No Joke: Truckers to ‘Shut Down’ April 1

One Iowa newspaper reporter describes it as “a small, online grassroots effort (that) now appears to have the potential for something bigger.” That “something bigger” is a threatened nationwide shutdown by independent truck drivers — possibly hundreds of thousands of them — April 1.

Though set to take place on April Fools Day, the effort — launched with Dan Little, owner-operator of Little & Little Trucking, L.L.C., a livestock hauling company based in Carrollton, Mo. — is no laughing matter. It began two weeks ago when Little posted an open letter to his fellow independent truckers on USCATTLEHAULERS.com, a web site he set up to give trucking companies like his exposure to prospective shippers anywhere in the U.S.

In the letter, which is still available on the site, he vowed to shutdown his trucking company at 8 a.m. April 1, 2008, and no longer accept loads at any price until such time as the federal government puts into action a plan that will give all owner-operators some help. Components of that plan, as paraphrased from the letter, include the following:

  • Suspension of all federal and state fuel taxes until such time that this economy is back on its feet;
  • Creation of a federal oversight committee to oversee insurance premiums charged for Class 8 truck insurance;
  • Creation of a more-level playing field for all trucking companies by not allowing large trucking companies to self-insure their fleets;
  • Enforcement of federal regulations — that include set maximum amounts for violations — for brokers and shippers; and
  • Standardization of fines from coast to coast.

Little added that he would not return to hauling until “the people we put into office get off their butts and do something to help this Industry.”

He closed the letter by offering his e-mail address — dlittle (a) uscattlehaulers (dot) com — and asking truckers who plan to shut down on April 1 to let him know by e-mail.

It’s important to note that Little isn’t calling it a strike. In fact, during a telephone interview with this blogger this morning, Little emphatically said, “We don’t want a strike,” before adding that many of his colleagues in the world of independent trucking aren’t so quick to agree with him.

He explained that he had received more than a thousand e-mails from truckers who wrote to let him know they are ready to go on strike now. Among them were two drivers associations — both in Florida — with a combined total of more than 100,000 trucks.

While this blogger doesn’t necessarily agree with every component of the plan highlighted above, I do agree with Little and his fellow independent truck drivers that something must be done in order to fix an industry vital to this nation’s security.

If you don’t think this shutdown will impact your life, think about this: The average grocery store maintains only a few days stock of perishable goods and a few weeks worth of nonperishables; therefore, if the shutdown — and, possibly, a strike — lasts longer than three days, you’re likely to feel an impact whether you want to or not.

* * *

See also:

Truck Shutdown Deemed ‘100 percent successful’ (4-02-08)

Truckers’ Shutdown Effort Produces Varied Results (4-01-08)

How Will the Trucking Shutdown Impact You? (3-31-08)

16 thoughts on “No Joke: Truckers to ‘Shut Down’ April 1

  1. A one-day shutdown, even if participated in by a majority of independents, is little more than a blip on the radar. How many independents are fiscally sound enough to afford to stretch it much beyond that? Can the slack be taken up by large companies with their own fleets? Those are points from the devils’ advocate side of the argument.

    On the other hand, the longer-term implications of enough independents doing just what this fellow is advocating, is huge. Folks who think lightly of such a shutdown, can it be extended, have no grasp of just what kind of impact this will have throughout the economy.

    Add to this the subprime (crime) market problems, run-amok gas prices, economic hysteria from the Left…are we going to see a new upheaval, like and unlike that we saw as a society in 1968, 40 years later? I still remember how society seemed to be coming apart at the seams in the eyes of a rather confused 11 year old.

    Don’t wait for reality checks from DC; I doubt most of those self-serving idiots recall when they sold their ‘public service’ souls to special interests over the genuine realities in “flyover country”. But November’s not so far away, that we can’t, en masse, remind the lot of them at the ballot box.

  2. As a company driver I do not fork the bucks out of my pocket at the fuel pumps for fuel! I do it every time I purchase a product, service, utility or look at the levies on the ballot wanting more taxes to pay for school bus fuel, police fuel, utility company fuel and the list goes on, WE ALL DO!
    You might not see it yourself as well as through the eyes of your wife or son or daughter trying to make ends meet. I suggest you ask them what they have put back upon the shelf at the grocery store as being to high priced.
    It does not matter if we can pass on to the consumer the cost of fuel. The bottom line is in today’s economy we are at a point where if consumers can not buy a product we will have nothing to haul.
    Ladies and gentlemen there can be a voluntary shut down on your part in order to try and get congress to come to reality. Face it when those in power being driven in limos pay $4,500 for a hour with a woman do you really think they care about a senior citizen trying to live on $15,000 a year?
    A Michigan Congressman Dingy wants to impose a 50 cent tax per gallon on gasoline! Tell that to those commuting 100 miles a day because of the lack of jobs within their locality! What products will they cease to buy that we haul?
    I will not get into our shipping delays, lack of parking, DOT waking us up and all the other hassles we face.
    Bottom line if consumers can not buy products we haul we all are screwed!
    Lastly slow down? Yes slow down from 65 mph to 55 mph you will get better fuel mileage! Let’s see here 10 mile per hour is $4.00 a hour lost in wages if your getting .40 a mile, a ten hour driving period try $16.00 a day times say 5 days a week that’s $80 a week times 50 weeks in a year $4000 a year in lost wages, I wonder if anyone thought about that?
    At the very least if you do not shut down respect those that have the courage to do what your afraid to do! Run at night to reduce daylight traffic on the road. The public notices a large decrease the press will have to cover the story and start asking questions for us and the American people.

  3. SO YOUR GONNA STARV YOUR OWN KIDDS IN SCHOOL , STOP SETTING ON YOUR BUTT DRIVING A TRUCK , GET YOU SOME EXERCSIZE, LOOSE THAT GUTT , STOP GRIPING AND GET YOU A JOB WERE YOU DO SOME REAL WORK

  4. Gregg at age 55 , 5’11″ 168lbs I do not meet your over exagaerated view of American Truckers! I used to be a US DOD USAF Civilian that worked on guidance systems of ICBMs till they closed the base and privatized it. After 24 years Federal Service I can tell you that driving truck is a tough job!

  5. I wish we could get all the drivers to take part in this strike! I am a retired truck driver, daughter of a truck driver, and am married to a truck driver. It is a tough industry, and a tough job. I know, I did it. “Greg” needs to take a reality check. He probably sees his family every day of the week, and sleeps in a nice comfortable bed every night. He also probably gripes to his wife every night at dinner about the crappy day he had a work.

    The general public considers trucks and truck drivers an annoyance, threat, menace, and a variety of other very impolite things. Let’s see these people get out there and try to do this themselves before they start ripping on us truckers. If you don’t think it’s real work, guess again. By the way, not only are truckers driving for up to 11 hours per day keeping a very large vehicle under control safely, they are doing math constantly to keep track of their hours driven and hours worked to stay legal, paperwork required by the company or broker, and dealing with the public on the road (a rude bunch of brats!), at the shipper/receiver (sometimes a rude bunch of brats), and even at the truck stops because they are Travel Centers now, and the general public uses them as much as truck drivers do. Truckers also have to inspect their vehicles daily, and at some places even have to load or unload their trucks.

    The clutch, fuel and brake pedals, and the shifter in those trucks are not like the ones in the little sports cars – they are a work out big time, and the worse the traffic, the more work a driver’s legs and arms are getting.

    People need to realize that all the toys they dearly love, from the Blackberry to the Wii to the sports car and SUV, the food, clothing and household items they purchase on a daily basis, and even the building materials that went in the those fancy houses in the planned communities all were transported by a truck and a truck driver. The public needs to keep that in mind the next time they want to bash on a truck driver for being in “their” way on the highways, streets, and interstates. Two types of people in this country that do not get the respect they deserve from most people are the military personnel and the truck drivers.

    Thanks for letting me vent about this. I did a research paper for a class in college recently regarding highway safety, and the statistics are interesting – majority of time the accidents are caused by car drivers, not truck drivers.

    Carrie L Dobrin

  6. Well said Carrie! You never really know what another job is like until you’ve actually done it, but I think there’s probably more misconceptions about driving truck than almost any other profession out there.

    Sure, drivers may look a little rough around the edges, but I think most of us still remember when they were the knights of the road. Before cell phones, if you broke down, you prayed for a truck to come by and give you a hand. And they would.

    Yeah, you have to share the road with them. Just like living in a house with someone, you’re going to get annoyed at each other. But these guys are PROFESSIONAL drivers. It’s what they DO, some of them for 60 – 70 hours a week. They can handle a massive piece of equipment and get it to dance. Ever see a truck parallel park? From a blind side so they don’t even have their mirrors to help them? Think someone that drives a car could pull that off? And I have been riding in my husband’s truck when some of these cars pull stunts that could get them AND us killed. Literally. The sick part is often it’s to dash in front of a truck, cut it off, then slow down, just so they can get where they’re going a few seconds faster. Since when is getting anywhere a few seconds faster worth risking lives?

    Now these guys (and gals) are in trouble. And if we don’t get behind them, we’re only hurting ourselves. More truckers going out of business is going to keep tearing at an economy that’s going down the toilet as it is.

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  8. On our way back from Tucson Arizona I was paying $4.39 a gal to $3.99 a gal. for diesel for my truck. I stopped at a few truck stops on the way home and I talked to a few truck drives on the diesel prices. In talking to some of the truck drivers that are company drivers I was told that there company was only paying $1.67 a gal due to a deal that the companys made with the truck stops. Is this true and how can they do this if it is? If so then who is making all the money? The middle class people are paying for every thing that is trucked and those prices keep going up.
    The way we look at this is what if the gas prices go down that in turn would bring everything down and there lies some of the solution to alot of our problems. Hopefully our economy will then start to climb and there would be more money to stimulate the economy, thus helping the middle class which are becoming poorer and poorer week after week.
    If the trucker would stop for 3 days the shelves would be empty in the grocery stores so hear this people The trucker are doing it for one day we hope and pray this will get though to people Thank you Truckers for doing your part and doing something.

  9. I have personally talked to a Swift company driver and he confirmed that his company only pays $1.67 a gallon for fuel per a 6-7 year contract they signed with the supplier (i’m not sure if it’s the truck stops or a larger supplier) and then the company charges the Owner Operators leased onto them about $3.30 a gallon!!! Savings for the Owner operator and a HUGE profit for Swift!! I have heard that a few of the larger companies did that, thus the reason for being able to haul CHEAP FREIGHT and that in turn brings the rates down (along with the junky mexican trucks hauling it cheap)!!!!!!! That is total B.S. if you ask me!! Please, everyone…… stop hauling Cheap freight!!

    I will be participating in the 45 mph “dance” and I don’t care how many “4-wheelers” it pisses off!! Let’s stick together and do this!!

    SLOW DOWN AMERICA – make em think!!

    It would help too if the consumers would stop buying products from all the stores for a few days too!! We AMERICANS have to stick together!!!

  10. White House Comment line is 202-456-1111
    MAKE THE CALL!! REAL PEOPLE ANSWERING !! LEAVE A COMMENT FOR THE PRESIDENT…

    Perhaps the President might get a bit of the boycott as well boycott hauling cattle from his ranch!

  11. Pingback: Truck Shutdown Deemed ‘100 percent successful’

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  15. The fuel prices are hitting everyone around the world. Not only America. With Mobil-exxon earning over $40 billion in profit for the last financial year,they are earing about $78,027 a minute, that is $1300 a second. How long does it take you to earn $1300. Parking up your truck is a graet idea, but why don’t we expand on it. Where do the oil companies earn their money from? They earn it from the fuel stations we all buy from, weather they be truck stops, petrol stations, fuel stops, anywhere you can buy fuel from. Parking our trucks is not hurting the oil companies, only ourselves. Why not park them at the service stations. I recond there are enough trucks in this world to park at every fuel station for a major hurt on the oil companies. Park your trucks up at night from 6pm to 6am every night at every fuel station for 7 nights. No one can buy fuel, the comanies wont earn any profits, and the tucks can still earn a living during the day. A rolling strike. Shut all fuel stations down for 12 hours a day for 7 days. See if that would have an effect. This would have to be a world wide thing so it would have maximum impact. Have a good think on it everyone. Set a date so everyone in the world will do it at the same time. Keep the rubber on the road and stay safe.

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