Ed Murdoch: Ed has held a commercial drivers license for 65 years and has spent the better part of 50 years on the road.
Posted By Ed Murdoch: Ed has held a commercial drivers license for 65 years and has spent the better part of 50 years on the road. On 2020-05-07 11:54:29

Amid the chaos created by the lies and manipulations of those who would politicize every incident and event, positive or negative, stands a group taller than most other groups and generally known as double clutchers, asphalt engineers or super-slab cowboys. Every semi you meet on the road or that rumbles by your domicile on the way to fill a void in the pandemic struggle is piloted by a genuine hero/heroine. Gear jammers don’t often wear logos that reflect their disposition however it is a given that each individual navigating a big rig over 12,000 lb. or 5,500 kg. in the current environment should have a great big SHAZAM emblazoned on his/her t-shirt, blouse, pearl-button shirt (or bare chest for the hardy) and ought to be treated with the same open-mouthed admiration of one’s favourite cartoon super-hero. If you qualify, tuck in your cape, walk with your head held high and bathe in the respect you deserve!

Long-distance truckers, log approx. 600 - 700 miles in a driving shift. During that stretch, the driver may well have experienced several different environments producing a variety of airborne pollutants, including the dreaded but largely unknown COVID-19 virus. All this to bring essentials to their neighbourhood service station, supermarket, or convenience store. This is a normal state of affairs for our transportation crusaders in order that high priority commodities may be distributed as safely as possible under the 6 foot (2 meters) social distancing. All’s well and good - or is it?

In the course of a single week, our road knights must pass through many municipal districts and communities and in doing so, there are many hazards that they are unwittingly but inexorably exposed to in the course of their workday. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” is no longer a description of the work done just by the US Postal Service sidewalk engineers.

A transportation carrier that does not value its employees as its greatest asset is missing the boat. These hard-working folk sometimes go months, even years, without contact with upper management. However, the times we are going through requires daily support. The daily phone call or computer contact with the company dispatcher or op manager is a critical protocol which ought to be viewed as vital to the operation. Sometimes it isn’t easy. It requires compassion and patience, characteristics not often ascribed to these corporate positions.

Empty miles are making a big comeback during the Covid-19 scare as non-essential services are taking a big hit. When I was in the dispatcher’s chair 20 years ago, briefly thank goodness for everyone’s sake, I frequently received phone calls from clients asking for our “Lowest backhaul rate.” I had to explain that backhaul rates are a figure in one’s dream and do not exist in reality. The same wear and tear occurs in both directions, fuel, driver’s wages and other fixed costs are the same both ways and are not reduced just because one is running MT miles. Today there are fewer backloads and longer wait times away from home while your carrier fights for the best rate he/she can squeeze out of every load. Corporate belts are tightening, revenue is suffering, and we all know that quite often, it is the company wagons that get the first available loads. Owner-operators always suffer first. It is not fair and not in the contract or company’s mission policy, but that is the way it is.

The trucking industry is already operating on narrow margins of profit, some smaller companies barely breaking even, but all in all, doing better than some service sectors. In 70 years of personal involvement pounding the asphalt as both a company driver and an owner-operator and warming a safety supervisor’s seat for 10 of them, there have been strikes and other business interruptions. Still, they were all pretty much of short duration so as not to hurt the economy too much. But I have never been an observer of this level of mystery and irresponsibility created by an invisible hazard to which no human has yet to define in terms of public acceptance and confidence. And we are not alone.

Do I possess a viable solution? The answer is an emphatic NO! Sorry, no magic bullet here. Cut expenses, stay home and be patient, get familiar with the contents of that job jar, hang, veg, make up inexpensive recipes. Becoming angry does absolutely nothing to advance the cure of the malady or the consequences for which it has become infamous. Abhor the behaviour and not the persona who are endeavouring to mitigate those consequences for the universal good. Above all keep smiling and perform a random act of kindness every day! You will feel better, and you will confirm to Jane & John Doe that we, the trucking brethren, exist to assist. Be safe … 10-4!

Previous Blogs

Bella Coola by Glen Mallard

Hole in One by Dave Madill

On The Wrong Road by John Maywood

Wildlife by Colin Black

On the Road Again by Myrna Chartrand...

Cooking Class by Scott Casey

Know Your Limits by Ed Murdoch...

2020 Vision by Greg Evasiuk...


With 35 years of combined publishing experience, you will see this unique and much improved trucking magazine called Pro Trucker Driver's Choice Magazine

Getting Started

Lawful Torture

Little Star

It's Now Or Never

Winter Blues


The First Time

Let's Block the Road!

In the Face of History

Human Trafficing

Nature’s Child

Distracted Driving


The Virus

"What do you look forward to?"

“Fuel Tanks”

You want me to go where?

From Zero to Hero to Zero

ELD’s and Speed Limiters – Are They Really Safe?

The Dream (July 2005)

The Lonesome Camaraderie of the Transportation Industry

Strange Times

Lockdown Toilets

Life goes on

The Czech Invasion.

A Steep Learning Curve

Fools Casting Calls

We Are All In This Together

How to get Time Off

A New Year

Added Benefits of Trucking

An ill Wind

Loving the Road

Insecure Loads


All Things Shiny and New


The Good Ol’ Days

Cold Trip


A Moment’s Distraction

Have or Have not

Music and Me

Travels With Ringo

Distracted Driver


ELDs, Roads and Covid

Female of The Species

The Switch

Flood of 60

Crimes Against Humanity

Training Hours

In the Truck’s Clutches

Attitude & Altitude

Wide Open Spaces (and closed in places)

Trucking is a Trade

A night to remember

Loading Heavy Equipment


Truck Routes

Then and Now

Attitude & Altitude

A Girl Just Wants to Have Fun…

The Weekend!


How I Write

In The Beginning Part 3

Tires and Unions

Stay Safe

My Rant…


I learned a New Trick

It ain’t the years - it’s the miles.

It’s Time, Gentlemen, Time


The Brain

Blind Man's Buff

Editor's Note

The Flitting


What I Did This Summer



Show Ready


Big Rig Weekends

Love and Trucking

Books and Covers

Like a Boss

It's a Wonderful World

Common Sense By Glen “The duck” Millard

Dad meets a “Bear.”

All Experience isn’t Good Experience…

The Weather Outside is Frightful…

Common Sense

Bad Breaks and Good Luck

Driving Through My Memories for January/February 2023


Time to Reset!

Halcyon Days of Trucking

All Experience…

The Piggy Bus Encounter

Sports and Life Lessons

Winter Storms

Humboldt Tragedy_MELT program

Driving Through My Memories

On The Road Again

Wait Over Weight

I Write

Elliot Lake

The Good (?) Old Trucks

Canadian and Proud of it

Six Cans for Buffalo Joe

Monkeys and Peanuts

Safety First

30? 60? 90? Late Pay

Nothing New


Has anything changed?

Holidays - Then Back To The Grind.

Old Trucker Troubles

Loose Moose

Some of the Trucks I've Seen

The Last Ride

Cold Load Home

Make it a Holiday

Winter Wonderland Trucking

Thinning the Herd

Just Be There…

And to All, a Good Night!

Dumb and Dumber

Helping Out in a Clutch

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Driver Retention Matters_ New Volvo VNL


Tires and Trouble

Idle time

Dinner on the Road

Load Security

Tourist Trucking

The Last Ride