I had a completely different post planned and started for today. It’s not happening for a couple of reasons. I dozed off yesterday in the middle of writing it. Since I was writing in the heat of a bad mommy moment, after waking up and dealing with Luna’s antics and getting the apartment back into a semblance of order, I didn’t have the heart, inclination or energy to delve back into it then.
Then Keith came home for the night because he’d gotten a load to be delivered in our town, which can only be delivered by appointment only. The appointment is sometime Wednesday morning.
I just need to say something here.
Folks, everything tangible and concrete thing you own, wear, use, or consume gets to it’s purchase point via truck transport somewhere along its journey. Unless, of course you are a person who lives solely by what you raise, grow, kill, and produce with your own hands.
They are on the drive clock up to 70 hours a week, can drive up to 11 hours in a 24 hour period while being on duty up to 14 hours a day. If they are part of a team, then their sleep time/off duty hours can be spent in a rolling vehicle on poorly maintained roads. They get paid by the load mile. Company employed drivers get paid $0.25 – $0.52 per mile. Owner-operators may get paid $2 – $3 per mile and pay for their own fuel, maintenance, insurance, and repairs.
Therefore, if a company driver actually drives an average of 50 miles per hour for the full 70 hours a week they are legally allowed to drive they could earn $12.50 – $26.00 per drive hour, as long as it is driven while under a load.
This doesn’t usually happen. There is down time waiting to be assigned loads, reduced mileage speeds, waiting to be loaded or unloaded, or time waiting to get fueled. Sometimes it can be several days between load assignments or unpaid miles to drive from dropping off one load to the pick up point for an empty trailer to go get the next load.
Regardless, their unpaid down time is still limited to life on the truck, away from their homes and their families. So, while their paychecks may seem or feel large, it can be the equivalent of working two near full-time jobs with no overtime and very little life outside of work.
They have to pay $10 – $12 to take showers at truck stops and often have to wait until they are between loads to do so. They can earn free showers for each 100 gallons of fuel purchased. They don’t have bathrooms or running water on their trucks. Yet, they are often criticized for lack of hygiene.
Maybe they have a mini-fridge and a tiny microwave and stock up on canned soup, ravioli, and ramen. So, if they want a hot, square meal, they don’t just pay restaurant prices, they pay the inflated prices that exist along the highways. The most affordable food is generally the least nutritious. However, they get looked down on for being unhealthy and out of shape.
If they get caught talking on their phone or texting they lose their jobs, get fined $2,700, and their companies get fined $11,000. If they are in their personal vehicles, they still get the maximum fine. Yet, they constantly have to be careful of the rest of us who still choose to talk and text because we can usually get away with it and the consequences of getting caught are negligible, comparatively speaking.
They can spend a month or more away from their families and only have a day home for every week out on the road.
The men and women who drive trucks may be gruff, grungy, and lacking in social graces. However, they have the temperaments to live this life and do this job that many try and train for, but don’t last past their first six months.
So, the next time you see a truck on the road, instead of speeding up to get around it because it’s blocking your view or slowing you down, get out of its blind spot, honk your horn, pump your arm, wave, smile and give the driver a big thumbs up. If you see them signaling to change lanes, slow down and flash your brights at them so they know it is safe to get over.
In short, drive safe and please be considerate when sharing the road with the big trucks, they’re working for you.