A Republican who wants to replace U.S. Representative Jody Hice (R-GA-10) and owns a Jackson-based trucking company said it wouldn’t take much for the government to increase productivity within that industry, especially with current driver shortages.
But government officials would have to have enough willpower to make those changes.
That man, Mike Collins, told The Georgia Star News this week that truckers need more hours of service.
“Right now, we can currently drive 11 hours a day. If they wanted to increase the hours of service just on the driving time then I say increase it an hour a day. You would increase it by a tremendous amount of miles driven in a week to help make up some of the loss we have with the driver shortage. You could even increase it by 15 to 20 minutes,” Collins said.
“If you increased it even 30 minutes you could do away with the 80,000-driver shortage problem that we have out there right now. Another thing they could do would be to increase the weight. That has been in the talks for years, but if you went from an 80,000-pound gross weight to just say 84,000 then for every 12th load that you pick up you have virtually picked up a free load. Those are simple things. Those we are able to do today.”
Collins said the trucking industry has 80,000 fewer drivers now because frivolous lawsuits have scared prospective employees away from the industry. He also blamed problems with infrastructure.
“I have been an advocate for 18-year-olds driving interstate commerce for years. Trucks today are so much safer than what they used to be. There is no reason why we should not introduce these students at the high school level to truck driving, just like any other trade school. Because you figure right now, we’d have to wait until they are 21-years-old,” Collins said.
“There aren’t too many people I know who would hang around after high school to wait until they are 21 to drive a truck. And then you pile on top of that one, 95 percent of the trucking companies out there are 10 trucks or less. I’m 100 trucks, and I must have two years’ experience before we can hire you. [Think about] all these people who are getting their license at seven weeks like [Transportation Secretary] Buttigieg says. Ninety-five percent of the trucking companies can’t even hire them. We have to wait.”
Trucks, Collins went on to say, are safer now thanks to automated transmissions, better rollover stability, and collision mitigation systems.
Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11) and nearly 90 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives this month urged Buttigieg to allow certain 18-20-year-olds to operate Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce.
This, Loudermilk and other members of Congress said in a letter to Buttigieg, to help alleviate the nation’s growing supply-chain emergency. The representatives said there are too few truckers on the road to meet demands.
Hice announced in March that he wants to replace Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and will run for Raffensperger’s seat next year.
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