Comments By Pete B.

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  • Pete B.
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Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Pre-trip Fail= Fired

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an air valve on top of the trailer was missing its handle, making it difficult to tell if it was open or closed; it was open

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The Chicago valve?

No Chief, not the Chicago fitting; the lever that opens & closes the air valve. When the lever is perpendicular to the valve, the valve is closed. When it's parallel to the valve, the valve is open (except on an intermodal trailer, where the configuration is opposite). The Chicago fitting was probably on, but if the air valve is in the "open" position, product is still going to find its way out around the Chicago fitting.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Pre-trip Fail= Fired

For the sake of learning, are you able to provide information on the defects and how it was written up?

Thanks for the case-in-point lesson on the importance of doing even the little things right.

The defects were tanker-specific... an air valve on top of the trailer was missing its handle, making it difficult to tell if it was open or closed; it was open, and a little product leaked out through the air valve. There was also something about a vacuum that developed inside the trailer that I'm not sure if was related to the air valve or not... but driving at altitude seems to have affected it, the dog ears securing the dome lid on top loosened a bit, so additional product leaked out through the dome lid. I've personally never experienced that, and I've certainly driven at altitude, but then I've never pulled a trailer loaded with product with valves open. To that issue I'd recommend to all tanker drivers to be sure after getting loaded, even if not allowed on top of the trailer while on the shipper's property, to immediately pull over when off the shipper's property and climb on top with a mallet and make sure the dome lid is secured tightly. That's always been a habit of mine, and have found on at least two occasions where the person who loaded my trailer did not close the lid very tightly.... ... I cannot say how it was written up, as I never asked my friend for a copy of the report he received, and he did not go into detail other than to say the defects were all found under one category. If you find trailer defects, get them fixed.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Pre-trip Fail= Fired

Every driver knows the importance of a proper pre-trip inspection; it’s ingrained in us beginning with our first days in CDL school. Every day we log a pre-trip and post-trip inspection on our ELDs. But addressing the findings in the inspections is just as important as the inspections; just ‘going through the motions’ or putting off repairs until later or leaving them for the next driver can have very dire consequences. The following is a real example that happened to a friend of mine. Identifying names have been changed.

“Trent” picked up a tanker trailer needed for that morning’s live load. He identified several defects during the pre-trip that he determined would make him late for the live load if he either had the defects fixed or requested a different trailer. Trent was an experienced driver, with 10+ years under his belt working with tankers. He was confident that with the defects, he could still get loaded without further complications, deliver the load 1500 mi away, and offload the product safely, making a few adjustments (having pulled tankers for 5 1/2 years, I’m very familiar with problem-solving and getting product offloaded when faced with unexpected opportunities... so that's not really a thing).

Trent proceeded to the live load with the trailer, not wanting to cause the company time or money by arriving late to or having the load appointment rescheduled, got loaded on time as the defects weren’t obvious or visible to the untrained eye, and departed for his destination 1500 mi and three states away. Driving through Arizona, he was pulled for a random DOT inspection (his first Level 1 inspection in nearly five years), but not by any ordinary DOT officer, a HAZMAT-certified DOT inspector (he had a special patch on his uniform identifying him as such), who very quickly identified some issues with the trailer. They moved the inspection to the next exit where the officer could spend more time crawling over the trailer, where he found and cited Trent for all the trailer defects.

Apparently none of the defects were ‘out-of-service’ defects, as Trent was able to continue with the trailer, but they did all fall under the same category of load securement. The inspection report was uploaded and made available several days later, after Trent made his delivery and was underway on his next load. He did inform his company of the inspection, who then took a ‘wait-and-see’ approach, as no one knew exactly how bad the report was going to be. The total score on the report wasn’t the worst score the company had ever seen, but apparently no one in the safety & regulatory department had seen a score that high in one category.

After some discussion within the safety and regulatory department, it was determined that Trent had to be let go. His prior years of service and experience couldn’t save his job from the extraordinarily high score he received from the inspection in a single category. Making a decision he thought was going to keep the wheels of his company running smoothly, efforting to keep from disrupting load and delivery appointments, the end result is he incurred a ridiculously high CSA score that impacted his company and his company’s drivers as well, and effectively ended his driving career for at least three years. He did tell me he knew of someone who would have brought him on board, someone who owned a small trucking company comprised of refeer and heavy-haul trucks (I know, odd combination!), but my guess is that the opportunity leaned toward the sketchy end of the scale, because he never gave it serious consideration. He is currently not driving and starting anew in an entirely different profession.

The lessons here are obvious: responsibility of the driver lies not only in thorough pre- and post-trip inspections, but in follow-up actions whenever defects are found. DO NOT risk your career, safety, or the public’s safety over one load that you may be late on or lose altogether as a result of spending extra time fixing truck or trailer defects. It’s just not worth the gamble.

Posted:  1 year, 7 months ago

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Broke back trailer

Reminded me of a scene I passed several weeks ago, In Massachusetts or Connecticut… I was clearly headed in the opposite direction, so know nothing of the backstory…

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Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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CB radio

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Winter weather will be coming before too long, so I took advantage of a $20 discount on Uniden CBs at Pilot/Flying J, on top of having $28 in points saved to get a CB radio with weather bands. My statements on CBs are well known here. I am sharing this to show good faith that I am not completely refusing to acknowledge the validity of opinions expressed by other drivers. I asked company shop to connect it and they got right on it.

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Good for you, Ryan!!

The gang shall be proud of ya ~ Tom says kudos ... decent unit, especially if you've gotten it peaked and tuned!

Not sure if the company shop does all that, but there are MANY great stops & shops in the vicinity that'll do that for a decent price. I'm sure those in the know on TT will chime in; but if you run the I'80 in PA, Bob's is one of the best, per the Tomster.

Best to ya, good sir.

~ Anne ~

Yeah, getting your CB “peaked and tuned.” I wonder if that’s exactly the same as getting the undercoating put on your car. As Puddy (car salesman) said on Seinfeld, ‘we don’t know what that is.’

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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Growing pains

Okay, I’m going to summon my Inner Steve Reno now, and tell a little story, to elaborate on my previous post… about 26 or 27 years ago, when I was a U.S. Army Reservist with the 88th MP Co., we spent the weekend working at Ft. Monroe in Hampton Roads, covering for the active duty MPs, who were enjoying the weekend off celebrating their annual MP ball festivities. One day I was assigned to the main gate. It was a terribly boring assignment, as Ft. Monroe is an ‘open post,’ meaning anyone can drive on, no credentials needed. Well, we noticed that at our little station at the entrance to the post, there was a wired foot pedal that controlled the stoplight at the entrance to Ft. Monroe. So we did what any bored young men would do, and messed with drivers all day long, making them wait excessively long at a red light, or turning the light green only long enough to let one car through. I almost caused an accident by changing the lights so fast I had three cars congregated in the intersection at the same time. The real challenge was doing it while keeping a straight face, because we were standing out front-and-center, waving cars in and out.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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Growing pains

I can empathize with this conscientious driver… the ‘guard shack person’ should have better explained the process… surely this is not the first time this mistake has been made there. I’ll bet the guard shack people are deliberately vague with their instructions as a form of entertainment. I would be, if I was a guard shack person.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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The biggest issue I have with the truck driving profession (makes me sick)

I was just wondering about the history behind this as well the other day. It didn't make me sick but to help you get over it I just did some searching and the result I found first was from 2004:

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Yellow Roadway Corp. traces its origins to 1924 when A.J. Harrell, an Oklahoma City entrepreneur, founded a bus and taxi company and named it Yellow Cab Transit Co. In 1926, he shortened the name to Yellow Transit Co.

In 1929, AJ was concerned about road safety, so he commissioned the E.I. DuPont Co. to determine the color that would be most visible on the tractors from the greatest distance on the nation’s highways. DuPont’s research found the color Swamp Holly Orange. We still use this color on Yellow trucks today.

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The fact that Yellow Transportation has an orange logo.

This whole industry is founded on LIES

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My wife has always preferred the color of my first truck, *orange,* over the color of my others, as she felt I was more conspicuous to other drivers on the road.

Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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Bunk heaters with Schneider Trucks?

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Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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Bunk heaters with Schneider Trucks?

Hi Brayson, hope you’re enjoying your time with Schneider. Yes, your bunk heater should work; in fact, now is a good time to run it and make sure that it does work, before cold weather hits. Even in the desert, where it sounds like you spend a good deal of your time, the overnight temps can get a bit chilly. Test it now, don’t wait until it turns cold like everyone else does, when the shops become overwhelmed with broken bunk heaters. Your APU will not blow warm air, that is the function of the bunk heater. And no, Schneider does not disable them. The control panel is very, very small. It should consist of a power button in the middle, with a blue button on its left and a red button to its right. When you press the power button in the middle, the little screen should come on. Ask an experienced driver or shop tech, whichever is more convenient, next chance you get, to walk you through this. The shop techs are *usually* super helpful (just kill them with kindness… or Snickers bars).

*As an aside, Thermo King does manufacture APU’s that do control/put out heat, that is why you see the heat setting on your APU controls, but Schneider does not install those particular APUs in their trucks… they are significantly more expensive, and APUs are already stupidly overpriced.

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