Got Fired As A Rookie Solo Driver

Topic 20024 | Page 1

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Bryant H.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello fellow drivers,

I was terminated from Swift, on April, 26, 2016 for having two prevenatables. One was an overhead crash on my very first solo run. The second one was when I high hooked the trailer in the yard, and it was label as an back accident. Now that I have that out the way, I only have 5 verifiable months of experience, I was terminated for having 2 preventables in a short time. Only two months apart, I was fired 3 weeks after the backing accident, which I think was a delayed discipline tactic. The day before I was fired I hit severe weather, high winds, hail and heavy rains. I decided to pull over because I could barely control the truck with high winds and low visibility. I called my DM and informed that I was pulling over due to safety concerns, and my DM started yeling and telling me to get back on the road. I told her no because of the hail and high winds, and I was informed if I didn't get back on the road, I would be rejecting the load that I was already attached too. I informed them after the storm passed I would get goinf again with no problem, but was informed that wasn't an option. I informed them the Swift Severe Weather Policy where it was up to me to drive or not during inclement weather, and at that time my DM hung up in my face. The next day I was routed to the nearest terminal to turn in my truck. Keep in mind this was 3 1/2 weeks after my backing accident that they informed that I was being fired for.

Long story short I have not been able to find anybody to give me a chance because of the termination. Even Western Express and Trans Am turned me down. I learned from my mistakes I own up to them, I know that the GPS is a tool not an guide, I raley used the gps after my overhead crash, I relyled on roadmaps. What am saying is there any tips you can give a young driver who desperately want to start driving again.

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.

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.
LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

I have a question about the high hook incident. More specifically, what happened after you high hooked the trailer? Because if you went back and checked and saw that a) the 5th wheel was not flush and b) checked the jaws and saw they were not seated; all you would have to do is make sure they are released, pull forward, lower the trailer down and rehook. No muss, no fuss. I check those on the way back to raise the landing gear.

As Johnny 5 says: "Need more input!"

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Also...Swift has a three strike rule for preventables within a three year period. Did something else happen?

icecold24k's Comment
member avatar

I have a question about the high hook incident. More specifically, what happened after you high hooked the trailer? Because if you went back and checked and saw that a) the 5th wheel was not flush and b) checked the jaws and saw they were not seated; all you would have to do is make sure they are released, pull forward, lower the trailer down and rehook. No muss, no fuss. I check those on the way back to raise the landing gear.

As Johnny 5 says: "Need more input!"

Agree. When I was on my 2nd or 3rd solo load I high hooked a trailer one night at Charlotte Pipe. Completely my fault for assuming and not paying attention. Lesson learned. No damage done and no big deal. Mistakes happen. However I was able to easily correct it myself by propping something on the fifth wheel to hold it down while I pulled the tractor back out and corrected my mistake and hooked back up right.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bryant H.'s Comment
member avatar

What happen was I was lined up perfectly because i got out and checked. It was 3 am and I was the only one on the yard. I did not know at the time all I had to do was raise the trailer up and drop the air bags. Like I said as being a rookie driver I went in and it was a night DM on site and he didn't know how to get it unhooked so I had to wait until morning until a mechanic showed up to be unhooked. Did a statement and the night DM reported it as an backing accident even though the mechanic said it wasn't

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.
icecold24k's Comment
member avatar

What happen was I was lined up perfectly because i got out and checked. It was 3 am and I was the only one on the yard. I did not know at the time all I had to do was raise the trailer up and drop the air bags. Like I said as being a rookie driver I went in and it was a night DM on site and he didn't know how to get it unhooked so I had to wait until morning until a mechanic showed up to be unhooked. Did a statement and the night DM reported it as an backing accident even though the mechanic said it wasn't

Ohh okay I understand now. I guess they counted it as an accident since they did have to get the mechanic involved to unhook it.

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.
Bryant H.'s Comment
member avatar

The companies i applied to said it wasn't the accidents that disqualified me it was that I was terminated for them.

Bryant H.'s Comment
member avatar

Also...Swift has a three strike rule for preventables within a three year period. Did something else happen?

No thats it. Just the overhead crash and the backing accident and it also it depends on the fleet you're on. Some can let you go after 2 and others after 3 preventables

Gladhand's Comment
member avatar

I got 2 backing accidents and an overweight ticket in a span of 3 months... Not proud of it, but I took safety classes and was sent on my way. Learned a lot from them. Sounds like something is missing from the story? If not, kind of odd being that i did more than you did and am still in good standing with the company. Main reason I am staying another year with them.

Also, it's too late I know, but never call when shutting down for weather, safety issues, etc. Send a message. Once it is written down, they can't do much to you, if they do, all we have to do is report them to safety. The Albuquerque terminal as well as the company as a whole encourage us to shutdown when we don't feel comfortable to continue on.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Just for clarification...

Anytime someone over shoots the pin or "high hooks" a trailer, that is a preventable accident. Meaning, if there is damage caused, or a significant delay caused because they had to get a mechanic out for assistance. Rookies need to take note of what Bryant said - He said he got out and checked to make sure he was lined up properly. Well, he still missed hitting it properly. It's an easy mistake, but it can and should be avoided. These are the little details that rookie drivers have got to give great importance to.

Also, as Gladhand pointed out - don't be so quick to call your driver manager. USE THE QUALCOMM. This is very important, and we sress a lot in here about how important communication is. Written communications are critically important. Otherwise you just look like a rebellious rookie who is refusing to do what your driver manager needs done when it gets down to the "he said, she said" stuff.

Bryant had a lot of missteps, but I'm not sure he even realized it. Reminding the DM over the phone of the fact that the driver is in charge of this ship when there is bad weather was a bad move.

I'm not wanting to sound accusing, but there's probably more to this than we are getting. What's sad is I'm not sure Bryant realizes the mistakes he made.

Getting terminated early in the first year of this career is even worse than quitting early. It will be tough for him, as he's already discovering.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

Driver Manager:

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.
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