Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Finding the dark cloud around the silver lining

On Monday’s show, we brought you several comments by Herb Schmidt of Conway Truckload, and from truckers, about speed limiters, mileage and trucker pay.

The issues are pretty much familiar to all of you out there – but what’s surprising us are the reactions we’re receiving.

Several more of you called in after our latest installment, and one of you had an interesting take on the situation.

That trucker, a woman named Teresa, said that now that her carrier has turned her speed limiter back, if the dispatcher gives her an impossible deliver time, she can basically say, too bad, can’t do it, you set my speed too slow to get it there by then.

She then, very politely, very “sweetly,” in her words, tells the dispatcher that if they have a problem with that, to see the president of the company. After all, that’s who set the speed.

I noticed that when Teresa talked about this, she said it was “the only good thing that I’ve found” about turning down speeds.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I assume that means she normally finds plenty wrong with that.

However, I like her point of view. A carrier really can’t complain about you running compliant, or push you to get there on time no matter what, if you can’t move the truck faster.

I still have concerns, though. And that’s because speed limiters compromise safety.

I have no objection if a trucker – a person actually behind the wheel – looks at the road they’re driving, looks at conditions and traffic, and makes a determination that it’s safe to slow down to save some fuel.

I have a real problem when an accountant who’s never been behind the wheel of a semi, who’s not there, and who can’t see the traffic or conditions, then determines that a truck needs to slow down … even if doing so is unsafe.

I do like the way you’ve found a silver lining in this dark cloud, Teresa. But the fact is, the dark cloud is still with us.