Sunday, November 18, 2007

Update On My Dad

Originally Posted on Sun, Nov 18 2007 @ 1:31 AM [EST]

Just another update on my dad.For those of you that don't know about what has been going on with my dad, he has been battling kidney failure and Leukemia. You can check out the follow post for more info:
http://truckintedybehr.blogspot.com/2007/10/still-here.html
http://truckintedybehr.blogspot.com/2007/10/update.html

Dad came home from the Rehabilitation Center on Thursday evening (11/15/07). He is back in his own apartment. He is doing much better and all his numbers are improving. It is still too early to tell if the Leukemia is going back into remission.

We've setup to have a nurse come in once a week to monitor him and to help setup his meds for the week and things like that. Home Health is also setting up for him to receive some more 'occupational therapy' to basically teach him how to do his day-to-day activities the most efficient way possible for his current physical condition. We are checking in to see about getting a care provider to come in a couple times a week to help him around the house. This will give me and my wife a little break during the week.

He has been having vision problems since he has gotten sick again. He is having problems seeing well enough to be able to read things like cooking instructions. My wife and I have been taking care of things like his shopping and fixing him meals, etc. We have also been taking him back and forth to dialysis three times a week, chemotherapy once a week and any other doctor appointments. My brothers both live about 20 minutes away so we have been handling most of the work load this time around. We've been working on a schedule with them so that they will be helping out on the weekends.

I really must say that my wife is amazing. She has been doing so much to help my dad. She helps take him to his appointments. She has taken over his finances. She helps with the shopping. She is absolutely amazing.

That is all for now. Be safe out there. -TTB


Comments

I don't know what to say but to tell you you are in my prayers and have my support..VM-out!
Comment By:VM on Sun, Nov 18 2007 @ 3:38 AM [EST]

It's good to hear that he is out of the hospital and back home. His health may not be the best right now but being at home can make a differance in recovery. When my dad was battling cancer he was in a much better state of mind when he was home. A positive outlook by your dad can do wonders toward recovery. The mind is a very powerful tool. I hope things get better and be sure to keep letting your wife know how much her help means to you and your family.
Comment By:Roadhzrd on Sun, Nov 18 2007 @ 9:19 AM [EST]

Thank you both. Your thoughts and prays are greatly appreciated. Be safe. -TTB
Comment By:Truckin Tedybehr on Sun, Nov 18 2007 @ 12:16 PM [EST]

send me an e-mail please!
Comment By:vm on Thu, Nov 22 2007 @ 5:17 AM [EST]

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What I'm Reading Now

Originally Posted on Sun, Nov 11 2007 @ 12:19 AM [EST]




So, here is what I'm reading now:



'A Brief History of Time' by Stephen Hawking
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brief_history_of_time



'Journey To The Center Of The Earth' by Jules Verne
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_to_the_center_of_the_earth


Have you read them? If so, what did you think of them?So, what are you reading?





Comments

My favorite books of all time.."Have A Nice Day" by Mick Foley-professional wrestler..And the "Boxcar Children" when I was a kid..Good reads..My daughter (who is only 6) by the way was Student of the Month and won an award for her writing..Must be my Fathers Masters Degree in English skipping a generation..VM-out!
Comment By:VM on Sun, Nov 11 2007 @ 3:39 AM [EST]

Is it not funny that the real Dr. Seuss did not like children?..Kind of crazy huh?..VM-out!
Comment By:VM on Sun, Nov 11 2007 @ 6:56 AM [EST]

I have read "Journey to the Center of the Earth". I am an avid reader and have quite a library. At any time you will find so many books in the truck that it is hard to find a place to put them. My favorite genre is science fiction but I read W.E.B. Griffin, Tom Clancy, Dale Brown, etc.. A person that reads, learns and a person that learns will have a lot of useless and useful knowledge tucked away in their brains.
Comment By:lenutt on Sun, Nov 11 2007 @ 2:35 PM [EST]

Hey I got a lot of useless knowledge..For example that Dr. Seuss comment...VM
Comment By:VM on Mon, Nov 12 2007 @ 2:47 AM [EST]

My wife says I'm a walking encyclopedia of useless knowledge. -TTB
Comment By:Truckin Tedybehr on Mon, Nov 12 2007 @ 7:18 PM [EST]

I've beenreading a lot the past five years or so. I've read about 70 books in 5 years. I've been into the classics lately such as Jules Verne, Mark Twaine, H.G. Wells, etc. Then I'll turn around and pickup a Harry Potter book or something by Stephen King or Dean Koontz. I don't know if I can really pick a favorite. -TTB
Comment By:Truckin Tedybehr on Mon, Nov 12 2007 @ 10:21 PM [EST]

Well if you like to read then be a trucker because you'll have plenty of time to read when waiting to get loaded or unloaded...VM-out! PS I've actually seen truckers fight over books at a terminal when a lady gave all her old books away..Audiobooks are cool too...
Comment By:VM on Thu, Nov 15 2007 @ 5:01 AM [EST]

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Comment Regarding GAO Report

Originally Posted on Thu, Nov 08 2007 @ 10:05 PM [EST]

About a week ago (10/31/07), I posted an article from MSNBC.com titled 'GAO: Easy to cheat on trucker drug tests'. You can find my post here:
http://truckintedybehr.blogspot.com/2007/11/gao-easy-to-cheat-on-trucker-drug-tests.html

If you choose not to read the earlier post, you can find the MSNBC article at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21568973/

I originally posted this article with no real comments from me. A few days later, I edited the post to add a few comments from me. Well, I should have posted those comments and more when I posted the article. I found the article interesting and I hoped to solicit comments from the drivers out there. Having a laps in mental capacity, I forgot to even state this. So, what I have now done is looked closer into this. Now, I'm by no means an expert on this (or anything else trucking related) so please, read the information provided by the DOT and FMCSA. It is every driver's and carrier's responsibility to be informed about the regulations that govern the motor carrier industry.

A comment from my fellow blogger, VM, says it best about this article:


This report makes us look like a bunch of junkies. There are truck drivers that use drugs a very, very, small percentage I would say. I would dare to say that we are the most sober in contrast to other professions. Yes, you could use "Crank" to stay up for a week but you'd crash hard for two days not doing a damn thing so where would that get you?..I could walk into work tomorrow and they'd say "VM go get a drug test" I never know when it's coming it's a lottery type thing. My CDL isn't worth getting high it's my bread and butter. What am I going to do if that's pulled?..Dispatch Full-time? Man that would suck..I do it part
time now and that's a headache.


I agree with VM's comment. The article just paints a picture of truck drivers as a bunch of drugged up people just waiting to have an accident. I completely disagree with this article. I do not worry that the truckers out there are on drugs, I worry that they are tired because of the problems with the industry, but that is another issue entirely and I won't go into it now.

Since the article leaves out a lot of information (where the sites were located, why they were chosen, etc.), below are two links to the actual reports the GAO released based on statements of Gregory D. Kutz and Katherine Siggerud.


Statement of Gregory D. Kutz
Managing Director Forensic Audits and Special Investigations
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08220t.pdf [PDF]


Statement of Katherine Siggerud
Director Physical Infrastructure Issues
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08225t.pdf [PDF]


I've read both of these documents and I found them interesting. I recommend that all drivers and carriers read these documents. They give some insight into the drug testing requirements. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there is a lack of information and misunderstanding about the regulations involving drug testing. I've also listed some information links on the subject of drug and alcohol testing from the FMCSA and DOT web sites at the bottom of this post.

The reports do show that there are problems with the agencies responsible for collecting the urine samples. This does need to be fixed because these sites are responsible for collections for any DOT required testing as well as other industries.

Another problem is that currently, drug testing laboratories are only authorized, not required, to perform validity testing for all DOT required commercial motor carrier drug tests. This validity testing would detect if adulterants such as drug-masking products and synthetic urine were used. Drug-masking products are widely available via the internet and certain magazines. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is aware of these products and revised the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs in 2004 to require that specimen validity tests be conducted on all urine specimens. The DOT did not adopt this update in their regulations so drug testing laboratories are only authorized, not required, to perform validity testing.

Yet another problem:


According to FMCSA data, more than 70 percent of compliance reviews conducted
since 2001 and more than 40 percent of safety audits conducted since 2003 found
violations of drug testing regulations, including finding that the carrier had
no drug testing program at all1.
1 FMCSA data used in this statement include
information from compliance reviews and new entrant safety audits conducted
through September 21, 2007.


These issues must be fixed. Drug testing not only helps to find the guilty and to deter the use of illegal drugs, they also prove innocents.

=====================================

I found this to be interesting and to be what I would have expected.



Commercial motor carriers2 account for less than 5 percent of all highway
crashes, but these crashes result in about 13 percent of all highway deaths, or
about 5,500 of the approximately 43,000 highway fatalities that occur nationwide
annually. A DOT study on the factors associated with large truck crashes finds
that vehicle factors, such as brake problems, and behavioral factors, such as
speeding and driver fatigue, are some of the most frequently cited factors
involved in large truck crashes.3 While illegal drug use is not among the most
frequently cited factors in the DOT study-appearing as an associated factor in
only 2 percent of the crashes included in the study-it is clear that the use of
illegal drugs, such as marijuana, heroin, or cocaine, can severely impair the
ability of individuals to drive.

2 There are approximately 711,000 commercial motor carriers registered in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). This includes an unidentified number of carriers that are registered but are no longer in business. MCMIS contains information on the safety fitness of commercial motor carrier and hazardous materials shippers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the Hazardous Materials Regulations.

3 DOT, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Analysis Division, Large Truck Crash Causation Study, Publication No: FMCSA-RRA-07-017 (July 2007).



One of the major problems with the industry is "IMAGE". Sheryl Youngblood, Ph.D. (a.k.a. truckerdoc) describes it best on her web site (http://www.truckerdoc.com/site/870139/page/461177/site) (11/05/07)


Fact. The research and other indicators show that only about 12% of the drivers are making it difficult for the others. So why does it seem that the industry is being over-run by drivers who don't care? There are several factors that contribute to this perception.

1. In a population of 3.6 million drivers, 12% will be highly visible. You will see part of that 12% every day.

2. As humans, we pay more attention to the negative events in life - things that might hurt or destroy us.

3. We are also programmed to remember the negative events more than the positive.

4. Constantly repeating the belief that good drivers are in short supply only reinforces the fallacy. If something is stated often enough, it becomes a reality in people's minds.

5. People use the confirmation bias. Once they believe something, they look for evidence that supports their belief and disregard events and information that don't support it.

6. We get what we expect. Quantum physics and psychological research have clearly demonstrated that expectations actually cause events and behavior to occur. We have amazing power; people will conform to our expectations of them.

7. Good drivers aren't talking to and supporting each other enough. I wish I had a dime for every time drivers told me that they don't listen to the CB anymore because of all the nonsense they hear. Knights of the Road have relinquished the airwaves to the vocal minority. If the drivers who are doing "good work" don't speak up, it gives the appearance that they don't exist.

What can you do?

1. It is important to actively seek out other Knights of the Road, such as yourself and
support each other. There are more of you than there are of them.

2. Take back your Road; Take back your CB.

3. Train yourself to look for the positive in events.

4. Expect the best in other drivers. Most of the time you will get it.

5. Mentor the new drivers. There are a lot of good ones out there who need your help and encouragement and want to be part of the comraderie.



Informational Links:

Federal Alcohol and Drug Testing Requirements Brochure
http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/safety-initiatives/drugs/drug-testing-guide.htm

What Employees need to know about DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing [PDF]
http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/testingpubs/Employee_handbook_200601.pdf

Overview of Drug and Alcohol Testing Rules
http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/drug/engtesting.htm

AM I COVERED BY DOT DRUG & ALCOHOL TESTING REGULATIONS?
http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/odapc/v3_slide0001.htm

Frequently Asked Questions
http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/odapc_faq.html

Implementation Guidelines for Alcohol and Drug Regulations
http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/safety-initiatives/drugs/drug-guidelines.htm

Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs
http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/NEW_DOCS/part40.html?proc

A BIG thanks to VM and TruckerDoc!!!!


Comments

Man, did I ever tell you that you got a brain?..Bravo on the presentation!!! Thank you for the backup...VM-out!
Comment By: VM on Sat, Nov 10 2007 @ 5:54 AM [EST]

I would also like to thank TruckerDoc for her support of drivers..I think a lot of people get turned off by me because I post whatever I feel. Sometimes I need to vent and that comes across pretty negative. But, I consider myself a friend who'd take the shirt off his back to help someone. So don't buy the idea that VM thinks himself as a big hardass. Actually I'm a big softy with most people but I'm no pushover either...VM-out!
Comment By: VM on Sat, Nov 10 2007 @ 8:16 AM [EST]

Thanks VM. I know your type...you put up the big hardass front then you probably cry watching "Steal Magnolia" lol -TTB
Comment By: Truckin Tedybehr on Sat, Nov 10 2007 @ 5:41 PM [EST]

Yes, like today I went to a driver I dispatch house and fixed his computer for FREE..He's a good man but bad with computers so I helped him out I like helping people out..So I am a big softy and like helping people out..Whats wrong with that?..By the way I do have a dark side and when I smell blood I am like a shark I don't stop..So I am a true 2 for the price of 1 Gemini..VM-out!
Comment By: VM on Sun, Nov 11 2007 @ 3:19 AM [EST]

I bet having a split personality makes it more interesting when you talk to yourself. -TTB
Comment By: Truckin Tedybehr on Mon, Nov 12 2007 @ 7:16 PM [EST]

I do..I have to actually stop myself from blurting crazy things aloud...VM-out!
Comment By: VM on Thu, Nov 15 2007 @ 5:03 AM [EST]

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pre-Trip Study Guide

Originally Posted on Wed, Nov 07 2007 @ 12:04 PM [EST]

I found this simple pre-trip study guide. I would love to hear from you truckers out there. Does this list look complete? Are there any changes you believe should be made? Do you know of any better guides? Any tips on how to memorize it?

I've been reading the OHIO CDL manual but having something like this as a basic run down is nice to have.

--------------------------------

Engine Compartment
1. Alternator/belts/mounting
2. Water pump/belt/leaks
3. Leaks/hoses/wire
4. Air compressor/belts/mounting
5. Oil level
6. Coolant level
7. Power steering level

Front axle checks
1. Springs/U bolts
2. Spring mounts
3. Shock absorber/mounts/leakage
4. Steering box/mounting/leakage
5. Steering leakage/tie rods
6. Brake hose to chamber
7. Brake chamber/mounting/pushrod clevis and pin
8. Slack adjuster/position (no more than 1 inch pull)
9. Brake drum/cracks/shoes
10. Tire/kick for pressure/tread depth
11. Rim/cracks/bends
12. Lug nut tightness/rust streaks
13. Hub oil seals inner-outer

Walk around
1. Left tractor door hinges/latches/mirror mounts
2. Left fuel tank mounting straps/fuel cap tightness
3. Front of vehicle light mounts/cab damage
4. Right fuel tank/mounting straps/cap tightness
5. Right door/ mirror mounts
6. Exhaust stack/integrity of connections
7. Rear of cab/air hoses/light cord
8. Catwalk/steps
9. Drive shaft/U joints
10. Tractor frame rails/cross members
11. Tractor front/header board
12. Air glad-hands/trailer light cord socket/socket ketch
13. Right trailer side/clearance lights/reflectors
14. Under-frame
15. Landing gear/up/no stones
16. Trailer side door latches and hinges
17. Trailer axle,
18. Spring mounts
19. Trailer shocks/airbags
20. Brake hoses to chamber
21. Brake chamber/chamber mounting tightness
22. Brake drum/cracks/brake shoes, lining thickness
23. Tires/pressure/tread depth
24. Rim/cracks/bends
25. Lug nut tightness/Budd or disc/spoke wedges and nuts
26. Spoke wheel spacer
27. Hub oil seals/inner-outer
28. Rear of trailer/mud flaps
29. Rear trailer door/latches/hinges
30. Landing gear crank stored
31. Fifth wheel release arm in
32. Fifth wheel slider locks in
33. Fifth wheel platform greased
34. Trailer apron plate not caved in
35. King pin latched

Vehicle Light Checks
1. Headlights/bright/dim
2. Front signals/4-ways
3. Front clearance/reflector
4. Rear tail lights
5. Rear signals/4-ways
6. Rear brake lights
7. Rear clearance/reflector

In-cab Checks
1. Clutch / gearshift / neutral
2. Start-up oil pressure
3. Volt meter
4. Air pressure/dual tanks
5. Speedometer
6. Light indicators
7. Steering wheel play
8. Horns (city and air horn)
9. Windshield/mirrors adjusted
10. Wipers
11. Heaters/defroster
12. Safety/emergency equipment
13. System air-brake checks/leakage/low air pressure waning/button pop
14. Check service brakes
15. Check parking brakes

Found at: http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/1608/page4.htm


Comments

It looks like alot but it really isn't. Most of the stuff is visual and after awhile you will actually know something is wrong while driving the day before and can have it fixed. You get to know the truck by feel and sound. A walk around will take awhile when you first start driving. But after awhile you will breeze right through it and not miss a thing.
Comment By:roadhzrd on Wed, Nov 07 2007 @ 7:24 PM [EST]

Thanks Roadhzrd
Comment By:Truckin Tedybehr on Wed, Nov 07 2007 @ 8:01 PM [EST]

Always check your fifth wheel..You never know if some joker has pulled it at some rest area or truck stop and you should check the fifth wheel jaws to make sure they are around your kingpin..When you get into the cab check for air leaks by releasing tractor and trailer brakes and pressing on the service brake..Like my favorite smartass Rdhzrd says sounds like a lot but you'll breeze right through it after awhile...VM-out!
Comment By:VM on Thu, Nov 08 2007 @ 7:04 AM [EST]

Get yourself a piece of solid steel bar (My favorite) about 18" long 1" thick and use that as a tire thumper..Tires should spring back to you when properly inflated. If they go thud you have a flat..VM-out!
Comment By:VM on Thu, Nov 08 2007 @ 7:07 AM [EST]

Thanks VM
Comment By:Truckin Tedybehr on Thu, Nov 08 2007 @ 11:29 PM [EST]

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Did You Vote Today?

Originally Posted on Tue, Nov 06 2007 @ 11:54 PM [EST]


Did you vote Today? I hope so.
(Yes I did, thank you very much ... lol)

Voting gives me mixed feelings.


1) I feel very proud that I voted and helped do my part to keep democracy alive in this country. My vote may be just one of many, but one vote CAN make a difference.

2) I feel sad knowing that so few Americans actually vote. To make it worse, not even all the Americans that are registered to vote actually do. I know that this was a small election year. Ohio had no issues on the ballot (one issue was printed but they ended up not getting enough signatures to actually get it voted upon). There were no state positions up for election this year either in Ohio. This just leaves local items. In my areas, we only had 7 elected positions like mayor, school board, City Director of Law (whatever that is), etc. We had three levy renewals/increases: School Levy, Senior Services and MR/DD. Other areas of Ohio had a lot more and I know that other states had Governor races, etc going on.

3) A little depressed because I see so many candidates running unopposed. We had 7 positions on the ballot this year. 4 of those 7 were unopposed. Now before you start saying that I should run, let me say that I know nothing of about those jobs. Besides, I'm WAY too honest to be a politician.


Comments

TT, the infamous lenutt has been just north of you for the evening. Thought you might feel the heat from all the negative comments coming my way lately. Just passing through going to Chicagoland.
Comment By:lenutt on Wed, Nov 07 2007 @ 7:08 AM [EST]


Watch out for them tolls Lennut!!! VM-out!
Comment By:VM on Wed, Nov 07 2007 @ 7:45 AM [EST]


I wish I had known you were in the area. I would have loved meeting you for some coffee. I did notice that there was a change in the temp around here. lol -TTB
Comment By:Truckin Tedybehr on Wed, Nov 07 2007 @ 9:56 AM [EST]

Monday, November 5, 2007

Bloglines.com

Originally Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 @ 11:32 AM [EST]

I want to tell you about a great web site that I found by reading Ken and Karen's blog 'Out Here on the Road' (http://kenandkaren.hwyblogs.com/). It's called Bloglines.com. Now before I continue, I want to say that I am in no way affiliated with Bloglines nor am I making any money for recommending it. Bloglines makes it so much easier to keep track of the information that I want. It will allow me to keep track of the blogs I read, podcast, news feeds, etc.

Instead of trying to describe it myself, here is a quote from their 'About' page:

http://www.bloglines.com/about/
(11/05/07)


About Bloglines

Free and Easy
Bloglines is a FREE online service for searching, subscribing, creating and sharing news feeds, blogs and rich web content. With Bloglines, there is no software to download or install -- simply register as a new user and you can instantly begin accessing your account any time, from any computer or mobile device. And it's FREE!

Bloglines is a window to a whole new world of dynamic content that is being created and distributed over the new "live" web. You can make your own personalized news
page tailored to your unique interests from our index of tens of millions of live internet content feeds, including articles, blogs, images and audio. And it's FREE!

Bloglines shields you from the confusion of news feed standards -- RSS, Atom, and others. Bloglines allows you to search for, read and share any updates from your favorite news feed or blog regardless of its authoring technology. And it's FREE!
Last, but not least, Bloglines provides you with the tools you need to begin creating your own clip blogs and blogrolls. Become a publisher, share your thoughts and opinions! And it's FREE! Get started today!.

Feature Rich Service
Bloglines offers the most features for people who like their online news to be fresh. It's the most popular website of its kind, indexing millions of new online articles every day.

Key Features of Bloglines:

  • All-in-one Blog and news feed search, online subscriptions, news reader, blog publishing and social sharing tools
  • Available in 10 languages
  • Mobile version optimized for handheld computers and cell phones
  • Email subscriptions help manage your e-newsletter traffic
  • Package Tracking (UPS, USPS & FedEx)
  • Custom weather forecasts
  • Quick Pick Subscriptions get new users started quickly and easily
  • Personalized recommendations to find new subscriptions
  • Bookmarklet for single-click subscriptions to any source
  • Notifiers for all browser types to remind you when new articles have arrived
  • Bloglines Saved Searches deliver future articles matching your key words and phrases
  • Most Popular lists show the days hot topics and which blogs are getting the most noticed
  • Handy add-on tools for bloggers such as automated blogrolls, subscription
    buttons


I just started using Bloglines and it is great. I've been able to add the 16 or so blogs that I read to it. Now, I can access these blogs from any place. Before I started using Bloglines, I was using the reader built into Internet Explorer 7. Even though IE7 does a good job with feeds, I also use three different computers on a regular bases. It was difficult to make sure I added any new feeds to all three computers and then if I read any updates on one computer, then I would have to turn around and check the feeds on the other two to make sure I had actually read everything.

If you have multiple feeds (blogs, news, podcast, etc) that you keep track of, I recommend you give Bloglines a try. Once again I want to say that I am in no way affiliated with Bloglines nor am I making any money for recommending it. I'm just trying to help out my fellow bloggers.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

GAO: Easy to cheat on trucker drug tests

Originally Posted on Thu, Nov 01 2007 @ 12:26 AM [EST]

Edited (11/08/07): After reading this post, please be sure to read my follow up post: http://truckintedybehr.blogspot.com/2008/12/comment-regarding-gao-report.html

OK .. I just saw this headline story on MSNBC.com (posted 10/31/07)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21568973/

What's your opinion of this article? I think it is a bunch of crap. There are more people driving cars that are on drugs than there are truckers. You hear it all the time on the news where someone under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol are in an accident. The only good part about the article is that statement that the number of large-truck fatalities is down 5% last year - the largest decline in 4 years.



GAO: Easy to cheat on trucker drug tests
Three-quarters of testing sites don't provide secure conditions, report
finds


By Lisa Myers and Richard Gardella
NBC News Investigative Unit

WASHINGTON - Undercover federal investigators discovered that it was surprisingly easy to cheat on random drug tests designed to catch truck drivers who use drugs, NBC News has learned.

Undercover investigators with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, used bogus truck driver's licenses to gain access to 24 drug-testing sites. They found that 75 percent "failed to restrict access to items that could be used to adulterate or dilute the [urine] specimen, meaning that running water, soap, or air freshener was available in the bathroom during the test."

The GAO team also bought drug-masking products over the Web
and was able to mix them with real specimens at the drug-testing sites "without being caught by site collectors," the agency said in a report scheduled to be made public Thursday.

Drug-screening labs never realized that there was a problem. "Every drug masking product went undetected by the drug screening labs," said the report, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News.

DOT cites drop in road deaths
A spokeswoman for the Transportation Department, which requires motor carriers to test their employees and sets the regulations for collections, said driver errors, not drug use, caused most accidents.

"Our efforts on this front have been critical in helping us reduce the
number of large truck fatalities by nearly 5 percent last year — the largest
decline in four years," said the spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of
anonymity.

But Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who asked GAO to investigate, said the report was "frankly astonishing and shocking and dismaying. You can manipulate the tests, you can mask substance abuse and go undetected on the roadways."

Oberstar, who planned to hold a hearing Thursday, said the drug-testing system was broken and was placing other drivers in danger.

"It fails, it is not sufficient, it is not protecting the public interest," he said.

How many are cheating?
The Transportation Department estimates that fewer than 2 percent of truck drivers test positive each year for controlled substances in random federal tests. But when Oregon law enforcement officials conducted their own random tests this year, 9 percent of truck drivers tested positive.

Dozens of products widely available on the Web are marketed to truckers as fail-safe ways to defeat the mandatory drug tests.

"My first reaction was total disbelief. I just felt sick," said Kathleen Ellsbury, whose husband, Tony Qamar, was killed two years ago when a truck driver in Washington state lost his load of logs on a curve, crushing Qamar's car. Also killed was Daniel Johnson, a fellow seismologist at the University of Washington.

Ellsbury learned later that the truck driver, who was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison for vehicular homicide, had previously been convicted of possessing methamphetamines and that he had meth in his blood at the time of the crash.

"The system has big holes, let's say that," said Ellsbury, who said she had a message for truck drivers who might be tempted to cheat: "I'd like to be standing right outside the bathroom and hold up a picture of my husband — remind them there's consequences."

Truckers promise to do better Spokesmen for the trucking industry said truck drivers were among the safest drivers on the road, with much lower rates of drug use than the general population. Still, they said, having roughly 30,000 drivers
test positive each year was unacceptable.

The Transportation Department spokeswoman, while blaming "commercial and passenger driver errors" for most highway deaths, said the department was continuing to "work with our state law enforcement partners to aggressively ensure trucking companies comply with our regulations, including drug and alcohol enforcement."

"In 2006 alone, this combined federal and state effort led to more than 5,000 enforcement cases that resulted in more than $19 million in fines and 1,035 companies being taken out of service," she said.

Lisa Myers is chief investigative correspondent and Richard Gardella is an investigative producer for NBC News.
Comments

This report makes us look like a bunch of junkies. There are truck drivers that use drugs a very, very, small percentage I would say. I would dare to say that we are the most sober in contrast to other professions. Yes, you could use "Crank" to stay up for a week but you'd crash hard for two days not doing a damn thing so where would that get you?..I could walk into work tommorrow and they'd say "VM go get a drug test" I never know when its coming its a lottery type thing. My CDL isn't worth getting high its my bread and butter. What am I going to do if thats pulled?..Dispatch Full-time? Man that would suck..I do it part time now and thats a headache..TT don't listen to the media they don't know what they're talking about...VM-out!
Comment By: VM on Fri, Nov 02 2007 @ 6:39 AM [EST]

I've edited the post so it basically ask for everyone's oppinion. I think it is a bunch of BS. Why don't they enforce drug testing for car drivers? Yes, truckers are on the road more than the average driver but there are a lot of other people on the road all the time for work or commuting to work. Hell, a few years ago, my brother was turning onto the street he lives. A woman, decided to pass him on the left at the time he was turning left and hit him doing 55 mph. Luckily, no one was hurt (not even the 3 young kids that were unrestrained in the car). It turns out that she had had her license suspended, had no insurance and was under the influence of 5 different prescription meds that she shouldn't have been driving while taking.
Comment By: Truckin Tedybehr on Fri, Nov 02 2007 @ 1:20 PM [EST]

Well its just that I have a lot of pride in what I am doing. I sacrifice a lot for other peoples convienience. I miss holidays, I work goofy hours, and I miss much of my childrens youth. I do sacrifice a lot and to think its somehow its in vain makes me angry. Truckers do a lot of the dirty work that keeps our nation running so I get a bit defensive whenever people talk mess about our biz. So I take pride in being a trucker..VM-out!
Comment By: VM on Sat, Nov 03 2007 @ 8:09 AM [EST]

I just want you to know that I don't believe this crap. I believe that most truckers are going to take more pride in what they do then the average worker. They also have a lot more to lose by taking drugs than the average person. For the average worker, they may lose there job if caught but they can go find another job in the same field. A trucker not only loses his/her job, but his career because they will lose their CDL. No CDL, no trucking.
Comment By: Truckin Tedybehr on Sat, Nov 03 2007 @ 1:54 PM [EST]

Yes, thank you for undestanding and appreciation in the future if you want to continue to go on and be a trucker I'd gladly take you under my wing and show you the ropes. If you ever need any questions answered don't hesitate to ask I am here for you brother. The thing I like about this biz is that I had a lot of mentors in the past and still to this day show me the ins and outs of this business its kind of like a brotherhood. We don't have pieces of paper on the wall to show how smart we are. However, I still pull wisdom out of my elder drivers everyday. But, a piece of paper only shows what a good parrot you are. Being booksmart is fine to a point, but being wise is worth its weight in gold..VM-out!
Comment By: VM on Sun, Nov 04 2007 @ 3:22 AM [EST]

VM ... you don't know how much that really means to me. Thank you.
Comment By: Truckin Tedybehr on Sun, Nov 04 2007 @ 11:20 PM [EST]