Career-ending Accident; Don't Let This Be You.

Topic 29589 | Page 1

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Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

There is a saying that no one is so totally useless that they cannot at least serve as a bad example. In that spirit, I will share my accident details here. Maybe someone else will not be as dumb as I.

My youngest daughter died suddenly at the age of 30. I should have taken time off to process this, but I kept on trucking. My sister called to tell me that our mother was dying, and I needed to come to see her (in Maryland). I should have parked my truck, gotten on an airplane, and gone straight there. Instead, not wanting to lose so much money, I kept on trucking. I was a self-dispatching IC at the time. So, I found a trip taking me from wherever I was to Houston where I saw a trip to Pennsylvania with a ton of flexibility on delivery date and booked those.

When I got to the pickup near Houston, the place was a cluster and then I had to wait about 4 hours for a door…. burning up my planned drive time. Finally, I was loaded. I was not permitted on the dock nor permitted to see the load until after pulling away. When I did see the load, I was dismayed to find that they had run two rows of heavy bales of some fibrous stuff down the middle of the trailer nearly to the doors, leaving large spaces of nothing on both sides. I did not like the looks of that at all. I should have gone back and told them I was not pulling it unless they fixed the obvious problem. If they refused, I should have refused the load, found someplace to park my truck, headed to the airport, and flown to Baltimore. But I was tired, frustrated, unwilling to lose the money, etc. I rationalized my decision with the thought that these people must know what they are doing since they do nothing but this all day every day. I decided I would be sure to take extra care at corners and ramps, and I hit the road.

I made it to Maryland and parked. My sister picked me up and I got to my mother’s hospital room on a Saturday. Thankfully, I was able to spend the last few hours she was conscious with her and we had a good chat. I stayed Sunday also, but my mom did not wake up again. I should have asked the company to send someone for the load and taken time off to process. But I pressed on, not wanting to lose the $. Sunday night my sister dropped my back at the truck and Monday am early I hit the road. I needed fuel and had planned to stop at a TA just a bit up the road. I had pretty much forgotten about the cargo and the way it was placed in the trailer. I could not have checked on it anyway as it was sealed.

I made the first ramp to get from I95 to a state highway the TA is on and was pulling onto the highway when suddenly, I was flipped over with my left arm dragging on the road, smashed glass all over the place and generally not having a good time. Some rescue people showed up and extracted me through the windshield and took me to the hospital. While I was in surgery a policeman came by and dropped me off a ticket for losing control of the truck. That same afternoon, without any investigation, the company (SNI) informed me that my contract was terminated. The insurance company totaled the 18-month-old truck. A lot of my stuff was lost but my wonderful brother-in-law recovered a lot of the items from the wreckage.

When I could, I viewed the dashcam video. I was going 24mph and almost totally straight when the truck flipped. My hypothesis is that on each ramp from Houston to Baltimore the cargo inched a tad to the left (most ramps being clockwise curves), and then the very last ramp was the last straw with the bales of stuff probably all the way up against the left sidewall, and all that weight just pulled the whole rig over (I had tipped the scales at 79,860).

I did research on the various causes of rollovers. Of course, the #1 cause is driver error; I do not blame the cop for issuing a ticket…he rolls up on flipped-over truck naturally he is going to assume that driver error was the cause. Causes could be excess speed on curve/turn, swerve, improper weight balance front-rear, bad tires, improper inflation, or improperly secured cargo. All ten of my tractor tires were nearly brand-new Michelins. I had the lug nuts retorqued and had a receipt for that. I had inflation checked at a shop a few days prior and had a receipt for that. I had balanced the load properly and had a scale ticket showing that. I was only going 24mph and not even still in a curve when I flipped and 2 dashcam videos showing that. There was a witness who could attest that I had not swerved or anything as well. I presented all this to the court and they immediately dismissed the traffic citation.

I filled an appeal with Schneider but was told that even if all the above are true, I had a chance to inspect the load and took it so if a cargo shift was the problem that was my fault anyway. And maybe they are right about that.

I do not know whether I could get the company’s ruling of preventable overturned at the federal level if I mounted a big challenge there or not, but I did not try. I had the death of my daughter, my mother, and then my father all in rapid order and various other issues and just gave up on driving. I did not really feel much like driving after the rollover anyway, although as more time goes by, I really miss being out there; I did love trucking. What is the lesson in all of this? I guess there are a few; I will let you take from it what you will.

I do miss trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Vicki M.'s Comment
member avatar

I do not know whether I could get the company’s ruling of preventable overturned at the federal level if I mounted a big challenge there or not, but I did not try. I had the death of my daughter, my mother, and then my father all in rapid order and various other issues and just gave up on driving. I did not really feel much like driving after the rollover anyway, although as more time goes by, I really miss being out there; I did love trucking. What is the lesson in all of this? I guess there are a few; I will let you take from it what you will.

I do miss trucking.

I am not even a driver yet, but man you went through a lot in a very short time. I am so sorry for your losses. I lost my parents pretty closely together and it took me years to heal. You'll know when it's time to go back to your career, or maybe it never will be. I just wanted to offer my condolences on all of it.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hello Dave!

It is certainly good to hear from you again, although I wish it were under different circumstances.

I am amazed at how some of these dry van loads are loaded. Being a flat bed driver, I am always concerned with securing my load. So many dry van drivers never even think of securing their loads, but some of them need some form of securement. It might be a few straps, or some load bars. Sometimes it is a little more time consuming. Sometimes we need some 2 x 4's cut to the proper length and nailed to the floor for "blocking." You were under some degree of stress and failed to secure a load that needed it.

I am not being critical. I am actually very sympathetic with your dilemma. I just posted something recently about my sister calling me with news that I needed to get home because my mother was dying. I chose to keep driving and get home a few days later. My mother was asking for me on her death bed and I was out chasing a dollar. I didn't really think she was about to die. I completely understand your thinking.

We'd love to have your participation, but I understand if you don't find the time or motivation. My sincere condolences on the loss of your loved ones and your driving career. We can rebuild a career with hard work and commitment, but we can never get our loved ones back. I am just glad to hear you are alive and well. It could have turned out worse for you. You've lost much, but it is really good to hear from you.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm sorry for your losses you've suffered. Thank you for stopping by and sharing this very important reminder for all of us. Many of us have taken shortcuts or let things slide that we probably shouldn't. Its unfortunate that they loaded you in such a manner if thats all they do all day. I used to work at a place that printed junk mail advertisements and constantly had large paper rolls shipped to us using only the rubber mats. It shocks me how little securement is used on most items in a van/reefer.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Anne A. (momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Hugs, Dave.

Thank you for coming back; thank you for sharing.

There's a lot of care, camaraderie, and companionship in these walls, good sir.

It's still the future..even in the present.

~ Anne ~

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

😢 Sorry for ALL of the bad stuff you’re dealing with.

I truly believe good people learn from mistakes and I believe you can be an asset to the industry again. While I understand why most companies won’t take the risk, look at all the people who screw up, don’t care and are right back behind the wheel of a car or SUV. But I digress.

I’m sorry for your loss of family members. I hope you’ll update us when you make your comeback, whatever form that takes.

Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

I’m sorry for your losses, Dave. That’s a ton to process, under any circumstances, much less trucking. Without those tragedies distracting you, you probably would have taken time to properly address that load, and the accident would never have happened. After you’ve dealt with your loss of family, I encourage you to return to trucking. I know that’s not how you want to go out. You’ll find a company willing to take a chance on you; it won’t be anything like you getting to choose your own loads as an IC w/SNI, but you’ll be back in the seat again. Again I’m sorry for your loss, and good luck moving forward.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

Vicki, Old School, Rob, Anne, Steve, & Pete (and anyone else who read and thought kind thoughts and/or learned something of use):

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I appreciate it.

Please be safe out there.

Dave

Anne A. (momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Vicki, Old School, Rob, Anne, Steve, & Pete (and anyone else who read and thought kind thoughts and/or learned something of use):

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I appreciate it.

Please be safe out there.

Dave

Virtual hugs. You are invaluable in here, Dave.

ps: TOLD YA, @PackRat !!! <<< He's my doubting Thomas.. (oops wait, thats the hubbys name..) meant Ch . . . . s ! (Cheetos!)

Muah.. to y'all. Just me.

~ Anne ~

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Glad you're safe and sound, Dave. So sorry for all your losses and I pray you will recover, in all ways.

Anne-I don't understand your comment concerning me at all.

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