Between A Rock And A Hard Place (running Illegal Equipment)

Topic 29601 | Page 1

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Ernie L.'s Comment
member avatar

So I got myself into a bit of a bind: a bit of background: I'm a new driver with Western Express, just finished training two weeks ago, and I'm out on my own. a bit more background: I had a job with Werner, but was fire for three preventable accidents in under six months. none were DOT-recordable, but they did go on my DAC. anyway, I've been thrilled to be given a second chance by Western Express, except I've gotten myself into a jam with this most recent load. I tore my service line blindsiding an empty at the shipper , and had to go get it repaired. I go back to the shipper the next day (still on the same load) to pick up the load, but when I find the loaded trailer I notice it's been over a year since it's been inspected. I tell my DM about it and he tells me to bring the loaded trailer to the Richmond terminal for an inspection. so I take it out of the shipper and shut down at a Pilot down the road. I post on Facebook and find out that what I'm doing is illegal. oh boy. the next day I plan my route to avoid all the weigh stations and make it safely to Richmond. the trailer looked fine when I did my pretrip so I figure it will pass inspection easily and then I can be on my way to the consignee. only the trailer doesn't pass inspection. there are cotter pins missing on some of the door hinges and the door seal needs replacing. and they still want me to deliver it. I sort of resign myself to the idea that I'm just going to have to risk it, and start down the road, only I get cold feet about it, stop at a TA, and head back to the terminal. I tell diapatch I'm not taking the load because the trailer isn't legal. I feel terrible. there doesn't seem to be a right answer here. this morning my dm took me off the load but told me, 'you know someone else us just going to have to deliver it.' I really like this job, but I'm wondering if I'm cut out for it

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

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.

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.

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.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

You did the correct thing.

Greg M.'s Comment
member avatar

You did the right thing. Just curious if you were at a company facility and they failed the trailer why didn't they go ahead and fix those items? Cotter pins and seals are a simple fix.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to our forum Ernie!

Please don't take this wrong, but I'm going to play the devil's advocate here. It's for educational purposes only. You are obviously a rookie, and there are other rookies reading this stuff. Maybe a discussion will ensue and we can all learn something.

This part of your remarks stood out to me...

the trailer looked fine when I did my pretrip so I figure it will pass inspection easily and then I can be on my way to the consignee. only the trailer doesn't pass inspection. there are cotter pins missing on some of the door hinges and the door seal needs replacing. and they still want me to deliver it. I sort of resign myself to the idea that I'm just going to have to risk it, and start down the road, only I get cold feet about it, stop at a TA, and head back to the terminal. I tell diapatch I'm not taking the load because the trailer isn't legal. I feel terrible. there doesn't seem to be a right answer here.

Part of an official pre-trip inspection is our (the driver's) signature. In today's environment of ELD's, that is performed electronically. When we inspect a trailer we are the one that determines whether the equipment is legal or not. You either put on your pre-trip report that the trailer was past due on it's inspection or not. You didn't tell us what you put down on your inspection. Here is what you told us...

I tell my DM about it and he tells me to bring the loaded trailer to the Richmond terminal for an inspection.

I find it highly irregular that a major carrier would not take care of this trailer had you filled in the proper information on your inspection report. Basically what happens is that you are putting the burden on the mechanic at that point. He has to show that he took your instruction and either repaired the trailer or let it slide. That is how the law works. It switches the liability to the carrier or the mechanic inspecting the trailer. The driver has done his job and now it is up to the folks who own the equipment to make sure it is made legal. It would be very unusual for them to not replace a few cotter pins and a door seal - that is a simple repair. I just find the story odd. I'm not accusing you of being dishonest. I just find it odd.

I think you could have had better control over this situation had you understood the ramifications of a proper pre-trip inspection being performed by you. I know there are a lot of other considerations in this situation. Obviously the driver before you should have not dropped off the trailer in this situation. There were plenty of people who dropped the ball here, but it is part of trucking. We often deal with problems other people have ignored. I worked at Western. Anytime I did a properly documented pre-trip inspection my equipment got priority attention if I were under a load.

You are saying the trailer failed their inspection, they sign off on it as failing (which they are required to do), and then they tell you to deliver the load anyway. That creates a very incriminating paper trail. I just can't see that scenario unfolding like that.

I am really wanting to establish the driver's responsibility in this scenario. Your proper pre-trip with your signature (electronic authorization) should have eliminated any monkey business like this. I am certainly not blaming you. I am hoping to help educate all of us. Certainly there was several bozos before you who probably never even bothered to notice the trailer was past due for an inspection. The shop apparently didn't feel there was any paper trail to be concerned with, and that is usually because drivers have not reported the problem properly. The pre-trip is not something that we just rush through or not take seriously. It is our way to protect ourselves, our company, and the public. It can also be a little bit of CYA. We create a paper trail of liability with our pre-trip inspection. That is why your story is disturbing to me.

I agree with PackRat and Greg. You did the right thing. I just wonder if you understand how to properly document things for your pre-trip inspection. Divers can cover themselves, and you did by refusing the load. I just think there may have been a better way to accomplish what you needed. In a situation like this, I wish we had some more information, or maybe some comments from the shop who inspected the trailer. Unfortunately we don't get to hear all the sides to the story. That leaves us with some questions.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

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.

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.
Jammer a's Comment
member avatar

The right answer is what you did !! At the end of the day your the captain of the ship so it don’t sail until you say so your not required to run illegal!!!

So I got myself into a bit of a bind: a bit of background: I'm a new driver with Western Express, just finished training two weeks ago, and I'm out on my own. a bit more background: I had a job with Werner, but was fire for three preventable accidents in under six months. none were DOT-recordable, but they did go on my DAC. anyway, I've been thrilled to be given a second chance by Western Express, except I've gotten myself into a jam with this most recent load. I tore my service line blindsiding an empty at the shipper , and had to go get it repaired. I go back to the shipper the next day (still on the same load) to pick up the load, but when I find the loaded trailer I notice it's been over a year since it's been inspected. I tell my DM about it and he tells me to bring the loaded trailer to the Richmond terminal for an inspection. so I take it out of the shipper and shut down at a Pilot down the road. I post on Facebook and find out that what I'm doing is illegal. oh boy. the next day I plan my route to avoid all the weigh stations and make it safely to Richmond. the trailer looked fine when I did my pretrip so I figure it will pass inspection easily and then I can be on my way to the consignee. only the trailer doesn't pass inspection. there are cotter pins missing on some of the door hinges and the door seal needs replacing. and they still want me to deliver it. I sort of resign myself to the idea that I'm just going to have to risk it, and start down the road, only I get cold feet about it, stop at a TA, and head back to the terminal. I tell diapatch I'm not taking the load because the trailer isn't legal. I feel terrible. there doesn't seem to be a right answer here. this morning my dm took me off the load but told me, 'you know someone else us just going to have to deliver it.' I really like this job, but I'm wondering if I'm cut out for it

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

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.

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.

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.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

I have to disagree here. This is what I would have done. Since the trailer was preloaded I would have told my DM that it was over a year and needed inspected. I'd have told him I was going to deliver it but please red tag it as out of service needing inspection. Here's why, it was loaded and sealed. Neither you nor Western Express has the authority to break that seal, only the shipper and consignee does so it could not be inspected properly since the trailer needs to be empty so they can make sure the door, floors, interior walls and ceiling are in proper shape. Not to mention the shop cannot repair the hinges or replace the doors weather stripping without opening the doors. Had you been delivering and the empty trailer you got was expired then you can take it in to be inspected. By having it red tagged as out of service you cover your own buttocks if you get stopped. Western Express can then either have the next guy take it to be inspected or have someone local pick it up to service it.

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

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.

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
Neither you nor Western Express has the authority to break that seal, only the shipper and consignee does so

I have seen it done at Swift. Trailer was in need of repair, from the inside. (many repairs can be fine without opening the box.) So the freight was transloaded to a new trailer, properly secured, a Swift seal put in and it's all documented. I would not be surprised if Swift had informed the shipper.

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

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.

Ernie L.'s Comment
member avatar

@Old School- I admit I haven't been sending in the pre-trip macros every time I pick up a trailer. that is something I should start doing, as it seems a lot of other Western drivers don't do it. I realize that with my actions I have shifted responsibility to someone else in the company, and it makes me feel terrible. not that my feeling terrible does anything to solve the problem. I am trying to be as transparent about all this as possible so you can understand. I was communicating with my dm by text when I picked up the trailer. I sent him a pic of the inspection sticker and then he sent me a text back as well as a message on the qualcomm telling me to take the trailer to Richmond for an inspection. if I had known at this time that it was illegal for me to pull a loaded trailer with an out-of-date inspection sticker, I would have raised more of a fuss, but I didn't. it didn't even occur to me to send in the pre-trip macro, as I only do that at the beginning of each driving day. that'll change now. once I got to Richmond and the trailer was inspected, I was informed the necessary repairs would not be performed because they would have to open the doors in order to perform them, which they obviously can't do on a sealed trailer. the guy at the shop told me I would probably have to 'run it anyway.' I wonder if my dm had contacted him.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar
it didn't even occur to me to send in the pre-trip macro, as I only do that at the beginning of each driving day.

be sure to pre AND post trip for EVERY trailer you're hooked to. In my job I've had as many as 4 different trailers in a single day. Each trailer was pre/post. My company policy is a minimum of 8 minutes shown for pre/post each so even if I rushed through it they require a certain amount of time, may as well just do it right. If you log the same amount every time DOT will dig a little deeper into your logs. Because I stayed in the same tractor I was not required to submit another inspection on it though I checked lights and tires.

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

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