Could This Approach To The First Year Of Driving Work?

Topic 31115 | Page 1

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Mark O.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi folks. As I said in a couple of previous posts, I'm thinking about truck driving as a career change. My biggest concern is my first year, when I'll be new to driving and maybe facing getting runs at odd hours and being sleep deprived.

I watched this guy's video on Youtube. A lot of you have probably seen it. I think I saw a very negative comment by Brett about this guy. My feeling is that he should not have agreed to take that load if he had any doubt that he could make it without having to stop to sleep. I also frankly suspect that he set up this situation so that he could record his dispatcher to get him in trouble. Both actions on the driver's part were wrong in my view. Then there is this blog on this site, where the author talks about using 4 hours of his 10-hour break unloading his truck (or watching the unloading), then two hours looking for parking and getting food, with only 4 hours left to actually sleep. Again, I think the driver probably shouldn't have taken a job that would put him in that position.

According to this article, driving with only 4 hours of sleep nearly triples your odds of being in a crash. Driving with 5 hours doubles your odds. It seems to me that the danger can only be greater if you are a new driver (new to trucks anyway) dealing with new and stressful driving situations.

My feeling is that, as a new driver, my priority would be to get through my first year as safely as possible. That means making sure I get adequate sleep, like at least 6 hours, so that I can face challenges with a fully functioning brain. To me, that would be more important than making much money or making my dispatcher happy. I have some savings, my spouse makes a decent income, and I wouldn't need money for much more than my food, which I'd mostly eat out of the truck fridge. My plan would be to pay for my own CDL training and approach a company with CDL in hand so that I am not in debt to the company. I don't want to be under pressure because I owe the company a debt.

I don't have a problem with 14-hour days. I don't have a problem with driving at odd hours. I would have a problem with the situation the YouTuber created for himself, where he had a good night sleep, spent 10 hours awake and took an overnight assignment. In that case, I'd want to tell the dispatcher, sorry, I can't do it, but I'll be ready after I sleep again.

Here's my question: Are there trucking companies that would allow a rookie driver to turn down jobs because he hasn't had adequate sleep, even though he has hours available according to the regulations?

Thanks in advance, and have a great Thanksgiving!

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.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Dispatcher:

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.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Realistically, you are the captain of your ship. This means you should make the call concerning safety, and I mean you literally make the call: communication with dispatch via your truck ELD (preferred permanent record) or by a phone conversation ahead of time.

Remember that the less you're a thorn in the side of the management team that is assigning the loads, the more money you'll make.

The biggest problem I see here is you putting the cart before the horse. You're worrying about Step 45 when you are at Step 3. Get settled on a company, get invited to training, successfully earn that CDL , go out for your training, etc......

Catch my drift?

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.
Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

I’ve never been required to drive through the night. I’ve parked myself early and gotten up at 1am to drive. But, even when I was starting out, my schedule wasn’t as crazy as people imagine.

Don’t overthink this. Some of the scheduling is gonna depend on shippers and receivers. Some will be the type of freight you’re hauling. I.e. if you’re hauling fuel to gas stations or cold stuff to grocery stores, they might require nighttime delivery.

Always communicate with your manager.

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.

Mark O.'s Comment
member avatar

The biggest problem I see here is you putting the cart before the horse. You're worrying about Step 45 when you are at Step 3. Get settled on a company, get invited to training, successfully earn that CDL , go out for your training, etc......

Catch my drift?

Hey Packrat. Thanks for your reassuring answer. I know it looks like I'm putting the cart before the horse. But actually this is Step 1 for me. I'm not going to go through CDL training if I think it's going to be a waste of time because I will be fired for turning down a dangerous assignment. (I know that trucking is not the safest profession, but I'm talking here about unnecessary danger.)

Anyway, both comments were really reassuring. They make me feel like I really could do this job. Which makes me really happy, because I have a feeling I will love trucking—the open road, the independence, the solitude, mastering a new skill—and it's a way out of a job with easy hours and good pay but that's killing my soul. Thanks again.

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.
Mark O.'s Comment
member avatar

I forgot to mention another attraction of trucking for me: Doing something useful by bringing people things they need. As opposed to my current job where, most of the time, the only use of my work is to make the company's owners richer. (I know that's part of trucking too, but the same is true of any job.) Happy Thanksgiving!

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Unfortunately there are situations where you might be expected to drive with less than adequate sleep. By "expected" I mean that most drivers would do it, so your FM might assume you are up for it too.

Like PackRat said, "You are the captain of your ship". As long as you are pulling your weight, doing things the right way, and communicating with your FM the way you're supposed to, there should be zero issues with you asking your FM to take you off the load board until you feel you're well rested. You can ask to have your PTA (projected time of availability) pushed back in order to get some more hours off between loads.

Many drivers (myself included) will use the time spent "off duty" while getting loaded/unloaded towards their 10hr reset or split reset if they are able to. Savvy FM's will anticipate this and plan your next load accordingly. This may mean you will miss out on sleep. It will be up to you to let your FM know you want a full 10hr reset in these situations.

Fm:

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.
Mark O.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi RealDiehl. Thanks also for your input. I get that it's a competitive situation, and I will lose out on assignments if I insist on getting good sleep. But especially during my first year, I think I'm going to face enough challenges without making them even harder for myself by being sleep-deprived. I know I'm in a privileged position in not needing to make a lot of money right off the bat, but that is my position. I'd rather stay safe, try to keep my record clean, and as I gain confidence and experience, I can start to experiment with cutting sleep a little shorter if it seems worthwhile and safe. Good to hear that many or most DMs will take into consideration that I'm not prepared to push it, even if it means I lose out on some of the better assignments. I want to go into this with my eyes open. Thanks again.

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.
Kandyman's Comment
member avatar

Get unloaded or loaded using the ways mentioned in comments above. You may have 24 hrs maybe where you may lose sleep. Trip plan. Then rest and then get going. Or drive shut down then sleep repeat. Once the run is over it may get out of whack again. Repeat.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

I frequently use off duty time for stuff. I've honestly never worked a job in my life that I got 10 hours sleep every night. I generally only use on duty for pre trip. Some times I will choose to run a load with less than ideal hours for sleeping, but it's because I choose to. My DM respects my choices and judgement. Most of the time I have plenty of time to relax, work and sleep.

Time . management and HOS management is a learned skill that takes time. At least in my experience so far, I've not found my dm or anyone else putting me in positions where I don't get enough sleep and am unsafe. I also have complete confidential that if I couldn't sleep and or didn't feel safe, I could contact them and get it rescheduled with no bad feelings. I've done it before.

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.

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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