Though 800 numbers of the backs of dry van trailers asking motorists, “How’s my driving?”, haven’t exactly gone the way of the dinosaur, they do seem much less common today that in years past. In part, perhaps, that could be a result of the relative ease of looking up company contact information on the Internet over many years.
Or could it be that many carriers have realized that such solicitations do little for obtaining good information about their drivers. I’ll cue up this little meme, found after a quick Google search, that in a funny way belabors the latter notion.
In any case, call-in complaints haven’t stopped coming, as recent polling has shown, with a majority of Overdrive readers having reported at least some call-in-complaint activity over their careers. Some such calls rise above the level of complaint, as Jason Donahue notes in commentary under the poll, to attempts at outright scams.
Here’s owner-operator Donahue’s note:
I have had people call my company (that I own) and expect pay-offs for not turning my truck and driver into authorities for supposedly running them off the road — or claiming part of a load came off one of my trailers and damaged their vehicle — but then have them hang up when I tell them that I was personally driving that truck and I know that they are lying!
Donahue goes on to share an anecdote about a motorist who claimed “two pallets of material fell out of the back of my trailer and hit her car!”
It just so happened, Donahue says, that not only was he not missing any freight, but the dry van trailer was brand-new, sealed and pad-locked at that: “This is why I strongly believe in cameras on your tractor and trailer to prevent fake lawsuits!”
As we’ve reported, camera usage has increased throughout the industry, both by owner-operators and fleets, for a variety of reasons. Have you gotten out of a jam with a complaint due to a camera?
Operator Mike Green, of Elizabeth City, N.C., may well have benefited from such after two call-in complaints over the course of a year or two that soured his relationship with the carrier he was leased to. He’s since found work with another company, but says the experience left him with a bad taste in his mouth relative to what he sees as undue credence given to the call-in complaints.
One call-in featured a motorist claiming he’d passed her on the shoulder in a construction zone — in fact, he says, she’d jumped in front of him as they approached the zone and hit the brakes, slowing her car to 45 mph in the 55-mph construction zone. When he eventually passed her and got back in front of her, her erratic behavior behind him signaled to him that she was angry simply because he was in front of her.
The call-in and the shoulder-pass claim shortly followed, he says.
In discussions later on with the company, he says, “I’m telling them, ‘Just think about it. I pay for my tires. This is crazy.'”
Have you been involved in such a dispute in the past? Are some carriers too sensitive to call-ins? The original poll mentioned above follows, and it’s still open if you haven’t voted as yet.