Here we are, embroiled in CARB’s late rule changes that have done nothing but to confuse and really aggravate many including me.
I was hoping for the loan denial option to really help some of our folks that have not recovered from the great recession. Ha-ha! What a joke!! It’s going to be almost impossible to jump through the many hoops that CARB has mandated for this extension. If you somehow manage to do everything that they are asking and get the extension, you will be required to put labels on both sides of your truck that are white letters – EH on a black background. This stands for Economic Hardship. To me, this is saying to the world, EH – LOOSER. They have gone back to the Puritan days of being branded with a letter on your forehead!!!
Since this option is out for so many I know, and the low mileage construction truck (LMCT) exemption will run out at the end of next year for many ten-wheeler owner-operators including myself, I decided to do an un-official survey of many different types of truckers up here in the North. I did not realize what an extremely difficult and emotional undertaking it would be.
What Will You Do?
It is such a simple question, but one that opened a whole tirade of emotions in their responses.
I spent several hours of heart-wrenching conversations on the phone with members doing my unofficial survey asking the question “what will you do”?
This question started a long conversation with each person on their struggle with what is happening to our industry. Each person’s answer was not a short one, but long, full of pain, frustration and anger. I found that no matter what entirely different roads each one was traveling, if they had upgraded, bought new, filtered or were using any other options, the theme was always the same:
- A real sadness of losing an industry that we all loved, enjoyed, had fun with and was proud to be in.
- A tremendous frustration of the government’s intrusion into an industry that they have no concept of how it functions.
- And lastly of being so fed up with it all that they have thrown up their hands in disgust and defeat.
Of the ones I talked to, at least two-thirds of them will be going out-of-business, one way or another. They will be retiring, getting driving jobs, leaving the state or going back to school to hopefully learn another profession.
We are talking about a real truck shortage in the near future. I think the biggest problem will be in finding 10-wheelers. They are the ones that are mostly using the LMCT option and will be gone at the end of next year. If in the future we are lucky enough to actually have some rain, we always run the risk of our aging levee system breaking down. The 10-wheelers that are left would be needed for these levee repairs as has happened so many times in the past.
When, not if, we have a major disaster here in our Golden State, the ten wheelers will be the work horses to do the repairs. I cannot imagine the filtered trucks that are left idling down a levee for even a few hours without major breakdowns.
In closing, I can only say we have tried our best, worked very hard for every one of you and can look back with pride in what we have accomplished and tried to do to save our businesses.