Savannah Truck Drivers Speak Out Against Employersby Jana Ritter - Published: 6/03/2015
Last month 18-wheelers were blamed for three separate recent accidents in Georgia that killed twelve people, including April's tragic crash that killed five Georgia Southern nursing students. Now Port of Savannah truck drivers are speaking out. Not only are they tired of being thought of as public enemy number one, they’re even more tired of being an “afterthought” in the very industry they work in.
January 05, 2018 - Trucker Faces 20 Years After Pleading Guilty To Smuggling Alien Found Dead In Locked Toolbox
January 02, 2018 - Police Identify 2 Oregon Truck Drivers Killed In Fiery Head-On Crash
December 27, 2017 - Iowa First Of Eight States To Debut New Truck Parking Information System
At a news conference Tuesday morning, the group of Savannah truckers started their public protest saying that unsafe working conditions and long hours on the road are to blame for the recent truck accidents in the area. They also add that low pay and trying to meet unfair company demands also contribute to an unsafe work environment. Last year, NBC news also aired their inside investigation into companies forcing drivers to spend long hours on the road and some even forcing their drivers to falsify logs.
“We shouldn’t be struggling. Everybody’s struggling, in the industry everybody is taken care of but us,” said truck driver John Jackson. Teamsters Local 728 spokesman, Jerome Irwin Sr., was also present at the news conference. “These drivers are driving and put under pressure to make loads that they can’t deliver on. Instead of companies telling drivers to reschedule loads they tell the drivers, you’ve got to make it,” he said.
The Savannah truck drivers are furthering their fight with their own plan of action to call on state regulators to step in and take control of the situation. They’re also calling for the US Department of Transportation to enforce regulations requiring trucking companies to limit the number of hours they can require their drivers to work. “They need to get tougher on these companies. Give them some kind of guidelines to go by. Give them some kind of system,” said Jackson.
While there are many truck drivers who prefer not to be regulated and would rather be given the freedom to determine their own hours on the road, based on how they feel at the time, driver Carol Cauley isn’t one of them. She said that without regulations companies are more inclined to pressure drivers to keep going even when they’re fatigued and that is what leads to dangerous road risks for everyone.
“I actually have friends I know that have told me that they’ve fallen asleep on the road, and I’m like please slow down and they’re like well, I have to take care of my family.” Cauley said. She also wanted to make it clear that herself and other truck drivers are sincerely concerned about the families involved in the crashes.
“Don’t make the drivers get out there and go back and forth when they know they’re out of hours and that’s what the trucking companies are doing…. And our hearts go out to the bereaved families and we pray nothing like this ever happens again,” Cauley said in her public address.