Make change happen

Jan. 7, 2016
Involvement can alter the course of industry

So I speak, a lot,  and give plenty of presentations throughout the year to Truckload Carrier Assn. members, state trucking associations, and interested group or groups that want to know information as it relates to trucking. It is fun, the groups are interested in the topics, and the questions are prevalent and relevant.

That being said, the usual blueprint typically follows the American Transportation Research Institute’s top industry issues list, or the “top ten” if you will. It’s a good format and gives me a game plan of what information I need to speak about. Since I am usually limited to about an hour’s worth of time, I try to focus on the issues that are important. After reviewing the top ten list, I realized that while the information I present changes from year to year, the topics rarely do. 

What I mean by that is hours of service is still hours of service. While the information may change, the topic remains relevant. That being said, as I rolled through my usual spiel during a recent presentation with typical Heller vitriol, a question was asked mid-presentation that I rarely if ever get. This one question turned my one-sided presentation into one that was interactive, dynamic and engaging.

You have read this far and no doubt are waiting with baited breath in wonderment of what that question was, so here it is: What has changed?  Simple, concise and to the point. This lucky audience became witness to the inevitable question that continually plagues this industry: What has changed?

Well, so much has changed. That top ten list shows very little movement based upon what is important to this industry. What it demonstrated as important a few years ago most likely remains important to this industry today. Electronic logging devices, driver shortage and retention, and the always popular CSA continue to reside on the list. What has changed?

In viewing the list, not much has changed. If you look more closely, though, how our industry views this list has changed. No longer is it being viewed as a list that affects them but rather as a list that they can have an effect on.

Think about it for a moment. This list, more than ever before, is past the 101 phase of education. TCA members, the trucking industry, and many others know more about this list in an effort to effect change than they ever have before.

ELDs are not on this list because we oppose them; they are on this list because we want more carriers to have them. Hours of service is on this list because carriers are working with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration  and its contracted partners to study the 34-hour restart. But it is also on this list because all the parties are studying 30-minute breaks and sleeper berth flexibility in hopes that we can finally deliver an hours-of-service rule that makes sense. This list from ATRI has gone from a list of what we are worried about to a list that we can have a positive effect on.

With all of this being said, and here we are at the onset of 2016, perhaps now is the time to get on board with our industry and effect change like we never have before. Make a resolution to become part of the solution rather than just the one asking questions. That, in and of itself, will go much further into making this year a prosperous one and finally turn the tide on what truly is important to this industry. 

Happy New Year to all!

David Heller is the director of safety and policy for the Truckload Carriers Assn. He can be reached at [email protected].

About the Author

David Heller

David Heller is the senior vice president of safety and government affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association. Heller has worked for TCA since 2005, initially as director of safety, and most recently as the VP of government affairs. Before that, he spent seven years as manager of safety programs for American Trucking Associations.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...

Fleet Industry Benchmarks: How does your fleet stack up?

Discover how your fleet compares to industry benchmarks and gain insights from a 2024 Benchmarking Report on maintenance spend, turnaround time, and more. Join us to identify ...

Build a Tolling Program to Manage Toll Fees and Risks

Fleets looking to effectively manage their operational costs should consider their tolling costs. Download the PrePass whitepaper, “Build a Tolling Program to Manage Toll Fees...

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...