Sunday, March 04, 2007

The ATA is "thinking" again

Heavy Duty Trucking: Truckers Face Hot Issues In '07
On another safety matter, Dave Osiecki, an ATA [American Trucking Association] vice president, said the association is drafting a new policy on entry-level driver training in anticipation of an FMCSA rule on that subject this year. ATA intends to develop a core training curriculum, he said.
The driver turnover problem is a constant challenge for ATA, and part of the answer may come from immigration reform.
"Unfortunately, last year's immigration bill was not one of the more shining moments of the 109th Congress," Lynch said. That bill mandated erection of a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, but did not address other concerns such as a guest worker program or changing the permitting quotas.

Perhaps if driver pay was not below 1980 levels and conditions were improved there would not be a "shortage" of drivers. It's amazing how folks on the bottom are told all the time that supply and demand is the rule and we better deal with it, but when it doesn't work for the megacorporations they want to change the rule.

I wonder too how well these new immigrants will fare on the road. Once they move here they are operating in the same cost environment native born workers are. Try living on what you can get at truck stops and you'll be broke and in poor health. The trick used to be running a 12v cooler and refilling at a Wal-Mart every week or so, but the "no truck parking" signs are steadily going up at stores around the country. Plus I know I usually was "lending" my employer $50+ a week for tolls and scales when I was running Over the Road. Then there are the conditions: weeks away from home sleeping in a metal box, constant exposure to carcinogens, noise, and vibration, going places you would never go otherwise (You haven't lived till you've drug a 53' box into Queens), irregular hours, little sleep, etc.

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