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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 »

Truck from RightOver the past year in addition to finishing college and forming the REAL Women in Trucking organization, I have been completing the Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey Presentation with PDF’s at the bottom of the page that have more information on the open comment questions.

I was working on question 35 regarding “…shippers and receivers who are the most difficult…” at the time of the tragic Walmart truck crash that killed Comedian James McNair and critically injured Actor/Comedian Tracy Morgan and others who were riding with him.

Of course the backlash goes to the lone driver, Kevin Roper. The Walmart truck he was driving was equipped with all the bells and whistles the government says will make trucks safe. The media reported the driver had not slept in 24 hours and the public interpreted this to mean he was driving for 24 hours. Walmart trucks have e-logs, not paper logs. There is also a great deal of unpaid labor time in trucking. Drivers are expected to watch freight be loaded when they should be napping, take their shower breaks and conduct their personal errands that any normal person has, during designated sleep break times. This plus a number of other labor issues that most civilians and legislators just do not want to educate themselves on until a high profile tragedy occurs.

In the days before the crash, the trucking industry was buzzing over calls for the resignation of Anne Ferro from the Federal Motor Carriers Administration. Following the crash, an ill-timed muscle move to suspend the new 34-hour restart rule was made by the American Trucking Association with the help of “friend” Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine). Then I received a call from MSNBC to comment. Although my moment on television was short, I was able to get one point out of my mouth that is an issue that must be addressed to prevent fatigued driving which is truck parking. You can follow this link to see my comments on the NOW with Alex Wagner Program.

Here are some of my other personal observations: Anne Ferro and her research data miss the mark on what causes fatigued drivers. The American Trucking Association is a lobby group that does not represent truck drivers. They represent corporations like Walmart that think of workers as robots. Productivity is the focus of corporations not necessarily safety. This is not something that is socially acceptable so it makes sense that the same corporations that claim safety comes first will silently shift the burden of safety on an individual if they can get away with it. Senator Susan Collins either does not know this or does not care about this. The new 34-hour restart rule is a joke because how it is being implemented and so is the 30 minute break. It is a poorly designed solution made by people who do not care to get out of their comfort zone to see how their rules work in practice. Drivers DO need a break! Unfortunately though, they also need help to stand up against harassment from carriers that insist they keep working even though they are not driving. Truck drivers are considered unskilled labor, employers are not held to the same labor standards in the way they manage productivity from their in-house employees. When a trucker does feel fatigued and must stop for rest, the current federal regulations AND the ones the ATA is fighting for DO NOT allow for enough driver flexibility. Only the driver knows when they need sleep, not the government, not the ATA, not the carriers, not the shippers and receivers. On top of this, when the driver does feel the need to stop and rest there is often no place to stop the truck. This is especially true in the northeast as identified in the “Truck Parking Special Report“.

These are issues that go year after year unresolved though they are well known problems in the trucking industry. Below I have included the text from the most recent PDF compilation that is part of the truck parking survey open comments section. As in the previous sections, Walmart was the most mentioned. My personal hope is that the investigation of the Walmart crash does not focus on one driver, but instead examines an industry, a regulating body and the elected public servants who are not seeing what is as plain as the nose on their face.

Trucks.jpg

Question 35 Below pertains to Shippers and Receivers, HOS, Fatigued Truck Drivers and Safety

The majority of truck drivers agree that safe truck parking would not be such a critical issue for them
if the shippers and receivers of freight would permit them to remain on their property in certain situations so that they could have an uninterrupted 10 hour “hours of service” (HOS) sleep break as mandated by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Certain situations would include:

• Being detained by the shipper or receiver of freight that run the driver out of legal hours to move his/her truck
• Remote distribution center clusters where truck stop facilities do not satisfy the volume of truck traffic to the region

Uninterruptedmeaning, not in a loading dock where the driver is expected to stand inside the warehouse to count freight and/or having the trailer loaded over a period of hours while the driver is trying to sleep. Disturbances from fork lift movement in the trailer, other trucks pulling in or out of loading areas and warehouse personnel banging of the truck windows or doors contribute to fatigue. The 10 hour sleep break must be recognized by the public, law enforcement and those who work in all areas of the supply chain as a critical component to safety.

Shipper and Receivers of Freight: Respondent truck drivers to the survey reported commentary that the climate at shipper and receiver facilities has an atmosphere that cultivates animosity toward truck drivers. Respondents occasionally included observations that once their trailer was loaded or unloaded, they were expected to leave the property regardless of area safe parking conditions or their HOS. These same facilities enforce strict appointment times and often detain truck drivers well past scheduled appointments. As the Federal “Hours of Service” rule is of no consequence to shippers and receivers, it places undue burden on the drivers who must struggle for a safe haven to park although they are sometimes hauling multimillion dollar cargo or hazardous chemicals. This makes some drivers feel uneasy about parking along a highway shoulder or abandoned lot where they might be disturbed or have a crime committed against them.

Truck from LeftMentioning the names of the shippers and receivers is a sensitive topic as many drivers fear retaliation for doing so. 2059 respondents skipped the “naming names” section in the national truck parking survey. Out of over 1800 respondents who did have the courage to answer question 35, Walmart was mentioned 1048 times as one of the worst. Well known in the truck driver population, Walmart leads in holding drivers to strict appointment times, detaining trucks well past their appointment and making them leave their property regardless of the driver’s HOS or lack of area truck parking facilities. Both distribution centers where there is a great deal of wide open space available and a growing number of retail locations in the Walmart family of stores have grown to be the most difficult according to truck drivers who provide them service.

Other commentary on the question of shippers and receivers included remarks that the bigger the company, the worse the treatment toward truck drivers. Locations that had plenty of room, such as distribution centers across the board give the impression that they lack consideration or awareness that their policies are a factor that forces drivers to violate federally mandated laws by asking them to leave their properties fatigued or past their HOS.

Ironically, the mission statements and corporate sustainability messages found on the websites named by truck drivers as most difficult state in essence that “…they care about helping creating a better world where people work together to solve problems…

Solutions:

Although many of the company names below are easily recognizable, some are not, though they may be the parent company of products we use every day. Understand that we can all be part of the solution to solve the truck parking crisis. Shippers and receivers must be part of the conversation to solve this problem. By educating the public, law enforcement, city government and people in the supply chain we become partners for safety. Does your local supply chain have knowledge of federally mandated “hours of service” for truck drivers? Encourage your community to understand that safe truck parking reduces fatigued drivers on the highway and respond to distribution center clusters in your area who are allowing detained fatigued drivers leave their property when they have space available onsite for the truck to remain parked safe. Local city government, merchants and law enforcement should also be educated that trucks parked in strip malls are not to be harassed or disturbed when there is no place else for them to go park.

Question 35.

“From your experience, what shippers/receivers never allow you to park on their properties?”
(List up to 3)

• A & P Supermarket Chain
• 3M Corporation
• A.K. Steele
• Aarons
• ABC Building Supplies
• ACME Markets
• Adidas
• ADM – Archer Daniels Midland
• AGCO Manufacturing
• Air Products & Chemicals Inc.
• Albertsons Food Stores/Distribution Centers
• Alcoa Company
• ALDI Grocery Stores
• Allegany Ludlum
• Alliance Tubular Products
• Alton Chemical
• Amarr Garage Doors
• Amazon
• America Cold Storage
• American Can
• American Foods Group – Dakota Premium Foods
• American Gypsum
• American Honda Motors
• American Snuff
• Americold
• Anheuser Busch – Budweiser
• APL Logistics
• Appleton
• ArcelorMittal
• Armstrong World Industries
• Artic Cold Storage
• Ashley Furniture
• Associated Wholesale Grocers Distribution Centers
• Auto Zone
• B & B Plastics
• Barilla
• BASF
• Bass Pro Shops
• Bay Valley Foods
• Bayer Material Science
• Behr
• Ben E. Keith Food Products
• Benjamin Moore Paints
• Best Buy
• Big Lots
• Bi-Lo
• Bitumar
• BJ’s Warehouse
• Blue Bunny
• BMW
• Bolthouse Farms
• Bozzuto’s
• Bridgestone
• Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy
• Burlington Coat Factory
• Burris Logistics
• C & S Wholesale Grocers
• C E Mulcoa
• Cambridge Pavingstones
• Cameron International
• Campbell Soup
• Canada Dry
• Cargill
• Carhartt
• Caterpillar
• Cerro Flow Products
• CertainTeed
• Certified Grocers
• Champion
• Charter Steel
• Cheney Brothers
• CHEP
• Chesapeake
• Chrysler Plant
• Church & Dwight Co. Inc.
• CISCO
• CLOROX
• Coca Cola
• ConAgra Foods
• Con-Way
• Cooper Tire & Rubber Company
• Coors
• Costco Distribution Centers
• CSX Railroad
• Cummins Engine Plant
• CVS Food & Drug Distribution Centers
• Dana Holding Corp
• D’Arrigo Bros
• Del Monte
• Delta Faucet
• Dial Soap
• Dillons
• Disney
• Dole
• Dolese
• Dollar General Distribution Centers
• Domino Sugar
• Domtar Paper
• DOT Foods
• Dow Chemical
• DSI Pharmaceutical
• Dunkin Donuts
• Dunlop
• Dupont
• Earle M. Jorgensen Company – EMJ Metals
• EDC Warehouse
• Electrolux
• ESSROC: Italcementi Group
• Estes
• Exel: Supply Chain & Logistics Solutions
• Exide Technologies
• Expedited Freight Systems
• ExxonMobil
• Family Dollar
• Farmland Foods
• Faurecia Automotive Parts Manufacturers
• Fed Ex
• Feed Energy
• Feralloy Corporation
• Firestone
• First Quality
• Fleming Foods
• Food Lion
• Ford
• Forward Air
• Foster Farms
• Fred Meyer
• Freightliner
• Fresh Express
• Frito-Lay (PepsiCo)
• Fry’s
• Fuji Oil
• GAF – Roofing Shingles & Materials
• Gallatin Steel
• Gatorade (PepsiCo)
• GENCO Product Lifestyle Logistics
• General Electric GE
• General Mills
• General Motors GM
• Genie Industries
• Georgia Pacific
• Gerdau Steel
• Giant Eagle Supermarkets
• Giant Food
• Glad
• Glatfelter Paper
• GlaxcoSmithKline
• Golden State Foods GSF
• Goodman HVAC
• Goodyear
• Gordon Food Service
• Graham Packaging
• Green Bay Dressed Beef
• Green Giant
• Grimmway farms
• H. E. B.
• h.h.gregg warehouses
• Halliburton
• Haniford Brothers
• Harbor freight
• Heinz Foods
• Hercules Chemical
• Hershey
• Hewlett Packard
• Home Depot
• Hormel Foods
• Horsehead Corporation
• Hunter Panels
• Hunts Point Produce Market
• Hydrite Chemical Company
• Hy-Vee Grocery
• IFCO Systems
• IKEA
• IMTT Product Movement & Storage
• Ingles Markets
• International Paper
• Interstate Cold Storage
• Inteva Products
• Iowa Beef Producers (IBP)
• Jacobson Companies
• JBS Packerland Beef
• JBS USA
• JC Penney
• Jewel-Osco
• John Deere
• John Morrell & Company
• Johns Manville
• Johnson & Johnson
• Johnson Controls, Inc.
• Kal Tire
• Keebler
• Keen Logistics Services
• Kellogg’s
• KIK Custom Products Packaging
• Kimberly-Clark Corporation
• Kinder Morgan
• King Soopers
• Kingsford Manufacturing, A Division of Clorox
• Kmart
• Koch Foods
• Kohler
• KOHLS
• Komatsu
• Kraft Foods
• Kroger
• Lear Corporation
• Loblaw Supply Chain and Distribution Centers
• Lofthouse Cookies
• Long Prairie Packing Co.
• Lowes Distribution Center
• Macy’s Distribution Centers
• Manheim Auto Auctions
• Manitowoc-Grove
• Mars Petcare
• MartinBrower
• Martinrea International Inc.
• Maxwell House
• Mayfair Sales
• MBM Food Service Distribution
• McCormick & Company
• McDonald’s
• McLane Company Inc.
• Medline Industries
• Meijer
• Mercury Paper
• Meric
• Meritor
• Michaels Craft Stores Distribution Centers
• MillerCoors Brewing LLC
• Minyard Food Stores
• Momentive
• Morton Salt
• Nabisco
• National Beef
• NESTLE’
• Nestle’ Waters
• Nexeo Solutions
• Niagara Bottling Company
• Nissan
• Nitto Denko
• Nunes Cooling
• Oak Harbor
• Office Depot
• Office Max
• Okonite
• Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Distribution Center
• Omya
• O’Reilly Auto Parts
• Orgill, Inc.
• OSI Solutions
• Owens Corning
• Ozarka Water
• Pacific Coast Container, Inc.
• Parkdale Cotton Mills
• Penske
• Pep Boys
• Pepperidge Farm
• PepsiCo
• Performance Food Group
• Petco
• PetSmart
• PGW Glass Plants
• Phillip Morris
• Piggly Wiggly Warehouses
• Pittsburgh Paints
• Poland Springs Water
• Polaris Industries
• PolyOne
• Polyquest
• Porky Products
• PPG Industries
• Pratt Industries
• Precision Strip
• Precoat Metals
• Preferred Freezer Services
• Premium Waters
• Presto Products Company
• Price Chopper
• Printpack
• Proctor & Gamble
• Proctor & Gamble
• Publix
• PURINA
• Quad Graphics
• Quaker Oats (PepsiCo)
• QVC DISTURBUTION CENTER
• R R Donnelley Logistics
• Ralphs Supermarkets
• ReadyPac
• Reckitt-Benckiser
• Reebok
• Reinhart Foodservice LLC
• Republic Conduit
• Republic Plastics
• Rite Aid Distribution Centers
• Rockline Industries
• Rockport
• RockTenn
• Ross Dress for Less Distribution Centers
• Roundy’s Supermarkets
• Ryerson
• Safety-Kleen
• Safeway
• Sam Adams Plant
• Sam’s Club Distribution Centers
• Sara Lee
• Sav-A-Lot
• SCAFCO
• Scott’s
• Sears Distribution Centers
• Seashore Fruit & Produce
• Shamrock Dairy
• Shaw Carpet
• Shell Oil Company
• Sherwin-Williams
• Shopko
• ShopRite
• ShurFine Markets
• Siemens
• Skechers Shoes
• Smithfield Foods
• Solaris Paper
• Solo Brands
• Solvay Chemicals
• Sony
• Southern Agriculture
• Southern Auto Auction
• Southwire
• SSAB Products & Services
• Stanley Tools
• Staples Distribution Centers
• Stater Brothers Distribution Centers
• Stop & Shop Distribution Centers
• Sun Products Corporation
• Sunny Fresh Cargill
• SuperValu Foods
• Sygma
• Sysco Foods
• Target Distribution Centers
• Temple Steel Company
• Temple-Inland Paper
• The Golub Corporation
• ThyssenKrupp
• TJ Maxx Distribution Centers
• Tobacco Warehouse
• Toshiba
• Toyota
• Toy’s R’ Us Distribution Centers
• TPI Composites
• Tractor Supply
• Trader Joe’s
• Tropicana
• Tubular Services
• Tyson Foods
• UNFI – Unified Grocers
• Unilever
• United States Cold Storage
• United Steel
• UPS
• US Foods

If you would like to see the completed 2013 Truck Parking Survey Presentation and Additional PDF content from the open comment questions, Please Click the Following Link and scroll to the bottom: 2013 Truck Parking Special Report

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.

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