Fired For Accident And Not Sure What To Do.

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Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

Ian, an option for you might be to try to get on with an outfit that runs lot spotters. Lazer, Shamrock, some orhers in chicago area. Not sure if they'll hire ya, but it may be worth a shot. They may be willing to take a chance, but the insurance companies call the ball on a lot of these decisions

If you do get an interview, my suggestion (for the little it may be worth) would be to explain what happened, acknowledge that you messed up, and don't go into any rationalization or defensive posturing. It will likely make them think you're a high risk candidate. You can see the responses here when people read into it. Potential employers are going to be much more critical, but quietly so.

Good Luck.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Ian, your long explanation did nothing to change our minds. In fact it reinforced everything we've been trying to tell you. It's all been said so I won't go on and on about it. You simply need to accept the accident for what it is: an accident. Learn from it and move on. That we can help you with.

However, you didn't answer a basic question I had. You paint a picture of a company who willingly created a very unsafe atmosphere through their policies. Yet you want to go right back there. You want to put yourself right back in that situation. Why is that? It makes no sense. Is it because you know you had it good, and are disputing the termination any way you can in an attempt to keep that position? I suspect so.

Ian, you sound like a reasonable, articulate, and intelligent person. I suggest you expect the same level of intelligence from us. We are just not buying the excuse.

Navypoppop's Comment
member avatar

Ian, You should be listening to what every moderator here on TT has said after reading what you are trying to tell us about your situation. I am sure that anyone here can understand the feeling of being fatigued but you yourself are trying to make this the issue that caused the accident. You alone are to blame for rear ending the other vehicle because you neglected to recognize the fact that you are in charge of yourself and the laws state that you cannot drive if you are not rested.

If you want to stay in this profession you need to "fess up" that you messed up and if need be move on to another company that will give you a shot again. It might have to be a "bottom feeder" type of company but time will help you to recognize your error and hopefully be able to again drive for a reputable company. Be thankful that you or anyone else was not serious injured or killed. That would be a lot harder to deal with than your looking to justify any reason for driving fatigued.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Ian G.'s Comment
member avatar

I appreciate that you all value personal responsibility, but I think most of you are misunderstanding me. I’m not trying to deny the accident was preventable or my fault. In my first communication with the company after I was fired, I acknowledged both of those things and instead focused on the reasons they should rehire me. The reason I then disputed the accident’s preventability is because I saw it as my only chance to get my job back, and I didn’t understand the preventability criteria at the time. But I now agree with their reasoning.

The “long explanation” wasn’t intended to assign blame, only to include all the factors that explain why I acted the way I did. The reason I say the company “did more to cause the accident than I did” was because they took intentional risks and I didn’t, knowing that I would have to “take all the blame” when I inevitably messed up. From my perspective, I was just trying to do what I thought was expected of me.

On the following distance point, I actually don’t quite remember what happened in the seconds before the crash. I’m certain I misjudged the vehicle’s speed and distance when I first noticed it was slowing down, and that I did not react as quickly as I ordinarily could have. I do distinctly remember feeling surprised that the accident happened because the vehicle seemed far away. So it is quite possible I was following too close, but I can’t say for sure.

All that said, I’ve had months to deliberate this and I honestly can’t determine whether I could have done anything differently once I had already become fatigued. I guess I could have insisted on twelve hours off duty each night to guarantee I’d get enough sleep, but I almost certainly would have been fired for that, or at least labeled as an unreliable complainer. I believe this because reason I was hired as a local driver in the first place is that they had just fired the previous driver for being late too much.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ian G.'s Comment
member avatar

Ian, an option for you might be to try to get on with an outfit that runs lot spotters. Lazer, Shamrock, some orhers in chicago area. Not sure if they'll hire ya, but it may be worth a shot. They may be willing to take a chance, but the insurance companies call the ball on a lot of these decisions

If you do get an interview, my suggestion (for the little it may be worth) would be to explain what happened, acknowledge that you messed up, and don't go into any rationalization or defensive posturing. It will likely make them think you're a high risk candidate. You can see the responses here when people read into it. Potential employers are going to be much more critical, but quietly so.

Good Luck.

Thank you, that is good advice. Would it be bad to mention in an interview that accident was caused by fatigue, so that I can explain why I don’t present a risk of a future crash? After seeing the way that my comments here have been misinterpreted, it sounds like it would be best to answer what they ask for and avoid further detail.

The original question, which hasn’t been answered yet, is whether I have any chance of getting rehired at all. Even if I got fifty job offers right now, they’d all be a waste of time if the original company doesn’t accept the experience. I’m thinking it’s better to cut my losses and get out of trucking now, rather than keep gambling for a job.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Ian you most definitely were following too close. No question and no misunderstanding on our part whatsoever. “Denial”,... you are still in-it.

Like I said earlier you need to get honest with yourself. Focus on your mistakes, do some soul searching and learn from it. There are companies that will hire you but you’ve got to project humility, a positive attitude and a sense of responsibility that you know what must be done to prevent something like this from happening in the future. The second you start deflecting and claiming the former employer’s responsibility in all this, you will disqualify yourself as a viable candidate. Get it into your thick head...this accident was your responsibility. Man-up.

Use this link to find a new job:

Apply For Truck Driving Jobs

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Ian, you are looking for others to answer a question that we CAN'T answer. Whether or not you will be hired?

This website doesn't guarantee jobs.

I believe you're in a place where ONLY YOU can go through this and come out the other side. We all handle adversity in our own way. You'll handle it and move on. Whether you're successful in getting another driving job remains to be seen. And maybe it isn't meant to be. At least for now.

Your preventable accident was PREVENTABLE. BY YOU. Accept that, admit that and move on. How could you have prevented it? Simple; you were getting fatigued and you failed to get yourself off the road. It could've resulted in a death. If I can't haul a load any further because of fatigue (or any other reason), I call in, tell dispatch and they can either reschedule the appointment or have another driver come and relay the load. If they fire me, they'll have to explain why. Probably to a lawyer. But I never get to that point because I look ahead and don't put myself or the company, in that position.

If you discuss the accident in an interview, you'd better be able to explain what YOU learned and what YOU could do differently, so as not to put your prospective new employer in the position of battling a lawsuit.

I hope this helps.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

As everyone would expect, I'm on the same side as everyone else here. I'm a staunch proponent of personal responsibility. I loathe people who agree to take a job that requires the very highest level of safety but then won't take responsibility for their own actions. A job that requires consistently safe decision making in life or death circumstances is no place for someone to be who can't exercise good judgment.

I often ask people who take your approach if they've read the book, "How To Complain, Blame, and Criticize Your Way To The Top." Of course no one has read this book because it hasn't been written and never will be.

You've been so busy in your attempt to assign blame elsewhere that you clearly haven't thought through this defense at all. Turtle brings up the first good point - why would you want to return to the company and put yourself back in a position that you are now deeming to be unsafe? That's either poor judgment or you're being disingenuous about your feelings that the company is unsafe and to partly to blame for your accident.

I have a second point. You're saying you'd like to continue as a driver but your defense is that you're unable to determine for yourself whether or not you're too tired to drive. Well that's inspiring! Sure, I'd love to put you in my truck after hearing that.

I have a third point. Anyone who has reached a high level of success in life will agree that learning from your mistakes is one of the keys to their success. We learn far more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. In fact, sometimes we're successful in spite of our poor decisions and it leads to a false sense of confidence in ourselves and a false belief that we in fact made good decisions. But when we fail there's no denying the fact that we screwed up. We're left with a pile of ashes to sift through hoping to find clues that will help prevent that from happening again. By shunning your responsibility in this you've chosen to ignore the lessons in it for yourself and instead focus on placing blame elsewhere. When you approach people for your next job they're rightly going to fear you'll keep making the same mistakes because you haven't learned enough from them to avoid it happening again.

No one expects perfection, but long term success requires people who:

  • Exercise good judgment
  • Take responsibility for their actions
  • Are Trustworthy
  • Will learn from their mistakes

I'm not seeing those qualities in you and neither does anyone else here. In fact, you won't even take responsibility for things you've just put in writing a short time before. You said you think the company should share in the blame and that they intentionally put you in unsafe circumstances knowing you would take the fall for any mistakes. Then you turned around and denied saying those things.

I know we now live in an era where people are raised to believe that they deserve a trophy even when they lose and it's never their fault if anything goes wrong. I wish that was an exaggeration, but it's the literal truth, and it frustrates me to no end. Unfortunately you're here stating your case to people from the previous generation, and we were raised to believe that we are fully responsible for our own actions and the outcome of our endeavors.

If you feel that the requirements of this job are too much then you have a couple of choices. You can of course choose a different profession, or you can try to get the rules changed. I think an open and honest debate is always healthy, and the demands of this job are indeed far beyond what most jobs would require. So if you were to say that in your opinion the legal demands of this job are too much I would respect that opinion.

I do not, however, respect the fact that you are trying to throw your company under the bus for your mistake. They are following the laws and they're giving you an opportunity to make an excellent living at the same time. You can try to improve yourself and you can try to improve the laws governing this industry and no one will have a problem with that. But if you make a mistake and start pointing fingers at innocent parties you're going to get a poor reception.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

I’ve been quietly following this conversation. Now for my cent and a half. As a former law enforcement officer and supervisor of a traffic unit I can tell you that first and foremost the collision was your and yours alone fault. Accept it and move on with that. In 28 years I have worked and/or approved collision reports and heard pretty much every excuse. And I say collision because that is what the event is. The word accident is not descriptive of the event, only the intention behind it. As you are experiencing events have consequences....Big money consequences... I believe you said you rec’d a citation and it was thrown out, feel free to correct me if I am wrong, however you should be counting your blessings for that. The company, and based on things you have said I believe I know the company you worked at, has had to payout a tidy sum because of your actions. You will never know what went on there, but I can assure you it had some zero’s behind the leading number..That company has had and still has a unwritten policy regarding collisions. I don’t personally like it but I’m not writing checks on their behalf. That policy is “ any collision costing more than 10k termination is mandatory”. Fault does not matter. It as I said is unwritten, seldom talked about, and never amoung management but none the less exists. That is the primary reason your on the non rehire list. I get calls from them a few times a year asking if I want to return, and I nicely decline, primarily because of that policy. They are nice folks, but at anytime we can all get caught up no matter what. Secondly I own my own truck, and can put more on if I choose to. Following your threads and words I would not hire you. I run very good equipment and that costs alot of money. You are trying too deflect blame for the outcome of your decisions and I would not trust you in my equipment, and to be very honest I would be afraid you would probably sue me when something goes wrong. You accepted the local job, you knew your commute when you accepted it, thats on you sir. You choose to stick with it, knowing of the dispatcher issues. You could have asked for a transfer back to OTR , you didn’t. As has been said so much already, accept your consequences for your decisions, use that knowledge to guide you to better ones in the future, and don’t ever try and minimize your decisions to a potential future employer.. I wish you the best

OTR:

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Ian G.'s Comment
member avatar

You've been so busy in your attempt to assign blame elsewhere that you clearly haven't thought through this defense at all. Turtle brings up the first good point - why would you want to return to the company and put yourself back in a position that you are now deeming to be unsafe? That's either poor judgment or you're being disingenuous about your feelings that the company is unsafe and to partly to blame for your accident.

I believe that, despite the issues I mentioned, this company does seem to be the most proactive about safety. They're not perfect, but working on it. You're right that I'm extremely conflicted about wanting to work there, but I especially don't like the idea of working for a "less safe" company. There's also their unique home time configuration, which is currently the only job I know of that would make it easy to enjoy certain personal hobbies outside of trucking.

I have a second point. You're saying you'd like to continue as a driver but your defense is that you're unable to determine for yourself whether or not you're too tired to drive. Well that's inspiring! Sure, I'd love to put you in my truck after hearing that.

That scares me just as much as it scares you. It's the driver's responsibility to know if they are fatigued, but no one has been able to explain how to do so at any given moment. One can know the signs of fatigue, but not recognize them, particularly if already impaired. As I already explained, "fatigued" does NOT mean "feeling tired" and I never knew that until it was too late. Ask yourself: Am I fatigued right now? How do I know that? Most people couldn't answer the second question. If you can convince me that I ignored something that I should have recognized as a sign of fatigue, I'll drop my claim that the company was responsible.

I'm not seeing those qualities in you and neither does anyone else here. In fact, you won't even take responsibility for things you've just put in writing a short time before. You said you think the company should share in the blame and that they intentionally put you in unsafe circumstances knowing you would take the fall for any mistakes. Then you turned around and denied saying those things.

Can you give an example? I agreed the accident meets the industry definitions of "at fault" and "preventable". What I don't understand is why the concept of preventability applies only to the driver and not the company. If I park on the side of the road and someone hits me, it's not legally "my fault" but it is preventable because I should have known that parking there creates an unacceptable risk of a crash. If a dispatcher calls me on my break and wakes me up, do they have a valid claim that they didn't know that interrupting a driver's sleep will elevate the risk of fatigued driving? That's like serving alcohol to someone that you know is going to drive.

I do not, however, respect the fact that you are trying to throw your company under the bus for your mistake. They are following the laws and they're giving you an opportunity to make an excellent living at the same time. You can try to improve yourself and you can try to improve the laws governing this industry and no one will have a problem with that. But if you make a mistake and start pointing fingers at innocent parties you're going to get a poor reception.

I do believe the industry demands are too high, and I will definitely be seeking another profession because of this. It's effectively impossible to be 100% alert, 100% of the time, particularly when the job demands put drivers at high risk of fatigue.

I actually feel bad about "throwing the company under the bus", as you put it. It was a great place to work and I didn't want to damage their reputation by naming them here. I don't think any specific person in the offices should be blamed directly for the accident. Everyone, including myself, acted the way they did because of how they were constantly being overworked, not because they had malicious intent. That's not to say anything that was done was justified or not, only that it's not a healthy recipe for avoiding accidents in general. The resulting organizational failure is why I say the company as a whole (which I was part of) should take the blame.

What I learned from this is that I need to know all the possible symptoms of fatigue, and take a break to evaluate my health if I perceive one, no matter how subtle it may seem. It's possible I could have avoided the accident by doing this, but I can't recall how specifically. Also, local driving is brutal.

One final point, if it sounds like I'm contradicting myself somewhere, I probably am because this whole scenario is so confusing I'm not sure what to believe anymore.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

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