Clearing the way for churn-tastic tactics

March 4, 2019

Wendy Parker

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According to Indianapolis radio news station 93.1 FM, WIBC, “Trucking companies want younger drivers. State lines are in the way.”

This is the headline in a 400-word piece that has about 400 bad ideas attached to it. In a completely expected turn of events, these ideas were supported and nurtured by quotes from the ATA and their various supporting cast members. (They’re not really truckers, they just play one on the news sometimes.)

Let’s begin with the headline. “Trucking companies want younger drivers. State lines are in the way.”

No cousin, you got it all wrong. Trucking companies want experienced drivers. Current take-home pay is in the way. That there is your first mistake.

On to the next point.

“Trucking companies argue it doesn’t make sense to say someone can be trusted to drive from Gary to Jeffersonville, but can’t legally drive from Jeffersonville across the Ohio River to Louisville.”

Agreed. Don’t gasp yourself off the chair before you hear the end of the rebuttal.

Drivers who are 18-21 years old should be restricted to local radius logging standards. Parameters as loose as “state lines” are too broad and in states like Texas and California, cover too vast an area. I agree that it’s silly to make state lines the definitive borders. Local 150-mile radius makes it a uniform rule.

But to go on to say, “Without the ability to drive multistate routes, those younger drivers are unhireable,” is complete poppycock.

That’s right. I pulled out the poppycock big guns. Because it is.

Y’all act like there have never been final-mile routes. Quit it. Of course these drivers are hireable. They’re just not hireable for the mega fleets to send long-haul and churn through at a rate of 98 percent. Consequently, mega fleets will be the only “trucking companies” with the ability to afford to insure 18 year-old interstate drivers.

And just why are we looking for solutions to “problems” being created by the very same folks who are crying about it? Until we begin to find answers to the problem of anywhere from 80 to 98 percent churn in the largest hiring portions of the commercial truck driving industry, we can’t call it a “driver shortage.”

There are absolutely a sufficient number of commercial driver’s licenses being issued. Hell, if we factor in a nearly 100 percent churn, numbers will dictate there are actually too many.

That’s not a driver shortage. That there is conspicuous consumption. Ask some of the great pre-Columbian civilizations how that works out in the end. (Hint: It ain’t great news.)

Careful what you wish for, friend. One man’s “solution” is another’s demise. That’s not a viable plan, and it’s not necessary. It’s just what the people who want to keep labor costs as low as possible would like you to believe. Which is why they want kids who don’t know any better to sign up for jobs they can pay them crap wages for, and churn through at their leisure.

That’s not a solution. No matter how many times the ATA says it is.

Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker has covered the trucking industry since 2012 after she says she “lost my mind and decided to climb inside my husband’s big truck to travel with him as an over-the road, long-haul trucker.” Her unique writing style that ranges from biting satire to investigative journalism coupled with her unbridled passion for fighting round out a wildly talented stable of writers.