Suicide Jockey, Tanker Yanker Division

Topic 30713 | Page 1

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Suicide Jockey's Comment
member avatar

Hey all, PlanB here, been a bit since I posted much or updated.

Earlier this year I hung it up with Prime and started a local job hauling fuel. Me living so close to a fuel terminal and seeing the fuel trucks constantly go by is what first ignited my interest in driving. I thought about changing my name to PlanA since this was my original plan "A", and Prime was my plan "B".

But my first day out of training just before I went to load my first load of gas, one of the nicer senior drivers pat me on the back and congratulated me, "Welcome to the Suicide Jockeys, Tanker Yanker Division." This hung in the back of my head because the driver whos open position I was filling died in a rollover just a few months prior.

Last night that senior driver died at work. Details are still unknown, but he ended up rolled over in a ditch and passed away at the scene.

I'm in a bit of a funk, and maybe I'm being a bit overly dramatic with the name change. But that driver patting me on the back and welcoming me to the "Suicide Jockeys" is on repeat in my brain.

Hence the name change to Suicide Jockey

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Hey all, PlanB here, been a bit since I posted much or updated.

Earlier this year I hung it up with Prime and started a local job hauling fuel. Me living so close to a fuel terminal and seeing the fuel trucks constantly go by is what first ignited my interest in driving. I thought about changing my name to PlanA since this was my original plan "A", and Prime was my plan "B".

But my first day out of training just before I went to load my first load of gas, one of the nicer senior drivers pat me on the back and congratulated me, "Welcome to the Suicide Jockeys, Tanker Yanker Division." This hung in the back of my head because the driver whos open position I was filling died in a rollover just a few months prior.

Last night that senior driver died at work. Details are still unknown, but he ended up rolled over in a ditch and passed away at the scene.

I'm in a bit of a funk, and maybe I'm being a bit overly dramatic with the name change. But that driver patting me on the back and welcoming me to the "Suicide Jockeys" is on repeat in my brain.

Hence the name change to Suicide Jockey

Great to see you BACK, Plan B ~!!!

Not sure about your '1st choice' in pulling tanks, but then again, somebody's gotta haul fuel ~!!!

Daniel B. has a bunch of threads about, just that!

Congrats on the upgrade, man.

~ Anne & Tom ~

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

I did gas for 2 years. It's true what that driver told you and I know exactly how you feel. When I did tankers there was a death just within my company on average every 6 months. In my 2 years I had 3-4 coworkers die on the job.

The scary part that rocked me the most? They were all much more experienced than me. I only had 3 years driving experience back then (which is NOTHING) compared to them. If it happened to them what stops it from happening to me?

To make matters worse I worked 4pm-4am and often did the Boyett accounts which are basically mom n pops. Lots of gas stations in the middle of no where and mountains with a California speed limit of 55 which encouraged the driver to fall asleep in my opinion.

My solution was to get out of it before I become a statistic. Its one thing to take the risk associated with the job, but the pay did not even come close to warrant it. To be honest, the pay stunk ever since BP and Chevron sold their fleets and contracted the work to carriers.

Since then I have went into LTL and haven't looked back. The pay is better, the hours are "banker hours", weekends off, and the freight isn't a bomb. Much happier.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
Pianoman's Comment
member avatar
I did gas for 2 years. It's true what that driver told you and I know exactly how you feel. When I did tankers there was a death just within my company on average every 6 months. In my 2 years I had 3-4 coworkers die on the job.

Damn man that's insane. I always thought if I stayed in trucking I'd switch to fuel hauling but now I'm not so sure. I'm sure the statistics vary based on company, location, and other factors but still. Wow

Last night that senior driver died at work. Details are still unknown, but he ended up rolled over in a ditch and passed away at the scene.

I'm in a bit of a funk, and maybe I'm being a bit overly dramatic with the name change. But that driver patting me on the back and welcoming me to the "Suicide Jockeys" is on repeat in my brain.

Hence the name change to Suicide Jockey

Sorry to hear about your coworker man. I remember you from before when we were both on the forum. I just got back on the forum myself after being absent for a few years. Hope all continues to work out for you

Suicide Jockey's Comment
member avatar

I work that same 4pm-4am, although today became 4-6am due to multiple allocation issues at the racks followed by retains at the stores. Not fun.

The little mom n pop stores are horrible. Lots so small the truck sticks out into the road on both sides of the store. Odd sized tanks with finicky flapper valves. Definitely keeps you on your toes.

The fuel hauling companies are getting competitive with each other for drivers, and they've all recently increased pay. I'm just a couple months out of training, and haven't experienced the seasonal ups and downs yet, but if I maintained my current weekly average id hit 85-90k my first year. During my interview the terminal manager said to me that his lowest earning drivers make around 60k, his high performers are well over 100k. If I could land in the middle of that my first year, id be very pleased.

I am loving being home with my family daily.

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.

Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

Don't dwell on the interaction with the Suicide Jockey naming. Its not cursed and is not much different then any other type of driving job. Yes, its a bit more dangerous as its highly flammable fuel but the rollovers are not caused by that, they were due to driver errors. You're just as likely to die in a dryvan or flatbed if you roll it. I kind of think that you might doom yourself if you let it scare you. Just be a bit more cautious driving and slow more for turns and stay awake. Human error is just that, human ERROR, not a curse. You control the truck, keep it between the lines and outta the ditches and you should be fine. Complacency and distraction seem to be the problem, not what you're hauling.

Dryvan:

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.
andhe78's Comment
member avatar

I’ve debated saying anything in this thread, because with now two years hauling fuel, I lean more towards Mikey’s take on this. My experience has been radically different from what’s been outlined by previous posters here. This is the best job I’ve ever had-like the work, love the hours (1500-0500 four days a week), shockingly good pay, benefits, equipment, and bosses. I have every intention of staying here until retirement. I’m really surprised at the death rate at these other companies. We’re a small 140ish driver outfit, almost a century in business, and it’s been decades since our last death on the job (and that had nothing to do with the gas part of the job.) We’re even 24/7 in an area notorious for snow. We’ve got a hallway of retired drivers with 20, 30, 40+ years of service. There just doesn’t seem to be a aura of fear at this (or even other local fuel companies) that you guys describe. Never even heard the term suicide jockey before now. I’ve got to wonder what makes the difference. The biggest killer of fuel drivers around here is actually cancer.

However, that being said, Mikey is a bit wrong too. This job doesn’t just have the dangers of driving, but unloading/loading too. Had a situation just last week unloading, I did everything right, but a car decided to mow down my cones and wedge herself on my unloading gun, shearing the fill pipe right off. Could have been a newsworthy incident had things gone differently, but they didn’t, and odds are still better around here that I’ll die from cancer than a fiery explosion.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Any updates on the new career, SJ??

Just me,

~ Anne ~

Suicide Jockey's Comment
member avatar

All going well.

Definitely a completely different animal than OTR was, but I'm enjoying it.

More manual labor than OTR, but since I personally load and unload the truck myself I'm no longer waiting at docks for hours. Still driving roughly 500 miles a day, but with several loadings/unloadings.

We found out our driver who died recently wasn't wearing his seat belt. He was ejected during the wreck and suffered major head trauma. Such a shame.

Neighboring fuel hauler had a rollover a couple days ago. Car ran a red light in front of truck, and truck went into the ditch and rolled over. Tore open the tanker and lost all 9000 gallons of fuel. Fortunately the driver was ok.

I'm actually on my way out the door for work now, so gotta run. Ty for asking!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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