Monday, April 18, 2011

EOBR's (Electronic On Board Recorders)

Now we have EOBR's direct from the FMCSA. The idea is a good one, but it will need some serious tweaking. The problem with the current rules and regulations is that they apply to every driver and the problem with that is that every driver runs a different operation. Team operators run differently than solos and regional operations are different than long haul operations. The same rules apply to everyone. Another problem with the EOBR's is that they don't work with trucks. That's right! They don't work. For example:
Lets say that I start my clock for the day and then 5 minutes later, my plans change and I have changed my mind for whatever reason so that I wont be starting my work day for a few hours later. Well now my clock has started and I have 14 hours to complete my work day. The EOBR is recording my time now. This is not going to work as the EOBR will record me as in violation if I restart my clock in 5 hours and then try to drive for 10 hours. They are a great idea for keeping track of the vehicle's movements and what happened after a crash, but to use them to enforce Hours of Service is not practical.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How I Started - Three

After leaving TSL I went to Koch Trucking in Minneapolis, MN and what a mistake that was! While at Koch, I had a dedicated circular route and enjoyed windsurfing in Corpus Christi, TX on a weekly basis at the same time fishing and enjoying the beach life. I was there for a year or so and about the time that 9/11 happened I had been sent to the terminal in Minneapolis to pick up a truck and in this truck was some drug paraphernalia. I complained to the safety director and he shrugged it off and dismissed me. At the same time I was hearing about driver's being laid off for all sorts of ridiculous reasons.

I will go into Koch later, but I will make a long story short and say that Koch was going through some turbulent times and they were shedding drivers and dispatchers like fleas on a dog that just jumped into a fire.

Begin the Owner/Operator period which is still going on in my life.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How I Started - Two

After attending trucking school, I started driving for the fifth largest trucking company in the US, Builder's Transport(BT). They had been in business for decades and were a reliable company. Reliable in the trucking business is a class unto itself. Two years after signing on with BT I noticed that they were going into the crapper and soon afterward, they were bought out by Schnieder. Schnieder is a fine company, but large and not of any interest to me.

I took a hiatus for a few months from trucking and then returned to another company that had been in business for 35 plus years called Trans-States Lines (TSL). About a year after signing on here I noticed that I was being paid for doing very little work. About six months later they were bought out by Burlington Northern and they Burlington Northern was bought out by Celadon. I left before they went under the first time and were bought out by Burlington Northern. Burlington was another fine company and so was Celadon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

How I started

My parents were truckers after trying and doing well at other types of industries. From teaching to management, they tried all sorts of working environments. One day the old man decided to go to trucking school and start driving over the road for J.B. Hunt. Soon afterward Mom was tired of being alone and had to join him. A few years later they had paid off all of the debts that they had maintained my whole life and secured a solid retirement.
I took a similar path, but being unmarried and alone I was not operating as a team and I had the Marine Reserves to attend monthly and yearly as well. The Marine Reserves is a very demanding place unlike what most people think. You must stay informed about your job in the reserves without actually being able to do the job and you must maintain your physical fitness every single day because when you show up for those monthly visits, they are going to test your brain and demand of your physical stature or you are in for a tough time unlike anything you have ever known. I, fortunately, never failed a test in the 6 years I was tested even while maintaining a trucking business.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A guy walked up to me in a parking lot today

So today I answered the ever changing question of: "Nice truck, what are your suggestions as to how to run a trucking business?". Well that's simple! What are your needs? What are your desires? Do you know anything about trucks? Do you know anything about trailers? Do you know anything about customer relationships? Do you know anything about the DOT and how your business needs to have low overhead and high income? Do you know how the people impacted by your business are doing and where their business is headed? Yeah that is a simple question. My suggestion?

Go to OOIDA's website and start reading. Attend some webinars and start asking more people about their needs and why they drive where they do. You literally have a long road ahead and you need to get informed. Perhaps in the next few posts I will detail how to start running out here.