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Tall Tales of Truck Drivers and Canadian Customs

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Truckers’ Stories

One of the fun things about being a truck driver is sitting around with other drivers and telling stories, some of which can be believed and some of which it would be wise to listen to with a considerable degree of skepticism. I was always told that if a driver starts out his story with "Now this is no bullshit," he is no doubt getting ready to tell you a lie.

In order to get you started, I will tell you a story that was told to me, more than once, as a true story. This may actually be a true story, but I seriously doubt that it has happened to all the people who claim it to be so.

"Now, this is no bullshit, I needed to haul a load out to the East Coast one time, and the only trailer available to handle the load was an old one that hadn't been licensed for several years.

Not having time to license the trailer, I took the plate off my pick-up and put it on the semi-trailer. Everything went fine until a scale operator in Kentucky checked my registration. I thought for sure I was going to get a ticket for operating an unregistered vehicle, but this scale master had a sense of humor and instead gave me a ticket for being some mere pounds over gross."

Seriously though, one of the things that I have enjoyed most about trucking is visiting with other drivers. The public stereotype greatly underestimates the intelligence and sense of humor of many drivers. It is especially interesting to listen to some of the drivers that have been in the business for a lot of years. It is fun to hear how things used to be, and they have generally accumulated some experiences that are more than a little strange, but probably true.

Canadian Customs

The company you work for may require you to travel to Canada. Personally, I have always enjoyed this because I like Canada and Canadians, but this is another area where patience is often required, because clearing customs may take some time.

Clearing customs is somewhat different at all ports of entry and can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Canada has implemented a preclearance system using a bar-coded document, and if your company uses it, things often go very quickly. However, this is no guarantee, and many things can go wrong and cause delays.

All it takes is something minor wrong with your paperwork to delay things for hours. Customs may also decide to inspect your load or truck at any time, or you may arrive at customs during a peak time and have to wait while the backlog is handled.

If you have ever had a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) violation, my advice is to not even try to go into Canada. If you do, and immigration checks you out, as they often do, you will be in for a considerable amount of expense and delay.

One province that is vastly different than the others is Quebec. If you go there, be prepared for all signs to be in French, and make sure you are running completely legal, because their fines are huge.

Often times, coming back into the states is more trouble than getting into Canada. Here again, you and your truck may be thoroughly checked out at any time.
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