Thursday, September 26, 2013

So, while the company was bashing me almost 3 years ago now for getting pulled over twice in the same month, nothing is said to 2 drivers at the main branch who have racked up a LOT of points against the company this year in tickets and warnings.  This is the new method that the FMCSA is using to track down companies with fleets of trucks that are considering a threat to public safety if enough drivers tally up too many points.

Points are received for tickets AND warnings.  In the old days, warnings counted nothing against the driver or the company.  A warning is warning, don't do it again, or in the case of what I received, fix-it tickets.  Mine was a strap that had a nick in it - but the pallet it was covering I had thrown another strap onto it so it was legal.  I received a warning for following too closely but after questioning the officer about where, exactly, this alleged incident had happened, I was going less than 10 MPH and when I questioned him on my speed, he threw up his hands and said he didn't know how fast I was going.  That was one stop.  The other stop was where I was going 70 in a 55 mph zone and not having enough straps on a bundle of pipe.  However, when I passed the officer, I looked down and noted I was going 68mph.  Mostly, going 3MPH over the limit isn't going to get you a ticket.  It was a construction zone, was supposed to be marked at 55MPH, but it wasn't, the officer assumed it was and wrote me a warning for it anyway.  I went back later and saw the stands where the speed limit was supposed to be posted, but there were no signs there.

The pipe was 20 feet long.  I had 4 straps over it.  The officer asked how long the pipe is, I said 20 feet.  He measured it, it was 20 feet and 7 inches, so I get a warning for not having the extra strap since it was over 20 feet.  This is how they treat us out there, like dirt.  I'm quite serious, highway patrol officers and municipal commercial enforcement officers and around these parts: ADOT Enforcement officers treat truck drivers like we are a bunch of dumb, stupid morons and they try to find as much wrong with a truck as they can.

I have gone WELL out of my way to avoid known traps, places where they have set up mobile inspection stations.  Now I find out one of the rest areas out south of Phoenix has had a scale installed and they apparently are going to start using it to weigh trucks and do inspections.  I will be avoiding the stretch of roadway like the plague.  The only way to beat them at their own game is to find out where they are at in advance and go around no matter how far out of the way it takes you.  That and try to avoid known locations where they set up portable scales and do inspections.  I don't care about the scales, I am never over-weight, it's the inspections that are the killers.

Well, anyway, our company has so many points against it, it's trucks are targeted for inspections.  That's the jist of it.  I have driven by numerous ADOT and other officers recently - you can't avoid all of them, they are everywhere - and saw them eyeing the truck.  Obviously, at least to me, contemplating pulling me over (they don't need a reason, it's implied consent all over the US if you are driving a commercial vehicle).  I think the only thing that saves me is that I am driving a brand new truck and I have been keeping it very clean to make it continue to look brand new.  Sure, they could pull me over but I have been lucky so far that they haven't.  If I can make it another 3 months and a week or so without getting pulled over and getting warnings, I will get another 2 week's pay for the Safe Driver Award.

No guarantees there as evidenced by our drivers downtown, neither of which will get that award. |The company disqualifies you for any warnings - doesn't have to be a ticket.  You are also disqualified if you get a ticket while driving your own, personal vehicle.

Because of the vast amount of regulation that are imposed against trucks and their drivers, the trucking business is a tough business to be in right now or be a commercial driver.  And when you get points against you - one driver got a total of 29 points, which is a lot, for one time being pulled over - companies are getting upset because it also counts against them.  It is, frankly, a stupid rule, one of many the FMCSA has put out that are senseless, don't help the industry and cause the industry to incur even more setbacks and more financial output.

Frankly, I drive the pickup truck as often as I can if everything will fit into it instead of hopping into the semi, which reduces the number of miles I have to be on the road in the big truck.  I am really going to be interested to see how many trucks show up in DC next month, the 11th through the 13th, they are going to attempt to shut DC down.

Well whatever.  It's Thursday, getting close to the end of the week now.  Temps outside are dropping considerably overnight but still warming up - too much - during the day.   The new worker is now not liking me - which I really don't care about - because I mostly ignore him.  He has an attitude and he has a quick-trigger temper.  Which is why I ignore him. I don't talk to him unless I have to about something going on, the rest of the time I zip it and just keep to myself or talk with the manager.  The new worker gets these glares and stares going and I just don't even validate it.  He is a lazy @$$ who has no concept of a work ethic and has no problem sitting around on company time doing nothing and surfing the internet.  If there was truly nothing to do, then I could see it, but there is ALWAYS a cleaning project to do.

Whatever again.  Off to work.

G'day.

ben





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