Friday, April 17, 2009

Now this is worrisome

The comments have been rolling in regarding that crazy fatigue checklist used by DOT in Minnesota and Indiana. OOIDA member Bob “Cowpoke” Martin had a couple of interesting thoughts.

The “intention” behind the so-called fatigue checklist is to provide clues as to whether truckers are actually sleeping when they are supposed to be sleeping. If they are not, then of course they are fatigued and should be placed out of service. After rolling the goofy checklist around in his head, it’s made Bob apprehensive on behalf of a few trucking friends, fellow OOIDA member and Land Line columnist Diesel Dave being one of them.

What if Dave Sweetman rolled into one of these scales and got nailed for a “voluntary” survey?

Bob’s getting nervous. He imagines the DOT asking Dave if he is drinking coffee? Cowpoke knows Sweetman’s response might be, “no, but if you would like to come in I’ll fire up the cappuccino machine and make us a half-caff latte with a sprinkle of nutmeg and extra foam.” I have to agree with Bob here. A cappuccino machine could appear to be contrary to good sleep habits.

You know, the more I think about it, Dave does have even more habits that are bound to be suspicious behavior in any DOT officer’s eyes. It makes you wonder how much sleep the guy does get. He writes a column for Land Line and, well, when does he do that? I hope it’s not when he’s supposed to be sleeping.

Bob’s anxious over how Dave would explain away a 42-inch plasma TV, bookcase full of DVDs and VHS tapes – and, yes, some are likely not PG-13. What about those Rolling Stone magazines and those Land Lines? And what about that open laptop? I’ll wager Dave’s computer is frequently open and if he’s not writing columns, you KNOW he’s online.

There’s more. Bob’s concerned that Dave’s four-slice toaster might not pass the fatigue checklist.

“Expecting company, boy?”

And Bob is particularly apprehensive about the truck cops finding out about Dave’s rubber ducks in the shower.

This could get ugly.

But Dave does have the full wastebasket question covered. No checkmark there. There’s no trash in his truck. Dave has a trash compactor. Then again, Bob says someone better look up trash compactors in the FMSCA rule book. Might be contraband.


  1. Well. Isn't this special! Now the secret is out. Who told on me about the rubber duckies? Is nothing secret anymore?

    And I don't really have a trash compactor, instead..I have an endless supply of Walmart bags, all properly disposed of, thanks for asking.

    And, when I do my columns, I log it on line 5, "Off Duty, Just Typing." Just to be compliant, you see.

    Dave Sweetman

  2. Sweetman you have been a bad trucker, shame on you. I said what I did in the Octber 2008 addition over the GAO wreck investigation. If our government spent half as much time looking at the private sector of road vehicles and enforcing current, local, state and federal laws. They would see a dramatic increase in local, state and federal revenue's as well as a mass reduction of accidents and deaths on our countries highways. I think it was said best when I read an article recently about a couple gentleman that are members of the medical review board that is looking at the Long form physical process to provoke more rules and regulations. They, themselves are medical professionals and when you say trucking industry all they see are DOLLAR SIGNS. Our state and federal politicians are no different. (cherokee_llc)

  3. We run across Indiana and Minnesota every week. The roads are so rough who can sleep? I really would like a state rep with some ufda to ride along...

  4. ROFLMBO! I always KNEW you were the rubber duckie type!

    Lady Frog

  5. Don't know about line five, regs say all compensated work is on duty or driving. Too bad we can't get the Pols to fill out a log book-we'd have some idea of how much time we're getting for or buck.

  6. I've got TV, tons of reading material too. Some times you gotta unwind. When they invent some non drug totally legal thing that will put truckers right to sleep when you gotta sleep, let me know.

  7. Don't know about line five, regs say all compensated work is on duty or driving. Too bad we can't get the politicos to fill out a log book-we'd have some idea of how much time we're getting for or buck.

  8. Lady Frog,
    Who told you about my rubber duckie?
    I suppose they told you about the rubber chicken too....Doug

  9. I have to wonder if these guys are medical fit to perform their duties.

    Did they get 8 hours of sleep before coming to work, or were they up half the night rocking the baby, or fighting with their wife, or waiting for their teenager to get home at 3:00 a.m.?

    Did they stop on their way to work and buy a cup of coffee and a donut? If they did, did they eat or drink in their car?

    Maybe we should come up with a check list to see if they are competent to question us!

  10. Good article, I would have to agree this could get very ugly. When are drivers going to just start getting angry and protest some of this, for lack of a better word, crap! We log alot of our miles in Minnesota, although so far to date this checklist has not be used on one of our drivers during a DOT inspection, at least that is...not that we know of. What ever happened to our right to privacy?? This checklist just seems to be way over the top. What business is it of the DOT whether we have magazines in the trucks or whether the drivers are messy and don't clean their trucks as frequently as they should. I am sorry but it is just plain craziness in the trucking industry today. One of our drivers was told during a DOT inspection if a driver gets stopped, the DOT "will" find a violation. They do just that- they keep looking until they find one. There is no room left for error, no room left for honest mistakes, we are only human. We had a driver that was out working for the day, caught a rock in the windshield, we had already made the appointment to get the glass replaced but the driver still received a violation. It is not fair at all. The DOT in my opinion need to seriously change how they do things. Drivers and companies need to start fighting for their rights. We purchase Tractor/trailers and half the time something does not work, constant repairs, the truck manufactorers do nothing about it, we have gotton violations when the drivers haven't had a chance to get home to get the repairs needed, keep in mind we are not an over the road company, alot of our loads are very rural where there is no place to get repairs done until you get home unless of course it is something real serious and we need to have service done on the road. The DOT needs to start looking at the drivers that have had serious problems in their past and leave the rest alone. The DOT gives out these violations which all or most of the time only affect the company and not the driver. I believe drivers should have their own set of ratings and those ratings should go with them no matter what company they drive for. As far as the checklist goes, the DOT doesn't even know this person that they are conducting this checklist on, they have no right to pass judgement on someone they don't know. Especially if it is going to cause an out of service or otherwise. I am only speaking in normal situations here, not situations where there are evident serious problems when a driver is pulled over. Seems like the DOT has alot of their own corruptions. My own husband who has been driving truck for 30 years, received a violation for an inoperable headlight that went faulty during the middle of the night out on the road, no place to get it fixed and even though he has a perfect driving record for like 25 years he was still given a violation. Is this right?? Wherever there are people in possitions of power there is corruption. Not to long ago in our own County Sherrif's Dept. one of the deputies that is out issuing tickets and arresting others for whatever- was discovered to be stealing large expensive equipment from local area farmers himself! Can you believe that! We can't trust even our law enforcerer's. You are right, this could get ugly and what can we do? When do we as truck drivers or the trucking companies start fighting back? Where is our checklist to rate the DOT and these DOT officers! We are at their mercy every day on the roads as we work, they make it darn tough to just make an honest living and deliver products we all need and use every day. Although, I must say I do support getting those drivers off our roads that really need to be taken off the roads, that much we can all agree on! But it doesn't matter what kind of job you do, there are going to be fatigued workers in every sector, even if they don't drive truck they still have to get in their personal vehicles and drive home. How many accidents do those cause per year??


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