Friday, December 3, 2010

Arizona Department of Transportation Highway Patrol Commercial Enforcement

So, I was travelling through the same stretch of highway today as I was yesterday.
I got beyond where the "infraction" occured yesterday and was merrily cruising on SR 87
towards Coolidge.  Getting closer to Coolidge, I came upon 2 Highway Patrol - a cruiser and an SUV -
parked window to window so they could talk to each other.

Neither of those vehicles were that of which pulled me over yesterday, issuing bogus warnings.  Yes, I call them bogus because - they WERE bogus, both of them.

Well, I was cruising 63 in a 65 zone, so nothing there.  In fact, I didn't give them a second thought, I am doing nothing wrong, was checked out yesterday, why should I have to worry about it again today?

I check my mirrors frequently.  You learn that in trucking, check your sides.  But it isn't just for traffic, I am pulling a flatbed trailer, I am looking at my load and my straps.  Always looking back there.  Is there a loose strap? Has anything shifted for unknown reason? I can't help BUT to look back there and check it.

So, I can say, I was shocked, literally, after passing those 2 ADOT Highway Patrol cruisers, to see yet a different ADOT pickup behind me.  I mean, I never saw it coming - again, I check my mirrors frequently. WHEREVER it came from, it must have been cruising at VERY high speed, because it is out in the desert and you can see in all directions for quite a distance.  I was looking intently at it's driver, too much distance behind me to ID it as the same guy as yesterday. Well, he appeared out of nowhere and he sat there behind me.  I came into a 45 mph zone on that highway approaching a stop light, slowed to that speed, put on my turn signal, turned right on Arizona Boulevard going through Coolidge - yup- that truck turned right behind me.

When he pulled up beside my trailer, that was when I was able to ID him.  Yup,the guy from yesterday.  I accelerated to a whopping 25mph, he was scrutinizing my straps.  No nicks on them today, you can bank on that.  In fact, most of my straps are new, just replaced them a couple of months ago.  I did not go any faster, if he wants to pull me over, have at it.  I will demand a supervisor to show up at the scene.  If not, I will start making phone calls.  This guy may think he's king out there, just wait til' he gets someone like me going.  Everyone has to account to someone - he has a boss, who has a boss  on up the line until you reach the Governor of the state.

If he didn't pull me over, then I didn't care.  That was my thought at the time.  It still is.  This went on for at least 60 seconds.  Dude, either pull me over or let it go, do something because I have a delivery to make and I don't have time for these games.  He finally pulls up next to the tractor, looks at me, signals to me to show him that I have my seat belt on.  He apparently can't tell from down there.  Yes, it was on.  I pulled it forward, off my chest, to show him.  He gives me the thumbs up, pull into the center lane, flips a U-ey and that was that.

I know, it's about safety, right?  Whatever you say. There are JUNK trucks running up and down that road - they look like junk, they are junk.  Pull THEM over and check their tires, brakes, air lines, etc etc etc.  ONCE was good, the next day? GIVE ME A BREAK.  I have driven through sleet, snow, on ice, through torrential rains, fog, heavy winds, even a tornado.  Okay, the tornado wasn't a good idea, I was young and dumb and didn't know there was a tornado.  EVERY other car and truck out there was pulled over, that should have given me a clue.  I went past all of it, several of them pulled out behind me, apparently looking for a "leader".  I'll NEVER forget that ride.  Wow!!

I didn't know what I was going to do this weekend, it suddenly plunged into my head: CHRISTMAS!!!  Finish that electrical panel and get the lights out!!
That's what it is, it's CHRISTMAS TIME!! Hey, we're in December, my lights aren't on, forget about it. I"m getting it going if I can starting tomorrow.
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Friday 12/3/2010

Friday

I was pulled over in the semi yesterday by AZ DPS officer. These are the guys whose almost sole job is to pull over commercial vehicles and do inspections.

And, as is their custom, they will always find something wrong with your truck so as to either write up a citation or give you a warning.

I was given 2 warnings yesterday, thanks a lot, there goes my bonus next month, next?

The first warning, and this after the guy spent 40 minutes inspecting the truck, the tractor and the load to the nth degree, was for a strap that had a slit in it. After looking at the strap, I concluded that it was still legally usable. 3/4's of an inch. Further, the cargo that that strap was tying down? Had TWO straps on it. In the case of that cargo, which was a crate holding 3 small check valves weighing at most 500 pounds, ONE strap was legally enough to secure it. The cargo was over-strapped - a thing of which the officer complimented me on and then gives me the warning.

Whatever.

The second warning irritated me. You see, this officer followed me for almost 10 MILES before he pulled me over. Why he did that, I have no clue. He handed me the warnings and I looked at the second "infraction". It said I had followed too closely to a tractor-trailer rig in front me.

BUNK. I asked him WHERE this alleged activity took place. He told me where SR87 meets SR387. Yes, there was a tractor-trailer rig in front of me, yes I had PLENTY of room in front of me. The officer allegedly clocked me at 2.57 seconds distance behind the truck.

First off, the truck in front of me had started slowing down to turn off of SR87 onto SR387. He did not slow down using the footbrake, he began braking using the engine brake. When a truck in front of me does that, it takes a second to recognize that that truck is slowing down - the brake lights do not come on with the engine brake.

Second, this DPS officer was sitting in his pickup about 300 feet off the road semi-facing south. We were coming from the north. At the point where this officer would have been able to see both trucks, I would have been going between 10 and 15 miles per hour. That's right, the driver of the truck in front of me slowed WAY down, he was going maybe 5 mph when he made that turn, I was just rolling behind him waiting for him to clear the road.

I got into a discussion with this officer about that one. That will not look good to my company, following too closely that is. I stated to him the same thing I already wrote: by the time he would have been able to see me, I would have been going no more than 10mph. He stated that "he didn't know how fast I was going". PLEASE.
Don't tell me they don't have a good estimate of how fast a vehicle is going - that's a 6th sense they get after being out there for a long time, looking at vehicles and estimating pretty close how fast they are going. The fact that he stated that he didn't know how fast I was going was what got me going. He KNEW how fast I was going and IF I had been less than 3 seconds behind that truck, it was because we were going SO slow, even if that driver had slammed on his brakes I would have been able to stop before hitting him.

I brought that up as well. He didn't have an answer for it. I then told him these warnings were going to cost me my bonus. He looked at me in shock, but there was no retraction. If they had been citations I would have seen the guy in court, guaranteed. With warnings, I don't know that you can fight them because that's all they are: warnings. At the same time, I lose an entire week's worth of pay that I would have gotten next month for being a safe driver, which I still conclude that I am regardless of this guy's warnings.

Nice way to start the day, it was around 7:00am when this occured. After leaving, I go to the job site with the load and find no supers or foremen there for this company. Only workers. That can sometimes be a bad thing. Well, I was delivering some pipe (as well as a lot of other stuff on the truck). There were 2 different kinds of pipe - different ratings on it - that look EXACTLY the same as each other.

I pointed this out. This is class 52 pipe, this is class 350 pipe, don't mix them up. What do they do? Mix them up. I pointed it out for about the 5th time when another guy walked up, who got into an argument with the backhoe operator, who started yelling at another guy, who started yelling back.

I might have found these morons entertaining, throwing hard hats down, kicking dirt, hurling insults at each other but the encounter with the DPS officer had put me in a bad mood. Watching a bunch of clowns get into a pissing match wasn't top on my list of things to do.

That is what happens when there isn't a forman or a superintendant around to monitor them. I noted on the paperwork that the pipe had been mixed together. This because the super will eventually call and ask where his class 52 pipe is. It is thicker walled pipe and can take both more water pressure internally and also more abuse from traffic above it underground. Mostly, I think it's used to cross underneath roads. Then back to the regular class 350.
Whatever the case, it costs more. At least the pipe is marked, albeit you have to know where to look. I showed this guy - this was like the 5th time now - where the markings were on the pipe, where all 5 sticks were.

Got that truck unloaded and got the bleep out of there.

That was it. There were other deliveries but they had to get out so salesmen ended up delivering them. By the time I got back, it was almost time to go home - I am over hours and had to leave early yesterday and will have to leave early today as well.

And with that, the weekend is almost here.

The news is rife with garbage. "New report: Dream Act to cost taxpayers billions". No kidding? What, is this supposed to shock anyone? Is there ANYTHING that the government does that doesn't cost a buildingful of money?

Pollution. We get these advisories every winter. Pollution settles into the valley and doesn't go anywhere. Pollution advisories are issued - they are expecting this year to be particularly bad for whatever reason. Nice, breath in that wonderful, polluted air. Just another reason I would love to leave the Phoenix area permanently.

Whatever. No plans for the weekend besides usual stuff. Still responding to respondants who are interested - referring to "Plenty of Fish". One of them looks intriguing at least.

G'day.

ben

Thursday 11/2/2010

Thursday

I'm standing in awe of the fact that it IS Thursday already. Where has the week gone? Oh, yes, work has been very busy and keeping me late. Today will be no exception. I was supposed to make 2 trips to Florence yesterday, but, I ended up driving everywhere BUT a second trip there. No, that trip is this morning. Back to the yard, load up for 2 other deliveries and then done. That should take a good part of the day.

Another whammy coming our way: the end of the Bush tax cuts. Or not. Who knows. The bickering in Washington never ceases to amaze me. GOP says extend it to all, Dems say not to the rich, I say shut the bleep up and do what's right for America. The "rich" continue to say that if those tax cuts aren't extended, then it will restrict their ability to pursue hiring more workers. The Dems believe that the rich - shouldn't be rich I guess - sock it to them.

For right now? I say extend it for everyone at least temporarily and then they can sit there and argue and fight amongst themselves til' some kind of agreement is made. I AM glad that there is a tourniquet to the money-let in Washington with GOP taking back the House, I figured that the best that was going to become of it was that NOTHING would be able to happen, however, I think the GOP has it mixed up. Americans that are unemployed and only have unemployment benefits probably want those benefits lengthened and Americans like me that are employed but working less hours probably don't want to see even MORE money going to taxes.

There's my beef with all of them. We ALREADY pay too much in taxes but the GOP is standing thee saying we are going to have to cough up even more? SCREW that. I have to live within my means, everyone else has to live within their means, but the Federal government? Oh no, just take more from the people. I most certainly did NOT vote the way I did so I could see my taxes raised.

Talk about raising the age to receive Social Security benefits and other "entitlement" programs. Great, take away a portion of my retirement, but do it now, I mean right now, cause if that's the way it's going to be, it will light a fire under my feet to do a LOT more to prepare for retirement. I'm already considering having more taken out for 401k even though I can't really afford it. It's almost at 10k now, breaking in to the 5 digits is a good motivator in itself to save even more.

Anonymous said...

Well enough about that. I left this morning - it must be in the low 40's outside anyway - the dogs escorted me to the gate as they do every morning and then, before I even got in the car, they beelined for the doggy door and inside the house. Duke was cold this morning IN the house, I can't imagine what he was experiencing outside.

I dunno what else. Lots of stuff on my mind. Nothing that is overwhelming, just a lot in there. Don't really feel inclined to speak about some of it on the world wide web, either, so it will just have to stay in there. Lol. I am going to try to finish the electrical project this weekend and then get some Christmas lights up out front. I would also like to get a Christmas tree, but this year, I want a smaller tree. A big tree takes up too much space in the living room and also blocks my view outside. My traditional thought of having a giant tree is fading. I might even opt for a living tree and plant that sucker after Christmas is over.

The female trailer tenant says she doesn't really get off on Christmas anymore and that she used to. Well, I suspect, that's because she has gone from living with a high income job to being homeless and then, living in an old trailer. She gets on my old computer every day and fills out applications. She says she will take a job anywhere, anything to get some income. I'm sure they don't want to live in that old thing the rest of their lives.

I am, however, going to do my best to get them both in the Christmas spirit. Putting up a lot of nice looking lights is the first step. They have been eating the ham and turkey for nearly a week now. I bought all of that stuff so they haven't really had to spend any money on food for a while now. I am going to take $30 of the money they give me for rent this month, get a movie theatre gift card and give that to them. It isn't a question of need - they are always going to be in need until they get a good flow of income - it's a matter of getting a different perspective on things. When you are broke and living the way they are right now, I can understand why things might not seem so bright and cheery.

Anyway, the work day is here, I'm outta here.

G'day.

ben

And so, here I am on the cusp of a Monday morning and whatever adventure lays ahead of me.  Whatever happens, it appears likely going to be ...