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Driver Editorial: 30 Years From Now

By: Brian Carlson- Drive for Freedom

For decades, the bar for training a driver has been set at our ankles. It is time to set the bar at eye-level– If not higher.

Challenge truck drivers to use their minds. When we produce dead heads, we reap what we sow. Thus, you have witnessed the collateral damage of wreck after wreck and countless incidents. Costing companies billions of wasted dollars. –  Not to mention the billions of wasted bottom line resources from training endlessly by countless companies. Quick-buck training has destroyed our business, and the over -all morale. From this, all of the senseless deaths and injuries, these should not only make us feel embarrassed but also leave us feeling very guilty.

We, as experienced professionals, have a duty to make certain this terrible trend does not continue. The students of the next 3 generations will know no different, if we do not show them any different.

Provide classes above and beyond the basic fundamentals of driving a truck. Make it difficult to acquire a CDL. When an individual is challenged, it reveals attributes of a person that will determine whether or not he or she is capable of handling the daily responsibilities of being professional… in a truck.

Provide a new image and they will be viewed differently; by their employer, their family, their customer, and ultimately, the general public. “This takes effort.”

Work ethic on the job, and training for the job has declined.

Care less-it has revealed a lot.

The reason base pay has never really changed is because we have not provided a standard of driver that is conducive to a higher wage. If we want to earn more, we must produce men and woman who earn the equivalent of an associates degree in transportation.

Create professional truck drivers who understand every single aspect of trucking.

Even if they never become an owner operator, teach them how to set a rate. Even if the company never asks them to repair a starter. Teach them to understand their vehicle, teach them how to change a set of brakes and what the consequences of irresponsible braking are.- What happens to brake shoes when they are abused.

Professional drivers must have mechanical aptitude to save money and time. Professional drivers must have money management skills, to save money for them, and the company they work for. Teach them… if its not yours, treat it as though it is.

This includes the financial resources of the company they are employed by: Trucking companies are not personal banks. But pay must be in-line with the cost of living; it’s not, which has created dependency.

Professional drivers must be taught professional driver etiquette and manners, daily life skills combined with trucking skills so they act, walk and talk differently from the truck stop to the work dock.

Do this– Image changes. Make them feel professional and they will act professional. The quality of driver is dependent upon how much we, the teacher, care about the person we are teaching.

Laissez Faire Leadership by large corporation’s has lead to an epidemic of half hearts Those of us that care, watch it, hate it, complain about it. Yet we do not stop it.

Should we expect the FMCSA to set the standard? Absolutely not! That is not their job. That is our job.

1st, we take responsibility for our industry, a spirit of massive sweeping change on CDL standards set by private schools. We cannot force a large corporation to stop training their own students. I wish we could; people should not be viewed or used as a tax break or kick back.

They should be trained to be an ASSET that is retained for the duration of his or her career, not a liability that has been discarded and seen as replaceable. We have traded one liability for the next one in line. Our goal should be to create 75 cent per mile drivers right out of the gate.

Do this, and you solve almost every single money squandering problem in trucking.

2nd, make certain that when they head out to perform their job that they have a strong support system to rely on, in dealing with the daily trials and tribulations drivers face out over the road.

3rd, give truck drivers value by instilling a sense of purpose, help them to reach attainable short term goals— to in the end helping them achieve long term personal and financial success.

To achieve personal aspirations. Instill Independence and they will no longer be dependent or a liability to anyone. They will be an asset to everyone. Self reliance and confidence reveals pride and increases productivity and saves money.

My Name is__________________________? and I have graduated with a degree in transportation from the University of_________________________?

Believe in people, and give them more of yourself.

Time, energy, knowledge and they will produce more for themselves and the people they work for— for the rest of their lives changing the IMAGE of trucking and truck drivers forevermore.

Thus revealing champions in us all. Becoming the best at what they do, depends on how much WE do, to make certain we/they achieve the desired result.