Trucking and The D.O.T.

The DOT, Smokey Bear, Wrappers, on and on You’ll hear truck drivers putting down officers of the law often, but lets look at this for a minute...

You hear so many drivers complaining about getting a ticket trucking 65 or 70 in a 55 or for going 75 in a 65 with Highway Patrol and D.O.T. out must think.....just how fast would they drive if there were no D.O.T. or Highway Patrol riding around giving tickets?  Exactly, it's frightening to imagine. 

Some Tips for Interaction With DOT

  • Be respectful like (Just like you want to be respected)
  • Act like a mature adult (Don't whine about being stopped)
  • Be cooperative (Don't give them a hard time)
  • Be mindful that they are doing a job (and they have bosses like you)
  • Use common sense (The law got leverage, why argue or act ignorant?)
  • Obey the federal and state laws (lol, To the extent that you can)
  • File a complaint if they are abusing their authority (Instead of trying to put up a verbal or physical fight)
  • Avoid escalating the interaction in a way that jeopardizes your bank (When you act tough and disrespectful they get you for all that they can.)

Don't Be a Clown

I've heard truckers complaining about getting a speeding tickets.  I'd say, “Driver, were you really going that fast?”, more than once they respond with, “well actually I was going faster than that!” (Which you and I know may or may not be the truth, lol)

Either way, why would you be upset and place blame on the D.O.T. because you got a well deserved ticket for flying down the highway and in some cases after getting a break on the speed you were actually doing? In many cases a driver could have been hauled off straight to jail and wasn't. Which is my real point.  A ticket is a blessing

Most drivers have gotten away with something. None of us are perfect.  We mess up both intentionally and by accident but I guarantee you most of us have been given a break. This alone is enough to stop pretending that the D.O.T., Highway Patrol and other officers of the law are enemies of truckers. (Same principle applies for you at home holding the same ridiculous thoughts about the police.  They are all crooked)

Truckers for the most part get put out of service or ticketed because we are in the wrong. It could be steering related, brake system related, weight related or for trucking too hard.  (Log book violations like running over hours) In each case the D.O.T. may have possibly just saved a life by inspecting, finding a problem and putting the truck out of service.

He might have altered a bad habit by issuing that high dollar ticket to a high speeding driver or one who is 3 days behind on the log book.  Plus sometimes we all need a little wake up call to get back on track before we push it too far.

(It goes without saying that the few 2 or 3 mph over the speed limit that I hear about from drivers every now and then seems a little petty but funny out of 11 years of my driving by Highway Patrol and D.O.T. in the middle doing a couple to 5 miles over, I have never gotten one of those tickets for going a couple miles over the speed limit.  Full disclosure, I have gotten a speeding ticket when I first started driving more than 10 years ago for going more than 5 over.  So I am not claiming to be perfect.  What I am doing is keeping it real. Stop crying and complaining.  I changed my habits and perspective, you can do the same.  I have also been put out of service before.  So things happen.  I didn't blame the police or cry and complain.  I learned.)

Sometimes we get log book violations but many drivers have violated the on a log much more than that one ticket when we were caught. Why put down the officers on the radio like they are all corrupt? Seem very childish and frankly irresponsible to me. You and I know that its a ridiculous stance to act like all D.O.T., or any other authorities is out to get a trucker or any other citizen for that matter. Chill out.

Let the general society tell it, these days the police are our enemies. Basing this on how often the assumption is that the police are in the wrong every time an incident makes it to the headlines. Society seems to pass judgment that the officer was wrong and instead give the criminal/victim the benefit of the doubt.

That's crazy.

(Then we wonder why the kids don't know how to interact with the police) Society accuses the authorities for abuse of power before asking 1 question about how the situation occurred. But in case you don't realize it, a lot of this is guided by how the stories are presented by the news media. It makes a more dramatic story if it seems like the officer was using excessive force or violating someone's rights. 

It isn't as dramatic if they include how things escalated to that unfortunate moment.  So they leave out the escalation and show the response.  No context just the juicy part that creates a buzz.

(Just like the media and news reporters try to make truck drivers seem responsible for every accident.)

I think we as citizens and individuals need to do a little thinking for ourselves and include a little common sense when referring to the police and consider how difficult their jobs are as much as they should be considerate of how tricky it can be for us to do ours.

Stop taking news stories and trucker tales at face value.  There's usually another side of the story with important details that were left out.

Me Being Inspected

We know that inspection and such are part of the trucking job.  It's part of the trucking lifestyle.  If you are not prepared to deal with that, just take your attitude to another industry.  You don't see me acting crazy because I am getting inspected.

What am I talking about? Well, if you are the police and you tell someone to put down an object that is in his hand or to take his hand out of his pocket and he WON'T DO IT, what are you going to do? What would you do if you were in that situation as an officer? Every time this happens no one will even mention that the clown should have complied with the officers request. He/she (the officer) has no way of knowing what was on the clowns mind before shooting him. But here is how the report will start.... "Officer shot an innocent man who was unarmed at the time." Nothing about the man acting suspicious, uncooperative and many cases hostile even. It ridiculous. Ok, I didn't mean to get all into it and drift off subject like that but it is sad and pathetic because the same community will complain about the police won't do their jobs. Really, make up your mind. LOL wow. You couldn't pay me to be the police. But this is why I have to do this page. It's for all of the hard working, honest, officers of the law out there. But it is for all you reading too. I don't think many look at the issue this way, so I am hoping to cause you to think about the police with somewhat more of a unbiased and open mind. Back to authorities as it pertains to trucking...LOL First note: If you have children please teach them about how to properly interact with the police if they encounter them whether they are in the right or wrong so they won't end up on the wrong end of a bad situation looking stupid and acting as if it's ALL the polices fault. Ok, let's go

Now are there a few police that just ain't right? Of course. I don’t agree with the nit picking that happens every now and then by some officers. Usually though, that picking occurs when a driver has an attitude problem with the officer from the first moment of the encounter.

The driver sometimes acts like the officer doesn’t even have the right to be talking to him. (Lol, like he is someone special!) They are doing a job but you want to be exempt from his attention. Most stops occur because the driver was doing something wrong or something is wrong with the truck like a light is out.

Sorry, they use these things as a reason to stop you. It could be just to tell you the light is out, but when you want to act ignorant it makes him/her want to do more. It's like...."Why is he acting like that?"

(An officer in Texas said in so many words, we have to pull someone over so we look for a truck that looks shabby and poorly maintained sometimes, or one with a light out somewhere. After a certain amount of time if we don’t see anything like that then we just pick out a truck at random)

I have talked to other officers who just at some point say, "I am going to stop the next truck that I see"

Why would a grown man/woman and professional driver act so childish? Having a nasty attitude is not going to encourage the officer to get on with the reason he/she is there, it is only going to give reason to be more thorough. Why?

Because normal people don't do that. So naturally he/she is curious.

The D.O.T or Highway Patrol has a job to do just like we do. There are a few officers that should not be out on the road just as there are a few drivers who should not be driving.

There are few burger flippers who should not be working around food. New drivers (and old ones too if you will listen) The D.O.T. and Highway Patrol are not an evil organization out to destroy the average American citizen or trucker.

Most Officers of the law are country, community and people loving individuals who perform a job just as challenging and dangerous as ours. In fact it's even more challenging and dangerous when you stop to think of how they must deal with some clowns with no concept of respect for authority.

What about the clowns who downright view them as the enemy? How would it feel to work in that reality every day? Didn't think about that before did you? We ask four wheelers and the public to remember how hard our job is and to give us a break as truck drivers.

When you are interacting with officers of the law do yourself and them a favor, be courteous and treat them like respectable men and women doing their jobs.

(Basically act like a mature adult with proper home training and common sense)

That’s only fair. Leave your attitude and animosity at the last mile marker you put in your back pocket. (trucker talk for 'behind you')

If they are wrong, like the officer that stopped me in Tennessee , you don’t have to act ignorant to express your concern for their actions. Be tactful in your response, but also remember that many people claim that they are innocent all of the time knowing they aren't. The officers might not be so quick to take you at your word, but especially if its told with an attitude.

Things are not perfect and life is not fair, equipment does fail and people make mistakes. Stand your ground to the degree and in the manner that produces the desired result. If things are going south, no need to keep it going in the wrong direction.

If the officer has made a mistake, bring it to the attention of a lawyer or the courts, arguing or getting rude will not help you. Also a mistake or misunderstanding is totally different from straight up abuse of power.

If you are truly mistreated and you feel that an officer may have a problem with abuse of power please post your incident below so that we make be able to identify a problem in the event that several drivers have a similar incident in the same place with the same officer. That how you keep things in check. Post you incident below.

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