Last week part of my load was to be two pallets of imported grapes in Los Angeles. The shipper assigned me a driver ID number to be used whenever at their warehouse. They asked for my CDL, which was scanned into their computer. He then told me to sign the electronic signature machine (the type used at retailers when using credit or debit cards) so my signature could be placed in their computer. He claimed it was necessary for “homeland security.” I refused (fearing ID theft). When the buyer called, the warehouse couldn’t understand my position because they already have info on 2,500 drivers on file. I refused to be 2,501, and the grapes remained in L.A.
We need exact rules published as to what a shipper can and cannot require.
Salt Lake City
I’d like to address a problem that has irked me for years. It is the selfish and inconsiderate manner in which many truck drivers park at truckstops. A situation developed at a truckstop recently that crystallized the whole problem.
The truckstop in question is of average size, and the entrance and exit share the same strip of blacktop. There is only one way in and one way out. Consequently, if someone parks their rig along the edge of this busy lane, it creates a very tight squeeze for someone coming in or out. Compounding the problem, in this particular case, is the proximity of fuel islands to this two-way lane. When a line for fuel develops, the trailers of the waiting semis protrude into this lane, which is what happened the night I was there. Two drivers had parked in the exit lane, and only one rig at a time could get by. Trucks were backed up, but I witnessed nobody raising a stink.
Evidently, management at the truckstop knew of this problem and had erected a huge, illuminated sign that read, “Do Not Block Intersection.”
I got out of my cozy KW and walked over there to see if maybe, hopefully, they were broken down and not just a couple of egocentric sociopaths. Negative. Each were in their sleeper, reclining, watching TV and munching on fattening foods.
I fired up my rig and drove into the next state. I was so infuriated by the rampant inconsideration, which goes unaddressed, that I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Until a thought occurred to me – surely a few of those trucks who were jammed up are inconsiderate people themselves and possibly got a taste of what they dish out.
Give Me a Chance
I’ve been banging my head for about six years trying to become a driver. Problems have been a lack of $5,000 for school and a felony conviction seven years ago.
I recently obtained my learner’s permit and medical card and have managed to get about 2,000 mostly-interstate miles, three-fourths of which have been in the rain, thunderstorms, at night and with a driver that I wouldn’t go with at all if I didn’t have to. I’m married, 48, and have an excellent driving record.
I thought finally with this latest initiative and persistence I have shown I might get a break and either get a training job or into a school. Guess again. I understand about the felony, but come on. Now we are letting 18-year-olds drive, and you sure wouldn’t have wanted me on the road at that age. And here’s the one I love: I have seen company ads telling potential drivers that the company has a drug and alcohol program.
Guess I’m finally done trying, but it’s too bad. I have become a very safe driver with a lot of miles who loves to travel. I also believe truckers are one of the backbones of this country.
One Bright Spot
Truckers News is the best and most informative magazine I have read. Truck drivers are the backbone of the nation, the strength and contributing part of the economy. Yet through vigorous and challenging barriers such as drug testing, physical exams, constantly learning and updating information we need to know, sometimes unbearable sergeant-like grilling from the DOT, lack of knowledgeable dispatchers, acting as look-outs for drunk drivers and terrorists, and dealing with the NASCAR-racing four-wheeling drivers, I would have to say that there is a bright spot in reading your magazine. Thank you for a job well done.
Look Out for Each Other
My concern is that the drivers nowadays don’t watch out when they are in the truckstops. They come flying in at a high rate of speed and not looking where they are going. They almost hit other drivers and other trucks, and when fueling the other day in Commerce, Ga., a driver hit a dog that was tied up at the dog’s owner’s truck. Then the man stated that he didn’t do it. So to the drivers out there, look out for one another, ’cause if we don’t, who will?
Send your letters to Randy Grider, Truckers News, 3200 Rice Mine Road N.E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35406, by fax to (205) 750-8070 or by e-mail to rgrider@eTrucker.com.
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