NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Derrick Givens is a modern trucker. A member of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), Givens, a 17-plus-year veteran of the road, already knew about the latest Department of Transportation action on the restart portion of the current Hours of Service. He had read an -mail from the drivers’ organization earlier in the day, before we caught up with him at the TravelCenters of America/Petro Stopping Center here at the Galloway exit off Interstate 40.
The current HOS regulations and its less restrictive restart, which were just made permanent by DOT, are “more driver friendly,” he said, raising his voice to be heard over 18-wheelers pulling in for the afternoon. But he remains skeptical of the process.
“We’ll put a Band-Aid on it until the warranty runs out,” he said, referring to electronic logging devices (ELDs) and other safety technology. "They tweak and tweak [the rules], but drivers are going to do what they are going to do,” Givens said. “If I get tired I pull over.”
Asked his opinion of trucking issues, Givens didn’t hold back.
“Variable speed is a hazard,” he said, referring to speed limiter technology. He said he has noticed more women and minorities in the business and believes this to be a positive development, but adds that he finds driver trainees "dangerous" to other drivers.
Givens said he believes that if President Donald Trump does create more jobs, as he has promised, “[he] will create low-wage jobs.”
“There’s no more career jobs,” Givens said.
“It’s greed” he said of the main motivation he sees around him.
Givens started his driving career in Hawaii, hauling for C&H Sugar, which closed down its last Hawaii mill in January. He then migrated to California where he drove for Enron, the energy-trading company whose top executives ended up in jail and whose employees ended up without their pensions.
“I came in one day and everybody was gone,” he said.
He also hauled military freight for Tri-State and Trism, and hauled for Lucas Oil as well, he said.
Givens has no wife and no children, and that’s worked fine for him, he said, adding "I've met truck drivers with 32 kids" from different wives. Taking advantage of his lack of dependents, he said he paid for his nephew to take his bar exams.
But the 54-year-old driver said he had just rekindled a relationship with a girl he knew when he was eight years old.
He currently lives in North Hills, California, and drives for Culbert Transportation in Los Angeles.