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FROM THE HILL


more and more states who are writing up kind of ridiculous, in our opinion, violations,” she said. “For example, we had a driver cited for not having sufficient windshield wiper fluid. And as a carrier, then you have to go in and challenge that data to get it cleaned off your record because all of those carry a point value.” Stockert guessed that the additional


enforcement is the result of the more comprehensive requirements of CSA 2010 and because of the need for states to generate more revenues. Hemming agreed that the need to fill government coffers is playing a part in the tougher enforcement arena. “The word out there right now is that they’re not letting anybody go without finding something, whether it’s you forgot to sign your name on your logbook, or you forgot to check your blinker light, so to speak. So they’re definitely out in full force,” Hemming said. Even if the long arm of the law


doesn’t reach out and tap more drivers on the shoulder, for some drivers, the perception that it will is enough. According to Stockert, some see the new regulatory environment as an attack on themselves and their industry. She said her husband, a


driver, listens to a satellite radio show that predicted law enforcement officials will be searching through drivers’ refrigerators. Truck stop shop talk is contributing to the widespread notion that drivers are being targeted by a presidential administration that prefers other means of freight transport And it’s all made worse by the fact that the industry can’t yet provide drivers with good information about exactly how their records will be affected. “It’s almost created an atmosphere of animosity between the drivers and the inspectors, and I don’t believe that that was their intention at all,” Stockert said. Could this atmosphere lead some


drivers to leave what can already be a difficult, lonely profession? “I think it will lead some,” she said. “There’s still quite a few of the independent, kind of old school drivers who … just need to get the freight there, just need to get the job done, who are seeing this as just one more form of Big Brother getting in your way, I guess. And it’s our job as an industry to get the good information to the drivers and educate them on what some of the actual intent is.” Hemming said that, as a heavy equipment hauler with experienced


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drivers who are mostly older than 50, her company has much smaller turnover than most carriers, and while her drivers are less inclined to pay attention to rumors, they do see the new regulatory environment, including requirements such as electronic onboard recorders, as big government at its worst. “It is almost like Uncle Sam’s going to step into your truck and tell you how to drive it, too. So it’s more of an ominous feeling,” she said. For a profession comprised of people


who work alone and who like to be trusted to do their jobs, that’s not a good feeling, Hemming said. “Truckers are truly a breed of their


own,” she said. “They are very independent personalities that are truly out there to do a good job and provide the backbone of this country delivering all the goods, so when they get inundated with two or three more government rules that pertain to them, and yet the car driver can bring a 53-foot motor home down the road and doesn’t have to sleep at all … They feel it’s just the government trying to control them and feel extremely underappreciated, unfortunately.”


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ROADWISE | JUNE 2010 | www.mttrucking.org


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