Michael Gaudreault (aka; Trucker Mike & Throttle Jockey)
This month marks 20 years since I first sat behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer. Like many of the drivers before me, I never went to any driving school. I learned on the job. I had barely even started to learn about trucking when I experienced my first national truck shut down, and was still very green behind the gills with much to learn. It was only a month or so into my training in November or December of ’93. The day before the scheduled shut down date we had to unload in Boston and reload in Worcester, MA. My instructor said we needed to get in and out as fast as we could and get our butts home to Florida. The last shut down someone was shot in the Boston area for still driving.
We made it home in time, though I don’t recall exactly what we were shutting down for. However, as I recall the week long shut down was a success. Over the years there has been talks of various shut downs for many reasons. None since have really happened in the same magnitude. Whether it’s because the number of independent operators has dwindled drastically over the past couple of decades from a controlling 70+ percent, to less than 20%, or what, I don’t know. What I do know is that the most common remark from this new breed of driver is that they can not afford to shut down. No matter how important the cause may be.
Though the pay has somewhat increased over the years, the expense for commercial drivers has risen even higher. I had more money after road expenses and bills than I do today. That’s for sure. Like most other Americans, we truck drivers live pay check to pay check as well. So it seems that even the freedom of the open road once shared by the American trucker has been stolen by the takeover of large corporations in every aspect of the industry.
In my travels I have talked to many drivers about some of the social, political, and environmental issues I see in my country, its government, and other parts of the globe as well. It has become my experience that the trucking industry is as a whole the most awake to the issues. This is why I started this site (with much help from my good friend Another Brother). I wanted a place geared toward drivers to get information on the problems we all face, and to share it with others. To me the first step to solving the issues is self education of the problem(s), and then sharing what I’ve learned and where the info came from with others so that they may go out and awaken more people as well.
To me this up and coming shut down is more about drawing attention to the issue of certain organizations, corporations, and financial institutions working toward the dismantling of the Constitution of the United States with the aid of our own government in order to create a firmer control on the populace. A control through economic enslavement by debt, control of ones physical being through healthcare, environment, and the genetic modification of food, control through education to program how one thinks, and control through willing loss of freedom with the idea of safety. Most do not notice the subtle changes. And, if they do they feel that there is nothing that can be done. I say there something that can be done, but only if we put aside our petty differences and stand together.
This shut down is only for a weekend. I understand that not everyone can make the ride on DC, but if you can, please do. If you can’t, then arrange to be home for the weekend, or tell your dispatch that you need to shut down for the weekend. If we all stand together on this the eyes of the people will be upon us. Someone ask you why, just point them to a place on the internet to where they can find the evidence themselves.Together we can make a difference.