By Sandy Long
Ray LaHood, current Secretary of Transportation, has announced he will step down from his post after serving for the last four years. Most truckers are not sorry to see him go.
Under LaHood’s administration, we have seen the Mexican Border opened though fought strongly against by both truckers and many congressional representatives. We have seen trucker’s rights taken away to use cell phones, so far only without headsets, but the writing is on the wall that the use of cell phones will soon end completely; this even though a study done financed by the DOT/FMCSA found no increased risk in hands free cell phone use. Further efforts of Mr. LaHood to end all forms of distracted driving includes stopping truckers from changing cds, eating snacks while driving, or taking a drink of water.
We have also seen total discrimination put forth in the name of safety in the issue of BMI and the loss of ADA rights to protest unfair hiring/firing/testing using the BMI of drivers. “Safety trumps the ADA” has been heard; though there are no valid facts about fatter drivers being less safe than skinny ones.
The issue of driver fatigue too has taken away a driver’s rights. Under LaHood, the FMCSA developed the CSA program and put all log book violations under the heading of ‘driver fatigue’ even if the violation was miscounting the hours, putting the wrong date on the log or forgetting to sign the log. This made all drivers look like they were always driving fatigued…worked for the DOT and FMCSA’s agendas though.
Because of the slanted statistics done through studies funded by the DOT/FMCSA under LaHood, EOBRs have become a given at some point in the near future even though their value beyond a management tool remains unfounded. The promotion of the ‘driver cam’ by the DOT/FMSCA under LaHood will surely come to pass if things remain the same with LaHood’s successor.
Mr. LaHood states no plans in place for his future. It will be interesting to see whom he consults for though. It could be the manufacturers of EOBRs, C-pap machines, sleep study clinics, driver-monitoring cams, anti rollover devices or any number of other so-called technology to make the highways safer supposedly that he has allowed to be promoted under his watch.
Good luck to you Mr. LaHood, wish I could say thanks for the memories and the effects of your reign.