All That's Trucking

Is 'Abused Driver Syndrome' Rampant in the Industry?

July 12, 2015

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When Tony Keller went to work for Oregon-based Combined Transport, as someone new to working in a business focused specifically on trucking and logistics, he had a hard time understanding why turnover was so high.

The attitude he got when he started questioning why some drivers had 14 or 15 companies in their job history was essentially a shrug and the comment, "Oh, that's just drivers."

After investigating further and talking to drivers, he decided that it wasn't surprising drivers behaved that way -- that like anyone who has been systematically abused, they had lost the ability to trust any fleet employer.

So the Combined Transport general manager took to YouTube recently with a video explaining what he has dubbed "Abused Driver Syndrome."

"I feel compelled to start my thoughts on this subject with a sincre and profound apology to every driver in the industry ... for how you've been treated," he says.

Keller says drivers "have been systematically and repeatedly abused by the trucking industry," as well as by shippers, consignees, dispatchers, mechanics, the general public, regulators, inspectors and more.

Drivers, he says, start each new job wondering how this new comapny will abuse them. Will they cheat drivers out of pay? Yell and curse? Not maintain safe equipment? Not enforce detention rules? Tell drivers to run illegally?

"Like anyone who suffers from abuse, it changes how you behave," Keller says.

While ultimately this is a recruiting video, talking about how CT has transformed itself over the pst three years to end the abuse of drivers, it's a powerful message that no doubt has many drivers nodding their heads in agreement.

What do you think? Drivers, do you think you suffer from "Abused Driver Syndrome"? Fleets, what have you done to end "Abused Driver Syndrome" at your company?


  1. 1. Rob [ June 12, 2015 @ 07:45AM ]

    I've been out here for only 4 years and I just walked out the door of my 5th company yesterday because of rude staff members asking me to perform dangerous tasks. I'm looking for employment outside of the trucking industry.

  2. 2. David [ June 15, 2015 @ 08:42AM ]

    What a breath of fresh air. Finally, someone in management that 'gets it'. Trucking firms should take note and adopt similar business practices. This is great for the welfare and success of the company, the drivers, the drivers family, the community and the country as a collective whole. Great job CT!

  3. 3. Jim [ June 16, 2015 @ 05:29AM ]

    No doubt there is an issue out there but give it time. Drivers like Rob are definitely over sensitive or are part of the problem that companies face. Remember it is a two way street.

  4. 4. John [ June 16, 2015 @ 06:15AM ]

    Wow! An executive recruiter!
    I've driven for 3 companies in the last 18 yrs. The last one said home weekly. Found out right away, there was 11 days in their week. I'm no longer driving OTR. Home daily. Adjustments were made to cover the $1000/mo loss in pay. But it's worth it...NO more dispatchers, shippers, receivers, that just DON'T CARE. I still drive a semi hauling fertilizer and grain. Will I ever go back? No way!

  5. 5. Dirk [ June 16, 2015 @ 10:48AM ]

    After 14 years driving a truck, I got out of the industry because of the abuse! After eight months, I had to go back to driving a truck. ($500 a week less being a mechanic) But it seems that companies are beginning to learn that they can not treat us like a stray dogs! It is a shame that it took the industry to realize this, when we are so under maned! (Last satistic we as around 40,000 driver shortage.) I hope when we fill those jobs, that it does not go back to the old ways.

  6. 6. Rob [ June 17, 2015 @ 07:03AM ]

    As a swift dispatcher Jim naturally finds a driver to be the source of his behavior problems. Thanks for the advice jim, I will definitely give it some time.

  7. 7. Kenny Scott [ June 19, 2015 @ 05:19AM ]

    Without unions rich and powerful companies cannot help there sevles. With deregulation and larger shippers and receivers there is no way one driver can stand up to that so you get bullied. CEOs are afraid to lose business so they let thier driver get treated like crap at shippers and recivers. If large amounts of money had to be paid for a truck sitting the truckers world would be fixed. But all we get is more rules from the Fmcsa to make more pressure on the driver to correct the immense amount of bad management there are in shipping and receiving offices. After 40 years in the business I don't see anything good happening. The teamsters are on there their elbows letting it be driven home and I just don't see the driver of today being over weight and wearing sweat pants and sandals really intimidating anyone. So young people do not go into driving become a tech of some sort you will be happier and healthier .

  8. 8. Dewayne Miera [ July 05, 2015 @ 02:47PM ]

    It's a load of crap. They preach but don't practice what they preach. They don't care about you, me ,or any other drive. All They care about is move their freight just like a lot of other companies out there.The abused Driver Syndrome is a made word that combined came up with to get drivers to come work for them. It's a scam.
    I know because I worked and dedicated myself to them. I had more stress with them then some of other companies I worked for. I quit and I am doing a whole lot better.
    Don't let them fool you when they say they care. Because they don't.

  9. 9. Dewayne Miera [ July 05, 2015 @ 02:51PM ]

    Combined transport don't care about you

  10. 10. Bill Melancon [ September 08, 2015 @ 06:33PM ]

    Respect and professionalism goes both ways. I have been a driver for most of my career and currently a terminal manager for past six years. I have been treated like dirt by the worst of them in all aspects in the industry. The most important thing I've learned from experiences is that drivers are just as important as customers; without either one, you are out of business. I never understood why a trucking company, shipper, or consignee would mistreat the guy/gal who just drove hours on end to deliver a payload. A simple thank you or glad you made it here safely goes so much further with driver than yanking paperwork out his/her hands after waiting in line just to enter a facility. My drivers have never been yelled at, called names, or treated less than human from me or my customers. I tell my drivers, you have an issue bring it to me to handle and I tell my customers the same. That's my job, I manage it all with everyone respecting one another. I have been with my company since 2004; not because of money, but because of a family type team effort and they allow my management style to exist and thrive all without a union. Keep it simple, decent human respect.

  11. 11. Ladon farmer [ November 09, 2016 @ 01:38PM ]

    Abuse is. Right truck companies have the super hand their not in a data base they cover up their wrong been driver since 1993 26 jobs unreal lie like a dog .just recently brought from Nashville Tennessee to Dallas Texas an left. No fault of my resources whatsoever .find own way home.. Pro resources don't go there connect express liars no insurance on truck photo copied insurance off one truck an put on the rest of them .then you be in trouble not them very discouraging. God bless you guy & gals.stay strong my name Ladon farmer in tears left stranded in side road in Texas thank you pro resources ft Worth Texas state


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Deborah Lockridge

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All That's Trucking blog is just that – the editor's take on anything and everything related to trucking, with the help of guest posts from other HDT editors. Author Deborah Lockridge's career as an award-winning trucking journalist started in 1990.


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