There is an epidemic of trucking "reality" shows. For those of you not out here with us, these people are cast, the situations are given for sensationalism and ratings. Sadly, they would not need that sensationalism in real life for the truckers' lives stay interesting, and there's never one day that is the same.
David Redmon has spoken out time and time again against Ice Road Truckers and the oversensationalism of this show. People are listening slowly but surely. We even watched the mini-series he posted speaking out on YouTube. (Part of research is getting to watch someone I've spoken to in private in social media.) While he faces major risks to tell the truth, others will talk in private, hush-hush emails and phone calls. One good way of displaying the extreme untruth is by one situation a few of them have told me about. A person hauling a mail wagon doesn't do a few seasons of flatbed and automatically get moved into a chance for heavy haul. There are many more ahead of this said person in this certain company with the experience in flatbed and oversized that would get the opportunity first. Heavy haul is something many spend years upon years to get to, not just 4 or 5 years. This is just one of many examples I can throw forward on one show.
The outrage toward IRT boiled over for many when the newest "Deadliest Roads" came about. In came a character that many of us can't stand. Many of us were just waiting for stupidity to seep forth. "Truck surfing" was the straw that broke the camel's back. It made everyone look like a clown. Pete Llarena screamed it from the rooftops.
Now, comes Shipping Wars from uShip. I've watched uShip for a while now. They are more worried about winning a bid than hauling for at least subpar prices. Real truckers aren't like that. They know they're doing a hard job, and many are upset that there hasn't been a pay increase in decades. We are waging war against cheap freight, while the people who own and use uShip are telling truckers that their worth is pennies on the mile. The rates are steadily falling right now, proving that some people think that uShip is real life. It isn't. We run a business. Businesses do not run off of pennies. So, here's this new "great" show. They are breaking the law in ways unseen in the real life. It's no secret that there are gray areas in trucking that can be pushed to the edge of their limit. All of real life has gray areas, trucking is real life. On occasion, necessity calls for the usage of these gray areas. The people on uShip, however, seem to think that they are above the law. When the first episode came on, we were still moving. Joyce Brenny came onto my facebook page, absolutely upset. I'm surprised something wasn't thrown at the television. She has started writing letters. She wants reality like this gone. Here is the letter:
To Whom It May Concern: January 11, 2012
The trucking industry has been humiliated, degraded, and disrespected by the new reality show, Shipper Wars. Let it be known that this show is NOT an example of how the professionals who make their living in the trucking industry conduct business.
Those of us who maintain a safe and compliant trucking business want this show off the air immediately! To tolerate and display such illegal and unethical actions in relation to the trucking industry can not and will not be tolerated!
Shipping Wars displays every action professional truckers despise! We will not under bid for mere enjoyment, we bid freight to take care of our families. Professional truckers will not risk their own lives or the lives of the general public by driving without proper rest. Professional truckers have the accredited insurance and proper credentials to haul shipments across the country, unlike the unprofessional haulers displayed in the not so real, reality show “Shipping Wars.”
As a leader in the trucking industry and a voice for professional truckers I demand the removal of this show from the air. A public apology should be offered to those whom have been offended by your failed attempt in displaying the world of trucking.
If you want to showcase a show about “real” professional truckers I would suggest you contact respected industry organizations such as OOIDA, TCA, ATA and WIT.
President, Brenny Transportation, Inc.
Chair Woman, Minnesota Trucking Association
I encourage others to follow Mrs. Brenny's lead. If you scream loud enough, people will listen. Just ask the Canadian truckers who stopped a commercial after less than 24 hours due to the depiction of truck drivers.
For those of you sitting at home, reality is more exciting than fakes trying to appease a producer.
Billings, MT: A nice, sunny day with a light breeze gets hectic fast. The sky turns black. Lou goes in for our bill lading while I finish paperwork in the truck. I look up, and there is a tremendous rolling in the clouds right above the truck. The first thing of hail, while I'm watching the funnel cloud form directly above my head, threw me off so bad, I let out a blood curling scream. Straight line winds come up, and lightning is everywhere. A bolt strikes the street light not even a block away from me.
Houston, TX: 2 miles of 45 aren't allowed for oversized loads to go down, so you have to take a frontage road, then hop back on. At 14' wide, we are taking up the entirety of the frontage road. There's a BMW parked cock-eyed in the right hand lane, pointing into a driveway, with the front foot in the driveway. We are forced to stop. Lou walks up to the car, and there's no one in it. Traffic is now building up behind us because they can't get around this load. Finally, the owner walks up and tells Lou, "BMW, everything shut off. Can't get it in neutral." Lou walked back to the car with the owner, and when he slides in to get it in neutral, is met with ankle deep water IN the car. A law enforcement officer is stuck behind us, and with his suit on, comes up, chews the car owner out, thanks Lou, and helps push the car.
Lou was working on his side box, and accidently discharged the fire extinguisher some time ago. I heard him gagging and coughing and cussing, so I left the bunk to see what's wrong. A white cloud of smoke sucked the oxygen out of me.
Reality may be slightly more boring than what they show you on television, but reality is real. Our reality every day out here changes. Some days are funny, some days are irritating, some days are somber, some days are all of the above and more. If you as a producer want reality, then get the real truckers and their real every day lives. Get Marty, the grandfather who lost their infant grandchild while across the country. Get David, who had his granddaughter brutally murdered while 1000 miles away. Get the driver who just saved someone's life while putting their lives in jeopardy. Get the jeopardy who pursues justice against people who hurt children while going cross country. Get the parent crying via Skype or cell when he first comes out here and is home sick for their children. Get the person cutting someone out of wreckage. Get the woman out here, actually doing heavy haul. Get the truckers who are driving tankers in Los Angeles, like Mike used to do. Get real people, real life, real situations, or call it the fiction that it is! Give me my real reality jerks!