for this industry loud enough! Enough said here I didn’t write this column to defend OTA/CTA; they can do that just fine on their own, just look at the record.
As far as the trucking companies go if you are a confused owner operator and you don’t know who your customer is let me clue you in, as with any business anywhere, it is the person, company or business that signs your cheque, period. This is a free market economy and if you believe that you are being cheated in your current business arrangement and have done your dues diligence, then move on. I have written previous articles about how to find the right carrier and encourage you to do so. Are there bad companies out there you should avoid, of course, do they represent the majority of the industry or the OTA/CTA, of course not, that’s a ridiculous premise designed once again to feed a victim mentality.
Effective representation of a group of small businesses has to be more than just a few ex bureaucrats who revolt against the big bad establishment and represent themselves as the defender of the down trodden proletariat. I believe that effective leadership would try their best to work in cooperation with the provincial and federal associations, please reread the “work with” piece again, I did not say go along for the ride or be puppets, it starts with identifying the critical issues that can be enacted to benefit the working relationship with owner operators and their carriers, or using the associations lobbying expertise to effect governmental legislative change to its memberships benefit. What it is not, is protest for protest sake, we get more than enough of this from groups like CRASH or Public Citizen, who work vehemently against any trucking initiative that might benefit the industry, without fighting against our own.
Although I have never been shy about sharing my thoughts on any subject related to this industry I have not written about this particular issue because I know that in doing so, it gives light to a group that I do not believe is effective in its direction or its tactics, other than to this industries detriment and their own selfish purpose.
Just my two cents worth folks, please feel free to send me all the Haight mail I deserve by commenting below, thanks again and safe trucking.
YT
Rjh


Ray Haight

Ray Haight

Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations.
All posts by

Print this page


12 Comments » for To be or Not to be?
  1. Jayne Gunn says:

    What a welcome addition to the trucknews team and blogs. Ray, you are an inspiration to the industry. Your words of wisdom are always appreciated and mean so much to so many people including myself. Keep up the incredible job you do for all of us!
    Jayne

  2. Steve H says:

    The OBAC will not reach it’s potential until it loses the mentality you often get over the CB radio. Cold hard facts provided by the mis-informed.
    If I had a nickle for every painful conversation that began with “someone in a truck stop told me…”, well..I’d have a pile of nickles.
    Hardly worth the strategy that it takes to restore a realistic perspective.
    The OBAC front line needs to take a break from the rhetoric and conspiracy thoeries long enough to ask themselves “why?”
    Why would the world be conspiring against them?
    Why are there changes taking place in the industry?
    Why are their positions not those of the mainstream?
    Why is whining not an in-effective way to get results?
    I think I can answer the last one.
    Because it’s a tough industry, built by resiliant hard working people.
    Whining to them is like making a sound only dogs can hear.
    Wouldn’t it be better to try a co-operative front toward realistic goals?
    Why not?

  3. JimH says:

    Well, here we have another OTA apologist coming forward to take a swing at OBAC.
    Mr Haight you say you did not write your column to defend OTA/CTA then you proceed to do just that, as well as denigrate OBAC. I am a member of OBAC and I would like to offer up some personal thoughts in defence of it. Some people seem to be very thin-skinned and do not countenance any disagreement with anything put out by the high and mighty folks at OTA & CTA.
    Mr. Haight, you appear to be making a lot of unfounded accusations against OBAC. In particular, your ravings about OBAC being ‟out to get” OTA are just absurd. Please show me some evidence of that. Victim mentality? Feeding off misery?? Inventing bad guys??? Come on. Why not discuss the issues logically, instead of putting out this kind of crap? You talk about ‟working with” provincial and federal associations, yet you certainly are not trying to ‟work with” OBAC. OTA has done ‟jack” (your term) to help truckers (some one who makes a living by driving a truck, my term) and in fact for all intents and purposes is telling the general public that truckers are out of control, OTA members and even the OPP cannot stop them from breaking the law and creating a menace on our roads, and the only way to protect the public from these monsters is to put electronic speed limiters in their vehicles. So much for putting the facts out there, that truth be told, truckers are the safest drivers on the roads. OTA has tarnished the reputation of every trucker on the road. I realize that OTA has done many good things for the industry at large, but their focus is on doing ‟good things” for their membership, the businessmen who own the trucking companies. OTA does not represent truckers. In Canada there does not seem to be anyone else but OBAC who is even attempting to represent truckers. Perhaps you should get off your high horse and talk to the people at OBAC, instead of condemning them. Just because you do not agree with them is no reason to dump all over them. Dissent is still legal in this country, believe it or not. You say that OBAC is working for their own ‟selfish purpose”. Is that not exactly what OTA does? Mr. Bradley gets paid very well, I am sure, to do just that, and he is very good at it.
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe anyone at OBAC has said that bad companies ‟represent the majority of the industry or the OTA/CTA” as you suggest they have. Nor have I heard or seen:
    ‟join OBAC we’ll get those rotten OTA members, I don’t get enough FSC (fuel surcharge) join OBAC we’ll get those rotten company owners, I am not making enough money, join OBAC we know it’s the OTA members and the rest of the company owners who are screwing you and we’ll get them for you, just join up with us,”.
    Mr. Haight, if you are going to make comments about these issues, please try and stick to the facts. It seems obvious to me that you are the one trying to invent ‟bad guys”.
    One of the more telling comments in your blog is : ‟This is a free market economy and if you believe that you are being cheated in your current business arrangement and have done your dues diligence, then move on.” In other words you seem to be saying (from a management point of view) it’s my way or the highway, no discussion or modification of work (or contract) standards is allowed. Nice attitude. Steve H (‟Wouldn’t it be better to try a co-operative front toward realistic goals?”) please take note.

  4. Martin Cowie says:

    I would like to comment on Jim H’s comments; “OTA members and even the OPP cannot stop them from breaking the law and creating a menace on our roads, and the only way to protect the public from these monsters is to put electronic speed limiters in their vehicles. So much for putting the facts out there, that truth be told, truckers are the safest drivers on the roads”.
    Sir, I may not address all of your comments however the speed limiter law is a touchy subject for me, you seem to forget that being safe and intimidating drivers to get the hell out of the way while traveling down a highway that has posted speeds of 100 km is very nerve racking and can cause an accident/incident for the four wheeler, if you will, or totally ruin their day because a truck driver maybe late for his/her appointment. This occurrence could happen later in the month or year, all cause by intimidation. I could, and have, gone on about the speed limiter law and when a sign states 100 km maximum, why are trucks allowed to do 105 km?
    Not everyone who drive the roads of Ontario are competent and sure of themselves as truck drivers, however a truck driver has 90,000 lbs under him/her and with one thing on his/her mind, to get home or to make more money or etc…, will intimidate, pressure or even blow their air horn to get the person who is OBEYING THE LAW by traveling 100k in a 100k zone, be pushed out of the way by a, how did you put it, truck drivers who are out of control. Have you ever listened to the general public in regards to going down a 400 series highway? Listen to the complaints.
    I will re-iterate the same thing that I always post in these blogs ” for every one professional truck driver on our roads, there are 10 whom are not even close to being a professional”. As a recruiter and driver trainer I can attest to these accusations with honesty.
    If a professional truck driver could take a beginner truck driver and work with him/her for a certain period of time, rather than waste time and energy and resources on complaining and writing blogs, imagine how much better the 400 series highways would be for traveling.
    I know this will happen when PIGS can fly.

  5. JimH says:

    Re: Martin Cowie’s comments. I wasn’t commenting specifically about the speed limiter law, and I really don’t want to get into that here as that is not the subject of this blog, but you have made some very disturbing accusations. Are you REALLY saying that 90+ percent of truckers are bad drivers? Quote: “for every one professional truck driver on our roads, there are 10 whom are not even close to being a professional”. I find this statement very offensive and again, not in line with the facts. MTO and OPP statistics prove time & time again that truckers are the safest drivers on the road. You can look it up. Certainly there are bad ones out there, perhaps that is because recruiters and driver trainers such as yourself are not doing their jobs properly and are helping poor quality drivers into the industry. And of course there are the companies, many of whom are OTA members, who hire and retain these poorly skilled drivers. But to state as you do, that over 90% of truckers are not even close to being professional is pure nonsense.
    As for complaints about the 400 series highways, I spend many more hours a day out there than the average 4 wheeler, it is my workplace, and for every story you can tell me about bad truckers, I could probably tell you 100 about bad car drivers. What we really, desperately need is some ENFORCEMENT of the traffic laws, against ALL road users. Speed limiters on trucks is just a sham, taking the easy way out. You say: “I could, and have, gone on about the speed limiter law and when a sign states 100 km maximum, why are trucks allowed to do 105 km?” Well I would like to know why are cars allowed to do 130 in a 100 km zone? Why are they allowed to tailgate, run red lights, run stop signs, cut off other drivers, etc, etc. Lets get some police out on the road and get ALL the bad drivers under control, cars and trucks.

  6. Martin Cowie says:

    Jim. Please do not blame driver trainers or recruiters for not doing their jobs. I am sure that all driver trainers try their best to help uneducated drivers in every way. Truck drivers who do not know the correct way our mostly just that, uneducated. Not bad or poor drivers either. It is just a shame that most drivers have gone to a school and had their heads filled with information within a short period of time and now need coaching. Without the coaching they would not be hired by myself or our company. Our company asked me to hire 10 drivers early last year. I took out 98 drivers. I hand picked 10 of them. That speaks volume to me. So if you can personally prove or show any facts that are different, rather than just he said she said, please let myself and the rest of the readers know. In regards to the cars driving over 100km, I thought that we were discussing trucks?

  7. JimH says:

    Quote from Martin Cowie: “I thought that we were discussing trucks?” Actually Martin, we were discussing OBAC vs OTA/CTA. The fact that only about 10% of your job applicants were acceptable to you could be due to many factors, none of which has much to do with the original post.

  8. Robert D. Scheper says:

    Well I’m not sure who JimH is but I am honored to have read his arguements. It is great to see a solid level headed person who articulates respectfully and with punch. Sir, there are MANY people who would stand behind you, just because they don’t respond dosn’t mean they don’t agree. Excellent job!

  9. JimH says:

    Thank you very much Robert.

  10. G. Paul Langman says:

    Well, well, well. All the above brings me to tears! I am a 40 yr. truck driver with something over 5 million km. on the logbooks I have stored in my basement and I don’t intend to quit until some well-intentioned but incompetent, bureaucrat manages to take my license away. I just plain like to drive!
    HOWEVER, THE ABOVE DISCUSSION MAKES ME WANT TO BARF. Most of what is being said on both sides is true. But nobody is willing to hear the other side of the story if it is different from theirs. It is one of the major problems in the industry. Truck company owners often seem to feel drivers are a necessary evil. Drivers think owners are always trying to screw them. And nobody stops to find out what the other one’s real problems are and how to help each other. I only stay at it because I like the work, not because I like listening to whining drivers and “I got THE answer” owners.
    I think the answer goes something like this: Get in,sit down, shut up, LISTEN. Then talk reasonably with each other about ways to deal with the problems.
    Paul L.

  11. Robert Kamerman says:

    Hi Ray, You may (or not) remember me as a former employee at MacKinnon Transport. I read your columns and am impressed with your no BS attitude.I have an ongoing pet peave that I hope you will expand upon in one of your future writings. Counless times as a long haul driver I have stopped for fuel at various truck stops and cardlock locations. The law in all states and provinces is that the truck ignition needs to be shut off during the fueling procedure. My beef is–why are these rules not being enforced ? Why are these “Billy big rigs” allowed to fill their tanks with the engine running at 10,000 rpm. and a lit cigarette in their mouth? Recently in Calgary Ab.(at the Flying J)someone pulled into the pump next to where I was fueling, Left the truck at fast idle,and proceeded to fill up . That irritated me enough already, but I bit my toungue and continued on with the business of finishing my own task, because to say anything to these idiots just invites trouble. Then I watched him trying to lite a cigarette. He had to get his face close to the open fuel tank(near the cap) to get out of the wind so he could get the thing lit. At this point I lost my cool and proceeded to let him know in no uncertain terms how stupid I thought he was. His response was even more shocking.Verbatum I quote”do you know what the flashpoint of diesel is ?” What has to be done to get these dickheads to consider the safety of themselves and others ? I’m almost as disappointed in Flying J (and 99% of the others)for not monitoring these things more closely. Thank you for reading my rant, & keep up the good work. Sincerely, Robert Kamerman. (Big Iron Transport) Petrolia On.

  12. Ray Haight says:

    Thanks for your rant Robert, makes perfect sense to me, today’s engines cool down quickly and do not need extended periods to lower heat. In my day trucks had shut down timers that could be set for up to 20 minutes, like many other inefficient gadgets of the day they were gone with just as quickly as the price of fuel went up.
    Wasting fuel for no reason but keep comfortable until the fuel is in the tank and the driver is back in the cab is a complete waste, the truck manufactures should design an automatic shut of that kicks in as soon as the fuel cap comes off the tank. Or even a better idea as you suggests the truck stops and cops enforce the rules.

Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*