Tough Call...What Would You Do?

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Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Rules - experienced drivers please don't give your answer/opinion until we give the rookies and potential drivers a chance to give an answer. Rookies and potential drivers this is for you. You're about to go through my shoes.

You have a delivery to a Walmart Distribution Center, you're delivering yogurt - required temp: 34-37 degrees. There was too much time on the load so you arrived at a truck stop 30 miles from the delivery and you spent the night over there. Your appointment time is at 1300. So you wake up on this summer day, have a nice breakfast and basically do nothing for the entire morning. This particular Walmart never accepts a driver early so your plan is to get there 30 minutes before the appointment time to conserve your 14 hour clock. You also are preplanned on a load that you'll be picking up right after this delivery and its a 900 mile load that is on a tight schedule so you really need to watch your clocks.

It is 1200 and its time to go! You get out of the truck to do a quick pre-trip inspection. You notice that the reefer temperature is reading at 42 degrees.

You open the engine compartment of the reefer unit and can't find anything that can be wrong. Luckily, you're parked at a truck stop that has a repair shop. You quickly run to the Shop Foreman and tell him what's going on and ask him to please take a look at it.

15 minutes later he comes back with his answer. "Your Water Pump is broken, that's why the reefer can't hold the temperature. It needs to be replaced and it'll take about 2 hours." says the Shop Foreman.

So the question is, what would YOU do? You can still make the delivery appointment on time, or would you opt to get it repaired then deliver this load late?

Trucking isn't an easy career. We have to make difficult choices on the road constantly. As we learned from my previous post, sometimes you just have to pick a poison and get creative. We all encourage you folks to get your practice here on real world decisions every trucker has to make from time to time. I had to make this exact decision when I was training Ken, it wasn't easy.

So I say again, rookies, what would YOU do if you were the driver in this situation. Please give your opinion and the reason for it. Remember, there is no wrong answer. I do this to get you ahead of your competition and to help you out, not to tell you that your opinion is wrong. So you have nothing to fear and everything to gain. Come and give your opinion and we'll discuss it! Lurkers, make an account and talk with us. We would love to hear from you!

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Kurt G.'s Comment
member avatar

Is the bad water pump part of the trailer or the tractor?

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Is the bad water pump part of the trailer or the tractor?

The water pump in the reefer unit is bad. A reefer is that giant refrigerator unit at the front of the trailer that keeps it climate controlled.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Kurt G.'s Comment
member avatar

Hmm...seems like if it's already too warm you might as well deliver it on time and not mess up the rest of your day. If you stay to get it fixed it'll be bad, late, and you'll miss the next load.

Kurt G.'s Comment
member avatar

...oh, unless you keep the same trailer for the next load. That makes it harder.

Michael S.'s Comment
member avatar

I think this load to the Walmart DC is going to be rejected, +5 degrees over the instructed temperature is most likely too much. This is what I'd do:

Contact DM and explain what has happened with the load. Find out where to take it given that it is going to be rejected.

Get the reefer fixed.

Dispose of the load as directed by DM.

Make the pick up of the next load on time.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Cavorkykid's Comment
member avatar

Just cause the refer is temping out 5+ doesnt meen the product is. Check the temp on the product as long as its below 40 its safe to consume. Still contact your DM and inform of everything you have learned. Again the product must be 40 to be safe to consume.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar

If it's gonna take the shop 2 hours to fix the pump, that's 2 extra hours for the product to get warmer and warmer...

2 hours vs. 30 minutes to get over there and (hopefully) start unloading right away...

I'd say head down the road and let Walmart decide what to do with the product, then worry about the next load when the time comes.

Rob S.'s Comment
member avatar

Call dm. Explain and obey.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Steve_HBG's Comment
member avatar

Before I did anything, I would have reviewed my company's policies and procedures that address the actions a driver should take to either identify or identify and resolve temperature problems in a temperature controlled trailer.

Also, I would have reviewed the shipping papers for special instructions provided with the yogurt. Do shippers of loads requiring refrigeration provide special instructions?

In the absence of any company policies and procedures, as well as any special instructions from either the shipper or the receiver, I would contact my DM , explain what I observed (the reefer temp was reading 42 degrees for a load that required a temperature between 34 degrees and 37 degrees), what I did to address the issue at first (I had the Shop Foreman look at the unit, and it was diagnosed with a water pump problem), ask the DM for instructions, and follow them.

Finally, there's no mention of it in the example, but I would have monitored the temperature display on the trailer a bit more than "normal" to help ensure the load was kept at its required temperature. Doing that would have enabled me to identify a potential problem sooner. But, that's just me.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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