Fed-up With The Trucking Industry

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Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

I went to a truck driving school and had NONE of Jonathan’s problems. I made mistakes and still passed the test the first time.

In training at my first company, we started with 20+ trainees and were down to 15 after day one (mostly due to drug test). We graduated about eight and two were being retested. I couldn’t believe how many extra chances this mega-carrier (Schneider) was giving people. I made mistakes there too AND DID NOT get fired.

I firmly believe one thing (I learned elsewhere, but driven home right here) made THE difference; positive attitude. When you have desire, willingness to learn AND a positive attitude, people can teach you the skills.

Thanks TRUCKING TRUTH!

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

.

Also, the trainers taught everyone aggressive driving techniques and I and a lot of other students failed their first road test, driving exactly like the teachers. For example, we were taught (and I know most commercial drivers do this) that when making a 90-degree turn, if there's someone in your way, block them and make them back up. I got failed for this.

With all due respect, I have to call BS on this particular statement. No trainer I've ever encountered taught "aggressive" driving techniques" to anyone. Quite the opposite, in fact. If there was one common denominator with trainers, it was safety, caution and defensive driving.

I believe the 90 degree turn being referenced is what is called a "button hook". We practiced this numerous times and, done correctly, no other vehicles are blocked or forced to back up.

Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

Oh but I believe did tell why he was fired. Bottom of the next to last paragraph he says: "Well, if you don't know how to report an accident, your trainer failed you..." then they fired me.....I'd dare to say he had an accident and didn't report it. Which is why nobody else will touch him.

Jonathan W.'s Comment
member avatar

I believe the 90 degree turn being referenced is what is called a "button hook". We practiced this numerous times and, done correctly, no other vehicles are blocked or forced to back up.

No offense, but you've clearly never been to Lehigh Valley, PA. Here, we have all kinds of intersections that are so narrow, the stop line is moved further back. Cars always ignore this line and drive all the way up to the corner. This means if a truck needed to make a turn onto that road, the car is too far up, so the driver will usually drive as far as they can, make the car back up, then continue making the turn.

I'm surprised there are drivers who have never heard of this, because this happens all the time where I live. The intersection of Northampton St and PA-512 is a good example of this. Here's a Google Maps link, so you can see what I mean: (https://www.google.com/maps/@40.727229,-75.3931412,49m/data=!3m1!1e3)

As for the reason why I was fired, I mentioned that in the videos I linked, but I guess you can't link YouTube videos here, so I'll type out everything instead.

First of all, I'd like to point out that is cost $0.00 to become a school bus driver. On the contrary, truck driving school put me in a special amount of debt I didn't think was possible. It cost $10,000. ($6,000 with $4,000 interest) Normally, I'd walk away from that kinda debt, but they assured me, "You'll only have to pay $25 per week for a year and the company will pay the rest." "I think it's safe to say with all that money you'll be making, you'll easily afford $25 per week." That is what sold me. Except, even though I signed something allowing them to take $25 per week out of my paycheck, it wasn't coming out. All this time, I thought the tuition was being paid, but when I finally got home after training and went through all my mail, I got one from the loan company claiming that nothing has been paid. The $25 wasn't automatically coming out and Werner wasn't paying their part either. I now owed $300 per month, which was too much with other bills I had.

Now how they sold me on the Family Dollar account, is as the people above have said. They didn't tell me at all how difficult it would be. They offered me more money than I've ever seen in my life (nearly $2000 per week) and promised me every weekend off. I thought, "Wow, I thought truck drivers were never home, but they're offering me weekends off?" "I could work on my YouTube channel during the weekend and drive trucks the rest of the week." They didn't tell me I'd be backing in tight areas. If they had, I'd decline. I'm a cautious individual and wouldn't purposefully chose such a risky option as my first driving job. They said it was a roller account, so I thought it would be easy, thinking about my then-current job at FedEx ground unloading trailers. At FedEx Ground, the trailers have rollers built into the floor. The trailer is backed onto a ramp. You place a product on a roller, and it rolls downhill to the back of the trailer, and onto a conveyor belt. I thought, "well I already do that for a living, so that'll be easy!" I also assumed I'd be driving from warehouse to warehouse thinking, "no way they could fit a truck in those tiny parking lots."

Imagine my surprise when I made my first delivery. The rollers are NOT built into the floor, they are 10ft, 50lb segments that have to be carried off the truck and into the trailer. "Why would you do it this way?" "It's so inefficient," I thought to myself, but tried to make it work. Most of the rollers didn't roll, so the product would get stuck. Most of the rollers were bent, so the product would just fall on the floor. Most of the rollers wouldn't attach to each other, so the product would snag on one. Meanwhile, you have a customer saying things like, "hurry up!" "Why is it taking you so long?!" "It's never taken anyone as long as it's taking you!" "You should just quit, you don't know what you're doing!" One day, a customer walked into the trailer and put a bunch of product on the line saying, "Why do you keep putting one on at a time?" I tried to explain to her, "because the rollers are bent, so if I put multiple on the line, they'll just push each other onto the floor. I have to guide each one individually, so they won't fall." She didn't listen, gave the product in the back one big push, then EVERYTHING fell on the floor. She then yelled at me, "THIS IS YOUR FAULT! CLEAN THIS MESS UP!"

When I complained to the company about the rollers, they pointed me to a trailer where they store rollers. I checked every single roller in that trailer and all of them were worse than mine. I only had one good roller and it was stolen from me at a truck stop in Phillipsburg, NJ.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

I believe the 90 degree turn being referenced is what is called a "button hook". We practiced this numerous times and, done correctly, no other vehicles are blocked or forced to back up.

No offense, but you've clearly never been to Lehigh Valley, PA. Here, we have all kinds of intersections that are so narrow, the stop line is moved further back. Cars always ignore this line and drive all the way up to the corner. This means if a truck needed to make a turn onto that road, the car is too far up, so the driver will usually drive as far as they can, make the car back up, then continue making the turn.

I'm surprised there are drivers who have never heard of this, because this happens all the time where I live. The intersection of Northampton St and PA-512 is a good example of this. Here's a Google Maps link, so you can see what I mean: (https://www.google.com/maps/@40.727229,-75.3931412,49m/data=!3m1!1e3)

As for the reason why I was fired, I mentioned that in the videos I linked, but I guess you can't link YouTube videos here, so I'll type out everything instead.

First of all, I'd like to point out that is cost $0.00 to become a school bus driver. On the contrary, truck driving school put me in a special amount of debt I didn't think was possible. It cost $10,000. ($6,000 with $4,000 interest) Normally, I'd walk away from that kinda debt, but they assured me, "You'll only have to pay $25 per week for a year and the company will pay the rest." "I think it's safe to say with all that money you'll be making, you'll easily afford $25 per week." That is what sold me. Except, even though I signed something allowing them to take $25 per week out of my paycheck, it wasn't coming out. All this time, I thought the tuition was being paid, but when I finally got home after training and went through all my mail, I got one from the loan company claiming that nothing has been paid. The $25 wasn't automatically coming out and Werner wasn't paying their part either. I now owed $300 per month, which was too much with other bills I had.

Now how they sold me on the Family Dollar account, is as the people above have said. They didn't tell me at all how difficult it would be. They offered me more money than I've ever seen in my life (nearly $2000 per week) and promised me every weekend off. I thought, "Wow, I thought truck drivers were never home, but they're offering me weekends off?" "I could work on my YouTube channel during the weekend and drive trucks the rest of the week." They didn't tell me I'd be backing in tight areas. If they had, I'd decline. I'm a cautious individual and wouldn't purposefully chose such a risky option as my first driving job. They said it was a roller account, so I thought it would be easy, thinking about my then-current job at FedEx ground unloading trailers. At FedEx Ground, the trailers have rollers built into the floor. The trailer is backed onto a ramp. You place a product on a roller, and it rolls downhill to the back of the trailer, and onto a conveyor belt. I thought, "well I already do that for a living, so that'll be easy!" I also assumed I'd be driving from warehouse to warehouse thinking, "no way they could fit a truck in those tiny parking lots."

Imagine my surprise when I made my first delivery. The rollers are NOT built into the floor, they are 10ft, 50lb segments that have to be carried off the truck and into the trailer. "Why would you do it this way?" "It's so inefficient," I thought to myself, but tried to make it work. Most of the rollers didn't roll, so the product would get stuck. Most of the rollers were bent, so the product would just fall on the floor. Most of the rollers wouldn't attach to each other, so the product would snag on one. Meanwhile, you have a customer saying things like, "hurry up!" "Why is it taking you so long?!" "It's never taken anyone as long as it's taking you!" "You should just quit, you don't know what you're doing!" One day, a customer walked into the trailer and put a bunch of product on the line saying, "Why do you keep putting one on at a time?" I tried to explain to her, "because the rollers are bent, so if I put multiple on the line, they'll just push each other onto the floor. I have to guide each one individually, so they won't fall." She didn't listen, gave the product in the back one big push, then EVERYTHING fell on the floor. She then yelled at me, "THIS IS YOUR FAULT! CLEAN THIS MESS UP!"

When I complained to the company about the rollers, they pointed me to a trailer where they store rollers. I checked every single roller in that trailer and all of them were worse than mine. I only had one good roller and it was stolen from me at a truck stop in Phillipsburg, NJ.

THIS is one more reason I’m so glad I came to Trucking Truth BEFORE even getting my permit.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jonathan W.'s Comment
member avatar

(Sorry, ran out of characters)

On my first day as a school bus driver, not everything went right (I was running late because the bus was in a different lot than where the paperwork said it was), but because they took their time in training me, everything else worked out (except for accidentally picking up the wrong student). When I got to my first stop, I knew exactly what to do. I knew how to perform a safe stop, etc. On my first Family Dollar delivery (the reason why they fired me), The store was in a dark alley with zero lighting. There were two doors. One was at the end of the alley, the other at the front. I could only see the one in the front because it was so dark, so I thought, "The back of the trailer is supposed to be at the door, so I guess they want me to go in facing forward?" (I know you're supposed to back into an alley, but some of these locations, as I'd find out later, were in fact set up so you'd have to pull into them, and back out towards the street) I pulled into the alley, then saw the rear most door with the Family Dollar logo. I thought, "oh, so I guess they want me to face the OTHER way. I tried to back out, but the street was too busy, so I had to call the police to block the road, so I could back up. I then went around the block and backed in, blocking one lane at a time.

Now, when I worked at FedEx Ground, they used load straps to tie down the cargo, so I was already familiar with them. Unfortunately, Family Dollar uses load bars, which no one taught me how to use, so this caused a delay. I spent over an hour Googling, "How to loosen a load bar," but could only find videos on how to tighten one. "NO, I wanna know how to LOOSEN one! I already KNOW how to tighten one! That's all that happens when I try to loosen it!" Eventually, I gave up and ripped it out of the wall angrily. "Wouldn't it make sense to TELL me how to use these," I thought to myself.

They said, "you need to get closer because our shop rollers are broken and can't be stretched out to the truck." I said, "I'm not sure if it's safe to get any closer." They then threatened me that they'd report me if I didn't do what they said. I reluctantly agreed. Now, Family Dollar trailers are different than the ones I was trained on. I didn't know at the time that their tandems were further forward than on normal trailers. This was bad, as I used the tandems as a reference point when backing. Since the tandems were further away from the rear than usual, I hit and dented the door. I then pulled up about a foot. They said, "don't worry, we'll take care of it, so I thought they had some kinda internal way they handled stuff like that. This was also my first accident / incident in ANY vehicle, including cars, so I didn't know what to do if that happened. (I was hoping it wouldn't) Also, Werner didn't tell me that they had a company policy stating, "no closer than 5 feet of a building" (which is how close I was originally). Had they have told me that from the start, I could've easily told them, "Sorry, but the company policy says I can't get any closer than 5 feet," but since I didn't know such a policy existed, I thought I'd get in trouble for "not obeying the customer." Y'know, "the customer's always right," that sort of thing. The 5-foot thing and not reporting an accident were not why they told me they were firing me, though they did sound quite angry about them, they specifically said "three incidents," which is another long story that I'll get more into.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

Jonathan, sorry that freight transportation didn't turn out to be as lucrative or enjoyable as you obviously hoped and believed it would be. Is it a tough, sometimes crappy, oftentimes frustrating job? Yep. Does it take a year or longer to figure it out? Yep. Did you have the opportunity to read and study the information that is contained here on TT before you took on the dollar account? Seems like either you might have known about TT (since you've been affiliated here for over four years), or you may have seen the site but didn't realize the depth of honest input you'd receive here.

In either case, you are here now. There are downsides to EVERY industry, as a previous response reflects. If you're happy driving a school bus, then by golly be the absolute best school bus driver you have the ability to be. Wishing you every success in your chosen profession, don't let it be a job but make it a profession. That will make all the difference in the long run.

You obviously have grievances with your choices and their outcomes. The bottom line to me, and what many considering this profession as their career should consider taking away from this discussion is "There are challenges in this job. There are a bunch of people on here, moderators and non-moderators alike, that want people to be FULLY informed before they start driving. Trucking Truth is a decent place to get informed before the challenges overwhelm. I should take the time to ask the questions that I have, and see what information lands in my toolbox."

Many years back, in a previous life, there was a sign posted on the wall in the cleaning area at PTI in Champaign, IL: "Every person owes some portion of their income to improving their skill in their profession" or words to that effect. Taking the time in the beginning to spend that personal capital to explore, learn and prepare for the profession will move anew driver light-years forward in being prepared for the challenges that exist.

Wishing you great success and satisfaction moving forward. Peace.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Jonathon, please explain to me how you "make" a car "back up" so you can execute your turn. Do you do that from your cab or do you have to get out and direct traffic?????? And what if there are 3 or 4 cars in your way? Can you put an instructional video on your YouTube channel to demonstrate how it should be done correctly?

I guess the only thing positive I can say about you is that you decided to drive a bus instead of a truck. But I'd be very surprised if that lasts very long before you get fired from that gig also.

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

(Sorry, ran out of characters)

which is another long story that I'll get more into.

Jonathon, why is it necessary to belabor this? Why must you try to convince everyone that 1) Truck driving in the worst job choice in the universe 2) Werner is the worst outfit in the world 3) Dollar Accounts are the worst job in the nation and 4) You were woefully set upon by fate and circumstance?

Dude, staying angry about stuff that has happened in the past will only turn you into the school bus driver I had when I was 9 years old, Mr. Schillinger. Les was an angry man, and getting onto his bus morning and afternoon was NOT a pleasant experience. I'm over 60 now, and still remember him. On the other hand, I do also remember Mrs. Schoger - Bobbi was so short she had to have blocks of 2x4 bolted to the pedals so she could clutch, brake, and accelerate. She was one of the most cheerful bus drivers I ever had, and being a country kid I rode the bus from third grade all the way through high school. Never a care in the world, even with the cheaters. I hope that your apparent dwelling on the past isn't making you a Les, and that instead you are a Bobbi.

Accept the past. Learn from it, or ignore it as you choose. But you won't change it, and to be brutally honest, you're starting to sound like a you-tube denizen seeking clicks for spewing anger, frustration, and self-proclaimed victimization. I could be wrong. I usually am, if one were to ask The Beloved.

I wish you some kind of peace in your career moving forward. You're hauling our Nation's kids to school. Be a force for good. We need that.

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.

Jonathan W.'s Comment
member avatar

Jonathon, please explain to me how you "make" a car "back up" so you can execute your turn. Do you do that from your cab or do you have to get out and direct traffic?????? And what if there are 3 or 4 cars in your way? Can you put an instructional video on your YouTube channel to demonstrate how it should be done correctly?

I guess the only thing positive I can say about you is that you decided to drive a bus instead of a truck. But I'd be very surprised if that lasts very long before you get fired from that gig also.

So far, a giant trailer in front of there car was convincing enough to make them back up. I'd occasionally get the "middle finger," but they always backed up. Also, I've been a school bus driver for over two years at this point. I'm usually told I do a good job, unlike when I was a truck driver. (Funny how if you actually train someone, they'll be good at the job after the training.)

Dude, staying angry about stuff that has happened in the past will only turn you into the school bus driver I had when I was 9 years old, Mr. Schillinger. Les was an angry man, and getting onto his bus morning and afternoon was NOT a pleasant experience. I'm over 60 now, and still remember him. On the other hand, I do also remember Mrs. Schoger - Bobbi was so short she had to have blocks of 2x4 bolted to the pedals so she could clutch, brake, and accelerate. She was one of the most cheerful bus drivers I ever had, and being a country kid I rode the bus from third grade all the way through high school. Never a care in the world, even with the cheaters. I hope that your apparent dwelling on the past isn't making you a Les, and that instead you are a Bobbi.

Accept the past. Learn from it, or ignore it as you choose. But you won't change it, and to be brutally honest, you're starting to sound like a you-tube denizen seeking clicks for spewing anger, frustration, and self-proclaimed victimization. I could be wrong. I usually am, if one were to ask The Beloved.

I wish you some kind of peace in your career moving forward. You're hauling our Nation's kids to school. Be a force for good. We need that.

You'd be mad, too if you had a nice car (for me, it was a 2006 Nissan Altima) and it got repossessed. I fell behind on my bills when Werner fired me. I kept telling the loan company, "I lost my job, but I'm still looking for a new one." I filed for unemployment thinking it'll all be alright, but then (and this is why I keep saying what a bad company Werner is) they falsely accused me of "willful malicious behavior." Sure I was mad at Werner, but lying so I can't collect unemployment is really low. That was the last straw. I filed a dispute and said, "I was not fired for willful malicious behavior. I worked to the best of my ability with the information given (which wasn't much) and was not trained on how to make deliveries to convenience stores." I was given a chance to argue my case. They gave me some paperwork explaining what Werner was accusing me of. I didn't get a chance to read all of it, but every single word I read was a lie. They said I "refused to listen to dispatch." I don't even know what they meant by that. Unless "sorry, I don't have anymore drive time and have to do a 70-hour reset, so I can't take that trailer" counts as "refusing to listen to dispatch. I even took trailers to Massachusetts on what should've been my day off. They also said I hit a store on purpose. I don't know what kinda mental gymnastics they had to do to convince themselves of that BS. Anyway, they never showed up, probably because they knew they couldn't prove those tall claims. I was allocated unemployment benefits, but it was too late. Even after I found a job, it was less than what I was making AND it was temporary. The car was taken from me. And good luck convincing a bank you can make the payments on a temp salary, which could last for a year OR one day. That car was gone, and for that, I will always be angry at Werner. I'll take my hatred for them to the grave.

So yeah, the trucking industry was the worse industry I've ever been in, and other than being a traffic flagger, it was the worse job I've ever had.

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.

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