Sunday, November 18, 2007

ON COMPANY COPS & THE FATIGUE POLICE

When I got in my truck last Monday night, preparing to leave out, I got a Qualcomm message which indicated that my trailer, which I had dropped at a local truckstop, as usual, had been under scrutiny by one of our company cops. These individuals also go by other names, such as "snitches," or "apple polishers," or "brown-nosers," to name a few. They are, in fact, other drivers from my company who have appointed themselves as remote enforcers of company policies. If they find that you're not doing something that you're supposed to be doing, or they think you're not, they'll call up the head honchos at our yard and rat you out to the company brass. Then you'll get the ominous message on your QC as evidence that you've been caught!

"Why was your trailer dropped at the [name of truckstop] without being locked up?" That was what this particular company official wanted to know. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell him right at that time, as it was too late to call him. He would have already left the office by then. The company had another trailer and load stolen about two weeks earlier and in a fleet message, they were threatening 3-day suspensions if trailers dropped for the weekend weren't turned into rolling bank vaults by being locked up in every imaginable way known to man. A routine reaction to such thefts. Seen it before, been there, done that.

Not that it isn't a serious thing. It is, and to that end, I'll always have locks on my dropped trailer when I'm at home. However. last week I came home with an empty box, my load not ready to pick up until Monday evening, so I saw no point in turning an empty trailer into Fort Knox. I slapped my trusty glad hand lock on it and headed to the house. The snitching do-gooder brown-noser who ratted on me evidently didn't see that lock at all and never bothered to look in the damn thing, so he could see that it was empty. No load. Nothing to steal. And it was locked, at least somewhat, sucker! Joke's on you, this time! I called the official who had sent the message the next morning and left word on his voice mail, attesting to those facts. That was all I could do; the company brass can be next to impossible to reach on a phone in person. The snitches must have a direct hotline to them, or something, evidently.

I'm not inclined to snitch on other drivers; I consider whatever they do -- or don't do -- as none of my business. Only if someone were driving their truck in an unsafe manner and endangering others would I report anyone to the company, and even in that case I would attempt to talk to the driver myself before I did so. If another driver is negligent and their load gets stolen, then that's between them and the company, because there's no way that a driver can NOT report a missing trailer! That's a little too, uh, obvious, don't you think?? No, it's not my job to police truckstop parking lots and check out any of our trailers that have been dropped there. Every driver is supposed to know the policy on locking them up and it's their ass if they don't and the load disappears.

I don't know if the snitch who called in on me will get a shiny new truck out of the deal or not, although that's the sort of thing that motivates most of them. If he does, it would surely be poetic justice if the asshole totaled it the first week he had it!! And that's how I feel about that.

 

While we're on the subject of self-appointed "cops," the members of what I call the Fatigue Police have scored yet another victory in their ongoing efforts to rest us truckers to death. The Fatigue Police are the several outsider coalitions who have stuck their noses into the FMCSA's rulemaking process and turned the Hours Of Service rules into a game of musical regulations in recent years. They include groups such as Public Citizen, Parents Against Tired Truckers, and several others, and they are totally obsessed with the issue of driver fatigue. Like most of these crusader organizations, they have a one-track mind and don't even know when to quit. Enough is never enough, in their effort to impose their will on an industry that none of them have ever worked in and know little about in any practical sense.

Those groups, along with the Teamster's Union, sued the FMCSA over things they didn't like in the current HOS regs and evidently got the judges on their side, because the federal court vacated (overturned) parts of the HOS rules recently. FMCSA managed to obtain a stay until Dec. 27 of this year and on that date, unless they come up with something new, get another stay, or congress acts in our favor, we will lose the 11-hour drive rule and the 34-hour reset of our 70 weekly hours that we needed so badly for years. It will revert back to 10 hours drive time, without a reset at all, just like it was before the HOS was changed in 2005. That sucks, and especially the reset part. The 70-hour rule was always the biggest pain in the ass of all the regs that drivers had to comply with, and one that led to widespread falsification of logbooks that was almost legendary. So, here we go again, unless Lady Fortune should smile on us before Christmas.

The problem is that the FMCSA has to try to please everyone and all too often, when you do that, you end up pleasing no one. The trucking industry is already split up into several competing factions as it is, with union vs non-union, small companies vs big ones, independent O/O drivers vs company drivers, and so on. Add to that the grassroots coalitions who want to keep us in our bunks 75% of the time and it's a recipe for disaster, as far as any sensible regulations are concerned. The union is self-serving, as all unions are -- concerned only with what's good for the union and not giving a rat's behind about anyone else. And the coalitions push their single-minded agenda for all it's worth, conveniently ignoring the fact that driver fatigue was cited as a causal factor in less than 10% of the accidents studied, where the truck was deemed to be at fault. And those are official U.S. Government studies, too! There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

So, there we are. The FMCSA giveth and the courts taketh away. Back to square one and back to the drawing board. And where are the drivers in all of this furor? Where are the ones who have to live with this crap?? Out there doing our jobs, hoping for the best, the majority of us having been convinced that nothing we can say matters, because no one is listening to us anyway. We have representation, but it looks like the union and the coalitions have better lawyers. And that's what it takes to get your voice heard, in this day and age.

I'll keep y'all posted on this as things develop (or don't develop).

10-7

7 comments:

my78novata said...

you know it pisses me off greatly when those who KNOW nothing about someting put thier nose in it. Like todd who ACTUALLY WORKS ON CARS!!!!!!!!!!! tears them down takes them apart and some white collar stuff shirt out of college who cant change his own oil comes in from the insurance company and says (in hte interest of cutting costs ALWAYS LOL PIFFTTT) you cant do that and do it this way. To which Todd said It wont save money on this car after market parts dont fit well and I have re drill holes thus making it look AFTER Market becuase they dont match them properly and he said NO It s cheaper your trying ot get more money. TO which Todd said Id ont get kick backs for OEM parts!!!!! I get the same pay to put OEM on as I do after market the thing is I have to work harder and do a less professional job on aftermarket . So the After market comes in and it wont fit thus causeeing the customer to be pissed cuase now his car is delayed for a few more days becuase THIER insurance sent a jr leage stuff nose out to save hte isnurance companies money in which it ends up costing more becuase NOW there is extra shipping HA!!!!!!! sounds exactly like what your dealing with on the rest reset rules. as far as the brown nosers they are in ever professoin and they are usually the one whos own back yard is full of crap!!!!!!

angelsfaceme1 said...

DAWG,
       Wow, I don't think hubby heard about this yet He is going to be ticked off. Nothing makes him angier then idiots who have not a clue as to how his job works, telling him how he should do said job..
       I sure hope this doesn't pass. It seems to me it might cause more accidents and a lot more tired drivers. I can see a bunch of loose leaf logs becoming the normal use again, lol. you know what I mean.
       I can't believe that drivers are turning each other in. Isn't there enough going against you all with out turning on each other. Karma will rule on that matter. I just really think that is such a shame..
       Well you take care out there and may your Guardian angel ride in the jump seat.
                               HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!
                                          HUGS, CYNDY

jeanniebuggz said...

Well I sure didn't same Company drivers snitched on their fellow employees - sure learning a lot about policing now.  Hope those changes (backtracking) don't pass.  You're right when you try to please everyone you run into trouble.  Why don't those who know nothing about it just stay out of it and leave to those who know what's the best solution.  Have a good week!

merry1621 said...

What a week!  Like I keep telling you.  Write a book. YOU'VE seen enough!  You are smart enough!  OR run for politics youself. I promise I will be your Iowa campaign chairwoman. LOL Don't we wish, huh?  Hope next week is better for you.

I am exhausted. I am used to having a husband who spoils me rotten. I have had to do such things as even put gas in my own car!  LOL  Seriously, I have lifted groceries, (I have a lifting limit) but I had to do this as he can't.  I will be thrilled when Dave is back to himself.  I WANT MY OLD LIFE BACk!  He can't help it, but it's like caring for a 3 yr old sometimes.  He wants this or that whenever I sit down online or do my own thing. I have to fix 3 meals a day!  Oh what a rough like.  LOL

But, he would and has done all for me that I am doing for him, many times, so I ought to shut up!  
Later, Merry

loboman62 said...

moon dawg i feel your pain with the last few posts you have put up i havent been able to get on line for the last 4 weeks as a result of a new  dispatcher that i had a brand new one at that never dispatched b4 and the closest he had ever been to the inside of a truck is when he would park his car on the yard  all of a sudden my miles start to go down  lots of short hops all under 500 miles ok well lets run thease shorts and see what happens ..... well i am paid on % not miles so it might not be bad as it turns out it was not good at all paycheck was about $400.00 lower than it normally is time to call the boss up and let him know what is going on i work for a small company that does not have quallcom so we use the phone the boss said we will take care of this and i get a load to take to the yard for relay on to the yard we go  when i get there i find that 10 of the 12 drivers there have the same dispatcher that i have and we are all singing the same song short hoped to death (dispatchers never think that we talk to the outher driver when we meet lol ) well the boss having been called by many of us on this problem thought that it was easyer to hire a new dispatcher than to replace a number of drivers!!   not that i want to see anybody loose thier job in this day and age but if you cant take the heat then get out of the kitchen  this job is tough enough with out having to fight with the company as far as the hos two words as cindy said loose leaf  well enough for this post  enjoy the holliday all  drive safe      wolfman

ladydriversammie said...

How freaking ridiculous are the judges going to let these people get?  I actually liked the changes to the HOS.  11on and a 34 hour reset for the 70 seemed much more reasonable and seemed to work into some kind of daily schedule better, in my opinion.  But now they're getting stupid with their ignorant pushiness.

I like the new rules because they gave truckers a little more of a 24hour day to work with instead of an 18hour day that never worked out right.  But 10 a day and 70 in 8 days with no reset...um...are you going to be a truck driver or a truck sitter?

If these people had any clue what they're doing at all...they'd realize by making the rules stricter and stricter they're only hurting everyone.  If drivers get tired before their hours run out for the day, they'll be forced to keep going anyway to meet tight schedules, because if they stop too soon they won't get enough miles in today to be close enough to the destination to make it there on tomorrow's hours.  If they reduce the number of hours driver's can work much more and continue to make life on the road more and more of a headache...no experienced, GOOD drivers will keep doing the job.  Then all you have on the road are rookies who are young and inexperienced and don't care much about safety because they're putting up with too much crap from FMCSA and dispatchers and everyone else.  

Or...maybe they'll drive enough people out of the industry that trucking won't even be able to handle the amount of freight it needs to transport to keep the country running...

Is any of that solving anything? No...

ladydriversammie said...

Oh, and one other thing...

8 Years on the road without a single fatigue related incident...think the logbook had anything to do with that?  Hate to break it to PATT and other groups so determined to have truckers sleeping 18 hours a day but I followed their beloved rules when it suited me.  I know my own body better than anyone else and I sleep when I'm tired regardless of what the log book says.  I don't care if I just got up from a 10 hour break 20minutes ago, if I feel too tired to handle my truck, I'm back in bed.  I think that seems much safer than the poor guy who is exhausted for whatever reason but keeps driving that last hours he can legally do today because he's still 12 hours out and has to make it there on tomorrow's 11 hours.

/end rant