A recent op-ed in the New York Times referred to 18 wheelers as “sweatshops” for the drivers inside and blamed inhumane working conditions for the mass exodus of drivers leaving the trucking industry.
“Long Haul Sweatshops”: The Joys Of Trucking Destroyed By Well-Meaning Lawmakers
The article, written by
Treatment Of Truckers Is “Inhumane And Demeaning”
However, the article goes on to condemn the way that the U.S. government — particularly the FMCSA — treats drivers like machines and not human beings. They say that while regulations are intended to improve highway safety, they create inhospitable working conditions for truckers:
“But it also leaves them exposed to inhumane and demeaning work conditions, including abusive amounts of surveillance and micromanaging. Truckers are told what route to take, where to buy gas and for how much, when and where to sleep. They work 14-hour days routinely and continuously, often without weekends, sick pay or holiday pay. They drive 11 of those hours, and perform other work for the remaining three: loading, vehicle maintenance and a lot of waiting.”
The article goes on to condemn lawmakers for responding to rising rates of highway accidents not by improving working conditions for drivers but by increasing surveillance on them.
Conclusion: Improve Highway Safety By Improving Lives Of Truck Drivers
The article concludes: “After all, the best way to protect the people driving alongside America’s long-haul trucks is to protect the people behind the wheel of those trucks, too.”