Wayne Weisser is a long haul trucker based out of Las Vegas. He travels all over the US, and blogs about his life on the road, in the truck stop and elsewhere over at Adventures in Trucking. For anyone who wants to learn about trucker’s issues today from expensive gas to deer on the highway…read Wayne. We are glad he will post here from time to time.
By Wayne Weisser, real trucker guy
In response to a question on my last post – Truck driving is very hard on your back. Mainly from the long periods of sitting and lack of exercise according to my chiropractor. If you help load/unload your trailer it’s a lot of lifting. Back problems are probably the biggest problem in the industry.
Recruiters telling people they are going to make a lot of money is a big problem in the industry. From schools that charge thousands of dollars for a three week course to teach you to pass the test. Then your the company’s training problem.
Most large companies will put you with an experienced driver (some companies only require 6 months experience to train other drivers) for about 4 weeks or so, then you’re on your own, sink or swim. Most companies don’t care because schools are “graduating” new drivers as fast as others quit.
The problem with all of that is that drivers (company or owners) only get paid if the truck is moving. If the company doesn’t have a trip for you, you don’t make money. And it’s really no skin off their back because if they’re not running, they’re not using fuel and a lot of companies don’t pay a driver to sit and wait. If they wreck they blame everything on the driver and move on, leaving most drivers with legal fees and jobless. One serious property damage or any kind of injury, your career is pretty much over.
But it makes them look good when a customer calls up and they need a truck and the trucking company can say, “We’ll have one there today.”
Trucking needs a strong economy to survive. If the economy stalls or drops, the dollar falls and oil prices go up, trucking is one of the industries that takes it the hardest. Now with the housing market in the dumps, construction has fallen, so new construction supplies and materials aren’t needed to be trucked and people moving don’t require moving trucks, new furniture or appliances. Trucking is the worse I’ve seen in my ten years and these schools are still taking people’s money for CDLs.
Freight rates are still the same as last year when fuel prices for diesel are up over 50% from last year. Truck repo’s have skyrocketed for the last two years. Trucking companies are failing faster than ever and yet recruiters and schools are still pumping out new CDL holders faster than ever. One of the many problems is that it’s just not unemployed American workers that are retraining for trucking as a new career, companies have been recruiting drivers from overseas and sat in front of Congress screaming they need the H2B visas to import new drivers to keep America moving because of the rumored “driver shortage” that companies not only started but have perpetuated for their own best interests.
A few years ago you had to be a complete moron NOT to make money in trucking. Now, you’ve got to be smarter than the next guy just to survive.