THEY DON’T RESPECT US: Why Mega Carriers Rely On Our Political Inaction To Defeat Us
Submitted Opinion Editorial
By: Andrea Marks, Director of Communications, TruckerNation
Respect is a buzzword thrown around in the trucking industry, mainly amongst drivers.
Many articles have been written, polls commissioned, and interviews conducted where drivers complain about the lack of respect they receive.
They often claim this lack of respect comes from the general motoring public, shippers, receivers, dispatchers, and even other truck drivers.
But while it is easy to recognize a lack of respect, it is perplexing that drivers fail to recognize the lack of deference mega carriers have for them, especially in the political arena.
Well here it is drivers…newsflash…They. Don’t. Respect. Us.
Why you may ask? Because they rely on our political inaction and we prove them right every single day.
Mega carriers don’t respect us politically because we’re not doing enough to earn it.
They don’t care if a driver has 2 million miles of safe driving.
They don’t care about the new chrome visor a driver added to his truck.
They care that drivers won’t engage, won’t participate, and won’t take political action on trucking-related issues.
They care about the fact that their efforts to influence laws and regulations, which are the exact opposite of our efforts and what we want, are the only efforts that are being heard in D.C. because we aren’t engaging.
Part of getting respect is not only talking the talk but walking the walk.
It’s not enough to be part of a group, or to have commented once on a federal docket, or even to have met one time with an elected member of congress.
Real change starts with us, but respect is demanded through consistency, reverence, and conviction.
Drivers must learn to be consistent, reverent, and convicted in their political efforts.
One and done is not enough.
Evidence of driver and industry stakeholder inaction can be found on any of the opportunities for public comment published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the past 24 months.
Hours of Service (HOS) is arguably the most relevant issue in trucking right now.
On the FMCSA’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), only 0.15% of the trucking industry bothered to make a comment.
At the date this editorial is being written, there are four opportunities for public comment open on key issues that drivers publicly complain about every single day.
These issues are training, detention time, and autonomous vehicles.
However, these four dockets only have 848 comments, collectively.
Mega carriers are literally banking on drivers and industry stakeholders to stay inactive and have dismal participation, politically.
They will continue to pay healthy salaries to legal counsel and other professionals to remain consistent in their participation and influence over industry laws and regulations.
They count on us complaining on Facebook and not making public comments.
They count on us complaining to each other in a driver’s lounge at a truck stop and not setting up a meeting with our elected members of Congress.
They count on us not knowing the legislative or regulatory process and using that as an excuse not to speak out on relevant industry issues.
This is why advocates like TruckerNation have developed the trucking industry’s only complete how-to-guide to assist drivers in making public comments.
Plus, we provide a robust advocacy toolkit to assist drivers in emailing, calling, and even meeting with their elected member of Congress.
All of these tools are free and take the intimidation factor out of the participation equation.
The excuses have been eliminated, so what are we all waiting for?
It’s time… time to stand up, find our voice, do our research, and be convicted that our thoughts, opinions, and experiences are enough to evoke real positive change.
If not, sit back and let them continue to win… the choice is ours.
Editor’s Note: Andrea Marks is the Director of Communications for TruckerNation, a grassroots organization founded to advocate for its members and inform truckers on legislative and regulatory issues.
Though our names are similar, TruckerNation and Transportation Nation Network are not affiliated.
Publishing this opinion editorial is not intended to be an endorsement of TruckerNation.
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