When you look around, you will be see that the only thing not delivered by a truck is a baby. We need trucks as much as we need to breathe, because how else do we get food, clothes, heating oil, etc. to our door?
Not only are we not wanted on our highways but a lot of our big coffee shops don’t want us on their paved parking lots so they make them too small to get a truck in. A lot of restaurants along our highways, put up signs, “No Heavy Trucks.”
The road shoulders near these establishments have “No Parking” signs so we get fined if we stop on them to run and get a coffee. I guess, that is everyone’s right and I respect that. Ah, but our government is a different story.
You see, trucks and their drivers are governed by a strict set of rules and regulations and this is good. We need them for the safety of all. Safety being the key word here, I am asking our new Minister of Safety, Mr. Bartolucci who is a strong proponent of highway safety, to look at the hazards that are being generated by our government not making allowances for an industry that needs to pull over and rest/sleep periodically. When drivers cannot get their proper rest, they become hazards.
There are fewer places a driver can park to get the rest that he/she needs. I run northern and southern Ontario and just in that little circle of country I find our rest areas (the few that are out there) did not take trucks into account when they were constructed. There are too few truck stops to handle the volume. We are not permitted to just pull over and sleep on the shoulders (if there are any) or on/off ramps.
Even some unused inspection station areas are barricaded. Most existing inspection stations only allow us to use half of the area. Drivers are regulated to get eight hours of sleep after working 14 hrs. Not being familiar with the area can force a driver to stop on the shoulder to get the needed rest when his/her body needs it. I’m lucky to know my area enough to plan ahead for most of my rest. But, what about the driver that is unfamiliar with the area they are going through?
Trucks need rest areas, at a designated regular distance, so a driver can get off the highway. Then there are those signs that are well lit up on our highways; “Fatigue Kills, Take a break.”Where? •
Kevin Shanahan Via e-mail
US owner/ops have an advantage
In your November article It’s a great time to be an owner/operator, Todd Amen of ATBS Business Services is quoted as stating that income for owner/operators has increased in the last several years in the US.
I’m not surprised. Our friends across the border have a rather large tool in their pocket, namely the US Congress. In September of 2000 US Congress ruled that all carriers must pay fuel surcharges to their owner/operators based on a formula set forth by Congress.
Congress also implemented the following:The motor carrier A) shall pass through to the person responsible for paying for the fuel any fuel surcharge; B) shall disclose in writing to the person responsible for paying for fuel the amount of all freight rates and charges and fuel surcharges; C) is prohibited from intentionally reducing compensatory transportation costs (other than the fuel surcharge) to the person responsible for paying for fuel for the purpose of adjusting for or avoiding the pass through of the fuel surcharge and; Cii) intentionally imposing a fuel cost adjustment for the purpose of avoiding any payment.
Wow! What a concept. Here in Canada we haven’t got a chance. Not only will companies not disclose what they are collecting in fuel surcharge, they are deducting up to 25% of the fuel surcharge for everything from administration fees to charging the gross income insurance fee on our fuel surcharge.
How is this even legal? Every time your newspaper comes across my desk or any other paper or magazine related to the trucking industry they are filled with article after article about shortages of drivers and owner/operators.
Well here’s a thought: How about paying us what is rightfully ours! Honesty and disclosure might not only keep us around but may also help us in paying some of our bills. •
William Loerts, Owner/operator Via e-mail
Keeping the wheels on
I want to congratulate Eric Berard for his article on wheel tightening in your December, 2007 issue of Truck News.
I will pass on this article to my students. Wheel installation is a very important subject so it is important for us to keep our apprentices, mechanics and drivers informed of this issue at all times. Once a wheel comes off a truck due to improper installation, it’s too late. •
Jean Luc Chiasson Via e-mail
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