As regular readers of this blog know, I am a truck driver in my “real” life. I haul bulk garbage from the city to the desert in a semi, usually around 70,000 pounds per trip. And just in case anyone is wondering, that is a LOT of garbage. Fortunately, I do not dump it, or load it for that matter. All I do is drive the truck, drop the trailer, and then go get another load.
Due to sudden braking or other driving-related causes, the wet garbage can sometimes shift, and over the years, I’ve had my share of overweight fines. Normally, the loads are pre-weighed and legal—we don’t have to scale the truck, we just drive. If there is a problem, the company pays the ticket, since the driver has no way of knowing if the weight is legal or not. Because the company pays and the ticket doesn’t go on the driver’s record, we don’t really get too excited about it. The only thing I don’t like is that it costs me time. For some reason, the DOT is never concerned with my time, though.
About a week ago, I was thinking that it had been a while since I’d had a ticket. I shouldn’t have been thinking, I guess, because last Friday, I had the privilege of getting pulled into the scales on the freeway and then told to park and bring my papers—like I was in a foreign country or something. Once inside the building, I got to chat with the guy about how I was (apparently, single-handedly) responsible for the rutted condition of the roads. Nevermind the fact that if my company, or any company, wanted to haul more weight all they have to do is pay a little more money and the extended weight permit is amended to allow for whatever weight they want or need. So, it’s not really about the roads, but as most things with government are, it’s the money.
Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox and back to the story... Turns out, my entire truck was not overweight, just the drivers—the wheels on the tractor—they were 2,300 pounds over the limit. The trailer was about 3000 pounds underweight, which meant the load had obviously shifted. I was given a citation and instructed to legalize my load before leaving. Great! There was just one problem with that.
Most semis have the ability to move the weight around using sliding tandems or fifth wheels. The trucks at my job have neither. Which meant the only way for me to legalize my load was to back up as fast as I could get going and then slam on the brakes. This technique is sort of frowned upon by the DOT. Not that they care about the truck or the load, they are only concerned with the damage it may do to their lot! That didn’t concern me much; what I was concerned with is getting home on a Friday night. But as you can imagine, this method of moving the weight around is far from a scientific approach. It took several re-weighs before I was legal. Finally, an hour after pulling into the scale I was on my way.
But then, just before hitting the freeway, I HAD to hit my brakes—pretty hard too. And I felt the load come rushing back to the front of the trailer. So after an hour, and a citation, nothing had changed; I was right back to being overweight on the drivers! But I wouldn’t have done that on purpose—would I? ~
Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.