What Would You Do? (Flatbed Edition™)

Topic 7525 | Page 1

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Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Here's a situation I encountered that reminded me of a previous thread, with a flatbed spin:

You are hooked to a 53' step deck (aka drop deck) trailer with spread axles when you get a load assignment from Georgia to Indiana. You remember that in Indiana, you must slide the back axle up to make a tandem set because of their kingpin law, which reduces the amount of weight you can have on the back axles from 40,000 lbs (2 x 20,000) to 34,000 lbs for the tandem, so you slide the rear axle up and drive to the shipper.

The load is seven palletized steel coils (aka "eye to the sky"). You pick up the first coil at one location, then drive a few blocks to get the other six. The first coil loaded is also the heaviest, at about 9400 lbs. The others are 7400, and five in the 5000 range. Since this is a stepdeck , you can't just look for the middle marker light on the side and know you're close to the middle of the trailer. It's somewhere forward of that. The crane operator asks you where you want the 9400 lb coil, so you have him put it a little forward of the marker light, with the idea that you'll put the 7400 lb coil in front of that one, two of the 5000s behind it, and the other three of the 5000s in front of the 7400. You chain it down and drive to the other location. Thankfully it's not raining, so you don't have to tarp that one coil by itself.

At the second location, you learn that they'll load you outside with a forklift since you have a stepdeck. After waiting an hour for them to get a forklift out of production, the first forklift brings the coils out one by one, and a second operated by a gruff and grumpy guy puts them on the trailer. He asks you where you want them, and you explain your plan. The 7400 lb coil isn't out yet, so the second guy loads two 5000 pounders behind the 9400 lb coil. The 7400 lb coil is the last to be brought out, so after waiting some more, the second forklift finishes loading.

By this time, you're running out of hours to get far enough to take an 8 hour break and drive the rest of the way to the receiver to make the appointment on time, so you hustle with chains and tarping and step back to look at the load. That's when you realize: The last six pallets are smaller than the first one, so the entire load is too far back on the trailer. You should have had him put only one 5000 lb coil behind the heavy one, not two. Your load is chained and tarped, it's past 5:00 p.m. now, and you haven't seen another truck go in to get loaded in over an hour. Plus, you're already thinking of what to say to your dispatcher to explain that you're not going to make the tight appointment window -- you'll be at least an hour late. (You warned him it was going to be tight when you got the assignment, so you're not too worried, but you really want to get there as early as possible.)

The total weight of the load is 44,500. The truck and trailer weigh 31,500, so gross weight is 76,000. The gauge for the drives reads 30,000 and is within 250 pounds of accurate. From hauling other loads, you know you have about 11,000 on the steers, and not over 11,500, since even at 79,000 with 34,000 on the drives, the steers are right at 12,000 and you haven't slid the fifth wheel since you got your truck. That leaves at least 34,500 on the tandems , and probably closer to 35,000, with lots of weigh stations in the next 650 miles.

What do you do?

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.

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".

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.

Stepdeck:

A stepdeck , also referred to as "dropdeck", is a type of flatbed trailer that has one built in step to the deck to provide the capabilities of loading higher dimensional freight on the lower deck.

David's Comment
member avatar

Not a flat bedder, but since ive been thinking about doing it, this is interesting to me...

would it be good to go 100 miles out and come up from south IL? could keep axles spread and not go through IN

or rush into the office and see if theres a forklift avail to help rearrange the trailer ? and un do what was just done?

Ralph G. ( Arejay )'s Comment
member avatar

would it be good to go 100 miles out and come up from south IL? could keep axles spread and not go through IN

But the consignee is IN Indiana? Do you mean to try avoiding any scales in Indiana? Depending on what part of the state your going that may not be feasible?

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Yes, the consignee is in Indiana. The other states you will travel through don't have the kingpin law.

Avoiding scales isn't an option. There's no time left on this load; in fact, you're going to be late for the 0700 - 0800 delivery window by at least an hour. The fastest route by far is to go up interstates all the way.

Going through Illinois won't help -- they have the same kingpin rule where you have to move that rear axle up on a 53' stepdeck. Plus, that would be way out of route. You're going to have to drive at least 150 miles in Indiana.

(There are 7 states that have the rule. The others are Wisconsin, California, Florida, New York, and Connecticut. Bonus points to the person who names the state where you must have the axles on a 53' stepdeck spread!)

You could go try to find the grumpy forklift driver to move one coil, but keep in mind it'll take at least a half hour to untarp and unchain the last coil and the first coil so he can move it, and then you'll have to redo all that work. You're already late, and you're not sure when they knock off for the day. Plus, you're the one who told him where to put them in the first place.

Ralph, you're on the right track. What are you going to do about being late?

Keep the answers coming! You don't have to be a flatbedder to play!

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Stepdeck:

A stepdeck , also referred to as "dropdeck", is a type of flatbed trailer that has one built in step to the deck to provide the capabilities of loading higher dimensional freight on the lower deck.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I really don't want to give the answer to this conundrum, (since I am an experienced flat-bedder) but I do want to thank Bud for posting this - it is fun working out these kind of problems everyday out here on the road, and it is a great exercise for those of you contemplating this career. I am going to go for the bonus points though, and I believe the state where we would have to leave our axles spread out would be the great state of Maryland. I travel through a short stretch of Maryland on my way to Connecticut almost on a weekly basis. And I have to make sure the axles are open in Maryland and then slide them back together as I'm entering Connecticut.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I guess you either make yourself later and roust the forklift grump with all the attendant untarpping and unchaining or simple roll the dice that you won't get a big fat ticket at the scale . . . maybe you have a good line and can talk "scale-eeze" with the DOT people . . . another reason I drive a refrer . . .

Jopa

shocked.png

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.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

I'm curious as to where in indiana the driver would be headed. Being a Hoosier, I know where all the scales are and schedules, indiana really doesn't have that many.

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.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

On a serious note though. I've been watching these as you guys have been putting then together and using them as a learning aid as intended. On a spread axle step deck, I have no clue. I'll have to read through the website and learn.

Chiefmac's Comment
member avatar

No experience whatsoever here but I'll take a swing at it and at least see if I can make contact:

I'm going to be late no matter what so I'll need to call my DM but before I do, I'll go inside and see what my options are for adjusting the cargo. Depending what they are able/ willing to do, I call my DM and work out a plan to get a new delivery window with an adjusted and legal load.

On the "dark side" however; I guess you could spread your axles and run until you hit Indiana and then depending on where you needed to go you may not hit a scale. If you have to continue up I-65 you'll have to either take a chance at the scales near Seymour or find a way around them.

There are still a bunch of other things to consider as far as when you can get it there but, this is my thought on the weight.

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.
Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Just got done driving for the day, sorry for the delay. Old School gets a gold star and a cookie for getting Maryland right as the state where they must be open!

I'll wait till a little to tell you what I did in case anyone else wants to weigh in.

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