10 DEFAULT TRUCK DRIVER CONDITIONS OF WORK
Let's call these the drivers' life and job draining 'D's.
1. Deficient Driver Training and Derelict Driver Defensive Practices
Driver's are still put into trucks without enough training. New laws will soon make longer training times mandatory. More training will be very beneficial to new drivers.
Even well trained drivers run carelessly. Law enforcement is cracking down, since the truck fatalities went up last year.
2. Deficient Amount of Parking Spots
If you drive a truck, you may drive with another driver, and take turns, so the truck doesn't stop for a long required break. But solo drivers that travel long distances away from home, have to take a 10 hour break, after their shift. This is a problem since there aren't near the truck parking spots that the field of drivers need for safe parking. We're hearing one reason why truckstops will not enlarge or open more stores, is because they think in the coming years, that driverless trucks won't be stopping as much. So the gov. is promising to finance more truck parking, that's a big thing and quite expensive. The gov. probably will have a hard time passing a law that provides funds for new truck parking lots. Only time will tell if these old problems are ever solved.
3. Dreaded Diesel Fuel Cost Increases
The new higher costs of diesel fuel at $6.00 a gallon, will surely put many one man operations and small fleets out of business.
4. Downturn In Freight Volumes
With less freight to haul, the bigger companies will be leveraging power against the 'little guy' truckers. This will probably put many of the smaller independent truckers out of business.
5. On A Personal Level: Drug Problems
Possibly addiction can become an ill of stressed out drivers that are trying to cope with a rugged lifestyle.
6. Diabetes, and Bad Health In General
Because we drivers can get used to eating poorly, plus because we sit for a whole day's shift. Which usally is pushing 11 hours behind the wheel, with another 3 hrs. of misc work. We have little room for exercise, and managed care.
This type of neglect on our bodies, along with having a noncontrollable life, and with road stresses plus customer demands... it's perfect for coming down with diabetes, or other health problems.
Yes, even getting home only once a week puts a strain on a relationship. Many drivers stay gone 2 to 3 weeks, and that stress is hard on a marriage. But some of us live in our trucks, and may be out on the road for 3 or more months.
Different strokes for different folks, but having a relationship is then faith based on a lot of hope.
Unless of coarse your partner is by your side in the truck. If you don't go crazy beong together constantly. Nobody said marriage will last with the long haul miles, and many don't.
8. Diverse Road Conditions
Traffic is always present, and when you drive a big truck for hours and 1000's of miles each week, Accidents happen. Hopefully as a driver you're not distracted. Since making a 3 minute error could drastically alter your hopes of staying employed, or even have much worse outcomes.
Driving a truck is dangerous, and making judgement calls means your attention is constantly needed, with your eyes looking in all directions around that big rig...all the time you're in the seat..
9. Daily Demands On Your Time
Usually, if you aren't just a local driver; you won't be home much.
You'll have no clue when you're shutting down, or being called into action every day.
The law says a truck driver can interrupt his day now. It wasn't like that 2 years ago, but some drivers and companies wanted to be able to extremely stretch out their work day. Then they (we) have more hours, to run more miles... because truckers are paid by the mile usually, and no hourly rate-of-pay.
So your full day of work may be as much as 20 hours on the job. But normally a 14 hour legal day is all that's called for, and you can make a good paycheck at that.
You may have no idea, day-to-day when you're forced to drive.
You might be stuck in traffic, at a shipper, with a customer, or just waiting to be dispatched to the next load for hours.
So starting at 3am in the morning, you could possibly be driving until 1am the next morning, or anytime in between. So you're on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd shift call in basis constantly. If you want to make your money, you work when somone says to.
This changes by the hour, especially; if you're loading or unloading, at the same place as many other dispatched trucks.
Dependence on the shipper's or receiver's schedule is what tells the tale of your driving day.
Your dispatching team that sets your loads up for you, tries to keep you moving.
But when in a small company, then you compete with all the bigger companies that line up their loads way in advance.
Big companies like I'm with have a multitude of trailers, and can have you drop, one loaded trailer then hook to another empty trailer... so you can get loaded right away.
But small companies don't have that option so you're stuck using the same trailer... waiting to unload, then miles away hopefully finding your next load. You just better know going in, it's a waiting game out of your control.
10. Dismal Conditions Can Occur
If you're not used to managing your time alone it can bring on depression. This can be disastrous and lead to a total disrespect for the job. If this happens it's best to find a local driving job where you're home often, or just get out of trucking altogether.
Do something different that you might enjoy more. Especially before you get too despondent and mental problems develope, find a diferent road to travel and an easier way to make a living.
Your mental health as a trucker takes knowing how to cope with the bigger picture in a small space on somebody else's time frame. You have to cope with all the changing forces around you, and all the daily conditions of stress that you have to learn to manage.