Friday, June 1, 2018

I'm at the "I can't do this anymore" phase.  The job has it's pros and it's cons, most of which I can deal with even if I don't like it. But there is one sticking point that I will never get used to: broken trucks.  If a company won't fix their equipment, they don't deserve good drivers driving for them.  And so it is coming to that point with this company.

The AC stopped working in the sleeper over a week ago.  I put in a request to have it fixed. I was told that I was needed on another run and that it would have to wait. I very reluctantly agreed to it, knowing that sleep would be evasive.  And sure enough, 3 nights in that thing and sporadic sleep.  I'm freaking wasted tired now, hard to get anything done at home when you haven't slept. 

Anyway, on this last trip, the trailer also had problems.  These are new trailers, like 1 to 2 years old. They are very expensive.  They don't mind spending the money on these trailers, it's the trucks they seem to have an aversion to.  Anyway, I noticed one of the air gauges moving up and down rapidly and hearing the air passing through the valve to air up the trailer.  I mean, that needle was moving up and down - down being the bad part - very quickly.

After checking, I found the air system for the tires on one of the hubs was the culprit.  Air leaking out of the hub at a massive rate, you could hear it 20 feet away. So I informed the fleet manager (not my terminal manager). I was already at a TA truckstop, their preferred place to get trucks repaired on the road, but after inquiring, they said there would be about a 6 hour wait.  No thanks.  I drove down the road to the next TA, who quickly "fixed" the problem.

But, 10  minutes down the road and the same thing happened again, except even worse.  Upon checking, yup, their fix, didn't work.  Well, I had to stop for the night - another half sleepless night in a warm truck in that sleeper - got up early and drove to yet the next TA outside of Memphis.  They wanted to argue about paying for it, I said no, this is your company, it's a nationwide account, please fix it, thanks. 

The fix didn't work.  Then they tried replacing seals. That didn't work either and then they decided that the mechanic who had put on the new hub at the other TA had over torqued the fitting and had cracked it.  This set a 4 hour wait for them to go to Memphis, get another hub, bring it back, find out they had the wrong one, back to memphis again, back and fixed.  Over a 2 day span I wasted a lot of hours on that "project".  Near the end of getting it fixed, this fleet manager texted me saying he was on the phone with my manager and his manager and that his manager said to get the truck greased.  Why did they wait almost 5 hours to tell me that?  I inquired, no, you'll go to the back of the line and it will be 4 hours.

No way am I waiting in that veritable hell hole another 4 hours.  I informed the fleet manager about that and offered to take it into Peterbilt down the road in Little Rock where we could get the whole truck fixed and have the maintenance done. I received no reply.  I never received a reply from this dude.  But, after about 10 minutes, I shrugged my shoulders, go in the truck and drove.  I called my manager near Little Rock who had already gotten into it with numerous members of management and proceeded to tell me about it lol. 

The problem is we have no mechanic, they haven't been able to find one and there is all kinds of issues needing to be addressed in the entire fleet at our branch.  It's all being neglected and she wasn't being given any of the paperwork to alert her to what maintenance needs to be done on whichever trucks.  I don't know if it's a shortage of mechanics or if they just aren't paying anything.  It creates headaches because you have to take a truck in somewhere for simple maintenance or minor repairs and either wait or get a ride back to the yard.  I mean, look at it: you have the truck at the yard, the mechanic pulls it into the shop, walaah, it's fixed there and you don't have to wait. 

Anyway, yesterday, it was left at the idea that my manager was going to call this fleet manager and have him call around to find the best place to get the truck fixed right away instead of having to wait.  I asked her to please call me back and tell me what the plan is, take it in yesterday or take it in this morning?  I heard nothing from her yesterday and it's after noon today and still nothing.  So, I sent her a text message.  I refuse to drive that truck until/if/when it's fixed.  Etc etc etc.  If that doesn't set well with management, please let me know and I will start putting out applications. 

The trucking industry doesn't lure drivers in with old trucks.  They promise you brand new equipment and nowadays alot of the large carriers actually follow through with that promise.  This company did the same thing: we are getting 10 brand new trucks, one of them will be yours. Great! that promise was made at least a dozen times before, during and after orientation.  When the trucks were ready to be delivered, they gave them to another division with team drivers instead, told me that I would have to drive that old piece of junk Volvo. It was truly a take it or leave it proposition.

I made mention of the new trucks promised, but they ignored that.  Well, they aren't ignoring it anymore.  I was quite serious about that text and I have already started putting out applications.  I don't know why they think I would be happy sleeping in a hot truck?  And other issues that I sent to the fleet manager, including front running lights not working.  I could have figured that one out, probably, without a shop but the thing has to go into a shop anyway, so why bother?  The thing is, Roadside Check 2018 starts in a few days. It's 3 days of law enforcement pulling over commercial vehicles all over the nation. If you are driving on any major highway, it's almost guaranteed you will see them out there somewhere with their camps set up.  They do level 1 inspections and they will put you or your truck or both out of service for flagrant violations.  I dunno if they would put a truck out of service for the front running lights not working, but I would definitely get written up for it.

It looks poorly on your record for having that kind of stuff on there.  It makes you look like you don't do pre and post trip inspections and that you don't take care of the equipment.  Another trucking company seeing that would have to consider whether I am worthy of being put in one of their brand new trucks. Of course, there is a documented, legitimate truck driver shortage going on now, so probably a person with no accidents or tickets on their record would get hired just about anywhere.

I dunno, but I"m putting out applications at hazmat tanker companies offering local positions. No guarantees of course, but it's all fuel trucks that go to gas stations and fill up underground tanks.  0

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2 hours later and I get a phone call.  She, Ann my manager, was like, okay, let's get this truck fixed right now.  She had completely forgotten about it, but hadn't forgotten a load she wants me to do tomorrow?  A bit ridiculous but I didn't push the issue.  I drove over to the yard, took the truck to the shop and supposedly they will have it done today. 

Tomorrow I guess I will leave me car at that shop and pick up the truck and drive it back to the yard, get the trailer and then head to the plant.  I expect to not have to go through this crap again if the truck has a problem. It's ridiculous.

Anyway, hours later and I'm finally back home.  Not really feeling all that great with the lack of sleep in the truck for the last several days.  I slept for several hours earlier but I need more.  At least I don't have to be to the plant until 11:00 am tomorrow - but that's not really all that great either because it takes 10 hours to get down there.  That would put me at 1:00am at the earliest arrival time and that ain't gonna happen.  I take that back, I might be able to make it as early as 11:00 pm, it really depends on the plant and how long it takes.  But that's a long day.  I hate driving that late.  I dunno, guess I'll play it on how I feel.  I figure to make at least 500 miles tho, and if I do make 500, I'll just finish out the rest of it.  It's better to get down there as fast as possible in case there isn't a trailer there. Then you get to start the detention pay clock the minute you pull into the yard. 

Oh, this is the Brownsville run, lol.  I do like this run because of the potential detention pay, I got quite a bit last time.  Oh, and I stayed at a hotel I remember now.  That was a truck load of detention pay and the hotel was great for the price.  So, I hope I can do that again.  The weekend I have more of a chance of getting down there and not being a trailer there. 

Well, bed time. 
























And let the fun begin! Up at 3:15 am - no way am I missing the shuttle to the airport, might as well save a little money along the way. D...