Walmart Private Fleet

Topic 26933 | Page 6

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Turtle's Comment
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Joe, the guy I attended orientation with in Bentonville, and who also shares a truck with me, called the other day on my first of two days off. We talk often during the week, but he never calls on my day off, so I knew something was up.

"Waddup Joe?"

"Richie, I had a bad bad day."

-Bad #1-

Earlier that morning, he was backing into a dock, and with only a few feet to go he made a last-second correction with the tractor. That correction cause him to clip a yellow safety pole with the nose of the truck, damaging the fender and cracking the headlight lens cover.

The worst part is the correction was unnecessary, he said. He was simply trying to square the trailer perfectly in the hole before bumping the dock. Some of these Walmart docks are really close to the sidewall and safety poles. Once your tractors are near them, you need be real careful, as he found out.

He called the DC to report the accident, and they told him not to fret too much over it, bring the tractor to the shop when his trip is complete so the damage can be assessed. They say the damage sounds relatively minor compared to most, so if he can make it to the backhaul before worrying about the assessment, that would be great.

-Bad #2-

Failing to read the trip notes carefully, he overlooked the fact that the backhaul vendor shuts their doors at 1600. He rolled in at 1659 to find the gates locked. Of course, that's when he studies the trip notes to see the appointment window. Now he has to make a second call of shame to the DC and inform them he missed a pickup.

Missing the appointment window, they pulled him off that load and had him deadhead the few hours back to the DC. Arriving this morning, he went in for the damage assessment and to speak with the powers-that-be about the accident.

They kept him for 6 hours...

First he had to see the shop and go over the damage. They did a thorough inspection of the entire truck with him present. This particular truck is a 2020 with around 50k miles on it, and until now it didn't have a scratch. When WM assesses an accident, any damage costing more than $1000 to repair is deemed serious, resulting in more severe penalties. Joe's repair bill was indeed over $1000.

Next, they gave him keys to a company car and sent him for a drug/alcohol screen, which he passed. No sweat there.

He spent some time talking to the general transportation manager of our two sister DC's, receiving a finger wagging and brow beatdown. The safety manager walked in, and that's when they got down to business.

They pulled and reviewed the dock camera footage of the accident. The dash cam was never triggered, or they would have checked that also. Noticing he never GOALed, they gave him some grief over that. To be fair, a GOAL wouldn't have prevented this, as his mistake was in nosing the truck over into the pole. Nonetheless, a 360° GOAL is required at every back per company policy. They are very clear on this.

Next they had to wait around while he pulled his phone records. This is a policy I failed to mention in my earlier writings. I'll explain:

Walmart's phone policy allows a maximum of 1 hour hands-free phone use per day while on the drive line, with calls to last no more than 10 minutes at a time. That's it. You can talk as much as you want while on-duty. But if you're driving, you're limited to no more than 10 minutes at a time, and no more than one hour in total.

If you are involved in a serious accident (one totalling over $1000 in damages), Walmart requires you to audit your phone records for the 24 hours in question. That's non negotiable and clearly stated in orientation.

Side note: prepaid wireless services (StraightTalk, Cricket, etc) do not store phone records and thus can't produce them on demand. If you want to drive for Walmart, you'll have to have a carrier that provides such audits.

When you audit the records, WM can match them up against your log book to see if, when, and for how long you talked while driving. Additionally they can see if you made or received any texts while driving. Only the fact that you phoned or texted will show up. They cannot see the content of any call or text. Texting while driving will result in automatic dismissal, with zero tolerance.

So in the end, the net result of his momentary lapse of judgement resulted in:

-He kept his job. WM rarely fires anyone for an accident. They will however penalize you.

-His safe driving miles are set back to zero. Since initial pay raises are based on mileage, he'll now have to wait longer for a raise.

-He loses all safety bonuses for 1 year. At a conservative estimate of$1000 per quarter in bonuses, that's a hefty loss.

-He loses the opportunity to earn "safety days" for one year. Safety days are extra paid days off earned once per quarter. Any paid day off at WM is paid at the rate of your Average Daily Pay (ADP). Currently my ADP is $350, and his is probably similar. By the end of a full year of employment, it should be up close to $400. So there's another roughly $1500 loss.

All the managers tell him to just brush it off. It's not really a super huge deal. But unfortunately WMPF policy dictates these penalties. With a consistently top safety rating in the industry, WM takes this very seriously.

I'm telling you guys this not to bust on Joe, but to show you just how easily your day can fall apart. He's a professional with 39 years of trucking experience, but he's still vulnerable to mistakes as much as anyone else.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Papa Pig's Comment
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Turtle, I have been following for awhile. This makes for a great read. Thanks for all the detail, and humility. I hope To be at that level one day.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
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Atleast the accident was minor and he's keeping his job. I didn't know that Walmart is so strict with phone usage. Would a driver be penalized for receiving a text while they were driving even if they did not open or respond?

Turtle's Comment
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Yeah, the phone policy is pretty strict. I rarely talk on the phone for long anyway, so the policy doesn't bother me personally. Some drivers are very unhappy about it.

No, a driver would have no way of controlling incoming texts. As long as you aren't reading a text or typing out a new message, you're ok.

Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
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Turtle shares:

Yeah, the phone policy is pretty strict. I rarely talk on the phone for long anyway, so the policy doesn't bother me personally. Some drivers are very unhappy about it.

No, a driver would have no way of controlling incoming texts. As long as you aren't reading a text or typing out a new message, you're ok.

Given the couple of posts I have seen about drivers that got fired for "touching" their phone, I plan to put my phone out of reach while driving. Don't even need the temptation.

I will probably use some hands-free services, but plan to experiment with those when parked, before I try to use a hands-free service while driving. In using hands-free services in my POV, I've realized that becoming frustrated with a malfunctioning hands-free devices is both distracting and aggravating, which is not a good combination for safe driving.

BTW, thanks for the update. I read every post, but don't always comment.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
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Turtle wrote:

I'm telling you guys this not to bust on Joe, but to show you just how easily your day can fall apart. He's a professional with 39 years of trucking experience, but he's still vulnerable to mistakes as much as anyone else.

Totally agree with this!

The dreaded “yellow pole deer“. These typically protect dock walls/fences or other fixed components that could be easily damaged at all the Walmart stores.

The G.O.A.L. at older stores with tight spacing and limited set-up room, takes on specific meaning; and becomes more about mapping a mental picture of obstacles and the relative risk of hitting them. The yellow poles are always a big risk...

0939634001581365311.jpg

Turtle's Comment
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That's a great picture G, perfectly illustrating the close proximity of not only the poles, but also the side wall. An errant turn of the wheel can lead to some costly repairs.

G-Town's Comment
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Turtle wrote:

That's a great picture G, perfectly illustrating the close proximity of not only the poles, but also the side wall. An errant turn of the wheel can lead to some costly repairs.

Thanks Turtle.

For future reference, the photo is the Gladwyne PA store on MacDade Blvd. in Delaware County. I grew up in Ridley, next town over. At times accessing this dock requires a parallel maneuver to clear any containers parked about 75’ from the tractor grill.

Here is another Delco Doozie...check out the location of the light standard. Limited setup area; dock designed for older45’ long x 96” wide equipment with the higher floor height. Notice the tractor drives; air was dumped to elevate the trailer tail. Boothwyn PA.

0912354001581472052.jpg

Marc Lee's Comment
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Turtle wrote:

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That's a great picture G, perfectly illustrating the close proximity of not only the poles, but also the side wall. An errant turn of the wheel can lead to some costly repairs.

double-quotes-end.png

Thanks Turtle.

For future reference, the photo is the Gladwyne PA store on MacDade Blvd. in Delaware County. I grew up in Ridley, next town over. At times accessing this dock requires a parallel maneuver to clear any containers parked about 75’ from the tractor grill.

Here is another Delco Doozie...check out the location of the light standard. Limited setup area; dock designed for older45’ long x 96” wide equipment with the higher floor height. Notice the tractor drives; air was dumped to elevate the trailer tail. Boothwyn PA.

0912354001581472052.jpg

Geesh!

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Nicely done!

Just when I thought I might have a chance of learning to do this!

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G-Town's Comment
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Marc wrote:

Just when I thought I might have a chance of learning to do this!

...and “what”?

Although I appreciate the compliment...I fail to see how this photograph reduces your confidence level.

Marc, you must focus all of your attention on learning how to back. When I read something like what you just wrote; I wonder if you expect to fail and have accepted that as a probable outcome. I sincerely hope not.

Honestly, I have no idea if you have what it takes to succeed at this. Only you know deep down if you can be a successful truck driver. All I know is it requires total commitment, a positive attitude and a steadfast dedication to learning it. Failure wasn’t an option for me, thus I never allowed any negative thoughts distract or dissuade me from my goal. You must approach it the exact same way.

Perspective... The first time I was dispatched to the Boothwyn PA store it took me 45-50 minutes to dock. Truth. I had 4 months of experience at the time (1 month on Walmart Dedicated) and no where near the thousands of backing repetitions I have now. I’ve been at this for almost 7 years... and this store still causes me to pause and elevate my care.

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