It's a Team's Life
Brain Dead Steering Wheel Holder
Not many even within the transportation industry has a clue of all the rules a “steering wheel” holder has to follow. I remember years ago talking to a marketing guy at a large trucking company about truck scales that we have to cross. He wanted to know why some trucks drive past weigh stations and others go in, He had never noticed the overhead detectors or the scales in the roadway.
The old saying the more you know the more you don't know is so true in trucking. When we started our research to get into trucking we had on our rose-colored glasses and the reality was a shock. The shock started in orientation as we learned more about hours of service, appointment times, load securement, roads we could not drive on, and the list goes on and on.
Once in the truck, we learned fast. We talked to other drivers, read a lot, and asked a lot of questions. The more we learned the less we felt we knew! Truck drivers are anything but brain-dead steering wheel holders. To survive all of the pitfalls of trucking get involved, ask questions, and read and then read some more.
There are so many gotchas in trucking that if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time it will not take a smart lawyer to prove you were in the wrong. Either you were in the wrong place, your logs were not filled outright, or the vehicle maintenance was not up to snuff. Even if another vehicle hits you to often the smart lawyer will prove the truck driver was the culprit.
While at home you work on the truck while off duty and think no big deal. When you send in your vehicle maintenance report and show that the truck was repaired by you while you were off duty you have now falsified your logs. What about going to the store while at home and you buy products for the truck and keep the receipt for tax purposes. Were you on duty when you bought that product or products? Are you on duty when going through the truck wash? What about on your 34-hour restart did you do any repair work on the truck? The list is very very long of everything where we need to be on duty. There is so much stuff we need to be on duty for that we really do not have much time to drive.
If in an accident were you distracted? It is easy to prove by using your cell phone data. A lawyer can get your cell phone records. The phone records will show how and when the phone was used from the point of purchase. Is the text message app open? Were you looking at emails or social media?
Next, they can get the ECM records and tell exactly what was happening to the truck when the accident occurred. How long before impact were the brakes applied? The data is there to say if we are paying attention when we need to start applying the brakes before impact. Our ECM is the truck's black box and it knows a lot.
Think before getting behind the wheel of your truck and have everything you need within arm's reach. Put the phone down and link your headset. Spend time on duty working on the truck. Get a dashcam for extra protection or get one that records what is happening on all sides of your truck. The more you know the better you can protect your CDL.
Bob & Linda Caffee
Saint Louis MO
Expediters since January 2005
Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle;
Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;
Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;
Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.