Long gone are the days of Wild West trucking, where truck drivers were able to just do their work, unhindered by regulations and restrictions. The government has lost sight of the value truck drivers bring to America. Instead of supporting the backbone of America, they’ve crippled truck drivers with regulations and have treated modern-day truck drivers like criminals. Even the agencies that were set up as trucking advocacy groups have turned a deaf ear on drivers’ voices.
This should be the truck driver’s Bill of Rights:
I am a truck driver. I am a person, not a stereotype. Without me and drivers like me, you wouldn’t have the daily necessities you need. If I stopped working, your daily life would stop.
I have chosen a profession that is a service to you, not a nuisance. I sacrifice time at home with my family– watching my kids grow up, missing holidays and birthdays so that you may have the things you need.
Right 1: Treat me like a person.
I am a dad, mom, grandparent, brother, sister, daughter, son: a person. Regardless of what you think of truck drivers, we are not all the stereotype newscasters, TV shows and films make us out to be. Many of us act professionally. Most of us do not do drugs or drive under the influence. If I have ever been convicted of certain felonies, I could not do this job. I am a law-abiding citizen, so treat me as such.
I help accident victims, transport pets to their new homes and help find missing or kidnapped victims.
Right 2: My voice, my vote counts.
This is America. I have a vote in the regulations that affect my life. Do not listen to special interest groups, listen to me. I’ve done this job, I know that what sounds good in theory, may not be good in practice. Do not stand at the podium and tell me you know what’s best for me, unless you want to come do my job.
Before you pass any new legislation about MY job, let me vote on it. let other drivers vote on it. This is a democracy, after all, not a dictatorship.
If you set up an advocacy board, The American Trucking Association, or the FMCSA, let it be led by a board of my peers, not people who think they know what’s best for us– most don’t. Let us vote on who represents us.
Right 3: I should be paid for the time I work.
Stop using your convoluted pay systems and pay me for the actual time I work. If I’m sitting at a truck stop in Ohio, it’s because I have to because you need me there, I am not thereby choice. Pay me for the time I’m there because while I may not be loading or unloading, I am working– I’m cleaning my truck, coordinating loads, communicating with dispatch. I am there for you, not for me.
If I wasn’t working, I would be home.
Right 4: I can go home when I want to or need to.
When I signed on with your company, you promised me home time. Deliver on that promise. I fulfill mine to you each day.
When it’s my kid’s birthday, and I tell you I want to be home, make that happen. When you don’t, you create animosity. A happy employee is a productive employee. If you work with me so that I can be home when I need to be, I am more inclined to work harder for you and stay with your company for longer periods.
Every time you make me miss a birthday or a wedding or even a funeral, you should know how unpleasant and upsetting it is.
Right 5: I know when I’m tired or need to take a break regardless of Hours of Service.
Trust me to know when I need to rest, but don’t give me unrealistic load times. Don’t hang a ticking clock over my head. If I’m up against the clock, I’m less likely to take a break when I need to, putting everyone in jeopardy. I don’t give you nap times, don’t give them to me.
Right 6: When I am tired and need to take a break, I deserve a safe place to rest.
If you’re going to require me to take a break, give me a safe, accommodating place to do it. Make the areas well-lit, provide security and security cameras. Let me get a good night’s rest without worrying about who may be lurking about.
If I am delivering at your business and waiting for you, allow me to park in your lot and use your restroom. I am there for you, so show me some common decency.
Right 7: I have the right to a clean shower anytime I need one, and it should be inexpensive.
I deserve a hot shower at the beginning or end of my day. I have the right to take a shower in a clean, inexpensive facility. I have a right to privacy. If you have 250 parking spots, you need more than 20 showers.
Right 8: I am only responsible for the accidents I have caused.
I am not responsible for the accidents you cause. I am not responsible for rear-ending you if you suddenly stop in my stopping zone. I am not responsible if you hit me because you weren’t paying attention, and I will NOT be penalized for the accidents YOU cause.
Right 9: I am entitled to good, healthy food options while I’m on the road.
Variety may be the spice of life but the only variety of truck stops offer it to us is through grease-laden, expensive meals from fast-food chains.
Give us real food. Give us good healthy, inexpensive options. Give us food you would want to serve your families each night. Serve me in a way that makes me look forward to coming back to your place of business.
Right 10: Truck stops are built for me, supported by me and should cater to me.
To you, truck stop owners, I am the customer. I am a guest, treat me as such. Without me, you would merely be a gas station.
Provide me with a safe place to park, clean facilities, good food, and seating in the shade. Help me and my fellow drivers feel a sense of community we once had. Patrol your facilities to keep us safe and the grounds clean.
Even if your truck stop can’t offer that, at the very least, treat me like you value me.
I am a truck driver and these are the basic rights every one of us should be entitled to.