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We Mustn’t Ignore Owner/Operator Concerns

Well, this is a first. One of the finalists for the prestigious Truck News Owner/Operator of the Year award has respectfully withdrawn from the running due to his disillusionment with the industry.




Well, this is a first. One of the finalists for the prestigious Truck News Owner/Operator of the Year award has respectfully withdrawn from the running due to his disillusionment with the industry.

Without revealing his name, I’m going to turn the majority of this space over to him this month -because I think he has a very important message, more important than anything I could write in its place. The following are some excerpts:

After due consideration I would like to withdraw from your selection process. I’m sure you have many nominees who are more deserving and worthy of the award.

I have been in the trucking business for 31 years. While I enjoy what I do, the “fun” has gone out of the job. I’m currently driving an old truck, a 1999 Freightliner with two million plus kilometres on the clock.

I have no desire to buy a new truck with all the pollution (controls) on them, with a big payment for the next five years and probably burn more fuel as well.

I’d much rather keep fixing the old truck and be able to take holidays a couple of times per year, instead of working like a slave to make ends meet.

To my way of thinking, the trucking industry has been declining for many years now. I feel owner/operators especially are a dying breed. We’re expected to do more and more and get paid less and less. If anything happens, we’re guilty until proven innocent. The safety rules and regulations seem designed more for collecting fines than for safety. In the event of an accident there is a hoard of lawyers ready to pounce like a flock of vultures.

The new hours-of-service coupled with electronic on-board recorders and GPS tracking has removed all flexibility in the system, while allowing drivers to work 84 hours in seven days instead of the former 60 hours. As far as speed limiters on trucks go, I set my cruise control for 97-98 km/h, but on the rare occasion I have to put my foot in it to get around someone, I don’t need a computer chip telling me I can’t.

If speed limiters are such a good thing, why don’t they limit the four-wheelers too? It would cut down on street racing and high-speed police chases, don’t you think? (Newsflash: trucks are not the problem!)

I can’t see why any young person with any options at all would want to get into this industry, with the pay rates, the working conditions, and the lack of respect from John Q. Public and the politicians being what it is.

As for myself, I am just putting in time until I qualify for early retirement with Canada Pension. Once I get that monthly cheque, I will decide whether to stay in this industry (unlikely) or do something completely different (probably). So you can see, you more than likely have nominees that are more worthy than I am for the Owner/Operator of the Year Award.

The good news is that, we had no shortage of very qualified and deserving finalists from which to choose. Join us at the Fergus Truck Show on the main stage the

evening of July 24 to celebrate this year’s winner. The bad news is that this finalist quite eloquently summed up the frustrations he and many of his brethren are feeling. Even some of the best owner/operators have had enough, it’s not just a handful of malcontents.

We need to listen to their warnings, before it’s too late.

-James Menzies can be reached by phone at (416) 510-6896 or by e-mail at jmenzies@trucknews.com.You can also follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/JamesMenzies.


Truck News

Truck News

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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