Overdrive Magazine

April 2018

Issue link: https://dmtmag.uberflip.com/i/963579

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Voices 4 | Overdrive | April 2018 Tires good, brakes good, not a "peep out of anyone," says Epling Transporta- tion-leased Robert Whitting- ton, calling up those "good old days" as he remembers them at the inspection sta- tions in his native Georgia and around the nation. "I'm no dierent from any of the older drivers out here," he says, "espe- cially those that are also mechanics." Whittington has professional mechanic experience and maintains his Freightliner in large part himself. The increasingly nitpicky nature of enforcement has been among the top com- plaints of owner-operators in polls we've run in years past about the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program's eects. "You can always nd something wrong," Whittington notes. In his most recent road- side problem, chronicled in our March issue, Whitting- ton and his carrier were dinged with a no-logbook violation by a Georgia inspector — for not having an ELD. This in spite of the fact that Whittington's truck is exempt. Not only that, Georgia also was honoring the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's soft-enforcement request for no-ELD viola- tions to be written under a special code so they stay out of carriers' CSA proles in the early period, which ended April 1. Before that, though, he received a brakes-out-of- adjustment violation for a single malfunctioning slack adjuster that he, with his mechanical experience, thought was ocer nit- picking. It was like a ticket he received once in North Carolina for taking a call on his cellphone while stopped at an intersection. "There are so many drivers like me feeling the same and getting out" of trucking, he says. "I may nish my career xing trucks" instead of operating them. Whittington and many other drivers bemoan the "adversarial relationship" they feel has developed between too many ocers and truckers. Twenty-year trucking veteran John Scott, commenting at Over- driveOnline.com, places at least some of the blame on truckers. "The driver today is not the driver of back then," summing up the attitude of too many as "just drive the truck until it doesn't work. Then call road service and complain your truck is junk. To stay on the road is to catch problems before they become serious ones. My newest truck was at least seven years old and never had a tow. But I caught plenty of issues in pretrip and post-trip inspections. I also know how to x minor issues like changing a plugged fuel lter before it leaves me on the side of the road." Scott added that he's glad inspectors don't inspect Inspectors 'putting people out of work' Nitpicky enforcement, made worse by a decline in truckers' maintenance skills, is top of mind of late for owner-operator Robert Whittington. He hauls ELD-exempt in this 2001 Freightliner powered by a 1995 Detroit.

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