Truckers fume after NTA’s Wellman calls for audits
March 1, 2001
BELLEVILLE, Ont. - When Bill Wellman stood in front of the national news media complaining that tired truckers threaten public safety, he certainly didn't win over any new names for his association's ...
BELLEVILLE, Ont. – When Bill Wellman stood in front of the national news media complaining that tired truckers threaten public safety, he certainly didn’t win over any new names for his association’s waning membership roles.
The National Truckers Association (NTA) boss pleaded to government for complete audits of all trucking companies in Ontario.
He says the economics of being a truck driver are forcing truckers to drive more than is legally allowed, and, as a result, they doctor their logbooks.
“Truckers will opt to put food on the table rather than run legally,” he said.
Wellman suggested that company records would more accurately reflect how long truckers are actually running without sleep.
The leader of the shrinking association angered truckers across the country with his CRASH-style, unsubstantiated remarks.
These are the same independent truck drivers he’s counting on to try recruit for his association.
Truckers like Allen Freeman, a Stellarton, N.S. owner/operator who drives for Connors Tranfers. He says he doesn’t care for the NTA’s tactics. He faults the organization for providing stories that play into the public’s fears.
“The truckers are already in a bad light,” says Freeman. Wellman’s negative comments about the industry and its drivers were inappropriate, he adds.
“He’s just adding fuel to the fire. That’s not the way to get the public’s attention.”
Freeman faults O/Os who are complaining about the industry’s current reversal, and explains they are just poor businessmen unable to weather rough times.
“I don’t get paid to drive in the ditch,” states independent trucker Rob Beattie, who hauls tankers for Harmac. He disagreed with Wellman’s claims adding that he likes his sleep a great deal.
Mike Johnstone, who is a company driver for Harmac, explains the would-be lobbyist’s suggestions for a crackdown are laughable. He adds the only thing he’s tired of is over-regulation. He notes as well, that all Canadians – not just truckers – are fed up with high fuel prices. n
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