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Report: #152612

Complaint Review: NFI National Frieght - Vineland New Jersey

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  • Reported By: Luthersville Georgia
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  • NFI National Frieght 71 West Park Ave Vineland, New Jersey U.S.A.

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On July 16,2005 I was employed by National Freight,Inc. to a dispatched load# 1989299 from Baldwinville,N.Y. to Atlana,GA. TO Atlanta Beverage,Inc.

This was a beer load to Atlanta. I arrived at Anhesuer Busch,on Beverage Rd. in Baldwinville,N.Y. I signed in and dropped my empty trailer. I recieved my loaded trailer number and hooked up to it and slid the tandems to the front at the appropiate setting. I then proceeded to the uard shack to have the loaded railer weighed by guard shack.

The trailer was weighed and I was given the Bill Of Lading, and I Qualcomm my Loaded Call.I got on the New York Thruway on I-90 East eXIT 36 to Exit 38 to I-81 South to Syracuse, N.Y.

I went through the Prepass booths,through Syracuse,N.Y. continuing to Onondaga, N.Y. through the construction zone. I felt a tug or jerking passing through construction as I was reaching the top of the incline of the hill on I-81 south. The trailer disconncted from the tractor, resulting in front damage to trailer and landing gear.

Police enforcement arrived and the Safety department was notified of the incident.I explained what happened and that I had driven 35 miles and the kingpin disconnected from the trailer. Obviously, the fifth wheel locking mechanism malfunctioned which caused the disconnection, several thousand dollars of damage to the trailer.

The law enforcement officer saw what the result was, the towing company saw the same thing. No citation was issued to me just the accident report sheet. A new 48 foot traler was brought to me from Baldwinville, N.Y. by another driver name Brian. I assisted towing personnel in shrink wrapping the frieght onto the new trailer, 21 skids of beer.

Dispatch had me drive the new trailer back to Baldwinville, N.Y. to Anhesuer Busch for reloading, which they refused. I notified dispatch of the refusal.
Dispatched routed me to Albany, N.Y. with the loaded trailer to the Fuera Bush, N.Y. terminal. I arrived about 1200 hrs,and I waited to be dispatched for another load to Atlanta, GA. to go home.

After hours of waiting I sent messages to dispatch and they stalled stating there were no loads. I asked to go home, and there was no reply. Sunday, July 17,2005 came and went,on Monday July 18,2005, my dispatcher James was back at work. We rehashed the incident,the mileage,the fuel,so we waiting for a load to Atlanta ,GA. About 1200 on July 18,2005 my dispatcher James and corporate safety Matthews and another unknown individual was on the line with us, and safety Mr. Matthews stated that National Frieght,Inc. had decide to release me and that nothing deragatory would be against me.

Mr. Matthews stated that he didn't want to hurt my trucking career. He stated to turn in the keys to the tractor and to take whatever I could carry on the bus and a ticket would be at the bus station.
He told me all of my belonging would be boxed up and sent to Atlanta, GA. ASAP.I am still waiting for my CB radio, coolers, clothes, tools, oil that I purchased, sleeping bag, comforter and goodies.

I just applied with JB Hunt and found out that National Freight has done what they said that they would not do to my DAC report and I was denied employment ecause of this issue with National Frieght which was fabricated as being my fault.

These trucking companies are reporting false data on DAC reporting false information,and using drivers any way they can to make money.

Preston
Luthersville, Georgia
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/05/2005 08:10 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/nfi-national-frieght/vineland-new-jersey-08360/nfi-national-frieghtinc-fabricated-dac-reporting-vineland-new-jersey-152612. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#4 Consumer Suggestion

You Must Challenge This - Here's How

AUTHOR: Anthony - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Monday, August 08, 2005

Preston, you really need to challenge this. You drove 35 miles, and on that basis alone, you have a good reason to challenge any finding by NFI that you are at fault in this unfortunate accident.

From what you have written, the carrier has no firsthand knowledge at the scene of the details, or was in a position to know what happened.

Hopefully, you have not signed anything for the carrier, up to this point about the incident. A point of law that can be used to challenge this with USIS, is to inform them that any finding was conducted without your being involved in the process of determining that you had failed in any manner to prevent the incident.

Their failure to have your signature on a report of finding, will give you a very good reason to demand removal of the entire incident from your report.

As Paul Suggested, you need to get a copy of the accident report. This may offer all the proof needed to challenge the findings of the Safety Department of the carrier. The person who wrote that report was at the scene, and was in a position to have firsthand knowledge of the circumstances. If you indeed had a truck safety officer on site, this is even more evidence on your side. If he wrote the report, even better.

You also need to get a copy of your USIS report to know EXACTLY what has been entered on it. You are entitled to a free copy of this report. The process for obtaining a copy can be found here:

http://www.usis.com/commercialservices/transportation/ContactUs.htm

When you have both of these in front of you, determine if the accident report contradicts ANYTHING entered by the carrier. If so, make it a point to write in your challenge that the accident report was written by an officer at the scene, cite the contradiction(s), and include a copy of that report with your written challenge.

Now...here's another point to include in your challenge. Did the carrier have an accident investigator come to the scene? If not, they have no basis for determining fault, or charging you for this, under any criteria. Their findings are mere speculation, and ruining your chances of obtaining employment on speculation is not in their best interest.

A quick way to resolve this situation is to request the entry to be reduced to an "Incident" on your USIS report. Accidents come with details. Incident entries do not. Incidents also do not require you to be involved in the determination process, and the carrier is NOT allowed to reveal what they involve to others, unless they have a written and signed disciplinary report on file to substantiate the entry.

If you do not receive a quick resolution to this, be prepared to seek legal representation. You have a great case, especially if you are being prevented from seeking employment based on the entry on your USIS report. Be very firm, but polite in your challenge, and I would mail a copy of the challenge to NFI. Make it clear that if this is not resolved to your satisfaction, that all legal options available to force a resolution will be explored. Then do it.

What happened to you, happened to me in March of 1997. I have been driving more than 25 years. Until that day, I would have told anyone that a trailer, once locked in place, could never disconnect on it's own. Nothing mechanical is perfect, and there are times when inexplicable things do happen.

To anyone who reads this post, I will give you a really good piece of advice. NEVER, and I mean NEVER sign an admission of fault in any accident or incident for a motor carrier, no matter how minor in nature. When you do, it can be used against you. No representative of the carrier would do so, if one was placed in front of them, and that is the polite way and reason to refuse to sign it.

When you sign it, you accept liability and it allows them to report it as a negative on your employment reports. If at some point in the future, there is litigation involved, that signed piece of paper can allow the carrier to wash their hands of everything, and hang you out to dry.

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#3 Consumer Comment

Paul is on target here, again!

AUTHOR: Bsmjem - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Sunday, August 07, 2005

Paul, what you said is corect! I was given an addtional thing to check after hooking up to a trailer: go and look to see if the 'jaws' on the 5th wheel have completly engaged around the kingpin. Also, I was warned to always do the complete hook up test whenever I went out of veiw of the truck because anyone can walk by your rig while at a truckstop...... and pull the kingpin release handle and walk on, for what ever reason. Fired cowocker ect....... ALWAYS CHECK THE CONNECTON!!!!

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#2 Consumer Suggestion

I've heard of other drivers who claimed to have the same problems with their fifth wheels

AUTHOR: Paul - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Friday, August 05, 2005

It's easy to understand why NFI dacced you on this. They must assume it's your fault for the accident.

Now, this never happened to me. I never had a high hook or a trailer that just came loose from the fifth wheel while I was driving. In fact, at CRST they showed us a safety video. A driver did not get his trailer all the way across the railroad tracks and it was struck by an oncoming train. Even after being hit by the train, the kingpin and fifth wheel still held together.

I never do a tug test when I hook up. I simply back under the trailer until I hear the latching mechanism click shut. At that point, I get out and inspect the location of the handle and make sure the safety latch is in the locked position.

So far, I've been lucky. My equipment has been in good enough shape to hold the trailer kingpins without problems.

But, when I was at USX, I had another driver tell me the exact same thing. He was new and he was careful. I assumed at first he had a bad hook or a high hook or something like that. But, no, he assured me that he got out and examined the connection and did a tug test on the trailer. He hooked up exactly as he was supposed to, but the trailer came off anyway in a turn.

So, I don't automatically assume the driver screwed up anymore.

In fact, what is more likely is that the fifth wheel never got any maintenance. These d**n OTRs run the trucks month after month and do as little service as they can get by with. If you think there's a shortage of drivers, just try looking in the service bays. Those guys have it even worse. Everything on a semi is big, heavy and held together with giant bolts.

Who wants to do diesel tractor service? Especially at the pay rates that some of the fleets offer? Plus, many times the work load is more than they can handle. Checks aren't done. Maintenance gets skipped.

In most cases, the only thing that is ever done to fifth wheels is to throw some fresh grease on the top plate.

Do you know that screw on the front of the fifth wheel? That controls the locking mechanism. As the parts wear, you are supposed to turn the nut and adjust the mechanism so that it continues to lock solid. There is even a special tool with a kingpin on it that is supposed to be used to make the adjustment.

In your case, I'll bet that nobody ever did that.

These tractors get run for half a million miles. During all those miles, they hook and unhook thousands of times. Plus, all that tugging and jerking around as the truck goes down the road.

Easy to see how this could happen. In this case, you got lucky. Nobody was injured. A loose trailer full of beer could easily have killed a dozen people in heavy traffic.

The way to prevent this is not to depend on the company for maintenance. You pretty much have to learn how to adjust your own fifth wheel. You need to keep the latching mechanism greased. That's in addition to checking your brakes and everything else on the tractor that is critical.

After all, it's your a*s in the seat.

Here's what I would do. I'd call NFI and discuss the situation with safety. Then, I'd ask them to remove the negative DAC entry. I'd start out nice.

If they wouldn't remove it, I'd explain that I would be calling the DOT and filing a complaint. Then, I'd call their insurance carrier and explain about the maintenance problem and how they might want to consider whether they can afford to pay the death or injury claim the next time a trailer comes off.

Trust me, the company has a lot more to lose than you do. Chances are, they'll go back to USIS (dac) and pull off all those negatives about you. Two can play at the game. Remember, you can file a lot of negatives about the company too. You might want to threaten to complain to CRASH and Patt and public citizen. There are tons of groups that have it in for the trucking industry. No trucking company needs you filing a complaint with any of them.

If you still can't get them to back down, file the complaints.

In addition, your driving file works exactly like your credit file. You have the right to get a free copy and the right to dispute the information on it. You also can have a 100-word rebuttal included. That's your opportunity to tell your side of the story.

Trust me, all you need to do here is threaten to take the safety issues to the DOT and their insurer. That alone should do the trick.

If for some reason you still can't win, you can always drive for a small fleet or an owner operator that never spends the money to check Dac.

Right now, companies are begging for drivers. I still get requests in the mail. Just for the hell of it, I called one the other day. I told the company that I had an abandonment under dispatch and that I threatened to report my last company to the DOT for HOS and safety violations. You would think nobody in their right mind would hire a driver like that, right?

Wrong. The guy was all but begging me to start.

So, what's that tell you? They need you a hell of a lot more than you need them.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Did you veiw the accident report

AUTHOR: Bsmjem - (U.S.A.)

POSTED: Friday, August 05, 2005

Preston, did you veiw and or retain a copy of the report that the D.O.T. submitted to your employer? What is often done at DOT accident(s) location(s) investigation's, is a preliminary report is drafted by the responding DOT(s) officer(who you spoke with)and that officer's findings are given to a Reveiwing officer who determines the finale result, based on the evidence the responding officer(s)submitted at that time. After you left the scene and that DOT officer submitted that report for reveiw, the reveiwing report officer may have termed this incident as driver error, based on any number of variables. Get that final draft of that report that was given to the company, and determine if the variables that were reported, are the same as you provided to the responding DOT.

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