Should Drivers Refuse To Work For Companies With Forced Dispatch?

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Slowpoke's Comment
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If you only read and absorb a single article from this website this year, make the time to read and absorb the Should Drivers Refuse Forced Dispatch blog from Old School. If there is one thing the company and the driver have in common it is this simple rule.

The closer a driver gets to their maximum allowed driving hours every day, and the closer that driver gets to their maximum 70 weekly, the better the bottom line of both the driver and the company.

So many times I have seen people shoot themselves in the foot by having the attitude that "something is beneath them" or they "deserve better." Always ask yourself, does it really matter what the product is that I am loading, hauling or moving from point A to point B as long as it is within legal tolerances? Then ask yourself, does it really matter if the next 500 miles is on I-5, I-75 or I-95? No should be your answer to both questions as 40,000 pounds of baled hay is the same as 40K of Steel, Timber or Garbage for that matter, and 500 miles on any Interstate is 500 miles on your next pay. I remember as a dispatcher having a perfect 3100 mile week planned out for a driver that easily got him home for the time he had previously booked off for his daughters graduation ceremony.

The first part of it was about a 800 mile round trip, hook to loaded dry van in company yard, unload and reload at customer, at the same door no less, then drop that loaded trailer back in the company yard hook to another loaded trailer in the company yard deliver 1160 miles away, pickup 35 miles away and return the remaining 1130 miles to the company yard, drop trailer and have 24 hours to spare to make graduation ceremony. Unfortunately he wasn't having anything to do with that, he knew we had three loads leaving to his favorite destination that week and come hell or high water he was getting one of those.

I tried explaining to him that there was no guarantee of loads coming out of that area and returning to the company yard and that most likely we would have to have him load something in that area that would take him further away from home before being able to get him a load coming back to the yard and he would likely miss his daughters graduation. I remember his exact words "we will cross that bridge when we get to it, but for now you aint screwing me out of this good load". So if anyone guessed that things went rapidly downhill on Wednesday when he was empty and looking for his reload, you would be correct as all of a sudden I was the "so and so that was intentionally trying to screw him out of getting home to his daughters graduation" and "what an (expletive deleted) I am and this company should fire such an (expletive deleted)".

End result he refused the load, he drove the truck 1600 miles empty back to the terminal and was promptly fired by the terminal manager. I should mention that at this point the driver felt the terminal manager was an even bigger (expletive deleted) than his stupid dispatcher.

Your mind should be focused on the same question as your dispatcher, how do I get the maximum number of legal miles/hours out of this tractor this week? Life for you and your dispatcher/driver coordinator is going to get a whole lot easier at that point and you are going to see maximum payroll deposits in your bank account.

Regards, Slowpoke

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Dispatcher:

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Unholychaos's Comment
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Question slowpoke. Do you remember telling that driver the plan for the rest of the week to get him home? I would think that if he had known the plan from the get go, he would have been more likely to follow orders.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Excellent story Slowpoke, and indeed an outstanding article by Old School.

Truck driving often attracts Type A personalities who don't work well with others. They want to call all the shots and they believe that everyone is out to take advantage of them and they're not going to let it happen.

Slowpoke pointed out something critical about trucking. Truck drivers only know a very tiny percentage of what's being planned by dispatch and the load planners. To be fair, they're not often told what's being planned, they're only told what to do next. So when they're given a load they're not fond of they tend to fly off the handle and fight tooth and nail to get taken off that load. They don't realize that they're almost certainly going to be put on a great load very soon after this one is delivered.

There is a lot of give and take that goes on between driver and dispatcher. As a driver you have to recognize that all of the freight the company has must be moved, not just the freight you feel like moving. As a dispatcher you have to recognize that not all loads are equally good to a driver and that a driver should be rewarded with some good freight if they're willing to take the tough assignments.

A good driver and a good dispatcher both recognize this situation and work well together to get all of the freight moved. In the end, if the driver is reliable, hard working, and easy to get along with he'll be rewarded with great miles and a lot of good freight, with a few tougher assignments mixed in.

It all comes down to trust. If the dispatcher can trust the driver to get the job done he'll be willing to pre-plan that driver on freight in order to ensure the driver winds up with great miles consistently. As a driver you have to trust that your dispatcher is watching out for you and will reward you for doing an awesome job.

Dispatcher:

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.
Ride2BFree's Comment
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Refusing a load, I was working for a company and was hired for no touch freight after 1 year and 7 month working for them they gave me a load on the holiday that say that I have to unload myself about 1000 tires and they say if I find lumpers there and pay them I’m not going to get reimburse for it. Instead of causing all the assle at the customer i refused the load and got fired. After being fired some companies will not hire you regardless the reason. My advice is don’t refuse the load just quit on the spot.

Old School's Comment
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My advice is don’t refuse the load just quit on the spot.

That's some really solid advice. So you think we should just quit whenever we get a load that we don't like?

How's that strategy been working out for you?

G-Town's Comment
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Ride2Bfree wrote:

Refusing a load, I was working for a company and was hired for no touch freight after 1 year and 7 month working for them they gave me a load on the holiday that say that I have to unload myself about 1000 tires and they say if I find lumpers there and pay them I’m not going to get reimburse for it. Instead of causing all the assle at the customer i refused the load and got fired. After being fired some companies will not hire you regardless the reason. My advice is don’t refuse the load just quit on the spot.

I just cannot let this one go by...

Your advice is NOT recommended. Downright dumb. Do you think quitting a company with no notice; will then provide you with a positive reference? Probably not, just the opposite. Trucking companies exchange information all the time. Give some notice...never burn a bridge like that.

I also find your reply odd, assuming (?) you were a highly productive driver...

You worked for the same company driving no-touch loads for 1 year - 7 months? Then out of the blue, they force you on a load requiring driver unloading of 1000 tires, unwilling to pay for help? "No-touch" to breaking your back for hours on a 45,000 pound tire load. Seems rather strange they'd do this with no warning to a tenured driver. IMO they were looking for a reason to fire you, and you gave them one.

confused.gif

My Spidey-Sense thinks you are only giving us a snippet of the whole story.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Refusing a load, I was working for a company and was hired for no touch freight after 1 year and 7 month working for them they gave me a load on the holiday that say that I have to unload myself about 1000 tires and they say if I find lumpers there and pay them I’m not going to get reimburse for it. Instead of causing all the assle at the customer i refused the load and got fired. After being fired some companies will not hire you regardless the reason. My advice is don’t refuse the load just quit on the spot.

I don't think you've ever been to a tire distributor. They operate a lot different than a grocery DC. They don't charge lumpers and they always have extremely hard working workers who will help you, I'd bet there would be 2 guys helping you since it is in their best interest to sort and segregate during the unload. It wouldn't have taken you more than 3 hours and, no offense, but if there's any group of people who could use the exercise it would be truckers.

There's much more to the story than that. I think that load didn't even exist, they knew what your response would be so they used that load to get you out the door.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

I think people also believe that you can't refuse a "forced dispatch". You can. If you do not have the hours, if it is taking you way too far from home and you wouldn't make your requested time, or if it is otherwise unsafe. We are ofte "off duty" but not really off if you get my meaning. This can cut into sleep.

I was in OH and given a load to OK that would deliver on my home time I requested. When i messaged "What's up? Am I not going home?" I was immediately taken off the load. So although I technically did not refuse the load, I was not forced to do it.

I once got a load with a trainee that went to Yonkers. I called disparch, "Do i reallllllyyyy have to? Yonkers witb a trainee? Are you looking for an accident?" I was then given another load.

I have also said, "Are you changing the appointment times so that I can make this load, because I cannot make 180 miles on 2 hours of drive time" Load removed.

All of that was done under forced dispatch, but in a nice "I am not refusing the load, but it might not be a good idea for me to take it."

Prime keeps a record of the loads refused. I have been told my record is fairly short compared to others. And almost all were either I got held at one customer too long so i couldnt make it, or the truck needed shop time so the load was taken.

Forced dispatch is not scary. But be careful when you refuse loads. If you constantly tell them "weather is bad" or "i am tired" you will see your miles drop. They need Go To people

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Rainy makes some good points. I want to point out one thing about this though. Often times a driver does not have the big picture. Sometimes a dispatcher will hand off a load to us just so that he can secure it on his board. He may give you something that you don't have the hours to do, but he is also working on finding another driver that he can T-call the load to once you get it to a certain point. It pays to trust your dispatcher's instincts. He doesn't always have the time to give you the whole story. Sometimes we just take the ball and run with it until he tells us to sort of do a lateral pass.

Dispatcher:

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.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Yep. My FM does that all the time.

And as I sat and typed that last message, i was at a crappy shipper with low.miles. then "Next Load... 1500 miles to UT" Awesome. that automatically means another great week cause i am then going to ha e to come back east. yay me for not complaining.

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.

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.
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