Profile For Animal

Animal's Info

  • Location:
    Harleyville, SC

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    10 years, 4 months ago

Animal's Bio

No Bio Information Was Filled Out. Must be a secret.

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Posted:  10 years, 1 month ago

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Training at crst

Animal has a saying for when the bad or crazy stuff happens: FIDO: Forget It Drive On.

We all have off days. Even after 16 years there's days I couldn't straight back into the broad side of a barn with laser guidance and 40 acres in front of me to play with or shift a gear without scraping; not to save my soul. It's just one of those days. I'll share. I had one Monday before Christmas on the run to get me home. Simple little alley dock. Not real tight but not huge either. Plenty of room, though. Two spaces next to each other to work with and the trailers on either side were our own company trailers (both older and already scraped up a bit). One little hazard, some big pipes coming out of the ground but very easily avoided and didn't cut into the working space. Nobody around or waiting. It wasn't a live load. I was just staging my empty at a dock because their yard jockey took off for the day. I've done this a thousand times or more. Easy.

I couldn't get it anywhere in the big old two space hole (without I was gonna scrape a trailer) for all the tea in China!! And those poles that were nowhere near being an interference were all IN my way and I ground the gears every time I went from forward to reverse in all 50 pull ups that only made my position worse than it was. I pulled out and re-set up several times (sight side and blind side) and STILL just couldn't get it. Then an audience appeared. Nothing like other people watching you fumble to boost your confidence.

They were real slow and the shipping clerk that assigned me my door and the forklift driver had stepped out to smoke and another truck (a trainer with a student) pulled up, checked in and was waiting on me to finish showing his trainee how NOT to alley dock and the trainer was smoking a cigarette with the clerks. Watching me. They were all smiling that smile you get watching the football player running the ball the wrong way. You gotta laugh. The ULTIMATE embarrassment came when the shipping clerk came up to me and offered me another door (with six open slots on either side) on the other end of the building! "Might be easier for you. Any one of those'll be fine."

"Normally I would decline. I refuse to let things like this beat me, but I've been doing this long enough to know it's just being one of those days though; so I'll call it an early Christmas present and take it. Thank you and Merry Christmas." As I was pulling away and shaking my head I watched the trainee back right into my door without a pull up. Textbook perfect and his trainer didn't give him the first signal. Kid just floated that puppy right in.

I knew I was gonna get some teasing when I went to get my Bills. The trainee, his trainer and I were all walking up at the same time. Might as well be the one to start it. Trainee glanced at me and I said; "That was pretty. Real good job. Course ya had a perfect example of what NOT to do." We all (we were at the shipping window by then) busted up laughing. [Forklift driver] "Ain't bein' my day either. I dumped a pallet and had to re-stack it first thing this mornin'. [Clerk] "Soda too. Big mess. I had to help clean it up." [Trainer] "Yeah, I busted my a$$ gettin' out the truck at the fuel island this morning. Right in front of everybody. Looks like Dude here (thumb toward trainee) is the only one having a good day." (more chuckles). [Me] "Well the good news is we got all our screw ups for the week out of the way already so the rest of it's gonna be smooth sailing from here". "That's right" "Merry Christmas." "Merry Christmas and be safe gettin' home Drivers" "You too." Rest of the week was smooth sailing.

So, you see we ALL have those days when no matter how good we are, it just ain't happenin for us that day. Long as nobody got hurt it was a good day and you just have to smile, chuckle and FIDO. You'll nail it spot on next time.

Posted:  10 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Hostile Takeover?

Yeah, these guys buy and sell each other all the time and if it's not that they're getting in and out of bed with each other on logistics companies and if not that they're trying to buy or sell each other or talking about it. It rarely affects the drivers and like Dave said there's always rumors. I'll add: there's always drivers that know more about your company's financial health and their contracts than the accounting department does. Oh the company took a big loss. So-and-so company under cut us on a contract. All our paychecks are going to bounce. They just had to sell 500 trucks to a Mexican carrier just to pay the fuel bill. The sky is falling.

In reality it's just Wall Street big business MBA stuff. It's like all the big banks and insurance companies buying and selling each other. Paper money moving around, losses that aren't really losses like you and I might think of them but tax strategies or stock moves. Big business game of Monopoly only with holding companies and subsidiaries and divisions of added in. When one of the big boys do occasionally go under or sell out another one pounces on it and scoops up all their freight, equipment and drivers and keeps on trucking without missing a beat. To the flock in the field it usually doesn't mean a thing except the logo on the side of the truck and on the pay stub might change. A lot of times that doesn't even change. It IS one of the advantages of going with a larger company versus a small family owned one. The big ones don't go under very often and when they sell out the buyer is another trucking or logistics company and isn't some investment bank looking to liquidate the assets and take a loss so they can write it off on their other holdings like real estate or whatever. With the big boys the buyer WANTS that trucking company's assets (drivers are assets too) so they can expand. The flip side is they do tend to be more corporate, less personal and less flexible. The rules and policies are more carved in stone. But they pay on time, have tons of freight, their checks don't bounce and benefits are less expensive (none of them are cheap since the Healthcare Reform Act took affect but they do tend to be less expensive with the large companies than small ones). Lot of small companies struggle borderline month to month and their financial health may be a legitimate concern, but I wouldn't worry much over the financial health of ANY of the big guys and if one sells to another you most likely won't notice it. I'd look more at what the companies you are interested in are offering you for pay, training, hometime, benefits, equipment - that sort of thing.

Posted:  10 years, 2 months ago

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Supervisor told me to falsify my HOS 8 hr break

I use Qualcomm e-logs too and same deal. I just had to edit a 40 hour post-trip because I forgot to go to OFF when I got home for Christmas. Mine automatically puts you on ON whenever you pop the parking brake. I forgot to change it to off. I keep forgetting to make a remark too and I just found out I have to manually enter the load info and trailer number to the log part. I know y'all will laugh but I thought since the load and trailer info was on the dispatch messages it automatically added it to the log part. Some may - this one doesn't. I had to go back and enter all my loads and trailers for the last 8 days and I do a fair bit of editing to add remarks and correct my honest forgot to change its. I found out the hard way you can't edit out drive time when I first started with these folks and e-logs. I wasn't quite as reformed as I should have been yet and just ran over my 14 by 20 or so minutes (and ignored Nancy's constant fussing about it) cause I wasn't tired and that's where the truck stop was that I wanted to break at. It's an independent and they have a very good home-style restaurant (I was plum sick of my own cooking in the truck and the fast food at Loves and Pilots). It was time for my "I get to eat at a real restaurant" treat. I put in a real good week. I deserved it. They have a truck wash too and I wanted to give my truck a real good bath and vacuuming. Very reasonable reasons to violate right? I can just edit my log like I've always done, right?

Um, yeah, no. They are not good reasons to violate and no you can't edit out drive time. You can edit everything else under the sun but all the editing in the world won't edit out drive time. This all was pointed out to me in a phone call I got from a super nice, friendly, respectful but very adamant person in our Safety/ Log Compliance Dept., who was singularly responsible for my complete conversion to being a nice and legal Animal. Which is a good thing. There really is too much personal risk and exposure running over anymore. Even if you're not tired. If you're over and some nut comes across the center line or goes through a stop light and hits you; cancel Christmas. Your goose is cooked. Even though they hit you. The Law or if not the Lawman certainly the other driver's attorney that he saw on TV and promised him he could get an insurance check even though the fool went through a stop sign or whatever, will say I shouldn't have been there to get hit. I was in violation of Federal Law and as a result someone has a hurt neck and is getting an insurance check and I'm done as a driver. Might even do some prison time if it's bad enough. Sounds crazy since he hit me but it's true. The fact he probably would have hit someone else won't matter. He didn't hit someone else. He hit me and I wasn't supposed to be there. I was supposed to be twenty or thirty miles behind me parked for a break. I broke the Law and as a result I was in an accident and I will be in very deep doo doo.

Nah, Animal's outlaw days are over and I did get a nice call from the Log person a little bit ago that my logs are looking really, really good now; still more editing than she'd like to see adding remarks, trimming down multi-hour post trips and entering load info after I ran the load but SO much better than they were that first couple of weeks and to keep up the good job. She was very positive and encouraging to keep working on it. I thought that was very nice of her to take the time and call me not to fuss but to be encouraging. Really made me want to try even harder and get them down perfect without editing. So much better than the old days of your dispatcher poking you with a cattle prod to go, go ,go while your Safety Manager beat you on the head with a rule book saying no, no, no. Least their both saying the same thing now. We dispatch it legal so do it legal. If you run into a problem give a call or shoot us a message and we'll figure out how to get it done without YOU getting into trouble and exposing ALL of us to a lawsuit because somebody else didn't know how to drive. We WANT you to run legal and we're here to help you do it in all departments. That's a whole lot better on a simple Animal. Animal can deal with THAT.

Posted:  10 years, 2 months ago

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Supervisor told me to falsify my HOS 8 hr break

Animal says you're in a pickle. I mean just because you were told to do thus by a person of power or authority doesn't mean you had to do it, but you did so you got a little stain on yourself too although be it probably not knowing what else to do. Federalies don't care about supposedly not having a choice. To them it's either a you did it or you didn't do it thing. They're kinda cut and dried like that. They don't give a care as to the why. That was always the problem in the old run the roads days. We couldn't whine to the Feds about being pushed because their response was: "Well why'd you do it if it was unsafe? I'll get them, but I'm gonna dink you too. Was he in the cab with you or at your house with a gun to someone's head? No? OK then you shoulda said no. Here's your medicine too." I think the Old Guard "we" get it (I do), but the Feds don't and wont. Might be shooting yourself in the foot on many levels. I ran outlaw for many a year. But if you work for a Pirate it's kinda hard to fuss to the Law when he tells you to break the law or be gone. So you fudged and left. Leave it in the rearview and motor on to something better.

Animal recommends taking the High Road, parting with a smile and best wishes for them and just walking away, washing your hands of the matter and putting it in the rear view mirror unless you truly believe in your heart of hearts (the one you hear at 3 AM when you got up to pee and nobody is around but you, the man in the mirror and the man upstairs) they run their company and drivers in such a manner as to be a danger to themselves or others. That's the real question. Is vengeance and "pay back" worth the retribution? Or is this truly an unsafe company that needs to be reigned in by the Feds at some ouch to you too? Sometimes it is; sometimes it isn't. The Chinese have a saying:

"Before seeking revenge; first dig TWO graves. One for the one you will take your revenge on and one for YOU." Revenge usually does just as much harm to the giver as it does to the receiver.

Smart folks them Chinese. Been around an awful long time. Still steadily growing. Might be smart to listen to ancient wisdom no matter where it came from. Just a thought from a crazy old Animal. Don't let it bug ya. It's the Holiday. Supposed to be a good time. Make it so.

Posted:  10 years, 2 months ago

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Im new and I have been given 26c per mile

The last thing even the most experienced driver at the top of the pay scale wants to do is divide your paycheck by the number of hours you spent in the truck that week. It'll break the hardest heart. We make a living wage but put in boo coo hours to get it. Truckin' ain't about the big bucks and upward mobility, that's for sure. Something about it, though. Get's in the blood.

Posted:  10 years, 2 months ago

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Starting orientation and company training duing winter

School Of Hard Knocks is the toughest. Her Lessons learned are generally learned early, learned well and last a lifetime, though. She's a tough teacher, but a good one. A helping hand on the way is a warm blessing indeed. Merry Christmas.

Posted:  10 years, 2 months ago

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Starting orientation and company training duing winter

There's a lot more to that question than a short yes or no. I do think it's very good that you get to do your training in the winter. You get to experience it and learn first hand with a trainer right there making sure you're doing OK. I think that being able to go through your first winter snows ice etc with a trainer is better than taking the book knowledge, and skills in fairer conditions and learning by yourself solo. So that's a good thing. As for length of training well that depends. Like many things; what you get out of it depends a lot on what you put into it. Plus there's the quality of training and trainer. Training and learning style factor too. I do think coming straight out of school, no matter how well you did, that 2 weeks is a bit short. You may get the driving and backing part down and be able to pass the solo qualification road test but there is SO much more you need to experience and practice to make your first solo truck experience go as smoothly as possible. Some trainers focus everything on getting you ready for the solo test that you get in your own truck and everything is brand new again. Which to an extent it will feel like anyway. The little things like where to look for empties, how this or that customer operates. To an extent it's all gonna seem new again even if you did it with a trainer, but the more you do in training the smoother it goes when solo. "OK. I remember this company. I check in here go there, stage there and the office is over there." So you can get in and out faster and help save time on your HOS. Also, there are some companies that run trainer trucks like team trucks after the trainee's first week. Trainee drives while trainer gets his 10 in the bunk and vice versa and the only times together are crossover times switching. That may be OK, but in that case I'd recommend a longer training period. So much of then non-driving stuff they were only able to brush on in school is very important to master during training and to do that you have to have that awake and two way communication. If you only get an hour or so of that each day because you or your trainer need your 10 in the bunk while the other drives, you need more weeks of training. Some companies absolutely refuse to put a team load on a training truck and require the trainer to be riding shotgun and coaching and teaching the whole time you are driving and your bunk times are the same times so you get 9-11 hours of training per day so it takes less weeks to get what you need to make your first solo truck experience the best it can be from day one. So what I'd look to is how they train more so than length. Congrats on the CDL and best of luck. Be Safe.

Posted:  10 years, 2 months ago

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The wild and wacky world of Qualcomm and E-Logs

Since it is apparent that Sat/Cell in cab communication and electronic logs (saying Qualcomm and E-Log is kinda like calling all colas Coke) are now as much a part of today's trucking world as traffic, construction and weather; I thought it might be fun for those of us using them to share funny occurrences we've had dealing with them.

Let me introduce you to Nancy. She's a parsnikity little thing made by Qualcomm. She keeps track of my logs and tells me things my company wants me to know and has a built in G-P-S. Ain't that cool? It's a trucking one too so it knows where not to send me (yeah right). Never used one before. It's always been the laminated Rand McNally, truck stop guide and a notebook I wrote my turns and routes on in a very unique shorthand. She'll play tunes for you and she has the same games as Windows default and she'll even monitor your performance like MPG and other performance metrics the company is interested in. Pretty neat stuff, but I don't think she likes me. Her sister seemed to like the fellow that showed me how to use her in Disorientation, real well. They got along great. Nelly did everything he wanted with his slightest touch of her screen. All that cool stuff. She was so quick and cooperative, such a better way than my old ways. Couldn't wait. This is gonna be great. Should have gone with this years ago. Then I met my Nancy. Nancy and I . . . not so much so. She won't do the fun stuff. Plus she has an attitude sometimes. She talks funny too. She read me the daily Safety Message that first day and I think some fellow in Greece sent it and forgot to translate it to English. Plus I think the old girl had a stroke a few years back because she gets real confused about things. She thinks St. Louis and St. George is Street Louis and Street George, and St. Augustine is Street AwgUstInee. AND if I don't have to load or unload the load she says; "Driver load unload north." Huh? Girl, we're heading south. Whatchou talkin bout unloading north? You need a nap or something? Then she gets in her moods where she doesn't want to talk to me at all. Usually just when I want her to the most. I admit, these past 2 months I've gotten slack and after 2 months of learning her language and using her GPS sometimes I take off without writing down the local directions. I don't need to write down my route most times because using these E-Logs and running legal I get to run the big roads and don't have to dodge scales so I know where I'm going until I get local. I just use her GPS to compare her route to mine and remind me of upcoming turns and I don't have to do math counting mile markers (she keeps a running count of how many miles left in the trip) and I don't have to guess how many more miles than dispatch told me the trip really is. She'll tell me exactly from point to point - as long as I follow HER route. Which she's fussy and real sensitive about me following HER route. It hurts her feelings and makes her mad when I know something she doesn't and don't follow HER route. Like yes that is 30 miles shorter but all hairpin twisty turny state routes in the mountains and I have a 40K pound load and it'll take me 2 1/2 days to go 400 miles shifting 6,7,8,9,8,7,6,7 all day and not getting it into the big hole even once. I remember that route. Not taking it again unless real light. Nope, taking the big road and making human time even though it's longer it's MUCH faster. Used to be OK running paper. Just do what you gotta do and make the paper fit. Not now. See Nancy's also a spiteful tattletale and keeps 4 DOT countdown timers on me counting every minute of my time. She'll rat me out and announce to the WHOLE world (at max volume - calling me by my given name) "YOU ARE OUT OF DRIVING TIME. ANIMAL HAS VIOLATED THE HOURS OF SERVICE REGULATIONS". Then that's ALL she wants to talk about. Me being a "violator". Everytime the directions pop back up she knocks them back off and announces that I'm in violation. "I never violated a thing in my life you little snitch. Fudged a little here and there but it wasn't violating. Well, maybe it was just a little. Ok more than a little. Now just put the directions back on or I'm gonna be a big violator again taking the grand tour of the city when YOU know right where to go. Heifer! I knew I shoulda wrote the local directions down!" Then she decides to tell the whole world I'm a speeder. In a 65MPH truck. "ANIMAL HAS VIOLATED THE COMPANY SPEED LIMIT. A SPEED OF 71MPH FOR APPROX 1 1/2 MINUTES WAS DETECTED ON I81 AT GPS XXX.XX IN VA." Sweetie, it was a big hill. VA is eat up with them. The speed limit was 70. It was 2 hours ago. Can we talk about what a bad driver I am later and get those local directions back? Pretty Please? I'll introduce you to a nice IPad I know. "OUT OF ROUTE. PLEASE DRIVE TO ROUTELINE BEHIND YOU OR REROUTE FROM HERE." "Reroute please". "ANIMAL HAS VIOLATED THE HOURS OF SERVICE RGULATIONS. What are you doing Animal? Please pull me back in the truck. It is unsafe for me to hang out of the window. My chord may break and I may become damaged. Please roll the window down and pull me back inside or I will have to report this unsafe behavior." "Add it to your list sweetheart."

In all seriousness we get along pretty good now and I've actually grown quite fond of her. Like my wife, she aggravates the tar out of me but she keeps me straight and when we disagree all I have to do is leave her alone for a day and we're both all better. That's a good thing.

Posted:  10 years, 2 months ago

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Failed Urine Test !!!

A lot of companies do. Like has been said, keep on swinging. You might also (if initially denied) ask if they have a SAP Program and volunteer for it and volunteer to take extra tests (at your own expense). Most SAP programs provide for being maintained in the random pool but also an additional 6 random tests for a year (at the driver's expense) for those also in the SAP pool. I don't know that I'd make that my opening topic of conversation in a phone interview with a recruiter but an option to explore if need be. Most companies with SAP Programs have them for their own drivers that are otherwise good drivers and employees but failed a random with them or something, but some do have them for prospective drivers too. If you get on as a SAP Driver you'll have to foot the bill for some additional tests, but it's a start and once in and proven clean, straight and sober with a good record - the past failure will be much more manageable. Best of luck and don't let it get you down. It's out there for you somewhere. Just gotta keep looking.

Posted:  10 years, 2 months ago

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The Official Merry Christmas Thread!!!

Merry Christmas everyone! Outstanding people and site.

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