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December 2022 Newsletter

Dec 17, 2021
This month's featured member:
Leon Trimble

Local News

12/14/21 – Washington State Patrol troopers responded to over 70 collisions caused by icy roads Tuesday morning in Pierce and Thurston County before 8am.

Trooper Reyer asked drivers to slow down and increase following distances between cars to stay safe on the wet, snowy, and icy roads.

Federal News

Notice of request for public comment.

DOT is asking the public to help shape the department’s goals and priorities as we work to transform the nation’s transportation system making it safer, more accessible, more reliable, and multi-modal, in order to increase economic strength, improve climate and equity outcomes, and build global competitiveness for the American people.

The public comment period closes on December 17, 2021. Please see the Federal Register Notice for more information.

VCT – Safety Trends

Days Since Last Unsafe Driving Violation: 7

12/9/2021 Violation issued for Failure to Obey: Driver did not chain up CMV when required.

Details: Driver mounted two chains on their tractor and two chains on the trailer. Washington state requires chains on all four tires of the rear drive axle, the two outside tires on the forward drive axle, and one drag chain on the rear most passenger side stationary axle on the trailer.

Days Since Last Vehicle Out of Service Order: 111

Days Since Last Injury: 68

Current Unsafe Driving CSA Percentile: 18%

This means that 82% of motor carriers in the same safety event group have a lower on-road performance.

Absolutely outstanding performance by all drivers. We appreciate your commitment to professionalism and doing your part to ensure that each of you, as well as the motorists we share the road with, get home alive. At this time last year, December 2020, VCT was at 60%. December of 2019 was 70%.

Last at fault DOT recordable accident involving another vehicle: November 2021

11/19/21 Driver failed to slow for traffic slowing ahead and rear-ended a pickup truck at high rate of speed on the freeway.

VCT – Room for Improvement

Incredible progress has been made recently and speeding now ranks number two under our unsafe driving CSA violations. Speeding is an issue that we have historically neglected and for many years was our most frequently received violation.

Please remember, speed limits are the maximum safe speed under ideal conditions. Speed limits are not a minimum, and depending on road, weather, and traffic it may be extremely dangerous to attempt to reach those limits.

We have had an unusual increase in 70mph+ email alerts over the past few months. Receiving a citation at these speeds will have a severe negative impact on your driving record, potentially your career, as well as your teammates. We also have over 30 (almost 1/3 of VCT) drivers averaging over 500 overspeed events per week, with the most negligent violator earning 2,845 overspeed events in the past 7 days (Overspeed event defined as traveling more than 4mph over the posted speed limit in any speed zone and is recorded each time your EROAD GPS is “pinged”).

Same as with your personal vehicle insurance, if VCT as a whole receives too many citations our insurance rates will increase resulting in fewer raises and bonuses for you the driver.

Strive for perfection, settle for excellence.

VCT – Helpful Tips

If you are currently eligible for VCT benefits you have access to free 24/7 care through the employee assistance program.

Magellan Health Care - Phone: 800 450 1327 - Principal Core

Please reach out to Jennifer Parsons for details.

Office 253 922 1911 - Cell 253 307 0188

From The Drivers – Leon Trimble (Truck 2141s Spokane, WA)

Leon joined the team in September of 2019 after being recommended by an instructor at his CDL school. Previously he had spent over ten years as an auto mechanic, and before that many years in the construction industry. An injury forced him to reconsider his career path; urged by his doctor to find something less abusive to his body. 20 years of manual labor was starting to catch up with him.

“Something that had been tooling around in my mind for a long time, wouldn’t that be cool to drive one of those big ass vehicles?” It would be a significant life change though, and he had to think about his family. “My wife was worried; she was used to me having a 9 to 5 job.” For most drivers fresh out of school OTR is the only opportunity available forcing them to be away from home for weeks or months at a time. Leon made a promise to his wife that he would not put her through that.

He wanted a driving position that kept him physically active, but not beating himself up, home regularly, and on par with his previous pay scale. Leon believes Veneer Chip offered everything he wanted. Most importantly, the home time. “Josh is very open, very straightforward. At least for us over here Josh has a big thing about we don’t work weekends. They get me home every weekend without fail.”

Leon also mentioned several times how proud he is to work for James, Jon, Josh, and Dan. “Every last one of them is a driver, has driven, knows what it takes to do the job and is not afraid, when push comes to shove, to get in a truck to get the job done.”

He told me a story about a time he was delayed at Wallula due to high winds and knew he wasn’t going to make his next load appointment that afternoon. “The owner of the company got in a truck and got my trailer loaded for me.” That has stuck with him, and proved to him, the dedication Veneer Chip has to their drivers.

I asked if he had any advice for his teammates. His answer was simple. “You get what you give. You know, I found that that’s what this company does. I work hard, I do my best to do my job correctly and take care of my equipment and I feel the company turned around and did the same for me. They keep me working, they keep my equipment running. Give this job what you want from it, and that’s what you’ll get from it.”

Despite all the positive anecdotes about his confidence in the leadership of his supervisors, he does have one bone to pick with the management team. “How do we convince Jon to turn one of the new Internationals into a Lonestar with an 18 speed?”

After a good laugh he ended on a serious note. He tells every new hire he trains, “You have my number, just because I’m done training doesn’t mean I’m done with you. I’m happy to be your first call.”

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