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The Weaving Driver

by Rhonda

A perfect day for a drive, the kind of day that you wished would stay year around. But we know that does not happen in Wisconsin or any of the snow states. So I'll simply be happy with today and enjoy every day that will be like this before fall arrives. I'm northbound on I- 39 and all is going well in the truck driver world. The week has been OK, very little waiting, no vehicle issues, all running smoothly and as a driver you wonder if that is good or bad. While I'm debating this, I see in my mirrors a vehicle gaining on me from behind, and its going from shoulder to shoulder and weaving all over the place! 128.jpg

The other vehicles on the road are doing a great job of avoiding this driver. Soon, this vehicle is in the left lane passing me. I'm trying to watch the road ahead and this vehicle at the same time so I don't get hit. Kinda hard to do when you are almost 70 feet long. I do know I want this driver ahead of me so I slow down and keep watching him. Then as he approaches the center of the trailer, he drifts directly toward me!!! I move to the right but stay in my lane. While I continue to slow down and I watch as he drifts back to the left. Finally he gets past me. Then he drifts back into to the right lane and immediately I call 9-1-1. Others pass this vehicle, but I will stay behind him to give reports to the 9-1-1 dispatcher. I see other drivers on their phones and I wonder if they are also calling for help? I tell the 9-1-1 dispatcher that I'm in a semi, I give my name, company name, color of truck and trailer and trailer number too. I explain what I have seen in the past few minutes and what is now happening. I'm asked if I can stay on the line, and the dispatcher mentions that others have also called in. I say I can stay on line til the driver gets off the highway or until I have to get off the highway at my destination for pickup/delivery. I'm told an officer is on the way and I give updates which are passed along to the officer. Soon I see the officer approaching me. He passes me, then gets in my lane as we chat on the CB. We watch the driver weave and then suddenly the driver takes the next exit. The officer asks me to wait on the other side of the overpass so he can get a statement from me. I am glad to help so I stop and send in a Qualcomm message to dispatch explaining what has happend and that I still have plenty of time to make my appointment a few miles away. I get out of the truck and go wait at the rear of trailer. I had a good viewpoint to watch the officer and the driver. Is he drunk? Medical condition? Tired? Vehicle problems?? I'm just glad there were no accidents at this point. I figured all the traffic passing by me are probably thinking "That lady truck driver is broke down." If they only knew the whole story!! Around 20 minutes later, I see the driver leave and the officer come down the ramp and pull up behind me. He gets out of his car and we talk as vehicles pass us are surely thinking "That lady truck driver has problems or is in trouble". He gives me a paper and now those who are passing are thinking "That lady truck driver just got a ticket!" If they only knew. All everyone knows for sure is I am sitting on the side of the road. All the other things they saw were not what they thought it was. I'm told the driver was mad at me for calling 9-1-1. I was not the only one who reported him. The officer needed to give me more paperwork that was back at his office, which was not far away. I said I would wait at the truckstop up the road. Soon he came back with the paperwork and I said I would fill this out today and get it in the mail. I could not fill it out there at the time because my appointment time was approaching. We talked a little bit more and he said he would call my employer too. I left for my next stop. My employer was called and thanked me for doing a good job.

Well, the papers I filled out were my statement for the court. The weaving driver lived about a mile from the point of being pulled over and the officer let him drive home. He must not have been drunk because he would not have been allowed to drive home. I believe it was a medical issue. I do know a ticket was given for a court appearance. The officer did not tell me very much about it though. He was just concerned about getting my statement, which was needed to help with the matter in court. I would think that the ticket would have been for failure to keep the vehicle under control and maintain the proper lane. That would be understandable, but I do not know. I was never contacted after mailing in my report for appearing with the officer. My time on the phone with 9-1-1 along with the others must have been enough evidence for the court.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
by Brett Aquila

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