For decades, the American trucking industry has employed highly accomplished professional drivers for cross-country delivery services. The American Trucking Association is now seeking new driving captains, as well as younger drivers, as more and more veteran drivers retire and leave the industry.
“Trucking continues to see professional drivers as the most important safety factor on the road and, as such, we have the utmost respect for the millions of skilled truck drivers who serve America’s economy with pride,” said Chris Spear, President and CEO of the American Trucking Association. “For the past 32 years, America’s Road Team has elevated the visibility of truck drivers and their important work in communities throughout the country, so we look forward to selecting a new group of passionate trucking advocates and welcoming them as the next generation of Captains.”
The trucking industry has faced a lot of criticism in recent years, not only due to the loss of veteran drivers, but for questionable payroll practices.
The United States economy loses an estimated $7.4 billion per day (equating to about 50 million hours) due to improperly filled out time sheets. Believe it or not, but the U.S. trucking sector has led the charge in terms of workplace surveillance and electronic time sheet recording.
According to The Atlantic, more than three million truckers across the U.S. are facing regulatory upheavals expected to cost the entire industry approximately $2 billion and fundamentally change the way the trucking industry is operated.
There are already plenty of regulations within the trucking sector, including mandating any truck exceeding a 10,000-pound weight limit with an 80″ wide to have 2″ wide Department of Transportation (DoT) reflective tape in alternating white and red stripes. But these newer regulations will impact much more than just the vehicles themselves.
Over the next few years, by law, all American truck drivers will have to carry a tracking device, an electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) inside their vehicle in order to cut down payroll errors. Though these new laws will certainly help with time punch accuracy and provide safety benefits, there are many truckers who strongly oppose the new regulations.
“They’re forcing me to put something in that’s not gonna help me any,” added Dick Pingel, who’s been a professional trucker for 30 years without a single shareable accident. “And they keep saying, ‘Well, it saves you time…’ You know, I can do a lot. I can write up a log book in the same amount of time that it takes me to program what I’m doing into the EOBR.”
President of the Texas Trucking Association, John Esparza says that truckers’ “concerns are appreciated, but they are misdirected,” arguing that the companies about the electronic timekeeping devices are more about the rigidity of the existing “hours-of-services” rules.
As newer technology continues to enter into the trucking sector, however, it seems as though the industry as a whole will trend toward more innovative and high-tech ways of operation, potentially causing a further divide between the industry and its veteran drivers.