If his sister died, or he's getting paid peanuts, he still has to drive respectfully and safely to avoid causing any OTHER people on the road to die.
Also, I don't think the financial information is correct. I've spoken with truckers in the past and many are making around $40k per year (hearsay), which isn't that shabby for the lifestyle.
Lastly, welcome to life. Guess what. Work is hard, people are mean, and most jobs become frustrating if you are in them long enough, and everyone has personal problems.
I'm not saying that it's OK to flip someone off, but I understand the helplessness of being in your vehicle with your family and almost getting run off the road by some trucker who seems to be "numb" to the fact that they are driving an enormous and deadly machine 70mph down the highway.
EDIT: Not sure why I'm getting down-voted, perhaps a few rebuttals in the comments??
I've known a number of truck drivers and I've seen even more than that. Generally speaking, as a group, they are better drivers and more aware of the road than the average driver on the road. Not all of them are, and some of them do make stupid mistakes or drive dangerously. Sadly, from what I've seen, even the safest ones get flipped off and honked at just because the car driving too closely behind them apparently thinks the truck should be driving faster.
The financial information is pretty spot-on. Some truck drivers are making $40K (or even more than that!). The shabbiness of this depends on where they're based, of course, but it can be pretty comfortable. Some drivers make significantly less than $40K. It's a function of mileage and experience, for the most part. I'd say $500/wk is probably lower than average, but it's certainly not unheard of. Especially right now (I hate the phrase "in the current economic climate", but it's kind of relevant right now) loads are getting harder and harder to come by and the further ones tend to be the first that go. The miles just aren't there and this can kill the driver's family's finances.
Really, when it comes down to it, if a driver runs you off the road, call the number on the back of the truck (please, have a passenger do it if there's one in the car). But if a truck is just slowing you down a little bit, I know you in particular may know that there's no cause to flip anyone off, but this knowledge seems to be lacking in some people on the road.
In my experience truck drivers are generally better drivers than the average non truck driver, but they certainly aren't perfect as a group.
It is not to go slow in. It is to go fast.
And really flipping people of is the least you can do.
And just as an FYI: doing nothing is the least you can do. Flipping someone off is nearly the most you can do if you stay in your car & don't endanger the lives of those involved.
yes, you made it obvious without need to state it explicitly.
Driving a fast, maneuverable and small, compare to a truck, car, i have no problem to accommodate for their much slow and less maneuverable dynamic, just pay attention to what they are doing or intend to do - they are pretty good and accurate drivers and signal their maneuvers in advance.
It isn't trucks who are menace on the road, it is flipping off jerks in cars.
The article states:
- The driver may be "numb".
- He is in emotional distress.
- He has skipped meals
- He has been driving the better half of 14 hours.
THIS is my beef.
There is NO EXCUSE for putting others in danger on the road, and instead of flipping him off, the state police should have been notified maybe, but to say we should just relax is out of line.
I'd argue that NOBODY should be driving under these conditions, let alone a truck driver.
Recently watched a BBC documentary on truck drivers in USA. Apparently majority of truck drivers are constipated. They prefer to eat stuff they can hold in one hand while driving with the other - like beef jerky, cheese sticks, instead of salads. The docu said the average US truck driver visits the restroom only once in 3-4 days. To prove this assertion, they had a group of East-West truck drivers swallow a tiny camera that transmitted pictures of their colon until it was ejected. It was quite gross, vivid and very conclusive evidence. They then had half the group switch to a diet of canned veggies - peas-in-a-can, carrots-in-a-can etc. The truck drivers ended up visiting the restroom 2-3 times per day, were much lighter physically, and a lot more relaxed, chatty and fun.
It was on Discovery I think...if you have a link pls post.
Too many trucks and fatigued drivers is a symptom of the greater problem, which is inadequate rail infrastructure.
The Economist claims that the US has the best freight rail infrastructure in the world:
The "fundamental problem" is probably that America is a really big country, and there are lots of livable places in the US that are far from other population centers.
Truck and cars do pay taxes but they don't pay sufficient taxes to pay the entire cost of roads (http://moderntransit.org/letters/budget.html).
Railroads make plenty of money on owning the tracks otherwise I doubt they would still be doing it.
We're talking about the greatest country on Earth. Even with the best freight rail infrastructure in the world, it may still not be up to American standards.
Not sure if this is just a troll actually. If so, good job I guess.
For example, I'm in Japan right now, and I miss the central air conditioning (here they have boxed air conditioners in select rooms instead). I miss the ridiculously cheap prices for just about anything I might want to buy. But most of all, while there are certainly advantages to having a convenient public transit system, I have to say that I miss having the wide open road before me and the sweet feeling of metal roaring to go beneath my feet.
Of course, things may be different for the poor, since they certainly have it pretty bad in America, but I am fortunate enough to have never known poverty.
It might have improved in the last 10 years though :)
Railroads essentially operate monopolies on transport within a given region, and we're against regulation these days. Plus, those pesky workers know that, so they do inconvenient things like form unions and demand concessions.
So instead, we build a giant taxpayer-funded road system, which in turn results in sprawl, which requires yet more road systems.
Assuming comparable existing infrastructure, trains might be more efficient, but isn't it much more efficient to use the existing infrastructure, to the point that it mitigates the efficiency of a train?
According to that 2008 source (which appears to be pro-railroad) freight rail is up to four times more fuel-efficient per ton of freight delivered than freight trucking.
There is a reason we are still using trucks...good luck without them.
I think you really underestimate how big this country is and how small a 50-mile radius is. That kind of coverage would be absolutely impossible to do.
Look at a map of Pennsylvania, one of the larger and more sparse eastern states. 50 miles from any point will get you to Erie, Pittsburg, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, Scranton, etc. All of which you can ship and receive freight by train from.
And that is a bad example of a state where it could work. Try looking at Jersey instead!
The sky is not falling, it is not as bad as you think.
If there is no excuse to put others in any danger on the road, you should never, ever, take your own car on the road. Every time anyone drives, there is risk involved.
You're over reacting, chill out. You're not weighing risk rationally. A 12hr strait shot is by no means fun but its not something thats going to significantly deteriorate a driver's ability to the level your post would warrant. An experienced trucker is probably a better driver better than you in his sleep.
e: http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/dmanual/chapter08-manual.htm#dr..., is it that hard to believe that people make mistakes when they're tired?
You can always, always be more safe at driving. Up to and including the point of advocating for the end of motor vehicle use altogether. Everything about driving is dangerous, my point is was just that the situation described wasn't as brick-shittingly more risky as the GP's tone seemed to imply.
It's as dangerous as it sounds, if it was me who didn't get a whole night's sleep, had to drive a long distance on a deadline (no time for breaks), was sedentary, and had to drive through long and boring rural roads, you'd tell me to get the hell off the road before I kill someone.
I understand someone has to drive trucks to get my food to the supermarket, but that doesn't mean we should ignore the obvious risks, and reasons why the current system is a bad idea. I think driverless trucks would be the best solution.
The point is that the truck driver isn't doing anything wrong. He's just trying to get his job done.
Where in the article does it say he put anyone in danger or imply that he was doing anything that might warrant the police being notified?
I wish it could be that way, but things look a lot different when you're the driver and missing the load means your family's going to have a hard time eating.
If you're going to be complaining, the drivers aren't the people to complain about.
Instead, the law says they can drive 14 hours. They are paid peanuts and have to pay for their own gas and repairs. And, as the article explained, if he was late -- due to the fault of his CUSTOMER -- then he'd lose an entire day waiting around. Which he can't afford, because he's paid peanuts, and there's no safety net.
The system is set up to create this exact situation, and if you don't like it, don't blame the individual, blame the system. Blaming the individual gives you that flair of righteous feeling in your chest but it doesn't change a damn thing. If this man decided to drive only 8 hours a day, he'd be out of a job and somebody else would simply take his place and do the 14-hour runs yet again.
1) I think the way you process driving situations that annoy you is probably to imagine the other driver has ill intentions and to get pissed off, and as a biker in a city I'm tired of dealing with that kind of person
2) your implication that a truck driver making 40k is more than enough "for the lifestyle" isn't your judgement to make. as a person who has heard that line from employers who don't want to pay me fairly, that pisses me off
3) "Lastly, welcome to life". Fuck everything about that.
You're right, work is hard, and perhaps truck drivers don't deserve our sympathy. But, I do think that we owe them common courtesy and respect as they conduct their business on our highways.
The more common case is a driver being angered by the slight inconvenience of slowing down. Which usually is because they are in fact the one driving over the speed limit and therefore driving dangerously according the law.
This was my point.
This article was written by a fleet manager protecting the reputation of his drivers, but I am trying to say that there must be more to the story and usually people get the bird because they have done something dangerous.
Uh... I can't tell if this is a serious question. Do you drive much? I see it happen all the time, and I live in Canada!
In the summer of 1992 I encountered an amusing statistic. Insurance rates doubled in one year in BC almost entirely because of one kind of accident. Two cars are side by side, with the one on the left driven by a Canadian. A Chinese immigrant from Hong Kong is behind the two. The immigrant sees the opportunity, cuts over, and zooms past leaving the Canadian less than 6 inches of room. The Canadian freaks out, turns the wheel right to avoid what feels like a certain collision, and hits the car next to him.
All drivers in question drove in complete accord with the rules of the road and common driving practices where they grew up. It was all just a (very expensive) cultural misunderstanding.
Anyways Vancouver with something like a million people absorbed something like 80,000 immigrants from Hong Kong in the 1990s who didn't want to be there for the Chinese handover, and they brought a very aggressive driving style with them. Go to places that were less affected by that wave of immigration, and you should still see something more like the relaxed driving style that was present when I was growing up.
The Canadian driver freaked, veered right to get away from the crash, and hit the car beside him.
It was driver who out of the blue realized that there was a car less than 6 inches away, going at least 20 mph faster, who needs to be where they are now or else they'll be in a headfirst collision. That driver's attention is focused on escaping from that threat, leading to a panicked swerve into the next car over.
Yup. That's the scenario exactly. And yes, braking hard is a better reaction. It makes life easier for the passer. The passing car probably came from behind you, and so there is likely a space. If there isn't, the car behind can see the whole scenario unfolding and has the opportunity to react. So all over it is much safer than swerving.
The only case it won't help is if the passing car is swerving, gets hit, and spins out. But in that case there is probably nothing you could do to avoid an accident.
Granted, I'm from Jersey originally, and I pride myself on the fact that by comparison, even Quebec drivers are safe. =)
Anyways, my point was, Canadians are generally seen as more mellow, and I still see them getting angry on the road.
Granted, this is all just from my experience.
Everyone but you.
I've eased up on screaming and cursing though, usually have one or both of my kids in the car.
Very much this. A few weeks back I had to deal with a truck carrying a portion of a pre-built house, driving 75mph+ with traffic, switching lanes occasionally without using a blinker but mainly staying in the left lane of a two-lane highway. The paved service was minimal on both edges of the highway and there were times when the left tires of the trailer were nearly leaving the paved surface.
Even if he had a shitty week, that doesn't make him immune to criticism.
Really? How do you know? Have you done a study?
I'm just one data point, but I've driven the I-5 in California between the bay area and southern CA a lot (about 180,000 miles on my 2005 Tacoma truck) as well as Hwy. 99 in the same vicinity.
I'd say that I've become apathetic towards truck drivers in general. I've been nearly run off the road twice (once where I was sure I was going to wreck real bad - got lucky), been cutoff, etc. by truckers more times than I can remember. Most truckers are safe, but the ones that are not can really skew your perception. Considering, in most cases, when a 18-wheeler causes an accident (I've witnessed a few), there is little damage to their truck or to themselves...the 'regular' car on the other hand is usually destroyed with devastating injury to the occupants.
This story made me feel like a jerk for moment (I've flipped off truckers before) - but the emotional aspects of the story can be applied to everyone else on the road too. Truckers are not the only ones that have to drive for their livelihood or have personal issues to deal with.
When I'm out on the highway in a car and I see a truck ahead of me trying to get over into my lane, I'll most likely slow down to hold up the lane behind me and give them a quick headlights flash to they can get over. I'm sure the other cars hate me for it, but who cares.
My father was a long haul truck driver (lower 48 states) for 35 years. 9mos/year on the road, moving furniture, loading his own truck as an owner operator...he was one of the good truckers with over 1 million safe driving miles...I cannot say they are all good drivers but a lot of them are. If they are an owner/operator all expenses are paid out of pocket (fuel, repairs, tires, food, taxes, etc.) so typically an owner operator is going to be more cautious than a driver who doesn't have to pay for damage.
On a side note there are certain trucking companies which hire mostly new drivers (Swift is an example) I typically watch out for those trucks.
You are so right about the headlight flash, help the truck driver quite a bit.
It seems like most of the folks who've commented with such authority ("there is no reason", indeed!) aren't really familiar with why the rules are as they are.
*Edit: The article and comments also relate to the fundamental attribution error, where we often think someone is a "jerk" if they are speeding for example, but we often fail to take into account their perspective and situation.
But while that happens all the time in Northern California, I've never had it happen elsewhere. I drive down I-5 through the Central Valley all the time, and the truck drivers there are wonderful. I'll happily brake for them; it's the SUV drivers who cause the problems around there (and who are probably the ones flipping off the truck drivers).
I didn't flip the bird, but I would have if they'd be able to see me. I wonder why more states don't have similar regulation?
EDIT: Not saying you were necessarily in one, but most times I've seen cars "being run off the road" or "nearly getting hit" they've been in the wrong place so I've taken to asking.
Perhaps I was on the wrong side of the road, but I don't know, that sounds terrible.
I remember it took a second or two for me to figure out what was going on, while my mom was telling me to hit the brakes slowly and start leaning to the far-right of the road (where you stop if there is an emergency).
Er, no, the blind spot is the responsibility of the one whose vehicle has a blind spot.
Yes, it's useful for you to be aware of their blind spot, and try to stay out of it, but at no point does that give the driver with a blind spot the right to blindly invade your completely legal road space.
If trucks had no right to "invade" blind spot they literally couldn't move forward because a car can easily hide in the front blind spot.
To flip your example, if they did have the right, they could "literally" rear end cars legally. Which they can't, so you're wrong.
Blind spot collisions tend to be found to have multiple causation with both drivers at fault. Yes, the truck driver shares some responsibility, but so does the idiot hanging out in the blind spot, and that's how they tend to be ruled.
More to the point, however, if you want to hang out in the truck's blind spots, I'm really not going to shed a tear for you if your car gets crushed.
Most, if not all, US states, at least, have a pretty prominent section in their drivers' manuals regarding proper driving around tractor-trailers and dealing with their blind spots. In theory, you have to know the information contained within this section to be allowed to legally drive. You are expected to adhere to it when driving around trucks and you will share fault in most blind-spot related collisions that occur with tractor-trailers.
And, yes, this does mean that it is possible (albeit unlikely) for a tractor-trailer to be totally not at fault in a rear-end on the basis of blind spots.
At any rate, the truck driver is charged with certain safety precautions when he does so but he is absolutely required to enter his blind spots just to drive the truck.
More importantly, though, the fact the truck driver requires certain safety precautions does not absolve you from having to be safe on the road.
You can continue to say a driver following safety suggestions to avoid getting killed by incompetent other drivers ought not be hanging out in a blind spot. Well, sure.
It's a good idea to not taunt the robber with the gun. At no point, however, does taunting the robber give him the right to shoot you.
Since you asked, here are some laws from California.
If a truck rear-ends a car, this law is applied against the truck:
21703. The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the roadway.
If a car is passing a truck (through its blind spot), these laws apply to whether the car is at fault:
21750. The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle or a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle, subject to the limitations and exceptions hereinafter stated.
The passing car maintaining its lane does not interfere with the truck's safe operation. If the truck subsequently decides to change lanes, it now becomes the truck's responsibility to do so safely. That does not create a sudden burden on the passing passenger car to accomodate the truck.
21752. No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the roadway under the following conditions:
(a) When approaching or upon the crest of a grade or a curve in the highway where the driver's view is obstructed within such distance as to create a hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction.
(b) When the view is obstructed upon approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel.
(c) When approaching within 100 feet of or when traversing any railroad grade crossing.
(d)When approaching within 100 feet of or when traversing any intersection.
This section shall not apply upon a one-way roadway.
Thanks to the last sentence, the passenger car is never forbidden from being in the lane to the left of the truck. Again, if the truck decides to change the traffic pattern status by changing lanes, it is the truck's responsibility to be sure its lane change is safe.
21753. Except when passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall safely move to the right-hand side of the highway in favor of the overtaking vehicle after an audible signal or a momentary flash of headlights by the overtaking vehicle, and shall not increase the speed of his or her vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle. This section does not require the driver of an overtaken vehicle to drive on the shoulder of the highway in order to allow the overtaking vehicle to pass.
The truck is required to give way and make it easy to pass. This law must elude many CA truck drivers who seem to get a kick out of deliberately drifting toward a passing vehicle, crowding anyone daring to pass.
When coming up on a truck I flick my lights at them while I can see their mirrors. Doesn't matter if they're traveling faster than a truck ahead of them, they are not allowed to speed up and move into my lane once I'm beside them until I'm done passing them. Doesn't stop many from acting like they're alone on the road, but it's specifically forbidden.
Passing on the Right
21754. The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass to the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:
(a) When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn.
(b) Upon a highway within a business or residence district with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles in the direction of travel.
(c) Upon any highway outside of a business or residence district with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width and clearly marked for two or more lines of moving traffic in the direction of travel.
(d) Upon a one-way street.
(e) Upon a highway divided into two roadways where traffic is restricted to one direction upon each of such roadways.
The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a slow moving vehicle from the duty to drive as closely as practicable to the right hand edge of the roadway.
If a truck isn't keeping to the right as is their "duty", a passenger car is allowed to pass them on the right. And it's the truck driver's legal responsibility to be able to see that they are there:
26709. (a) Every motor vehicle registered in a foreign jurisdiction and every motorcycle subject to registration in this state shall be equipped with a mirror so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of such vehicle.
Every motor vehicle subject to registration in this state, except a motorcycle, shall be equipped with not less than two such mirrors, including one affixed to the left-hand side.
(b) The following described types of motor vehicles, of a type subject to registration, shall be equipped with mirrors on both the left-and right-hand sides of the vehicle so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway through each mirror for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of such vehicle:
(1) A motor vehicle so constructed or loaded as to obstruct the driver's view to the rear.
(2) A motor vehicle towing a vehicle and the towed vehicle or load thereon obstructs the driver's view to the rear.
(3) A bus or trolley coach.
(c) The provisions of subdivision (b) shall not apply to a passenger vehicle when the load obstructing the driver's view consists of passengers.
This rule applies to commercial trucks. Technically, this rule forbids "blind spots". The mirrors are required to show a continuous view of the highway from the mirror extending to 200 feet behind the vehicle. My truck (equipped with a tow haul package) has special split towing mirrors to comply with this rule, with the top half of the mirrors normal, and the bottom half "wide angle" to ensure a continuous view from parallel with the front seat through the rear of the vehicle, eliminating any blind spots.
Finally, since you're talking about driver's manuals, for the California passenger car driver's handbook, the guidelines are: don't cut off or tailgate (these are illegal anyway, regardless of truck vs car), and don't "linger" when passing. The language in this last is telling: ... after you pass the truck, move ahead of it. Do not linger, otherwise you make it very difficult, if not impossible, for the trucker to take evasive action if an obstacle appears in the road ahead. Your being there makes it "impossible" for the truck to take evasive action. Your being there does not give the truck the right to take evasive action into your lane, it makes it "impossible" for him, as he is not allowed to enter your lane.
While the driver's manual suggestions you keep citing doesn't have the force of law, here is the procedure in CA commercial driver's license (CDL) manual for what a truck driver should do before changing lanes:
Lane changes. Check your mirror to make sure no vehicle is alongside you or about to pass you. Check your mirrors:
- Before you change lanes to make sure there is enough room and signal at least 100 feet before turning. On the freeway, it is best to signal at least five seconds before changing lanes.
- After you have signaled, check to see that the lane is clear and no one has moved into your blind spot.
- Right after you start the lane change to double check that your path is clear.
- After you complete the lane change to be sure you turned off your signal lights.
If the driver's mirror has blind spots, the driver is told to be aware of vehicles moving into those blind spots, and maintain that awareness in advance of any lane changes.
Regular Checks. You need to make regular checks of your mirrors to be aware of traffic and to check your vehicle.
Traffic. Check the mirrors for vehicles on either side and in back of you. In an emergency, you will need to know whether you can make a quick lane change or stop. Use your mirrors to spot overtaking vehicles. Remember, there are blind spots that your mirrors cannot show you. Check your mirrors regularly to know where other vehicles are around you and to see if they move into your blind spots.
Again, the situational awareness is required of the truck driver before, and while, he initiates any traffic pattern changes.
- The truck driver does have a right to move into his blind spots if he has taken sufficient precautions to ensure that they are safe. This is completely different from "no right" to move into it.
- There is nothing absolving the car with which the truck collides of fault. [In actuality, blind spot collisions tend to be multiple causation with the car stupid enough to hang out in a blind spot sharing fault.]
- If you get hit by a truck and die, you're still dead regardless of who's at fault.
Which, incidentally, is exactly what I've been saying this entire time.
As for your hypothetical shooter, he may not have the right to shoot you, but nobody's going to be stupid enough to tell you that goading him into shooting you is not the wrong thing to do (which is about as far as that analogy is relevant).
> The truck driver does have a right to move into his blind spots if he has taken sufficient precautions to ensure that they are safe.
On the contrary, if someone is in his blind spot when he moves over, he has, by definition, failed to take "sufficient" precaution. The car not being legally responsible if the truck moves over into the area legally occupied by the car is what absolves it from fault. There's an entire industry of ambulance chasers profiting off the truck driver's absolute fault, and a phonebook size book of underhanded procedures the trucking companies try to use to duck that absolute fault.
Unless, of course, the driver crossed under his trailer from the other side, Fast and Furious style.
> If you get hit by a truck and die, you're still dead regardless of who's at fault.
Which, incidentally, is exactly what I've been saying this entire time.
That statement is correct on its face, and doesn't raise any argument at all.
But this is not the case. If the car is quickly moving through a blind spot as they should be and the truck hits them, that's one thing. If the car is hanging out in the blind spot longer than is necessary they are also usually found to be partially at fault. You are at least partially responsible for your own unsafe driving, even if it is technically legal.
There's an entire industry of ambulance chasers profiting off the truck driver's absolute fault, and a phonebook size book of underhanded procedures the trucking companies try to use to duck that absolute fault.
That industry profits off of absolute faults when people are safely regarding the blind spots and the trucks hit them anyway and off of the primary, although not absolute, fault of the truck when the car is not safely regarding the blind spots. It is unfortunately true that there are trucking companies using underhanded procedures and, although I have no clue how many that is, I also know it's not absolutely universal and that ambulance chasers aren't exactly innocent of underhanded procedures themselves.
That statement is correct on its face, and doesn't raise any argument at all.
Then in what way is hanging out in a truck's blind spot or blocking their trailer's swing out path (which, by the way, often is the fault of cars who move into said path after the truck has initiated its turn) not the wrong place to be, even if the car were 0% at fault?
How is that statement any different than "it only takes one moment where your entire family almost dies because of a woman driver to jade your opinion of all of them" or "because of a white driver" or "because of an old driver"?
Passenger vehicles are not on equal terms when traveling with trucks, safety wise. As someone who travels by auto often, I would definitely prefer to see fewer trucks crowding the roads.
Next time you're frustrated at a truck driver, just remember, he's bigger than you, and he knows it. Treat him that way and the you'll be fine. If you forget that, don't be surprised if you end up with a missing side mirror.
Beyond that, though, some people here are spending a whole lot more time blaming the drivers for the inevitable lapses in safety that occur when you're driving thousands of miles a week. Of course, it's definitely more comfortable to do that than consider the systemic reasons that happens, and your own role in it.
Goods have to be transported. The almighty market demands that. Which is to say, you demand it. So various companies have sprung up for centuries to transport those goods. These companies compete to lower costs as much as possible. If they don't, they're driven out of business, because stores know consumers prefer something to be a nickel cheaper even if it's bad for the environment, the truckers, and other nearby drivers. If a price is higher, companies choose to go with the trucking company that offers the cheaper price, because consumers like their nickel.
The way we've set up the system incorporates the public safety dangers into the price, via lawsuits etc., and the way we like it is to essentially demand that companies force drivers to drive the hell out of their trucks and their lives. We like our fucking nickels. At least more than any safety concerns.
Some here have said "well if the job is hard, then quit it!" Wow. Do you think people don't do this? Do you think that changes the market equilibrium at all? It doesn't. Whoever replaces him or her will drive under the same demands and incentives, and will on average respond the same way to those demands and incentives. No benefit.
I've seen also some victim blaming in saying "well if the job is hard, ask for a raise or get a union!" Interesting story there. Back in the mid-20th century, trucking was one of the most heavily unionized industries, via the IBT primarily. However, in the 80s and 90s, various Republican and Democratic administrations collaborated with trucking companies to make war on the unions. Originally truckers were employed directly by the companies, but eventually those companies realized they could react to unionization by outsourcing truckers, either into private shell companies that closed down as soon as unionization hit or by hiring truckers as contractors. Various NLRB boards aided and abetted this regulatory change.
The ruling elite (of which we are all part) largely cheered this on, because those greedy truckers are stupid and uneducated and don't deserve to make as much as us hardworking educated intelligent people, masters of the universe that we are.
So, we got our way! And our nickel. Drivers ended up atomized and could not collectively bargain against the buyers of their labor, decently-sized companies who had monopsony power in the trucker marketplace. So everyone ends up driven to the least common denominator.
If you want a better system, fight for it. Moreover, vote for it. Otherwise when some trucker nearly drives you off the road because they have to feed their family, you're just getting what you paid for.
You are ignoring the other half of the argument here. In Argentina, were I live, truckers are heavily unionised; this is true to the point were the leader of the union (Hugo Moyano) is probably one of the biggest driving forces of the policies in the country. See, since the railroad was torn to pieces by the liberal policies of the nineties, trucks are the only way to transport goods from most of the country. So the trucking union has the power to literally stop the economy if they so wish. This happens almost every year, and sometimes several times a year. It's impossible to legislate against the union (for example, in order to create more trains) without having an enourmous economic baclash.
Now, I understand that it sucks to be trucker without a union. But there is a huge economical cost involved in monopolizing the control of any form of transport and communication.
In my perfect world, power would be distributed diffusely, so that no person or institution would be able to effectively coerce another.
Unions are needed to a extent, In my country(India), I would say unions are the only savior people in those professions have. As, if they are wronged in some way traditional way of approaching the courts takes years to get justice.
But coming to the larger point, in societies throughout the world hard work isn't fashionable. The default assumption is that somehow only bright, smart and intelligent people have the monopoly to be rich. Dumb, hardworking rich people doesn't even go well below peoples throats. When you see some one poor, meticulously working hard building a career,growing rich by savings/investment over years and compare the same with some one who was originally rich and intelligent but has now lost significant fortune, career and other stuff because of the laxed attitude, over comfort and over spending(spend thrifts). Often the first guy (originally poor but now rich by hard work) is considered purely lucky or at most 'time is on his side' kind of arguments.
A rich cab driver or a truck driver isn't something that goes down well in many societies.
Truck drivers other manual labor workers do a lot of work, take bigger risks(in terms of all aspects). They have their own careers, retirement option et al to consider. Therefore I believe what your parent poster wrote is very correct.
It happens. The union has a very charismatic "one of us" leader, and when he says the trucks stop, the trucks stop. A few years back, they stopped bringing milk and meat for a month to protest a new tax. This in a country where it's normal to eat meat more than 4 times a week, and milk is considered to be a basic need.
I'm not against any hardworking person becoming rich. They certainly deserve to reap the benefits of their hard work. what I am against is for someone who was not elected democratically having the power to drive the direction of a countries growth.
A truckers union protest in the UK blocked the supply of petrol for a while.
The trucker's unions in the USA did - hence the aforementioned tearing apart of said unions by the companies and government.
That's a long time for the companies to react.
Don't need an actual strike for an event to count, just a viable threat thereof.
The much more relevant issue is people voting for systems that make the nickel the rule of the day. And in all fairness many of them are voting on other issues or are misled about the issues by the mainstream media. Or maybe families are just too busy and overworked and lack social support for childcare to have a chance to critically consider the system. In the end most people aren't bad, they're just people trying to survive as best they can. So perhaps the anger is misplaced.
But without anger you only have despair, and at least with anger you get heard.
Always be wary of such systems, for the devil is in the details. You may save a nickel, but in the process cost society as a whole $0.50.
It's hard to square this part of your post with this part:
...when some trucker nearly drives you off the road because they have to feed their family, you're just getting what you paid for.
According to you, we are paying a low price for goods to be safely transported. What's the problem?
Some here have said "well if the job is hard, then quit it!" Wow. Do you think people don't do this? Do you think that changes the market equilibrium at all? It doesn't.
If that were true, I'd have a very easy time hiring programmers and artists. Or are the laws of economics somehow different for truckers than for programmers?
The point is that we're willing to put truckers through harsher and tougher conditions in exchange for cheaper goods. The tradeoff is less safety. It'd be perfectly possible for a company to have truckers drive max 8 hours a day, with 2 hour stretches of driving separated by 15 minutes of rest time. This would be safer for the trucker and for other drivers, but a company that did this would simply be unprofitable unless other companies were, one way or another, mandated to do the same.
If that were true, I'd have a very easy time hiring programmers and artists. Or are the laws of economics somehow different for truckers than for programmers?
This is a slightly muddled understanding of economics. You're acting like the reason things suck now is that the labor market for trucker labor isn't in equilibrium. The issue is that it is, almost by definition. The reason truckers drive at a different level of safety now than in other possible realities is because that's how the market is. To change that you'd have to change the current regulatory regime.
Descriptively speaking, the structure of the labor market in trucking is different than that for programmers. Markets can empirically differ, you know. Engineers have specialized skills and multiple purchasers for their labor. Indeed, in lots of ways an engineer has some level of monopoly power over her employer, due to the non-fungibility of her labor and the search costs.
The same is not true for truckers. They don't have specialized skill sets, and their labor is demanded by only a few large firms at most. Search costs are almost nonexistent. This gives employers significant power over them in the labor market.
According to you, truckers are already safer than non-truckers. Isn't that safe enough?
If not, should we also raise safety levels for car drivers? If so, what is optimal level of safety when operating a motor vehicle?
You're acting like the reason things suck now is that the labor market for trucker labor isn't in equilibrium.
And if truckers begin to quit, the equilibrium will shift. Do you have any evidence that it will not?
The same is not true for truckers. They don't have specialized skill sets, and their labor is demanded by only a few large firms at most. Search costs are almost nonexistent. This gives employers significant power over them in the labor market.
According to a quick google search, there are about 500,000 trucking companies, 96% of which operate 28 or fewer trucks and 82% of which operate 6 or fewer trucks.
As you note, the search and switching costs are also lower, which makes the market for truckers closer to an ideal free market than the market for programmers. So why do you believe prices will not respond to a shift in the supply curve for truckers?
Depends on the marginal cost of saving a life by increasing safety standards. Typically if it's $5 to $10 million/life or less, I'm in favor of it, which is typical for policy decisions in the States.
I feel like we're talking past one another. Yes, drivers could quit en masse, which would change prices. But they don't, which is a revealed preference--they prefer driving unsafely and feeding their families to not driving and not feeding their families. The current equilibrium is the reality; what you're looking for is an exogenous shock, while a single person entering or leaving the market is endogenous.
From that same site: "It is an estimated over 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. Of that one in nine are independent, a majority of which are owner operators."
Just under 400,000 of those 500,000 companies are single truckers who are contractors.
Sheer number of companies isn't a good measure of competitiveness. You've got to look at the full set of and characteristics of employers in a given region. Check out, for instance, Boise, Idaho. http://www.quicktransportsolutions.com/carrier/idaho/boise.p...
It has many companies, but if you look at the distribution of number of trucks operated, there's a very long tail. The median number of trucks operated is 1, but you see a couple that are > 100. Just like you might have hundreds of OSes but an effective monopoly by Microsoft, you've got to look at the actual share of the marketplace.
As you note, the search and switching costs are also lower, which makes the market for truckers closer to an ideal free market than the market for programmers. So why do you believe prices will not respond to a shift in the supply curve for truckers?
It is closer to an efficient market than that for programmers, notwithstanding the caveats I mentioned above. So, yes, prices will respond in a shift in the supply curve for truckers. But you are under the impression that a single person entering or leaving the market shifts the supply curve. That choice is an endogenous in the model--people choose to join or leave the market based on the prevailing price--whereas a shift in the supply curve is exogenous (e.g. related to automation, increased education, mass slaughter of truckers, whatever).
> If that were true, I'd have a very easy time hiring programmers and artists. Or are the laws of economics somehow different for truckers than for programmers?
So you think it takes the same skill set to be a programmer as it does to be a trucker? Or that the training to be a programmer is equivalent to the training to become a trucker?
Not all job markets are equal. Artists are valued by the quality of their work almost completely. Truckers - as long as they meet minimum legal safety standards - are valued by the quantity of their work. Big difference.
No, I think the laws of supply and demand apply equally well to trucking and programming. If sufficiently many truckers quit supply will go down and price will go up.
Artists are valued by the quality of their work almost completely.
Not necessarily, once it meets minimum quality standards. Many artists merely create a large amount of fairly interchangeable art that agrees with a style guide.
If every programmer in the US quit, they wouldn't be replaced nearly as quickly.
For a truck driver how quality is measured might be totally different than how its measured for a programmer.
As for small loads, this is where combined shipping comes in handy. I believe many of the shipping companies like UPS and FedEx used to do a lot of ground shipping via rail for their 5-7 day deliveries. I don't know about this anymore.
To get from the rail station to Walmart... you must have trucks.
No way around it.
Trucking from the railhead is probably unavoidable, but the article talks about a 1000mi trip, whereas according to wikipedia at least, greatest distance across the 48 states is 2800mi. Surely the nearest freight depot should be less than 1/3 of the country away?
I don't know much about it, but the machinery at the port looks really impressive. It seems to lift cargo from the ships onto the trains.
When a policeman or firefighter dies, it's all over the news for days. The funeral is gigantic, with hundreds of peers drawn from all over the region. The mayor almost always attends.
When a trucker dies, he gets a regular funeral attended by his loved ones.
Their big funeral, with all of their peers? Is but an acknowledgement of that. No-one made them make that decision, but they did. Their peers come because they want to show support to the family and friends, knowing that if that worst should happen to them, they'd want their own family and friends to have that support.
"I will go onto that dangerous interstate if I know you need the [food / building supplies / fuel / etc] I'm hauling. I will risk life and limb to maintain the lifestyle you enjoy. And in the process, I acknowledge that there is a chance that -I- may not survive."
Both occupations put their lives on the line, every day, so that the rest of us can live safe and comfortable lives. But while one occupation commands great respect from the community (deservedly so), the other is mostly looked down upon (unfairly).
Driving on the "dangerous interstate" is something we all do, most of us every day. And it's not dangerous in the sense of running into a burning building or into the robbery-in-progress.
Doing things like that are heroic because they require you to overcome a very basic and very strong sense of self preservation at all costs.
Truckers do a valuable job, but so do we all: That's why we get paid. We're adding value. But they're not hero's in the sense you're suggesting.
Are they worthy of fireman-policeman levels of respect, or do you find them lacking as well?
This is the last round of your game here I'm going to play, but fine, here goes:
I didn't explicitely say in my previous example that there's people in that burning building or victims being robbed, but I thought it was implied.
We value human life, not buildings and stuff.
If firemen routinely died running into burning buildings to save the building they wouldn't be very impressive. You'd imagine they'd be doing it because somebody is paying them well and if that's the case, that's the risk they take.
Highrise construction workers are not up there risking their life in a way where, on a moments notice, almost as reflex, they thrust themselves into peril to save a life.
They're doing it because they want and love the thrill and because they're well paid.
Edit: to clarify even more, even the truck driver knows thst he's got a probability to die during his work, which seems to be higher than most other jobs. Most drivers know this.
People talk about soldiers bravely and selflessly putting themselves in danger to protect The American Way(tm). Truckers deserve that same respect.
The other part, about the possibility that he is going through a personal crisis, applies equally to all interactions with strangers everywhere, so it seemed a little out of place.
That said, I'm always saddened that folk don't consider such a possibility in interaction with strangers -- especially when it doesn't cost them anything. Assuming the worst of someone to protect yourself is one thing, but all too often I see such an assumption used as a reason to get angry at a stranger. Quite why people search for reasons to be angry I'm not sure, but it sadly seems to be a human trait. :(
That's actually the biggest problem I had with this article. It's making an appeal to our emotions by implicitly suggesting that all truck drivers, at all times, always have some emotionally-crippling tragedy occurring in their lives. Even presupposing that's true, it would suggest that everyone (not just truck drivers) are probably in the same boat, so truck drivers in this sense are no different from the rest of us.
But of course, everyone doesn't have a personal tragedy happen to them every week. The majority of the time, truck drivers have just as much (or as little) personal tragedy as the rest of us. Yes, it's unfortunate that the job also kinda sucks (sometimes? all the time?), but that's the case with many different kinds of jobs.
Yes, I agree with the generic sentiment that, in interactions with strangers, you should consider that you have no idea what's going on in their lives at that particular moment. But in this case I'm more interested in the facts that more likely than not affect all truck drivers: the mediocre pay, long hours behind the wheel, scheduling difficulties, pressure to meet deadlines that maybe aren't healthy or safe, etc.
The article says "out 10 days and back for a couple" but that vastly depends on what kind of trucking you do. My dad's current schedule, for example, has him out for 5 or 6 and in for 1 or 2 (in a good week; recently there's been a few where he's only been out for 3 or 4 days which is a huge strain on the finances), but in the past he's had some short haul routes where he was home every day just long enough to sleep and before that, when I was young, he did some long hauls where I sometimes didn't see him for a month or more.
For the long haulers, even if their sister didn't die, odds are something has happened that they haven't had a chance to deal with.
The real take away message from this, though, is just respect and not to get upset if a truck is slowing you down for a minute.
On more than one occasion I've seen truckers entirely block the merging lane, forcing folks behind them to merge cleanly. This gets everyone through the construction zone faster since you don't have a stream of last-minute merges jamming things up.
The ideal situation is if everyone merged at the end of the lane, and everyone in the other lane allowed people to merge.
What part of the construction sign are you adhering? Is there a construction sign that says "merge immediately"? No.
So your anger is based on what? The fact that you merge into a lane, and then the person behind you drives by you? Think about this logically:
If you merge in at point A, and a driver passes you to merge closer, are they an asshole? So now the merge point is now point A. Anyone merged after point A is an asshole. But you have just established a definitive, permanent merge point that a driver may not pass.
Is this effective? Is it effective to have a merge point, beyond which someone may not pass, or should they merge at some point before this? If the answer is "yes, it is effective to have a hard merge point" then why should that merge point be point A, and not the lane end? What is magical about point A? Should the drivers in the thru lane at point A automatically let you in? Why?
But if drivers behind you should also merge before point A (in the same way that you merged before the lane-end) then a new merge point A' is established (beyond which anyone is an asshole). So the "polite, non-asshole" endpoints A, A', A'' move further and further back down the freeway, leaving a huge area of the freeway unused and causing the traffic jam to extend as much as twice as far as it need be.
I struck up a conversation with a trucker at a rest stop. We chatted for a while and then I went to put my helmet on and take off. Before I did I asked him if he'd put the word out that I was on my way through and to have the other truckers keep an eye out for me. He agreed, so I got back out on the highway doing a modest 10 over.
The first semi I encountered flashed his trailer lights at me indicating all clear, at which point I dialed it up to 150mph and held it there for the better part of an hour and a half. I must have passed 20 trucks on this run and 7 out of 10 gave me the high sign on my way through.
Just outside Petersburg VA two of them where blocking both lanes, so I slowed way down just in time to zip past a state trooper at a stately 3mph over the speed limit.
There are countless studies demonstrating that this apparently widely held opinion is wrong. Here's one, discussing joint merge (i.e. merge at the end):
Overall, merging speeds were found to be relatively similar at volumes ranging from 600 to 1,200 vehicles per hour and did not affect the discharge rate at the merge outflow point. However, the experimental results did suggest that drivers were more cautious in their merging maneuvers. This was thought to be attributable to the joint merge, which produced a more evenly balanced lane volume at the transition zone entrance.
That is: drivers were more cautious (good), exit traffic flow was the same (contrary to your statement) and lane volume was balanced - i.e. the traffic jam extended less further down the freeway (very good).
Two major reasons for accidents during merges are
1) Anger at merge points based on perceived fairness
2) High speed traffic in the empty lane hitting vehicles
attempting to enter the free lane
I've put quite a bit of thought on it and my guess is that the truck driving workforce is going to evaporate almost overnight once self driving trucks are green-lighted. It's going to be hard for a human to compete unless he can drive 24x7, never get tired, have split-second reflexes, and works for 65 cents worth of electricity a day...
Don't be so sure. Just because some jobs are truly shitty doesn't mean people won't fight to the death to keep them. Just look at coal miners.
I like to think about this question a lot.
My mind keep going back to Rome's slave based economy. There were a lot of slaves doing all kinds work, and rich people, and politicians, and a whole lot of average people who got government bread and circuses.
And if you kind of squint and look the situation we have today, huge inequality, a disappearing middle class, and ever more people dependent on government... it kind of starts to look familiar.
So maybe our future is just more of that. A few very rich people, politicians, a lot of fully automated production in factories, farms, and even most of the service sector, and a lot of people permanently on government support.
I honestly can't quite tell if that's a utopian or dystopian world. If you think about it in terms of how America handles its poor people, it looks kind of grim. If you look at how the Scandinavian countries, along with Holland and Germany, and few others, deal with the same problem - its not so bad.
Either way, the coming decades will be interesting.
Driving (with irrational human actors) is non-deterministic.
I don't know about the rate of deployment, but Google is already lobbying Nevada to officially allow its driverless cars. They have successfully logged hundreds of thousands of miles on U.S. roadways with only one incident: one of the driverless cars was rear ended while waiting at a red light.
> Driving (with irrational human actors) is non-deterministic.
They don't have to "solve" driving. All they have to do is be less stupid than human drivers.
We haven't set the bar that high.
Even so, the Google project seems to be working fine so far, irrational human drivers notwithstanding.
And I bet Google's car is already better then most if not all human drivers can ever be.
The fact that the road is full of unpredictable humans does not mean that a computer can't be a better driver then another human. In fact, the more dangerous the road conditions, due to other bad drivers, or any other reason, the better it is to have a super-human computer do the driving.
If you've traveled by interstate lately, you may have noticed the number of trucks on the road has reached ridiculous, to the point where the interstates now mainly exist for use by trucking companies. Unfortunately, transportation by truck is one of the least efficient methods possible. Train and barge can transport tens,if not hundreds, of times the cargo for a given amount of fuel. 80% of the thick black pollution they spray out, all that diesel fuel - the fuel they spend idling - is being expended completely stupidly. Exxon and BP like it, and they guided us here - it's time to do something else.
Trucks get around the unfortunate and largely unavoidable problem that rail can't carry everything or go everywhere.
It is interesting, when the personal connection with the other party is not present or is reduced, how personalities can change. Email / news groups / etc. regularly erupt in flamewars, people making snide comments, etc.
The same thing happens often when people get in their vehicle. In their own little world, drivers aren't always as aware of their actions and behaviors as they should be (or how their actions impact other drivers, for instance).
I know I have been guilty of this from time to time.
This is another call to really just bring an awareness to your actions and who/what they may affect.
I've noticed other drivers are more courteous when I'm driving a car without tinted windows. Specifically I had two cars. One was an older standard cab pickup with no window tint anywhere (think fishbowl) and the other was a luxury car with dark window tint and a black interior. Night and day difference between how I was treated on the road. These are the same routes driven similar times. My own little observation that seeing the other driver causes you to treat them differently subconsciously. Truck drivers may have a similar issue being unseen.
Edit: Also as a pedestrian it's nice to see where a driver is/isn't looking.
A) Attempt to slam on the brakes and watch as 40 tons plows into the car. The truck will sustain minor damage and the car will sustain heavy damage, possibly killing all the people inside. Assuming the truck doesn't jackknife.
B) Swerve onto the shoulder and possibly off into a ditch, saving the car and possibly killing himself, and possibly others if the truck jackknifes and other cars hit it.
I know a lot of people have no sympathy for truckers, but take the time and actually talk to one. They put up with untold amounts of bullshit just to make a living. It's not a bad job for someone who might be too unskilled to get another job, but it sure is grueling.
Another thing I find some people tell me is how every time they drive next to a truck they almost get run off the road. Truckers actually try really hard not to kill you. The easiest thing you can do for a trucker is not drive next to one. Either pass him or sit behind him, but not next to him. And if you see one with his blinker on, please, get the hell out of the way.
I never understood the road rage thing.
If you know that there is a big truck in front of you (or near you) on the freeway, and you know they might drive aggressively, do what you need to get away as quickly as you can. Either slow down, or overtake, in a responsible way.
But no need to be a douchebag about it. Sure, you may have been bad-driven by truck drivers in the past, but believe me...that's not bad driving.
Come to Jamaica where EVERYBODY bad drives EVERYBODY, it's a regular occurrence. You can either get pissed and cuss everybody, or you can let it roll off your shoulders and not let it bother you.
Just protect yourself, drive responsibly and don't get flustered.
My dad used to work for a company that sold communication services at truck stops. He always told me that it's important to not change into the right now too soon after passing them and to just remind that they've got a blindside much larger than a car. Pretty simple stuff, but I bet most people don't think about it. I've driven on I-80 a good amount at night when it's almost all truck drivers and I've never had a problem. I would often get a annoyed when two trucks would drive next to each other going around 68MPH, but now I know better. A little empathy can go a long way.
That would alleviate highway traffic congestion, save a ton on the amount of fuel used to ship goods around the US, and would keep Chuck the Truck Driver in a location close to home.
This is like a company making you pay for the electricity you consume while working in their offices.
(This is right up there in with paying waiters ~$2 an hour because they can make up the rest in tips.)
Most OTR contracts are paid a set amount per mile as a gross number. Drivers (privateers) are independent businesses and they take that gross amount and buy everything they need to fulfill the contract (including fuel) as a business expense.
It's no more criminal than the fact that an independent software developers need to pay for the electricity they consume in their offices.
There are employee-drivers as well, and in those cases, the fuel may or may not come out of the drivers' pockets. (And if it doesn't, they obviously get paid far less per mile, because someone is picking up the $0.55 per mile in fuel costs.) To my mind, having the person with the most ability to influence fuel efficiency be economically incented to be efficient isn't a bad thing at all.
It's a matter of contract terms between consenting independent actors. Hardly something I'd call "criminal". (Same thing with waitstaff in the US. Everyone understands how it works, and the system works...)
I should've also clarified that when I said "criminal" it wasn't in the specific legal sense, and more along the lines of "evil".
Everyone understands how it works, and the system works...
Yeah, but this doesn't mean the workings are either right or acceptable.
Elsewhere in the world, there is much less of a tipping custom, and wages for service staff tend to reflect that.
Isn't there some kind of US law that requires restaurants to pay the difference between wage+tips & minimum wage if the tips share is low enough?
(OTOH, I recall reading somewhere about people paying huge sums (order of $10's of K) for high-profile service jobs like Maître d' at a prestigious hotel, or head waiter in a high-class restaurant, due to the quantity earned in tips)
There is but that doesn't mean restaurants necessarily follow said law. A lot of servers don't really have any means of actually properly enforcing it without just straight up losing their job in the best case so, in practice, you find people just staying silent as they get shafted.
My position is that the way this is set up in the USA is plain wrong - tips should be a voluntary gratuity from the customer to thank the waiter for a job well done.
Once that is the case, then establishment's only responsibility is to pay the employee a minimum living wage, making no assumptions about tips. This is pretty much the way it works in a large swathe of the world, and seems to be working pretty well.
also, there is an immense range of compensation for servers, depending on the restaurant in question. any restaurant that you go to where the servers make a decent amount of money definitely requires skill.
I don't have anything personal against the average trucker, but I primarily want driverless cars so we can put all of these guys out of work.
If we can get robots to lower accident rates and drive all night without getting sleepy (or, in what I'm sure are rare cases, methed up), I'm sorry, but I'm for it.
I always brake for truckers. I have enormous respect for the good haulers out there. I still hope they disappear in my lifetime.
There are good and bad people regardless of the profession.
We have products to help companies choose which freight to run to maximize profit (and which to get rid of), find optimal truck/order combinations to minimize cost/time of haul, to determine where the truck should buy fuel (and how much) for his current order to minimize fuel cost, and track the asset in near real time to ensure management knows when it will be late or off route (much easier to re-schedule the drop a day or two ahead, for example). We've even put considerable effort to optimize a swap of trailers between trucks on the road so that a driver can get home in an emergency.
I am unsure about the burden of fuel on the driver, as many of our carriers have fuel cards for drivers to purchase fuel (sometimes constrained to our locations/amounts to ensure compliance) and the company usually charges a fuel surcharge back to the customer anyways. I work with both very large and very small carriers but I obviously don’t know the specifics of this driver’s situation.
As far as the government involvement, the driver's hours of service are logged electronically because it was all too common for drivers to carry multiple log books (and use the one which allowed them to keep driving to make a drop). Electronic logging is a good thing. Personally, I think 11 hours behind the wheel of a 45,000lb semi-truck is probably enough for one day. Incidentally, they can drive 11 hours per day up to 70 hours total before they have to take 34 hours off in a row.
Hauling freight isn't easy and they deserve some respect. Our Nation would crawl to a halt in a matter of days if they stopped doing their jobs. Try to cut them a little more slack and room on the road.
Further, a bunch of trucks can go from one distribution point to many different unloading points a train may not be able to reach.
I imagine the explosion in consumer shipping and expectations of two-day shipping from a number of companies has changed the dynamic. A hundred Ted's ordering iphone cases isn't the same as one Bob ordering a hundred head of sheep.
Just some thoughts; I don't have any knowledge about the industry, or the state of the railways.
If you have trucker-angst I suggest you go rent a large vehicle - like make a road-trip in an RV. It'll open your eyes on how poorly the cars around a large vehicle will accommodate you. And how what you thought of as 'bad truck driver behavior' may just be the physical limitations of the vehicle he's driving.
Compared to trucks, you basically use the roads for free on their dime.
Again, just because heavy trucks pay extra taxes doesn't mean that they cover their impact on the road system.
"Passenger vehicles account for 93 percent of all vehicle miles traveled on public roads in the United States. While large trucks account for just 7 percent of the miles traveled, they account for the most damage to the infrastructure."
"In the 1997 HCAS combination trucks were found, on average, to pay 90 percent of their Federal highway cost responsibility through user fees, but with changes in the fuel tax they now pay only 80 percent of their cost responsibility. The heaviest combinations, those over 80,000 pounds, pay only half of their cost responsibility."
So most trucks you see on the road pay 80-90% of their way already from a purely federal fuel-tax dollar standpoint. The gas tax is just the beginning for trucks. Now consider state licensing fees, permits, mandatory inspections, tolls that increase exponentially per axle, and what must be the ridiculous cost of compliance. Between the DMV and the DOT the papers that need filing fill a 3-ring every year, and there's a fee every other page. (I suppose the question of whether or not that money makes it back into road maintenance is bound to come up but that seems like a whole different issue.)
Seriously, put a sheep in the back of a pickup in Fresno and try to drive him to Seattle without doing anything illegal.
Loads are limited by weight per axle as to minimize the damage on the roads...not to mention that on a per pound of useful goods basis they are far more efficient than driving your 4000lb car to just haul your 100-300lb ass.
Where I live the majority of road damage is due to studded tires or weather...next time you are on a rutted highway notice how its not rutted for the dual tires that trucks have but it fits a normal car perfectly.
Beyond that, have you ever bothered to notice those little areas on the side of highways called weigh stations? You know, the ones where you don't have to stop? Yeah.
If anything, the subsidy runs from truckers to casual drivers, not the other way around.
The point is that heavy trucks don't pay enough taxes to cover their actual impact on the road-system.
The reason it doesn't happen is because then you've got to pay additional drivers, which outweighs the cost savings from avoiding the additional road use taxes.
I feel the need to add the qualifier that this is true of federal roads, but less so as we talk about local roads. I realize the story pertains to the interstate system, but as a cyclist the widespread misconception that gas tax funds all roads and other users are somehow freeloaders is quite detrimental.
Not by long-distance trucks that this article describes, though. Those trucks drive from the airport to the city center, and then from the city center to individual homes.
Say you buy something from Amazon. Their fulfillment center is co-located with UPS' hub at Louisville Airport. Your box leaves Amazon and goes on a plane to your city. Then, a short-distance truck picks up the package, it's taken to the UPS distribution center, and another truck takes it to your house. No 10 hour days. No driving 500 miles to see your sister in the hospital. No nights away from your family.
Anyway, it's very possible to own stuff that was not delivered to you by a long-distance trucker, despite what the article says.
Also, I think his bigger point was the "everything you buy _at the store_" comes from a truck part.
A bigger problem might be the geographic distribution of truck vs. rail traffic. Rail traffic dominates in the transcontinental trips, because it's a lot cheaper to ship bulk cargo or shipping containers by rail from LA to Chicago, than by truck. But open-road inter-city trucking from LA to Chicago is relatively safe. Where trucks are most dangerous is within-urban-area transit, in congested metropolitan areas, but those are also the hardest to replace. For example, Safeway alone sends thousands of trucks out daily to supply its grocery stores; much of the produce is moved from ships to a local staging area by rail, but the last 10 miles to the actual store goes by truck. It'll be very difficult to replace that, unless we return to the days of a dense rail network where businesses had their own local rail sidings for deliveries.
Rail is a great solution for a specific portion of that network, but it becomes very, very inefficient if you're only moving one box of goods to a town, and in a nation this size, with as dispersed a population as ours, you simply cannot manage the outlay of hundreds of thousands of railway spikes...and taken to the smaller position, you'd still need trucks unless the railways went to each and every department store.
Especially those of us in jobs with absolutely no customer service aspect whatsoever. I wonder if it would help to require everyone in a company to respond to a couple emails a week would help them feel more attached to the people actually using the product (In a way, Opera does this with their Desktop Team blog by having different people write a blurb before the change log).
Digging canals is very expensive of course but they don't hurt the environment nearly as much as (rail)roads and it's a text book way to get the economy going. Many of the canals in Europe were actually dug during the depression of the last century when there was lots of unemployment.
Oh, come on. This is where I closed the tab; the story was sad enough without making it into a Christmas special.
edit: Wasn't aware that this was an actual incident. Still, picking the sappiest possible story isn't very representative.
1) I learned that many trucks have 24 gears. Could you imagine having to downshift and upshift 10 or 12 times every time somebody cuts you off?
2) I started riding motorcycles. As a motorcyclist, whether or not you are in the right, if you tangle with a truck you're dead. So, instant respect for trucks. I want them to see me, and I want them to like me.
I can't remember the last time I flipped someone off. Certainly not some truck driver passing another truck slower than I would like. I reserve the middle finger for the epically stupid, where someone has done something exceedingly dangerous.
Anyway, my point was they get angry you are not speeding, not the method you use to prevent speeding.
Also see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2012393/Distracting-...
I remember when I was a kid, french truck drivers (hundreds of them) blocked the roads because they were pissed off. They did this for days. Guess what? They got (mostly) what they wanted in the end.
If, as this article implies, there is something wrong with the trucking industry, then you should take proper and responsible action. Protest. Park a truck in front of the white house. Whatever.
But driving like a dickwad, breaking laws that are meant to keep others save & endangering lives is not acceptable. Especially not for a shitty wage.
And as for all the schedule crap? Also not my fault. I didn't make you late. I didn't regulate the speed on your rig. (And yes, that DOES make it safer, especially when you're running non-stop and tired.)
However, you -did- get in my way. For a long time. 3mph? Cripes, do you know how long it takes to move a rig around another rig at 3mph more while being safe?
Suck it up, buddy. You take crap from your boss, your co-workers, and anyone else at your workplace or your client's workplace, and you have the nerve to get upset at someone who isn't getting paid to deal with your crap?
That's easy to say if you're skills are in high demand. If they aren't, any you have a family to feed, it can be a much harder position to take. For many people their options may be limited to putting up with a crappy job or living on the street. And often it's through no fault of their own. Not everyone has what it takes to be a rock star software engineer.
Everyone is in a position to improve themselves. Take a class, get a degree, network, learn a skill.
It is not easy. But this is not the same thing as impossible.
Sometimes, sure. More often people who _say_ they are stuck are not stuck so much as lacking imagination, or will.
How quickly can you learn a completely new skill set if you only have one day a week
I know that is a hypothetical but I'll take a crack at it.
- Cut expenses. There is always slack in a budget.
- Cut hours. The 6-day work week is for over the road - Get a teamster job working local.
- I've now got nights and weekends free, leaving me oodles of time to get cracking on mastering that new skill.
There are better employers out there. Employees who work for bad employers are enabling them. By not quitting, they're not only ruining their own life, but other people's too.
it isn't your way, it is a public way. If you see any violations in his behavior - just call Highway Police. Otherwise, learn to deal with the fact that not everybody and everything in this life is created to satisfy your every whims.
>Suck it up, buddy.
yep, suck it up, buddy.
Maybe if they weren't over-regulated* and actually assigned the costs associated with blocking traffic, the trucking companies could come up with something as novel as a 'governor override budget'. I.e., "If you find yourself in a situation where you need to pass and it'd be best for everyone involved if you actually get it over with, you may do so. Just don't expect to spend the whole trip at the higher speeds because you only accrue so many override minutes per hour and you need to save them for complications that may arise. There are gas prices to consider, after all."
If we're going to insist on having humans behind the wheel, I assume it's because they have the capacity to reason. Ultimately, we need to incent them properly and then trust their judgement.
* Speed limits significantly below the 85th percentile of traffic == revenue. Also, penalizing motorists (who have, by definition, opted out of public transportation) by failing to build additional, needed lanes.
have you ever drove a U-Haul truck? Let alone a 40 ton one? Do you understand the accident risk (and scale of a damage, just an example of pretty light one http://www.10news.com/news/24315900/detail.html) of a fully loaded semi trailer making a pass at - how fast would you like it to go instead of 68mph? - would 80mph be enough for you? Do you really think you're a better judge of how to safely drive the truck than the truck driver actually driving it and who does have economic incentive to go as fast as it is possible while still ensure the high probability of making it to the destination?
How fast? In Minnesota (where I'm from and also where the article was published) I can tell you offhand that a recent figure for the 85th percentile speed on rural freeways is 79MPH (that means three out of every 20 drivers are going even faster). Does the truck need to go that fast? Only if it's in the left lane while cars are present.
> I have no tolerance for that.
Being polite? Clearly.
3mph ~= 4 ft/s. Some of the longest semis are 60ft. One clearing the other is 120ft, lets over-estimate and say 200. 200/4 roughly a minute, again, if we over estimate.
So, you cannot wait a minute. And, remember, you're going a constant ~65mph or so in your car at the time -- so it's not like you're at a dead stop.
Instead of jumping the obvious conclusion about your likely personality defects, I would suggest that you take some time to think about why you're so angry about being limited to 65, or even 60 mph for a minute, assuming you're not rushing to the hospital.
I find this post saddening. How little we care about the people responsible for all the things we take for granted in life.
I'm serious here: If you do not like your job, demand more money, better working conditions, or quit and find a better one.
The first 2 of those are what unions were designed to fix. If the truck driving industry (freight industry?) is so horrible, why haven't they unionized and fixed it? If they have unionized, why is their union so ineffective?
I do pity people who think they have dug a hole so deep they can't get out of it. Mainly because they are -wrong-. They have allowed the world to walk allover them and have stopped considering that they can better themselves.
But unions aren't a magic fix for everything.
Also, how quickly we of the first world are to assume that you can just up and change jobs. It's easy when you sit at a desk. It's not easy when all you've ever done is drive a truck, or work at a factory, or done construction.
Your intolerance disgusts me, honestly.
I feel for people who are in a difficult situation, but I expect them to work their way out of it. And the great thing about this country is: they can if they use their wits and are willing to work harder than most people can imagine.
Random internet challenge: Be a truck driver for a month. Then come back to this thread.
So what? Who are you to deserve the right of way? If you don't want to get stuck behind a truck, get off the road. Suck it up.
Hell, it's your fault. You take crap from these drivers. It's your fault, your problem, not theirs. Flipping them off is the best you can do, and it's pitiful.
And yeah, I don't see any reason people should be nice to you.
> I never bought this "I have a hard job, so you should be nice to me" crap.
But you did buy into the "Be an ass" crap, didn't you?
By my calculations, about a minute and a half at the absolute most. So if you were intending to pass both trucks at 80 mph, and assuming the passing truck moves back into the right lane when safely able to, this fiasco adds approximately 10-15 seconds to your commute. Oh the horror.