Posted by: fringe62 | March 16, 2011

The First of Many

While I was working for J. B. Hunt, I was put on what is called a dedicated run.  This was a really “gravy” dedicated run.  No matter how many miles I actually drove, I was guaranteed to be paid for 3000 miles per week.  It was part of some deal that JB Hunt had to cover Schneider Trucking Company loads until Schneider’s new terminal in Mehoopany, PA was finished.  There was a huge Proctor and Gamble paper-goods factory there and Schneider had gotten a contract to haul all of P&G’s products.  They were building a terminal to manage the shipment of the loads.

There were 12 drivers that were put on this run.  We were given our dispatch in the morning by 10am and the loads were usually ready by early evening.  All of the loads were to be delivered to either NYC, northern NJ or any of the New England states so it was a short 2-400 mile overnight run to the receiver.  We’d unload in the morning and then have all day to deadhead (run empty) back to Mehoopany.  The following day it started all over.   We had weekends off and could basically drive the tractors anywhere we wanted within reason.  Like I said, gravy.

I had hooked up my heavy load of cases of toilet paper and was driving east across I84 into CT for a delivery the next morning.  There were sometimes 4 or 5 of us running to the same place at the same time but on this trip I was alone.  JB Hunt restricts the engines of their trucks from going more than 55 mph – this is called governing the truck.  So to make up time I would sometimes let it roll a little down the hills, especially on nights when it was late and the roads were deserted.  I had hooked up with 4 or 5 drivers from some other companies whose trucks went a little faster than mine.  I was keeping up pretty decent by coasting a bit down the hills.  I was slowly climbing up the last steep hill before the highway levels out a bit down into Newburgh, NY.  My running buddies were already headed down the other side of the mountain. As I crested the hill one of them called back on the CB radio “Let ‘er rip JB you’re clean and green to the bottom”.  Just as I replied I watched in my side mirror as a car came up the ramp of the last exit and entered the highway.  I had a funny feeling about it and asked the ABF truck behind me if he could see what that car looked like.  He didn’t answer so I assumed he was talking on a different CB channel.  Some trucking company drivers claim a certain channel on the CB is the company channel.  When these drivers from the same company run together they usually talk on this company channel to avoid all of the chatter on channel 19.   I started to let my truck drift a bit to make up some more time.  The ABF truck was keeping up with me (their trucks are also governed at 55 or 60mph), a truck in front of me was coasting along at over the posted speed limit of 55 and three trucks were in the process of passing me at an even faster clip.

Then there it was, a flash of reflective material in my mirror from the headlights of a truck coming over the crest of the hill.  Too late I realized what it was and my heart skipped a beat.  I grabbed the mike to warn everyone else just as the blue and red lights started flashing, their brightness a bit startling in the darkness.  Everyone hit the brakes as those flashing lights reflected off of the backs and sides of the trucks around me.  As we all slowed down I made room for one of the trucks from the passing lane to get out of the way and he slid into the granny lane (slow lane) in front of me.  My heart started beating even faster as I noticed that the cop had slipped in behind me.  I slowed even more and so did he, staying right behind me with the lights still flashing.  I couldn’t believe it!  He was pulling me over!  I noticed there was nothing but guardrail on my right, no place to pull over.  I put on my four-ways to let him know that I was aware that he was behind me.

“Smokey Bear” I said on the CB, “as soon as I find a space wide enough I’ll pull over”.  He didn’t answer me but I knew he was listening, they always are.  The guardrail finally ended and I pulled over onto the shoulder, made sure my doors were locked and waited for him to come up to the truck.

As I listened to the radio crackle with all the jokes and talk about the bear pulling over a JB Hunt truck, the officer walked up to my door and tried to yank it open.  Since it was locked he crawled up on the side of the truck so his head was even with the window.  I had my hands on the steering wheel and when he asked I handed him my license and registration.  He also asked for my log book and told me to come back to his car.

As I sat in the back seat he started filling out a ticket and asked questions.  “Do you know how fast you were going?”

“No sir I don’t”, I replied.

“65 in a 55.  Don’t you think that’s pushing it driver?”

“If you pulled me over then I guess it might be”, I said.  He handed me my cards and logbook and I signed the ticket.

“If you go to court on this they may knock it down to not obeying posted signs or something like that”  he said.  I handed him the clipboard and he ripped off my copy of the ticket and handed it back to me.

“Are we all thru” I asked?   He said yes.  I looked at him and started laughing.

“What’s so funny driver?” he asked, as he turned around and stared at me.

“You” I said.  “I know exactly what’s going on here”.

“Driver, the only thing going on here is that you were doing over 65 in a 55mph speed zone and I pulled you over”.  But as he said it he kept biting his lip and his eyes had a strange glint.

“No, I get this scenario completely”, I replied.  “You’re going to go back to barracks tonight when your shift is over and start spinning this fairytale and you and all your fellow officers are going to have a really good laugh”.

“Now what would be so funny about this?” he asked as he smiled at me.

“What’s funny,” I said, laughing again, “is that out of 6 trucks letting it coast a bit down a hill, you pulled over a female driver in the slowest truck!  Now that you’ve got a good look at me, you can verify that I’m not a big, fat “trucker mama” which in itself is unbelievable.  But you’re going to have a hell of a time explaining to your fellow officers how you pulled over a 55mph…  JB Hunt truck…….      for speeding!  What a story!”

He just stared at me for an instant with a smirk playing around the corners of his mouth.   He twisted fully around in his seat to look at me and as his eyes danced he finally let out the laugh he’d been having a hard time holding in.

“Driver, you’re going to have a good story too, but you’re right, it won’t be as good as mine”.

First speeding ticket in a big truck

First speeding ticket in a big truck

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