I have worked around the transportation industry for a long time, starting out in the driving part of the industry. Eventually I got off the road and worked in the office where I worked my way through the different levels into the position that I enjoyed the most, which was the "Safety Department." The one position that was a key piece in every department of the trucking company.
Think about what the safety person does and who they work with, the dispatch making sure they utilize their knowledge in keeping the drivers in compliance with the loads, the accounting department relative to any safety bonus or miles the trucks have moved for the purpose of the IFTA, the logistics department if you have contracted carriers hauling loads that at one point have had an incident, and last but not least the owners, making sure that each member of the team is productive and that the company is going in a positive direction.
Now the one thing that amazed me working in this department was the applicants that came in looking for a position in our fleet. Most of them had class A commercial drivers license, but some where just out of training and looking for a place to plant their roots. Although we did not as a company hire a new driver with less than 2 years verifiable, they still applied, and I would nicely say, "when you reach the 2 years experience and you are looking for employment at that time, come back and see me."
Yet, I would have drivers that I could verify to the best of my ability, 10 years of driving experience and I would bring them for all of the pre-employment testing and then the dreaded the driving test. This is what surprised me, although someone had enough verified experience they would still fail our driving test. So it got me thinking….
I never realized just how the knowledge of the pre-trip inspection and even the road test was being taken lightly by fairly new drivers and even some seasoned drivers, and how important it is to get accurate training and information concerning their skills tests and pre-trip. Even though it only takes one road test to get a driving job (if they pass), the pre-trip inspection is something that needs to be done on a daily basis, while employed as a driver, to make sure that the vehicle they are driving is in safe operating condition.
Now this at one point, through my working past I would have thought be only relative to the new driver, but as the years past I realized that it is not, and can also apply to the seasoned drivers as well. Let me give an example. I knew a person who had their commercial drivers license for about 15 years, he was lucky enough at one point to gain employment where he did not need to drive over the road anymore and neglected to renew his CDL. So now the economy takes its toll and his position goes by the way side, and he has no options but go back to truck driving. So he goes down takes his written exam, acquires his permit and again needs to take the skills test and pre-trip inspection. Would you know that with all the regulation changes, equipment changes and thinking he knew it all failed his pre-trip inspection twice and his skills test the first time.
Now the moral to the story is if you think you know it all, stand back and think again. All the experience in today’s trucking industry how things can change on a daily basis, and not just in obtaining your CDL but in the safety and compliance levels also. Take a look at how CSA 2010 is changing the safety in trucking.
As I think on my path of where I began and where I am now, and having my own business I find the importance of gaining the knowledge you need right from the start in any aspect of a business. When you look at the new drivers the knowledge needed is more than just getting behind the wheel, and it all starts with obtaining that CDL, and ends with a successful job and staying in compliance.
Networking my business, I have ran across a few highly recommended companies and people that I would trust my business with in all aspects of it. At first you hold back, but then you begin to build those relationships and see what they offer and what you can obtain through their helpfulness, knowledge and how they can affect your business to a point.
VAnetworking was the beginning stages of my networking, where I met some great people and have acquired some great friends. Through these friends, which are located all over the country I have acquired some great referrals and resources in building my business. ABC 3rd Party Testing was another one I ran across in my networking. This gentlemen was referred to me by one of the gals I networked with, because I had a unique niche in the trucking industry, and she thought that it would be a good fit.
This association just solidified my key aspects of the importance of DOT safety and compliance. Charlie Miller is the owner of ABC 3rd Party Testing, and offers a great service in DOT compliance, among the fact that he is one of the most genuine people I have met for a very long time.
As we begin our daily lives working for ourselves or for someone else, don’t forget the value of the knowledge you need to be successful can come within but sometimes needs a helping hand with a little push and shove. Do not take the light road, get what you need from the start because it can cost you in the long run.
Anyone who knows me who maybe reading this may know I am not the worlds most recommended writer but I am putting my honest thoughts and thinking down, hoping that if just one person get something out of this, then it was worth it in the end.