Profile For Ian G.

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    7 months, 1 week ago

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Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

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Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

Ian, we realize this trucking career is one tough nut to cut. We work real hard at teaching people how it works. We had no personal animosity toward you, but we couldn't let your statements stand. They would mislead anyone who reads them in the future.

You gave us an excellent opportunity for teaching some of the harsh realities of this career. You said this...

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Some people have told me that I overanalyze things and that making quick decisions is not one of my strengths.

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If there's one thing truck drivers need to be able to do regularly it's be decisive and quick on their feet. Our whole career is one dynamic element of chance and change. It's an extraordinary job that requires a lot from those at the wheel. It's common for people to blame their company when things go badly for them, but it is very seldom a true version of the facts.

We all wish you the best in your endeavors, but we just couldn't sit idly by and let you slander the career we've all excelled at. It's a complicated business, and it takes a lot of responsibility to pull it off. Nobody knows that better than the men and women who have done it well consistently.

Thank you. I hope people who find this thread in the future take the time to read the whole thing so they don't get any wrong impressions.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

Rainy, he probably would attempt to blame the company, because they FORCED him to take a local job with an hour commute each way.

Waaaahhhh

No, it was strongly emphasized that it was my choice. I just didn't expect the daily work hours to increase from 12 to 16 plus commute, but it's still my fault for not speaking up.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

Yes, i blame my generation for this. When we started putting kids on the "naughty chair" instead of smacking them in the face for back talk, we ruined the world. Now we have a bunch of wimpy cry babies who cannot hold down a job let alone support a family.

However, since i have no children, i did not directly cause it. If i did have kids, they wouldnt have been wimps and could have held valid arguments.

Physically punishing children isn't going to make them "hold down valid arguments", they'll just be afraid to make any argument at all. Then no one will have the occasion to provide a rebuttal to their argument, so they'll just go on thinking that they must be right. "Back talk" may be frustrating but I don't see why you think it's a punishable offense, unless you feel entitled to power because you're older than them. When has censorship ever solved anything?

If you're going to attribute my position to assumptions about the way I was raised, at least know that you are wrong that my parents did not use physical punishment.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

If you didnt want to go home then why did you take a local job that was so demanding? Why not go right back to OTR when you realized what it was like?

Spending the night at home wasn't important, I only cared about full days off.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

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Rainy asked: Did you see a doctor??? You keep spouting fatigue but do you realize those symptoms apply to depression, ADD, anema, temporal lobe epilepsy, low blood circulation and probably a dozen other conditions???

ian replied: Which is why I say fatigue is hard to identify.

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So the answer is NO, you didn't see a doctor and have diagnosed yourself. A thing you have no degree nor training to do. You got fired from a job you were trained, yet you decide you can diagnose yourself on a condition that is difficult to diagnose?

Wow! You are truly amazing! Somehow you crammed 8 years of college, medical school and a couple years of residency into the few months it has been since you got fired.

You never saw a doctor about a condition you claim is so serious it got you fired, yet you had no problem seeing a lawyer to help you out of trouble. We all see where you priorities lie

Stop claiming it was fatigue. Cause you have no proof it was. It makes for an easier explanation than the fact you screwed up. What woukd you think about someone walking around clsiming they had cancer yet never saw a doctor? you would think they are both stupid and crazy.

You have no way to prove it in court, so you lose, case closed.

Its not fatigue. It is laziness.

I know I said I wouldn't post anymore but this is the last one, I promise.

I can't argue with that at all except perhaps the "laziness" remark, but I that's unimportant. You are all correct, I have still been trying to deny that I screwed up and that was no one else's fault. I'm sorry it took this long, but the breaking point was that I couldn't come up with a good response to your post because my reasoning was already so distorted.

I would like to apologize for coming across as a hostile know-it-all trying to avoid responsibility. That did indeed describe me when I started this thread but I have come to realize I have the wrong approach. I know this must have been just as frustrating for you as it was for me. Some people have told me that I overanalyze things and that making quick decisions is not one of my strengths. I should really learn to take more time to "let it sink in" before I get too defensive. It took me a few days of "overanalyzing" but ultimately I have come to realize that you have the right ideas. The trucking industry isn't going to change so I need to find a career that is better suited to my abilities. Next week I start classes at a community college.

This forum really does tell the honest truth, even though it wasn't at all what I wanted or expected to hear. Thanks for the reality check.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

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The company required me to work off the clock illegally

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No, they didn't. They said you could log off duty when you're at the docks because you're relieved of duty. You're not doing anything. If you were inside counting freight or loading freight, that would be on duty not driving, and you could still drive 11 hours in a 14 hour period even with some on duty time.

Stop trying to bullsh*t us. We've been at this for a very long time. We know the job, we know the laws, and we also know the tactics that guys like you try to use to deflect the blame off of yourself and onto others who are innocent. Your company was 0% to blame, you were 100% to blame. There is no gray area here.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the law, but I thought watching for the light to turn green is technically "work". I can understand why it doesn't seem like work, but as long as I'm required to be there and be awake I'm not truly "relieved of duty".

So you're not a rookie anymore. See how totally disingenuous you are? You'll try to bullsh*t anyone about anything.

I was reassigned as a local driver with about four months solo OTR experience. This wasn't a factor in the accident, but it exemplifies the company's "not my problem" attitude toward safety. They shouldn't have hired me at that time if I wasn't qualified.

Yeah, and getting to go home and sleep in your own bed every night is a luxury you had and OTR drivers do not. Now who do you think should sleep better, someone stuffed into a tiny bed in a walk-in closet in a parking lot with the engine running or a guy in his own quiet home in his big, luxury bed?

You assume I wanted to go home every night. In fact I didn't like having to commute and would have preferred to sleep in a truck if that option had been available to me. There was no point in going home because all I did was go to sleep, then get up and go back to work. Sometimes I didn't even have time to eat while I was at home.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

I really don't understand the direction the world is going in with the way they teach young people to think. I guess every generation feels that way. The idea that nothing is ever your fault and everyone's a winner no matter how you perform. Where do the people that teach this stuff think it's going to lead? Do they think it's going to somehow lead to happier, healthier people and a better society?

Will these people be able to endure the hardships that life throws at all of us when they've been sheltered from hardship? Will they be able to do the critical self-analysis needed to improve oneself and grow as a human being when they're taught they're never wrong and nothing is ever their fault?

I think this conversation shows the stark contrast between us older folks and the new way of thinking these younger folks have. When we screwed up we were taught to own it, take full responsibility, suffer the consequences, learn from it, and get better. Now they're taught to find a scapegoat, point the finger at innocent people, and never feel bad for what you've done.

Crazy.

So, if you represent "your generation", how is your post not an attempt to avoid responsibility, as you are accusing me of? Young people had to learn the so-called "new way of thinking" from observing older people. "Your" generation that you're proud to be a part of set a bad example, but younger people should have been expected to recognize that you were poor teachers, so now it's their fault that you perceive them unfavorably?

I actually don't see how your stereotype is even relevant. You already convinced me that the accident itself was completely my fault and preventable. There's no disputing that. The rest of my posts were an attempt to explain, not rationalize, my reasoning for what I said and did. I also pointed out some common misconceptions about fatigue to educate others. My comments seem to have been interpreted as trying to deflect blame, which I admittedly did at first, but was no longer my intent after you all pointed out my errors in doing so. At this point, I'm not sure what else you expect me to say.

I believe that the company's actions CONTRIBUTED TO, but did not DIRECTLY CAUSE the crash. Valuing personal responsibility is good, but it seems your values are so deeply held that you're too willing to accept 100% of the blame no matter what happens. The company intentionally put me in a dangerous position, knowing that a safer course of action existed. They should "learn from this experience" as well. If they pretend not to understand all the factors that contribute to crashes, how can they say they are truly making an effort to be the safest company?

Most of you seem rather proud of "being able to manage" job stress, long hours, and sometimes erratic schedules. Admit it, all of you have driven while fatigued to some extent at some point. Trucking is so demanding, I don't see how it's possible not to be. You're bound to make a mistake at some point. Pointing out that external factors such as fatigue do influence behavior is not "redirecting blame".

You're right that I don't belong in trucking and I should get another job. So, that is what I will do. This will be my last post here.

Thank you for your time.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

I just started orientation yesterday and for a company that requires a minimum of 1 year experience for some drivers and 2 years for most. I am the least experienced driver in my class with one year experience. Several have 3-5 years, and one of the drivers has about 15 years.

I say all that to say this... today we watched many safety videos much like yesterday. I immediately thought of this post when, in one of the videos, sleep deprivation and fatigue were covered extensively. It was part of a distracted driving video. We had a conversation about it and even took a quiz. We then reviewed said quiz. Did your company maybe do something to this effect and you just don't remember because it was over a year ago?

I highly doubt the company you previously worked for, is any less or more safe then the company I am going to work for and vice-versa.

Oh and the last company I worked for had almost an identical orientation with the same videos. They too were highly safety oriented.

No, I'm certain the company did not do this. The only classroom instruction was describing the company's expectations, hazmat certification, and pre-trip video. They were more focused on road driving, pre-trip, and backing exercises. The topic of fatigue came up only once, in a brief conversation with my road trainer that I already described.

I am glad to hear my perception of other companies as being unsafe is wrong.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

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every local driver at the company experienced the same problems I did and had about equal risk of causing a similar collision

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So if they all have the same risk, how come only you had the accident? Did you notice you just stated the driver aka you caused the collision? Does fatigue some how flash a neon sign on all the drivers foreheads except yours?

Did you ask the other drivers how they deal with it? Does it resonate now why inexperience drivers should not start out in high paced, high stressed local gigs just to get more hometime?

I don't know that the others didn't have accidents. Actually, the company sent out a message saying that they were having a record number of "following distance" incidents, so they probably were. They were always guzzling coffee because the potential for fatigue was obvious, but I never did that because I knew it wouldn't address the underlying cause, which was poor scheduling.

I did not accept the local job "just to get more home time". My reference to home time was describing a different position at the company that I never held, and I actually got less home time with the local job. The reasons I accepted were higher pay and prescheduled days off.

If rookies shouldn't do local jobs, wasn't the company negligent by hiring me?

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

I think your whole outlook is baloney. You rear ended someone, because you were following too close and possibly speeding also period. You say you weren't sleepy, so just get over it and admit it was all on you. Oooh. 55 hours a week? We work 70 hours a week much of the time.

No sympathy from me, and with your attitude, I'm glad I won't be sharing the roads with you behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound death machine.

The "55 hours a week" is only the time that was actually logged on duty. The company required me to work off the clock illegally, and also commute daily. The total time I was required to be awake was between 85 and 90 hours. Even if the daily commute is removed from that figure, the company was still requiring me to falsify my logs to make it look like I wasn't violating the 70 hour rule, which exists for good reason. I suppose I still won't "get any sympathy", seeing how everyone in this industry is always trying rationalize breaking the law in the name of profit.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

Did you see a doctor??? You keep spouting fatigue but do you realize those symptoms apply to depression, ADD, anema, temporal lobe epilepsy, low blood circulation and probably a dozen other conditions???

Which is why I say fatigue is hard to identify.

People think im crazy for doing a lot of 8/2 splits but i learned early on that they help me when i need the extra rest. Driving 300 miles the taking a nap helps.me, but i learned that. I paid attention. You dont sound to be in tune with your body.

Truckers Sleep: A Rare Commodity

It amazes me you did a ton of research to try to get out of the preventable, but you never researched trucker sleep. You blame a company for not providing information and training on fatigue.

Do you realize dispatch can't tell if you are tired, sick, fatigued etc unless you tell them? they are not mind readers. But you didn't know, so how can you blame them for not knowing?

Also...i take issue with the idea there is only one safe company out there. Mine is extremely safety conscious....but you arent. My company has a safety meeting every Friday that is simulcast to the terminals and our phone apps. We have the cell number to the owner of the company who is there every day and visible for comments and concerns. If i say the truck or traiker needs a repair it gets done ASAP. If i say im tired i get loaded later. So stop blaming "less than safe" companies for your inattention.

Good luck and get tested. i think there is a lot.more going on than "fatigue".

A schedule that allows you to take naps during the day is a luxury reserved for OTR drivers, but I was local. There was no flexibility in scheduling at my job.

Dispatch may not be able to directly tell if drivers are fatigued, but they should be able to predict that requiring someone to stay awake for 18 hours straight followed by minimal rest time isn't likely to be safe.

"Know your limits" sounds like good advice, but it's not if it isn't coupled with advice on how to determine what your limits are. I already acknowledged that I was aware of the potential for a problem to develop, and therefore I bear responsibility for not doing something about it. But I thought that I would necessarily feel noticeably tired if it were unsafe for me to drive, a notion that was based on misinformation provided by the company.

The reason I say more training should be provided is that it would help prevent accidents in general. If the company has a stated goal of preventing accidents, and the responsibility for avoiding accidents falls primarily on the drivers, the company should at least teach drivers what they need to know.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

OK, so I decided not to post again until I had really thought this through. After having this discussion on my mind for the past several hours, I have to conclude that I was in fact in denial about certain things and making contradictory statements. Thanks to everyone for setting me straight.

I once read a story, which may have been on this website, of a driver who described how he rolled over and totaled his truck but was not fired. When he talked with his company's safety department, they determined that he didn't intentionally do anything unsafe that contributed to the crash. I expected a similar result before I considered my accident was fatigue related. My plan from the beginning was to tell the truth about what I thought happened, but then they just fired me without giving that opportunity and I felt I had no choice but to take a "defensive" stance.

I showed an early version of this argument to the attorney who helped me beat the ticket. He strongly emphasized "Be careful not to say anything that might be interpreted as admitting guilt". I took that to mean I wasn't guilty at all, which is incorrect. Over the next few months I was preoccupied with refining the argument so I could appeal the "preventable" ruling on my work history. That's how I became so convinced it was a foolproof argument and why you all got some initial pushback when you called me out on it. I was honestly surprised anyone disagreed at all and that the conversation became mostly focused on one sentence of my original post.

I still am not convinced that I could have identified I was fatigued on the day of the crash. But that ends up being a moot point because I didn't demand more rest when the work hours started to get ridiculous, which would have prevented the accident. That was the weakest link in my argument and it didn't hold up to scrutiny. I also still believe that trucking companies do have some responsibility to prevent crashes, even though the driver is ultimately responsible for his or her actions. It is generally known that fatigue is a major issue in the industry, so it is in their best interest to educate drivers. They could, for example, hand out a pamphlet that describes basic sleep needs and ways to identify and reduce fatigue.

One point I will not back down from is that it is possible to be fatigued without knowing it. "Fatigue" does not mean the same as "tiredness", nor is it always caused by sleep deprivation. Not enough people are educated on this issue. If you catch yourself following too closely, getting mad at another driver, or just dealing with stress in general, ask yourself whether you might be experiencing the onset of fatigue. Don't be afraid to take a break before it gets worse, or else you might become too impaired to make good decisions.

I haven't read the most recent replies yet, but I will answer any lingering questions tomorrow morning if there are any.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

As a former law enforcement officer and supervisor of a traffic unit I can tell you that first and foremost the collision was your and yours alone fault. Accept it and move on with that. In 28 years I have worked and/or approved collision reports and heard pretty much every excuse. And I say collision because that is what the event is. The word accident is not descriptive of the event, only the intention behind it.

I agree.

I believe I know the company you worked at, has had to payout a tidy sum because of your actions. You will never know what went on there, but I can assure you it had some zero’s behind the leading number..That company has had and still has a unwritten policy regarding collisions. I don’t personally like it but I’m not writing checks on their behalf. That policy is “ any collision costing more than 10k termination is mandatory”. Fault does not matter. It as I said is unwritten, seldom talked about, and never amoung management but none the less exists. That is the primary reason your on the non rehire list. I get calls from them a few times a year asking if I want to return, and I nicely decline, primarily because of that policy. They are nice folks, but at anytime we can all get caught up no matter what.

Wow. That is some interesting information for sure. I'm curious, how did you learn of this "unwritten policy"? I know insurance probably calls the shots on this.

You say that "at anytime we can all get caught up no matter what". That's what I've been trying to say this whole time. Trucking demands constant vigilance, which is practically impossible, and the collision I had is an example of what can go wrong with just a few seconds of inattention. It's also why it seems unfair to be fired for attempting to do what was asked of me, particularly because I had mostly positive feedback in the past. Yes, I messed up, but every local driver at the company experienced the same problems I did and had about equal risk of causing a similar collision. I did complain about the length of the workdays but no solution was offered, so they can't say they had no idea the risk existed. I don't know whether they were attempting to correct the issue.

Based on what you and others have said, I have decided not to pursue a career in trucking.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

You've been so busy in your attempt to assign blame elsewhere that you clearly haven't thought through this defense at all. Turtle brings up the first good point - why would you want to return to the company and put yourself back in a position that you are now deeming to be unsafe? That's either poor judgment or you're being disingenuous about your feelings that the company is unsafe and to partly to blame for your accident.

I believe that, despite the issues I mentioned, this company does seem to be the most proactive about safety. They're not perfect, but working on it. You're right that I'm extremely conflicted about wanting to work there, but I especially don't like the idea of working for a "less safe" company. There's also their unique home time configuration, which is currently the only job I know of that would make it easy to enjoy certain personal hobbies outside of trucking.

I have a second point. You're saying you'd like to continue as a driver but your defense is that you're unable to determine for yourself whether or not you're too tired to drive. Well that's inspiring! Sure, I'd love to put you in my truck after hearing that.

That scares me just as much as it scares you. It's the driver's responsibility to know if they are fatigued, but no one has been able to explain how to do so at any given moment. One can know the signs of fatigue, but not recognize them, particularly if already impaired. As I already explained, "fatigued" does NOT mean "feeling tired" and I never knew that until it was too late. Ask yourself: Am I fatigued right now? How do I know that? Most people couldn't answer the second question. If you can convince me that I ignored something that I should have recognized as a sign of fatigue, I'll drop my claim that the company was responsible.

I'm not seeing those qualities in you and neither does anyone else here. In fact, you won't even take responsibility for things you've just put in writing a short time before. You said you think the company should share in the blame and that they intentionally put you in unsafe circumstances knowing you would take the fall for any mistakes. Then you turned around and denied saying those things.

Can you give an example? I agreed the accident meets the industry definitions of "at fault" and "preventable". What I don't understand is why the concept of preventability applies only to the driver and not the company. If I park on the side of the road and someone hits me, it's not legally "my fault" but it is preventable because I should have known that parking there creates an unacceptable risk of a crash. If a dispatcher calls me on my break and wakes me up, do they have a valid claim that they didn't know that interrupting a driver's sleep will elevate the risk of fatigued driving? That's like serving alcohol to someone that you know is going to drive.

I do not, however, respect the fact that you are trying to throw your company under the bus for your mistake. They are following the laws and they're giving you an opportunity to make an excellent living at the same time. You can try to improve yourself and you can try to improve the laws governing this industry and no one will have a problem with that. But if you make a mistake and start pointing fingers at innocent parties you're going to get a poor reception.

I do believe the industry demands are too high, and I will definitely be seeking another profession because of this. It's effectively impossible to be 100% alert, 100% of the time, particularly when the job demands put drivers at high risk of fatigue.

I actually feel bad about "throwing the company under the bus", as you put it. It was a great place to work and I didn't want to damage their reputation by naming them here. I don't think any specific person in the offices should be blamed directly for the accident. Everyone, including myself, acted the way they did because of how they were constantly being overworked, not because they had malicious intent. That's not to say anything that was done was justified or not, only that it's not a healthy recipe for avoiding accidents in general. The resulting organizational failure is why I say the company as a whole (which I was part of) should take the blame.

What I learned from this is that I need to know all the possible symptoms of fatigue, and take a break to evaluate my health if I perceive one, no matter how subtle it may seem. It's possible I could have avoided the accident by doing this, but I can't recall how specifically. Also, local driving is brutal.

One final point, if it sounds like I'm contradicting myself somewhere, I probably am because this whole scenario is so confusing I'm not sure what to believe anymore.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

Ian, an option for you might be to try to get on with an outfit that runs lot spotters. Lazer, Shamrock, some orhers in chicago area. Not sure if they'll hire ya, but it may be worth a shot. They may be willing to take a chance, but the insurance companies call the ball on a lot of these decisions

If you do get an interview, my suggestion (for the little it may be worth) would be to explain what happened, acknowledge that you messed up, and don't go into any rationalization or defensive posturing. It will likely make them think you're a high risk candidate. You can see the responses here when people read into it. Potential employers are going to be much more critical, but quietly so.

Good Luck.

Thank you, that is good advice. Would it be bad to mention in an interview that accident was caused by fatigue, so that I can explain why I don’t present a risk of a future crash? After seeing the way that my comments here have been misinterpreted, it sounds like it would be best to answer what they ask for and avoid further detail.

The original question, which hasn’t been answered yet, is whether I have any chance of getting rehired at all. Even if I got fifty job offers right now, they’d all be a waste of time if the original company doesn’t accept the experience. I’m thinking it’s better to cut my losses and get out of trucking now, rather than keep gambling for a job.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

I appreciate that you all value personal responsibility, but I think most of you are misunderstanding me. I’m not trying to deny the accident was preventable or my fault. In my first communication with the company after I was fired, I acknowledged both of those things and instead focused on the reasons they should rehire me. The reason I then disputed the accident’s preventability is because I saw it as my only chance to get my job back, and I didn’t understand the preventability criteria at the time. But I now agree with their reasoning.

The “long explanation” wasn’t intended to assign blame, only to include all the factors that explain why I acted the way I did. The reason I say the company “did more to cause the accident than I did” was because they took intentional risks and I didn’t, knowing that I would have to “take all the blame” when I inevitably messed up. From my perspective, I was just trying to do what I thought was expected of me.

On the following distance point, I actually don’t quite remember what happened in the seconds before the crash. I’m certain I misjudged the vehicle’s speed and distance when I first noticed it was slowing down, and that I did not react as quickly as I ordinarily could have. I do distinctly remember feeling surprised that the accident happened because the vehicle seemed far away. So it is quite possible I was following too close, but I can’t say for sure.

All that said, I’ve had months to deliberate this and I honestly can’t determine whether I could have done anything differently once I had already become fatigued. I guess I could have insisted on twelve hours off duty each night to guarantee I’d get enough sleep, but I almost certainly would have been fired for that, or at least labeled as an unreliable complainer. I believe this because reason I was hired as a local driver in the first place is that they had just fired the previous driver for being late too much.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

Ian, the key is "ownership". You need to realize that you were the one holding the wheel at the time of the accident. That means it's on you, not the company or anyone else. As others have said, you need to be the judge of your abilities, and no amount of research will get you a reasonable explanation, other than you were tired at that moment.

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but I didn't know I was fatigued at the time so it did me no good

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That is an interesting phrase. When you start your shift, everything is fine, but later on you become tired. I'm not looking back to make sure, but I don't recall any time hacks in your incident. Was this 2am or 2pm but you didn't get any sleep (as in "irregular sleep schedule")? Regardless, when you do realize it isn't a good idea to continue, as the dotted lane lines lull you into drowsiness, that's the time to pull into a safe area and take some Z's. No dispatcher can argue about it. They can ask why you didn't get enough sleep ahead of time, but they can't say anything if you decide to pull in just then. (Being drowsy when by all other rights you should be awake is another ball of wax.)

It happened around noon, a time that I did not "feel tired" at all. None of the obvious indicators of fatigue such as sleepiness or blurred vision were present. I had a normal amount of sleep the night before, but I think I must not have gotten enough sleep the previous week.

If I had known at the time that how you feel isn't always a reliable indicator of fatigue, I would have immediately switched back to OTR to eliminate this potential problem. But a lot of factors influence sleep, and it's impossible to know precisely how much is needed on any given night.

I would never drive if I felt drowsy, but the problem was that I did not feel drowsy at any time that day. Because the work hours increased gradually over a few months, the change in what "felt normal" to me was so slow that I didn't detect that I was fatigued. I didn't even think to consider that fatigue may have influenced the accident until about a week later, when I realized I felt much more energetic than before.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

Here is the long explanation:

I started company training in February 2017 and became a solo OTR driver the next month. In June, a manager asked if I would be interested in a local driving job where I would be home every night. The advertised schedule was 12 hours on, 12 hours off. I was concerned about the daily commute, which would take 45-60 minutes in either direction, so I asked how consistent the work hours were. I was assured the work schedule was "very consistent", so that including the commute as "work" would result in the same 14 on / 10 off schedule that OTR drivers have. Based on that information, I accepted the job offer.

For the first several months, the job was exactly as advertised. Because I returned to the same location at the end of each shift, the HOS rules allowed me to extend the 14 hour maximum to 16 hours under some circumstances. At first, I only needed to utilize this provision about once a month.

After I had been with the company for a year, I was given a performance review. My manager said that I was always on time and communicate well, so he saw no issues that I needed to address.

Shortly after that, around two to three months before the accident, a few of the night dispatchers quit. The remaining dispatchers then became so overworked that their typical response time increased from around fifteen minutes to over an hour. As a result, I ended up working more hours that were spent just waiting for dispatch to respond. Each week, the company would send a message asking for feedback, and I mentioned this issue. There was never any indication given that they were in the process of hiring more dispatchers, and the number of work hours kept increasing.

Each night I would drive directly home, go to sleep immediately, then wake up the next morning and immediately go back to work. There was no time for anything else if I was to be as well rested as possible.

The week before the accident, I worked more hours than in any previous week. As a result I decided I was going to switch back to OTR driving if things didn't improve drastically within two weeks. I was aware that there was a potential for a fatigue problem to develop, but I didn't know it already had.

I was "on duty" for about 55 hours the week before the accident. That may not sound like much, but the total time I was required to be awake by my employer was between 85 and 90 hours, including commuting. That time also includes time spent sitting at a dock "waiting for the green light". My trainer told me that time should be logged "off duty" or "sleeper berth" unless you are required to do anything more substantial than waiting for the signal. I learned after I was fired that their interpretation was incorrect, and that time should have been logged "on duty" unless I was physically resting in the sleeper berth. However, this regulation isn't typically enforced. This is one of the "safety issues" I alluded to. I believe the trainer told me this so I would have more of the 70 hours available for driving, which earns the company more profit.

That's only one example. The entire time I worked there, I got the impression they wanted drivers to take risks, but not get caught. They'd tell you how to do things by the book, but when "off the record" they would hint at what they really meant. It seems like the industry is so competitive that if you don't take risks, someone else will, and you don't make a profit. This principle applies to competition between companies as well as between drivers at the same company. The flow of money rewards those drivers and companies who are most willing to take short-term risks for profit, sometimes at the expense of safety. I really hope this conclusion is wrong and I just had the misfortune of working for some questionable people, or that I misunderstood their intent. But if true, it's no wonder there's a driver shortage.

The dispatchers are under just as much pressure as drivers are. That apparently caused them to do things such as view the 16 hour exception as "2 extra hours of work", or call me while I was at home asleep two hours or more after my shift ended.

Some people may have gotten the impression that the company knew I was fatigued and told me to drive. That's not what happened, and this company wasn't so unsafe that they would blatantly open themselves to liability if they had. However, they did schedule me in a way that they could have known would present a risk of causing fatigue. It was clearly viewed negatively when I had to refuse to follow a direct order, even for a legitimate reason, such as that I would have to violate HOS. I was also reprimanded for getting to work an hour and a half late on one occasion, when I overslept after working a very long shift the day before.

The original post may have been interpreted as overly hostile to the company, and I apologize for that. My position is that while the accident was "my fault" and "preventable", it didn't happen because I intentionally took any safety risks, whereas the company did. Had they not done so, the accident likely wouldn't have happened.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

I’m not judging. I have zero experience, I have no right to judge anyone.

I simply meant to educate those who may not know that you can’t be forced to do anything unsafe or illegal.

Ian may not have known he had the right to refuse to go further without sleep.

I knew I had the right to refuse to drive, but I didn't know I was fatigued at the time so it did me no good. See my reply to Big T for the short explanation.

I'm working on a more detailed explanation of the accident, which seems to be necessary to fully explain my position. Look for that post within an hour or so.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Fired for accident and not sure what to do.

You chose to drive while fatigued, but the company caused the accident? The buck stops with you. No company can force you to drive fatigued. You made a poor choice and ended up having a major accident by industry standards. Until you realize that and come to grips with that your chances are not real great.

If you want to stay in the industry then take what you can get and get another year of safe driving. At that point you may have more options.

I did a lot of research on the issue of driver fatigue as a result of this, and came to the conclusion that it is a greatly misunderstood issue. "Fatigue" is defined as an abnormal lack of physical or mental energy. The most common causes are sleep deprivation, stress, and having an erratic sleep schedule. The first two were relevant to the accident. Many of the symptoms of fatigue are not immediately recognizable as such: sleepiness, physical weakness, boredom or low motivation, irritability, difficulty concentrating or remembering, poor decision making, and increased reaction time. One also has to consider that fatigue may impair the ability to identify fatigue, in a similar manner to a drunk person believing they are not too drunk to drive.

The topic of fatigue was only mentioned once during company training. The conversation used the terms "fatigued", "tired", and "drowsy" interchangeably, which I found out too late is not correct. I incorrectly believed that "don't drive while fatigued" meant "don't drive if you feel sleepy". On the day of the accident, I did not feel drowsy at all, so there was nothing to indicate that I shouldn't have gotten behind the wheel. I did not make a deliberate choice to do anything unsafe.

At a superficial level, I agree that the accident would have been prevented if I had been able to react sooner, so it meets the basic definition of a preventable accident. The reason I say the company should take some of the blame is that they misinformed me on how to identify and prevent fatigue, then took actions that caused me to be fatigued. I'll explain in more detail in the next post.

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