What is the number one issue facing the Canadian trucking industry?
December 2, 2007
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - During its annual management conference in October, the American Trucking Associations released the results of an annual survey exploring the most critical issues facing the trucki...
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – During its annual management conference in October, the American Trucking Associations released the results of an annual survey exploring the most critical issues facing the trucking industry. More than 5,000 US trucking industry executives were surveyed as part of the research and for the first time in the last two years, Hours-of-Service trumped the driver shortage as the number one industry concern.
Other concerns on the top 10 list included: fuel issues; congestion; government regulations; tolls and highway funding; tort reform and legal issues; truck driver training; environmental issues; and on-board truck technology. (For a full review of the survey’s results, read executive editor James Menzies’ blog “HoS tops list of concerns for US trucking execs” at blogtn.trucknews.com).
But what’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander. Many truck drivers may have differing opinions on what constitutes a major issue for the industry. Truck West stopped by the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to find out what truckers think is the most pressing issue facing the industry today.
Frank Hartin, a driver with SLH Transport in Kingston, Ont., says the worst thing he’s seen is a lack of driver training.
As a trucker of more than 25 years, he’s seen a lot of bad driving habits including dangerous tailgating.
“But with so much volume on the roads today, how do you stop it?”
Hartin notes that speeding is likely the number one cause of accidents and another example of how drivers are not being trained effectively.
Claude Camira, a driver with Montreal Freightline in Montreal, Que., says the Hours-of-Service is certainly a big issue, but that it’s unrealistic for fleet executives to expect drivers to run 100% compliant.
“We fly under the radar in order to do a good job,” he says.
HoS aside, Camira says fuel prices are also a concern for drivers, but that the emerging Canadian dollar is at least helping drivers who run freight into the US to save some money.
Dave Short, a driver with Swish, a supplier for cleaning companies, schools and hospitals in Peterborough, Ont., says that poor driver wages is the biggest problem for the industry, since low pay directly affects the driver shortage.
“People are not getting into the industry. If you can make as much money working and be home every night (and) have a life, then why would you get into trucking?”
Short notes that the industry needs to do something to start attracting younger drivers – and quick – because the trucking workforce is aging much faster than any other industry.
Blake Tod, an owner/operator with Payne Transportation out of Winnipeg, says that for an O/O, the biggest problem is the cost of fuel, tires and general operating costs.
Though he says that Hours-of-Service is a minor detail for O/Os compared with cost of operation, he admits that the way things like HoS are decided isn’t fair to truckers.
“All this stuff is decided by someone who is not sitting behind the wheel driving a truck down the road, this is the biggest problem. Someone sitting in an office deciding what we should have to do,” he says.
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