Profile For Animal

Animal's Info

  • Location:
    Harleyville, SC

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    5 years, 10 months ago

Animal's Bio

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

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Posted:  5 years, 7 months 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:  5 years, 8 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:  5 years, 8 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:  5 years, 8 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:  5 years, 8 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:  5 years, 8 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:  5 years, 8 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:  5 years, 8 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:  5 years, 8 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:  5 years, 8 months ago

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The Official Merry Christmas Thread!!!

Merry Christmas everyone! Outstanding people and site.

Posted:  5 years, 8 months ago

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Weird elog and qualcom experience

New to e-logs myself. Managing the HOS running legal has been a challenge with that thing, that's for sure. We use Qualcomm too. I always ran a loose leaf comic book. The company provided you with as many pre-printed (company name and address) pages as you wanted (which should tell you something) because "sometimes securing and tarping can take a while and you might make a mistake. Here's a whole bunch of extra pages in case you need to fix a mistake." Wink, nod. I had a nice Road Pro canvas and leather binder. I kept my calculator, pen and log ruler in it and had pictures of my kids on the inside cover. Very professional looking fiction novel. But it was always up to date and the magic loose leaf logbook never ran out of hours. 8/10/70 (no such thing as a restart back then) always seemed to have enough time to get where I needed to go. DOT inspections (as Brett pointed out) were done with tongue in cheek for the logbook part. They knew, but as long as it looked good they didn't say anything. The pictures of my children looking all nice for picture day at school on the inside cover sparked MANY conversations resulting in the officer not even looking at the log itself other than a quick flip to make sure I had my previous 7 days in it. Quite proud of one legal week I actually asked one time (and that was the only time); "Aren't you going to look at the hours?" "Why? You just made them up. It's loose leaf. I'm sure it's all legal looking. You don't seem tired to me. I'm more interested in what kind of shape this truck and trailer are in and how well that load is secured. Go ahead and open up that kit for me and lets see how well you chained up.(covered wagon)" He proceeded to do a very in depth level 1. That's just the way it was back then EXCEPT California or if you ticked the officer off in another state. They were more interested in other things. More than one asked for my logbook with; "make sure you give me the right one now. Don't wanna have to write you up for a log violation." Not now. Nothing gets past them now. Which is good I suppose. I get more rest now. That's nice.

Qualcomm and e-logs definitely has it's quirks, though. Mine sure does. I'll start a new thread. We all have funny stories about Qualcomms and E-Logs glitching and driving us nuts. I think it'd be a gas to hear em. Those of us working during the Holiday could use a good laugh. I had 4.5 hours on my 14 when I hit the DC beltway (495) coming down from MD yesterday. More than plenty of time for the normal DC shuffle. Usually I have a professional appearance and demeanor. Golf shirt, khaki slacks, Timberlands shined. My hair is a bit long and I have a goatee, but I keep my hair neat and under a company ball cap and goatee neatly and closely trimmed. "Yes Sir, Thank you Sir. Four hour wait no problem. I realize I'm early. Have great day and good weekend when it gets here."

I looked (and felt) like my avatar by the time I got to the T/S in Ruther Glen just south of DC with only 5 minutes of drive time left and "Nancy" screaming at me every 5 minutes that I was about to violate the HOS regulations. I KNOW! DON'T YOU SEE THIS TRAFFIC AND CRAZY HOLIDAY DRIVERS? DID YOU COUNT THE ACCIDENTS? I DID. SEVEN SO FAR! YOU WANNA MAKE NUMBER EIGHT? YOU SEE ANY PLACE TO PULL OVER? I SURE DON'T. WHY DON'T YOU REACH INTO THAT GPS OF YOURS AND PULL OUT A PLACE TO PARK AND BE USEFUL FOR A CHANGE YOU ELECTRONIC PIECE OF . . . LOL.

Happy Holidays. And if the ever so fast and reliable truck stop WiFi goes all Nancy on me and I can't start it, someone else take it up. I think a thread of crazy Qualcomm and E-Log stories would be a lot of fun.

Posted:  5 years, 8 months ago

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Low status stigma of Truck Driver?

BTW - Animal does not recommend the "self taught" method of obtaining a CDL and strongly advocates formal education and training. Also forgot to mention the sixth test to be considered a professional license in the eyes of the Law 6) a test measuring professional knowledge and or skills must be required to obtain the license - it is. And this site is an outstanding resource for gaining the knowledge to begin the career long adventure in continuous education.

Also, in case anyone wonders why the Law always seems to come down harder on CDL Drivers than they do on four wheelers - it's that whole licensed professional - held to a higher standard thing. To them we, of ALL people, should know better than to speed or what have you. Suzy Soccer Mom yacking on the cell phone ditty bopping down the road lickety split SHOULD know better and might in a remote way, but she isn't a licensed professional, MAYBE took drivers ed 20 years ago and the last person to speak to her about Safe Driving was the deep voice dude in the Allstate commercial and she thought the Mayhem dude in the other commercial was hilarious because "everyone does that". We know better, we're trained, we go to Safety Meetings and most of us get a daily safety message on the Qualcomm Navigator Aggravator everyday and I'll bet all your DM's sign off with you with: BE SAFE. They figure staying hard on us keeps professionals professional and our vehicles are so much bigger that when we wreck it's REALLY bad. Didn't say it was right or fair. That's just how the Law looks at it, though. Animal Out

Posted:  5 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Low status stigma of Truck Driver?

The difference between a janitor or trashman and a sanitation engineer is the manner in which he conducts himself and performs. The difference between a trucker and a professional driver is pretty much the same. Every day we have a choice. We can either be professionals and respected by our peers and others - or we can further the stereotype. That goes for any job, career, occupation and when you break out the broad stroke brush - life itself. You would be amazed at how many of us are very highly educated, intelligent and thoughtful professionals. My trainer in '98 had a master's in chemistry. He was a metallurgist for a large steel manufacturer in AL. His only child, a son, graduated West Point and was killed in a training exercise and a year later his wife died of cancer. Later the same year the steel industry in AL tanked. So he "ran away and joined the circus of trucking. Been here ever since. That was 15 years ago. I've learned a lot since then so now I train the next generation how to do things the right way, give the industry and themselves something positive - a safe and confident professional. If you don't want to be a student of that - we'll part ways now, with no hard feelings but I'm not the trainer for you." I had a driver that worked for me that was a banker. His dad owned a S&L. He took over and ran it. His dad sold the S&L to a big chain - remember when the Regan boy got into the S&L trouble? About that time. The buyers agreed to keep John on as the director. John didn't like working for them, saw an ad on TV for driving school, thought it looked like fun and did it. He was 12 years into it when I knew him. I've known salt of the earth great guys that had very little education. Oldest sons who had to quit school and go to work because of a family crisis. They could hardly read but I'll tell you they were helluva great drivers. The kind you want to meet on a dark lonely road when your car is broken down. True professionals. Consider these points; in the eyes of the Law, commercial motor vehicle operators are licensed professionals just like licensed contractors, dr's, engineers or attorneys. A CDL is very different from a regular operator's license. My wife's regular license is not a professional license - it's our State's permission to operate a properly registered and insured small vehicle on a public roadway. My CDL is a license to engage in a profession, namely professional commercial driving. There are several tests and working CMV operators meet those tests to be considered in the eyes of the Law a licensed professional(and thus held to a higher standard of performance than one that performs a similar task without a professional license). 1) a license must be required - it is. Can't operate a CMV w/o a CDL. 2) it must be issued by a State Agency - it is, the DMV. 3) there must be nationalized standards for the license - there is. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 which went into affect July 1, 1987 (commonly called the CDL Act) among many other things, nationally standardized CDL requirements and States testing and created the Commercial Dirvers License Information System (CDLIS pronounced sid-liss) which is a national database that tracks all CDLs so no one may hold multiple licenses (each from a different state). 4) the profession must have a state regulatory agency to enforce 5) state and federal regulations of the profession - it does. Each state has a commercial motor vehicle enforcement division erroneously called by most drivers the DOT, though most are actually DPS (dept of public safety - they are "law enforcement officers, not road builders or bridge inspectors" as was pointed out to me a slightly miffed officer in OH during a "DOT Inspection" "the Feds may be part of US DOT but we are State Law Enforcement Officers." Gulp, sorry sir. didn't mean to offend). Most states simply adopted the Federal Regulations as their State regulations and have a different set of regulations for intrastate carriers. Trucking is somewhat unique in the realm of licensed professions in that there are no specific educational requirements (degree etc) to obtain the professional license. You can study the CDL manual free from the DMV, pass the beginners permit test, go out with a friend and learn how to do the pre-trip, park and drive, go back, pay the fee and with a borrowed or rented truck and trailer pass the "road test" and get your CDL. That is both good and bad. It's great because the fine gentlemen I spoke of that had to quit school to go to work and have no education but are really good people and very professional, have careers where they can earn $40 - $50K and more if they are really good. Most factory jobs now require at least a GED. So these guys get to make a good living despite a lack of education. It's bad because some folks simply shouldn't have a CDL because they lack the sense of responsibility necessary to be a licensed professional anything.

So I say you will be perceived by how you conduct and present yourself, regardless of your occupation. I know some real slimeball dr's, attorneys and engineers and I know some real professionals - just like real professional commercial vehicle drivers and some slimeballs too. If folks can't see the tree for the forest and want to stereotype Animal; Animal says let them eat cake! The people that matter to Animal know the difference. Be what you want, but whatever you decide - be a professional and be happy.

Posted:  5 years, 8 months ago

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I could use some advice.

I have not driven as a team per say but did spend a few weeks similar during training and my wife has gone out with me, but she doesn't drive. So, similar - but not exactly so take it with a grain of salt. I will say this, though; even with my beloved wife the truck gets small after a few days but I'm kind of a loner. Same with my trainers, we didn't get into fusses but break time away from each other was nice, but that's kinda different because they are used to sharing their trucks with people that start out as strangers and with all different personality types. After our first trip together my wife and I had to work out some things so we wouldn't get on each other's nerves too badly, like I said sharing the cab and sleeper got kinda small after a while even with my wife, but that's kinda a me thing and may not be the case for a lot of folks. If it was there'd be no such things as teams. LOL. Once we worked out some things, though, it worked out pretty well and it was nice for the companionship - for a while. I do like my alone time too. So I guess my advice would be to A, yeah make sure you're up on the current state of the industry. This website has some great resources that will really help with that and training and B; I'd probably have what may start as an awkward conversation with your Dad about sharing such a small space for extended periods of time but if done tactfully and with mutual respect should pay a dividend of avoiding stepping on each other's toes later. I've always advocated having like I said what may be a little awkward conversation up front to avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings down the road. That's just me though and I'm a bit of an odd duck. Best of luck.

Posted:  5 years, 8 months ago

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Already have CDL A, No CDL Schooling, 48 yrold career change worried about orientation.

Gotta have fun. We chose a wonderful career but it's a crazy world this trucking thing so if you can't laugh about things you'll go nuts. First thing I learned in trucking is that they should issue a sense of humor with the CDL and Medical Card. It's vital for your mental health. Wouldn't have it any other way, though. The craziness of four wheelers, load planners, shipping and receiving clerks that swear your MT is in slot 137 of the 10000 acre lot with 20 yard dogs zipping around in their goats like it's the Indy 500 and paying no heed to those yellow lines whatsoever - even though slot 137 is MT and none of your company's trailers are anywhere to be found but she insists you are just overlooking that 53' long, 13'6" tall 8'6" wide chunk of metal with your company's name and logo in 7' tall bright neon letters on it because that's where her computer says it is, so "go look again" and when you talk to the yard dog on your 4th time to look at that MT slot, 5th circle around the yard and docks you find out HE took it upon himself to be more efficient with the yard space and parks everyone's MTs in a dirt lot down the street. So you go down the street and NO your MT isn't there and neither are any of your company's others so you go back to talk to the shipping clerk again while messaging your DM who also shows in his computer that trailer is there somewhere - just keep looking and on the way by slot 137 you see your trailer has magically appeared. It wasn't ANYWHERE to be found 15 minutes ago (yes I did check all the door's too it's not docked either), but it's there now. Then the yard dog you talked to screeches up and says: "Hey, I pulled your trailer in here for ya." "Hi, yeah. I see. Thanks." "No problem", screech and he's off to the races again. You're thinking: Yeah, no problem for YOU; you took that single screw baby goat and pulled my trailer off that big, open dirt lot with barn sized parking spaces, greased up the sides and squeezed it into this little hole that's so tight I have to duck under the trailer next to it to raise the landing gear and it's gonna take me 45 minutes, 130 pull ups and I'm gonna have to slide the tandems back and forth to squeeze it out without scraping those brand spanking new 53 foot refer trailers parked next to it. Yeah. Thanks. No, you can't get a yard dog to do it. They're all GONE. There were 20 of them zooming around a minute ago but a whistle blew somewhere and they're all gone now. Yes Sir. I appreciate the help. Oh well, that's why they pay us the big bucks. Time to wiggle just when the message comes in from your DM. "CSR called the customer. Shipping and Receiving says it's in slot 137. Try looking there." Reply? "Yeah, OK. 10-4. Will do. Thx." and go back to wiggle worming and unsqueezing the squozen. It's what we do.

Yeah, if you don't learn to laugh you'll surely go crazy or just be in an ill mood all the time. What kinda life would that be? Life's too short for crankiness. There's craziness everywhere. A sense of humor is really vital, otherwise you won't appreciate that magical moment when there's no traffic, the truck's purring like a kitten, the cab temp is perfect, you have more than enough time to get where you're going on a wide open, flat, smooth (brand new blacktop) road from where you picked up a light load from a pull though slot that was right where it was supposed to be and you see the sun rising over the snow capped mountains in the distance and the clouds are a beautiful bright red/orange/purple and there's a gap in them and a ray of sunshine is beaming through and lighting up the glass top mountain lake as you sip that perfectly warm and unusually flavorful and wonderfully aromatic coffee you got lucky enough the Pilot you fueled and got a good hot shower at (with no waiting), had that particular blend that you love so you got a full mug and Thermos and Nancy reads you a message that confirms your hometime is all locked in with a pick up in "Street Louis M. O." tomorrow delivering in "Street George S. C." this Friday AM and you'll be home for the weekend and you realize it really is a wonderful life and we actually get paid to live it. "Street Louis M. O. it is my Darling. We'll be there." Amazing, isn't it. It takes the craziness to make us appreciate the goodness. Peace & Blessings to all and make every day a "no problemo day" because in the end the crazy things are just silly little things to remind us of the wonderful and beautiful things we get to see and do every day. Happy Holidays Everyone.

Posted:  5 years, 8 months ago

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Finally got a date

Proud for ya Chris. Sorry we couldn't get together during hometime. My DM just sends me whenever I'm close so planning has not been there. Matter of fact he sent me home Sat AM, unexpected and I'm just waiting for my run that'll start my next outbound tour. Dress warm, I just got back from the PA area and it was colder than an old Low Country Animal cares for and only gonna get colder. Learn well and most of all enjoy. Great career, you had to jump through some hoops but I think you made a great choice. I've not heard anything but good about Schneider other than the normal stuff with every really big company. Just part of life. Some folks just like to gripe so I kinda took it w/ a grain of salt. All their drivers I talked to were happy w/ them. They are who I was going to go with until these guys offered to give me credit for all my experience - even the pre-gap experience which put me at the top of the pay scale so that pretty much tipped the scale for me over Schneider's dedicated deal they have in our area. I went with more money but less frequent hometime. WiFi at truck stops has been too slow for me to bother paying for and I've been running UPS hot shot all night runs so I've been out of pocket for a bit but I'll try and stay in touch as I go up to the PA area a lot. Congrats again Dude. Look forward to seeing the big Orange rig down in the Low Country. I'll park my big Crimson one next to it. It'll look like the Carolina Clemson thing. LOL. Best of luck and be safe.

Posted:  5 years, 8 months ago

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Already have CDL A, No CDL Schooling, 48 yrold career change worried about orientation.

It has been my experience that most companies take being a Rookie into account. Many of them have specialized DMs and keep you on what they call a Rookie Board for your first year with the company. They know it takes a new driver a bit longer to do things than one that's been with the company a good while and I'm told they factor that in, but sometimes it doesn't seem like it. Your DM will, at any rate. OK, I call Trucking Company X. The operator directs me to Sales. A CSR (customer service rep) tells me of course they can get that done (no matter what - crazy is how we like it Mr. Big and your payment info is super good so we'll take great pleasure in your crazine$$) and quotes me a price. I agree to it, we do the credit app or whatever to make arrangement for payment and the CSR gets all the load info (hopefully, sometimes the load info isn't quite as complete as a driver likes or needs but bet your paycheck payment info is 100% complete). The CSR then gives the info to a load planner. I call these two places (Sales and Load Planning) The Twilight Zone because these folks are hired as washed out Quantum Physicists that still believe time travel is a reality and somehow the trucking industry has figured out how to accomplish it. CSR gives it to Load Planning (LP) and calls it a done deal. Load Planner breaks out the slide ruler and scientific calculator and applies quantum physics chaos theory formulas on the dry erase board and determines that it's a 900 mile trip can be done in 12.86213 hours. We'll call that 12 hours. I mean it's all Interstate. 95-26-77. Straight shot. When you run the ACTUAL miles from address to address it's actually 987 miles (which LP won't do - they have their OWN routing software loosely based on the old Household Mover Guide tables with some updates courtesy of Rand McNally and PC Miler), but what the heck; close enough, right? I'll give the load 13.5 hours just to be on the safe side. LP sets it up in the computer which identifies truck 123 , truck 456 and truck 789 as being in the Jax area soon. 123 is going to MT soonest and closest so let's put him on it as a PREPLAN. LP sends it to the truck on the Qualcomm, and it also goes to that driver's Driver Manager (DM aka Dispatcher) so he knows what's going on. Now, Animal is on his way to Jax w/ his load and the Preplan load message comes in. Nancy (Animal's nickname for the Qualcomm Navigator/ Aggravator) says in her finest mechanical voice that thinks St. Louis, MO is pronounced "Street Louis "M" "O"; "A new message has arrived." Animal pushes the single button that tells Nancy to read the message to him and says; "What now? Hurry up. You interrupted my local directions, dag nab it!" In her finest mechanical voice she tells Animal about the Preplan load which ends with the instruction to commit to it or reject it using macro 10 and if rejecting it tell why - in 30 characters or less, which he will do once stopped at his MT location - after sending in the other macro messages telling everyone he's done with this one and all the relevant (or seemingly relevant) info about stuff nobody cares about but is a REQUIRED FIELD in the message. Now it is Animal's responsibility to do the trip plan and determine if he can make that trip safely, legally and within the hours of service based on the information in the message(which says the 987 mile trip is a 900 mile trip and the distance between MT and Load ((LD)) is 22 miles but is actually 36 because of a construction detour so once MT he divides 1023 miles by 50 MPH and gets 20.46 hours and for error factor calls it a 21 hour trip because he knows he will make NO time on I-77 North between the NC/VA line and the WV/OH line crawling through the mountains in 8th and 9th gear - loaded heavy and stacked high in a 65MPH truck. All that's fine and good. That's the safe and legal way. Animal likes the new world of Safe and Legal. Less stress and risk. He actually gets to run the big roads now and doesn't have to sweat scales. That's a groovy thing. Problem is; the load is a 2 day deal factoring the proper and real times, distances, the 8, 11 and 14 hour countdown clocks always ticking, mandatory 30 min break, 10 hour breaks, drop & hook or live load time at Johnny's and fueling and PTIs (pre & post trip inspections). Based on the times in the preplan Animal figures what he can do the load in REALITY and Legal with an hour to spare (wow - a whole hour!) so he commits but outside the preplan times, and automaton sends him the actual load assignment and a fuel optimized route and stop location. Animal programs the destination into Nancy and breaks out the Rand McNally and while she's thinking he plans his own route and using the lap top looks at the weather on the route. Then he compares the Fuel route to Nancy's route hers will be the most direct but not necessarily the fastest and you ALWAYS have to dbl chk her against the Map Book for Restricted Routes and Low Clearances - she's wrong sometimes and'll jam you up big time if you rely on her alone) to Animal's route and chooses a route that he then programs into Nancy. She's real good at reminding of turns and showing how the road in front of you is going to loop or whatever. Then Animal breaks out the Truck Stop Guide and plans his stops and times. Then Johnny's Widgets get picked up and delivered with Animal at the helm taking fantasy of the LPs and making it actually happen. We all do. U will 2. No worries. Give it time. It'll happen

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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Becoming an o/o???

Company driver to O/O:

"So, you own your tuck."

"No Sir. The truck owns me."

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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Exdriver wanting to get back on the road.

I was in the same boat. I still had my CDL but not recent full time driving. Thought it was down to what Old School said, but at the last minute a company said they'd take me and the road test would determine if I'd go out with a trainer for 2 or 5 weeks. Two weeks was the minimum. You have to admit, skills are rusty and times have changed so training is definitely in order. I did pretty good on my road test, went out with a trainer for 2 weeks to knock the rust off and get back in the groove, qualified solo again and am happily motoring on with a company that has thus far impressed me very much. Not only have they done everything they said, they put our agreement in writing so there's no question about it, but they gave me credit for ALL my previous experience once I finished up re-training and got my own truck. So far it's been a really good outfit. PM me if you are interested in them. I will say I'm not impressed much with the truck I got, but I chose it, and they have 250 more brand new ones on the way, due in December. They are finishing up upgrading the fleet after acquiring a smaller carrier. I am confident my next truck will be a winner and truthfully I can't really fuss about this one, I've driven a lot worse and when I have an issue they do jump right on it.

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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Truck Driving Trainers and instructors, what they do and don't know

Sad to hear about the trainer, but it happens sometimes. My suggestion would be a change of trainers, but use tact and grace. A good trainer is so important during those first weeks especially. You can get what you need without rocking the boat too badly, though. Think of a way to tactfully request a different trainer and I may be wrong about this, but if he's training you on wrong information he has probably trained others like that and will train more like that in the future too. Lucky for you, you were savvy and knew better, but what about the next student? What if he (or she) believes these things and has a bad accident as a result? I think the company would like to know, but like you pointed out you don't want to come across as a newbie know-it-all or a problem student so you need to find a way to accomplish what needs to be accomplished tactfully. My tact skills aren't so hot or I'd offer some suggestions as to how, but I'm sure others here are more refined in diplomacy and can help. Hang in there and at the end of the day just do it right. Like everyone said, it's your life (and others you share the road with) and your license.

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