March 2018

Overdrive Magazine | Trucking Business News & Owner Operator Info

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Voices 10 | Overdrive | March 2018 Why do truck drivers cry and moan over the hours of service? "We must work longer hours," they seem to say, but never ad- dress the problem of low pay. A specialty equip- ment hauler once asked me just why some steel haulers will "haul 20,000 pounds overloaded for $1 a hundred when I make as much or more money hauling 40,000-pound legal loads at $2 a hun- dred?" Why do truckers allow companies to make them sit for hours at a time with either low detention pay or none at all, then rush to make deliveries, lying on their log books in order to make what basically comes out to be minimum wage, or less? If a driver complains that he's not making enough money, the company's response is never "you need a pay raise" — the company's response is "we'll give you more loads to haul." So a driver never actually got a pay raise. He just worked harder. I retired after 42 years, and the first question out of my friends' mouths was "Are you working part time anywhere?" My response: "No way in hell. I worked twice again as much as anyone that worked a normal 40-hour week." More young people are aware that truck driving just might not be the best way to earn a living. Those who do make the plunge realize soon after that the demands of trucking and the monetary rewards are not compatible. Trucking companies are not addressing this problem by raising pay but rather by asking for the relaxation of rules for foreign nationals or to allow 18-21-year-olds to be allowed to drive inter- state. Foreigners will work for less, and the younger person will as well. The best way to address the problems of the elec- tronic logging device man- date, hours of service, safety, driver pay and driver reten- tion will take a concerted effort by drivers and sympa- thetic legislators. Laws must be changed, forcing all truck drivers to be paid for their time. No longer will drivers be exempt from wage and hour laws. Since electronic logging devices document everything a driver does, assuming they cannot be tampered with, it is not a stretch to pay a driver by the hour. Once the 14-hour clock starts, the driver's pay begins. Now the problem shifts to the trucking companies. It would be extremely difficult to attract a driver if all they are offered is mini- mum wage with few, if any, benefits. Since I had access to charges made to shippers, I know the companies have quite a bit of wiggle room to pay a fair wage and still make a profit. I truly believe that, done properly, the ELD man- date creates the necessary dynamics for this change, which may be the best thing to happen to driver pay in my lifetime. – Tom Hall, Lisbon, Ohio ELDs open the door for hourly pay standard Courtesy of Tom Hall California labor law, the federal courts and driver pay | Search "California could be next step toward hourly pay" at OverdriveOnline.com for news on how state labor law and court judgments have combined in recent years to force the issue of driver pay for all time worked. The story, part of our "Tomorrow's Trucker" series, also de- tails the American Trucking Associations' efforts to introduce language in federal law to prevent states from doing just that. Referring to the issue as "federal pre-emption," ATA continues to advocate for it. At press time, the association hoped to insert its fix in an omnibus spending bill this month. Lookback – March 2016 Tom Hall of Lisbon, Ohio, retired from driving after 42 years, making him "more than qualified" to address problems with trucking, pay and driver retention, he says, "since I was part of the problem as well."

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