High Risk Driver

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Pianoman's Comment
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Got called into safety this morning to be informed I have been identified as a high risk driver. The paper had a list of high risk events: I hit a deer, went around a curve too fast triggering a critical event, and my backing accident. The deer incident was listed as non-preventable. I signed the paper, which said I had to improve or I would eventually be terminated.

I was already at the terminal to do my LCQ (local close quarters) training, but now I also have to do a simulator class and SDD (Swift Decision Driving) class within 10 days of signing the paper. Did the SIMs class this morning and LCQ training this afternoon, and am going to do the SDD class tomorrow morning. The thing that sucks about all this (besides being fired if I screw anything else up), is that I was scheduled for home time this weekend. I'm still going to make it home on time, but I'm pretty much going to just turn around a head right back out and STILL only make 1500 miles this week.

On the bright side, I met several people today and made some connections.

#1--the safety person I talked to this morning--he told me if I ever needed anything give him a call. It seemed like he really meant it.

#2--remember that driver leader I called a jerk and hung up on? Well, I met him today. Super nice guy and even apologetic about the other day. Again, told me if I ever needed anything send him a message. Since I apologized he has been really good about responding to direct messages.

#3--a couple people in charge of dedicated accounts.

#4--the man doing the SIMs class. I just knocked on the door and asked if I could take the class, and he took me on the spot. This guy has almost 6 million miles of safe driving--SIX MILLION. Just wow. And he didn't just sit me in front of the simulator--we talked for a good 15 minutes while I picked his brain. Been at Swift for 20 years, a driver for longer than that. Real nice guy.

#5--the guy doing my LCQ training. He never even had me drive. He just talked to me for 3 hours while I rode along with him on his route. He gave me some great tips about driving, but also gave me advice on how to get on that dedicated or even local position I want.

To sum up, I'm frustrated and tired. I've been working my tail off and giving my best to this job and I'm just barely managing to keep my job right now. And I can't even see my wife for more than maybe a day and a half if I want to be able to pay the bills this month. At least it wasn't a total loss of a day.

The two things drilled into me today:

--NEVER be in a hurry

--If you're tired, don't drive.

Imma keep going, but I'm just beat for the moment.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Errol V.'s Comment
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Paul, get your rest for today. I do know there are two things you'll probably never do again: fast curves or what it was that you backed into.

It's been months since my backing accident, but I keep a close eye on yellow& red posts that are right in front (where my front wheels & fender get in the way) of the dock I'm backing into. The deer? I got mine the second week of my mentor ride. I can still see the plastic bumper pieces flying across the windshield.

If you've been reading these forum posts for any length of time, you'll read several from drivers who figure "it's the end", but it really isn't. Drive safe, keep between the lines.

Pianoman's Comment
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Thanks for the encouragement Errol. It means something to hear that from a driver who has had a mishap like mine and stuck with it long enough to see the light on the other side.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Paul, just keep giving it everything you've got. It's awesome to hear that Swift is working with you the way they are. Obviously they're doing everything in their power to keep you around and help you get better. Just keep showing them that you're serious about being the best driver you can be and keep working hard at it.

And of course take things nice and slow. There's no such thing as being too careful. I have a 30 foot camper I pull around and after all my years in a big rig you wouldn't believe how slow I take things, especially when I'm getting ready to leave for a trip or when I'm backing that thing into a tight spot. It's not uncommon for me to get out and look four or five times when backing in a tight spot even though I'm 95% sure I'm just fine. Thing is, the camper shell is fiberglass so you hit anything and it's gonna crack like ancient pottery.

And Pre-Trip Inspections? As I'm packing things up and getting ready to roll I must do five or six complete walk-arounds to make sure I haven't missed anything.

The more experience you have the more things you've seen go wrong and the more careful you should become. So don't get the impression that you should be getting things done more quickly over time like your backing or your pre-trips or anything. Take your time. Take all the time you need. Take things really, really slow.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Paul I know of two drivers assigned to the Walmart DC where I work that were faced with similar circumstances about two years ago. Long story, short, one of them moved last summer and now drives for Toll Brothers. The other is still on the Walmart account and doing just fine. I saw him in the office on Monday.

I am highly amused when drivers, some of them on this forum encourage a rookie to move on in the face of adversity without knowing the whole story. Like Brett said, Swift is showing a willingness and making an effort to work with you on this and help you get through it. CPM is only part of the reason for sticking with a company.

You will get through this, you know what you're doing and you will prevail.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

's Comment
member avatar

My husband, he admitts he panicked, was caught up on a farm to mkt road. He was supposed to ride with 3 other trucks to Columbus (unknown territory) and took a wrong turn. Tried to whip around at a business with one of those waist high planters that has their sign posted. You know? Concrete with dirt and bushes? Wiped it out he said. He'll never have that problem again and he sees the warning signals in himself when to stop, look and listen. And breath. Oh. And he's still with them.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

At least they want didnt suggest psychological drugs. My FM often tells me I "need help" n not the driving kind lol

Sorry...had to inject some humor here. Don't get stressed over this. Swift all but said you are good employee and they want to keep you. If not they would have just fired you. If you stress you will make mistakes. You madensome allies which is awesome. Utilize them.

Fm:

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.
Pianoman's Comment
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Well since someone bumped this thread I might as well give an update. Almost six months later, I'm still with Swift and getting really good miles. I still know most of the people I mentioned in the original post and I've met several more. I also just switched to a great dedicated fleet that gets me home for a 34 once a week.

The moral here: if you screw up and your company gives you a chance, take it. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by blaming them and then leaving for a company where no one knows you.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
The moral here: if you screw up and your company gives you a chance, take it. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by blaming them and then leaving for a company where no one knows you.

That's some really great advice Paul. Two thumbs up from me!

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

The moral here: if you screw up and your company gives you a chance, take it. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by blaming them and then leaving for a company where no one knows you.

double-quotes-end.png

That's some really great advice Paul. Two thumbs up from me!

Ditto here!

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