From the Mouths of Truckers
Everybody likes a list. Not everybody wants a list of things to do that make their life more difficult, but a neatly laid out list of tangible items makes things easy to understand. After nearly 31 years on the air and thousands of Top 10 lists later, David Letterman has proven this theory true. The ITEA surveyed some of our friends from member trucking companies to tell us why, from their perspective, it is stupid to run trucks overweight. The top five answers are on the board…out of the mouth of the truckers themselves.
Wear & Tear
No doubt trucks are built to do heavy things. Heavy is a relative term though. What is heavy for a grandma may not be heavy for a grandson. Some trucks are meant to do heavier work than others. When a truck is loaded beyond the capacity it is meant for, it compromises the integrity of the vehicle. The brakes, steering, suspension, frame and other critical parts are put at risk. Hopefully a crash will be avoided, but the repairs are going to cost more money in the long term than the short term benefits of running overweight.
As mentioned above, overweight vehicles are a safety problem. In 2009, there were 3,197 fatal crashes involving commercial motor vehicles resulting in 3,619 fatalities in the United States. In the same year there were 60,000 crashes that resulted in 93,000 injuries. If the loss of life and limb was not enough, the average cost per CMV crash in 2009 is estimated at $140,762! It is next to impossible to precisely tell how many of those are directly caused by overweight status, or indirectly from the wear and tear. The point is overweight trucks are unsafe.
Ask any truck enforcement officer worth his salt which companies are notorious for running overweight. It is not hard to earn a reputation in this business for being the company that is constantly heavy. Don’t kid yourself…the cop doesn’t mind. You just made his job easy and made him look like a superstar. Word gets around quick in law enforcement circles and before you now it, truck cops will be pulling out on you every time.
Loss of Pay
Hey boss…do you pay your drivers to go to court on an overweight ticket or do you only pay him for the hours he is behind the wheel? Do you pay the overweight ticket for him if you loaded him heavy? What about your brokers? Do you load them heavy and hang them out to dry if they get caught? Sometimes the drivers are at fault for allowing their trucks to go heavy. But let’s be adults – sometimes we allow them to be heavy in an effort to save a buck, and then they lose even more wages answering for the ticket in court.
What about the money lost while the truck is stopped and weighed? What about the money lost while the truck is not working because the load needs to be legalized or the driver is being held until his bail can be posted? Are all those secondary costs really worth an extra ton or two?
There’s a bad apple in every job. There are doctors, lawyers, and unfortunately even cops doing deplorable things. Thankfully, those people are in the smallest minority in each of those professions. Follow this line of thinking: Most truckers are good people and want to do a good job. Good workers are given tools to do their job better, not put in positions to fail. Empowered workers develop pride and respect for their company which increase profits. Workers who are put in a position to fail will perform poorly, cost more money and return negligible profits.
Who do you want working for you? Workers with high morale or low morale? The size of your pocketbook depends on this. Read one of the hundreds of talking head books about organizational leadership…they all say the same thing – your profit and success as a company is directly dependent on the morale of your labor. No one wants to work diligently for management that does not care about them or the law.