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“How much will I get paid?”
That’s one of the major questions asked by most people when they’re deciding on a career. And rightly so. We want to feel like we’re being fairly compensated for the work we do and we want to be able to support our desired lifestyle.
As the career seeker begins gathering earnings data about various careers, he or she may begin to wonder who makes the rules that govern how much money is earned for what work. Unfortunately, it has more to do with where the majority actually spends their money than on what they say they value, so sometimes people who really do work very hard physically, mentally and even emotionally, don’t seem to be compensated nearly enough for what they do; ie, nurses, teachers, soldiers.
After being out here on the road and witnessing firsthand what professional drivers do, I find myself believing many of these people should be paid better. Especially long haul drivers who spend 45-50 weeks away from their loved ones every year, live in a tiny space and are usually forced to pay convenience store prices for many of the things they need. Ironically, I’ve talked with people through the years who think drivers all make $50,000 or more a year. In reality, many of them make more like $25,000 or less a year in spite of driving an average of 2000+ miles per week.
Driver’s who work for or with a logistics company can own their tractor, lease their tractor or drive one owned by the company. Some drivers work on their own which requires them to find their own loads, work out all the financials with the shippers, take care of all the customer service issues and drive on top of that. Of course, they do get to keep more of the money paid by the shipper.
The two most common ways company and lease drivers are paid are by how many miles their company says it should take them to get from shipper to receiver or, with a percentage of what the shipper pays their company. The company drivers make less per mile, but have certain perks like detention pay when delayed by a shipper or receiver, paid for hotels when their truck breaks down and paid for maintenance on their truck. Lease drivers, on the other hand, make more per mile, but most of the day to day expenses to keep them moving-such as fuel and maintenance-come out of their pockets.
Much of what I’ve mentioned so far is very similar to some other jobs. But one big, unique thing about the trucking industry is time limits. For example, if after my adventures on the road I decide to do hair again and I want work 15 hour days weilding sharp scissors, noone would arrest me or give me a ticket. I could even limit myself to 3 breaks of 15 minutes each during the day and, as long as I don’t seriously cut anyone or myself, I could keep going as long as I could handle it. However, if I were a truck driver, I would be limited to 11 hours in each 24 hour period to earn my living. On top of that, those hours have to be used during a 14 hour period, so if I was stuck in traffic for a couple hours moving 20 miles an hour that would leave me 1 hour for any eating or bathroom breaks that day.
Then there’s the 70 hour rule which is still somewhat confusing to me. In a rolling 8 day period, a driver has to work less than 70 hours or else take 34 hours off and start again.
These rules, and many others put in place by the government, are meant to make our roads safer. Unfortunately, they restrict people trying to make a living while ignoring the car drivers who cause most of the fatalities on US roadways, according to OOIDA magazine.
Obviously, we all need parameters in our lives in an attempt to give everyone the opportunity to follow our dreams with as few dangers as possible from other people. I also know that personal responsibility is a must. But, when the people  making the rules choose to focus on one industry as the one to blame for everything negative in an area, it becomes cause for concern.
So, there you have it readers. My brave attempt to explain a math problem I still don’t fully comprehend yet. Perhaps in a later post I’ll tackle the subject of driver managers and load planners.
Until next time readers, drive carefully 😀