Trouble In Paradise.

Topic 4863 | Page 1

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Rico's Comment
member avatar

Well, I have my first four weeks as a solo driver just about completed. I've enjoyed myself, but there has been some trouble in paradise these last few weeks.

First off, I got a ticket for being overweight on my tandems. I'm still not sure exactly how that happened because I weighed at the shipper , but it was my screw up so I own it. The company I work for paid the fine and is taking it out of my check. The fine was $181.

I am also disappointed to report that I had a minor backing incident. I ended up in the Northeast, and the entire experience left me never wanting to go back there again. lol I didn't like the roads, the way people drive, or the trouble I had finding a place to park, which contributed to the backing incident. I ended up in New Hampshire at a truck stop that only had one space left, mainly because of how tight it was to get in to. I didn't have enough time on the clock to search for another truck stop, so I went for it. I was so concerned about hitting the truck that would have been next to me that I focused all my attention on what the trailer was doing and ended up bumping into a car hauler with the tractor. No damage to the corner of his trailer, but the passenger side step of this ProStar is now about two inches forward from where it was. Thankfully, I didn't get fired.

Today I ended up with an HOS violation. I had 14 miles to go to get to where I planned to shut down for the night when traffic suddenly stopped, and I mean stopped at a standstill. I had 30 minutes left on my 14, plenty to get there any other time but not enough with this traffic problem. Apparently, a truck broke down in the only open lane of I-71where I was. I called dispatch and explained the situation. They said what I already knew--there was nothing they could do about it. So, after sitting there for 45 minutes, I drove the 14 miles with my Qualcomm going nuts the whole way. Dispatch said to explain what happened to Logs in the morning to see if there's anything they can do about it. I already know they won't be able to fix it. Fourteen hours means 14 hours and the circumstances don't fit any safe haven rules that I know of.

So, I guess I could say I got my cherry busted real good. A month into my solo career, and I already have a ticket, a minor accident, and an HOS violation. It's certainly not how I wanted things to go, but this trucking thing is all about learning from your mistakes. I will never trust a shipper's scale again, I've changed my driving time so that my day is over before 5pm, and I will make sure to plan on stopping at least an hour before the clock runs out from now on.

I'd be lying if I said I'm not a little discouraged, but I'm not giving up. The plan from the start has been to do a year OTR before switching to a local gig, and I'm determined to make it. In spite of the problems I've had, I can honestly say that I love trucking. I love seeing the countryside through my windshield. I love meeting new and different people everywhere I go. I love the feeling I get when I back into a spot I know I would have had lots of trouble with while I was in school. I love the sense of peace and quiet that comes over me when I close the curtains and shut the world out for the night. And, I am enjoying learning how to drive this truck the way it should be driven (you know, not missing gears, not grinding, being in the right gear, etc., etc.) I know I am doing what I'm supposed to be doing and am where I'm supposed to be. I'll get over this newbie hump, along with all the newbie problems I'm having, eventually.

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.

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.

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".

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hey Rico, great to hear from you!

Sorry about the troubles you're experiencing, but in the grand scheme of things they are really minor.

We've all experienced that nagging problem of being at the end of our electronic clock, being within walking distance of our chosen stop, and wham, something stops the traffic flow - there's nothing you can do - don't even worry about it.

As for your backing incident, it sounds like you were taking it real slow and easy and therefore you didn't tear up somebody else's equipment - you're okay!

And that overweight ticket served to teach you something that most rookies don't realize. If you want your true weight, you go to the CAT scale and get it. I've got a place that I pick up at and I know that their scale is about two thousand pounds off - and it is off in the wrong direction - they will load you heavy every time if you don't call them on it. There has been more than one occasion that they had to take one piece off of my load - they don't even fuss because they know that I know what they are doing.

So, take a deep breath and be glad you are still employed. You haven't done anything really bad and you are gaining valuable lessons along the way. That is what that first year is all about - next thing you know you're gonna be a veteran driver - Hang in there!

CAT Scale:

A network of over 1,500 certified truck scales across the U.S. and Canada found primarily at truck stops. CAT scales are by far the most trustworthy scales out there.

In fact, CAT Scale offers an unconditional Guarantee:

“If you get an overweight fine from the state after our scale showed your legal, we will immediately check our scale. If our scale is wrong, we will reimburse you for the fine. If our scale is correct, a representative of CAT Scale Company will appear in court with the driver as a witness”

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rolling Thunder's Comment
member avatar

Well, I have my first four weeks as a solo driver just about completed. I've enjoyed myself, but there has been some trouble in paradise these last few weeks.

First off, I got a ticket for being overweight on my tandems. I'm still not sure exactly how that happened because I weighed at the shipper , but it was my screw up so I own it. The company I work for paid the fine and is taking it out of my check. The fine was $181.

I am also disappointed to report that I had a minor backing incident. I ended up in the Northeast, and the entire experience left me never wanting to go back there again. lol I didn't like the roads, the way people drive, or the trouble I had finding a place to park, which contributed to the backing incident. I ended up in New Hampshire at a truck stop that only had one space left, mainly because of how tight it was to get in to. I didn't have enough time on the clock to search for another truck stop, so I went for it. I was so concerned about hitting the truck that would have been next to me that I focused all my attention on what the trailer was doing and ended up bumping into a car hauler with the tractor. No damage to the corner of his trailer, but the passenger side step of this ProStar is now about two inches forward from where it was. Thankfully, I didn't get fired.

Today I ended up with an HOS violation. I had 14 miles to go to get to where I planned to shut down for the night when traffic suddenly stopped, and I mean stopped at a standstill. I had 30 minutes left on my 14, plenty to get there any other time but not enough with this traffic problem. Apparently, a truck broke down in the only open lane of I-71where I was. I called dispatch and explained the situation. They said what I already knew--there was nothing they could do about it. So, after sitting there for 45 minutes, I drove the 14 miles with my Qualcomm going nuts the whole way. Dispatch said to explain what happened to Logs in the morning to see if there's anything they can do about it. I already know they won't be able to fix it. Fourteen hours means 14 hours and the circumstances don't fit any safe haven rules that I know of.

So, I guess I could say I got my cherry busted real good. A month into my solo career, and I already have a ticket, a minor accident, and an HOS violation. It's certainly not how I wanted things to go, but this trucking thing is all about learning from your mistakes. I will never trust a shipper's scale again, I've changed my driving time so that my day is over before 5pm, and I will make sure to plan on stopping at least an hour before the clock runs out from now on.

I'd be lying if I said I'm not a little discouraged, but I'm not giving up. The plan from the start has been to do a year OTR before switching to a local gig, and I'm determined to make it. In spite of the problems I've had, I can honestly say that I love trucking. I love seeing the countryside through my windshield. I love meeting new and different people everywhere I go. I love the feeling I get when I back into a spot I know I would have had lots of trouble with while I was in school. I love the sense of peace and quiet that comes over me when I close the curtains and shut the world out for the night. And, I am enjoying learning how to drive this truck the way it should be driven (you know, not missing gears, not grinding, being in the right gear, etc., etc.) I know I am doing what I'm supposed to be doing and am where I'm supposed to be. I'll get over this newbie hump, along with all the newbie problems I'm having, eventually.

Hey Rico, don`t stress it dude. In my first few months I tore down one of those phone line stacks that stick out of the ground because I missed the huge "no trucks" sign and put myself in a nearly impossible turnaround situation. I also ripped a door off of a trailer (twice now). S*** happens and we learn from it.

As for the safe haven thing... When I am about to run the clock out and know I will not make it, I pull over and qualcomm whomever is at the computer and each time I have been given the okay for a move. I don`t understand why they told you there is nothing they could do. On my elog , in the remarks for "driving" it has a safe haven option. It is there for a reason.

Anyways, keep focusing on situational awareness and you will be fine.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

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.

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".

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Here is a quote that is easy to understand and should clear it up and pay close attention to the last part. This is the rules in layman's terms..... And to add if you try to use the Averse Weather Exception rule you can not go over your 14 hour.

So while you can extend your drive time past your 11th hour of driving there is no exception that allows you to go over your 14th on duty hour.

Now there might be some crazy exception that allows drivers to drive without log books like in the oil fields but staying to this topic traffic nor weather allows you to drive past the 14 hour rule.

Fortunately, the FMCSA has created an exemption that drivers may use for unforeseen weather delays.

According to FMCSA, “If unexpected adverse driving conditions slow you down, you may drive up to 2 extra hours to complete what could have been driven in normal conditions. This means you could drive for up to 13 hours, which is 2 hours more than allowed under normal conditions. Adverse driving conditions mean things that you did not know about when you started your run, like snow, fog, or a shut-down of traffic due to a crash. Adverse driving conditions do not include sit­uations that you should have known about, such as congested traffic during typical “rush hour” periods.

“Even though you may drive 2 extra hours under this exception, you must not drive after the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty.”

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.
Rico's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, guys. Yeah, there's nothing that extends the 14 hours. As long as I don't get audited, it should be ok. The rules are rigid, and I agree that they should be in place, even though I know that I could end up with a fine.

I get frustrated when these things happen because I am striving to be good at this. Screwing things up is part of getting there.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Rico, you're still out there running the highways making money for the company that hired you. That is success as a rookie driver. It's all about keeping that career going and learning all you can. The backing incident was the only real mistake you made from the things you've mentioned. The others were just part of the learning experience or circumstances you couldn't control. Trust me.....even after two decades out there you'll get caught in circumstances from time to time you can't do anything about. Just roll with it.

Love hearing from ya and glad the ball is still rolling for ya. And don't waste your time and energy getting discouraged in the least. Learn what you can from everything you do, keep those lessons tucked away in your back pocket, and forget the rest. Live now and move forward. Life is too short to worry about the past and things happen too quickly on the highway to be distracted. And heck.....you're driving a beautiful big rig around the United States in 2014 - life is grand man! Enjoy it all you can. Enjoy your new career and how well things have been going in spite of the fact that they'll never be perfect.

I love the fact that you want to be great at what you're doing. I think people in our society today are sorely lacking when it comes to taking pride in what they do and having high standards for themselves. Keep that attitude and keep trying to be perfect but at the same time allow yourself to be human and make some mistakes without getting discouraged. I'm the same way - I want to do things at a very high level. I have the highest expectations of myself. It's hard making mistakes when you're putting everything you have into something. It can be frustrating and even embarrassing at times. But all you can do is remind yourself that you get better every time you make a mistake and resolve never to make that mistake again. Then leave it behind and move forward like it never happened.

smile.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Thanks, Brett. I appreciate it. :)

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah Rico, you really have nothing to worry about. On my first month I almost backed into a truck, thankfully didn't but came close. I also had an HoS violation as well and I turned too sharply and clipped the trucks "wings" (those things that stick out along the sides of the truck) slightly. I fixed that myself to avoid it going on my record though. We all make mistakes, any experienced driver has made more mistakes than he/she likes to talk about.

After that month it progressively starts getting easier slowly. Give it time and before any action ask yourself "what's the safest thing to do?"

You'll be fine!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Rico,

Keep your head up and keep rolling.

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