Newbies - Tips From the Trainer

Unsafe Trainer

By Fozzy

Welcome! This is your personal online trainer. I will strive to provide insightful and 100% accurate information regarding questions you have about the first few months in the life of a new driver--from driving tips to industry policies. Get in on the action. Email your questions to me.

Q How should a trainee handle this situation? The trainer insists that the trainee "drive with the traffic" - 70 mph through a 55 mph construction zone. I have also been told (ordered) to do other illegal/unsafe acts. This trainer holds my job in his hands! Help!


As a trainee you have more rights than most trainees actually are led to believe. When you went through the orientation you were probably given a list of phone numbers and were given a few presentations by a few department representatives during that classroom session. You should have phone numbers for the student coordinator, the training department and the safety department.

When a situation evolves into this type of idiocy (the trainer IMHO should be relieved from training if this is proven), then you as a new employee and as a trainee need to go higher than the trainer's manager. The avenues for students to fix their own problems are rarely used. They are already in a new, completely foreign environment, far from home and they usually feel like they are outnumbered.

You need to immediately start following the laws and the "rules of the road" and let safety guide you! You need to do this for your own protection and you need to do this no matter what this "trainer" is saying. During this time you need to carefully document the reactions and the comments by this person. You need to remain calm and you need to tell this "trainer" that you will drive following the laws and that he can drive however he chooses when it's HIS turn to drive. Do not get into a huge shouting match or become too verbally abusive no matter what he says! Listen to him and simply follow the laws and the company's rules.

Then, at the nearest convenient place, you need to get out the numbers and call your student coordinator and explain what exactly has been going on in a calm and rational manner. You may need to calm down for awhile to collect your thoughts and jot down some notes to use as a reference. You should not use any profanity other than in repeating what the trainer has been using against you personally. The student coordinator may have you call the safety department or they may even conference call them with you on the line.

You have to prepare yourself to get taken back to the nearest terminal and get put off this guy's truck, but if this doesn't get fixed, you really don't need to be subjected to this if this is not going to change. The trainer will NOT be happy and you probably will be given the "silent treatment" from this guy the entire way back to wherever you are going. This person cannot legally strand you on the side of the road! You also should not abandon the truck somewhere! Even if the trainer is on the truck, you could ruin your chances for future employment down the road by being charged with "abandonment of equipment" or even "quit under dispatch."

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