A lot of interesting developments going on in the trucking world lately so it’s time for another Trucking News Roundup. Here are the top stories of the week:
- Carriers Starting to Recruit and Train More Inexperienced Drivers. Good thing or Bad Thing?
- Short Haul Drivers Get Long End of Stick for a Change
- Bribing FMCSA Doesn’t Pay
- ATA Gets Fired Up About Report of Drug Use in Trucking
Carriers Starting to Recruit and Train More Inexperienced Drivers. Good thing or Bad Thing?
More and more carriers facing driver shortages are turning to drivers with little or no experience, some straight out of driving school. This is nothing new in the industry except for the sheer number of companies now doing it out of necessity. A recent survey by the ATA found that 78% of large truckload carriers reported they are recruiting inexperienced drivers compared to the industry average of just 26%.
Larger companies have some advantages in absorbing the students in their fleet but it’s still not easy, even for old pros like Werner Enterprises that have been doing it for over 25 years. The real challenge seems to be preparing the new recruits for the drastic change in lifestyle, culture and the complexities of the business apart from just staying safe on the road and delivering on time. According to the survey respondents, the first 90 days of employment are crucial to help the new recruit adjust to life on the road. Most of the new driver turnover happens during this period so carriers really need to protect their investment in that driver during that time frame.
Even experienced drivers need help adjusting to a new company such as procedures, culture, and routines that they may not be used to (or like). Tactics like sign on bonuses helps ease some of that frustration as well as provide them with some cash to help cover costs during the extended transition time before their first paycheck.
Short Haul Drivers Get Long End of Stick for a Change
The FMCSA officially put in place the exemption to the 30-minute break rule for short-haul drivers. The break previously applied to all drivers and was mandatory during the first 8 hours of a shift, but the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC agreed with the American Trucking Association’s argument that the FMCSA didn’t adequately explain why the rule should apply to short-haulers.
All of the other hours-of-service rules in the legal challenge made by the ATA, including the 34-hour restart once per 168 hours and requiring that the restart include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods, were upheld in their ruling. A CDL-A short-haul driver is a driver who operates within a 100 air mile radius of their normal work reporting location.
Bribing FMCSA Doesn’t Pay
A trucking company owner in Massachusetts will plead guilty to criminal charges after attempting to bribe a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration investigator last May. Irfan Dushku, the 43-year-old owner of Korca Enterprises, Inc., gave an FMCSA safety investigator $1,000 to avoid a negative safety review. As part of his plea agreement, Dushku will receive 12 months of probation, with the first 6 months in home confinement, and 24 months of supervised release.
ATA Gets Fired Up About Report of Drug Use in Trucking
The ATA got all fired up in response to a research report that found 20% of truck drivers reported using drugs and alcohol. Like a lot of research, the methods they used to collect the data had some flaws in it, such as using what the drivers say rather than actual testing done by the DOT. The FMCSA disputes this finding, saying the testing they have done show positive rates for random drug and alcohol tests at about 1%. With such a big gap between the two statistics, maybe the truth is somewhere in between.