Dray Alliance today addressed how the issue of “forced dispatch” on the quality of life and safety of contract drivers can be avoided with self-dispatch technology capabilities. Forced dispatch - a tool utilized by dispatchers to insist pickups onto drivers despite pushback due to fatigue, driving conditions and more- has created safety and driver retention issues that further backward practices that add to port backlogs.
This issue was illustrated within an April 3 episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” in a deep dive segment on the U.S. Trucking Industry:
“...when these rigid rules bump up against unpredictable work hours, drivers are put in an impossible position. Take this driver, whose company made him take his ten-hour break during the day, when he couldn’t sleep, and then found himself driving exhausted at night. And when he called his dispatcher to say he felt unsafe to drive, just watch how badly the call went:”
(video via YouTube) (transcript).
“While a lot has been made about a driver shortage issue, it is really a driver retention issue that continues plaguing our trucking industry,” said Steve Wen, Co-Founder, and CEO, Dray Alliance. “In our experience working with contract truckers, we have seen the impacts forced dispatch has put on their ability and willingness to work, as they feel their next load won’t come unless they bend to the whim of the dispatcher. And, not only does forced dispatch put drivers at risk of burning out, but also in extraordinarily dangerous situations where they’re operating several tons of machinery.”
Whereas jobs are typically given out from a dispatch center and dispatcher, Dray Alliance provides drivers an opportunity to be their own dispatchers: displaying loads ready for pickup on the company’s app and then allowing drivers to select the load at their discretion. Rates for these loads are completely transparent and drivers are fully aware of what they will make from a given pickup, compared to negotiated rates through typical dispatch methods.
“Being able to select loads at the push of a button rather than having loads pushed upon me has created a great sense of freedom for me to perform my job,” added Tony Chilton, a contract driver who works regularly with Dray Alliance. “I don’t feel the pressure that my livelihood is on the line or my next job won’t be fairly given if I don’t cooperate with pushy dispatchers. I can work a schedule that is fair and safe to me and other drivers I share the road with.”
Dray Alliance also provides drivers with quick and free access to money earned from loads selected and picked up through the app. This is yet another departure from standard dispatch methods that take a portion of earnings off the top as a form of factoring.
A recent FreightWaves article points to The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the record number of coercion complaints received from drivers in the first 14 weeks of 2022. A total of 492 complaints were filed with the government body’s National Consumer Complaint Database over that timeframe. If complaints continue at this pace, 2022 will see over 1,800 total complaints reported, the highest since FMCSA began tracking the stat in 2016 and more than doubling 2021’s totals.
“Without truck drivers, our supply chains would move slower than they already are, as we are seeing the ramifications of shortages now,” continued Wen. “Trucks move roughly 73% of our country’s freight by weight, and if these drivers aren’t appreciated and supplied with the tools necessary to succeed we will not only see continued retention issues, but also continued safety concerns on the road.”
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