Letters: Recruiting Drivers, ‘Split Sleeper’ Option

These Letters to the Editor appear in the March 22 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Recruiting Drivers

I recently started receiving Transport Topics and was especially interested in what you had to say the Feb. 22 p. 1 story, “Transportation Firms Must Improve Recruiting to Satisfy Customers’ Desires, Leaders Say.”

In the city of Jacksonville, Fla., and particularly at the University of North Florida, we are responding to the need for highly qualified transportation and logistics professionals on many levels.

In 2006, the undergraduate Transportation and Logistics program in the Coggin College of Business was designated a “flagship” program by the president of the university. Flagship designation provides funding for special projects and programs to address the need for individuals with specialized skills to manage the supply chain.

Through the newly developed state-of-the-art Logistics Information Technology Solutions Laboratory, UNF equips its graduates with the necessary skills to exploit the highly sophisticated, information technology-enabled supply chain.

The program’s continuing membership in the Oracle Academy, which teaches secondary school students the fundamentals of database and Java technology, as well as the SAP University Alliance — which provides university faculty members with the tools and resources necessary to teach students how technology can enable integrated business processes and strategic thinking — allows students access to entire enterprise resource planning suites, in addition to tools for network optimization, transportation routing and scheduling, logistics modeling, warehouse optimization and much more.

As a growing leader in logistics and international commerce, the Jacksonville area provides a tre-mendous opportunity for students to gain valuable experience. Leading companies such as CSX Transportation, CEVA Logistics, Crowley Maritime, Sea Star Line and Landstar System Inc. have major corporate facilities in Jacksonville, and Jaxport — the Jacksonville Port Authority — has expanded with the arrival of Asian shippers Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.

These firms are fully engaged in the success of the program through scholarship support and executive-level advisory committees.

Graduates of UNF’s program are well-prepared to embark on rewarding careers in transportation, logistics and supply chain management in Jacksonville or anywhere else in the world.

The UNF Transportation and Logistics Flagship Program also partners with the UNF Division of Continuing Education to offer the Certified Transportation and Logistics program through the American Society of Transportation and Logistics. Many of our regional employers such as ICS Logistics, the Grimes Companies and Jaxport are using the CTL program to enhance the knowledge and skills of their workforce.

UNF supports the establishment of career academies in area high schools as a way to introduce young students to careers in transportation and logistics. Currently, we are helping to develop a “Careers in Logistics Summer Camp” that will reach a whole new group of interested high-school students.

Great opportunities are waiting for highly educated, technologically sophisticated candidates. At the University of North Florida, we take pride in preparing our students for promising careers in logistics and supply chain management, while responding to the needs of the marketplace.

Lynn Brown
Associate Director
University of North Florida Transportation & Logistics Flagship Program
Jacksonville, Fla.

‘Split Sleeper’ Option

Because we can put in only 70 hours of duty per week, the amount of hours we can drive during one driving period isn’t that bad. What hurts is the loss of the “split sleeper” option for solo drivers.

I am a driver of 15 years, after retiring from the Army, and I am considered an owner-operator. I lease.

I hold people to higher standards than they are willing to give, and some of these drivers and freight customers make it hard for me to form a favorable opinion about them.

The same goes for our lawmakers.

They ask people to volunteer for the research and studies, put them into controlled environments, complete their research and then make laws for us based on these results.

Some of us do want to run compliant, but the lawmakers are making it really hard with such things as the split sleeper berth.

Yesterday, I started out my day unloading at noon — after sitting for more than 10 hours. I was told not to be to a shipper before 3 p.m. for a pickup at 5 p.m. Being released with my load at 7 p.m., I had only another seven hours to run — for a delivery eight hours away.

After all this time in my sleeper, I was well rested to run the load all the way in, but because my day started at noon yesterday and I had to shut down 14 hours later, I now have the time to write to Transport Topics — awake and waiting until I am “legal” to run again. And I can’t sleep any longer.

What these lawmakers don’t consider is that not all of us have to sleep eight hours before we are alert enough to drive and will drive five or six hours before we could use another break.

I think the best way to run a logbook is to set a maximum amount of time driving per 24-hour period. If a driver can drive only 12 hours a day, eventually he/she will be sleeping and will not wind up sitting in the truck watching people walk by or burning their money in the casino.

Which is worse, not sitting for a full 10 hours or “driving tired?”

Robert Lowers
Independent Contractor
Olathe, Kan.