Recycling anyone? Or a different connotation of a Peterbilt trash truck.

Joe had been dispatched a “Split Load”. What this means the two trucks he was assigned to were in two different locations. One, a runner, in Morton, Illinois and one, a non runner in Northlake, Illinois.

Morton to Northlake, Illinois

153 miles is about three hours driving. Hooking up time is about one hour. Another three hours back to Morton, Illinois and boda-bing, rub your hands together, job done. Spend the night in a hotel and leave Morton, Illinois to deliver in Strafford, Missouri the next day.

Morton, IL to Strafford, MO

Piece of cake! Be finished in two days then head for home.


One thing to note about Peterbilts manufactured after 2005… can’t lock yourself out of the truck. What this means is you have to physically use the key to lock the doors when you are out of the truck. Pushing down the door lock button then closing the door does not work. The door remains unlocked.

Joe was told the keys would be found in a cupholder inside the truck.

Now, I must stray just a bit from my post subject. There are trucking companies that advertise “Lease Options” on trucks. This means a “Company Driver” or a newby driver can actually purchase a truck and become an “Owner Operator”. The bad part about this is the trucking company itself. There are some ethical companies but, by and large, these companies are ruthlessly UN-ethical.

A “Company Driver” is one under the employ of a trucking company and is paid anywhere from $.23 (twenty-three cents) per mile and up to $.42 (forty-two cents) per mile. The Company Driver does not have to pay for fuel, repairs, tires, mechanical issues, or other normal operating expenses. The Company Driver is given a $50 “Advance” in his/her pay for food and non-essential items during their work week. The Company Driver does NOT have the option to decline a load – at any time or for any reason. Company Drivers will be “allowed” to be home for a period of UP TO 24 hours.

Some trucking companies treat their Company Drivers better and know that a happy driver is one that is able to be home more frequently than say once or twice a month….possibly once or twice in three months. These trucking companies have a policy of “Weekends Home”. “Weekends Home” do not mean arrive home on Friday night and leave Monday morning. Most of the weekends home apprise of arriving home mid day Saturday and leaving home just near or after midnight Sunday.

The “Lease Option” for “Owner Operators” is quite a boon to the UN-ethical trucking company. This company will set up a payment plan with the truck manufacturer or lending institution whom the company actually buys the truck from.

The driver that wishes to be an “Owner Operator” then is lead to believe they will be the actual owner of the truck once it is paid for during the “Lease Term” which is the “Goose With The Golden Egg” for the trucking company.

This is how the ruse gets played out. The driver wishing to be an owner operator signs a contract with the trucking company stating they will have an amount automatically deducted from their “Settlement” of say $700 per week for the payment of the truck lease. These payments will be deducted for a term of five (5) years. A Lease price of $168,000.00

For drivers with no credit or bad credit this is a dream come true. Too good to be true.

Most often this is actually the case. Too good to be true. The driver is, in fact, lining the pockets of the trucking company and that company could care less if the driver ever reaches the five year end of contract.

To clear this up for you. This is the math part, and I will show you how this is a complete farce and I have no idea why there are no regulations in place to protect the driver from these trucking companies.

Let’s use an example here of a truck currently for sale. A 2013 Peterbilt 386. Sale price is $138,836.00 The features of this truck are as follows:

70 in Ultracab; MX Paccar Engine 485 hp; Diesel; 13 Spd; Engine Brake; Pete Flex Air Suspension; 3.36 Ratio; 22.5 LP Tires; Polished Aluminum Wheels; 244 in Wheelbase; Tandem Axle; 12,000 lb Front Axle Weight; 40,000 lb Rear Axle Weight; Drive Side: Left Hand Drive;

For this particular truck a loan will be for a period of 15 years. The interest rate, at 4.5%, for the life of the loan will come to an amount of $52,339.49. Making the total cost of the loan $191,175.49. Monthly payments will be $1,062.09.

Truck payments of $1,062.09 per month could be further broken down to weekly installments of $266.00.

This very same loan for a time period of 5 years the interest would be $16,463.33 at 4.5%. The total loan cost will be $155,299.33 – interest included. The monthly payments would be $2,588.32. Breaking these monthly payments down to weekly the amount would be $647.08.

You look at the math in this light and you would think – “Heck, I can do this in my sleep!”

The “Owner Operator” will be paid up to $1.15 per mile. Massive difference between the $.28 to $.42 per mile the company driver is paid.

The Owner Operator can drive 3500 miles per week and have a “Settlement” of $4,025.00 for that week. For the month the “Settlement” will be $16,100.00. Easy peasy to make the truck payments. You think?

Well, out of this $16,100.00 the Owner Operator has to pay for all the fuel used. Fuel costs for one week would be $2,334.00 for 3500 miles at 5 miles per gallon at a cost of $4.00 per gallon. For the month that fuel total will be just over $9,334.00.

I’m not going to get into the cost of DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) which is a component of the fuel system in the new trucks and the cost is around $2.67 per gallon. I’ve only had to purchase DEF one time in all the years I drove.

The further operating costs of being an Owner Operator are ALL of the maintenance costs of running the truck. Tires, fuel filters, oil changes, grease and lube. These are the costs the trucking company picks up for the “Company Driver”.

So, now to the gist of this post.

This new “Owner Operator” or Lease Driver will not have an Amortization schedule of payments. They won’t have any loan documents or coupon slips to make the necessary payments. There is, in fact, no documentation for the driver to know that he/she actually has a financial document that shows a proper loan.

Asking these drivers how much their loan is the answer most always is “I don’t know”. Asking what the interest rate of the loan is the answer is “I don’t know”. When asked when the truck title will be in their name the answer is “I don’t know”.

These nefarious trucking companies will take $700 weekly from the Owner Operator or Lease Driver. Where that money goes is anyone’s guess because it does not go toward the payment of the truck. The trucking company will run the driver all over the place and will happily keep the driver working. That is until the last year and a half of the contract. That is the magic time. The loads will dry up, the long runs will disappear, the “Settlement” will decrease to amounts where being a “Company Driver” is more profitable.

The trucking company will coldly tell the driver that they signed on the dotted line and the company has every right to lay claim to their $700 weekly payment. Doesn’t matter to the company if the driver can’t eat or feed his/her family any longer. The driver quits.

The truck is returned to the trucking company and the wonderful deal is made all over again to another unsuspecting truck driver.

Now to the meat of this post. The Peterbilt Joe was to pick up had been left in a Sam’s Club parking lot at the rear of the building near the docks. The driver locked up the truck, took the keys, and walked away from it.

Once we got the truck opened this is what we found inside. Just behind this glass of the knee window is a tell tale sign of what is to come.


Knee window on passenger side

Opening the door, an avalanche of trash fell out onto the ground. We did our best to put the trash in some shopping bags we had on hand.

Quickly bagged trash

Once the door was opened fully, this is what was to be seen. Starting with the passenger side foot well.

Passenger foot well

And now the passenger seat.

The passenger seat

The floor between the driver and passenger seats.

Floor between the driver and passenger seats

The floor of the bunk area. The walkway between the driving compartment and the sleeper berth.

Leading to sleeper berth

A closer view of the trash pile.

Close up of the trash pile

These two photos are of the sleeper berth itself.

Sleeper bunk


Whomever this driver was, that person was highly pissed off with someone. Joe believes the driver went to all available trash cans and dumped the contents into the truck. From the look of the sleeper bunk and the stains it holds I am of the opinion the driver couldn’t be bothered with emptying the trash, just tossing it anywhere in their wild dash on the highways.

This truck will be cleaned out. A newer mattress will be put in the sleeper bunk. The truck will be scoured inside of all dirt and grime. The outside of the truck will be cleaned and made sparkling. Ready for the next poor sucker to become the “Goose Who Lays The Golden Egg”.

The trucking industry is brutal. Ready and willing to take advantage of anyone that has no concept of financial responsibility nor any business sense whatsoever. The companies with “Lease Options” figure putting “Lipstick on a pig” is the way to go. It is their thinking that all truck drivers are just stupid and there for the taking.

BEWARE THE LEASE OPTION AT TRUCKING COMPANIES. They are set up for you to FAIL not succeed. Just like the many casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada which are “Monuments to losers”. The Lease Option is only there to benefit the trucking company NOT the truck driver.




About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

2 responses to “Recycling anyone? Or a different connotation of a Peterbilt trash truck.

  • gardenpinks

    Hope you had plenty of gloves to hand clearing out that lot or did you? Clean it out I mean? Not my responsibility so why should I would be my answer. Yuck and double yuck!! Can’t blame the driver though if he was so badly treated and fleeced of his hard earned cash but then he should have checked the small print and if he didn’t get a proper loan agreement walk away.
    Love and hugs
    Lynn xxx

    • Message In A Fold

      No gloves. We left the truck just as it was. Not because we were too lazy to clean it out. We offered to get trash bags from the store next to where the truck was parked. We were instructed to leave the truck as we found it.

      It is extremely hard to imagine the vast amount of people that just have no business sense at all. None whatsoever. The worst part about it all are the many companies that take advantage of these people. For fear of being sued for defamation of character I’d put names out there of the places for people to totally avoid – at all costs. Can’t do that though. The evil have more rights than the honest.

      Enough of my rant. Hope you and your family are all well. Hope your new family member is doing well and amazing his parents daily with his spunk and growing physical abilities.

      Love you my friend

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