Joined: Feb 25, 2008
get in , sit down , shut up , and hold on .
Posted: Dec 2, 2009 01:02 PM
Msg. 1 of 1
I have been driving dump truck now for 3 years , soon to be 4 and one question I
have heard way too often from new drivers starting at my company is " But why
can't I cross that low weight limit bridge ? I'll only be on it for a few
seconds." It only takes a second for that antique bridge to finally give out and
that may be the second you happen to be on it .
I have an article I would like to share , it comes from a local newspaper and we
had it posted on our bulletin board at work as a type of teaching tool.
"COUNTY FILES LAWSUIT OVER BRIDGE COLLAPSE"
Waynesburg,PA- Greene county has sued a smithfield trucking company AND THE
DRIVER who drove a heavy load across a county bridge in Morris township last
year , causing the bridge to collapse .
The lawsuit filed last thursday with the Greene county court names both trucking
company and driver as defendants.The lawsuit asks for $1,190,000. to replace the
50 foot long bridge .
On April 17,2008, the driver was driving a 1991 International triaxle owned by
xxxxxxx trucking on simpsons chapel road, delivering a load of stone to the CNX
gas site in Morris township .
As the truck crossed the 116 year old bridge , the bridge superstructure
collapsed and it's abuttments were severely damaged or destroyed , the suit said
The driver (even tho he is named in the paper , I will leave him nameless here)
drove across the bridge , even though it was clearly posted with a 3 ton weight
limit . The defendants truck , which was weighed after he had picked up stone at
a local quarry , weighed 36.39 tons . (Now , I don't know if that is actual
total weight , or if they were going by his actual load weight . )
The suit claims the bridge cannot be repaired and will have to be replaced .The
county also claims that the bridge cannot be replaced until damages are
recovered . End of article.
Now I want to make a few comments here on this whole story , for starters , this
route he took was considered a shortcut , it was not the only way into the job
site . By ignoring the designated route given to him by the quarry he took
responsibility for his own actions . Nowhere in this article was it mentioned
that the quarry would be held liable for overloading , as it is the job of the
driver to make sure he is not overloaded .I also know from seeing pictures
posted last year in the paper that he was nearly home free when the bridge
collapsed . In the pics it showed his front wheels were hanging from the far end
of the bridge and the rest of the truck was about 25 feet down in the creek .
Now it didn't say that there were three other trucks from the same company who
had crossed that bridge right in front of this driver that was on the bridge
when it collapsed , but there were , and they were just darn lucky .
I also noted in the article that the county was suing the trucking company , but
in all actuality , if they have a decent attorney they won't have to pay a dime
. It is a very real possibility that they will leave the driver holding the bag
and refuse all responsibility for the drivers actions . To be perfectly honest
here , I would never expect my company to be responsible for my carelessness ,
and they wouldn't expect to be held responsible either .
So, as i have replied many times to the newbies that start at our company , If
it is posted under your gross weight then DO NOT CROSS IT !I tell them if they
are sent on a delivery and it is a posted bridge or road then stop before going
onto it and call the quarry , although that doesn't absolve the driver of blame
if they continue on across that low weight bridge or road . I simply call the
quarry and ask them to call the customer and let them know about the weight
limit and then as I am captain of my own ship , I make the decision to take the
risk or not .I also tell the new guys , when they give me the look that says
"I'm not a kid" that they are adults and can make their own decisions but if it
were me I would be covering ALL my bases and my butt while I am at it .
I won't lie to ya , I have taken loads back because there was no other way to
get in to the job . I don't like to but sometimes you have to . Yes , I am sure
another company got to haul that load in and another driver made money on that
load ,but every time i have done so I called first and told the quarry why i was
, and then i called my boss and told him also .My boss always tells me that I
made the right choice as he would be really ticked if he had to pay a $10,000
tow bill and then would have to fire me .
My first year I endagered my truck , myself , and my job by going across an old
concrete and steel affair that was just as long as my truck and I can tell you
that i have never done it since then . I just got lucky , and I don't count on
that any more as luck has a way of running out when you need it most .
just a bucket truck driver .member #10829-D