Why do I even care anymore

You know, I have asked this question to myself I bet a million or so times over the last five years. Trucking has done nothing but shit on me since 04, why do I even care? I have had some rough goes, in the last five years. Seems I am going to keep having them, seems like nothing is going to change. It all started back in 2004 when I was hauling Hazmat for a tanker company in Ohio.

I stopped at a truck only parking area on I-71 south of Cleveland, OH. to do a required two hour walk around on my truck and trailer. It was about 8:30 pm so it was dark. I didn’t really get a flashlight out because it was a lighted parking area. As, I made my way around the passenger side of my trailer. I didn’t see the hole that the state of Ohio had added in the blacktop, I am guessing to allow water to drain off the road. I stepped in this hole, and twisted my knee. I had injured it years ago a couple times, twisting it out of place. I fell to the ground, and laid there for a few minutes.

I finally made it back to the truck, now what was I going to do? So, I called my terminal manager and he asked if I could drive and I said I don’t know but I would try. I went on and delivered the load, and the next day I could barely walk on it. So I went to the urgent care place, and they X-rayed it and said it was a sprain, to stay off it for a couple days. After a few days I was back to work no problems.

Two weeks after this happened, then I was involved in a major accident. 28 vehicles involved total, I-77 south bound just south of Wytheville, VA. some of you may remember an accident that happened on the “New River Bridge” it was February 04. It was on a Sunday afternoon, it was snowing and I was loaded with 7000 gallons of Acetone (Flammable). I had just talked to my wife and told her I should have probably pulled over in Wytheville and waited the snow out. But, chatter on the CB was that the “big mountain” was clear as it was only raining there, so I figured I get there I can go to my destination in Charlotte.

As I started down the hill towards the bridge, I heard on the CB that there was a wreck and southbound was stopping on the bridge. Let me add here it was snowing so hard now I could not see the bridge. So I got on the CB and started hollering we are stopping on the bridge. I put the brakes on and my trailer started around, I let off the brakes and the trailer straitened out. I continued this brakes on and off till I got stopped, about 100 feet behind the last vehicle involved in the accident.

Then I hear it, a driver hollering at me. He said Tanker I am going to hit you. I looked out my drivers side mirrior and sure enough there was a tractor trailer coming up behind me sliding already jack-knifed. The driver had been driving too fast and was out of control. He was fighting the steering wheel to the left and too the right. The trauck was all over the interstate. I thought what the hell am I going to do? I am on a bridge, up against the concrete wall. 300 feet to the bottom, I had no where to go.

Except forward, I decided it was going to be a bad day for everybody if this guy hits me in the side of my tank. Which is the direction he was headed. So, I decided I would put my truck in gear, and just before he was going to hit me I would take off as hard as my truck would go trying to lesson the blow. Well, we all survived so it must have worked. Just before he hit me I took off and actually moved enough ahead of him that he actually hit my tandems and not the tank.

I was pretty shook up after that ride, I soon after quit hauling hazmat altogether. I made damn good money at it, but it still wasn’t worth it to me. I know exactly what could have happened that day, and it scared the hell out of me.

I soon after this happened, decided I was NOT driving anymore I was tired of driving. I up and quit a very good paying job, moved to Port Clinton, Ohio and started completely over. My wife didn’t mind, we had done it before and she was kinda glad to have the old man off the road after that experience also. We moved in with my daughter till we could get our own place, we ended up three months later leaving and going to another trucking job in Minnesota. What a mistake this was, trying to be a lease operator for Anderson Trucking Service. I wont get into details, but I was only there for a week orienatation and a week out on the road, and called them to come and get the truck.

So, here we were again back with the daughter and we decided to move back down south again. This time a friend of my wife’s offered to let us stay until we could get our own place. We were down there about three days and I had a job, hauling saw dust on a 48 foot trailer with a walking floor trailer. I would run about 450 miles per night hauling a load up north of Columbus, Ohio to a paper mill. and then stopping back in Waverly, Ohio and picking up a load from Mills Pride and bringing it to the yard to be mixed with wet saw dust to go back up north. I made pretty good money doing this, but man was illegal, I was grossing out at 148,000 pounds loaded going up and close too 200,000 pounds back to the yard.

Then I thought I had found the ultimate job in September of 2005. It was union job hauling piggy back trucks. You know the brand new trucks from factory’s to dealerships or to company’s. Then getting on a plane and flying to my next pick-up point. This was great! I stayed in a motel every night, no more eating at truck stops, no more showering at truck stops! Man it was great, until my load took me to North Carolina one time.

We got up and it was storming, we still had to deliver these trucks. So, we put on our rain gear and started undecking these trucks. The wind was howling pretty good, and I was leaned over the front tire of one of my trucks getting a lifting strap unhooked from the front axel, and the wind slammed the hood of the truck down on me.

I was almost knocked out and in tremendous pain. I got sick to my stomach, they finally got the hood up and got me set down and every time I would try to get up and help I would almost pass out. Finally, got done undecking, the other guys with me finished me up and told me to go get changed out of my wet cloths and sit down they would take care of the rest of my trucks for me. I called into my company and told them what happened and immediately called BWC and reported it to them.

My company asked if I could fly home, the guys that were with me told me they were going home as well. So the company told them to stick with me, and help me get home they did with no questions asked. I finally made it back to Springfield,OH. where my terminal was and my wife was there waiting on me. She took me to the hospital and it went down hill from there. That was November 2005, this injury damn near crippled me over the next couple years.

The Dr’s said I had a herniated disk on my left side of my neck, and three buldged disk all around the area where I was struck by the hood of the truck. I fought this company through workers comp until I had lost every thing that I had. We were evicted two times and lost both my vehicles. I finally told my lawyer to ask for a settlement. I asked for 1/2 the amount of what it was worth. and I got not even a 1/4 of it.

Ever since, it is every thing I do to get out of bed some morning’s. I am a bastard to live with now, I am very irritable at times, because things I used to do I can no longer do them. I don’t sleep all that well anymore, maybe three or four hours a night. My left left leg, hip, foot is all messed up. When you get hurt depending on what side of the body it happens then it affects everything lower than the injury. I have no feeling in my left hand, I am a mess..I doubt I will be driving a tractor trailer much longer as my DOT physical will expire in April.

A few years ago, when I first started trucking, I got a ear infection. It got so bad that it started bleeding one day. Very shortly after that I found out I had a cholestitoma in my left ear. I had to have surgery, then again two years ago. It left me deaf in my left ear, my right one is not much better.

Why did I take the time to tell you all this personal information on me? Was, it because I want sympathy from you? NO! I am not like that..I told you all this to maybe get you to understand the passion I have as a truck driver. This is what keeps me going. I love to drive them big rigs! I love to haul heavy ass loads and I love to roll on down the road. I am not good with keeping up with the regulations and all. Hell I probably can’t even tell you the last time I looked at a regulation book. I do know the rules without looking at the book and I do keep up with changes made to it via internet.

So, tell me Why do I even care anymore? I hear these guys laugh and joke about how the parking situation is bad all over, not just Virginia. I heard somebody say they were in VA not long ago, and if there was a boycott going on they couldn’t tell it.

You would think, we as truck drivers could at least attempt to try and join together on ONE SIMPLE thing. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out.

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