We can all agree on one thing, that is since the founding of this great nation it has been a rocky, tumultuous journey, and federal government rules and regulations have not helped in any way. The settlers came over from Europe and had it not been for the help of the Indian they would have perished, and it is hard to say how or who would have taken over these United States. The English tried to impose their form of government upon us and wanted to collect taxes to send back to the King of England. Freedom loving Americans were having none of it; hence the Boston Tea Party, when the settlers dumped all the tea in the Boston Harbor so they would not have to pay the taxes.
Our forefathers languished through the Revolution and created one of the greatest governments in the world. One in which the people were given control over the government; a government by the people for the people. With the people having more control, everything runs along smoothly in our nation, but little by little the government gained more power, imposed more taxes, and produced more rules and regulations. Yes, I assume with the growth of the population laws were needed to keep the society orderly, and to make sure things are running smoothly.
Now it has come to the point that it is almost impossible to run a business or for employees to do a good job. Employers and employees are so afraid of breaking a law that our nation can no longer function. At least as effective as it used to.
More Rules and Laws
Throughout our history, the government has tried to impose more rules and regulations on the people. One of the most known rebellions against authority by the American people occurred December 16, 1773, when members of the Sons of Liberty hidden as Mohawk Indians unloaded crates of tea into Boston harbor as a demonstration against the Tea Act and its requirements for taxation of tea. This act of criminal wrongdoing would become known as the “Boston Tea Party.” The episode continues an iconic act of civil disobedience, albeit criminal, and political rebels often refer to it.
The Prohibition Act was the legal prevention of the production, sale, and shipment of alcoholic beverages in the United States from 1920 to 1933 following the terms of the Eighteenth Amendment. Although the temperance crusade, which was widely promoted, had succeeded in bringing about this enactment, millions of Americans were willing to consume liquor, so overall it turned out to be a significant failure and lead to the rise of organized crime.
How the hours of service regulations for truck drivers’ ever became a safety ordinance is a question that has troubled many in the industry. The rules came into being in the 1930s as a combination of labor and economic control intended to bring some stability to the nascent trucking industry and to protect workers from overly demanding employers. There were few rules to speak of at the time, and little was understood scientifically about fatigue, sleep, driver performance, or crash causation.
There were very few if any changes to the hours of service regulations over the years. The earliest regulations allowed drivers’ to work 12 hours within 15 hours while requiring nine hours of rest and three hours of breaks within a 24-hour day. That rule also established a weekly maximum of 60 hours on-duty over seven consecutive days. Some of the changes were going from the 12-hour driving time to ten hour driving time, then eleven hours and the eight-hour sleeper break to ten hours.
The Ingenuity of the American Worker
Although the government did find ways to collect taxes over the years, the Boston Tea Party was successful for some time, at least the people made their point. Soon after the hours of service regulations went into effect drivers’ were finding ways to get around the rules and just as the government tried to prevent us all from drinking, it all has turned into a colossal failure. The point here is the American people are going to find ways to skirt regulations and rules, especially if it hampers them from making money.
The government mandated the Electronic Logging Devices as a way to keep drivers’ from falsifying the paper logs, which as everyone knows was very easy to do. Much of this was brought on by the insurance companies and several organizations promoting trucking safety when many of them knew very little about the industry. One thing it did show is how the hours of service regulations are out-dated and not workable in the real world.
So what is created is the FMCSA giving exemptions to some carriers, drivers’ and companies trying to find ways to skirt the DOT, and the DOT inspectors do not know which way to turn. Because of all the confusion, they don’t realize who is in violation or some cases what the rules are for a particular carrier. What it comes down to is once again our government, instead of correcting a problem has created more dilemmas.
Why Not Run Legal
I can hear the uproar now! When I ask, why truckers cannot run legally? I fully understand all the reasons. The number one reason is driver pay. Truck drivers’ are paid by the mile, for the most part, and yet they are governed by regulations that limit hours. If we are going to have rules, why not have rules that restrict miles and not hours, or start paying by the hour? How many types of trucking are there in the U.S. and how can one set of rules dictate what all trucking companies should do?
Every driver out there is now jumping up and down saying “Why should I run legal when everyone else is violating the rules one way or the other”? There has been more talk of a driver strike lately. We all know that has not worked in the past and it is doubtful it will work again. Not all drivers’ go on strike. Those that are with good companies and earning a lot of money do not strike, and this leaves the ones that cannot afford it on strike. If everyone kept working and did not violate the rules at all, at least everyone would have some income.
Companies cannot fire a person for legally operating their trucks, and if all drivers’ were working by the law, these companies could not dismiss all their drivers.’ I know this may seem unrealistic, but how real is a driver walkout?
In my recent unscientific survey, fifty percent of the drivers’ I talked to stated it is possible to falsify the ELDs; my question is, “Why not just run legally”? Most are saying why I should run legal and lose my job? Or, how do I know the others are running legal? For starters, if everyone is legal, these companies cannot fire all their drivers’. How do you know the other drivers’ are legal? You will hear about it from the shippers, receivers, and other drivers’; if you run out of hours an hour from the receiver and have to park for ten hours, they are going to complain to anyone that will listen. My guess it a lot of freight will not get picked up or delivered on time.
And yes you will lose some money at the start, but after a while, the company will realize the pay needs to increase. It is going to grow anyway because there are not enough drivers’ now and is not some pay better than no pay? That is if all the drivers’ were to get together and strike? I thought about this a lot when I was driving, and I believe it would wake up the government, the shippers, and receivers about the problems associated with the hours of service regulations. All this would put the driver back in charge when it comes to delivering freight and maybe, just maybe, we could get some meaningful rules and regulations that would be more livable, at least from a drivers’ standpoint.
There can be no question that the current hours of service regulations do not work. I have said this before, and everybody is different; no two drivers’ are the same. No two trucking companies are the same! I think everyone that has been in the industry for some time knows about all the different types of trucking we have in our nation.
Any time a government tries to impose one set of rules on a diverse population such as ours, it has never worked. Our founding fathers created a government by the people for the people, and that is what the government and businesses need to keep in mind when they talk about productive and satisfied employees. Give the state what it wants, run legal for a month and see how long it takes for them to realize how out-of-date and unworkable their regulation are!
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