With the recent business venture IdleAire Inc. failing, and going out of business it got me to thinking. Why do good ideas in trucking always seem to fail, or do fail period? We have all seen and heard the listening sessions the FMCSA has been holding recently, they want to change the HOS up, again. Why, must they mess with a good thing? I mean clearly statistics don’t lie, we have seen a decrease in accidents with fatalities. So, why change a good thing that is working?
IdleAir, in my opinion was ahead of its time for sure. They started back in 2000 and fuel wasn’t really that high, yet and we certainly didn’t have the idling restrictions that we have now. That was one reason IdleAir failed. Another reason and I will say this is probably the biggest reason, is the cost. Not that IdleAir was making a killing with the prices they charged obviously because if they were making money why would they have closed?
If the idea of IdleAir would have started later, I believe they might have lasted longer. Now that they have closed, what will the extra 150,000 trucks do? We still have idle restrictions, and more being added seems like every day. Fuel is still pretty high, and that probably never will go back down. These trucking companies, have two options well actually its three options. The first one is to do nothing let the drivers deal with it. This is not going to happen, as drivers would walk away, or at least a few would. I’m sure enough would that a company would be hurting pretty quick.
Second option, is to start putting their drivers in motels of the night or day depending on load schedules. Well I really don’t see this one happening much either, as schedules would conflict, and the driver would end up missing his or her check in time resulting in the hotel giving their room away. Plus, parking would and is a problem, already at hotels. They were not designed to handle tractor and trailers. Cost is another problem, yes generally truckers get a discount for hotels, but if it came down to having to use them all the time, prices are bound to go up.
The third option is, of course APU’s. Auxiliary Power Unit’s that run the electrical side of the truck, without the truck having to idle. It’s like a generator, but is fixed to the truck, and hard-wired into the truck’s electrical system. I think most will keep the batteries on a truck charged as well, or you can use it to charge a battery.
The problem with APU’s is the cost five-thousand and up, some cheaper some higher. Also, one driver I heard talking said with repairs and cost, he might have broken even meaning visible savings for having one. With the cost being so much for these APU’s, and the savings being so little or none at all, companies will not install the APU’s.
The trucking industry is hurting right now, and if something is not done soon, I see a bunch more companies going under. Now with all the rail talk going on, I believe this is for a reason, government wants the rail in and trucking out. But, they will need the trucks anyway, just not as many. And adding more freight to rail, solves the problems of drivers getting their required rest, as there will be no more OTR drivers, it will all be regional home every night. I am pretty sure this is what is coming to trucking. With the implementation of CS2010 which the government says will put 175,000 drivers out of work, and the rail coming in, looks like their plan is working out. So, why do good ideas in trucking fail? It looks like I just answered that question.
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