Low Status Stigma Of Truck Driver?

Topic 2191 | Page 2

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Animal's Comment
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The difference between a janitor or trashman and a sanitation engineer is the manner in which he conducts himself and performs. The difference between a trucker and a professional driver is pretty much the same. Every day we have a choice. We can either be professionals and respected by our peers and others - or we can further the stereotype. That goes for any job, career, occupation and when you break out the broad stroke brush - life itself. You would be amazed at how many of us are very highly educated, intelligent and thoughtful professionals. My trainer in '98 had a master's in chemistry. He was a metallurgist for a large steel manufacturer in AL. His only child, a son, graduated West Point and was killed in a training exercise and a year later his wife died of cancer. Later the same year the steel industry in AL tanked. So he "ran away and joined the circus of trucking. Been here ever since. That was 15 years ago. I've learned a lot since then so now I train the next generation how to do things the right way, give the industry and themselves something positive - a safe and confident professional. If you don't want to be a student of that - we'll part ways now, with no hard feelings but I'm not the trainer for you." I had a driver that worked for me that was a banker. His dad owned a S&L. He took over and ran it. His dad sold the S&L to a big chain - remember when the Regan boy got into the S&L trouble? About that time. The buyers agreed to keep John on as the director. John didn't like working for them, saw an ad on TV for driving school, thought it looked like fun and did it. He was 12 years into it when I knew him. I've known salt of the earth great guys that had very little education. Oldest sons who had to quit school and go to work because of a family crisis. They could hardly read but I'll tell you they were helluva great drivers. The kind you want to meet on a dark lonely road when your car is broken down. True professionals. Consider these points; in the eyes of the Law, commercial motor vehicle operators are licensed professionals just like licensed contractors, dr's, engineers or attorneys. A CDL is very different from a regular operator's license. My wife's regular license is not a professional license - it's our State's permission to operate a properly registered and insured small vehicle on a public roadway. My CDL is a license to engage in a profession, namely professional commercial driving. There are several tests and working CMV operators meet those tests to be considered in the eyes of the Law a licensed professional(and thus held to a higher standard of performance than one that performs a similar task without a professional license). 1) a license must be required - it is. Can't operate a CMV w/o a CDL. 2) it must be issued by a State Agency - it is, the DMV. 3) there must be nationalized standards for the license - there is. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 which went into affect July 1, 1987 (commonly called the CDL Act) among many other things, nationally standardized CDL requirements and States testing and created the Commercial Dirvers License Information System (CDLIS pronounced sid-liss) which is a national database that tracks all CDLs so no one may hold multiple licenses (each from a different state). 4) the profession must have a state regulatory agency to enforce 5) state and federal regulations of the profession - it does. Each state has a commercial motor vehicle enforcement division erroneously called by most drivers the DOT , though most are actually DPS (dept of public safety - they are "law enforcement officers, not road builders or bridge inspectors" as was pointed out to me a slightly miffed officer in OH during a "DOT Inspection" "the Feds may be part of US DOT but we are State Law Enforcement Officers." Gulp, sorry sir. didn't mean to offend). Most states simply adopted the Federal Regulations as their State regulations and have a different set of regulations for intrastate carriers. Trucking is somewhat unique in the realm of licensed professions in that there are no specific educational requirements (degree etc) to obtain the professional license. You can study the CDL manual free from the DMV , pass the beginners permit test, go out with a friend and learn how to do the pre-trip, park and drive, go back, pay the fee and with a borrowed or rented truck and trailer pass the "road test" and get your CDL. That is both good and bad. It's great because the fine gentlemen I spoke of that had to quit school to go to work and have no education but are really good people and very professional, have careers where they can earn $40 - $50K and more if they are really good. Most factory jobs now require at least a GED. So these guys get to make a good living despite a lack of education. It's bad because some folks simply shouldn't have a CDL because they lack the sense of responsibility necessary to be a licensed professional anything.

So I say you will be perceived by how you conduct and present yourself, regardless of your occupation. I know some real slimeball dr's, attorneys and engineers and I know some real professionals - just like real professional commercial vehicle drivers and some slimeballs too. If folks can't see the tree for the forest and want to stereotype Animal; Animal says let them eat cake! The people that matter to Animal know the difference. Be what you want, but whatever you decide - be a professional and be happy.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Commercial Motor Vehicle:

A commercial motor vehicle is any vehicle used in commerce to transport passengers or property with either:

  • A gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more which includes a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds
  • DOT:

    Department Of Transportation

    A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

    State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

    CMV:

    Commercial Motor Vehicle

    A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

    • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
    • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
    • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
    • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
    • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

    Intrastate:

    The act of purchasers and sellers transacting business while keeping all transactions in a single state, without crossing state lines to do so.

    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.

    DMV:

    Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

    The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

    CDLIS:

    The Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) is a nationwide computer system that enables state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) to ensure that each commercial driver has only one driver’s license and one complete driver record.

    A drivers file will include their driving record as well as their medical certification status.

    HOS:

    Hours Of Service

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

BTW - Animal does not recommend the "self taught" method of obtaining a CDL and strongly advocates formal education and training. Also forgot to mention the sixth test to be considered a professional license in the eyes of the Law 6) a test measuring professional knowledge and or skills must be required to obtain the license - it is. And this site is an outstanding resource for gaining the knowledge to begin the career long adventure in continuous education.

Also, in case anyone wonders why the Law always seems to come down harder on CDL Drivers than they do on four wheelers - it's that whole licensed professional - held to a higher standard thing. To them we, of ALL people, should know better than to speed or what have you. Suzy Soccer Mom yacking on the cell phone ditty bopping down the road lickety split SHOULD know better and might in a remote way, but she isn't a licensed professional, MAYBE took drivers ed 20 years ago and the last person to speak to her about Safe Driving was the deep voice dude in the Allstate commercial and she thought the Mayhem dude in the other commercial was hilarious because "everyone does that". We know better, we're trained, we go to Safety Meetings and most of us get a daily safety message on the Qualcomm Navigator Aggravator everyday and I'll bet all your DM's sign off with you with: BE SAFE. They figure staying hard on us keeps professionals professional and our vehicles are so much bigger that when we wreck it's REALLY bad. Didn't say it was right or fair. That's just how the Law looks at it, though. Animal Out

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.
Flatwater 's Comment
member avatar

Well, I've got friends in low places... LOL! My family has been involved in trucking, either steering and gearing or dispatch, etc., for generations. It's kinda ingrained.

A proper attitude and way of carrying yourself makes all the difference. It's already been said, but how you present yourself plays a lot into how the public perceives you. If you conduct yourself and your business affairs in a pleasant manner and offer respect, you'll get it in return. If you roll outta the truck in sweats and matted hair, maybe funking of missing a couple of showers, you're probably gonna get the cold shoulder.

T.W.'s Comment
member avatar

I have been reading and re-adding all of your posts. Very inspiring posts. It is amazing to hear from all your insights and experiences. We are a mix bag of talents that choose a trade because we enjoy it, not because we seek validation. That is what a real man does, without hesitation.

Excellent posts everyone.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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