March 2, 2015 4:00 AM, EST

Letters: Safety Streak; and Why Drivers Quit

These Letters to the Editor appears in the March 2 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

A Trucking-Safety Gem in New Mexico

The recent article listing the names of the new captains of America’s Road Team got me thinking. I believe that since the inception of ART back in 1986, there have not been more captains selected from any one company’s single location than from ABF Freight’s Albuquerque, New Mexico, facility. (Editor’s note: He is correct about the facility.)

I was on the 1990 team representing Yellow Freight. In 1991, the incredible streak for ABF began with John Holland. With few exceptions, every team since the turn of the century has had an ABF driver on it from Albuquerque. The others are: Glen Ackerman in 2000, James Curtis in 2001, Ruben Armendariz in 2003, Ralph Garcia in 2005, Ben Saiz in 2009 and Kirk Weiss in 2015.

I believe that having so many exemplary drivers come from one specific place is no accident — forgive the pun.

That facility has an amazing driver manager in its linehaul department by the name of Randy Archer, who has long been involved with the New Mexico Trucking Association’s Safety Management Council and is a key member of the annual truck driving championships committee.

Randy lives and breathes safety and is committed to the image of our industry through administering our state’s Share the Road Program. Randy is truly a gem in our industry.

Jim Wilcox

Retired Truck Driver

YRC Worldwide

ATA Driver

of the Year, 2006

Farmington, N.M.

Figuring Out Why Drivers Quit

Over the years, there has been a major problem in the trucking industry over driver turnover and the driver shortage that carriers face.

There is not a driver shortage; there is a problem concerning why carriers cannot keep drivers long term.

There are always surveys and studies that ask for answers only from the carriers. Carrier solutions range from very small pay increases, in-house commercial driver license training schools and the purchases of trucks with autoshift transmissions.

If the trucking industry wants to retain drivers and solve the driver-shortage problem, it is time for a study that asks drivers why they quit.

Unfortunately, I have never seen any kind of study seeking information from the drivers.

A relationship between a trucking company and a driver is like a “marriage.” When a company and driver break off their relationship, it is much like a divorce, where both sides have their own reasons for the breakup.

It is time that American Trucking Associations and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration question both sides for a resolution to this problem, not just carriers.

It takes an explanation from both parties to make any kind of conclusion as to why the relationship did not work out — not just a reason from one side.

It’s time to talk to the drivers and find out why they quit.

Spend your research money on speaking to the drivers and learn the real reasons to solve the myth about driver shortage and driver turnover problems.

Richard Marsh

Retired Motor Carrier Owner

Specialized Carrier Com Inc.

Pahrump, Nevada