How TMC Transportation is Succeeding in Veteran Recruitment for Trucking Jobs

TMC truck and tractor trailerTMC Transportation, an employee-owned trucking company, started in 1972 when founder Harrold Annett bought out The Mickow Corporation aka TMC.

Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, TMC truck drivers have worked hard to make the company the largest flatbed carrier that is privately owned in the US. If you are a military veteran looking for a flatbed trucking job TMC is extending its reach to your demographic with the Hire Our Heroes program. Check out the perks of the program, along with the benefits of training and working for TMC Transportation.

Military Veterans Looking for Trucking Jobs

If you were a truck driver in the military you have the skills and experience that will help you get started as a flatbed truck driver. Unfortunately it can be difficult for veterans to find CDL jobs when in the US. For starters, veterans might not be sure of how to get a full-time job now that they are no longer in the military. Many vets have retired out of the military and considered their service as their primary job for years. Now they are having to transition into civilian life, which includes finding a job outside of the military.

Hire Our Heroes at TMC

TMC Transportation has hired active duty military personnel, as well as veterans, for every job type at the company. In fact, vets make up 35 percent of the flatbed hauler fleet at TMC. That alone says a lot for the effort of TMC to employ those in the military. Now the company is taking that a step further by working with the Hire Our Heroes program. Hire Our Heroes is a nonprofit organization that works with military veterans prior to placement in the workforce. The organization is founded and operated by military vets who know the ropes and understand the barriers to finding employment.

The way the program at Hire Our Heroes works is through job training assistance for vets. When someone is about to get out of the military, Hire Our Heroes works with them a year prior to their leave. During this time Hire Our Heroes offers the following:

  • Training for jobs that are in their field of expertise, i.e. heavy equipment trucking jobs for vets with experience as a motor transport operator
  • Mentoring for vets as they venture back into civilian life and must readjust
  • Coaching for veterans who need assistance with things like writing a resume, using social media for job searches, or finding trucking jobs

For the partnership between TMC Transportation and Hire Our Heroes the goal will be to work with veterans who are looking for OTR trucking jobs. As TMC is a flatbed hauler trucking company the jobs that are available to veterans include hauling oversized loads, moving heavy equipment, and transporting agricultural machinery. These trucking jobs are in line with the type of hauls handled by military personnel overseas. TMC also provides line haul, specialized and dedicated trucking jobs for drivers.

Military Vets with No Trucking Experience

If you are a veteran who has zero experience with driving a truck that’s not an issue for TMC Transportation. The trucking company provides trucker training that includes VA benefits and is eligible for the G.I. Bill. You can earn up to $1,407 a month as a vet for up to 2 years while getting your CDL or training for a trucking career at TMC. Keep in mind you won’t be able to get your CDL while training at TMC. You will need to find a truck driver training course for this. Fortunately TMC will work with you to find a school that is G.I. Bill approved. Once you have your CDL you will be ready to begin training at TMC for your flatbed trucking job.

The 50-acre Campus at TMC Transportation

When you get hired as a veteran at TMC you go through truck driver training like you would at most trucking companies. However, TMC stands far apart from the crowd thanks to its extensive training arena. The training center is located at headquarters in Des Moines, and it features the latest technology available. Truckers in training get to enjoy the pastoral views of this campus while attending training prior to taking flatbed trucking jobs for TMC. The 50-acre campus has a hospitality center at Baymont Inn and Suites where drivers can stay while training. As a veteran who is either new to the trucking industry, or who needs to brush up on your driving skills, the training offered at TMC Transportation is top of the line. Combine the benefits of the Hire Our Heroes program along with the training for veteran truckers at TMC, and you have an excellent opportunity to military vets searching for truck driving jobs in the US.

Meet a Few of Overdrive’s 2016 Most Beautiful Finalists

It’s not often you think of a beautiful woman when you think of truckers. Ninety-five percent of truck drivers are men, which leaves five percent to chance when it comes to the looks department of woman truckers. So when Overdrive hosts the 2016 Most Beautiful contest you have to wonder where these attractive women truck drivers are hiding. Turns out they are hiding in plain sight, in the same truck stops, highways and trucker lounges where you go. Discover a few of the finalists for this year’s Most Beautiful contest, and who knows? You might actually get the chance to come across one of these ladies on an upcoming route.

Amanda ChristinaMeet Amanda Christina

Standing barely under 5 feet, this good looking truck driver has a lot going on. For starters, Amanda Christina is a single mom who has battled cancer and a serious back injury. Today she drives for Big M as a company driver; Amanda’s home base is in Decaturville, Tennessee. She’s been an OTR trucker for 10 months now, and her main haul type is general freight. According to Amanda, “It doesn’t matter how beautiful you are on the outside, if you have a snotty attitude, you will be unattractive. I believe a friendly smile is your best beauty accessory.”

Meet Na’Keisha Rushing

Hailing from her hometown of Hampton, Georgia, Na’Keisha Rushing is a reefer hauler who’s been in the trucking biz for four years. She hauls for Bruenger Transportation as a company driver. However, her trucking roots come from her family members whom are also truckers. But Na’Keisha wasn’t always interested in trucking. In fact, she started out with a career as a medical assistant. Soon she discovered she wanted to be her own boss, and have freedom and independence at work. At the same time, Na’Keisha notes “I’m still a girly girl. I wear makeup every single day, and I take time to pamper myself by getting massages and pedicures, and I meditate. But I’m pretty tough. It’s a balance of being a strong person but still being feminine.”

Meet Liberty Fry

What a name! Liberty Fry is a truck driver with a name that matches her explosive background. Literally, Liberty hauls explosives, as well as general freight, as an OTR company driver for Fleenor Brothers. Her hometown is Leavenworth, Kansas. Liberty and husband Steve took off on the open road after their two sons reached adulthood. They haul freight in their 2016 Kenworth W900L Icon Edition, while watching what they eat as they go. That’s right, Liberty and Steve are trying to be healthy truckers, having lost 20 pounds since changing their OTR habits. Steve is the one who nominated his lovely wife, saying “The word can’t is not in her vocabulary. When it comes to bad weather snow, ice, sleet, rain, it doesn’t matter. She is one of the best at it.”

Meet Jeanie Ozment

Jeanie OzmentTruck driving has been a way of life for Jeanie Ozment. Her husband owned a trucking business, Baseline Transport. After his death in 1993 Jeanie held on to a couple of trucks and started her own trucking business, Jeanie Ozment Hauling. She’s been a full time OTR trucker for four years, basing her trucking company in Little Rock, Arkansas. Jeanie’s main haul type is reefer trucking loads. When asked how she feels about women truckers, Jeanie said, “I think it’s very important for women to feel feminine especially in professions that are historically men’s. It’s a balancing act between being strong enough to do the job and retaining our feminine identity.

Winner of 2016 Overdrive Most Beautiful Contest

The contest is held every year, and the winner takes the stage at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas. For 2016 the Most Beautiful trucker is Brita Nowak. She will receive an all expenses paid trip to the Great American Truck Show, along with recognition at the event as a representative of Overdrive and the Most Beautiful contest. GATS is held every August; this year the truck show will take place on August 25 to 27. The winner of the contest is always announced by June.

How to Be a Contestant in the Overdrive Most Beautiful Contest

How do you enter the Most Beautiful contest? You need to be nominated for the contest or you must send in an entry on behalf of yourself. Either way is fine. Any female truckers, owner operators, regional truck drivers and independent truckers are eligible. Entries are accepted until February 15, so mark your calendar for the 2017 Overdrive Most Beautiful contest. More than 80 female truck drivers were nominated in 2016. Why would you want to win? You receive recognition and are awarded for your accomplishments. Plus, it helps to pad your truck driving resume when you are searching for better paying CDL jobs. Every little bit helps!

What are the Best Truck Driving Jobs for Rookie Drivers?

UPS truck with double trailersHere you are, recently graduated from trucking school with your CDL shining in your billfold. Now what? Well, it’s time to find a trucking job, preferably one that pays a lot. However, when you are just getting your ears wet as a truck driver you cannot expect the best trucking job to just fall into your lap. You will have to work for it just like all of the other truckers with more seniority than you. Ideally you can find a trucking job that will give you the experience you seek. But which ones?

Dry Van Trucking Jobs for Rookies

As a rookie truck driver you are going to want to go with something that keeps you behind the wheel most of the time. This means dry van loads. If you take flatbed trucking jobs, for example, you will have to get out and check your tarps and straps every so often. This can be a distraction you don’t need right now. So instead of choosing more difficult trucking jobs, when you are starting out go slow.

Dry van trucking jobs for rookies will typically be drop and hook loads. This means you will sit behind the wheel of your tractor trailer and back into the loading dock. Dock hands or lumpers will have a trailer ready for you to pick up. All you have to do is back your big rig up to the coupling device. From there you drive to the next dock where you will drop the first trailer and hook to a second.

Where do you find these types of easy trucking jobs? Start by looking at regional trucking jobs, such as for UPS and FedEx. A dry van drop and hook trucking route is almost always a regional load. This means you will be home almost every night, and you won’t necessarily have to calculate your hours of service using a log book. Being a rookie your main priority should be to drive as many miles safely as possible. This is how you will gain the behind the wheel experience necessary to move onto the better paying trucking jobs.

Moving Up with Flatbed Truck Loads

Once you have driven a dry van trailer until you feel comfortable with this haul type you are ready to move up in the trucking business. Flatbed trailers are the second most popular type of tractor trailer, dry van box trailers being the first. As noted already, you will need to get out of the tractor periodically to put your hands and eyes on your load. Since everything is loaded on a flat trailer in the open air, you will absolutely have to make sure everything is attached before you drive off into the sunset.

The good thing about having to work harder with flatbed truck loads is that you will earn more on your paycheck. Due to the nature of the work flatbed trucking jobs pay more than dry van loads. Also, with a flatbed you have a greater chance of hauling more diverse items, such as over-sized loads.

Over-sized truck driving jobs will pay more than a regular flatbed load, which is ideal for a rookie trucker. Keep in mind that you don’t want to take an over-sized truck load until you are comfortable driving a flatbed trailer. Everything in time and with experience, that’s the safest way in the trucking world.

An over-sized truck load will require precision, experience in backing, and handling skills. If you make a mistake with an over-sized load and have an accident of some sort, this will go on your driving record. You’ll have to answer for it for several years to come when searching for truck driving jobs. Therefore, it is crucial that you feel comfortable enough to progress to over-sized loads. Sure, it is nice to be able to earn a bigger paycheck as a trucker. Just make sure you don’t rush.

Rookie Truck Driver Tips

As a rookie you are the new guy on campus. You will have to go through the same beginning ropes as most other truckers. That means you will need to take the trucking jobs that other truck drivers don’t want. Persevere and do your best by taking those trucking jobs that are challenging, but not dangerously so. This will help you advance in the industry by establishing your reputation as a great truck driver. You will soon be able to ask for more per mile and extra trucker perks from your company.

If you are feeling down about having to start out on the bottom, remember that every other trucker was exactly where you are. They survived, and so will you, and you’ll be able to build a solid truck driving career because you worked hard at it.

What Do Truckers Haul?

Semi truck hauling livestockAsk a truck driver what they haul and chances are you’ll get an earful. A trucker’s life is more than just sitting in a big rig and driving all day. A single haul can involve everything from getting a special permit from the local city to washing cow patties out of your cattle trailer. That’s part of the attraction of a trucking career. Your days are never boring and there is always a type of haul that is new to you. If you are considering a truck driving career check out some of the different types of trucking hauls you could get to experience.

Livestock and Farming Hauls

If you have ever worked on a farm then you know it takes tons, literally, of fertilizer, feed and fuel to keep everything growing. In addition to needing farm hands, large-scale farming operations require the big dogs aka truckers. As a truck driver in a rural area where industrial farming rules, you’ll have a chance to haul everything from hay bales to farm implements that cost more than your truck. For some jobs you will need to work your way up the ranks:

  • Oversized trucking loads involving combines, harvesters and bailers are great CDL jobs, but they come with a lot of responsibility.
  • Cattle haulers are skilled at hauling live animals, a skill that takes training and experience as injured or maimed livestock lose their value.
  • Grain and feed haulers need to have experience working in silos and grain bins, which can quickly turn into dangerous working conditions if you don’t know what you are doing.

Working in an industrial farm setting may not sound like the right route to becoming a trucker. Yet it sets you up to be able to handle a lot of the most common commodities in the trucking industry.

Fancy Haulers of Specialty Products

Some truck drivers haul specialty items, such as exotic sports cars, NASCAR crews, zoo animals or military missiles. If you want to get into trucking in order to haul the interesting stuff, like you see on “Shipping Wars,” then it’s entirely possible. However, you will need to be in the right place at the right time. These types of hauls don’t come around every day. Here are some pointers to help you be prepared in case:

  • Get all of the endorsements, such as hazardous materials and tanker endorsements, possible for your commercial driver’s license. This ensures you are DOT ready to roll no matter what type of haul it is.
  • Gain trucking experiences outside of your comfort zone. This means taking the loads truckers reject, either because the customer is difficult or the route is tedious. In addition to increasing your truck driving skills, you’ll expand your trucking connections and meet far more potential clients. Networking is key to knowing the right people for specialty trucking jobs.
  • Have a good trucking record. You want to avoid any negative points on your driving record, such as for DUI, speeding or reckless driving. You also want a clean CSA score and DAT report so try to avoid making mistakes, getting into accidents, or failing to complete loads when on trucking jobs.
  • Opt for extra training and learning opportunities when they come around. The more knowledge you have, the greater your chances in specialty haul types.

Whether you want to haul exotic species of tropical fish to pet stores across America, or you prefer to speed things up by hauling hotrods and sports cars, there’s a trucking job for that. Keep in mind that you want to be safe and successful with trucking jobs. So if you are feeling nervous about a specialty trucking job, get all of the necessary information and do any applicable research before going on the job. The more you know before you show up for the trucking job, the better. It will also help you to feel more at ease and confident with the haul type. After you’ve achieved a few specialty hauls and delivered them successfully, you will boost your self esteem as a trucker.

Hauling Across the World

Hauling for farmers and hauling specialty loads sounds great. But this is by far the only haul types out there. Take a moment to look around. Choose an object around you. Whether you are in your kitchen, dining room or your big rig sleeper, anything you have purchased was hauled by a trucker. Truck drivers make the market go ‘round.

Globalization would not be possible without truck drivers who transport and deliver goods to every country, state, city and neighborhood. Without the hauling power of truck drivers and their willingness to take trucking hauls, we would not be in the great US of A that we love. We would be regressed back to a century ago before trucks were even invented.

Understanding the Classification System for Trucks

red-semi-truckAs a truck driver you are sorted into trucking jobs according to truck classifications. These are based on the gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR. Here in the US truck classification is ranked by how much a truck weighs. Classes rank from 1 to 8, as well as according to light duty, medium duty and heavy duty. It doesn’t stop there. The EPA and the Census Bureau each has its own classification of trucks that they use for their paperwork. Sounds like a whole lot of noise about how we classify trucks, so what’s the point?

Truck Classes for Truck Drivers

When you go to get your commercial driver’s license you have to choose which truck class you will be operating. If you drive a Class 7 or Class 8 truck you have to have a commercial driver’s license. Anything lighter than this and you are good to go with your regular driver’s license. So without further ado here is the eight classes of trucks as designated here in the US. Keep in mind that each country, such as Australia, has its own class of trucks that regulate their commercial driving classes.

Light Duty Class of Trucks

In the light duty category are Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 trucks. These include your typical pickup trucks, like the Dodge Dakota, Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and Hummer H1. Light duty trucks range from 1 to 14,000 pounds for their GVWR.

Medium Duty Class of Trucks

Next up we have the medium duty truck class. This includes Class 4, Class 5 and Class 6 of trucks weighing from 14,001 to 26,000 pounds. Here we are approaching that commercial cut-off. You don’t need a CDL to drive these types of trucks, which include the Ford F-450, International TerraStar, and Chevrolet Kodiak/GMC TopKick C6500.

Heavy Duty Class of Trucks

Here are the trucks that require you to get your CDL. The heavy duty class of trucks include Class 7 and Class 8. These trucks include the Ford F-750 and tractor-trailer combinations. The GVWR for this category ranges from 26,001 to more than 33,000 pounds. In order to operate a Class 7 truck, such as the GMC C7500, you have to have a Class B commercial driver’s license. This is most typically for truckers who take regional trucking jobs. A Class 7 truck will tend to be the straight axle type of truck, such as a box truck used for delivering home furnishings.

The class that most truck drivers have the greatest experience with is Class 8. A Class 8 truck has a GVWR that is more than 33,000 pounds. Tractor trailers, single unit dump trucks, trucks with three axles or more…all of these are Class 8 trucks. A semi-truck with 18 wheels is a Class 8 truck, as are trailers ranging from 8 feet to 57 feet in length. If you are driving a Class 8 vehicle you will need to get your Class A or Class B CDL. A Class A is required for any trucking jobs that involve a combination vehicle, aka a tractor-trailer.

Working with the Class System

If you are interested in finding trucking jobs, then having as much experience with trucks of all classes will help you. As you study for the commercial driver’s license exam, you can take mechanic jobs working on different classes of trucks. Then by the time you have your CDL and are ready to look for trucking jobs, you will have an advantage. Being able to maintain and repair your own big rig is a huge benefit for a truck driver. Whether you choose to work for one of the many trucking companies out there or decide to become an owner operator, this knowledge will help you.

While company drivers don’t typically do anything under the hood, you still need to be able to detect the warning signs that something is amiss in your big rig. Having the background as a diesel mechanic will help you hone your chops behind the wheel. You will be a well rounded truck driver who is capable of fixing a leak or changing a tire. Sure, you might not need or want to use this skill set when you start taking great paying truck driving jobs. All the same, it’s a great skill set to have as a truck driver.

At the very least you will be a good go-to mechanic in the instance that someone’s rig breaks down at a truck stop. You will be able to help your fellow truck driver get back to rolling down the open road. Who knows? Maybe you will be the next trucker in need of some assistance and that good karma will come back to you. Being a good trucker involves far more than just knowing how to steer a wheel.

Meet Brita Nowak: Overdrive’s Most Beautiful 2016 Contest Winner

Brita Nowak truckerYou don’t often see a former actress behind the wheel of a big rig. All the same Brita Nowak of Jupiter, Florida has acted on the big screen in “Babylon 5,” “ LA Law” and “Star Trek.” This German born beauty studied economics in Berlin before moving to LA to pursue a career in Hollywood. Always up for an adventure, Nowak has since transitioned into the role of a truck driver owner. Thanks to her good looks and talent behind the wheel, Nowak is also the winner of Overdrive’s Most Beautiful 2016 Contest Winner.

Brita Nowak the Trucker

As a former actress this blonde beauty can stand her own on the screen. However, it was a whole new world she entered when Nowak took on the trucking industry. Today she is the owner of BratCat Express, working as an owner operator of her single truck business. She might be 48 but after a career in acting and modeling, Nowak knows what she needs to do to make it out on her own.

In fact, she’s always been interested in being a truck driver. According to Overdrive’s Most Beautiful contest winner, “It was more of a romantic notion though. The thought of the open road, seeing the country and being my own boss all appealed to me.” German born Nowak may not have started her career in the trucking business early on, but she found her path like most true blooded truckers.

Her role as a professional truck driver places her in the heart of NYC with Manhattan deliveries on the regular. She calls all the shots as an independent one-truck owner operator. When it comes to maintenance she’s learning more every trip, just like any other trucker on the road. She might look better than most other truck drivers, but Nowak is more than just a good looking trucker. She’s proof of the fact that any person can make the choice to change their career midstream and still make it a success. Truck drivers who want to make the move toward being an independent trucker or owner operator are inspired by the success of trucking owners like Nowak.

Winning the Most Beautiful Contest

Nowak is more than just a good looking truck driver. She earned her CDL to driving as a company driver before moving into the position of an owner operator. While she started her OO business in Jupiter, Florida, Nowak quickly learned that you have to chase the good loads where to go. She had the opportunity to take a New York trucking job, all the way to Chinatown in Manhattan, and first she turned it down.

After all, taking trucking jobs in NYC is the pits unless you are well experienced behind the wheel. She was new to trucking, so this sounded like a nightmare. Yet Nowak did something that most truck drivers wouldn’t. She changed her mind. By reconsidering the trucking job in NYC she ended up finding the niche that would keep her rolling for years.

Other truckers should take note. When you step up to take the difficult loads that no one else wants, you are challenging yourself as a truck driver. This is necessary if you want to develop your trucking career and find better paying CDL jobs. If you aren’t willing to take that leap, then you’ll have a difficult time finding those great paying trucking gigs.

When asked why that Nowak is the 2016 Overdrive’s Most Beautiful Contest Winner, the person closest to Nowak gave a kind response. “What sets Brita apart from most women is that she is the total package. She exudes all the attributes of being loyal, compassionate, intelligent and diligent. With all she has going for her, she still constantly improves herself and never rests on her laurels. I am inspired by the business she has built from her blood, sweat and tears,” says Nelson Karakunnel, Nowak’s boyfriend.

Becoming Overdrive’s Most Beautiful Contest Winner

Every truck driver who wants to earn recognition as Overdrive’s next Most Beautiful Contest Winner should take note. Beauty is only skin deep, and sure a good looking face will help you become Overdrive’s Most Beautiful Contest Winner. However, you have to show that you have more than just good looks going on under the hood. If you are interested in getting nominated as next year’s beauty by Overdrive, start by standing out from the crowd.

Take those trucking jobs that no one else wants. Start up your own trucking business if you don’t like the way your current trucking boss does things. There are plenty of ways to get noticed, but you’ll have to put in the hard work for it to happen. Keep in mind the Overdrive Most Beautiful Contest happens every year!

Why the Nikola One Truck is Getting So Much Buzz

Nikola One electric semi truckIn the world of all things electronic, the Nikola Motor Company has topped everyone. Check out the Nikola One, a mostly electric big rig.

That’s right, this is a truck that doesn’t require diesel at all, running off of electricity and compressed natural gas. As we consider which ways the trucking industry is going to go in the near future, pause to consider what it would be like to drive a Nikola One for hauling truck loads.

What’s Under the Hood of the Nikola One

If you aren’t running on diesel, then what’s going on with the engine? For starters, this model is referred to a 6 x 6 all wheel drive truck. It has an 800-volt AC motor along with all wheel regenerative braking. The horsepower? Well, get ready to blow your doors off with 2,000 horsepower. Oh yes, that extra zero is meant to be there.

To get this motor running you can use either battery power or compressed natural gas. In fact, the two work together so that you don’t even have to worry about finding a charging station over the road. For truck drivers who are already feeling the pinch of a lack of compressed natural gas fueling stations, this is a lifesaver. Using both the compressed natural gas and the battery power you can go for 1,200 miles without having to fill up on CNG.

Nikola Motor Company in a Nutshell

If you are thinking that the Nikola One is of the same family as the awe-inspiring $100,000 Tesla sports car, you’d be mistaken. The Nikola Motor Company and Tesla Motors are not affiliated, other than the fact that they have used the scientist Nikola Tesla’s name for branding purposes. However, with a price tag of $350,000 for an electric tractor and trailer, you are looking at the same sort of expense for this electrical feat.

Benefits of Going Electric

What is the deal with all of these electric, self driving, semi automated trucks these days? Well, with fuel costs spiking and diving like crazy, and the worry of how fossil fuels are polluting the air via emissions, truck makers are searching high and low for a way to make better tractor-trailers. The Nikola One, for example, boasts almost no emissions and it has nearly three times better mpg using the compressed natural gas as compared to diesel.

Electric vehicles earn high praise, just as long as these electric big rigs will be able to get the job done effectively. After all, what good is a truck if it can’t get the goods delivered on time due to mechanical hiccups or computer glitches?

Concerns with Electric Big Rigs

That’s one of the biggest worries for those in trucking industry. Sure, electric trucks would solve a slew of problems within the industry from fuel expenses controlling the marketplace to deadly diesel emissions. However, are electrically controlled big rigs the best idea?

With the new electric technology we would need to have a whole industry built up of experts who can handle all sorts of possible malfunctions that could occur with these trucks. As electrical engines utilize computer technology to handle sensors, etc., this poses a risk for truck drivers and trucking companies who could be harmed by computer hackers. In terms of compressed natural gas, there is another gas market that could easily spike and create a similar market problem that we have with diesel fuel.

And then there is the cost. Since this is a very new type of vehicle, you can bank on paying top dollar for this technology. Yes the Nikola One is $350,000, but think about extenuating costs, such as how much it’ll cost you to replace one of those electric engines. Over time technology will continue to improve, which will make those costs decrease as we’ve seen with computers and cellphones. However, for the time being it’ll be a while before your Average Joe trucking company will be able to afford the Nikola One or anything like it.

Will Truckers Go Electric?

This is a major question since truck drivers are the ones who will be operating these electric big rigs whenever they become accessible to the general public. Truckers, especially those who have been in the industry for a few decades, are accustomed to diesel engines. They understand what it takes to make them tick, and any trucker worth his salt will be able to tell something is off by hearing a noise or smelling something odd from the engine. They are comfortable with this kind of truck, and to change to an electric big rig would not be easy. When you have truck drivers who don’t even like to use a computer, or an e-log device, you can bet that they aren’t going to hop on the bandwagon of these e-rigs.

* Image source: Nikola One Motor Company

24 Trucking Companies That Will Hire Felons

Werner Enterprises semi-truck tractor trailerSo you have a felony on your record and you want to start a truck driving career. Forget about it, right? That’s what you would expect to hear since commercial drivers work under a federal agency, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. However, you’d be amiss to believe it since there are plenty of trucking companies in the US that hire felons. Before you start sending out truck driving applications though, consider the fine print for felons to save yourself some time.

Felons and the Trucking Industry

As you start searching for truck driving jobs with felonies on your record, you need to keep a few points in mind. In general trucking companies hire felons after due consideration of the crime they’ve committed, their overall record and their truck driving career. However, as in life, not all trucking companies treat felons equal and they won’t hire you regardless. However, for those trucking companies hiring felons, you typically have to meet certain stipulations, such as:

  • The felony charge must be at least 5 years old.
  • The incident that resulted in the felony cannot be related to certain crimes, such as being a multiple DUI offender or convicted of rape.
  • The driver who is a felon cannot take truck loads into Canada, as the Canadian Mounties are super strict about who they let cross the border; if you have a felony on your record you are most likely banned from crossing into Canada.

The best thing to do is contact the trucking company you want to work for and ask them about their hiring process regarding felons. While it’s not the easiest conversation to have, you can’t avoid the issue if you have a felony on your record. And they will find out if you try to hide the fact, so don’t take that route.

CDL and Endorsements for Felons

When you get your CDL you are given a list of offenses that would cause you to lose the CDL. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration any of the following violations would prevent you from getting your CDL, especially if you received a felony for them:

  • Kidnapping
  • Operating a vehicle with a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration
  • Committing manslaughter with a vehicle in the first or second degree
  • Operating a commercial vehicle while committing a felony
  • Extortion/bribery
  • Smuggling
  • Treason
  • Arson
  • Assault with intentions of committing murder

If your felony is related to any of these scenarios, you will not be able to get your commercial driver’s license. This in turn means you will not be able to be hired for truck driving jobs as a felon. Keep in mind that the FMCSA doesn’t prevent all felons from getting their CDLs if they have committed these offenses. Rather the FMCSA penalizes drivers according to the number of violations and the seriousness of the offense. From there the offending truck driver will likely be put on a probation of sorts where they are disqualified from getting a CDL for a set period of time, i.e. 1 to 3 years.

Contact your local DMV to see if your situation permits you to get your CDL or if you’ll need to wait for a period before reapplying.

Trucking Companies Hiring Felons

Now that you understand the ways that being a felon can jeopardize your truck driving career, let’s look at those trucking companies with truck driving jobs for felons:

  • Werner Enterprises
  • US Xpress
  • TMC Transportation
  • Swift Transportation
  • Stevens Transport
  • Schneider National
  • Roehl Transport
  • Prime, Inc.
  • Midwest Motor Express
  • Ozark Motor Lines, Inc.
  • May Trucking Company
  • JB Hunt
  • Hunt Transportation
  • Knight Transportation
  • Lone Star Transportation
  • Extension Logistics
  • Don Hummer Trucking
  • CR England
  • Dick Lavy Trucking
  • CT Transportation
  • Barr-Nunn Transportation
  • Celadon Group
  • Covenant Transport
  • Averitt Express

And that’s just a few, with some caveats. There are plenty of job opportunities for felons who want to be truck drivers, whether you are looking for regional trucking jobs or long haul jobs. Before you look for truck driving jobs make sure you get your CDL in order. Plus, the process of getting a CDL will help you prepare for the job application for trucking companies.

Now for the caveats. Each of the trucking companies hiring felons have their own rules for hiring felons. Many of the companies won’t hire a driver with a felony in the last 5 years, some won’t hire them with a felon in the last decade. Most all of the companies will review your record and the felony, and you can expect plenty of questioning regarding the situation, so be prepared for that. Don’t take it personal, it’s all part of the hiring process. They want to make sure they are hiring someone who isn’t going to make the same mistake twice. Finally, if one trucking company won’t hire you because of the felony on your record, chances are good that you’ll find one that will.

How Do Truck Drivers Stay Awake?

Semi truck driving on the roadThis is one of those questions that truck drivers hear a lot. How on earth do truckers stay awake especially when driving those long and boring roads or late at night? Sure you hear stories and tales of people doing drugs, like speed and cocaine, but let’s be honest. Those people aren’t going to be in the trucking industry for too long.

Truck driving is hard work and you have to be physically and mentally up to the task. Plus there’s that little thing called a DOT inspection drug test. You have these randomly throughout the year, not to mention annually when you pass the DOT physical exam. So what’s a sleepy trucker to do?

Entertainment Options on Deck

While most of the long time truckers will belittle the benefits of technology, truck drivers have far more options for entertainment in the 21st century. Whereas truck drivers once depending on their radio channels to pass the time, today we have satellite radio, podcasts and streaming music services. Most truck drivers have multiple entertainment options so they are less likely to get bored on over the road CDL jobs.

Yet the real game changer was the invention of smartphones. You can do everything on your smartphone from finding directions to playing games for free. There are so many time sucks in smartphones that you can easily depend on them too much. That is the case with truck drivers who no longer use CB radios.

Citizen band radios were once the go to communication option for long haul truck drivers. Now? Not so much. Truckers use trucking apps, such as Trucker Tools and Trucker Path Pro, to help them find the things they need, such as available trucker parking, rest areas, trucker friendly restaurants, etc. So go ahead and whip out your smartphone and use it to help you pass the time when sitting at loading docks and truck stop parking lots.

Eating Smaller Meals and Healthier Snacks

Another way to stay energized and alert throughout the day is to consider what kind of fuel you are using for your body. If you feed your body junk then you’ll get a bad return on your energy levels. You need to give your body nutritious meals and snacks to help keep you up and moving. However, as a truck driver you are often at the mercy of truck stop buffets, fast food restaurants and the snacks sold at truck stops. It can be quick and easy to grab a bag of donuts when in line to pay for fuel. Yes, you will get a jolt of energy and quite the sugar rush if you eat those donuts. However, within an hour you are going to crash from the sugar high, leaving you in worse shape than when you started.

So here’s the secret of truckers—eat small meals all throughout the day and avoid eating processed sugar whenever possible. The small meals will help your body process the food. Too large of a meal, it’ll make you sluggish and sleepy as your body breaks down the food. Stock up on fresh fruits, precut vegetables you can eat raw, whole grains and lean proteins.

Coffee versus Energy Drinks

For many truckers starting the day off with a super sized coffee is the way to go. Others prefer to drink energy drinks, such as 5 Hour Energy or RedBull. Which is better for truck drivers? If you take your coffee black, then that’s the best way to get caffeine. You aren’t adding sugar or saturated fat to your beverage, so it has next to nothing in terms of calories. It’s pretty much a way for you to consume caffeine, nothing more. And if you have lived off of truck stop coffee then you understand this better than anyone. Depending on the time of day you get your coffee, you might be getting recycled coffee mixed from the bottom of the morning’s coffee pots or some day-old sludge that is sure to upset your stomach.

So that’s why a lot of drivers depend on energy drinks. Unfortunately energy drinks have a ton of sugar, artificial ingredients, questionable ingredients and, of course, caffeine. If you have a heart condition you aren’t even supposed to drink this garbage. While the caffeine and concoction of herbs and ingredients is meant to help you stay awake, the overall effect of the jitters and an upset stomach keep many truckers from drinking these beverages.

If you do have to resort to an energy drink to stay awake as a trucker, make sure to read the ingredients on the label. Know what you are putting into your body. The last thing you want to do is fail a drug screen because of some energy drink you downed on a Texas trucking job.

How to Avoid the Trucker’s Arm

truck driver drivingAs we roll into summer there’s a very real threat to truck drivers everywhere. After sitting in the same seat, day after day, mile after mile, your left arm gets much more sun exposure than your right arm. In fact, your entire left side including your face and neck are getting constant sun exposure. If you were to look in the mirror by the end of summer, you will most likely have a distinct tan line going vertically along your upper body. This is called the dreaded trucker’s arm, but it also applies to your face and neck. Considering that excessive sun exposure can lead to skin cancer, trucker’s arm or trucker tan deserves a discussion.

Awkward Tan Lines for Workers

If you are a farmer you are more likely to have a tanned neck and tan line from your T-shirt aka a farmer’s tan. Working on a construction crew? You’re likely to have more sun exposure on your face thanks to the asphalt you are standing on. As a truck driver your left side will be more tan, possibly show signs of aging sooner, and cause an awkward tan line. However, an awkward tan line is the least of your worries.

Problems with Trucker’s Tan

According to the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, a study reported in 2011 found that commercial vehicle drivers aka truckers had higher cancer rates on the left side of their upper bodies. This increased rate is directly correlated with sitting in direct sunlight for days on end.

The more frequently you are exposed to UV rays, the more cautious you need to be to protect your skin. Unfortunately slathering on the sunscreen each day is at the bottom of most truckers’ to do lists. You can’t switch sides so you are driving on the other side of the cab. So what can you do to avoid getting trucker’s arm? Lots.

How to Prevent Trucker’s Arm

If you are into wearing lotions you might be well served by adding SPF lotion to your regime. Of course this isn’t so convenient for truck drivers. You need to wash that lotion off at the end of the day and most truckers aren’t always able to take a trucker’s shower at truck stops. Thank goodness for options.

Start by buying shirts that are made using SPF, such as rash guards or compression shirts. Check out Amazon where you’ll find all price points, colors and designs of these types of shirts. The material is made using sun block material, often SPF 50+. If you go with this option keep in mind you’ll need to get a long sleeved shirt to protect your arm. If this is not ideal in the hot summer months, you can always cut off the right sleeve of the shirt, so you are only covering your trucker’s arm. Slip it off whenever you have to get out to fuel, go into a weigh station or truck stop so you don’t get goofy stares.

Another option? Increase the tint on your driver’s side window. This is much easier said than done, especially if you are a company truck driver who doesn’t own your own truck. In that case you could bargain that having tinted driver side windows would help you and your coworkers reduce the chances of skin cancer due to trucker’s tan. Otherwise if you are an owner operator or independent truck driver you can do most anything you wish. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Department of Transportation announced in 2012 that truckers could add clear window film to their driver side windows so to reduce trucker’s arm.

Unlike typical tints this window film does not block the view of truck drivers. However, it does reduce 99 percent of UV rays. If you don’t have this type of film on your big rig windows, it’s time to make an upgrade to your working environment. Other benefits of this clear window tint is that it improves the air conditioning efficiency by blocking out hot rays. As a driver you will also see less glare, and the interior of your cab will fade more slowly over time.

Taking Care of Truck Drivers

In order to ensure that the trucking industry continues to grow and meet demands, we have to take care of truck drivers. Truckers already have a difficult task of making deliveries on time and with efficiency. The little things we can do, such as installing clear window film or providing tax write offs for SPF clothing, helps a lot. If you are a truck driver yourself, we need you so take care of yourself. Start by reducing your exposure to UV rays, and by decreasing the likelihood that you will get skin cancer as a truck driver.