A federal mandate requiring the use of tracking equipment, known as electronic logging devices, and a lack of parking are among the top complaints truck drivers have about their industry.

Other top peeves include figuring out how to adhere to federal hours-of-service regulations that dictate driving time, the challenge of finding safe overnight truck parking and profit-sucking delays at shippers and receivers.

Trucks.com conducted an informal survey of truck drivers and compiled the following list of the trucking industry issues they struggle with the most.

1: ELDs

John Peters

John Peters

The top complaint of drivers interviewed concerned the pending Dec. 18 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandate requiring the use of electronic logging devices, or ELDs, to track how many hours they spend in the cab. Drivers say they don’t want to be digitally tracked.  They believe the devices will limit driving time and cut their earnings.

John Peters of Gonzalez, Mexico, who drives for a U.S. carrier, plans to leave the industry before the rule starts.

“I have enjoyed trucking and being on the road, but when e-logs become mandatory, I am shutting it all down and going farming,” he told Trucks.com.

Peters said he will start farming fulltime on his 2,600-acre ranch in Mexico when the mandate takes effect.

2: Relaxing the 14-Hour Clock

Stephanie Klang

Stephanie Klang

After driving for more than 37 years, Stephanie Klang of Diamond, Mo., said the constant stress of adhering to a strict 14-hour clock, with 11 hours of driving time, has made her road weary. The driving limits are part of the federal hours-of-service rules.

“The stress of the clock ticking is in my head every day,” Klang said. “I used to get up around 4 a.m., drive three or four hours, stop and spend one hour or more on a walk or jog, but no more. I never know what traffic or back up I will encounter, so I don’t take the time, and my health has suffered.”

3: Removing the mandatory 30-minute rest break

Some drivers want regulators to rescind the 30-minute mandatory rest break required within their first eight hours of driving. The FMCSA enacted the rule in 2013.

“We should be able to take a break when we are tired, not because we are forced to,” said Gregory Boyd of Kingsport, Tenn. “Who can take a nap and be rested in 30 minutes?”

4: Lack of truck parking

A daily worry for Brian Kunkel of Adrian, Minn., is finding safe and secure truck parking when he shuts down for the day.

“If you are not parked by 10 p.m., there is no parking, the rest areas and the truck stops are full,” he said.

Cities often limit where drivers park, often forcing drivers to remote areas that leave them vulnerable to crime.

5: Delays by shippers and receivers

Delays in the time it takes for shippers and receivers to unload and load trucks eat into valuable daily driving time.

Drivers said they can use up remaining service hours unproductively, being forced to wait at loading docks.

“I have more anxiety now because I only have so much time to drive,” Kunkel said. “If you are held up at a shipper’s for so long, you have no time to eat or shower before you have to start looking for somewhere to park because of the 14-hour clock.”

6: Inexperienced truck drivers

Driver turnover continues to plague the trucking industry among large carriers. To fill the seats, some mega-carriers are churning out new drivers, providing training to obtain a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, in just a few weeks.

Tyler Ferguson

Tyler Ferguson

That’s not enough time behind the wheel to safely navigate in traffic on an interstate, said Tyler Ferguson, a third-generation trucker from Alpine, Ala.

“I feel like FMCSA targets us so hard because we are getting punished for this new generation of truck drivers,” he said. “We need to focus more on driver training because these new guys aren’t learning anything before they hit the road.”

7: Signaling

Drivers are constantly frustrated that motorists and other truckers fail to use turn signals. They say surprise lane changes and turns by other vehicles make it harder to drive tractor-trailers weighing 80,000 pounds.

“There is a lack of courtesy, a lack of caring on the road today,” Boyd said.

8: Aggressive drivers

Angelique Jones

Angelique Jones. (Photo: Gabriel Dupree)

Motorists often don’t grasp how hard it is for truck drivers to slow and stop their rigs as vehicles weave their way through traffic, said Angelique Jones, a 17-year tanker truck driver from Charles City, Va.

“Cars either jump in front of you to just slow down or cut in front of you as you are coming to a stop when they don’t realize how long it takes you to stop the truck,” Jones said. “I pull tankers full of chemicals, and I can tell you it isn’t easy to just stop.”

9: Taxes

Charles Pence Sr., an owner-operator from Illinois, said he feels nickeled and dimed in the money he pays in fuel taxes, tolls and permits to haul this nation’s freight.

“Taxes are by far the worst part of my job,” said Pence, who otherwise likes driving because it provides him with decent income.

9: Leaving headlights off

Motorists should turn their headlights on in inclement weather so truckers can more easily spot other vehicles, Pence said.

“It’s a road courtesy because we can’t see if cars are coming around us when it’s raining or the weather’s bad,” he said.

10: Speed limited trucks

Most major trucking companies use a device that limits the maximum speed of their vehicle to around 65 mph. Every day on the road, Klang said she will catch up to another truck which isn’t going its maximum speed at the time. She will start to pass, but then the other truck speeds up to 65 mph, creating a traffic crunch for Klang and surrounding motorists.

““It happens all day, every day,” she said.

Read Next: Trucking Industry Waiting for FMCSA’s ELD Enforcement Plan

8 Responses

  1. DNC

    I know a lot of drivers hate the hours of service rules but they have made the roads safer. Yes they get annoying. I personally really hate the 70 hr clock, but safety should always come before income. Yes we can make more $$$ without hours of service rules, but the roads will be less safe doing so.

    The 30 minute break is really not worth complaining about either. It’s just 30 minutes, and that’s a minimum required break. You shouldn’t be driving for 8 hrs straight without a break anyway. Get out, stretch and walk around more often. It’s better for your health this way. Rest areas are extremely easy to get in and out of for semis and are the perfect place for 30 min breaks. Keep food on your truck. Drink water only. And have a good time out there.

    Reply
    • Israel

      No it has not made the roads safer. I constantly drive when I’m tired because I can’t rest when I need to and still make my deliveries. I don’t need the government to tell me when I’m tired and when I can drive.

      Reply
    • Randy McClain

      You can tell that you haven’t been driving a truck lately if ever… just try to swing in a rest area to take a “nap”.. you will find it harder than you say it is..an why do I have to take a break when I am out of the truck unloading for 15-20 minutes,about 3-4 times a day… so at 4 times a day at 20 minutes.. that’s almost an hour and a half that I’m not driving,then add on another 30 minute “off duty” time… oh.. not to mention the fueling,loading,traffic and road construction delays.. so it takes 13 1/2 hours to turn 450 miles… not everyone gets to run on the interstate all day… secondary roads require you to slow way down… losing more time…so that 30 minutes can be and often is a big deal…

      Reply
  2. Susan

    No, rest areas are not all easy. And when you have 4 wheelers parking in truck parking with their just 4 wheels or their fancy rv,’s, that takes truckers rest time away if there’s not a spot.

    Reply
  3. Richard Bowen

    well I would like to add my two cents .the industry would be a lot better off with a director of the dot being a experienced long haul driver .minimum of 20 years exp .how can you honestly regulate this industry if you never have driven a semi .also I believe truckers should be considered in all proposed regulations and have a voice .before all decisions are made final . We are the industry not Washington .truckers are smart creative people .just because you seen a truck and you went to college does not make you qualified for the job .also if any regulations should be made is the improper ,rush through training these big trucking companies give in house . Some offer drivers with minimal exp to be driver trainers . I trained a friend of mine for 6 months non stop . When I felt he was ready for his road test I brought him to waco tx dot driver testing area for his road test .i observed him testing on his pre trip .when he returned from his road test he passed .i went inside the asked him who trained him .he proudly said that I did .what shocked me was they asked if one day I could come back to show them what the parts in the TX drivers pre trip test were located . Feel free to contact me I have a lot more to tell thanks R G Bowen

    Reply
  4. ken

    I’ve been driving for 37 years. 3 million miles. the 14 hour clock should be eliminated and we should be able to split the sleeper birth for minimum of 5 hours and let us finish the 11 hrs of driving. Traffic in the Northeast and Chicago is a killer for these rules. Also the ELd mandate is nonsense. I also agree that the top 3 are created by FMCSA…….did any of these people actually drive for a living ?
    It’s a joke….we need a major shut down to correct the incorrect or next year will be worse.

    Reply
  5. R garza

    Everyone of these peeved me before I retired with 50 yrs driving heavy haul,flatbed,acids and chemicals,,but the greatest were no turn signals from other drivers,making exits with hake break and no stop liters.agressive drivers,both truckers and four wheelers.Had a 2000 KW that would run triple digit,but while running speed limit there would always be done who would speed up when I tried to pass,then when I did pass,would badmouth on cb

    Reply

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