Telephone Services and
|Enter just about any truckstop at the professional drivers' entrance and you'll see a row of telephones on the wall. In some truckstop restaurants, you can still see a telephone is installed in at least a few booths. The reason is obvious: professional truck drivers need to communicate.|
|Back when we first started driving an 18-wheeler, we had a Motorola satellite communication system in our truck through which we were supposed to receive and transmit data, including load information. It was a shame that our first fleet manager (Randy) preferred that we use a telephone to call the company's toll-free number to get our loads.||
After one particularly tiring day of driving, we were waiting on a new load assignment. Mike lost count of the number of times he heard Randy say, "I don’t have anything; call me back in an hour." One's patience starts to wear really thin after calling back for the third or fourth time and getting the same result!
Although the situation may have improved since we were teaming, some shippers and consignees don't make it easy for professional drivers to use their telephones on the premises. Areas designated for drivers are not commonplace. So, we had to use any telephone we could find to stay in touch with our company.
Believe it or not, we put up with this "find a phone" situation for a long time.
While we may have eventually gotten a mobile or cellular phone just for dealing with our company, that wasn't the motivation behind why we got one.
The Event that Led Up to our First Telephone Service on the Road
|If you've ever been in an emergency situation, you know that nothing can replace having a telephone with you. Such was the case late one night when we were traveling south on I-85 toward Charlotte, NC. We noticed that the driver of a car, also heading south, was weaving all over the road. He was obviously drunk or strung out on drugs. ("Yikes, honey, did you see that? He just barely missed that concrete barricade?!")|
To prevent a very serious accident, we attempted -- but were unsuccessful -- in getting the attention of law enforcement on Channels 9 and 19 on the CB radio. We couldn't even locate another truck driver with a cell phone who could relay the information via 911 to law enforcement.
We ended up pulling into the rest area near Concord and calling in the driver from a pay telephone. We never saw the driver again and hope he didn't wreck. But we were so shaken by the experience that we decided that the next time we went back home, we would get telephone service with nationwide coverage.
Our First Cell Phone Service
Back in the early 1990s, mobile telephone services were not as readily available as they are today. We had a hard time finding a service that met our needs, but ended up contracting with Cingular (which at that time was not part of AT&T), because they had cell phones that had both digital and analog coverage.
We didn't plan to use the telephone services much, which was a good thing because being as how we traveled all over the country, we would have incurred hefty roaming charges away from our home area. Thankfully, cell phone coverage has greatly improved since then.
|Numerous telephone services
and telephones -- each having pros and cons -- are available to let you
stay in touch with both business and personal contacts. Among them are:
|On the linked pages, you'll find out which ones we've used and which we consider to be the best. As is the case with most technology, however, we haven’t tried everything available, so we’d like to have your feedback on which telephone services and telephones work best for you and why, on the form at the bottom of this page.|
We will also be discussing other forms of telecommunications used by truck drivers. Furthermore, we plan to have input from experts in the field to help you save as much money as possible.
|Money saving tip:
No matter what kind of telephone services or telephones you are
considering getting that allow you to make calls away from home, check
on such things as:
Do you have a great idea about telephone services or telecommunications that truck drivers can use and save money at the same time? Share it!
Click below to see telephone services and telecommunications ideas from other visitors to this page...
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Vicki Simons is pleased to
be part of this initiative:
(Click the image to go
to the Facebook page.)
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