Every recent discussion regarding the many issues within the trucking industry today has included at some time these words “is anyone listening?” The FMCSA, MCSAC, and DOT have all made claims that they listen to input from all parties involved, they even set up listening sessions and surveys that were promoted as their agencies listening to the concerns of the professional truck driver. What they didn’t tell you is that in many cases a computer was replying to their concerns with pre-canned messages that were triggered by select keywords within the comments sent in by a driver.
They held a listening session at the recent MATS truck show in which drivers were invited to appear in person to speak their mind or to send in questions and comments via email and they would be addressed during the session. A large portion of those questions were simply answered by Anne Ferro with “I’ll have to look into that” or “I don’t have that data available”. Well if a representative of the FMCSA is going to put on a listening session geared towards interacting with and addressing the concerns of professional truck drivers wouldn’t you think that representative would show up prepared to do so?
This author raised a direct question to Ferro asking why there are not any actual drivers on the FMCSA panel, why is it made up of trucking carrier CEO’s and DOT enforcement officials and safety advocates? Her response “well this gentleman and this gentleman have a CDL”. Really? So that is the best you can do? Because a person has a CDL that somehow makes them an authority on what happens out there on the road every day to actual drivers……..I don’t think so.
Someone owes us an explanation as to why people from organized ambulance chaser and attorney groups have a say in the regulations that we have to live by when we don’t. Somebody needs to show us where these individuals are qualified to help write new regulations and we are not. The positions held by these people are not elected positions, they are appointed to these positions by people like Ray LaHood. Just last month LaHood appointed 3 new members to the National Freight Advisory Committee, two of which are CRASH members, and in an official release had these words to say
“The strength of our economy and the strength of our national freight system go hand in hand,” said Secretary LaHood. “The members of this committee understand firsthand the critical importance of freight movement, and their valuable insight will help ensure that our system is more secure and better connected”
So am I the only one who doesn’t see how people from an anti trucking and anti truck driver organization such as CRASH “understand firsthand the critical importance of freight movement”. These people are on these panels and in these positions for one reason only, because they threatened to sue the government if they didn’t get more say in the transportation industry, let us just throw away the fact that they have no working knowledge of the industry, their niche in life is suing trucking companies and truck drivers and doing it under the guise of helping distressed victims of truck crashes………….I’m sure it has nothing to do with their percentage of the money being made by those families.
Here we are again as drivers, on the outside looking in and still asking why after several years of being kept out of the actual workings of the governing body that controls our career, safety, and our lifestyle. After looking at all of the reasons and the possible angles it comes down to a couple of different possibilities for not allowing actual drivers to be a part of this:
1. The government is scared that someone will apply common sense to many of the issues instead of playing a political tennis match and catering to lobbyists and special interest groups.
2. They are not listening to a single thing we have said to them in the last 20 years.
3. They don’t care about our views on the issues because they look at us as second class citizens just like so many others.
I’ll let them choose the answer, but will probably never hear what it is because they don’t listen to us anyhow.