Letters: Driver Pay Revisited

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Nov. 12 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

This is in reference to the story “Design Transportation Offers Higher Driver Pay, Bonuses,” which appeared in the Oct. 22 issue on p. 11.

According to the story, this company now pays drivers 38 cents a mile. That means a driver can average around $1,000 a week and will put in about 70 hours.

I’ll break down his weekly expenses:

• Federal income tax — $150.

• Social Security tax — $60.

• State income tax — $15.

• State unemployment insurance — $10.

• Health insurance for the family — $100.

• Retirement — $100.

• Three meals a day for seven days, etc. — $200.

• Total — $635.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say the total is $650. Deduct that from the $1,000, and he now has $350 for 70 hours of work. That’s $5 an hour. He could flip hamburgers and make more than that.

I’ve been retired now for 10 years. When I left the company, I was making $70,000 a year, with health care for me and my family and a generous retirement plan.

I’m a retired Teamster.

If the trucking industry wants good, safe drivers, they need to raise the compensation by 50%.

Bob Clouter

Trucking Consultant and Efficiency Expert

Fair Lawn, N.J.

You report continuously in your newspaper on a driver shortage. Drivers and truck owners actually in the industry know the real reason — a shortage of driver pay.

I see it in my classroom. Many of my brokering students are small carriers with or without authority (owner-operators) who go out of business because of pointless federal regulations — especially those from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

These regulations discourage truckers’ entrepreneurial motivations, driving the people you opine about in your driver-shortage articles away from the industry.

There has been an extreme lack of leadership in the past few FMCSA administrations, with pointless and often contradictory goals. The qualified drivers in the industry are assaulted by over-regulation and discouraged from continuing.

Most FMCSA regulations — such as the hours-of-service changes — do not contribute to safety but are designed instead to squelch access to the business opportunity created by deregulation.

A survey of brokering students in seven cities indicates that the average owner-operator’s money-losing employment lasts about 28 days, and trucking company terminators verify that the largest carriers often sell the same truck as many as 10 times a year. This turnover is discouraging new entrants.

David Dwinell

Professor of Transportation Brokering

Load Training LLC

Youngtown, Ariz.


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