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Saturday, April 14, 2012

When Truckers Cry - Another CSA Horror Story!

Thanks to Rickey Gooch at

The message on my cell phone recorded a cry for help. I returned the call to the lady who told me she was a trucker and she was all alone. She then asked do you know about truck drivers. Three months had passed since she had been stopped on an interstate in Georgia. According to our transportation laws she had done some things wrong but that was not enough for the officer who stopped her. He had decided to make a couple of additional charges against her of his own.
It was a long story and I sat and listened for an hour or so because she needed to tell somebody who cared. She really didn’t know very much about CSA. You see her life is spent inside a truck. She works in an industry where men don’t share much with a woman. Her now ex-employer doesn’t understand much about CSA either. Like most small carriers they just watch their SMS point totals and try to ride under the CSA radar just like every other trucking program they have seen and were able to dodge for the past 35 years or so.
But today would be different. Today she ran into an officer who worked by the book, his book! Rough and tough to the core, he was there to protect and serve the laws and the rules of CSA. His nature to be the best cop he could be would allow him to accuse this lady and her ex-husband of breaking laws that he knew there was no evidence for. However, he did have to know that these charges would likely end the career of this lady driver.
For the past three months her life had been hell. With no job and no money. She first lost her car and then her house. She is now homeless because of charges on her PSP report and other charges against her CDL that were heard in court of law and dismissed. But the FMCSA no longer recognizes a court of law when it comes to CSA proposed violations. She reached out to the FMCSA, to the court who dismissed the charges and to the people at DataQ for help in righting a wrong that has ruined her life. Not a one of them would explain what she could do.
Now homeless, penniless and on her last leg, an official at DataQ referred her to me. Maybe this guy can help he told this lady. Here is his name and his number. I just thought to myself, wow, somebody there just showed me that they do care. The first one!
This is a case of an officer overstepping his authority. The lady had broken rules. She had an HOS violation because her log books were a couple hours behind. Again a product of not properly being trained by the carrier. The officer found a piece of glass in the vehicle that he could not identify and wrote it up as drug paraphernalia on the inspection sheet. He accused the driver of that even though the driver told him where the piece of glass came from. There was no ticket issued for the supposed charge. The female driver had also urinated in a Tupperware container and had it sealed and put away, the driver again was written up for urinating in an open container, which it was not. She was also told she was a disgusting human being for having to use a container. Was he right, should truckers be able to stop anywhere they want and be paid for having to use the bathroom like a police officer can?
Today this lady driver does not have a job and has lost everything she has because the officer took charges to far and her company made no effort to train their drivers of the perils of CSA.
Drivers are stuck in the middle of pickup and delivery areas where they are not allowed to use the bathroom facilities. They are rushed to deliver their goods on time frames set by shippers and have no time for the luxury of breaks much less bathroom breaks. Dispatchers and drivers must not be considered worth teaching about CSA rules otherwise the great loss of drivers the industry has experienced over the past year, 400,000 or more, would not have happened. If every carrier had done the due diligence of CSA training it takes to save a driver from losing, not just their jobs but their careers, there would be plenty of drivers to go around today. The driver shortage would not exist.
Today, there are many carriers training drivers exactly as they were before CSA began. They have not retrained dispatchers to honor safety because the dispatchers will quit. It is time for a change. Management must develop their company to become CSA ready by including dispatchers and drivers in better CSA training. They must educate every company officer, secretary, dispatcher, mechanic and driver to know and obey CSA rules. Your company cannot survive without drivers. Let us review that statement again! YOUR COMPANY CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT DRIVERS. Before the end of this year 10% or more of the driver pool will be gone if CSA meets its goals for 2012. So, in order for your company to survive you must protect your drivers with proper CSA driver training. Do you understand proper CSA training? It is not that difficult to train drivers about CSA as long as you use the correct information.
Today this lady driver will cry. She will go hungry. This lady trucker will live without a roof over her head and worst of all; this lady trucker will die an early death unless Bill or I can pull a rabbit out of our hats to save her from the trucking industry and CSA. The only industry in the world she has left to hang onto. This is a true story about a lady who cares and makes little money about an industry that makes great money and doesn’t care about this lady driver!

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