Topic 23141 | Page 1

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Philip J.'s Comment
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I’m a rookie driver who went solo over the road for the first time this week. I’ve only had had my cdl for about four weeks. Long story short: I hit another truck while picking up a load. The radiator was damaged and the truck had to be towed. The incident happened on private property, but the police were nonetheless contacted. They didn’t issue a citation, but said they were required to write an incident report and send it to the state DOT. “They’ll decide what to do with it,” the officer told me. I think I already know the answer, but I need confirmation: will this go on my driving record? I made a horrible mistake and I’m pretty sure I’ll be fired when I get back. Even worse, I probably won’t find another job unless it’s with one of those bad driving-record, last chance clearing houses that, comparatively, pay very little. Any thoughts!


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.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.


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.


Hours Of Service

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

Phil, it is common for rookie drivers to have small (and big) accidents. You are probably driving a company truck, and they will fix it.

As for your career, my guess is you might still drive again. From your description, you may have to take a class in Close Quarters driving (i.e., big rig in a parking lot) at least.

What company are you with? Others from your company can give you more specific advice.

Bird 's Comment
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Like Errol said you maybe okay, maybe not. Not a guarantee. Example I can give was when I was Schneider I was out with a "mentor" and while pulling into the back of a Dollar Tree he was driving btw. He didn't swing it wide enough and took out a brick wall that was built around a dumpster. I mean completely collapsed. Police came out and everything. He is still with the company to this day. So don't get too upset about it yet. Worry about finishing the run and getting back safely.

Old School's Comment
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I think the main thing is that you own the accident when talking with the safety personnel. They do not want to hear even the slightest excuse. They want to see if you know what you did wrong, and what you learned from it. Keep it to that, and be humble and apologetic. You will probably live to drive some more for them if you truly learned something from this bad experience.

LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

Phillip, whether your employment with your company is over or not really depends. All I can say is be humble. Admit to your mistake, then take your punishment like a man.

Here is a true story. It happened at my company. It happened after I was working for them. So it is not some hearsay story. Anyhow, we had a new rookie. This individual had less than 6 months of driving experience at the time of the incident. He picked up at a customer. He decided not to follow the route he took in and to blindly follow his GPS out. He turned on to a side road that was marked "no trucks". While turning into this road he dropped his trailer in the ditch. He became hung up while attempting to keep on driving forward. A train was coming. He failed to call the railroad. He didn't even try to throw it in reverse and get off the tracks. Here is the cherry. He did NOT get out of his truck!!! He sat in his truck until the train hit him. The train caught the tractor at the drive tires. He was thrown from the truck and spent time in a hospital recovering. Now here is the part that is going to blow your mind. He was NOT immediately fired. He was given the chance to keep his job!! He only lost his job because he became indignant when he was told he would have to completely repeat training. That was straight from the head of safety and the head of training. Ummm, helllooooo!?!?!?! So like I said, admit to your mistakes, point out the lessons you have learned and take your lumps like a man. The individual that got hit by the train will never drive a truck again after that incident was put on his DAC. He had a chance to still be driving trucks.


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.


Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.


Hours Of Service

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

I left the part out that after you immediately turn onto the side road is a set of active railroad tracks, but I am sure you got that figured out already.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Let me add a bit to what Old School wrote about "ownership". It sounds like you are truly concerned about what happened - the other truck didn't "appear out of nowhere" or any other excuse, you just hit it. A sign of really taking the situation seriously is it you keep replaying the moment in your head, and deciding you'll never let that happen again. You'll before sort of an expert on that particular situation.

I speak from experience. Once I had to back into a dock, using the classic driver side 90 alley dock method but with very little extra room to the front. I had a rather tight Jack-knife to turn the trailer, and never checked out the right side of my tractor. CRASH! I had hit a yellow post guarding a fire hydrant. Tore up the right fender.

I talked with the Swift Safety office, explained the error and what I had learned. I also got the fender replaced and went back to driving.

Yes, the crash stays on my record (at Swift, it drops off after one year) but I kept rolling those miles.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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