Told To Drive When It's Obvious You're Too Tired.

Topic 2924 | Page 7

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Cynthia L.'s Comment
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I think you misunderstood his situation, Brett. He took a full 10, got plenty of rest, and was then instructed by his company to drive 20 miles, drop his empty, and immediately go on another 10. And from the sounds of it, the company didn't exactly afford him the opportunity to try and sleep during that period, since he says his dispatcher called him several times throughout the day. He wasn't being lazy, unreasonable, or irresponsible. It wasn't his choice to only work for 20 minutes, and just because you've been off duty for 10 hours doesn't mean you've been asleep for any or all of that time. And unless you're part housecat, I don't know anybody who can sleep for 10 hours, be awake for 20 minutes, and go back to sleep for another 10 hours.

I agree. I remember my Dad driving so tired that I would sit up and talk to him to keep him awake. He was a solo driver and I was riding along as a child during school breaks. He bought a truck and started his business hauling produce when he retired out of the military back in the 70's. I got my CDL Class A when I turned 21 to drive with him. He no longer drives a semi, he's in his late 80's.

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.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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I don't know anybody who can sleep for 10 hours, be awake for 20 minutes, and go back to sleep for another 10 hours.

And as I've stated....I don't know anyone that should have to. Why would you have to go back to sleep for 10 hours if you've only been up for 20 minutes in the first place? I love a good afternoon nap as much as anyone, but I generally don't need to take one 20 minutes after I get up in the morning.

He wasn't being lazy, unreasonable, or irresponsible

Well now that Abe has given us the truth about all of this it turns out he was indeed being lazy, unreasonable, and irresponsible. In fact, soon after all of this he quit that company, abandoning his truck in the process (his admission), and is now out of trucking altogether. He simply didn't have the work ethic to handle life on the road and he tried covering that up by making it look like everyone else was the problem. But like always in trucking, the truth comes out in the end.

You can't fake it in this industry. Trucking is as difficult and demanding as any career I've ever had and I've had nothing but difficult careers. You either have what it takes to get the job done safely day in and day out or you don't. And truth be told, most people don't. Abe certainly didn't.

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.
Mike O.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm not a trucker yet (1 week of school left) but........ whatever happened to the old Smokey and the Bandit mentality of "we're gonna do what they say cant be done" attitude? Or when bandit says "of course were gonna make it! we aint never not made it yet!" Or my favorite when The Snowman says "when we say were gonna do a job ... We do a job!!!! LOL! I know I know ! Its not real and its just a cheesey 70's trucker movie and the industry isn't really like that.

But its that kick azz "I'm gonna get'er done no matter what it takes attitude" that always drew me towards this industry. Now I know we all of course have to put safety at the forefront but my attitude in this situation would be to man up, get the job done and beg dispatch to keep me rollin!

Let me ask you experienced guys a question keeping in mind I have zero experience yet. Im I wrong in thinking that dispatch made him take a 2nd 10 hour after a 20 min run and then gave him another short load after that because this guy has been a pain in the azz in the past?

Would it be wrong of me to call dispatch and beg to get that load in earlier in the hopes to get another load even sooner? What I mean is if I can get things done ahead of time everytime, doesn't that possibly set me up for a small chance to squeeze one more load in that week? Meaning a small chance for a little extra cash to take the Misses out for a cheeseburger and milkshake and the next home visit?

Or Im wrong and it doesn't work that way?

I mean for gods sakes would he really have been in trouble if he was THAT tired to call dispatch and tell them " Hey I need to pull off and take 45 minute snoozer, but then I'm getting the load delivered" I cant believe a company would be that unresonable with that? or would they?

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
But its that kick azz "I'm gonna get'er done no matter what it takes attitude" that always drew me towards this industry. Now I know we all of course have to put safety at the forefront but my attitude in this situation would be to man up, get the job done and beg dispatch to keep me rollin!

That's exactly what the top-tier drivers do. They find a way to get the job done safely day in and day out.

Listen, barely an hour will ever go by in any given day out there that you can't find an excuse to quit trying or fail to get the job done. Tough weather, terrible traffic, brutal terrain, bad directions to customers, breakdowns, DOT inspections, delays at customers - and about a million others. Some people take everything as a challenge. Some people see everything that isn't easy as being too hard. It really all comes down to your attitude and your approach.

Tom Hanks said, "There's no crying in baseball!" Well let me tell ya....there's a lot of crying in trucking....but there shouldn't be. It's a really tough job that takes tough people to handle it. And yet you have to be smart. You have to know your limits. You have to make about 1000 decisions a day that might be life or death decisions. You have to be clever if you want to get ahead of the game.

Anyone that thinks trucking is just a bigger version of delivering pizzas (I delivered pizzas by the way!) is in for a brutal awakening. It's waaaaay harder than most careers out there when you look at the stress, the erratic sleep patterns, and the lifestyle of constantly travelling, away from your home & family, alone in a walk-in closet on wheels. But if you're looking for endless challenges and adventures where no two days are ever the same and you literally never know what's going to happen 5 minutes from now then you're in for one heck of an exciting ride. Trucking is like a roller coaster. It's not a park bench.

Would it be wrong of me to call dispatch and beg to get that load in earlier in the hopes to get another load even sooner?

That's also what the top-tier drivers do. It's going to take some time to prove yourself and earn the trust of dispatch. But once you do you'll often be able to pick up and deliver loads early and they'll make sure to keep those wheels turnin for ya.

People who are highly motivated, love a challenge, make smart decisions, and know how to get along with people do fantastically well in this industry. But hey, where don't those kind of people do well, right? You really have to earn your place when you're new in this industry or anytime you start at a new company. Most drivers are by definition not top-tier drivers but want to be treated that way. If you're patient and you're willing to prove yourself you can be sure that pretty much any company in America is going to do all they can to treat you fairly and keep your wheels turnin.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar

So glad Old School resurrected this in another thread. Brett, every single one of your posts is literally brilliant, and I'm not trying to suck up or anything. I mean it. You lay things out so perfectly.

I just wanted to affirm a point that was made about the fact that he accepted his service failure without complaint. This is absolutely proof that a) he knew he was in the wrong, and b) he didn't care what happened, he was just trying to set them up for the sake of the video. If he truly believed he was right and was doing the right thing, HOS reaction would have been more like this:

"WHAT??? SERIOUSLY??? DUDE, THAT IS MESSED UP, I AIN'T DOING THIS ON PURPOSE, I'M REALLY TRYING TO DO MY BEST OUT HERE AND BE SAFE AT THE SAME TIME!"

Instead, well... You all saw the video.

Not much else to be said about this I guess, the horse has been beaten to death, buried, decomposed and recycled into new plants and bugs.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Not much else to be said about this I guess, the horse has been beaten to death, buried, decomposed and recycled into new plants and bugs.

Indeed. The best part about this kind of stuff is it gives us an opportunity to dispel so many of the lies and half-truths floating around on the Web about the trucking industry. To someone who is new to the trucking industry this guy would seem 100% legit. He would seem like a hard-working guy doing his very best to make a living but he's being harassed and manipulated by "The Man". To an experienced veteran who has come across these types 1000 times it takes 30 seconds to figure out who this guy is and what he's up to. And it makes you want to scream.

You know people like this are ruining people's careers, often before they even get started. I get emails all the time from people who said they've considered getting into trucking in the past but all of the negativity and horror stories scared them away. They never even bothered to give it a shot. After coming across our site and reading through the forum they feel that maybe with the right preparation and some encouragement they just might make a great career for themselves in trucking after all. They know it will be hard as h*ll, but they also know it can be a great life and a great career for the right person.

Not only that, but all of the negativity makes people go into their training with a very cynical attitude. They're on guard expecting the company to take advantage of them and manipulate them in some way. So as soon as they come across a situation that doesn't quite add up they think they're being targeted. Their attitude sours further, they start getting confrontational and defensive with company personnel, and before you know it they're on a bus headed home thinking, "Yap, just like they said on YouTube. I should have never tried this."

That really is a shame but it's happening every day out there. People who are not only capable of driving a truck but actually very well suited to a career in this industry wind up back home looking for a new career before they even got a chance to see what trucking was all about. They listened to the wrong people, believed the lies, and took the wrong approach. It ended badly for them the same way it did for the people they listened to. It's extremely frustrating to watch that happen. In fact it made so mad I wanted to write a book about trucking and start a website so I could tell people the truth about life in the trucking industry and what it takes to be successful out there!

smile.gif

The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar

Not only that, but all of the negativity makes people go into their training with a very cynical attitude. They're on guard expecting the company to take advantage of them and manipulate them in some way. So as soon as they come across a situation that doesn't quite add up they think they're being targeted. Their attitude sours further, they start getting confrontational and defensive with company personnel, and before you know it they're on a bus headed home thinking, "Yap, just like they said on YouTube. I should have never tried this."

This is SO true, not just for trucking but life in general. Take relationships for example. Two people come together with certain expectations of each other, or maybe they've had certain experiences in the past that affect their disposition. Either way, inevitably one small thing not going their way will lead to resentment, then bitterness, then anger, then hostility, then hatred. And more often than not, it was all over a simple misunderstanding of expectations.

I know there's something really profound in all of this, but I'm struggling to figure out just how to summarize it. I guess we all just need to communicate, be more understanding and forgiving of each other and always assume the best of people instead of the worst.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I know there's something really profound in all of this, but I'm struggling to figure out just how to summarize it. I guess we all just need to communicate, be more understanding and forgiving of each other and always assume the best of people instead of the worst.

With respect to trucking specifically, the best advice I have for people is to approach it like you would the military. Take whatever they throw at you as long as it's not a blatant safety or legal violation. Do whatever it takes to get through the training and always assume that you're being tested. Everything they throw at you is a test to see if you're dedicated to this career and capable of handling the erratic sleep schedules, the pressures, the risks, the time away from home, and everything that comes with trucking.

I really wish the company-sponsored programs and company orientations would be more forthright with everyone and let them know what they're in for. So many people go to the company schools or show up for orientation and training after graduating from a private school and expect it to be a slow, comfortable, considerate training period which allows them to relax and learn at their own pace. They expect to be taken gently under the wing of an experienced driver with the patience and personality of a monk and nurtured along in the name of safety. But nothing could be further from the reality of training in this industry. It's trial by fire from day one. If people knew that coming in a lot more of them would handle it much better. But when you're expecting it to be like a 3rd grade classroom and it turns out to be a fast-paced, no nonsense trial by fire to see who can handle it then people get freaked out.

They should just tell you on day one like you're some average Joe hoping to make the football team:

Look, a lot of you aren't going to be here one week from now. We're giving all of you a fair and equal opportunity to show you belong here and that you really want to be a part of this. We've been doing this for a long time and we're a highly successful organization with a gigantic fleet of trucks and billions of dollars in revenues. We've proven we know how to be successful in this industry over a period of decades and if you're as serious as we are about being successful then we'll do it together. But you've got to prove to us that you're willing and able to handle one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs on the planet. We're going to make this difficult for you because we have to. It's our name on the side of that truck and we have a responsibility to the Federal Government, the citizens of this country, our customers, and our employees to put safe, professional drivers behind the wheel that can keep this country moving forward. If you think you're up to the task then we'll be successful together. If you're not, then we're going to expose that in short order. So "Cowboy Up" if you think you have what it takes and let's do this.

Of course I grew up playing football and I live for taking on challenges so a speech like that gets me fired up! And if you're not the type that's looking to take the bull by the horns and "Cowboy Up" then you certainly wouldn't enjoy trucking even if you did manage to make it through training and get out there on your own.

The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar

Great point! The military analogy is perfect. Before I left for boot camp, the perception I had of it was based on the movie Full Metal Jacket. I was scared beyond belief. I expected it to be the most challenging and intense experience of my life. Because I went into it with that mindset, I was better able to handle it. The yelling, the physical and emotional exhaustion, etc... none of it bothered me as much as it would have had I not expected any of it. And because my expectations were so much worse than reality, it actually made me have a "this ain't so bad" kind of mindset instead. My reaction to boot camp was purely psychological.

I went into trucking with that same mentality. I set myself up to expect the worst, so that once it didn't turn out to be so bad, I felt relieved and more motivated. You're right, truck schools should bill themselves as the boot camps of the commercial driving world. It would probably weed out a lot of the wannabes before they even showed up, and it would make people more prepared for the experience.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
truck schools should bill themselves as the boot camps of the commercial driving world. It would probably weed out a lot of the wannabes before they even showed up, and it would make people more prepared for the experience.

Absolutely! I think they're afraid of losing too many people in the recruiting process. The obvious answer would be, "Yeah, but you're 'losing' people that wouldn't have made it in the first place." And I believe that's true. But things have been done the way they are now for decades. It's not difficult to teach an old dog new tricks if the old dog wants to learn new tricks. But they often don't. Nobody ever got fired from a large, successful corporation for doing things they way they've been doing them for a long time so they tend to play it safe and stick with the old model.

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