Driver forced to ‘ride it out’ in truck during tornado in TN

| 4/28/2011

More than 250 people have died during the month of April as a result of the massive number of tornadoes that have touched down in the U.S.

Those who live in Tornado Alley are all too familiar with the unpredictable weather conditions and usually have some advance notice alerting them to seek shelter when the sirens sound. Often, truck drivers who pick up and deliver in these areas aren’t afforded the same opportunity.

On Monday, April 25, an OOIDA member from Maryland told Land Line that he was in the process of being unloaded at a pharmaceutical distribution center in Memphis, TN, when tornado sirens sounded.

The driver admits he’s seen a lot in his 40 years as a trucker and knows that severe weather conditions are “part of the job.” However, he added that he felt like a “second-class citizen” when the sirens sounded and everyone left to find shelter, but he had no place to go.

“The dock workers who were unloading my truck suddenly fled into the building for cover, leaving me to ride it out in my truck,” the OOIDA member said. “Afterward, the girl in the office did apologize for the delay in getting my truck unloaded. But when I asked her why didn’t anyone come get me, she said I wasn’t an employee so they couldn’t let me in the building anyway.”

He said the same distribution center doesn’t allow drivers to use the restrooms on-site and are only allowed in a caged area on the docks to pick up their paperwork.

“What kind of message does that send to drivers?” he said. “To me, it says a lot. You are good enough to bring your freight in and get out.”

As of press time, Land Line’s calls to the distribution center’s media relations department were not returned.