What is the biggest thing to hit the trucking industry since you’ve been in it?
December 1, 2006
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - From 9/11 to border blockades, from deregulation in the '80s right up to present-day emissions standards and fuel prices, the trucking industry has been front and centre for many m...
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – From 9/11 to border blockades, from deregulation in the ’80s right up to present-day emissions standards and fuel prices, the trucking industry has been front and centre for many major news stories over the past 25 years.
Many of these stories have affected not only the industry, but the public at large. As part of Truck News’ 25th anniversary celebration, executive editor James Menzies ranked the magazine’s biggest new stories of the past quarter century (see the full story on pgs. 44-45). Truck News stopped by the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to find out which stories drivers found to be the most significant and how they were affected by them.
Sherwin Carmichael, an owner/operator who drives for QC in Tampa, Fla., has been trucking for about 22 years. During his years behind the wheel, Carmichael says rising fuel prices and cuts in pay have affected him most significantly.
“Diesel is a by-product from gas. How come the by-product is now more expensive than the product itself?” he asks.
Carmichael says a lot of existing regulations don’t make a lot of sense and suggests if drivers would band together more often, they might be able to have a greater influence.
“One of the biggest things out here is drivers not sticking together,” he says. “I think that if we came together as drivers, we could fix a lot of these problems.”
Mike Smith, a driver with Utility International in Ajax, Ont., says that as a company driver, skyrocketing fuel prices have been much more major for his boss than himself. However, the driver of 17 years says the cut in rates has had a huge effect on his livelihood.
Paul Cave, a driver who originally hails from North Hampton, England, UK, has been driving in Canada for only about 18 months, but has 22 years of experience driving overall.
Because the vast majority of Cave’s trucking experience has been UK-based, he says the European introduction of speed limiters has had the largest effect on his career.
“All trucks are governed at about 56 miles an hour and it’s not fun,” he says of the limiters, which were introduced about 20 years ago.
With the prospect of speed limiters looming over North American soil, Cave says local drivers should be forewarned of the impact the systems can have.
“The difference between Canada and the US (versus the UK) is the mileage you cover. Because of the greater mileage you cover, it would substantially damage the industry (in North America),” he said.
Vernon Lounsbury, a driver with Midland Transport out of Dieppe, N.B., says the biggest change in his 13-year career has yet to happen – the Jan. 1 change in Hours-of-Service.
“There’s going to be a major effect on the East Coast drivers for sure, because when we head for home from here, right now there’s the ‘four hour rule’ where all we have to take off between here and home is four hours – even though after that you have to take off 24 or 48 hours. Right now, it’s sort of up in the air as to what’s going to happen with that (rule),” he says.
“The big thing before that was when the US adopted the 14-hour rule. We really didn’t think we were going to adjust to that, but we adjusted, and eventually thought that this was something we should’ve done years ago.”