Profile For Rajinder M.

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    2 years, 10 months ago

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Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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Every Day is an Adventure

Delivered my load this morning to a Dollar Tree DC in Savannah GA at about 0700. No empties so I put in the exception and start the chase. It's now 1130, I've been to 5 different locations, each one either no empties or can't release without an inbound. I've bobtailed 40m all in the Savannah area and wasted a whole 1.5h on my 11h clock for nothing. My 14 is about to catch up to my 11 on top of all this.

Worst part is that my next pickup is just a drop and hook. I don't even need the damn trailer as far as I know, and judging by the satellite view, it looks like a damn drop lot! At least it's a beautiful day...

I know how you feel. This was one of the main issues that drove me away from the mega truckload carrier that I started out with (I won't name them, but they are one of the biggest). It's not the trailer searching that's the problem, but the companies failure to compensate fairly for it, if at all. Free trucking --- one of the biggest problems at the mega truckload carriers. Trailer searches, detention at shippers/receivers (company advertised that they paid detention, but rarely did), and other delays beyond the drivers control adds up to significant lost wages every week. I couldn't take it anymore and moved on to LTL trucking. Why is it that LTL and other segments of the trucking industry are able to consistently pay drivers for all the work they do, but the large truckload carriers are not?

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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Question for our prime-ates here

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You seemed to have ignored or missed my simple and obvious point. When I said "all else being equal" that's exactly what I meant.

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He didn't miss your point. He countered it perfectly, and accurately, when he said:

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the whole problem with believing such foolishness is that there is nothing equal out here.

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And there isn't. There are a million variables that go into the time you're going to make on any given day. So why would you even make the point that you would turn more miles if all things were equal when they're clearly not? No two people are ever going to be equal. You'll have trucks with different power curves, different fuel mileage rates, different traffic patterns, different preferences for taking breaks, and you could go on all day long. The list is 10 miles long.

Give us one example where you have ever come across a situation where all things were completely equal for two different drivers for an entire day. Ever. One example. Same power, same preferences, same traffic patterns, exact same pickup and delivery times, same weight, same fuel stop - everything. Even if two drivers from the same company pick up and deliver the same loads at the same customers they're never going to have 100% equal trucks in every way. There are always variations, even in identically built trucks. One could have a dirty air filter and it's not going to have quite the power going up a hill. One could have a little more weight on the drives which slightly lifts the nose of the tractor causing more air to go underneath. One could have a little less air pressure in his drives, causing the final gear ratio to be slightly different than the other.

Nothing is ever equal. There are two many variables.

If you want to tell yourself two miles per hour would ever make a difference in productivity you go ahead and believe what you like. It's a dumb point to argue and it never applies to any situation in the real world anyhow.

The only impact that type of thinking has is when someone changes companies because they believe such silly notions. But imagine how much money they would lose in the process of changing companies and starting all over again from the bottom somewhere new. Talk about chasing your tail!

Did you even read the rest of my post?

I'm not talking about two different drivers, or two different trucks, or two different anything.

Same driver, same truck, except for maximum speed.

Try this. Get in your car and drive to St. Louis --- always driving as fast as you legally can but never exceeding 65 mph. How long did it take?

Now, drive back home. Same rules, only cannot exceed 63 mph. How long did it take?

Repeat experiment 10 times.

Which way takes longer on average?

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Question for our prime-ates here

Rajinder, the whole problem with believing such foolishness is that there is nothing equal out here. Oh we can go on and on about how we are all driving the same type of trucks on the same interstates, and that we are all limited by the same regulations, and all that type of stuff. But what separates one driver from the other in terms of the ability to consistently increase his pay is his understanding of how to take all those seemingly equal things and still come out ahead at the end of the day. Understanding the fact that this is a competitive career is what makes all the difference in understanding how one succeeds at this career.

You seemed to have ignored or missed my simple and obvious point. When I said "all else being equal" that's exactly what I meant.

Let me put it to you another way, so there is no confusion. You, Old School in a truck that will cruise at 65 mph vs. yourself in a truck limited to 63 mph. All else the same --- same company, same account, same ways of "gittin 'er done." Do you really mean to say that you couldn't cover more miles in a week (and a month, and a year) in a truck that goes a little faster. Now that's a silly notion!

And to G-towns assertion that "you are not going to average 65 mph for prolonged periods of time," I say that, while there are parts of the country where this may be true, I had no problem averaging 65 mph for extended periods of time in the lanes that I ran when I was OTR. And, as I was getting good, long runs, no problem averaging 65 for 8 of the hrs of my driving time in a day. So, my math holds. However, it wouldn't hold for someone on a regional, dedicated account, making multiple daily stops, etc. Still, for the time that you are able to run 65 you would be outperforming yourself limited to 63. In the short run it doesn't look like much, but long-term --- it adds up!

I promise you that you could have a truck that goes five to ten miles per hour faster than mine, and you would still be challenged to keep up with me. I'm not bragging, ....

Well, I will happily concede that. I have moved on from OTR driving and playing the miles game. Now, I get paid a very good hourly wage to drive a sweet rig on a local gig, that gives me a regular schedule, and has me sleeping at home every day, among other benefits. We eacg have our own measure of success.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Question for our prime-ates here

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Knight I could only do 63mph with cruise control, pride I can do 65 plus up tot 68mph for 30 min a day. This allows me to go further in a day

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Really? And this has had a noticeable impact on your daily mileage, ability to make appointment times, and paychecks?

Come on, man. Don't drive yourself crazy nitpicking at silly stuff like that. You get caught at one red light pulling out of a truck stop, or have to wait behind one person buying a lottery ticket, or the fuel pumps pump .1 gallons per minute slower and you've lost anything you might have gained that day going 2 mph faster. It makes no difference.

In the short term you might be correct. Getting stopped at a light or whatever could cancel out anything you've gained.

However, all else being equal, in the long term the guy that can drive faster is going to come out ahead - obviously. The question is whether it's an insignificant amount. Opinions will differ about that, but consider this:

Say you have two drivers, D1 who can drive at a top speed of 65, and D2 with top speed of 63. And say, on average, they are both able to drive at their top speed for 8 hours per day, so that D1 covers 520 miles per day, and D2 covers 504 miles per day during that 8 hour period. So, all else being equal, D1 covers 16 miles more per work day than D2. And say that both work 300 days per year. Then, D1 gets (300 x 16) 4800 miles more than D2 for the year. And say they each make $0.42 per mile. That means D1 makes $2,016 more than D2.

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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What are a truck driver's best defense against possible criminal acts against them while on duty?

Also keep in mind....you use a gun in self defense. The cops don't press charges. You get terminated for failure to comply with company policy. You never get hired in trucking again....AND you just killed your reference for a non trucking job.

I'd rather still be alive to find another job.

And, why don't you think such a person would be able to find another job in trucking. There are many companies owned by pro-gun people. I would bet that such a person would find another job easily and probably be treated like a hero, to boot.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Story: How trucking went from one of the best jobs in America to the worst

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I posted the facts about the research and all hell broke loose.

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No, hell certainly did not break loose.

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Someone falsely dismissed the article, claiming there was no real research behind it.

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None of this is news to us, is what we're saying. This same stuff was being talked about all the time when I started in trucking in '93. Do you really think that Viscelli broke some sort of news here? Do you really think his research turned up anything we didn't know 25 years ago? Maybe this stuff is news to you, but deregulation happened in 1980, wages have been dropping for over three decades, and companies have been leasing trucks to drivers even longer. Where have you been?

Viscelli drove for 6 months, did some interviews, and wrote a quick article full of stereotypes, cliches, and old news. I drove for 15 years, wrote an entire book on the subject, and have a 10 year old website with literally over 50,000 pages of information. Old School has been driving for a number of years with an amazing record of safety and performance and also owned his own manufacturing business for 30 years which included his own small fleet of trucks. So forgive us if we're not easily impressed by Viscelli's credentials or the work he's done.

The fact that you're defending him as if he's said anything new or interesting is starting to make me a little suspicious of you myself. If you've been in the industry as long as you claim then why are you acting like any of Viscelli's work is new or interesting stuff?

I never said it was news to me. What surprised me was (1) that the subject is getting some scholarly treatment in the academic world and (2) the dismissive attitude of some here, as if these are not important issues. The fact that drivers have been complaining about them for years attests to their importance.

And, in case you missed it, Viscelli also wrote a book (not just some quick article), in addition to a Ph.D. dissertation on the subject, the culmination of many years of research.

He is a friend to drivers. Why treat him like an enemy?

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Story: How trucking went from one of the best jobs in America to the worst

We're really not here to debate whether or not drivers should be paid more - we're all on the same page with that.

We're all on the same page as far as leasing goes - and the article seemed to be mainly an indictment of leasing itself.

The author seemed to try trucking "as a lark" - and then wrote a paper about it as "an expert opinion", without really putting enough time in the industry, to ACTUALLY BE AN EXPERT.

It wasn't a lark. He was already a graduate student that was studying trucking and as part of his research program he trained and worked as an OTR driver for 6 months. He has devoted most of his adult life to studying the trucking industry. He is a recognized expert in his field, as is Professor Belzer who was also mentioned.

You might not want to listen to these guys, but policymakers do. That's good for all of us!

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Story: How trucking went from one of the best jobs in America to the worst

Rajinder claims someone said there are "idiots".

I did a word search (Ctrl-F, find) for that term. It never occurrs in any comment in this topic, and doesn't even show up in either of the linked articles.

And Prof Belzer indeed has written much on the American trucking industry, including that Sweatshop book, published by Oxford University Press, no less. But the accusation of "Sweatshop" doesn't show up here, either. Have you been posting on another forum and got mixed up? Nobody gets away with applying that term to people on this forum.

We all have opinions about a truck drivers job, ranging from "I get paid to do this??" to those who feel OTR was a big mistake for them. So, Mr Rajinder, what argument are you trying to make on this forum?

Old school: "What kind of idiot would let that "become the norm" when they can be turning a really good cash flow as a company driver? This article would have been more helpful, and served a better purpose if it were aimed at the foolish drivers who choose to become lease operators, "

"Sweatshop" was referred to in the Atlantic article that we're all talking about. Old school brought it up in his post. I never used the phrase except in response to old schools comment. I haven't posted on any other site.

I didn't come here to make or start an argument. The OP posted an interesting link which I followed. Someone falsely dismissed the article, claiming there was no real research behind it. I posted the facts about the research and all hell broke loose.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Story: How trucking went from one of the best jobs in America to the worst

He is basically trying to make a name for himself as a researcher, but in my opinion, he totally missed the target on this project. That is not necessarily an indictment. This industry is rife with misinformation, and he just happened to fall right into it unknowingly.

What? You can't believe that this man might be interested in trying to improve the standard of living for some of his fellow man? That's mighty cynical of you.

What misinformation? Is it misinformation that drivers work extremely long hours, and make tremendous sacrifices for pay that is much lower than it used to be? Is it misinformation that trucking companies use slick advertising and sleazy tactics to lead unsophisticated drivers into rigged lease agreements?

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Story: How trucking went from one of the best jobs in America to the worst

First I would ask rajinder - who just joined and posted on this thread - what drew him to the discussion?

I already said. See my first post.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Story: How trucking went from one of the best jobs in America to the worst

Wow! Seems like someone thinks no one should ever complain. That's weird. This nation wouldn't even exist but for a bunch of grumblers that rose up and did something about it. Trucking pay is low. Even yours, mr. old school. $1500 for 80 plus hours (the equivalent of two full time jobs!) while being away from family for weeks at a time and all the other sacrifices you make, just isn't a lot. You might not agree, but just about everyone else does.

I'm a truck driver, and I love my job. Lot's of people who deep down love their jobs complain all the time. I work with drivers making over 90K a year, home every day, great benefits, etc.... that complain about things all the time, if their mouth is moving, they're *****in' about something.

Compliant people don't effect change, complainers do!

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Story: How trucking went from one of the best jobs in America to the worst

I initially responded here because I was mystified by the knee-jerk, defensive reaction of some here to the article that was posted. With just a little further reading I found that the author, Viscelli had done a lot more research than someone here alleged. It turns out, in fact, that Viscelli had spent about 10 years researching the trucking industry prior to writing his book. His research involved, among other things, extensive, formal interviewing of drivers and industry executives, and even included 6 months training and working as an OTR driver for one of the large carriers (this experience, as I suspected, was part of his research, and 6 months in length by design).

As far as his motives go, it looks to me like he is trying to help drivers, and working class people, in general. Trucking used to be a good middle-class occupation. Viscelli is calling attention to the government and big trucking policies that have caused long haul trucker wages to decline to less than half of what they were before 1980. Wouldn't you like to be earning as much as a driver in the 1970's did that worked as hard as you do?

Viscelli's main target seems to be the "independent contractor" thing. How companies take advantage of many drivers lack of sophistication/education/experience to get them to sign on to truck lease plans that are heavily rigged in the companies favor and often lead to financial disaster for the driver. These companies are preying on the good and honorable dreams of many drivers to become independent business owners, to sell them into loser lease arrangements. Why would any driver have a problem with Viscelli further exposing this especially dark side of the industry?

You might want to be careful calling people who have signed onto these lease programs "idiots." These companies are led by highly educated, sophisticated people who sit at a high vantage point compared to your average driver, and they take advantage of it. Don't just blame the drivers.

And, regarding the "sweatshop on wheels" reference, it wasn't just a "quote from some economist." It was actually the title of a book by Michael Belzer who is a former (8 years) long-haul trucker who now teaches industrial relations at Wayne State University. "Sweatshops on Wheels raises crucial questions about the legacy of trucking deregulation in America and casts provocative new light on the issue of government deregulation in general."

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Story: How trucking went from one of the best jobs in America to the worst

It's long enough to figure out that you don't know how to survive in this career, and then start playing the blame game.

In this instance, no evidence of that being the case has been presented.

As an individual who has been doing this for a good many years, I don't have a problem calling his extremely limited experience completely irrelevant.

Also as an individual that has been doing this for years, I completely disagree with you. At 6 months I had a pretty good handle on how it was done. Always learning, always improving, for sure, but I knew how to operate by 6 months. Most who are successful at this "get it" by that time.

I would bet that some of the rookies here would also disagree with your saying that their 6 months of experience is completely irrelevant. And, know who else disagrees? The major carrier that I started with who offered me the opportunity to become a trainer with only a little more than 6 months under my belt.

Do you have any specific arguments with Viscelli's findings of fact or the conclusions he draws?

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Story: How trucking went from one of the best jobs in America to the worst

And I would just like to add that my original comment was directed at the poster that suggested that there was no real research behind the article. Whether you consider Viscelli an "expert" or not, there is no denying that he has relevant experience has done some real research.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Story: How trucking went from one of the best jobs in America to the worst

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It looks like this guy does his research and knows his stuff!

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A guy who didn't last more than six months as a driver is now considered an expert who "knows his stuff!"

And as far as 100's of interviews goes...

I've spoken with plenty of drivers who don't have a clue, even after years of doing this.

I don't know the nature of his experience as a driver. Do you? Perhaps it was just part of his research and only 6 months by design. In any event, 6 mos. is long enough to get a good glimpse of what it's like to be an OTR trucker.

Do you have any specific arguments with Viscelli's findings of fact or the conclusions he draws?

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Story: How trucking went from one of the best jobs in America to the worst

It was typical of articles you find way too often these days and I'm kinda surprised it's coming from such a well known entity. It's written by some guy who knows nothing about trucking, did an hour of research, tossed in a few stats, added a few common catchphrases like "indentured servitude" and "income at or below minimum wage" and "driver shortage", and published it so he could get onto the next one. His previous articles were about pot sales, grapes selling for outrageous prices in Japan, and the stock price of a gun manufacturer.

This article is basically just commenting on another article from The Atlantic (linked to in this article). If you read the Atlantic story, you'll see that it was written by U. of Penn sociologist Steve Viscelli who wrote a book called The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream.

Here's from the amazon description of the book:

"The Big Rig explains how this massive degradation in the quality of work has occurred, and how companies achieve a compliant and dedicated workforce despite it. Drawing on more than 100 in-depth interviews and years of extensive observation, including six months training and working as a long-haul trucker, Viscelli explains in detail how labor is recruited, trained, and used in the industry. He then shows how inexperienced workers are convinced to lease a truck and to work as independent contractors. He explains how deregulation and collective action by employers transformed trucking’s labor markets--once dominated by the largest and most powerful union in US history--into an important example of the costs of contemporary labor markets for workers and the general public."

It looks like this guy does his research and knows his stuff!

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