From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Boom!
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2006 01:37:26 -0500
Thanks. I am.
That article was an interesting read but it doesn't much resemble the
world I operate in.
First off, I think that the loss figures are wildly inflated, part of
the same Big Lie that cops use with drugs for more funding and
publicity. You know, they dig up a few scrawny pot plants and report
the "street value" based on the finest mexican or Columbian stuff.
Like most pinko neoncom reporters who think the government is the
solution to all problems, he makes a big deal about the government not
requiring a background check for drivers. While that's true, it's
also irrelevant. The insurance companies have taken care of that. No
company with insurance will touch a felon simply because he won't be
There was a guy in my driving class who was a fifty-something super
nice dood. Mid-level manager for a local auto parts maker who had his
job exported to Mexico. Several adult kids, home in the burbs, etc.
Yet 6 months out from the class, he can't get a job. Why? When he
was 18 he boosted a car for a joyride and ended up with a felony on
his record. Last time I talked to him he was driving a local delivery
OTOH, one of the major problems with this industry is that the major
carriers have decided that instead of finding out why the average OTR
driver turnover rate is 100% and fixing it, they'll try to accommodate
it. They'll hire anyone who walks through the door with a clean
police record. They give him 2 weeks of orientation/training and
stick him in a truck.
I've learned to give drivers from these companies a wide berth. I've
already had a driver approach me at a dock and ask me to back his
truck into the dock because he didn't know how. He'd been through a 2
week CDL mill, had another 2 weeks of training with the carrier and
was put on the road. I declined, of course. Way too much liability
Many of the major shippers and logistics companies are addressing this
problem by not letting OTR drivers dock the trailers. The loaded
trailers are dropped in pull-through slots and then "yard dogs"
(company employees driving special yard mule trucks) move 'em to the
The security measures he described were mostly wrong. "GPS tracking
devices hidden in cargo" don't work very well inside metal trailers,
for instance. I hope the writer intentionally changed the facts and
doesn't really believe what he wrote.
My company quickly figured out that I'm a reliable driver and so I
haul quite a bit of high value cargo. One of the most effective
security measures is to put the Qualcomm (the little dome that they
claim thieves cover with foil) into continuous tracking mode. Normally
the truck's position is only updated when a message is sent or
received. In continuous tracking mode, the position is updated
continuously. If contact is lost for a certain short period, the
system alarms and the company can activate its security procedure. I
lose contact when I pull under the canopy to refuel so I have to do it
fast and get back out so the satellite can see me.
We do several other very simple but effective things to avoid cargo
theft. Each trailer, empty or not, is locked at all times with a huge
Abloy lock and is sealed. Thieves can't tell whether a trailer is
loaded or not. We never drop a loaded trailer in an unsecured place
such as a truck stop, only secured yards.
Even in a secure lot, a huge Abloy kingpin lock is fitted to the
trailer. You can see toy versions of this thing in truck stop stores.
This thing weighs at least 20 lbs. I have to sit on the ground under
the kingpin and use both hands to apply it. It's shaped so that if
someone tries to ram it and do a "snatch and run", it'll crack the 5th
We also apply gladhand locks (gladhands are the air line couplings
between the truck and trailer. Without air pressure in the red line,
the trailer will not move unless the air brakes are disassembled.
On my own I carry a length of the heaviest chain I could find and
another Abloy lock. I run the chain through a set of tandem wheels
and around an axle. When I take a trailer home for home time, when
the trailer will sit for several days unattended, I do certain other
things to the trailer that makes it inoperable until those things are
If I park over a weekend at a truck stop with a loaded trailer (fairly
frequent occurrence) and I decide to rent a car and go sightseeing, I
remove something from the electrical system and take it with me. Then
I pump the brake pedal to bleed the air tanks to zero pressure. With
a non-functioning engine and no air to release the air brakes, the
truck would require a wrecker to be moved.
Other simple security techniques involve never parking so the trailer
doors can be opened. At the truck stop that means either backing up
against the Armco (guard rail) or Jersey barrier or backing against
I never discuss what I'm hauling nor whom I'm hauling for, of course.
A lot of drivers like to sit around the truck stop and BS about what
they're hauling. Not me. When asked what I'm hauling, my reply is a
smile and "stuff".
Even if I'm only going to be out of the truck for a short period, say,
to take a shower or grab a meal, I'll slap on a gladhand lock. That
takes only seconds and completely immobilized the trailer.
None of this stuff is 100% effective but like other forms of theft
protection, all I want to do is make my truck less enticing than the
guy next to me :-)
I've yet to talk to a driver who'll admit to having been 'jacked.
Allowing for fibbing, that tells me the problem isn't too bad.
Whatever the degree of problem, I'm determined not to be part of it!
On 11 Nov 2006 18:00:21 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
>Neon John wrote:
>> I was on home time last week so not a whole lot to report. This week
>> has been interesting.
>> There are some crazy folks in my company. ...
>Be careful out ther Neon. I have more respect for the jungle truckers
>go through after reading this article.
>..."Twenty years before, Cox had been a trucker. He liked to joke that
>he became a cop because he wanted a safer job."...
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Boom!
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 20:45:58 -0500
On Wed, 29 Nov 2006 19:42:29 GMT, "Matthew Beasley" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>A CO2 bottle holds liquid CO2 so there is a lot of expansion.
>The pressure will range from 500 to 1000 PSI, depending on the temperature.
>The most common size for pop dispensing is a 10# bottle. A 10# bottle
>weighs 27# full and is 2' tall and 7" in dia. It holds 126 cubic feet or
>640 gallons of CO2 at STP. At 100 PSI it would fill a 83 gallon tank. If
>you stepped up to a 15# bottle it weighs 36#, 30" tall and 7" dia and holds
>126 cubic feet or 960 gallons . That would fill a 125 gallon tank to 100
>Both the 10# and 15# bottle are most definitely portable enough for the job.
The standard knee-high CO2 bottle that Coke rents in these parts holds
20 lbs. In Atlanta, they rent 'em that are chest-high and hold 40.
The problem with any of these grandiose schemes is that the moment you
withdraw any significant amount of gas from the tank, the remainder of
the liquid freezes to a solid chunk of dry ice. No more gas
available, at least not until some large quantity of heat is applied,
since CO2 is such a good refrigerant.
Regardless of which gas you use, the moment you start dragging out a
bunch of hoses and tanks, someone's going to come over to see what
you're doing. Maybe another driver. Maybe a guard. We do keep eyes
on other peoples' trucks.
The same goes for these other silly ideas such as dismantling the
Nobody's mentioned the most obvious solution of all - hotwire the
"ignition". Semis don't use column locks or any of that other carp
the government has forced on cars. Anyone who could hotwire a 68
chevy could do a truck.
Even that misses the point. All we do with the protective measures is
make the truck and trailer less attractive than the next one over that
might have less protection. Since the thief has no idea what is in
any trailer in the absence of a driver running his mouth, he's taking
a crap shoot with any trailer.
Doesn't make much sense to hotwire a tractor, cut the gladhand lock
off and remove the axle lock, only to end up with an empty or a load
of empty soda bottles. It makes eminently more sense to grab that
truck where the driver ducked in the truckstop for a cup of coffee and
left the engine idling, the key in the ignition. Just hop in the
truck and drive it off.