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Why did I do it?

In the Drivers Seat

In the Drivers Seat

I have been writing my Student Trucker Story on “Ask the Trucker” since October 2008.

Although by October I was in a much different situation because I had moved from the “Team Division” into a Dedicated Solo Fleet beyond the ridiculously unsafe situations my company placed me in during my training.

In this new division I saw very quickly how things should be done. The entire manner of my new fleet was more effective because the communication and professionalism was much better. Partially because the contract DEMANDS it or the contract will be lost.

I was also driving solo finally, not required to drive & live with someone from unknown origins. Continue Reading »

heartA man I knew gave me this poem when I was about 22. It was in a card and he had typed out the words. I was so excited to get the card I snatched it out of his briefcase although he said he had not finished writing in it.

I didn’t care, I wanted to see it right away and so the card was never finished. He died in a helicopter explosion shortly afterwards. I kept that card for years and cried reading many times.

Through all my life turmoil the card was lost but I recently went searching the internet for the words I remembered and found it.

I don’t know who wrote the poem but I read it over and over through the years and it really helped me through some painful chapters of my life. Especially after his sudden death that occurred in such a tragic way. During our brief time of knowing one another he encouraged me to try harder and he told me I was smart. Only two people had ever said that to me in my life by that age so it meant a lot to me because they were smart so I was pretty excited that they thought I was too.

I am 49 now and I have read this poem more times than I can count; still I get something new with it each time I read it. It used to make me cry because it spoke to me that I would always be alone, but now it makes me smile because I made a happy life for myself even when I had nothing or no one. I learned to make myself happy all by myself, to be selective of my close friends, and be able to enjoy simple pleasures. One really important thing I learned is that not all men like smart girls and the ones that don’t are usually boys not men anyways. I hope these words help you as they have helped me.

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and learn…
With every good-bye you learn.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

A national truck parking survey has been launched by Hope Rivenburg that aims to collect data for the research mandate that was included in the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) highway bill.

If you are a truck driver I encourage you to take 15 minutes today to complete this survey, AND share it to other drivers that you know or come in contact with. If you are in operations, please share the link with your fleet. Share it on your Facebook page, twitter stream, email it, and help other drivers get access to the survey who would like to participate. You can always email me or Hope and we will email or text it back to you. Survey Link. ( Email: hope.rivenburg@gmail.com or truckerdesiree@gmail.com )

The collection of driver information is crucial to prepare an accurate assessment of the current state of truck parking from the end-users themselves.

Hope Rivenburg as you should recall is the widow of truck driver Jason Rivenburg who was murdered in 2009. Her husband had experienced parking issues and truck stop crime in the past. He decided to keep rolling to his destination in South Carolina to deliver milk.

The receiver of this milk would not provide parking for Jason or accept the delivery early. This is a common issue for truck drivers that contend with strict appointments and remote destinations where they are unwelcome to park for rest once loaded or unloaded regardless of their HOS restrictions.

Jason parked at an abandoned gas station and was shot for $7.00. His Wife Hope was pregnant with twins at the time; the couple already had a 2 year old son. That was four years ago and Hope Rivenburg has not stopped fighting for safe truck parking since, even though her husband is gone forever. Continue Reading »

happy-sad-faces

The following post includes excerpts of a graded class project I wrote for a non-profit fundraising class on the questionable ethics of non-profits. I received an “A”.

The topic was an analysis of the WIT organization and I will be publishing more such graded paper excerpts in the coming weeks.

I hope you will take the time to consider my observations.

The Women in Trucking Organization (WIT), is designated as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit.

Mission: Women In Trucking was established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry.

The organization website states they are an active group that finds opportunities to promote the accomplishments of women in the industry. While the organization states the mission is to represent Women, membership is open to both Men and Women who currently work in the industry or those seeking to enter it.

The WIT website states that supporting the organization helps them to provide needed resources to encourage Women to become employed in the trucking industry, and that membership dues will help motivate” the transportation industry to look at any obstacles that might prevent Women and Men from entering and remaining in trucking. Some of the items mentioned that WIT has determined to be obstacles are restroom facilities at loading docks and ergonomically designed truck cabs.
In a recent article the President of the WIT organization stated that she would not come between drivers and carriers. (Jakl, 2013) Continue Reading »

BTR Logo2Back in June 2012, a free weekly phone conference group was launched called the “Women Truckers Network” (WTN) as a feature of the “REAL Women in Trucking” blog and “Real Women Truckers” of Facebook.

In January 2013, the WTN increased the weekly conferences and established the 1st trucking radio program hosted by women truckers on blog talk radio.
The conference group was established to create a networking resource for trucking women, women entering trucking, share information about the trucking lifestyle and make new friends.

We were thrilled that the official publication for Pilot Travel/Flying J, Challenge Magazine featured our group in the February Issue. You can read it here> PTC Challenge Magazine: Women Truckers
The weekly conference chat and women truckers network blog talk radio have created a simple way veteran drivers can connect to one another and contribute to help others seeking to enter the industry. The WTN is committed to strengthening a driver led voice that wishes to raise the standards in the industry.
The recorded archives of the initial Wednesday morning conferences from June 2012 to January 2013 contain valuable insight for those seeking to enter the industry. You can find them here: “Women Truckers Network Archives”. If you are a prospective CDL student of any gender I recommend you have a notebook handy to jot down information as you listen to these recordings. The purpose is to have you take action on behalf of yourself to make better decisions about truck driver training. You should gain enough knowledge from these recording to develop more defined questions that help you find a path that best suits your specific needs.

The new conference schedule includes two weekly phone chats, 8pm eastern Wednesday evenings is ladies only and a co-ed Sunday Social starts at 4pm eastern. A post to the “Real Women Truckers” page on Facebook is generally made just before the conference chat room opens.
The “Women Truckers Network” blog talk radio currently airs every other Tuesday at 7:30pm eastern. These shows are archived for replay and some of our past shows include interviews with recent female CDL students, Trucker Taxes and Truck Parking Issues with guest Hope Rivenburg of Jason’s Law.

Mainstream media seems to go into “truck driver shortage” blitz mode shortly after any political discussions occur on the nightly news about current job numbers and unemploymant rates.

Few people understand that favorable tax incentives, subsidies, state and local job training grant programs are incentives for truck driver training carriers to cash in. When you see these hysterical reports you should recognize that what is really going on is a positioning for a money grab.

There is no incentive to create qualified drivers, but there is an incentive to create turnover.

We have created a corporate welfare program for big trucking and this has sacrificed safety, good judgement,  ethical recruiting and contributes to high turnover. There is little accountability for the lack of retention. This is directly related to mis-management and corporate greed.

Very few qualified truck drivers ever emerge from training carriers , yet these same carriers reap rewards from favorable job programs, high interest tuition loans and selling novice drivers on lease owner operator situations where they are set up to fail from day one.

Qualified drivers begin with qualified truck driving candidates who are prepared for the challenge of living the life of a truck driver. Carrier trade groups like the American Trucking Association who continually report a shortage of “Qualfied” truck drivers take little responsibility that the training carriers they aggressively represent in Washington D. C. produce few qualified drivers , yet recruit many unqualified candidates. Any trainer who has quit training for fear of their life will atest to this.

Until initiative is taken to examine how a person off the street is sold the “dream” of becoming an “over the road” truck driver, which is an entry level position into the industry, this qualified driver safety issue cannot be resolved. Continue Reading »

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