RE: Let’s collaborate! We’ve got time (Editorial, January, 2007).
I understand your sarcasm directed towards Ty Lund, Alberta’s Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation. However your arguments fail on several points. First, your reference to the publication of the Hours-of-Service regulations two years ago. Although this is true, few owner/operators or small companies (such as ourselves) had the time to profoundly study the impact of these new regulations. Every year experienced drivers choose to retire or quit driving, and replacements are difficult to find (see your own publication’s want ads).
Another issue the trucking industry has faced is the rising cost of fuel. It seems that at every turn it is the trucker who must absorb the increased operational costs. Manufacturers and large corporations are always pressuring the rates down, and now the driver faces another challenge on long-haul runs – the new HoS. We operate in Northeastern Ontario and have several runs per week to Alberta. It is impossible to run on the new 70 hour cycle, 14 hour on-duty day.
The driver has to reset his cycle away from home. Loss of home time creates tension and job dissatisfaction, which in turn complicates the recruitment efforts for new drivers.
I realize the governments in question are self-serving and will fold to any misconception thrown at them (by lobbyists), such as driver fatigue causing a high percentage of accidents. Generally speaking, it is the private vehicle owner who “cuts” or moves in and out of traffic without consequence that is the root cause of accidents. Those professional drivers who choose to cheat will do so regardless of the law – until they are apprehended and rightfully suspended. The majority of drivers are professional and true to their past legend of being knights of the road.
The governments are waging that the truckers are uneducated, unable to unite into one strong lobbying voice and have a blue collar mentality. They know the truckers will roll with whatever challenge it imposes on them. I pray that the federal Transport Minister as well as the provincial Ministers of Transport will review and amend the new Hours-of-Service regulations for commercial drivers to include the interests of the drivers themselves.
Michel N. Racine
Operations and marketing manager
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