Is Forced Dispatch Forced?


Photo by Glutnix via Flickr

I’m sitting in the driver’s lounge of a truck shop right now. Last night, in 25 degree weather, our alternator belt broke. It not only powers the batteries, but since everything in our modern truck is electrical, it also powers nearly everything else, including the heater. So what does this have to do with forced dispatched? Hang on. I’m taking the construction detour to get around to it.

Forced dispatch simply means that you can’t reject a load that your company gives you. Since Owner/Operators can pick and choose their loads, this is usually only an issue for company drivers. The term “forced” is the thing most folks get caught up with. Now I don’t like to be forced to do anything. Most people don’t. Perhaps the term should be changed to the phrase, “Strongly suggested if you want any good loads in the future” dispatch. Or how about, “The planner is too freakin’ lazy to look for anything else” dispatch. Those are both pretty fitting.

The thing with forced dispatch is that it’s really not… at least it isn’t if you’ve got a good reason to refuse the load. And now we come to the part where I’m sitting in a shop’s driver lounge with a broken truck. Now undoubtedly, my alternator belt would have broken at some point, but if I had utilized the exception rule on forced dispatch, I’d be close to home instead of freezing my nipples off in Longmont, Colorado right now.

I had just delivered a load near Dallas, TX  when I received my next load information. This was Tuesday night and the load was going to the Denver area to be delivered Wednesday night. Since we were due home in Missouri on Thursday night, I almost refused it. Instead I got greedy. I saw that we could deliver on Wednesday night and still be home by Thursday night. Just one more load, right! The problem is that I accepted the load without thinking it through. On hindsight, I should have refused it and sat in Texas until they found something better.

I was well on my way to Denver when one of my Twitter friends shot me a tweet that told me that he was heading to Austin TX and he hoped I enjoyed the Denver blizzard. The what? As they say on the iPhone commercials, “There’s an app for that.” The Weather Channel app confirmed it, up to 12 inches of snow. Great. Had I known that in advance, I would’ve had grounds to refuse that forced dispatch. I could’ve simply stated that I might get stuck in the storm which might cause me to get home late. I had the company look for another driver who might want to switch loads, but I knew it was useless. What kind of idiot would want to drive right back into the blizzard that he had just escaped? My dispatcher asked if I wanted to put off my home time until the next week, but that really wasn’t an option. Under normal circumstances, that might work. But not this particular weekend.

You see, we had been planning a decked-out Halloween weekend for our nephews and we really needed to be home by Thursday night to prepare for it. Our costumes had been bought way back in August. On top of that, The Evil Overlord had scheduled a few appointments on Friday and I had a doctor’s appointment on Monday. Doctors appointments are yet another good reason to refuse forced dispatches. Yet I didn’t. So basically, I blew it worse than a kid with a kazoo.

And all this because I thought I could fit in one more load. You know, it’s true what the Bible says about greed. It sucks. Well, it doesn’t say it in those exact words, but you get the drift… just as I do. All snowy 12″ of them. Dang it.

*Do you have a similar story where your greed got you into trouble? Tell us all about it by leaving a comment. And if you enjoyed this post, please pass it on to your friends. You do have friends, don’t you? 😉 *

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4 Responses to “Is Forced Dispatch Forced?”

  1. Driver Education Course Says:

    Great post with Great stuff.That sounds pretty cool. Really helpful thanks for the Article, Great job, hope we can expect more Driver Education Course articles. All the Best

    • Todd McCann Says:

      Thanks for the comment. You’ll get more as that’s the whole purpose for the blog. I really can’t tell any truck drivers anything they don’t already know. As an example, take the comment from truckdrivernews.com. He’s been exactly this scenario. Come back soon!

  2. Truck Drivers News Says:

    Sorry, but I had to laugh at this one as I have been in the same boat many times. For the same reasons, just one more load makes the check look good, especially if I was having a good week to begin with.

    But, almost every time I did a trick like this, something would cause me to be late getting home, or not home at all. Be safe!

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