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Posts Tagged ‘CDL’

M3My response to an article from a recent NPR story about the campaign to lower the age to earn a commercial driver’s license.

See> To Get Big-Rig Drivers, Senate Bill Would Give Keys to Teens

Notice I used the words “earn”.

My answer? No.

My reason > Because, I think CDL licensing should be a graduated process for the adults who are being recruited now. The stages of learning and responsibility should come in phases. I also do not believe that the commercial driver’s license learner’s permit should allow new drivers to also get their hazardous materials endorsement processing before they have even passed the skills test to drive the truck in the first place. It’s unfathomable to me that few people realize this.

Training carriers bring in hundreds of new CDL Trainee’s each week and most of them get poor and unsafe training. For women this sometimes means sex assault. There is no accountability of the mega training carrier’s turnover, there are no exit interviews of the trainees, and there are no caps on how many students can be recruited each year.

The industry that has a despicable 100% turnover rate and congratulates itself when it dips (according to them) to the high 80’s is never asked why it should continue to be fed students of any age when they are not able to be retained. Would you send your child to an academic school that has a failure rate of 80 to 100 percent without wanting to know what the problem is and how it is being corrected?

Why would anyone want to send a student of any age through a training system like this?

In the trucking industry, the solution is to launch a campaign to have access to indoctrinate teenagers. (more…)

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Dan Rather

Dan Rather Investigates Trucking

The Dan Rather Report Investigative Series into the Student Trucker Industry is available on iTunes. Three shows so far have been produced based on the clues I touched on from my Student Trucker Horror Story called:

 ” A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker “.

The Dan Rather Report series into trucking began with Part 1 “Queen of the Road” , Part 2 “Truck Talk” and this FREE link is for Part 3 “Mind Your Loan Business“. It will only be good for 2 weeks.

The 2009 year end episode of Dan Rather Reports also includes “Queen of the Road” as one of the most controversial. Uh-Oh Spaghetti-O!

The other two shows had free links but those have expired. You can still buy these shows for $1.99 on iTunes. I have provided you a link HERE Once you download itunes to your computer you can shop online for Movies, Music and TV Shows. Just search the iTunes store for “Dan Rather Reports” and each title will appear. Scroll until you find the episodes you want.

It does take a bit of time to download them but they are saved on your computer to watch more than once.

This new episode called “Mind Your Loan Business” came out the same day as the unemployment numbers from Detroit were estimated at 50%, this makes me very sad to know that targeted recruitment is occuring in areas hit hardest by our economy.

I noticed this when I was in CDL training that there were targeted demographics in particularily high unemployment areas. I noticed that it was more about “Selling Loans” to go to CDL School not about making you a success a a trucker. Another thing that prospective students are not told is that even if you are recruited to train , you may not be able to stay employed after that period because freight does not frequently move from where you live. Many companies will not hire from areas like Michigan & South Florida but they will make you believe that when they sell the loan.

Truck Driver recruiting is a business, Student truckers are a business.

Please take the time to watch “Mind Your Loan Business” while this free link is available.

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Dan Rather Interview - "Queen of the Road"

Dan Rather Interview - "Queen of the Road"

Big Week Y’all

Yes, I was interviewed by Dan Rather and as it turns out this is not the first time he has covered the American Trucker.

The episode called “Queen of the Road” , was so popular that the Dan Rather Producers made the video FREE which is HUGE for us poor peons who have trouble getting online in the first place. It is also available for purchase on DVD or download on itunes for $1.99, it took a long time to download so I’m glad about the free link. Watch it now :

“Dan Rather Report – \”Queen of the Road\”

Despite a fleet message telling our drivers to NOT talk to media, I know some were eager to find an outlet to share their story.
Here is an email for the Dan Rather Report to share your CDL School Story and/or Training Company Story to the Dan Rather Report viewer@HD.net

A follow up show is planned so please take this opportunity to share your experience.

Most of the feedback has been positive but I have had some haters, the usual suspects of course. One guy from my company who has worked there 8 years showed how he practices his “Commitment to CARE” by calling me some names that Allen & Donna Smith at “Ask the Trucker” did not feel comfortable posting on their site.

Here is a link to the post on “Ask the Trucker” about “Queen of the Road” with comments section. Remember that not even a smidgen of my Student Trucker Story was told on this show because of the time constraints, so before the speculators start speculating you have lots of research to do before you make commentary. Remember, I scattered around the internet to create a puzzle. ( for social media experiment)

I have been busy responding to comments and emails in the last couple days but one of my comments has not been published. It is one that I made  regarding the following article about the ATA response.

In this article on TheTrucker.com I did not have a place to make a comment but it did provide an email to the editor so I wrote the following:

“Subj: Want my comment?
Date: Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:43 pm

To: editor@thetrucker.com

All interviews were cut down for time constraints and many more drivers were interviewed.
As I stated in the HDNet Blog and on the “Ask the Trucker” post, all original
uninvestigated statements I was ASKED to write by my company plus photos, police
report and emails were provided to Dan Rather Report.

I even called the Head of Security of the location where the bleach incident occurred
to ask if anyone from my company has EVER contacted him about my co-driver who threw
bleach on me and was highly intoxicated and took possession of the high dollar freight
that night on I-40 has ever contacted him, he said NO, never has anyone tried to
investigate why an intoxicated driver drove their truck with high security freight
after having several long island ice teas.

That is but ONE complaint in a 9 month training fiasco which is NOT uncommon from
the standpoint of us minions down here behind the wheel.

Thanks,
Desiree”

That’s what I wrote but I have not seen it published anywhere.

The ATA response does prompt some questions , I have copied and pasted a paragraph here:

“The open road has always lured its share of dreamers, and with the trucking industry’s chronic driver shortage, it was an easy match for Desiree Wood,” Rather said, apparently without noting that the industry doesn’t have a driver shortage now and that, in fact, it’s lost almost 200,000 jobs in the past three years.”

It seems that the ATA is upset that Dan Rather did not say that there is NO DRIVER SHORTAGE. This is something Allen Smith has been saying in “Truth about Trucking” for a very longtime.

I know at my company we still get many students each week and so does CRST , so what is happening to the experienced ones?

Also, why don’t the tell the CDL Schools there is no driver shortage and to stop giving loans to people for a job that does not exist?

A good deal of people who have paid to go to truck driving school cannot get a job right now as a truck driver but they still have a loan payment for CDL School, is that fair?

The story is about the “Student Trucker Industry” which includes, selling loans to people under false pretenses, using people to work for less than minimum wage with a promise of a long term career in the trucking industry.

There was a lot cut out from this broadcast and other people did interview and corroborate, I’m pretty confident the ATA, my Company and CRST do not want to hear from those who ended up on the cutting room floor.

One really funny coincidence is that one of the characters in my story was at my CDL School when this camera crew was there, that was not planned. He was in a brand new truck in Miami!

I wonder what he was doing???? recruiting maybe??? Hmmm….. Interesting fer sure.

Anyways, looks like there is going to be a followup show , so KOOL! Right On!

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Have you noticed lately there are a growing number of Truckers using Twitter?
While at first glance this may seem an odd addition to social media, examine if you will the entire process of logistics.
Ultimately idea’s shared through social media are intended to manifest profit. Whether the profit is monetary, social change or simply sharing information, knowledge about a better way of doing things to create a tangible item , at some point it , that item will require a ride with us on a truck.

The concept from your mind to paper with pen, the word document made on your computer, everything you see around you has been delivered by a truck. Supplies you will require to affect social change utilizing social media, the building supplies to rebuild homes after a natural or made made disaster, transporting fresh water & food; it is all brought by a Trucker.
Truckers are a relevant part of the logistics process that make your thoughts and ideas come to life.

In addition, Truckers are always on the move and they use products that help them live in an efficient manner on the road, transporting products, sometimes representing a product by their conduct on the road.

From a marketing standpoint you might title this sort of interaction a “Focus Group”.

I was introduced to Twitter by @AsktheTrucker which is where I wrote my story of becoming a Trucker in 2007 and the terrible treatment I received during my CDL training.

My driving schedule of 500-600 miles a day hindered my mission to inform prospective trucking students of the challenges that they might encounter and help them to better prepare as they entered the industry.  Twitter afforded me the ability to communicate in real-time what I saw and what I heard and to describe the obstacles I encountered in delivering goods across the United States of America.
The urgency of my message came as the economy crumbled and I became acutely aware that many displaced workers would become desperate for a new life like I was when I came to trucking. Most would be set-up for failure by unscrupulous recruiters who prey on the disenfranchised hopeful individuals who have the least to spare. The method is errily familiar to the mortgage industry who sold many people the American Dream of Home Ownership in loans that were packaged to make commisions for loan orginators but not for long term success to the homeowners.

I watched in disgust as prospective students were given unreal expectations of what it takes to live the lifestyle of a trucker yet they qualified carriers for government funding in the form of subsidies and tax incentives and still they were set up to fail. This process generated incredible turnover. This was why the trucking industry always claimed they had a shortage of drivers. The students were an industry in themselves of cheap labor, to be used and discarded.

Twitter provided me a method to depict for prospective students a real snapshot of the trucking lifestyle before students got themselves saddled with a high interest loan, a useless CDL and perhaps lose the house they were already desperate to save.

The chatter on Twitter is reminiscent of what occurs on the CB, another thing relatively new in my life but natural to the Truckers isolated existence. Granted, it gets ugly at times but often they are sharing valuable information that assists other truckers.

Truck drivers are highly misunderstood and underappreciated for the hours they work, the risk of life and limb to deliver freight and the manner they are treated , esspecially by my home state of California which made me want to reach out even more.
My Twitter Mission grew each day because the relevance of what is happening in our Country.  Trucking is one of the last American Industries we have not completely outsourced.

Nothing makes sense when you hear the claims by the American Trucking Association that there is a “Qualified Driver Shortage” but there remains enormous turnover when unemployment is high. This industry is not being held accountable who claims it cares about safety but pushes drivers to do unsafe things, pays low wages, expects a great deal of unpaid labor , long hours of driving with few breaks and yet classifies truck drivers as unskilled!

The Government is scrambling to create jobs but subsidizes truck driver training that produces few qualified truck drivers and while many are screaming about wasteful spending , no one examines why this industry has not reduced it’s enormous turnover rate in training carriers who benefit from taxpayers. No one demands accountability and transparency on why there are no statistics kept on student truck carriers crashes.
Why the huge disparity in who goes to CDL School and those who become qualified truck drivers? Why are experienced drivers with good records being “Starved Out” ? Why are student carrier crashes not defined and held to a higher standard if they are benifitting from government funds and favorable tax incentives to hire certain demographics? Why are unproven drivers permitted to receive a Hazardous Materials Endorsement when they go for their CDL permit when these prospects have ZERO expertise in driving a big rig?

Why are we punishing “Mom & Pop” Truckers , the last small businesses we have not destroyed in an America that says they don’t want socialism?

Does capitalism mean destroying small business to benefit the few who have the means to crush those who cannot compete?

Unfortunately, Truckers are not the most sympathetic creatures, so society in general ignores them. This is precisely why the conduct by big trucking companies has been permitted.

The nature of the job requires a certain sort of person, perhaps not the type of person you want to attend your garden party but I hope that the Truckers on Twitter will remind you how fortunate you are to have the little luxuries in life. To be able to walk to the corner store for milk and bread and not have to drive to the railyard for such daily items. For you to enjoy the convenience of having things that the truck driver often has to live without in order to keep store shelves full for the masses.

Perhaps products you want to sell, invent, distribute, a book you want to write, the advertising pitch you have an idea for and plan to draft up on your computer tonight…. when your idea becomes a tangible thing …. it will be delivered by a truck driver.

A Man or Woman Trucker just like me stayed up long hours without pay in many cases to wait for those goods to be loaded, maybe drove all night in a snowstorm unable to stop for a shower to make their delivery appointment on-time, got cut off and barely averted a disastrous crash from cars zipping in front of them and slowing down, sleeping in that dirty old truck with no air-conditioning in the summer or no heat in the winter because they can’t afford the fuel, or in the case of California, no reasonable solution for temperature control.

Help these people do their job safely and effectively by learning what the truckers need,  not what the trucking industry tells you they need or what they say they are doing … it is a facade.

Twitter makes Truckers relevant because they play an integral part in the supply chain of logistics & technology. Twitter is the CB for the World and Truckers now have a voice outside an industry that has not represented them.

Truckers need you to listen, they need help.

Safe Parking, Accountability by Shippers, Receivers and Carriers for Climate Control in the Cab, Violence Against Women during Training and retaliation for reporting and a whole bunch of trucking organizations with executives being paid good salaries who deliver NOTHING for the truck driver.

These are just a few topics that have been concealed in this industry and social media is giving drivers relevance to speak outside of the cabs, outside of the CB frequency for the first time ever. Please Listen to them.

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