I recently read an article entitled “Customer–not safety– still king in trucking,” and in the article, it calls the relationship between the trucking industry and those it serves a “master slave mentality.”
Here’s a snippet of the article:
“The perception that the ‘customer is king’ was widely viewed, with the majority of stakeholders believing that there exists a ‘master slave mentality’ in the industry.
“There is great frustration in the industry as to the apparent immunity of customers, particularly retail supply chains, to their responsibilities.”
Dr Wallace said smaller trucking companies were perceived to be more vulnerable to the pressure of customer expectations. The study found remuneration-related incentives (Incentive-based pay), pressures and practices had historically put the balance of power upstream in the supply chain and truck drivers felt pressured to cut corners on safety.
The article was published on an Australian website, but it really got me thinking about who really controls the trucking industry in the United States and if drivers could have more of a voice on the changes that affect their lives daily.
While I was thinking about all of this, I stumbled upon another headline that read “Trucking Shortage May Hurt Consumer’s Pocketbooks” and “Nickeled and Dimed.” “Nickeled and Dimed” goes to state, “If truckers pay more for tolls on the state Thruway, consumers will pay more, too – in the checkout line.”
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These headlines and a few others like it got me to thinking about who the FMCSA listens to, and it reminded me of an article I wrote about the “No-Fault” law. In the article, I wrote:
Last week, the FMCSA was supposed to revisit several areas of the new CSA safety enforcement system, but on Thursday, Anne Ferro told industry reps the agency would not make any new proposals at this time.
Ferro says safety advocacy groups raised questions about the proposals that caused her to consider the agency’s approach. The questions had to do with only using the police accident report and a carrier’s statement to determine crash accountability. Ferro said the approach is too limited because it doesn’t allow for comment from others impacted by the crash.
Co-founder and president of Road Safe America, Steve Owings says there is “a very clear correlation between past and future crashes, regardless of who was at fault.
Ferro echoed Owning’s sentiment saying, the data shows there is a “very, very clear correlation between crash experience from year to year.”
Essentially, Ferro herself said they had planned to revisit the issue of the no-fault policy, but Ferro flip-flopped after urging from special interest groups.
This all leads me to my original point of who actually controls the trucking industry: the general public and their opinion of trucks and truck drivers. Are they willing to sacrifice what they consider their safety — continuing to text and talk on their cellphones while weaving in and out of lanes but away from trucks– if they have to pay more at the check-out or wait longer for their goods? My guess would be yes.
So what can be done? Drivers, you are 3 million men and women, working hard to deliver the goods we all use each day, if you work to make your voice heard– all of you– some things might change.
You can do this by writing to your congress men and women and your congressional party. Tell them you are a member of a 3-million member community of people. Tell them if they don’t support the trucking industry, they will lose your vote. OOIDA is a wonderful agency, but don’t sit back and let them be your only voice. Remind the politicians what would happen if trucks stopped. This is an election year, they are far more receptive to voters’ ideas at this time.
Also, be a good representative of your industry. I’ve grown up in this industry, I know there are a lot of wonderful professionals on the road. I also know there are others who are not (just like every other industry, there are good representatives and there are those who are not).
Remind shippers that they are paying increasing prices, because the cost of trucking continues to rise everyday, therefore you have to recoup some of those costs. Tell them if they want to pay less for their goods, they have to complain to congress, not you.
What else do you think can be done to reclaim the trucking industry?