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Amber Alert

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

So you think truck driving is easy?

I know all of you, whether in the USA or not have seen truck drivers.
They are what make the world go around. If it were not for a truck driver, driving all night and day then people would not have anything.
I hear people all the time, laugh and make jokes about truck drivers. But until you have been in a truck drivers shoes, and done a 1/10 of what he or she has done then you need not make any jokes.

Yea, I know the requirements to become a truck driver are not much. All you need to do is be able to speak English, read English, and be able to write in the USA.
Also you must not have a felony record, or be mental.
Training going through truck driving school is easy enough, it only takes 3 weeks, and you are almost guaranteed a CDL license.
It gets very hard after you go through school,believe me. I have heard people say, "But all you do is sit behind the wheel and drive, how hard is that"?

Well let's see here...

You have finally made it through school, and now have been hired with a company.
You report to the company for orientation which will last for up to 5 days, and most company's will only give you maybe $25.00 per day for this. Some company's won't even do this.
Of course the feed you lunch, and put you in a cheap motel, and provide you with a van to take you to the terminal and back to the motel.

The next 5 days you are drilled about company policies, DOT policies, securing your loads, doing the paper work for your company and the DOT. Plus you must within these 5 days also get a physical and DOT drug screen.

Let's say you are lucky enough to get through this part of it.
Now you are officially a hired employee. Guess what?

Nope you are not officially hired, you are a trainee for a prospective company.
This means you get to go out with a driver trainer for as long as he or she thinks you need to go out with them.
Basically you will do all the driving, and do all the paperwork. While the driver trainer sits over in the passenger seat and makes a bookoo of money.

That's right he or she will make allot of money, you will not.
Ok so now you are paired up with a trainer, usually this guy or gal is coming off a break at the house, so he or she is usually running as late as possible.
Trying to get that very last minute with the family.

So you are stuck either waiting at the terminal for he or she to show up, because the company has had you to check out of the cheap motel already.

Well the trainer finally shows up, now when the trainer arrives you learn there is a problem with their truck.
So the trainer reports it to the mechanics, they begin to work on it. You in the mean time are still waiting to get moved into the truck, with all your thing's stacked up around you.
No place to take a nap or sleep as you have been up all day so you are still waiting.

Finally about 4 hours later the truck is finished, now you can finally move your stuff in it.
Guess what? The trainer also has his or her stuff as well. Will it all fit? Yea, but it does not leave much room.

By now it is 2:00 AM in the morning. Do you think you and your trainer is going to pull out of the terminal and go to a truck stop and go to bed?

Nope they got themselves a load that picks up at 6:00 AM.
The trainer will go to bed after they see you drive down the road.

Now you arrive at your pick up point, you wake the trainer up and you proceed to check in with security.

You get to the security office and your trainer has been here a thousand times, but you have not.
Security will make you go through their little check in process, filling out your name, getting a name tag, watching a film,etc.

You get through this process it is now 7:00 am. Remember your load was supposed to be picked up at 6:00 am. You are now 1 hour into your run, and you are not even loaded yet.

Security directs you to the shipping office, you go in there and give them a pick up number, guess what?

It is the wrong number, so now you get to go call your dispatcher, usually there is a phone located in the break room clear on the other side of the building. Yea, I know allot of you have cell phones. Well cell phones are not permitted into allot of places.

You and your trainer walk to the phone, you dial the dispatchers number, and you hold.
Your dispatcher might have to handle 20 or 30 drivers, if they all got the same problem as you well you will be on the phone for a while.

45 minutes later they answer takes them a couple of seconds to give you the right number because maybe all they missed it was by a number.
By the time you walk back to the shipping office it is now 8:00 am or after.

You give the new pick up number, and it works but since you are 2 hours late to pick up, now they will have to try to squeeze you into their loading time.

So you go to your truck and wait until they call you on the CB radio.
Guess what? You have still not gotten to go to bed, you have to sit up in the seat and wait for them to call you.

Finally after about 4 or 5 trucks all of which pulled in behind you get loaded, they call you to park in a loading dock.
Guess what?

Your load is not ready, they tell you to go to sleep and they will wake you when they are finished.

5 hours later they wake you, you are loaded. You sign the paper work and you are off.

Oh yea, you did not get paid anything while you set there from 6:00 am till 1:00 pm.

Now you get to go find a scale to scale your load to make it legal to go down the road. You get to a truck stop, and you get to scale the load out before you can get fuel. If you got fuel first you may not be able to scale the load for legal.

You scale the load, and then you can get fuel..this may take a couple hours depending where you are at.

You have gotten 5 hours of restless sleep, after being up all night and all day the day before.

You can still drive because you are legal to drive for 11 hours. You have only driven 5 hours so far up to scaling the load out to legal.

Now you have finished fueling and now you prepare to start off on your journey.
Get your map out,do your log book and take off.

You can legally drive for 6 more hours, so the trainer has you to head out.
You finally reach your destination, 5.5 hours later your eyes feel like sand paper from lack of sleep, hunger,and you smell from lack of a shower for 2 days.

You basically have to do the same thing when delivering as you did when you had to pick the load up. Check in with security, after there 15 or 20 minute safety chat then you head up to the receiving office, only to find out because you were so late getting there that you must wait.

So again you sit and wait for someone to hollar at you on the CB radio. It may be a few hours, then you finally get to back into a unloading dock.

Now is when the fun begins, you get deal with the dock supervisor who is a real PITA, he has been at work all day and is real frustrated. So for fun he says this load must be palletized of great!

This means that you must go inside the trailer and breakdown the pallets because they are maybe one layer too tall.

Or you can hire a lumper to do it for you, most companies will pay for this as long as you get it authorized first.

Well after 5 or 6 more hours you finally get your load unloaded.
This is probably 12:00 midnight by now and going on 3 days with no sleep,no eat,no shower, and guess what you still have a half hour of driving left to hopefully get into a truck stop and parked.

So off you go, trainer says there is a truck stop up the road a ways head it for there.

Only to pull into it and the lot is almost completely full. You finally find a parking place and get parked, now it is close to 1:00 AM you have to have a shower, get something to eat and try to get some rest.
You are on your first 10 hour break.

Welcome to truck driving buddy, this has been your first load of many to look forward too.

In all reality it is probably not as bad as I described it, but it is not a walk in the park either.

So give them trucker's a break next time one accidentally drifts into your lane, he or she may have been up driving for a long time without rest.

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