Who’s Moving Your Freight? Industry Experts Speak Out on Quality of Drivers

A driver pulls up to your dock reeking of smoke, wearing a dirty shirt with holes in it, hasn’t shaven in a week, and you can barely understand a word that he/she is saying.  Do you place your food products in their hands?  Or maybe you do because you are saving a few dollars by shopping out the cheapest transportation rate, but is it worth the impression they in turn provide to YOUR customer?

Unfortunately, the world is full of drivers who do not take pride in their appearance and lack the qualifications and knowledge of transporting your products safely.  Take the case last year where a Florida trucking school owner pleaded guilty to supplying Russian drivers who couldn’t speak English with CDLs as well as helped students cheat on the written exam, provided false residency documents, and worked with a third-party on the road skills test to pass those who would have otherwise failed, providing as many as 600 fraudulent CDLs in the state.1

Similarly, in 2015, three truck driving school owners and three DMV employees were arrested in California and charged with selling nearly 100 CDLs for roughly $5000 each to those who were unqualified to operate on the road. 1And these are not the only two instances.  Several fraudulent cases occur each year.

Now imagine one of these unqualified individuals handling your products and the risks that can occur including theft and contamination concerns associated with the mishandling of your food products or not properly operating the reefer at the correct temperature throughout the entire distribution process.

Unfortunately, many shippers encounter this when entrusting a third party to select their freight carrier, often bidding out the load and choosing the one who provides the lowest rate.  The shipper now relies on the third party’s judgment and trusts that they have carefully vetted out the carrier; however, many do not realize that if something goes wrong, the shipper can be charged with not exercising reasonable care or performing proper due diligence.

Thieves are smart and are becoming more tech savvy every day.  More and more cases are occurring where an individual shows up at a dock posing as a driver to pick up a shipment.  With paperwork that looks legit, they are often loaded, only for the shipment to never reach its destination or the real carrier showing up hours later.  But imagine a company like Road Scholar Transport who makes it easy to identify its drivers who are all in company uniforms or driving one of our easily recognizable awareness trucks.

With stricter regulations, one would assume that the quality of drivers is increasing, but not according to industry experts who believe it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a quality driver anymore.  Here are some of the responses we received:

“A large percent of drivers today are lacking in actual skill and professionalism.  The drivers of today are not trained well enough to be in a tractor trailer, with a gross weight of almost 80,000 lbs, and driving across this great country of ours like they are in their personal pickup truck.   Just the other day, I was passing a truck on the interstate.  I passed him and got over in front of him with at least five car lengths of distance ahead of him, due to the fact that I used to drive many years ago.  He passes me on the right side and sticks his middle finger out the window at me.  Still to this day, I do not know why.  I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he wanted to get into the right lane before I passed him, and he may have had his turn signal on, but none of the turn signal lights were operating.  I think maybe, either he did not do a pre-trip inspection or the flasher went out during his trip from where he came from.  Middle finger, not professional!”

“I was born a second generation driver and spent a lot of my childhood riding with my dad.  When I began driving I realized how much I had learned by watching.  Many drivers today don’t have that option, so they go to school.  They become wheel holders.  I’m now a warehouse manager of 16 years and do agree that the quality of drivers has rapidly declined.  Much of this is poor training, which leads to a lack of understanding and respect of what they are doing.  I’ve had many occasions where we have had drivers escorted off the property for disobeying safety signs, other drivers and employees.”

“Absolutely the quality of drivers has deteriorated.  Hey, I was not the best driver when I started out but there were not many drivers at my age of 21 getting into the industry.  Most of these drivers could or should not be passing the basic skills test and if they do, they should not be passing a road test.”

Road Scholar Transport has been in business since 1988.  Since, we have never had a citation in the drug and alcohol category of CSA’s BASICs.  We pride ourselves on our qualified and uniformed drivers who are drug and alcohol tested as well as background checked.  These drivers operate newer trucks that are equipped with safety technology including anti-collision systems, which work to maintain a set distance of 8/10ths of a mile marker behind a forward vehicle, preventing accidents by automatically reducing the throttle, using the engine retarder, or applying the brakes, as well as stability control systems, which help prevent rollovers during icy conditions.  Our equipment is well-maintained and both pre-trip and post-trip inspected.  In fact, we have never been cited for a piece of faulty equipment involved in an accident.

Put your freight onboard a safe carrier today and rest assured that a qualified driver will show up at your dock.  Visit www.roadscholar.com today.