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Are drivers pigs? Or will they return your respect?

I wrote a blog for our Web site Trucknews.com that generated an interesting assortment of comments. In my entry 'Want to run nice trucks? Treat your people right, the nice trucks will follow,' I opined that providing drivers with nice,...


I wrote a blog for our Web site Trucknews.com that generated an interesting assortment of comments. In my entry ‘Want to run nice trucks? Treat your people right, the nice trucks will follow,’ I opined that providing drivers with nice, well-maintained equipment will lower driver turnover and result in a more content workforce that is easier on equipment.

I made the observation following a visit to J.F. Kitching & Son, an Ontario aggregates hauler that replaces its trucks every five years, pays its drivers a decent hourly wage and by the very nature of their business, has them home daily. As a result, Kitching has very little driver turnover and most of its drivers have been with the company long-term. They are given shiny new trucks to operate and they tend to keep them looking that way.

While my conclusion may have been overly simplistic, it’s just plain wrong, according to several respondents, who insist drivers are pigs who are bent on destroying any piece of equipment and won’t lift a finger to take a paper towel and some Windex to their company-owned trucks.

“We have high spec’ equipment washed weekly by hand in our own wash bay yet can’t get drivers to keep their interiors even close to respectable,” one manager said. “It gets very discouraging when a company spends a lot of money on spec’ing a truck out for driver comfort, pays him/her $60-80k annually, make sure the exteriors are shiny and clean…then have a driver who won’t lift a finger to do his/her part.”

Another commenter added: “For the first number of years of owning my own equipment, back in the 80s, I personally cleaned all five trucks inside and out, and provided each cab with a Windex bottle, paper towel, flashlight, CB radio, basic tool set, wisk broom, 12-volt vacuum. I gave this up because, the trucks looked like a pigsty anyway. The Windex bottles and paper towels were nowhere to be found, the flashlights were under the driver’s air seat smashed to pieces, the CBs could not be kept working longer than a week at a time. Tools were missing, (the) wisk broom couldn’t be found and the vacuum was broken.”

Some drivers also weighed in, noting they do indeed take pride in running premium equipment and do their part to keep it looking decent, even when it requires them to do some polishing while waiting to be loaded or unloaded.

It’s unfair to generalize an entire segment of the workforce, as professional drivers are as diverse a bunch as the population at large. I still believe in most cases, providing drivers with clean, well-maintained equipment will deliver tangible benefits to the company owner. Clearly, not everyone agrees. What are your thoughts? Check out the blog at Trucknews.com and weigh in.


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