Time to Say Goodbye

I’m coming up on 23 years as a professional truck driver. 23 years!! Wow, never thought that I would be doing this for that long.  My initial plans were to drive a truck for 2-3 years then open my own trucking company. Well, needless to say, that didn’t happen. I thought about it for a long time but decided that having my truck leased to a company would be better.

I spent weeks out on the road away from my kids for years. I would come home on the weekends and they would come running when I pulled into the yard with the truck.  The first thing my daughter would ask me is how much is the check. I’d laugh and tell her  something maybe $500 less than what it really was.  My son, on the other hand, would jump into the driver seat before I could get out. He’d sit there for about an hour, pretending to be going through the gears, making engine noises with his mouth.  My daughter showing the things in a magazine, hoping I would agree to purchase it for her.  Of course, I have burst her bubble and tell her, “Bills first.”

During my many years of travel (work), I took a lot of pictures. At one point, I teamed up with a friend and went further than I ever would solo.  Who would have thought I  would be in Washington state or Oregon? I have picked up and delivered in 46 states. North Dakota and Maine are the only ones I have not traveled in.

Music has taken me across the U.S. and back. Don’t know how I could have made it without it!  I have tried to take as many pictures as I can in each state. Most of the pictures were taken with a little 3 mega pixel camera, which took some amazing pictures. I have added some of my many pictures below.

 

 

I have enjoyed being out on the road. I’ve met some very interesting people. I’ve been close to a lot of vacation spots and historical monuments but did not have the chance to stop and enjoy.  I had hoped that once I slowed down a bit that I would get the chance to actually travel to them. Well, I haven’t made it back yet, but its something I am looking forward to once I stop.  I have always said, “You don’t have to leave the country to find a beautiful vacation spot. Just look out your back window!”

Trucking, fading fast

The last few months have been difficult for me. Trying to figure out what to do after my trucking career is over. I picked up a new hobby, sewing, but will it make enough money for me to make a decent living?  My concentration is off, so going back to school may not work right now. In this industry, if you do not work, you don’t get paid! I am on the down side of this and going back out on the road makes me….scream! Can’t bite the bullet on this one!

As time passes, traffic is getting worse.  When I first came into the industry, I would pass cars and the people would hold a thumbs up, waving, and smiling. Now, you are given the finger, cutting you off and sometimes passing you in your lane (riding in the same lane). I must admit, I have gotten to be as bad as they are and thats why I need to get out of the truck!

This used to be a great job. Travelling everywhere, even though you are working. I miss the comraderie of my fellow drivers, the way we would head out to make a delivery or pick up and return to the yard at the same time. The noise we would make on the cb radio, which we had our own channel, talking over each other. We all would stop at the same place and eat, joke around for a few, trying not to get back too early. Those were the best times!  Now, everyone is doing their own thing at different companies. 

 If I could do this all over again, would I change anything, the answer is ‘Yes’. I would finish the books I started before my mind has gotten to this point. I have tried many times to get back to them, but can’t focus enough to write one chapter.

Driving has always been my first love. The freedom of being out on the road and seeing things that I wouldn’t have normally gotten to see, is the best part of trucking. If you were lucky enough to be able to stop and look around, it could have been a mini vacation, especially when you had to do a 34-48 hour reset. You could do a little site seeing or gamble at a casino.

But, I am done with trucking, mentally and physically. Any suggestions as to what to do now, will be greatly appreciated. 

Too Much Water To Drink

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Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel, located on Route 13 to runs to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  There are so many people who are afraid to cross this bridge because of the large amount of water underneath.  The only time I am afraid is when the wind is blowing and the water is splashing up on the bridge. Yeah, that’s super scary!  I guess it’s not so bad when you cross this bridge in a car, but imagine crossing in a big truck, a high-profile vehicle, you have to slow your roll and pay closer attention to what’s going on around you.

The scenery off this bridge is beautiful! Nothing but water for a few minutes, ships crossing over the tunnel, you may be able to catch a picture or two when that happens.  My view maybe a little better than others because I sit up higher. There is a restaurant located at the first tunnel you come to when crossing from the Norfolk side called The Virginia Originals & Chesapeake Grill.  I have not had the chance to stop through but I am sure it’s good. You can get any fresher seafood than being right on the water. The many reviews I’ve read, some good some bad, but you can say that about any establishment!  The speed limit is where it should be. Traveling any faster may create problems you don’t want.  I don’t think that you will ever be that thirsty!

The best time to cross is only when its a clear sunny day, so you can see everything! It is totally amazing!

American Girl Phenomenon

 

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This Christmas my granddaughters, Bria and Cayla received American Girl dolls. Cayla has told me repeatedly that she has wanted the doll for 3 years and no one wanted to get her one. Once I went to the website to check out these dolls, to my surprise, the cost was a little high. But, being Gramma,  I had to make them happy!

I created an account on the site so that I could get the magazine they have that featured everything American Girl. From accessories to smaller dolls that is supposed to be the bigger doll’s doll!  Incredible!  These dolls retail at $130, priced during the holiday, $115, we had 20% coupon bringing the total cost to $109. We ordered 2! It’s really not about the price when you see the surprise on their face Christmas morning. The dolls they really wanted were on backorder til January 6th, so we ordered a different one so they would have it on Christmas.

For weeks, Cayla walked around with the catalog showing anyone and everyone all the things she wanted once she got the doll. I got a little tired of hearing about it but I listened anyway. She would flip the pages and circle what she wanted without checking out any prices. Some of those things were quite expensive. Clothing items ranged between  $10-$35, while other larger items are priced much higher. Well, to counteract the high cost of the clothing, I am making some of them and a lot of fun doing it! Of course, I will purchase an item or two for them. Below, you will find that I have gotten quite good sewing these items (not bragging, well, maybe just a little). Hope you all like them!! 😉

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White top trimmed with lace, fastened with Velcro in back.

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Orange jumper

 

FMCSA unveils driver training rule proposal, sets up core curriculum and more for PRE-CDL drivers

James Jaillet|March 04, 2016

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is set to publish Monday, March 7, a proposed rule that, if made final, would implement a required core training curriculum for prospective truckers before they receive their CDL. The curriculum notably includes at least 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training before being issued a CDL.

 

The Entry Level Driver Training rule’s implementation would take place three years after its final publication in the Federal Register, which will come after the agency takes public comment for 60 days on the proposal and makes any changes to the rule based on that feedback. The proposal then would have to be approved by the DOT and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget before being published. The three-year countdown to its implementation would begin then.

 

The proposal, unveiled Friday, March 4, by FMCSA, in addition to the core curriculum and behind-the-wheel requirements, seeks to establish a registry of FMCSA-approved driver training providers. FMCSA’s rule outlines minimum qualifications related to instructors, testing, training vehicles and more that the agency will use to approve training providers for the registry.

 

The agency is accepting public comment on the rule for 60 days, starting Monday. Visitregulations.gov then and serach for docket number FMCSA-2007–27748 to see the rule and to file a comment.

 

The rule will apply to all drivers required to complete a CDL skills test to obtain a CDL and to those upgrading their license from Class B to Class A. The curriculum for those seeking a Class A license is broken down into two categories: Theory and actual driving time.

 

The theoretical component includes required training on basic vehicle instruments and controls, basic operation of a vehicle, how to perform a vehicle inspection, controlling a vehicle under various road and traffic conditions, how to shift and back a vehicle, hours of service, handling cargo, crash procedures, fatigue awareness, vehicle maintenance and violations, trip planning and more.

 

The driving time component of the rule requires operators to spend at least 30 hours behind the wheel before receiving a CDL, with at least 10 of those hours spent on a driving range. How the other 20 hours are received will be determined by the training providers, but the rule does stipulate that drivers must drive at least 10 of them on a public road or take 10 public road trips of no less than 50 minutes each.

 

Overdrive will have more on the rule and its requirements in the coming weeks.

 

Oops: Appropriations bill may have done away with 34-hour restart entirely

CHANNEL 19

 

Todd Dills|February 12, 2016

Turns out the 34-hour restart-related item inthe late-2015 Congressional appropriations bill may have done a little more than was intended. The intent of the item was to reinforce the stay of enforcement of limitations on use of the 34-hour restart that were implemented in 2013 and which the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrationcontinues to study as to their effectiveness, as required by law.

But read what the appropriations bill actually states relative to the restart, and it becomes clear that not only did it extend that stay and put limitations on FMCSA’s ability to reinstate the restrictions — once-per-week use of the restart and inclusion of two 1-5 a.m. periods — it essentially nullified the restart entirely.

None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act or any other Act may be used to implement, administer, or enforce sections 395.3(c) and 395.3(d) of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, and such section shall have no force or effect on submission of the final report issued by the Secretary…

 

RELATED

 

Required 34-hour restart study finished, advances to next step, says FMCSA boss

That’s the key part of this, and what exactly does 395.3(c) and 395.3(d) refer to? Those are, essentially, everything in the regulations pertaining to the restart. And since the appropriations bill’s language doesn’t specify an alternative to those regulations, as the Truckload Carriers Association noted this afternoon in a message to members…

 

…then there is no restart provision to abide by.

 

That’s DOT’s recent interpretation at least, according to TCA. Now, before you go back to recapping entirely, take note of the rest of that message from TCA:

 

As discussions around this issue remain fluid, we are instructing our carrier members to keep their fleets operating as they have always been as members of Congress seek to reach an agreement on the best way to proceed. In an email to its Executive Committee, of which TCA is part, ATA has put forth options which they can use to negotiate with lawmakers. Of those options, the parties involved, including TCA representatives, have selected what ATA perceives to be the most flexible option on the table. The selected option consists of the following:

 

Total weekly cap of 75 hours in any 7 calendar days Retains 60/7, 70/8 rules.Taking an off-duty period of 34 consecutive hours or more allows the driver to exceed the 60/7 & 70/8 limits, up to the 75-hour, 7-calendar-day cap.

We’ll update more when we have word of any final solution, as changes wouldn’t go into effect until certified by DOT in concert with lawmakers. As TCA noted, “as of today, we are continuing to operate as we did yesterday.”

At once, reminds me of Tom Strese‘s sage words from about a year ago as the exemptions to the milk-and-cookie break really started to pile up: If we’re not careful, Strese said, “pretty soon our HOS rules are going to look like the tax code.”

Can you live without the restart? Keep it simple, so to speak — or as simple as recapping can be? Stay tuned for more…

Rollback of 34-hour restart regs further entrenched by Congressional budget deal.

FMCSA will have to prove its 2013-implemented rules are better for driver fatigue and highway safety than previous hours rules before they can go back …

 

Nearly 20,000 inspections occurred in Safe Driver blitz in October, CVSA says

INSPECTIONSMatt

        Law enforcement officers conducted 19,480 roadside inspections on commercial drivers and vehicles during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s 2015 Operation Safe Driver Week in October, CVSA announced Jan. 5.

          The total number of inspections dropped from the 24,184 conducted in 2014’s Safe Driver inspection blitz. The top five warnings and citations issued to commercial truck drivers were size and weight, speeding, failure to use a seatbelt, failure to obey a traffic control device and using a handheld phone. In total, 13,807 commercial vehicles were inspected during the week.

         Law enforcement officers handed out 1,243 size and weight citations and 497 warnings, 404 speeding citations and 877 warnings, and 580 seatbelt citations and 112 warnings. In all, 4,062 citations and 3,923 warnings were given to commercial vehicle drivers.

         “Unsafe driving behaviors can result in lives lost. That’s what Operation Safe Driver Week aims to combat through driver enforcement and education,” said CVSA President Maj. Jay Thompson with Arkansas Highway Police. “Our mission is to make our roadways as safe as possible. We will continue to work toward that goal by ensuring drivers are operating safely in and around large trucks and buses.”

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Top 10 toughest states for traffic enforcement

           Indiana, Delaware, Illinois top the rankings for violations that      contribute CSA’s Unsafe Driving measure. Often used by enforcement as a reason to inspect, without an …
 
Other statistics from Operation Safe Driver Week for commercial vehicles include:

                    The percentage of stopped CMVs given speeding warnings and         citations increased from 5.8 percent in 2014 to 9.3 percent in 2015.

                    The percentage of warnings and citations for failing to obey traffic control devices increased from 2.5 percent in 2014 to 3.85 percent in 2015.

                     The percentage of CMVs pulled over that were given seatbelt warnings and citations increased to 5 percent in 2015 from 2.8 percent in 2014. 

       “Everyone traveling on our highways and roads should reach their destination safely,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “I thank CVSA and its members for their partnership and commitment to safety. By working together through efforts like Operation Safe Driver, crashes will be prevented and lives will be saved.”