Within the trucking industry is a rumor that has been slapping truck drivers in the face for decades. The rumor is, there is a shortage of drivers. CDL qualified drivers, not only sacrifice the time with their families, but put themselves at risk everyday, 24/7 to keep America moving. Everything we own, consume and need to live has at some point been hauled by a truck driver. Do we as Americans appreciate this sacrifice? As a recently resigned Independent Contractor (Truck Driver); I can only express my opinion based on my own experiences.
I ran freight during the Covid 19 Pandemic, and for many years before; I was dehumanized. Why did I quit driving and close my business? The reasons are many, but mostly because the negatives outweighed the positives. By that, I mean- truckers work long, hard hours everyday – somedays, sitting at the consignee for 6-8 hours waiting to be unloaded with no compensation. The government regulations are plentiful – going beyond what’s necessary to protect the public. Carriers pay most of the taxes and tolls for roads and are forced to pay most of the liability insurance while, the other motorized vehicles cause most accidents occurring with a commercial motor vehicle, and only need 25000.00 in liability. The cost of a rig is well beyond 25000.00. Who pays for the loss of the rig, the freight, and even the driver when it is the fault of the other vehicle involved? Not enough insurance unless, the carrier has underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. The carrier pays that expense too. How is that fair?
Carriers pay taxes for every mile they drive in every state (IFTA), they pay a yearly 2290 tax in the amount of 550.00 per year. They pay weight distance taxes in Kentucky, New Mexico, and Oregon. Their work hours are regulated by FMCSA which restrict their ability to profit. There is limited safe parking nationwide. Truck stops charge 15.00 for a shower, some charge to park and very few have healthy food choices. DOT officers target small carriers oftentimes, citing the carrier or driver for minor infractions thus, generating more state revenue. Over 100,000 drivers have lost their CDL due to drug and alcohol consortium regulations while, everyone is surprised that a truck driver wants to have a few beers. Given the circumstances in their daily lives – it doesn’t surprise me.
With all that being said, is there a shortage of drivers? No, only a shortage of appreciation for drivers. If you find yourself pondering as to why the shelves are still empty at your neighborhood Walmart – just ask yourself, have I thanked a driver today? What have I done to help our drivers? Try taking a stand for our American drivers and then, your shelves will be stocked again. VOTE FOR OUR DRIVERS!