Trucking Editorials

Doing things correctly the first time, every time.

Trucking Diet

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Lets start this off with what I weighed when I started driving truck; 220lbs at 5’8″.  I have lost 45lbs with another 25lbs to go!

After seeing a driver lift his stomach up onto the steering wheel to drive and then watching 4 600lb people (Plus 2 200lb dogs) get out of a truck, which thoroughly disgusted me beyond belief, I was left with but one choice.  Lose the weight or continue on like I was going and end up like them.  Since there was only 1 choice, I chose to change my eating habits for a healthier life.

Exercising daily by parking away from the truck stop and forced to walk more.  When at home I go for walks also, plus around rest areas and truck stops.  Exercising is important.  DOT regulations state that we are to do checks every 150mi’s and/or 3 hours, whichever occurs first.  Use that 15mins and do something productive like exercising by walking or jumping jacks.  Approximately 32 laps around your tractor and trailer is approximately a mile.  A few truck stops are now putting up a walking path route and the approximate distance it is.  Also, recently at a TA I actually saw a exercise room with equipment in there to exercise on.  Also, you can get a bicycle to bike around on during the fairer months of the year.

Now… For the eating part.  My favorite thing to do!  Instead of eating one big meal a day, eating a little all day long is much healthier.  But, the caveat, is eating the right foods.

Daily:

Breakfast:

2 fruit cereal bars

1 piece of fruit

1 small milk/juice

 

Lunch:

cheese & crackers

fruit/veggie

water

 

Dinner:

small sandwich

fruit/veggie

water

 

Snacks (throughout the day):

trail mix

veggies

fruit

low sodium crackers

cheese

granola

granola bars

fruit bars

 Once a week:

Treat yourself to something you really want, but do not overindulge.  Eating till you are only satisfied is healthier than eating till you are absolutely stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey on Thanksgiving is not.

I want to emphasize something right here…

*** EAT UNTIL YOU ARE ONLY SATISFIED, NOT TILL YOU ARE FULL ***

What I buy at the store is usually foods in bulk and it is cheaper.  Here’s my shopping list:

Fruit Cereal Bars

Granola Bars

Granola Cereal

Fruit Cups (try to stay away from high fructose corn syruped fruit)

Lunch Meats (your deli meats are less processed than those that are packaged and taste better)

Cheeses (staying away from the highly processed cheeses are the best.)

Wheat Flat Breads/Whole Grain Breads

Light Mayonaise

Mustard (if you like it)

Water

Sun Chips (they are whole grain and don’t taste too bad)

Tea

Soups (for the colder months)

Veggies (need a good cooler to keep veggies)

Trail Mix

All toll, I spend about $50-$60 when I go shopping for the truck.  This usually lasts me approximately 3-weeks and saves a ton of money.

Also, stay away from high sodium foods.  You retain fluids in the body, so to compensate for this, you need to drink more water.  Water is a theme here too.  Drinking water keeps the body lubricated.  It’s the oil to our trucking bodies.

Eating till you are satisfied is a key thing here.  We tend to eat until we are stuffed and then you get sleepy, especially when you are driving out here on the road.  That’s why little snacks and small meals throughout the day is the best method to losing weight and feeling healthier combined with excercise.

For those of you who are quitting smoking…  Quitting smoking is very difficult thing to do, and when you do quit, you will put on some extra weight.  But, you can control it by eating proper foods instead of junk/fast foods.  Eat veggies… Veggies are the cure-all to the weight gain when quitting smoking.  What smoking does is curb your appetite, but if you are eating healthy it will be easier to quit because you can substitute smoking for eating, but only if you are eating the right foods.  Would you rather eat a carrot or smoke a cigarette?  That’s a choice you have to make.

Our families, the 4-wheelers, our friends, and even Mr. D.O.T., will appreciate us more when we are healthy.  Eating right helps with you mental state by being more alert, you are able to do more because you have more energy and you will feel overall much better and healthier.

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Written by Patti Hales

September 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Posted in Editorials

California – Trucking Industry

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Communistifornian – derivative of Californian Politician

A politician of the state of California who has the ideology of a communist/socialist who believes that they are omniscient.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In the trucking industry, California sets their own standards after getting a waiver from the federal department of transportation. In this, California has set up a new organization called C.A.R.B., by which extremely stringent EPA standards are imposed up the commercial trucking industry. C.A.R.B. is an acronym for California Air Resources Board, also known as by truckers Californian Are Retarded Bastards.

This commission continues to impose such stringent guidelines to the point that, to even enter the state, you must meet these guidelines, which are not set in stone of any kind. More like mud if you ask any commercial driver. By their own admission, they have no authority nor is their evidence even scientific in nature. Their scientific research isn’t even scientific because there was no research done at all. One of the CARB officials has been shown to not use any scientific data to back up any of the claims that CARB is imposing upon the commercial trucking industry.

Not too long ago, the Port of Los Angeles said that to enter the port, you must have a 2004 or newer truck, they also were dolling out money if you were to upgrade your truck, which companies took some of the money, but it was costing the port a lot more. Proving that California doesn’t know how to manage a port, let alone the trucking industry as a whole.

Many drivers that I have heard on the CB (Citizens Band Radio) and those that I have talked to have all said, in one way or another, that they wish they could just drop their load at the border of California and let some local driver from the state to deliver it. Making money as a driver in California is difficult, especially with a split speed limit that has legalized impeding traffic. 70mph for 4-wheeled public and 55mph for commercial traffic. 15mph below a posted speed limit is impeding traffic regardless if it is commercial or public. Having such a drastic speed difference is not a safe practice, which the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) has stated. Our 4-wheeled public friends on the highways barely pay any attention to what they are doing, then adding in such a drastic speed difference is just an accident waiting to happen.

California, in its infinite wisdom, seems to set the standards for the other states by thinking they know what is best, and yet are the worst offenders. I’m all for a boycott of California by the commercial drivers out there. We need to send them a message that they do not know what is best. California is not a commercial truck friendly state, by any means of the term. From no parking to fining drivers hundreds of dollars for idling to stay cool or warm, yet if the driver has an animal in the truck with them, then it is okay to idle to keep the animal cool/warm.

Written by Patti Hales

September 18, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Posted in Editorials

DOT – Would you like to have a day with DOT to learn?

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That is the question.  Would you like to have a day to go over with DOT and learn what it is they are looking for?  From my perspective, I believe it would be highly advantageous to have a day that we could literally go through inspections with them to learn what it is they are looking at in a completely non-arbitrary way.  To ensure that we are honestly doing our best to keep our tractors and trailers going safe down the road on a daily basis.

In the Air Force, as a mechanic, we would preflight, postflight, midflight, 90-day inspections, 45-day inspections and other inspections on a daily basis.  This is highly fruitful to ensure that an aircraft is ready for flight or not.

Mechanics do most of the inspections, but the pilots and engineers perform their own inspections on the aircraft as well.  We were all taught to do this in the Air Force.

If we were to do the same with our tractors and trailers, we would be saving time, and especially money, by doing our pretrip, midtrip and posttrip inspections.

With that in mind, DOT performs very thorough inspections on tractors and trailers constantly and consistently.  They are able to find more and are not complacent in their jobs.  They cannot afford to be, just like we cannot afford the down time.

It would be very helpful to each of us if we knew what they were looking for as to ensure that our tractor and trailer are safe to fly down the highways.

I know that I would love to go down to the scale/weigh station and spend an afternoon with DOT learning what it is that they do, because I know that it would personally make me a better driver and that I would know that my tractor and trailer are safe.  As I just said this, the next time I have an opportunity going on my home-time, I will do this very thing.  Why?  Because I feel it is important enough to support my family in the safest vehicle possible.

DOT has a job to do, and if you are put out of service because you failed to do a pretrip/posttrip inspection, then you have no other person to blame but yourself.  It all starts/ends with you.

Written by Patti Hales

July 15, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Posted in Editorials

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

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National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is from September 11-17, 2011 this year.  It’s a time to recognize those of us who put in long hours, are away from home for days, weeks and months so we can support our families.

I did my best to find some kind of history on how it came about, but I will keep searching.  All I have been able to find starts in 1996 so far.

Let’s remember those who paved the highways in the very beginning and those that pioneered what we have today.

Written by Patti Hales

July 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Posted in Editorials

Department of Motor Vehicles – 4-Wheeler Testing

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Testing in the DMV is easy, too easy actually, especially for a learners permit.  Some states only allow a learners permit for six months while others you can renew the permit for up to another six months after the first year.

Seems as if the DMV will allow anyone to get a learners permit for driving a 4-wheeler, but yet ask absolutely no questions whatsoever about driving around our big trucks that are on the road and around these learners, and even some that have been driving on the roads for a very, very long time.

In Washington State, when I went to get my CDL, the test concluded after I answered enough questions to pass.  Interestingly, out of most of the tests, which were only 20 questions and I answered 16 of them correctly, the test ended.  Even on the 25 question test, the test ended on the 20th question.  All that is required is that you answer 80% correctly.  Needless to say, I only had to take the tests just once because they were that easy.  The only hard part of the entire testing procedures was the actual skills test at the DMV test site after completing the driver training course for the company I use to drive for.

They actually taught us to drive around 4-wheelers and what to expect from them.

4-wheelers haven’t a clue how to drive around big trucks.  Why aren’t they asking tougher questions on their DMV tests?  Like comparing braking distances, blind spots, speed control, bad weather driving and much more.

Ah… the caveat to harder testing of 4-wheelers are the parents of the kids who have their learner permits who as soon as they get their drivers licenses buy them cars/trucks when they are 16.  How many 16yr olds are truly responsible enough to operate a motor vehicle and have the skills to avoid crashes?  Very, very few do.  That is why there are so many teen fatalities in motor vehicles.  Yet, these younger drivers are cutting off big trucks, and even a lot of the ones who are old enough to know better still cut us off.

It just makes the mind boggle, especially after being in the seat of a commercial truck pulling a trailer that weighs in at 80,000lbs and see how these 4-wheelers take 80,000lbs for granted.  Yes, we have 10 brakes and 18 tires, but that doesn’t mean that it can stop in the same distance as a 4-wheeler.  80,000lbs, going 60mph, can take up to 1/4mi to stop, whereas a 4-wheeler can take as little as 350ft.

If the D.O.T. truly wanted to lower fatality rates on the highways with 4-wheelers, then they need to step up to the plate and require harder testing to include driving around large trucks, plain and simple.  There need be public service announcements, more officers riding in more trucks, steeper fines for 4-wheelers and much more.  This is only the tip of the iceberg.   DMV needs to get tougher on testing individuals who are looking to get their licenses and retesting individuals every 2-5 years to make sure that they are current.

The states want to garner more revenue, then this is a good start.

Written by Patti Hales

July 12, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Posted in Editorials

The Fox in the Hen House

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The Fox in the Hen House is metaphorical, especially when it comes to D.O.T., FMCSA, officers who enforce D.O.T. regulations and Ray LaHood.

Why am I using this metaphor?  Simple, but also a bit confusing.

Let me start at the top… Ray LaHood is the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, under him is Anne Ferro who is over the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).  Under both these are the officers who enforce the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).

Ray LaHood, whom has never been in a truck other than for photo ops, doesn’t have a clue as to what goes on in the trucking industry, yet comes down with regulations and clarifications to a hands-tied Anne Ferro who is a current CDL holder.  Instead of letting her speak, Ray LaHood steps on this lady’s toes every opportunity that he gets.  Anne, being a CDL holder, knows about the trucking industry.  Yet, she is only allowed spoon-fed information regarding the very industry that supports our own families.  Personally, I wish it were Anne who was in charge of the Department of Transportation, not some Obama lackey who thinks he knows what the trucking industry is about.

I heard, forgetting which show I heard this on, but they had two of FMCSA’s top people on the show.  Without regard, several callers had called in, and the FMCSA individuals totally, and conscientiously,  did not answer any of the questions the callers had.  The only thing they said is that there was congruity between the training each D.O.T. officer has received.  Yet, they went on to state that each D.O.T. officer follows exactly the same procedures.

We find that this is ambiguously, and erroneously, false.  Each D.O.T. officer has their own discretion on which to cite a professional commercial driver.  From giving them the kudo of the D.O.T. sticker and then citing them to D.O.T. officers not properly documenting inspections and then giving a driver attitudes when the driver requests that the proper documentation be filed accordingly.

To add on to the above, when a driver receives a warning, there is absolutely no adjudication of the warning with the driver receiving points on their CSA scores, and without due process of the law thusly violating the Constitution of the United States of America.  There are absolutely NO APPEALS or APPEAL PROCESS, which was said we would have last year.  Yet, these violations and citation stay on our personal reports for years and years, without so much as a way to fight these.

Due Process of the Law is afforded to every American Citizen and is provided for in the Constitution of the United States of America.  The citations and violations that are received by drivers from D.O.T. officers, especially warnings, have no adjudication in FMCSA, regardless if the driver was not guilty.  We are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  When receiving a warning, the FMCSA sees this as guilty without due process of the law.

As the saying goes… Everything rolls downhill, and us professional truck drivers are at the bottom of the heap.

FMCSA, and Ray LaHood, are forcing unconstitutionality by enforcing laws that have absolutely no adjudication through the court system, let alone a jury trial of our peers.  I believe, that when they finally catch up to what is actually happening, it will be too late to stop the downhill slide that they are causing in the trucking industry and furthering the loss of jobs and causing businesses to fold up and close their doors.

The Fox in the Hen House is writing the rules by which they are over-regulating the industry to nearly the point of absolute collapse.  I believe this is why D.O.T. has given the go ahead with the Cross-Border Program, because the Mexican truck companies will be able to move freight at a much cheaper cost than that of U.S. Professional Truck Drivers, who are American Citizens.  The worst that can happen is that a Mexican truck driver loses his privilege to drive in the United States of America.  Our punishment is not being able to find a job, period, in the trucking and logistics industry due to the over-clouding fog of what they are trying to accomplish by over-regulating the trucking industry.

It’s time we removed the fox from the hen house and time to put our feet into the very industry that this country thrives on by getting involved politically in our industry and empowering the U.S. American Professional Truck Drivers.

Written by Patti Hales

July 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Editorials

Women’s Association of the Trucking Industry

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This is something that I’ve been giving a great amount of thought to. So much so that I’ve become overwhelmed with too much information running around my brain. I was listening to the Lockridge Report yesterday on Sirius/XM 106 (July 11, 2011) and listening to many, many comments about how N.A.F.M.T (National Association for Minority Truckers) and how this gentleman wants to empower minorities in the trucking industry. A couple of callers state that it is not needed and others and some of the same individuals also stated that there is something needed for women in the trucking industry.

So, I’m going to do my best to break it down demographically of the whole United States of America:  Wikipedia | Demographics of the United States of America

For the trucking industry (excerpted from Global Insight – The U.S. Truck Driver Shortage:
Analysis and Forecasts):

Demographic Characteristics of Truck Drivers: 2000Note 1: Includes Owner/Operators | 2000 Census

In the Truck Transportation Industry (Note 1) In All Other Industries
Truck Drivers in the Labor Force (x1,000) 1,150 2,140
Male 1,098 1,997
Female 52 143
%Female 4.6% 6.7%
Average Age 43.1 Years 40.6 years
Race: 100% 100%
White Alone 80.6% 77%
Black Alone 11.7% 12.4
Other Alone 7.7% 10.6
Hispanic Origin 9.7% 13%

With that out of the way, let’s get in to some of the details.

W.A.T.I. is an organization to empower women who are in the trucking industry. We forget about all the women who are supporting the professional truck drivers out here on the road. From the girlfriend/wife to the CEO’s who are women. Our organization is in the process of putting together information to assist all the women in the trucking industry in some form and fashion.

I know, it sound very vague at the moment. And rightfully so it should be vague at this time. There is a lot of coordination and research that must happen before going totally public with it, but at least you will know that there is an organization out here that will be directly related to issues that women face in the trucking and logistics industry.

What I will say is this, W.A.T.I. will become a voice in Washington, DC as another voice for Jason’s Law, safety and security, workplace sexual harassment and other issues that women face in the male dominated trucking industry.

This will not be some fly-by-night organization that only collects money. It will be entirely volunteered, but donations will be accepted in order to provide materials and to assist the organization in becoming a voice that will be heard.

Women face many obstacles, from their husbands being on the road and taking care of the family to being harassed, stalked and much, much more out here. If you honestly knew (unless you already are in the industry), you would not believe the kind of things that happen.

On a personal note, I have been stalked and followed 800mi’s by a driver. I truly believe in the safety and security of drivers, especially the ladies out here.

With that in mind, you can understand part of the focus of W.A.T.I.  It’s not to bring attention to me, that’s for sure. I cannot even handle public speaking without vomiting. It’s to bring attention to issues that women face in the “Good Ol’ Boys Club”.

Written by Patti Hales

July 12, 2011 at 6:21 am

Posted in Editorials