I'm A Police Officer, I Can Help You.

Topic 13178 | Page 1

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Dave B Flying's Comment
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Many years ago, I worked as a lease driver for a company out of Cleveland, Ohio then called Transportation Unlimited. As a lease driver I drove for many different trucking outfits back then; Advance, Olin, Norandex, True Value, Revco, Stouffers, Parker, and TRW just to name a few. I drove for a company several times that hauled fiberglass insulation rolls. Don't remember their name. On this particular trip, I delivered to some place down in West By God Virginia. I have many stories that I can tell you about my earliest experiences in that state. I have to tell you that in those days, I did a lot of drinking. After all, I was a truck driver and I thought all drivers parked their trucks at a watering hole to have fun with lonely women at the end of a long hard day behind the wheel. I can testify that this lifestyle can lead to foggy thinking the next morning.

I thought that the care free life was what we all signed up for. For me it usually meant crazy long nights of partying and a lack of sleep followed by trying to make my appointments on time. I'm pleased to tell you that I haven't drank for many years and my life is much easier now. After one such night, I had to find out where this place was that was waiting on me. They didn't have GPS like they do now. Hey there's a police officer, I'll ask him. I go over to this police officer and show him the company address I was looking for. His partner comes over to take a look at it and they start discussing the best route. He then asks me, how heavy are you? And I replied, not heavy at all. I have a trailer of insulation that probably weighs less than 5,000 LBS(if I remember right). They both just smiled and the one said, just follow me, I'll take you right to it. I said alright, that's great!

So I hop up in this old 1974 International cab over, put her in gear and proceeded to follow this police cruiser. I don't remember it being much further than 3 or 4 miles away but it was a trip that I would not soon forget. I don't remember where I was in WV at the time or what road they took me down but I can testify that it was anything but straight and flat. I tried to keep up with them but this road they took me down had turns that were so sharp and hills that were so close to each other that the entire front tandem of the trailer completely lifted off the ground at least twice that I can remember. I slowed way down and was wondering if I was going to make it all the way or not. The cruiser in front of me slows down coming out of the curve ahead of me to watch me carefully and is now pointing 180 degrees in the opposite direction of where I'm pointing going into the curve. On going traffic that managed to squeeze by were shaking their heads wondering what planet I came from bringing a semi down this road like this. LOL

I'm happy to say that I managed to get to the customer without any damage or having to report to my employer that I flipped their truck over. When we got there, the officer came over and apologized and felt really bad. He said that I didn't look that long to him and he obviously misjudged the road. I thanked him and we parted ways. I'm thinking to myself as they drove away "Where in the hell did these people come from and how could they not know that trucks obviously don't belong on that road? Was there a road restriction? If there was, I don't remember it. After all, I had the best escort in the city; The police! Right?

Lessons learned: I have a great respect for the police department and they are not the enemy as have recently been portrayed. They are also not qualified to escort a commercial vehicle as they did with me. When we get help from anyone such as I did we shouldn't assume that these people are professionals. We need to ask the proper questions regarding length, height, weight and restrictions. My grandfather retired from truck driving after 40+ years. I proudly brought my first truck over to his house to show him one time and before we parted ways he left me with a pearl of wisdom that is one of my signatures below.

Truck driving is a thinking job. When you quit thinking, that's when you're going to get yourself into trouble.

This I have experienced several times in my career.


Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".


Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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