Comments By Mr. Curmudgeon

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Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Parkland coward during shooting

I worked for 27 years in a different profession before I became a driver. I know the history of the response protocols. I know how they have evolved and continue to evolve. I know from personal and professional experience how difficult it is to get people in that profession trained - multiple demands on their time, reticence on the part of the assignment location or personal choice to attend, apathy or "wont happen here ergo not important" mindset.

I would share my opinions, experience, and qualifications to make these statements, however... This is Trucking Truth. I voice those opinions on FarceBook. Or on my blog page. Not here.

Any outcome is still tragic for all involved. Peace.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Trip plan to run tmrrw

Which Wally are you parking at. Not many around here are truck friendly. FYI - Cabella's on 80/94 in Indiana does allow truck parking.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Why does this offer come now?

Rob, if you do jump back into supervision (after 17 years of it I wouldn't touch it with a pole!), don't give up your CDL-A and DOT Med. Those don't require a truck to maintain, and you're giving yourself a tactical advantage with Plan B. Finish out a year if you can before committing to a job swap. If you can, perhaps a visit to the dispatch center to see what you're inheriting may be prudent. Public Safety dispatch, as you know, is kind of a different animal than what you'd be getting into.

In any event, it's nice to have options! Good Luck, Brother!!!

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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What do you guys think about Roehl ?

Good reputation for safety. Their rolling stock is always new, or new looking. They must govern somewhere around 62 - 63 mph, or else give one helluva fuel bonus based on the standard highway speeds.

Good luck. Once you get past the first winter, and about a year, it will start being a blast. I mean, youre getting paid to drive! Your ten year old self (I'm still there) would be jealous of you...

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Low underpasses

Downtown St. Louis there is an underpass marked (IIRC, it's been a while) 13'6. It was evening, I got turned around on the directions, I was new, and it looked low. I got up closer to it, it looked even lower, so I stopped and GOAL. First thing I saw was scrape marks all over the bottom of the beams and rivets. NOPE!!! I backed up quite a ways (seemed like a mile) to make a turn onto a side street and get the heck outta there and find a different route.

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Trucker safety

Dorsey, I am federally qualified to carry a concealed firearm over about 95% of the United States. That said, I don't carry a firearm when I am driving, as PackRat indicated. Trucking Company Policies are written by people very in tune to the concept of "Liability". Given that trucking outfits are generally viewed as being deep in the pockets, anything that could even whiff of liability for the outfit is stomped into non-existence by policies. I had a near miss about a year ago, on a road in the middle of nowhere. Didn't have a pistol. Didn't need it, ultimately, but one never closes their eyes to the potential.

Another consideration that you should be aware of is the frequency of "NO FIREARMS ALLOWED ON THIS PREMISE" at shippers and receivers. If something happens on one of these properties, and it turns out that a driver was armed in violation of those posted signs (at least in IL, and I suspect many other states) the driver is potentially looking at a felony offense. Delivering to a military base or federal installation? Vehicle interior subject to search, if unlawful carrying - Federal Felony Offense. There goes the Hazmat endorsement... smile.gif Many pitfalls...

A source that you may consider contacting is the Owner Operator Independent Driver's Association. They cater to a clientele comprised largely of owner operators, and the rules for an O/O are often different.

Good luck to you.

I am an NRA Lifer as well...

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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Intermodal

Bruce, thanks for that. I do train new drivers on occasion, on a limited basis. I don't have a condo sleeper cab, so The bulk of our training is done by local drivers, I do field mentoring of otr drivers as needed. The move to recruiting, if it happens, is in a way an effort to " try on a new coat ".

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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Is 50 too old to start with pro-driver career?

Yuriy, try to give the job at least a year before making a career decision. At six months, you will likely have just completed your first winter of driving, many of the skills required for this job will still be formative, and the frustrations / aggravations / sheer stupidity you encounter could very easily break your will. Giving yourself a year to become proficient and confident will likely give you a different outlook on the job. Many on here have commented on hitting the wall at 6 - 8 months.

Good luck to you at Swift Academy!!!

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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A walk on the ‘Darkside’ - working for a small company

Wow, flashing back to my "paying my dues" first employment in this career. Bending space and time to accomplish unrealistic delivery schedules, 'creative writing' on the log books, an informal DVIR process and half-arsed repairs. Yep - BT-DT-GTT.

Just a reminder - if you use a mobile phone, GPS, or pass any license plate recognition equipped cameras or cop cars, there is a digital record of your Lat/Long/Time stamp. Should some blue-hair decide to drive under your trailer tandems and pass over the rainbow bridge, all of those electronics will get grabbed and used to convict you (worst case scenario) for Reckless Homicide.

LRDSHIP, I don't envy you for the position you find yourself in. Good luck to you.

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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Intermodal

I have been running intermodal, regularly, for the past few years in Chicago area and haul loads OTR Regional Midwest ( Chi rail to UP Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois Quad Cities destinations or origin point to Chi rail mostly) My observations:

1) Pool chassis', as G-Town and Rainy have already said, really are the worst. If you can find one that has all of the lights, FHSA sticker up to date, and tires that are fully inflated and have 2/32" or more of tread all the way around without flat spots or dry rot, the brakes will probably be sorely out of adjustment. Find a carrier that owns or leases their chassis', and self maintains. You'll have much less down time, not to mention the ingate will be faster most places since you won't have to have the chassis inspected on the way in.

2) Carrying a couple extra lamp assy's and glad hand seals is a good way to save yourself time. There have been days I have sat in the Quick Repair Lane for over an hour waiting for the dozen or so trucks in front of me to get their "quick" repairs done (usually tire issues - I replace burnt out lamps myself). If the mechanic at quick lane doesn't feel like fixing the chassis with a loaded container on it, you'll be told to take it to the lift line, have the container pulled off the offending chassis, take the bad order unit to the repair drop area, then you have to hunt thru to find a good order chassis to pick your container up. VERY time consuming. These quickly turn into 3+ hour visits.

3) Stops / miles or pay by load is not the best way to consistently make good money in Intermodal. Find a carrier that pays hourly. Several of the busier Chicago IM yards are notorious for lengthy delays - BNSF Logistics Park, NS Landers, BNSF Cicero to name a couple. CN Harvey is busy, but if they're not moving trains they generally get you out in an hour or less for a pickup. A delivery is usually faster.

4) On your first visit to any railyard, you're going to have to go to the Driver Assistance building to register and get fingerprinted for access control. If the railroad offers an intermodal driver's app for your phone, download and register. The app generally saves you time on check in, and more and more of the railyards are no longer printing the J-1 at exit kiosk. J-1 is, basically, the bill of lading for the load. You will need that if you get inspected, and having the rail apps means you get the J-1 out-gate emailed to you so you have the information if needed.

4) Chassis securement is important - twist lock devices at all four corners to hold the container down. Carry cheap zip-ties to secure those twist lock device security measures, they will vibrate open during travel, especially if you're deadheading the container on rough roads. Brightly colored ones are best - you can see them in your mirror while driving for a validation that you're secured properly, and the men and women in the unusual hats can see them as well (gives them one less reason to give you a second look). Our company does very little drop and hook intermodal, since we own our own rolling stock and don't want to leave it in the field to be pulled out inadvertently by drivers from another company. The Megas like Schneider, Swift and Hub often do drop hook which saves you down time as well.

Let me know if you have more questions. When I first started with G&D I was a utility driver, and spent about 50% of my time running I/M. Over the past two years or so, it has been about 90% of my activity. Generally, Intermodal is not a whole lot different than van work, and when you get back in the saddle, it may be worth exploring. I wont say I love it, but it's not as bad as the horror stories I was hearing when I was getting my CDL training. Intermodal is pretty much always busy, and there is a great availability of driving positions.

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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Handicap truck parking spaces???

Wow. The original poster was concerned about insensitivity, but clearly was voicing a question out of curiosity. Folks, having family members that are unable to walk more than about 40ft unassisted gives me a different outlook. If you are not llegally qualified to park in one of those spots, please don't intentionally park there. And, in most states, unlawful parking in a disabled space is citeable as a traffic law violation. Yes. 3yrs on your CSA score. And most of the cops I know, and I know A LOT, will tag a handicap in a heartbeat.

But, as always, you drive your truck, I'll drive mine. Piece.

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Going to the Darkside?

At that age, I'll be fortunate to still be drawing breath this side of the sod. In fact, this year (59) will be my last enumerated birthday, yielding to the Windows numbering system instead. Next year will be BirthAnniversay 59.1...

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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I survived my 1st year otr

Well Done.

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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Question?

As a former member of that profession, there is often a LOT of discretion left to the officer in dispositions of vehicles, arrest timing, etc. It is entirely possible that the driver was cooperative enough that the Trooper opted not to tow the rig.

Or the Trooper could have simply not wanted to tie up a ramp (and delay his c&d) waiting the 2 hrs for a heavy haul hook to get there...

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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Going to the Darkside?

Well, I've been recruited by my outfit to apply my talents in a different direction. I submitted my letter of interest and resume, applying to join our driver recruiting team. I will miss the road, but am going into this with the understanding that I can return to driving, without stigma, should I decide to do so.

Nothing guaranteed, but there is a strong probability that I will be recruiting driver candidates come late June. My presence here will continue, not as a recruiter but as a driver, if Brett will allow.

Just figured I would share that, as it represents a huge black hole of uncertainty, bordering on the level felt when I decided to retire from my former profession and get behind the BIG steering wheel.

I'm going back to day 1, week 1 in learning. And it's exciting...

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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A little update on me

The discussion about traffic nightmares could be a Trucking Nightmare Feature Film. Glad you are gutting it out - it will pay off long term!

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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Only have 7 months of Recent job history, was homeless

Amanda, if your mvr and cch are clean, and you've not been using federally banned substances, you've got three early screens cleared.

Apply everywhere that you can, and these links will give you a good start:

Paid CDL Training ProgramsApply For Paid CDL Training

Be honest, don't sugar coat reality, and persist. There is likely some outfit that you will connext with that feels right, and feels good about you. This career is not for the faint of heart, but it sounds like you have the moxey to pull yourself up, reorient and revitalize. Go for it!!! Good luck to you, and keep us posted.

Posted:  3 weeks, 5 days ago

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Help in trucking.

My outfit (IL, IN, and Southeast US) needs drivers for regional dedicated, and intermodal local and regional (five day work week, hourly pay, benefits package). Plenty of loads. I'm sure that there are other IM carriers that need people.

Truckload, generally, seems to be slow, but the railyards, to my experience anyway, have stayed robustly booming.

Good luck to you.

Posted:  3 weeks, 5 days ago

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Kiss it Goodbye

Two citations in your POV may not be a death knell. Get a decent attorney, see if you can get found not guilty on one or both. If the other driver doesn't show in court, often times the citations get dismissed without prejudice to the defendant.

If, however, the crash was significant enough to warrant reconstruction by a LEO, the other driver may not need to show, as the reconstructionist could testify from expertise on what took place, causative violations, speeds, directions, etc. Significant in this case means fatality, serious injury, major property destruction, hazmat release, etc. I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet, depending. There are a lot of factors in your initial post that are unstated.

Good luck to you.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Jury Duty

I got summoned once. Sat for a week. On Friday at 230pm they called us in to begin the selection process. I suggested to some self employed folks that demonstrating a preformed perception of guilt based on arrest and arraignment may help them escape another WEEK without pay. I knew i was fine, it was an agg robbery of an 80 yr old by three 20something thugs. I was a hostile juror for the defense, based on my profession at that time.

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