We all know Uber from the ride-sharing business it has. Uber has changed the way we get around town at night. Uber has allowed folks that drink to have a designated driver at their fingertips. Uber even has a food delivery aspect called Uber Eats. Uber has allowed folks that live downtown in Dallas to be able to travel without having a car of their own. Without Uber, a lot would be different.
Is Uber In The Trucking Industry?
This weekend, I was reading an article in The Dallas Morning News about Uber branching into the trucking industry. Since we have seen a rise in car wrecks involving Uber drivers and Uber passengers, I decided that this should be a topic for my Blog.
To simply answer my question above, Uber is most definitely in the trucking industry. It is now called Uber Freight. As mentioned in the article written by Melissa Repko, 70% of Uber Freight's loads and drivers are based out of Texas!
The reason is simple: Texas accounts for 14% of all freight in the United States. The initial testing routes were between Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. DFW has a high concentration of tractor-trailer truck drivers compared to the labor force for all other areas. In fact, DFW and Houston are top cities for truck drivers in the country.
What Is Uber Freight?
Uber Freight works from an app, just like the regular ride-sharing Uber platform. Essentially, Uber Freight does what a typical transportation broker does with loads and truck drivers - it matches truck drivers with loads of goods to pick up and deliver. Uber's goal is to pair its advanced technology with the efficiency it has studied to make trucking a modern business again.
Goals Of Uber Freight
Uber Freight has some steep competition in a historically competitive business environment. Uber Freight is trying to target a new generation of truck drivers that want to get jobs faster, return from a trip with a full trailer instead of empty travel, and perks for choosing the company. For example, Uber Freight wants to pay the truck drivers faster, such as how Uber does with the ride-sharing program. It is all connected. As soon as a ride is completed, payment is completed.
Uber Freight also wants to get truck drivers some perks like passes allowing them to skip weigh stations, discounts on tires and fuel, and reserved parking spots.
I am all for enhancing people's lives. This seems to allow truck drivers more freedom in managing their lives and loads better. It also is an improvement to the trucking industry.
However, with all new things comes new concerns. Similar to what we saw and still see with Uber ride-sharing, there is the concern of qualified drivers, the FMSCA requirements, and insurance requirements. Let's take a look at these.
Is Uber going to be the trucking company that is going to qualify the truck driver? The federal safety laws outlines what is required for truck drivers to be qualified. It covers the initial employment application, prior work history, road tests, written tests, medical cards, safety training, and supervision that they are in compliance with the rules. Is Uber Freight going to perform this qualification process?
The FMSCA requires truck drivers and trucking companies to meet strict standards, which makes sense because they are driving vehicles that are up to 80,000 lbs. We are talking about tanks going down the roads that would crush a regular truck or passenger vehicle easily. Who is going to make sure that these drivers are within their hours of service requirements? Who is going to monitor that the logs are accurate? We have all read the stories and seen the horrific injuries and deaths caused by drivers that have been driving for too long.
Last is insurance. Uber ride-sharing has a $1,000,000 insurance policy that covers passengers after the minimum $50,000/$100,000 policy their drivers are required to have. What will Uber Freight require their drivers to have (the minimum is $1,000,000) and what will Uber carry in addition to this?
If You Have Any Questions, Let Us Know.
The article that I summarized was from The Dallas Morning News on July 23, 2017. It was impressive and interesting. If you are someone that has been injured in a truck wreck, make sure your attorney is analyzing if Uber Freight was involved, especially in Texas! If you are an attorney, make sure you are looking at who the truck driver was really driving for. At the end of the day, this is an exciting advancement to improve the lives of truck drivers, but it is not an excuse for safety to slip through the cracks.
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