Are Drop And Hooks Really Any Better Than Live Loads? - Article By Rainy

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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We have another great article from Rainy today that addresses a common misconception many drivers have:

Are Drop And Hooks Really Any Better Than Live Loads?

On the surface it might seem like doing a lot of drop and hooks would be key to getting a ton of miles, but after a while you start to realize that's not necessarily the case. Oftentimes there's a lot more to it than you think.

Before you decide you're going to take a dry van job because you think drop and hooks are the answer to all of your problems, here are some important points to consider:

Are Drop And Hooks Really Any Better Than Live Loads?

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Drop-and-hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

C T.'s Comment
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That was a great article. You could probably get on indeed or Craigslist right now and see postings saying "85% drop and hook" or something similar. It really is a bait tactic to lure drivers in. Here at fedex, on the line haul side, all we do is drop and hook. I don't deal with customers, shippers, receivers, appointment times, parking or traffic mostly. Sounds like a dream, but there are still delays that happen. As she mentioned, you have crap trailers that need repair, overweight trailers occasionally, no accurate location etc. You really never know what you're getting into until you get into it.

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.

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Rick S.'s Comment
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Good article - as usual...

Rick

PlanB's Comment
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"One thing I hate about swapping trailers is when you need to give up a great trailer for a poor one. Our trailer numbers reflect the year of the trailer, and the older trailers often wind up with issues - tandem sliding issues, brake issues, tire issues. The older the trailer the more damage they have from road salt in the winter."

I can't express how much it pains me to drop a brand new shiny 2020 trailer and pickup a 2014 trailer that appears to be held together by rust.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Junkyard Dog's Comment
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During the dot Blitz I had a great trailer I was hoping I didn't have any drop and hooks.

Just a couple days ago pick up a loaded trailer of meat and I couldn't get the trailer brakes to hold so I can slide the tandems. Backed up against the curb in the truck stop and thought I had it only I went one hole too far... And I couldn't find anything to chock the tire. Stopped at two truck stops and they didn't sell wheel chocks and didn't have any repair service. Then I stopped at an old mom and pop place and found a piece of broken curb and eventually got the load legal. Fiasco ended up costing me almost 3 hours to get it legal and to detour around a weigh station.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
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I'll take a live load/unload any day over a drop hook. Here's a great example. Not to long ago I had a drop hook for a hazmat load. I brought in one of our newest trailers. I was told to drop that in a door and the number and location of my loaded. Dropped my empty and headed for my loaded. Hooked to my loaded trailer and pulled to a place I could close, seal, pretrip and apply placards to the trailer. Did I mention it was a hot and humid day? Well this trailer had four lights out. I called my dispatcher while applying the placards to let him know where I was stopping to get it fixed. Thankfully all the weigh stations in front of me were closed and it was daylight. At the TA I went to they had to rewire half of the trailer to fix it.

That load was more work and aggravation than it was worth. This is just one of many drop hooks I have done that were problems. Don't be fooled by drop hooks.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.
Rob T.'s Comment
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Personally I'll take a drop and hook over live load assuming it's a full load. The customers we deliver to are great at getting us unloaded within a half hour USUALLY. However, I haven't run into the issues you guys have mentioned about trailer you're grabbing needing repairs. That's just the driver who left it there being a lazy A-hole and not doing an inspection on it. How are repairs handled if a driver drops a defective trailer for drop and hook? Does roadside service go to the trailer or is the driver required to take it to a shop before dropping it? It's unfortunate it seems they are not held accountable. Where I'm at if we sign off on the DVIR saying it's ok and it isn't we will be called about it and If it's a pattern face disciplinary action. The only downside I've dealt with for drop and hooks is how much tighter it is to back into an empty spot if your doing a drop and hook as opposed to putting it in a door.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Great article.

When I pulled boxes, I lived D&H

Now, I totally prefer live load /unload, because that way, I know the load is secured the way I like it.

G-Town's Comment
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Good article Rainy.

I’m so spoiled running Walmart Dedicated. D&H about 1/3rd of the time. Quick and easy...

No where close to the issues faced performing OTR work. Occasionally I’ll get under a derelict, but it’s very, very rare. Wally Wagons are meticulously maintained, especially their reefers.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

PJ's Comment
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Great article. Last month I was asked to run out to ca from west memphis. No problem. I was just coming out of the house, and had a 6 month old trailer, in perfect condition. I get to west memphis only to find the terminal there had preloaded this load on a 1999 year model trailer that was a spring ride. To say the least I was very disappointed. I ended up with that piece of rough riding garbage for 3 weeks.

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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