116-hour toilet breaks, sideshow crash mobs and third-party parties

July 16, 2019

Wendy Parker

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Hey y’all, guess what? Someone just set the record for amount of time spent sitting on a toilet seat. That’s right. The Guinness Book of World Records will henceforth recognize Jimmy DeFrenn as having the longest officially recorded toilet break in history.

(No word yet on which fuel island Jimmy left his truck idling at, but the question bears note.)

Also bearing note is that Jimmy achieved said record while perched upon an unplumbed toilet. Which means he needed 5-minute breaks every hour to get up off a toilet to use the toilet. Because when you’re sitting on an unplumbed toilet for 116 hours at a time, it’s imperative to use the toilet once in a while.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Apparently, Jimmy was too, or he would have continued to sit far longer. The reigning toilet king cited “lack of sleep” for having to call it quits. Frankly, after having sat on a toilet for 116 hours with nothing more than the distinction of having sat for 116 hours, you’d think the reason would be “lack of sense” or “need for a hobby,” but to each his own.

Unless it involves conducting a “sideshow.”

No, not a Sideshow Bob kind of show.

These sideshows involve the equivalent of a freeway flash mob and are not conducted by speed or race enthusiasts, but rather a group of humans who missed the part where you’re usually dead before most of your organs can be donated. Hence the reason “crash mob” is a much more fitting name for such a ridiculously dangerous way to catch a felony, or worse, a dirt nap for the rest of eternity.

Speaking of ridiculous and dangerous, I’d like to be the first to congratulate the FMCSA for the weakest reason ever to allow both parts of a CDL examination be given by third-party proctors, hired and paid by the very people who also hire trainees who need to be trained so they can generate enough revenue to also be paid by the people paying everyone in the equation.

I can’t see any reason that would go sideways, do you? Errybody gettin’ paid, right?

“FMCSA proposes to allow states to permit a third-party skills test examiner to administer the commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test to applicants to whom the examiner has also provided skills training. Under this proposal, States would have the option to permit this practice, which is currently prohibited under FMCSA rules. The Agency believes that allowing states to permit this practice could alleviate CDL skill testing delays and reduce inconvenience and cost for third-party testers and CDL applicants without negatively impacting safety.”

I’d like to propose that the statement “without negatively impacting safety” is complete and utter poppycock. Even as it stands right now, the megafleets who recruit and train in-house aren’t known for their stellar safety ratings.

The optimist in me sincerely hopes that at least some of the folks who have no business driving a nail into a board, much less an 80,000-pound commercial vehicle are kept from being turned loose on the unsuspecting general public by failing the only portion of their test that isn’t given by someone being paid directly by the mega-fleet that trains them.

All of these things are bad ideas, and yet, here we are. The good news is, you can still make comments to help keep one of them from coming to fruition.

Please do.

Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker has covered the trucking industry since 2012 after she says she “lost my mind and decided to climb inside my husband’s big truck to travel with him as an over-the road, long-haul trucker.” Her unique writing style that ranges from biting satire to investigative journalism coupled with her unbridled passion for fighting round out a wildly talented stable of writers.

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