In my last blog I mentioned the trials and tribulations of a drag racer in the world of commercial truck drivers. I am not an expert on laws regarding transportation. I am just a drag racer who wants to be legal and I am writing this to show a real world experience of what it is like behind the wheel of a big rig. I have a huge amount of respect for commercial drivers, but it was never my goal to be one. I am not sure why I didn’t become one as I really enjoy driving cross country and seeing new things and meeting people. But nowadays, if you are a professional drag racer, and drive a rig bigger than a pickup and an open trailer, you have to become a commercial driver. The Department of Transportation (DOT) officers have taken a good, hard look at us and decided we need to become classified as professional truck drivers. They feel that we need to pay our fair share. They have suffered budget cutbacks and they have large pensions to pay, so they need new ways to bring funds into their departments. So they passed a few laws that incorporate us drag racers into their programs, and once you are in their program, you pay and pay.
Remember, I am writing this blog as a racer driving on the road. I am the guy pulling into the weigh stations because if I drive by I could get pulled over. I know a lot of guys just drive by the scales and inspection stations, and I used to also. But now I have a huge Currie Enterprises logo with pictures of race cars on the side of the trailer, and it is kind of hard to say I am not a pro driver. Now I get to interact with the DOT officers and when I get pulled in the first thing they want to see is my Commercial license (CDL) and my DOT and IFTA paperwork. Then they want to see my log book and maybe my medical card.
Last month, while driving through New Mexico, one of the DOT officers decided to put me through a safety inspection. She weighed the truck, checked all the lights, windshield wipers, lug nuts, brakes, steering and everything under the hood. She wrote me a fix-it ticket for my window washer being out of fluid. Then she gave me a lecture on my log book being too sloppy. Sure, the info was correct and filled out, but she didn’t like the way I did it and insisted that I buy a ruler so I could fill it out in a more orderly manner. I asked her if it was incorrect, and she answered, “No, I just don’t like the way it looks.” You can see that a lot of the rules depend on how that officer feels that day.
Stay tuned for my next blog as I will tell you a story that has racers shaking their heads in dis-belief. I will share just how crazy the DOT officers can get, and how the power has gone to their heads. Look out, racers; they want your money and they don’t care how they get it.