Profile For Bill M.

Bill M.'s Info

  • Location:
    PA

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 3 months ago

Bill M.'s Bio

New to trucking, again!

I'm from Western Pennsylvania, close to the Ohio Border. I grew up working on cars and tractor-trailers. My uncle Owned and operated a welding shop and a tractor-trailer repair business. His shop was two blocks from my house when I was just a child. From the time I was about 5 years old, he took me to work with him as often as he could - which by the way, happened to be a lot. When I was a teenager, he put me on the payroll. For the next three years, I pretty much ran the collision shop and handled all the tire replacements and the trailer repair work for him.

Upon graduating high school, I entered active duty Air Force. Within 18 months, I was a qualified Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Maintenance Technician. Part of our duties included transporting the missiles. This is where I initially earned my "double clutch" military CDL. It was a six-week school with a very intense road test to pass. Upon graduating, I was given an award for being the youngest driver ever to attend and graduate from the course. In my profile pictures, you can see a picture of one of the trucks I drove.

I left the Air Force after four years of service. Dumbest thing I ever did. I ended up homeless for a couple of years. But I always worked some kind of job and never strayed far from the military; I served in the National Guard for a couple of decades. Always having a civilian career, I spent most of my years troubleshooting electronics and working in IT in the medical field.

About 12 years ago, I thought I would go to college and see what they know. So I did. I earned a degree in the applied sciences, nutritional biochemistry. I went to work in healthcare for about eight years, managing tube feedings in intensive care and helping people manage their chronic health conditions through adequate nutrition and lifestyle modifications. This, too, was a cool job for someone that was told by every teacher in high school he wouldn't amount to much in life and just forget about college.

But trucking always called to me, always beckoned me. And here I am after 33 years out of a truck. At least for maybe the next five years until I fully retire.

Motto: Today was a good day; tomorrow will be better.

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Posted:  3 months, 3 weeks ago

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I64 in West Virginia

Haha. Between my 4-wheeler and trucks, I've run 64 hundreds of times. Dark or daylight, it can be hairy, especially your first time through.

PackRat tells no lies - 60 would have been an experience!

Happy Holidays to you too!

Posted:  3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Walking/Exercising while on the road pay$ in more ways than one

Many of my past postings on this forum have included me sharing the fact that I exercise regularly and eat a healthy dietary pattern while on the road. Even though I will run my 11hr or 14hr clock to the ground, everyday. I still get our and exercise a few days every week while on the road.

For instance, yesterday. I was scheduled for a 0500 live unload in Hershey, PA followed by a live load in Philadelphia, PA. I knee I would be running my 14hr clock, not my 11hr click the rest of the day. So, while in Philadelphia waiting to be loaded, I hit the streets for about an hour of walking.

Well, on my third time back through past shippers docks to see if my trailer was still in there (the have us drop it and leave), a $50 bill came blowing in from the street. It came to rest directly at my feet. I looked at it, looked around in disbelief, then picked it up. 😲

Not coincidentally, with the amount of walking and running I do, I routinely find money. But, until yesterday's $52.65 day, about $3.50 was the most I've ever found in a single day. I doubt that will be duplicated or surpassed on my future excursions.

But that won't stop me from trying while getting my exercise.🙃

Posted:  3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Low Bridges & Misc.

Those slogans. LOL.

This happened on 376 near Hermitage, Pennsylvania. The driver of a roll-off left his bed/rails up after dropping the dumpster. He had some serious injuries. As you can see, the frame rails of the lift were ripped entirely off of the truck. The bridge is a total loss. It will be demolished, and a new one will be built. The earliest the road will reopen is June 2024.

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Posted:  4 months ago

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Cameras inside facing road and cameras on mirrors facing back side of truck.

It does just that. Also, every month, the driver is given a rated score based on driving habits. The insurance companies use this score to determine the overall insurability of the driver, rates are adjusted accordingly.

I wonder how long before most companies install driver facing cameras. As with forward facing cameras, I bet it helps with their overall insurance rates. If they all do it nobody except O/Os will be able to get away from them.

Posted:  4 months ago

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Cameras inside facing road and cameras on mirrors facing back side of truck.

I'm with you, Drew; they can look at whatever they want to look at when I'm on their time using their equipment. I have nothing to hide, and I, too, had the camera save me when A car intentionally backed into me at a red light.

Once I'm off of the clock, I pull the curtains.

So unpopular opinion here...

But I learned to like having cameras. I don't have anything to hide from my employers, so they can watch me pick my nose and scratch my balls all day if that is what they get off on.

Partial joking aside, cameras saved my ass from liability TWICE when I worked for AAA. No one spends time watching trucker TV. Safefy usually has bigger fish to fry. That said, as others have mentioned, during downtime, close the curtains. Some trucks have a middle visor that pulls down over the camera as well.

I would not tamper with the equipment, however. Some companies roll their eyes at it while others will outright fire you for it.

Posted:  4 months ago

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Cameras inside facing road and cameras on mirrors facing back side of truck.

That will probably get you fired!

I'm a company driver. They just installed cameras on mirrors facing back with wide angle lenses. Now they can see in cab also which they said they wouldn't do. Is it illegal to put a hand clamp with some tape to window side of camera so they can't see in cab?

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Saftey first on those hiways and biways

AAAALLLLLLLL week. Man. He's a regular. I pick him up just about everywhere, but especially in the Chicago area and byond. He was nonstop this week. I did the same and turned off my radio.

Anyone else hearing this jerk? All week long spamming channel 19 with the same bs to the point I have to shut my CB because I can not take it anymore.

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Is Prediabetes considered diabetes for a DOT physical?

As a registered dietitian who has partnered with thousands of patients to help them manage their "prediabetes" and diabetes, "prediabetes" IS diabetes. This is not semantics. at least it shouldn't be. The fact that you mention "chronic kidney disease is cause for concern. The doctors and endocrinologists will tell you it's just prediabetes, or what they also call "borderline" diabetes, and might recommend metformin. But now is the time to get your HbA1c under control and as close to 5.0% as quickly and consistently as possible through diet (as Grumpy Old Man mentioned) and exercise. Not to be an alarmist, but your heart and kidneys (play a role in BP) are just two of the organs in your body irreversibly damaged by diabetes. No pun intended, but don't let anybody sugarcoat this disease for you. It creeps in slowly for many because they aren't educated to take it more seriously and they do not make adjustments. They're just recommended to "watch" their diet and maybe take some metformin and be on their way most of the time. Sorry, I went down the rabbit hole there. This doesn't answer your question.

As for a DOT physical - no. Why? Because the medical establishment has that arbitrary HbA1c number of above 6.4% as a 'diagnosis' of diabetes, and you are not on insulin.

Good luck with everything. Trucking is a rewarding career for those willing to put in the time to be successful.

Posted:  4 months, 4 weeks ago

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Trucking employment is contracting the fastest on record this century

Quality info, Brett!

April and May of this year were the worst mileage months of my young rucking career. However, for the last 6 weeks, I've averaged +2500 per 5 days worked. This week was short by design, so I can lay it down Sunday through Thursday and get home for Turkey Legs and mashed potatoes! dancing.gif

The following chart came from an economist comparing the "employment index" in 2023 (the red line) to the past major downturns we had in 2000 (Tech Stock Collapse) and 2008 (Great Financial Crisis). Apparently hiring is way, way down this year.

Here is the chart:

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Obviously, finding work right now in trucking is far more difficult than it was historically, but it all goes in cycles, and things will soon enough return to normal.

I'd love to know how everyone is doing for miles? Are you guys still running hard?

Posted:  4 months, 4 weeks ago

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Trucking employment is contracting the fastest on record this century

Your prognostication, good sir, could prove to be the most accurate of prognostications to-date this century!

I completely agree with everything Brett laid out. We are in unprecedented times. Things are taking place that we have never experienced before. We just don't know what may happen.

My business background tends to cause me to theorize about business and how it will unfold. I don't recommend any of you take my comments as business advice. I see over capacity as a huge issue right now. Brett laid out a beautiful display of why we are here. He also said this about over capacity...

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trucking capacity always lags behind supply and demand. There's always too little capacity in the early stages of increasing demand, and too much capacity in the early stages of decreased demand. Right now we're in the stage where demand is decreasing, but capacity has not reacted enough yet.

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I want to preface what I am about to say with the fact that I know I am an eternal optimist. I have to be careful about that personal leaning. It has led me astray before, but I can't help it, that is just how I am wired.

I am anticipating a quicker recovery than many seem to be forecasting. My reasoning is based on what is going on with these large brokerage houses failing so quickly and unexpectedly. Brokers have always had the image of being a parasitic component of the trucking industry. Most people consider them as gouging the rest of us, and making a killing while doing what they do. Now we find they aren't really set up to take the heat that is generated in the kitchen.

They have gotten sophisticated with their software and their ability to handle a lot of freight transactions. Tech savvy people have jumped on the bandwagon and tried to garner much of that market share. Right now we are witnessing some of the large players fold up and crash. These were the folks who were supposed to be making a lot of money. Now the curtain has been pulled back. We find they were operating off of borrowed money and the higher interest rates are killing them. We've had people scoff at us here over the years when we talk about the tight operating ratios in trucking, but we are being proven correct by the current circumstances. It is very easy to quickly get upside down in this business.

This is just my opinion, but I think if we see some more of these large brokerages crash and burn, the attrition rate itself will help us to a quicker recovery. Much of our overcapacity right now is being caused by the brokers. They are in a really tough spot right now. As trucking companies and brokerage houses fall like a house of cards, we should see a reckoning of the problems with over capacity.

Again, I am speculating and I do not recommend anyone take my ramblings as business advice. I have been wrong so many times that you would be foolish to follow anything I say as good prophetic insight.

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