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Monday, December 31, 2012

trucking laws and business

I have been in transportation over 23 years off and on but I have decided to hang up my CDL A license in 2013. It has gotten to be too much to deal with.
I cannot believe how much disrespect there is against trucks and drivers. people not realizing who brings the stuff they use.
Think of it this way when drivers have said "Enough is enough" we are going to be in deep manure. Including me, because I have said "Enough is Enough".

Here it is the reason drivers are quitting by the hundreds if not by the thousands.
Long hours low pay.
Weeks some times months gone from home. Then only home a couple days and then back to work.
Disrespect from people driving cars, shippers and receivers holding us up at the docks for hours.
Government controlling our log books to ridiculous hours of operation.
High cost of tickets, and many times for really stupid things, mud flap reflectors. DOT could not find one thing wrong with truck, trailer, logs or paperwork. He held me up 1.5 hours while he searched in books and Internet for mud flap law put into effect July 1998 I believe was the date. Most trucks do not have reflectors on their mud flaps.
Bad food, really bad food and expensive. Get food poisoning at least 2 times a year.
Taking showers in trucks stops were hundreds of people have used it that day. The showers are cleaned between each person, You hope.
Winter snow, windy and cold: You have to do fueling, pretrip, drive in it, open and close doors, break downs, some of the worst working conditions.
Limited parking for sleeping and they are reducing it more and more. City's are banning trucks from their city's limits. They are also refusing to let truck stops to be built in some areas.
Many interruptions when you are sleeping. Trucks coming and going, diesel smells, refer motors running, cattle mooing, prostitutes and drug dealers knocking on your doors and then dispatch calling or sending messages across the QC.
Many criminal activities we are exposed too. You have to be constantly watching for your safety.

www.truckersreport.com
This is part of a story from Truckers report: Click link above for full story.
A disturbing point to make is that all but two of the jurors were willing to convict Costa of two counts of 2nd degree murder. Since the typical criminal jury consists of 12 people, this means that 10 out of 12 people thought that a truck driver deserved at least 50 years in prison for a mechanical failure.
WE ARE NOT GODS WE ARE PEOPLE DRIVING A MACHINE.



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dispatchers

I have always tried to the be respectful to them. They hold your ability to make money.  Yesterday one called me around 6am about a recover load. He asked me how much would it take to recover a load. The load was to be picked up in Fargo North Dakota going to Peenaw MB Canada.
It was a recovery from another company who didn't deliver the load. It turns out that they had given the load to a driver that could not go to Canada.
I told him since you woke me up give me a few minutes to figure out some numbers. He said he agreed
And please call back.
When I called back I got a hold of another dispatcher. I told her what I needed to cover the load and she said she would talk to the other dispatcher. I waited about 10 minutes and gave them a call back.
She's informs me that they're going to wait until after 8 o'clock to see if they can get someone else or another company since my deadhead was a lot of miles and I'd have to take a 10 hour break before I could get the load delivered.
I said to her that's what makes us drivers mad you wake us up for nothing.
So I went back to bed and went to sleep. I hadn't heard back from them so I took off driving towards Minnesota.
I really hadn't thought much more about it. Until this morning when I pulled up a board position and I discovered I was out of service. So I call drivers relations to find out how come I'm out of service. Mind you I talk to someone yesterday in drivers relations and they had never said a word to me that I was out of service.
I was informed the reason I was out of service is because I had told the dispatcher said I was mad because she woke me up. The reason I was mad is because they pulled the load after waking me up. So now that dispatcher has cost me the possibility of making income all day yesterday just because I said that she had made me mad because they pulled the load after waking me up. In this industry you cannot win as a driver. If the government ain't getting you, the weather's getting you, a breakdown getting you or your dispatcher gets you. Welcome to the reality of trucking.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The longest drive of my life


The call came in at 830 in the morning as I was talking with a security guard at the Detroiter truck stop in Woodhaven, Michigan. I looked at the number on the caller ID. I said "Excuse me but I have to take this call". Area code 216 came up, I knew immediately it was Cleveland Ohio where my daughter was taken so often over the past year and half. The call was the hospital she had been staying at for her recovery from her last surgery to reconstruct her stomach and esophagus together.

"Mrs. Fletcher we have been trying to get hold of you for the last two hours". She said to me. "I'm sorry but I have not gotten any phone calls this morning." She proceed to tell me they had been calling my house since 630 that morning. It was urgent that I come to Cleveland Hospital your daughter Kathryn was taken there because she was unresponsive this morning when the nurse checked on her. "I'll be there as soon as I can I am in Michigan". I told her.

I then called my co-driver and told him we had to go right now to the yard, it's in Novi, MI, so I could get my car, "Kathy was taken to Cleveland Clinic this morning". Next call was too the owner of the truck I was driving for and told him I had to go and explained to him what was going on.

The drive was only 2 hours and 45 minutes. Looking back to that day I really do not know how I made it.  I called Cleveland Clinic to ask what room Kathy was in. Receptionist said "There is no Kathryn Martin admitted, maybe she is still in emergency room"! "Can you transfer me to them".
"Cleveland Clinic Emergency Room how can help you". Lady on the other end said. And I use the word lady loosely. "I am calling to see how Kathryn Martin is doing, this is her mother." There is no Kathryn Martin here" she says. "I was told by Kindred hospital she was brought there this morning". She says "Well she isn't her".

So I call back to Cleveland Clinic and am told maybe she was sent back to Kindred hospital. Call Kindred hospital and ask if Kathy was brought back there. "Can you hold please" "Yes I can hold".

Nurse comes on the phone " Mrs. Fletcher Kathy is at Cleveland Clinic she was unresponsive this morning, so they kept her". "How much have you been told Mrs. Fletcher?" "Just that the nurse had seen Kathy at 4:30 this morning and she was talking with her, Kathy said she was tiered  and was going to bed".

"Can you hold Mrs. Fletcher?" By now I am getting worried, been driving over an hour. She comes back on the phone and tells me I need to speak with the head nurse and transfer me to his phone. I get a recording he is not in but to leave a message and he will return my call. "This is Kathryn Martins mom, Denise Fletcher. I am trying to find out where my daughter is. Can you please call me on my cell phone I am on my way there". Left my number with the message. My head is really starting to hurt, headache like I have never had before.
Thinking I have got to get to Cleveland she must be in really bad shape. My phone rings, its the head nurse from Kindred hospital. "Mrs. Fletcher this is (Name do not remember) head nurse at Kindred hospital. How much have you been told". Realizing my daughter must have died that morning, I said to him "Kathy was unresponsive and she was taken to Cleveland Clinic". "But, when I call there they say she is not there, that's why I am trying to find out where she is". By now I have pulled off into a rest area and parked my car.

He asks "Mrs. Fletcher where are you?" I told him on the toll road heading to Cleveland. But, I am sitting in a rest area in my car. That's when I say to him. "Kathy has passed away"? His response "I believe so".

"You don't have to come to the hospital" he says to me. I'm thinking are you fucking kidding me, my daughter just died and you're telling me I don't need to see my baby girl.
Now my head is hurting so bad my vision is blurred. An hour from Cleveland, digging in my purse looking for aspirin, can not find them. I always have aspirin in my purse, can not find the bottle.

Monday, December 10, 2012

You got to have a good since of humor

Load picking up in Kansas City MO. going to Rapid City SD.
Picked it up on Friday, everything went well at pick-up, first day driving went well.
I check the weather for South Dakota, report said snow and high winds for Sunday. So I decided to drive all the way to Rapid City on Saturday. Good thing because that night the wind gust were up to 50 mph and the temperature dropped to 8 degrees which felt like -25. Spent the rest of the time at the Flying J truck stop til Monday morning for the delivery. Cold and wind blowing made it difficult to go back and forth to the building.
Turned into an interesting delivery, it was at a mining school. The roads to it said no trucks, had to go any way. Got to the school to make my delivery and there is no docks or room to pull in a semi truck. So I park on the side street blocking one drive and cars along the other side of the street. I saw a truck delivering food, he was a day cab with a 43 foot trailer so he was able to back up to the building to unload. I asked him if i was a t the right address and he said "yes, this place don't have any dock". then he walk me into the kitchen were the supervisor was. Supervisor says to back in after the food delivery man is done. I explain there is no way I can back in, I am driving a semi with a 53 foot trailer. He acknowledged that there was no way I would be able to get in there. He called utilities department to have them bring a truck with a lift gate.

Forty-five minutes later couple guys show up with a truck. He starts telling me the first truck they were going to bring had broke down over the week-end, second truck had no propane delivered for it.
The older man backs the truck up to my trailer and the lift gate barely works. Has problem getting the sections to line up, they never did. He turned the truck off and and it back fires, sound like a shot gun going off, brakes are bad so if he leaves it running they have to sit in the truck to keep it from rolling down the road.

The younger man goes into the trailer and starts moving the smaller boxes out into their truck. He is confused how is he going to get the large pallet which weights over 1500 pounds out. He cannot get the pallet jack under the pallet. Said to him " You are going to need help from the guy who is sitting in the truck". Said "He has to keep his foot on the brakes". Two more guys show up with a leverage tool to lift the pallet so he could get the pallet jack under the load. Two pallet jacks, four men, one women, one lifting tool and two trucks, load got delivered.

Now needed to go to Volvo for a repair on my truck. Called to let Mike know I was on my way. I spoke with him on Friday to make arrangements to get in after my delivery. For some reason I decided to ask if the address was correct in the book. Good thing I asked they had moved five years before. Got checked in, dropped trailer after several attempts to find a space it would not be in the way. Decided to take care of a business matter, made the phone call and while I was talking to Randy on the phone my dog gets her paw stuck in bug trap they have in the waiting room. It was some kind of sticky stuff and I had to pull the black plastic container off her foot. Mind you I am on the phone the whole time trying to wash this poison off her foot, it was the consistency of dried honey. She is small but slippery and squirming in my arms, phone is on my shoulder and it drops into the sink with bubbles and water. That ended the phone call. Good news my phone survived.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Trying to sleep

The Problem with being a truck driver when you drive at night time during the daytime nobody will let you sleep including dispatch lot lizards bill collectors whoever.
I just got done reporting to the pilot corporation that while I was trying to sleep today 4 lot lizards Interrupted my sleep and the last 1 was connected to an employee here at the pilot in Memphis On Lamar street. After I chased her away from my truck she walks over to 1 of the employees male employees of the pilot wearing a uniform. Hopefully they will clean up these truck stops so us truck drivers can actually get a good days sleep so that we can drive at night safely.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Prostitution

Just walking on my way back to my truck when I saw a lot lizard going up to my truck and knocking on the door. Prostitution is pretty big in the trucking industry . I'm sitting here in my truck watching her go from truck to truck. Now there's another lady ask me if I saw a woman. I told her yes and she went to my right. the second lady was the manager of the pilot. She just caught up with the prostitute and told her that she had to get off the property because she was calling the police on her. Here it is 4 o'clock in the afternoon and the prostitutes are out working the lot already.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ink cartridge need to be changed

I recently ran into a problem with toll receipts being reimbursed.
I was on the toll roads in Massachusetts when the toll clerk gave me my receipts they were faded from lack of ink in the printer. It was readable but when I transflo the receipts the company I work with said they were unreadable so they would not reimburse the money. So I darken the writing and resubmitted the receipts  the next time they refused to reimburse because the receipts were altered.

So I call the toll authority in Massachusetts and got the head guy after being transferred 5 times to include a phone number no longer in service. He was very understanding and polite we talked for 15 minutes. I explained to  him that this was a legal and financial issue since if a driver got pulled over by the Police or DOT officer is going to want to compare the tolls receipts with the drivers logs. If the officer could not read the receipts then that driver could end up with a ticket for not showing the time and date he was driving.
My situation I can not get my money back for the tolls I submitted for reimbursement. So all ways check your receipts for readability. If you cannot read it have them hand write you a receipt.

The results I got was he gave me another person name and phone number to call. Which I did and she wrote me out 2 receipts and mailed them to me. She was also going to talk with the person a head of the toll booths and make sure the clerks have ink cartridges for their printers.

Massachusetts dot

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Organizing your truck

Organization of the truck is very important to be able to find permit book very important, first thing is check the permit book and make sure everything is current. If it is not current or you are not sure most companies have someone in the office who can verify what is needed.

Paperwork supplies for filling out the paperwork pens, tape, stapler, paper clips, whiteout, scrape paper for receipts, file folder to keep everything in.

Cleaning supplies glass cleaner, brush for the floors, rugs to help keep it cleaner (with rubber back work best), bleach wipes, paper towels,  tools ( screw drivers, hammer, pliers  duct tape, bungee cords, Velcro tape, glue)  to repair your truck nothing major mostly loose screws or installing things you will want to put in your truck for comfort and organizing. Face it, you live in the truck. You will spend more time in the truck then you will at home once you become a truck driver.

Curtains should come with your truck if not there is removable ones you can buy or just some material from home or the fabric store.

As you can afford other things you will want is coolers and cooking equipment. Shop around to find best deals.
click link below:
I have no affiliation to this business they just have a good selection of products

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Long hours

Driving truck you work a lot of long hours. What do I mean by long hours, it could mean a lot of hours in 1 day or sitting at the dock in the hours just drag and drag.
Personally I do not like going out west driving thousands of miles without having a break between loads.  I get bored with all the long hours of driving.
Me personally I like short trips. I would rather run 4 or 5 loads a week then to have 1 load with thousands of miles.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tiered, dirty, hungry

These 3 things are very common in trucking, if you aren't then you are not working.
The more the government gets involved the worst it is getting. A lot of veteran drivers are getting out of driving because of the mandatory changes to logging rules.
Which is opening more jobs, but at lower pay and fewer miles. I see more teams now because of the changes in transportation. 
I find my sleep is broke up because of the change.  In turn now I am more tiered trying to get loads delivered on time. Shippers and receivers need to be more flexible to adjust to the time allotments drivers are forced to adhere too. If my deliver could had been made last night when i had the time i would have gotten my sleep in a straight 8 hours instead of 4 last night then 4 today. And then i would have been able to do another load today instead of tonight. As long as companies are not willing to set up flexible pickup and delivery times drivers are going to continue to be tiered and unhealthy.  It is proven that sleep and health are connected.