55 To Stay Alive

Over the past several months, I have been taking several trips a month to all points of California. It never ceases to amaze me at the lack of concern or care that other trucks on the road show for other drivers. Just today, I had a truck merge onto the freeway without bothering to check his mirror to see if anyone was there. I noticed him entering the freeway at a high rate of speed and I had a line of traffic on my left side making it impossible for me to move to the other lane. When I determined that the other driver had no intention of slowing or yielding to traffic, I had to brake hard to avoid a collision.

I was reading an article in the Orange County Register about a driver who failed to slow for stopped traffic on an off-ramp and slammed into a family, killing three children. The truck driver faces up to 3 years in state prison and permanent disqualification from driving another commercial vehicle. No sooner than I finished that article and read another truck driver failed to slow for stopped traffic on an LA freeway and seriously injured 8 people, two critically. Yesterday I witnessed the aftermath of a truck who made an unsafe lane change and ran over a small minivan carrying another family near Modesto.

These stories are an everyday occurrence on our busy freeways. Does your dispatcher “make” you drive illegal be threatening your job if you are late for a load? Do you loads overlap and make it almost impossible to deliver or pick-up on time? If this is the case, you need to talk with a supervisor or the local DOT authority about your companies practices. Do you think the drivers who killed or injured innocent families can blame their dispatchers? Do you think the dispatcher or your company will take the fall for your accident? The ultimate responsibility for your truck, your safety and the safety of others falls directly on the driver of the truck. If you can’t make any money working for a company who dispatches legally, maybe trucking isn’t for you. I have been fired from at least two driving jobs for not driving illegally or refusing to drive beyond my hours of service limits. I don’t intend to be the next driver to spend 3 years in prison for the load of potatos or electronics that didn’t make their unloading appointment on time, not to mention the lives I affect for poor decisions.

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