Profile For Matt M.

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Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Brakes question

Moisture, grime, rust, and what not can build up in the drums and then sitting for awhile can make them stick a bit.

I've always been able to fix that with reversing then driving though, never had to bust out the hammer.

Posted:  3 months ago

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Flatbed company for student driver?

Prime Inc does cdl training and has a flatbed division you can go straight into, although it's a pretty far cry from "smaller company." We have something like 8,000 drivers. Most of those are in the reefer division though.

One caveat with Prime Inc is they require you to pay for your flatbedding equipment (chains, straps, tarps, etc), which is two to three grand if I remember correctly. These come out in weekly payments of like $50 a week. You are paid $700+ weekly while in training, after you have obtained your cdl (usually a week of orientation, a couple of weeks as a student driver, then six to ten weeks of team driving with a trainer where you begin getting paid).

There's a driver here Turtle that had a very successful first year in Primes flatbed division.

Posted:  3 months ago

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4 months solo. I have questions?

If you receive an inspection along with the warning you will get csa points. If you received an inspection it would have been a paper you had to send to your carrier.

My wife got csa points for a headlight being out (during the day no less), and she received a warning and an inspection.

I have no idea about the accident. I wouldn't worry about it too much, these are pretty typical things for a first year driver from what I've seen.

As long as you aren't jumping ship after 3-4 months I don't think they will affect you much. Just don't hit anything else, and keep on top of those pretrip and posttrip inspections (and I like to do a quick walk around when I stop midtrip as well, to check tires and lights mostly).

Posted:  3 months ago

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SLOW DOWN in adverse conditions

My wife and I have pretty much always ran unless the road was closed, but we did shut down on i80 once when we saw about 300 vehicles in the ditch between Des Moines and La Salle, IL. We saw a handful of wrecks as they occurred, and while I could control the truck at the speeds I wanted to go it was just too dangerous with all the knuckleheads around us.

It will pretty much keep happening, folks are willing to put their life on the line to save 5 seconds.

Posted:  3 months ago

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Well, I'm stuck.

Sounds like a rough day. When the road re-opens you should stop by Punxsutawney and go groundhog hunting.

Posted:  3 months, 4 weeks ago

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How is That a Truck Route?

US-62 in Arkansas is gnarly.

I had a Tyson load that picked up in Dardanelle and they wanted me to pick up one more pallet in Broken Bow, OK before heading to Cali. I swore I would never take AR-27 and AR-28 again. Nothing but loggers and burnt out houses there. There was one mountain curve so banked I thought the truck and trailer were gonna go tumbling down the mountain.

That was with a few months experience, I'd kinda like to do it again with an empty trailer to see if it really was that bad. Lots of 15mph curves for sure.

Posted:  4 months ago

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Questions about Prime

Wouldn't worry too much about the school thing, they might want some kind of verification that you were doing that. My wife had a large period where she was unemployed and Prime just asked for a reference to verify (I thought that was funny myself).

I wouldn't worry too much about the lightweight vs condo thing until you get up to Springfield and look at some of them. It's easy enough to get into a condo, and lightweights aren't too bad.

I'm 6'4 and 200 lbs and had no trouble in the freightliner lightweight, and my wife traveled with me for a few months in that truck. If you take out the passenger seat you can bolt a fridge to the floor in it's place, lots of guys strap a microwave to the top of it as well. You can bolt a tv to the window frame of the sleeper, I'm guessing 32 inch or smaller would fit.

Also, the lightweight pays $100 - $150 more per week, that's easily an extra five grand a year. I team with the wife now so we run a condo, but if I went back solo I would go back to a lightweight truck.

Finally, I believe Prime has some of the best training in the business, but it is largely dependant on who you get as a trainer. Its very much a hands on style of training, so its really the two of you in a truck getting it done. They have set up some kind of match-making for trainers and students, but I haven't trained since that went into place so I'm not sure how effective it is.

Posted:  4 months, 1 week ago

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First time to ever see a steer tire blowout

Steer tires are definitely the worst to lose, thankfully I haven't ever had one in a truck yet. Always good to know what to do so you don't make a poor decision at a critical time.

Basically you want to hit the accelerator until you get the truck under control. Here's an old video discussing it:

Posted:  4 months, 1 week ago

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First Time To Seattle

If you want scary try to park at the Loves in Tacoma!

There's some pretty spots up there, I always liked running over to Wenatchee to load apples in the winter.

It can get kind of hairy in a blizzard though. They usually take pretty good care of 90, but when Snoqualmie gets 10 feet of snow in a week not a lot can be done.

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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2 Year On Time Delivery Award

Grats! My wife will be dissapointed, she was hoping the girls rings would be different (more girly lol). She should get hers next time we go to Springfield.

Keep up the great job!

Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Route from Seattle to New Orleans to avoid snow and mountains

Running team we have run primarily coast to coast runs, and many times in winter we see i80 is shut down in Wyoming or is going to be and have run i76 down to Denver and ran across i70.

It certainly has the potential to get bad there but it can be perfectly clear even in the winter.

Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Route from Seattle to New Orleans to avoid snow and mountains

You could also run i5 down to Portland and then run i84 across and down to SLC, if you don't want to run i90 over to i82 in Washington. That will add 100 miles. Not quite as bad as running down to Cali and i84 looks pretty good across Oregon right now, even through the blue mountains (Pendleton OR to Baker City OR).

Once you are at Salt Lake City follow my advice above.

Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Route from Seattle to New Orleans to avoid snow and mountains

That's pretty much impossible. There's mountains in every direction from Seattle.

If you are willing to go across Snoqualmie which looks to have chain law up, I would highly advise going to Salt Lake City, UT...and then scoping out conditions from there.

If Wyoming isn't too bad cross i80 and head down i25 from Cheyenne, head East on i70, then take 287 down to Amarillo. This is the shortest route I believe, at a cursory glance.

If Wyoming is gonna be closed down or what have you, you can cut down i15 from Salt Lake City and take us-6 down to i70 East, then us191 south through Moab, to us491 down through cortez and into New Mexico down to i40. I have done this in winter, though those areas can get bad weather too. This will also add some mileage, but not too egregious (better than sitting in Wyoming for days).

Cutting down to i70 and crossing through the Rockies to Denver is also an option.

Trying to head south to Cali is gonna add around 400 miles. But basically jump on i5 all the way down, then i210 around Los Angeles to i10 East. Definitely some mountains going through Oregon that way, too.

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Share A Cool Moment From Your Day

Gladhand, I really like driving the western states for the views too (though there have been some great ones in the east as well).

Here's one I took at the rest area before the Nevada State line in Utah. The salt flats are really beautiful after a rain.

0904561001511847513.jpg

The bandit was from last week, but this one is from last November. I will try to post current things going forward, I doubt anyone wants me dumping three years of trucking photos lol.

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Share A Cool Moment From Your Day

Treasure Island, FL. There's some seriously talented sand sculptors, thought y'all might appreciate this one.

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Posted:  6 months ago

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Prime Inc. Deadheading

Our record deadhead at Prime was Seattle, WA to Bakersfield, CA. That's over 1,000 miles, I believe it was a blueberry load going to Boston. Great load all around, super light for fuel bonus and big miles.

Solo I got sent up to Easton, ME from somewhere in Pennsylvania. I think it was something like a 600 mile deadhead.

Unloading in Denver can get you some pretty good deadheads too, by far the most common being Dodge City, KS. It's close to 400 miles.

Posted:  6 months ago

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You run out of time on 14 hr. What do you do?

Different companies track hour violations differently, Prime for example uses a point system. Im actually not sure how they discipline folks that get too many points. In any event what your company does will NOT protect you from DOT.

G-town, that's probably the first time I've ever heard that phrase used in earnest, but no worries either way.

I read through that thread before I posted here, and I might join the discussion. I'm about to hit the hay after a long day driving, but off the cuff:

Cops write bogus tickets all the time, every day there are tickets dismissed in courts, and many more that probably stand due to the inconvenience in fighting them (particularly for OTR drivers). Maybe the cop misunderstood the regulation, or maybe WV has regulations that differ from fmcsa (not sure if that's possible). How many cops understand the 8/2 split and could find a violation of it in a paper log? Not many i would wager.

Regardless, the Prime driver was pulled over for speeding. There is a very small chance you are going to pull a log inspection in the short time you are using personal conveyance. Any Prime log audits are going to come from MO, who I am fairly certain blessed our current line 5 rules. The most likely case you are going to be "caught" with line 5 on an inspection is getting an inspection through a scale or being pulled over for something else.

My wife and I have 600,000 some odd miles in a Prime truck, we have received 5 total inspections. 3 when my wife was pulled over (a bogus warning, a valid warning due to an improper repair at a t/a, and a valid ticket for running a scale), and 2 random inspections. 4 times once they saw we had e-logs they didn't bother looking at them. 1 of my randoms the lady had me flip through the graphs for the last 7 days. It's just not very likely you will even be asked about line 5 here.

We are actually headed to Springfield right now to get the truck serviced. If we are still there during banking hours I'm going to try to catch Wendee, my log auditor, and ask her about this. Then I can probably offer more regarding this subject.

Speaking of which, I would encourage Turtle, Rainy, or any other Prime drivers that are skeptical of using line 5 to speak to their log auditor about it. I've visited Wendee a couple times in person, and have called her once, and she has always been receptive to questions. They want us legal and following the rules. Really that goes for all the department's here, whether it's permits, safety, dispatch, whomever.

Posted:  6 months ago

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You run out of time on 14 hr. What do you do?

Matt wrote:

double-quotes-start.png

That's not to say you won't get a ticket or warning for using it, it's such a vague rule (look at people arguing over what "laden" means for example) like many in our industry, so law enforcement will interpret however they want. Pretty safe in Missouri though.

double-quotes-end.png

Explain what is vague about it and how is it safe in Missouri? Please enlighten us.

Personal conveyance is NOT driving to a TS under a load when logged off duty, especially if you are out of hours. Read what Patrick wrote in his reply and the link I put in one of my replies.

There is nothing vague about it.

Who said anything about being under a load? The op asked about being unloaded at a receiver, primes rules state you can't be under a load, what is it with the straw man arguments? Love the hostility too "please enlighten us."

It is vague, in the link you gave there is argument over whether unladen means bobtail or an empty trailer (I believe the latter). The fmcsa doesn't have q&a posted on the subject due to how succinct the regulation is.

As for my comment about safe in Missouri, it would follow my assertion that MODOT has vetted Primes rules for allowing personal conveyance, they do work with our log department and vice versa, and I'm sure it was cleared with them when the hammer came down regarding prime drivers abusing it when they made changes a couple years ago. Safe and legal is pretty much a mantra with our dispatchers even, let alone that group. I'm inclined to believe they are in the right on this.

As far as Patrick's post, most of that sounds pretty reasonable but rule number 2 is not accurate. DeLorenzo himself has said explicitly that's not the case. And aside from that point, my use in leaving a receiver to head to a t/s pretty much fits the other guidelines there.

Posted:  6 months ago

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You run out of time on 14 hr. What do you do?

I'm certain Prime' s rules for personal conveyance have been vetted by MODOT. We used to have 2 hours, but Prime got busted in an audit for knuckleheads abusing the crap out of it driving to the next dispatch, driving laden, etc etc... If you aint cheating you aint trying I guess. Now it's 1 hour, and rest assured you will be messaged the rules if you use it.

That's not to say you won't get a ticket or warning for using it, it's such a vague rule (look at people arguing over what "laden" means for example) like many in our industry, so law enforcement will interpret however they want. Pretty safe in Missouri though.

I used it all the time when I was solo, to move from a receiver to a truck stop. It's nice to have access to bathrooms, showers, food, etc... If I get ticketed, eh, hopefully Prime will pay it. I've enjoyed the benefits of using it many times.

I do know someone they paid an overweight violation for that he got from a repowered load. I was there for the transload to get him legal. I would think they would support someone if they were abiding their rules. They have always done me right at least.

Regardless, to the OP, I would get direction from your company on how they want that very common issue handled.

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

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Frequent Urination

You just squeeze a little bit out and let your pants dry, then squeeze a little bit more out, and so on. No more pesky stopping.

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