Real Drivers Vs Fake Drivers - A Recruiter Speaks

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Moe's Comment
member avatar

Tammy,

I dont know how far along you are in this process of getting your CDL etc, but I do see that you are gathering intel on the industry and ill assume you don't know all of the ins and outs yet.

In short, the answer is No, you can not just bring it by the company shop for inspection. By law you are required to inspect your equipment at the start of and end of your duty shift. This is called pretrip (start of shift) and post trip (end of shift) inspections. Simply waiting until you are near a company terminal and then have the shop guys look at it is a recipe for disaster , both for the lives of others on the roads and your career. The DOT would absolutely eat you alive if they looked at your logs and determined that you were not doing your PTIs and caused an accident or hurt/killed someone.

You could and most likely would also be held legally liable if you caused an accident while knowingly running faulty equipment and God forbid, if someone were to be injured or killed, you would most likely be facing criminal charges and or jail time.

Let me give you an example of why it's up to us to inspect our equipment. The other day, I had stopped at Wells, NV at the end of my driving shift and was looking forward to a shower and some chicken wings.

During my post trip, I found that one of the tires on my trailer had tread that peeled right off while I had been driving on the hot asphalt of 6N, 15N, 215W and 80w. I assure you, the tire was not like that at the start of my day (as I had done a pretrip insoection). All in all it took about 3 to 4 hours of my evening to have it replaced, this involved the drive time to the shop, plus the wait time. While I was waiting I went off duty and took care of my shower and dinner. The tire was replaced, I parked for my 10 and the next day I was on my way to the receiver.

I did incur a 1 min drive violation that evening, but that was due to the fact that the truck had been turned off for about an hour while the technician replaced the tire and it took a while for the Qualcomm to boot up and allow me to change to the proper status in order to move, the shop however was urgent in my need to move as they had 3 other trucks waiting for similar service. So I moved the truck and in that time as Murphys law would have it, the Qualcomm finally finished booting on and registered my movement as a 1 min drive violation.

This ended up just being a quick 5 min call to safety the next morning to explain the violation and while the company can't edit the drive line on my logs, they can make proper notation of the violation so if DOT looks at it, it is properly documented and would not raise a red flag.

NOW, let's say that I had decided to skip the post trip and go about getting my shower and wings. It'd been a long day and I'm tired, food and comfort being first on my mind. One of two scenarios would have happened. First I would have seen it on my pretrip the next day and been like OH crap, I cant head out till this is fixed. At which case I would have started my day off stressed because my 14 hour clock would be wasted waiting for the repair that would have needed to have been done or could have been done the night before. I also assure you it would be an awkward conversation to have with my dispatch as to why I hadn't seen it the night before and gotten it properly addressed. OR if I had missed it (and I don't know how you would have missed something like that) in my pretrip, gone down the road and at some point experience a blowout. My routing took me done 80W over Donner Pass which is a a beautiful, but deadly potentially mountain pass in eastern CA with alot of narrow curves. Had I experienced a blow out and thus loss of vehicle control up in those mountains, the results could have been deadly for myself or others and what kind of conversation would THAT have been iwht dispatch and safety? So whats better a 5 min call to explain a 1 min driveline violation moving the truck 200 yards from the shop to my safe parking or explaining why I missed a glaring defect that caused an accident, injury or worst case a death? If that hand happened doubtful I would be sitting here typing this on my phone today. I assure you.

Something to think about.

Can we just stop at the company we drive for and just bring the truck in for inspection when we have time off?

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.

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.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

Can we just stop at the company we drive for and just bring the truck in for inspection when we have time off?

If they have a shop and park it there. However, if you are doing a 34 reset, take the truck from where you parked it, for example, at your house or a truck stop, you drive it over, you are on the drive line. It cannot be Off Duty Personal Conveyance because you are doing a "Duty" job. That ruins your 34 hr reset. Got written up on a Level III inspection for doing that on advise of another driver. 😝

Laura

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

In nearly every Pre-Trip you do you won't find anything wrong. But you do it for the time you find something.

Moe has a good personal experience story here. Also, Pre-Trip and repairs are logged as On Duty time, not on your break. But I have a friend who says he always goes off duty when the mechanic starts the repairs.

Why do a Pre-Trip

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Tammy, your employer will have regularly scheduled maintenance they perform on your truck. They will have a schedule for you to follow concerning when you bring it in for oil changes and other maintenance. So, the answer to your question...

Can we just stop at the company we drive for and just bring the truck in for inspection?

is yes, you will be bringing it in on a regular schedule for maintenance and inspection. You cannot ignore your daily inspections of your truck though. We find things all the time in our daily inspections. You want to be safe don't you? If you don't do your daily inspections you won't find things like this steel spike I found in my tire while doing a daily inspection.

0413884001626539744.jpg

I know you want to be safe out here on the road. If you don't do your daily inspections of your truck you will put yourself at jeopardy. This is not one long vacation and tour of the country you are about to embark on, it is your job and your livelihood. You've got to take it seriously. If you want to enjoy what you do, you certainly want to make sure you are safe while doing it.

Here's something I noticed while inspecting my truck one day. Can you see the splatters of oil on the back of my cab?

0110213001626540676.jpg

That caught my attention. It made it clear to me that something was wrong. I started looking further to see what might have caused it. Could it be just something on the road that splashed up on my truck? Well, it could be, but I needed to make sure. Just by walking around the truck and looking at it produced no evidence of anything wrong. Further investigation showed the source of the oil. I had to get down where I could see the inside edge of my drive tires on my tractor. Can you see all the oil streaks on the tire?

0351000001626540936.jpg

That told me I had a wheel seal that was leaking. It didn't really matter that I knew what it was. You don't have to know what the problem is, you just need to recognize when something isn't right. You will have people you can contact with issues, and they may say, "Email me a photo of that oil on your tire." You just need to know when something isn't right. You don't have to diagnose the problem or be able to fix it, but you need to know what kinds of thing indicate a problem that you need to get your company to look into. I could have burned up the differential in that truck had I just kepr driving like that. They had me get to the nearest terminal and then they repaired it.

Inspecting your truck daily is an all important job function out here. It not only keeps you safe, it also helps keep the motoring public safe. You can do this. Don't let the little details get you all bogged down. Keep your eye on the prize and don't get sidetracked with the details.

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.

Tammy A.'s Comment
member avatar

I know we have to do pre and post inspections. I meant like when we are near the company just to have an internal inspection every once in a while. I have a 2018 car and every few months i have it looked over by my mechanic just to see if anything looks like a problem coming up.

Tammy,

I dont know how far along you are in this process of getting your CDL etc, but I do see that you are gathering intel on the industry and ill assume you don't know all of the ins and outs yet.

In short, the answer is No, you can not just bring it by the company shop for inspection. By law you are required to inspect your equipment at the start of and end of your duty shift. This is called pretrip (start of shift) and post trip (end of shift) inspections. Simply waiting until you are near a company terminal and then have the shop guys look at it is a recipe for disaster , both for the lives of others on the roads and your career. The DOT would absolutely eat you alive if they looked at your logs and determined that you were not doing your PTIs and caused an accident or hurt/killed someone.

You could and most likely would also be held legally liable if you caused an accident while knowingly running faulty equipment and God forbid, if someone were to be injured or killed, you would most likely be facing criminal charges and or jail time.

Let me give you an example of why it's up to us to inspect our equipment. The other day, I had stopped at Wells, NV at the end of my driving shift and was looking forward to a shower and some chicken wings.

During my post trip, I found that one of the tires on my trailer had tread that peeled right off while I had been driving on the hot asphalt of 6N, 15N, 215W and 80w. I assure you, the tire was not like that at the start of my day (as I had done a pretrip insoection). All in all it took about 3 to 4 hours of my evening to have it replaced, this involved the drive time to the shop, plus the wait time. While I was waiting I went off duty and took care of my shower and dinner. The tire was replaced, I parked for my 10 and the next day I was on my way to the receiver.

I did incur a 1 min drive violation that evening, but that was due to the fact that the truck had been turned off for about an hour while the technician replaced the tire and it took a while for the Qualcomm to boot up and allow me to change to the proper status in order to move, the shop however was urgent in my need to move as they had 3 other trucks waiting for similar service. So I moved the truck and in that time as Murphys law would have it, the Qualcomm finally finished booting on and registered my movement as a 1 min drive violation.

This ended up just being a quick 5 min call to safety the next morning to explain the violation and while the company can't edit the drive line on my logs, they can make proper notation of the violation so if DOT looks at it, it is properly documented and would not raise a red flag.

NOW, let's say that I had decided to skip the post trip and go about getting my shower and wings. It'd been a long day and I'm tired, food and comfort being first on my mind. One of two scenarios would have happened. First I would have seen it on my pretrip the next day and been like OH crap, I cant head out till this is fixed. At which case I would have started my day off stressed because my 14 hour clock would be wasted waiting for the repair that would have needed to have been done or could have been done the night before. I also assure you it would be an awkward conversation to have with my dispatch as to why I hadn't seen it the night before and gotten it properly addressed. OR if I had missed it (and I don't know how you would have missed something like that) in my pretrip, gone down the road and at some point experience a blowout. My routing took me done 80W over Donner Pass which is a a beautiful, but deadly potentially mountain pass in eastern CA with alot of narrow curves. Had I experienced a blow out and thus loss of vehicle control up in those mountains, the results could have been deadly for myself or others and what kind of conversation would THAT have been iwht dispatch and safety? So whats better a 5 min call to explain a 1 min driveline violation moving the truck 200 yards from the shop to my safe parking or explaining why I missed a glaring defect that caused an accident, injury or worst case a death? If that hand happened doubtful I would be sitting here typing this on my phone today. I assure you.

Something to think about.

double-quotes-start.png

Can we just stop at the company we drive for and just bring the truck in for inspection when we have time off?

double-quotes-end.png

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.

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.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Tammy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the replies. I will learn in school what to look for Im sure. just wanted to make sure its looked at by a professional once in awhile. I remember being in the shop years ago, so many times because of breakdowns it was aggravating and time consuming. We always had a different truck at that time. no idea why

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

Tammy, your company shop will have your power unit on a PM or Preventive Maintenance schedule. It will also have a sticker affixed to the side that is an Annual Inspection certification. Generally, however, shop staff are busy as get out, and wont have time for routine inspections. You, believe it or not, become the professional inspector on a daily basis. All of the comments here, especially the oil on the back of the cab, are examples of something that looked wrong. Thats what a cop will often start from in determining how involved to make an inspection. Did something look wrong. I did coppery for 28 years, I understand the thought processes. They would rather, generally, inspect something they suspect is in NEED of a Level3 than L3 a unit that is going to have no defects. They want to "Get Rid Of Road Rex". Great thread you opened with your questions though!!

Tammy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks! As long as Im taught everything I need to look for. As I said in another post im not good at mechanics and im watching alot of videos many about woman drivers and they sure know alot about their trucks. I just wonder if they were as green as I am and hoping they were lol

Tammy, your company shop will have your power unit on a PM or Preventive Maintenance schedule. It will also have a sticker affixed to the side that is an Annual Inspection certification. Generally, however, shop staff are busy as get out, and wont have time for routine inspections. You, believe it or not, become the professional inspector on a daily basis. All of the comments here, especially the oil on the back of the cab, are examples of something that looked wrong. Thats what a cop will often start from in determining how involved to make an inspection. Did something look wrong. I did coppery for 28 years, I understand the thought processes. They would rather, generally, inspect something they suspect is in NEED of a Level3 than L3 a unit that is going to have no defects. They want to "Get Rid Of Road Rex". Great thread you opened with your questions though!!

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

Thanks! As long as Im taught everything I need to look for. As I said in another post im not good at mechanics and im watching alot of videos many about woman drivers and they sure know alot about their trucks. I just wonder if they were as green as I am and hoping they were lol

Of course they were as green and greener than you....EVERYONE IS when they first start out at a new job. No one is born knowing anything.

Some women may have worked being in a mechanic job before driving. However, they would be rare as that is a good paying job and there are few women diesel and gas engine mechanics to begin with.

Laura

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

There's a female Crete driver out of the WM DC I drive for in Cheyenne. She has 2.5 million miles, and is a bit younger than I. She started out green, too. Everybody does.

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