The First Public Electric Highway Now Exists in Sweden

In the latest turn of transportation there is now an eco-friendly solution to highways. Over in the Scandinavian country of Sweden you can drive on the first ever electric highway. Discover the perks of this public e-road as you peer into the future where electric highways could be all the rage. The big question for truckers is how will electric highways effect the trucking industry?

Battery Powered Highways

The Swedish headquartered truck manufacturer Scania is in cahoots with electric powerhouse Siemens for electric highways. These two businesses have launched the world’s first electric highway system. It opened to the public in June 2016. However, it will be in testing for the next two years. Located in Sweden, this road system works much differently than the roads we have here in the US:

  • Trucks that are hybrid electric-gas drive along the 1.25-mile (2-km) expanse.
  • This part of the eHighway is located on the E16 highway in the northern part of Stockholm, Sweden.
  • During this trial period the road will test two diesel hybrid trucks built by Scania to see how well they charge and handle on the new system.
  • This trial will determine if the Transportation Administration in Sweden will be using this system throughout the country, as well as if they will choose to ‘sell’ it to other countries.

At the same time, Sweden isn’t the only country shooting forward with electric highway systems. Here in the US in California Siemens is currently working on making an electric highway system. This will eventually become a two-mile length of highway featuring an overhead contact line. Think, trolley car but with heavy duty trucks instead of passenger hauling carts. This system will be installed at the US port cities of LA and Long Beach.

Benefits of an Electric Highway

An electric highway will solve the problem of charging hybrid and electric vehicles. These vehicles are geared at reducing our use and dependence on fossil fuels, aka gas, diesel and oil. More specifically, an electric highway is aimed at cutting back the amount of diesel emissions of big rigs.

Sweden is already ahead of the curve with going green, and this electric highway plan follows that line of thinking. In Sweden, however, emissions from transportation, most specifically freight transport, make up one-third of the total emissions in the country. To cut out these emissions with the use of electric highways and hybrid diesel trucks would help Sweden secure the top spot for most eco-friendly country.

Benefits for Truck Drivers

Why is this such a big deal for truckers? These diesel emissions aren’t just harming the environment. Diesel truck drivers are at the greatest risk for respiratory conditions including breathing problems and lung cancer due to their close proximity to diesel emissions. After all, when you are driving a big rig you are right there in the diesel emission environment.

When you stop to fuel, there again more diesel pollution in your breathing space. Stopping at loading docks and ports, not to mention idling when parked overnight, are all directly related to diesel emissions. If you could protect your lungs and breathe easier, you’d want to, right? That’s a direct benefit of hybrid trucks and electric highways, an immediate reduction in your daily exposure to diesel emissions.

In our lifetime there will continue to be a strong push toward hybrid and electric trucks to reduce the cost and use of fossil fuels. While electric charging stations at truck stops are one solution for powering up big trucks that run off electricity, the use of an eHighway system is even more efficient. Imagine not having to pull over to fuel up at a truck stop. No more waiting in long lines at the pumps. No more dealing with dumb truckers who go in for showers and sit-down meals while parked in the fuel aisles. No more losing time trying to find the best prices on diesel fuel so you can keep your bottom line in the black. With an electric highway system you charge up while you keep rolling. This is the way of the future for electric trucks.

5 States with Most DOT Inspections per Lane-Mile

DOT buildingIn a typical company trucker’s day you are told which loads to take. This leaves you with little ability to choose the states you drive in. So when it comes to the US states with most DOT inspections, if your route takes you through these states, then that’s that. However, there is something you can do, your research. Once you know the states to watch out in, you are one step closer to avoiding the unpredictable–a DOT trucker inspection.

Benefits of Knowing the Most DOT’d States

By knowing which states have the most DOT inspections per lane-mile going forward you can be prepared for increased patrols. This could cause you to get held up roadside or at weigh stations as you go through the many levels of DOT inspections. Add a little extra wiggle room when running through these states so that an inspection, or three, won’t hold you up from delivering your loads on time.

Speaking about weigh stations, it looks like the most DOT inspections are coming from mobile enforcement, aka a traffic stop, rather than weigh stations. So slow down and don’t give the DOT any reason to pull you over. This will help cut down on your chances for an inspection. Also you want to avoid those top triggers that cause the DOT to stop you for an inspection, which we will talk about later on in this post. Common sense, truckers, will save your hide most of the time.

When you go through the following five states and seem to have a DOT inspection often, it might seem like you are getting singled out. Not the case, as you are simply in a highly inspected state. Join the club and cry together, but don’t think you are getting picked on because the DOT inspectors don’t like you. Well, they may not like you, but that is another matter altogether.

States with Most DOT Inspections

Here is what you are waiting for, the top five states where you are most likely to get DOT’d:

  1. Maryland
  2. Washington State
  3. Nevada
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Montana

These numbers are taken from Overdrive’s list of the Top 10 State Truck Enforcement Departments Ranked by Performance in 2016. Overdrive has also conducted its own research to determine that several other notable mentions need to be added to the list of most DOT’d states:

  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Texas
  • Arizona

Violation Priorities Among Top Performing States

Let’s take a look at what the DOT officers in the top five states are gunning for during DOT inspections:

  • Maryland DOT officers are focused on lights and brakes.
  • Washington has approximately the same amount of violation priorities for observed vehicle defects, brakes and lights.
  • Nevada is prioritizing lights with observed vehicle defects and hours of service coming in a close second.
  • Rhode Island is also prioritizing lights, followed up by observed vehicle defects.
  • Montana is looking for brakes and hours of service violations as the top areas of concern.

If you are driving through these states do make certain that you are good to go with your lights, in particular, but also with your observed vehicle defects, brakes and hours of service. This will save you from getting a bad CSA score, as well as having to pay fines or from getting shut down.

Do you have any stories to share about getting DOT’d in these high targeting states? We’d love to hear about it!

Buffalo Bills Cornerback Nickell Robey Started His Own Trucking Company

Nickell Robey Coleman stands beside his truckAs a child or maybe even a teen you likely had pipe dreams of being some huge sports star, such as a football player in the NFL, where you would make all the money and have all the fine women and big houses. But now ask yourself, if you would have achieved those dreams and was a cornerback for the Buffalo Bills, would you keep up with the trucking business?

Undoubtedly not too many people would go from NFL star to trucking company owner, especially when they are still on the football team. One notable exception is Buffalo Bills cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman better known simply as Nickell Robey.

Underdog Gets the Upper Cut

Nickell Robey was born in 1992 in Frostproof, Florida. As you can see he’s a youngster in the world of truck driving at only 24 years old. After all you can only get a CDL for long haul truck Driving jobs when you turn 21. As for his football career he was a standout player in high school, ranking as the 9th best cornerback in the US for his senior year. He ended up choosing University of Southern California to play college football for the Trojans out of several scouted schools. When Robey started his first collegiate football season he was the first freshman cornerback to start for USC since World War II.

By the time he was a junior at USC, this 5-foot-8-inch, 170-pound cornerback decided to skip his senior year in order to enter the NFL draft. Notice this guy’s size; he isn’t the biggest player by any means, and to be perfectly honest his hopes of getting to play for the NFL were iffy.

According to the NFL scouting committee, based on his paperwork and player evaluation, Robey was not projected to be picked in the first three rounds of the draft. That didn’t stop Robey from digging deep and pursuing his dreams. Then in the 2013 NFL Draft he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Buffalo Bills. Three years later Robey is still covering receivers for the Bills, and after signing a two-year contract extension in 2015 he’ll be around until 2017 at least.

Something to know about Nickell Robey is he is always thinking of the future. Start with his decision to attend USC, a school with the nation’s greatest number of Pro Football Hall of Famers, instead of staying close to the South and playing with other schools that tried to recruit him including Georgia, Clemson, West Virginia or Tennessee. Even after his mother died from a massive heart attack a few weeks before summer classes began at USC, Robey pressed on for his dream of sticking with USC, according to the Bleacher Report.

Robey said of the decision, “Time goes on. My family understands what I have to do…of course you miss your family. I just got to keep focused. I know what I’m going there for, and I feel like I made the right decision.”

Taking a Turn Into Trucking

This steadfast commitment continues today as Robey plays for the NFL while running a trucking business. As CEO of Maximize Enterprises LLC Robey is committed to trucking by providing trucking jobs in Orlando, FL. His family has had a long run in trucking starting with Robey’s grandfather and continuing with his mother, aunt, uncles and father. Robey is giving back, both to the memory of his mother and legacy of his family, as well as to the trucking industry in Orlando. His trucking business is currently focusing on agriculture and produce, and it includes dry van loads and reefer trucking jobs.

Robey isn’t settling in as a nameplate CEO, though. Even when he’s playing football for the Buffalo Bills in New York, and flying from field to field, he’s still brokering his own loads and delegating work to his trucking office manager. That’s right, Robey has got a broker’s license to help him provide better paying loads and more consistent routes for his drivers. He’s also invested in the best insurance possible, a $3 million policy that allows his company to haul loads for Tropicana and Coca-Cola. Here’s what it pays to be a trucker for Maximize Enterprises with Nickell Robey:

  • 25 percent pay for all in-state loads in Florida
  • 40 cents per mile for out of state loads

He compared his own pay rates to research based on national trucking companies, which pay from 35 to 37 cents per mile for OTR trucking jobs. While Robey isn’t the biggest trucking company in Florida, don’t hold your breath on that one. He has dreams and goals of having a fleet of 100 rigs moving daily. He’s following his mantra, “Let’s maximize everything. Maximize life, maximize this opportunity.” Sounds just right coming from this cornerback turned trucking company owner.

* Photo Source: Twitter

How the Same-Sex Trucker Trainer Policy Deters Women Truckers

Female trucker closing the hoodImagine being a woman trying to get trained by a trucking company, only to hear that it’s not possible. In fact, they can’t train you at all because of a same-sex trucker trainer policy. Does this sound like gender discrimination to you? Sure it does. After all, an employer should provide training opportunities to truckers no matter if you are a man or a woman. Discover which trucking companies have used same-sex training policies, and how this affects all truckers regardless of gender.

Trucking Companies with Same-Sex Trainers

Ever heard of New Prime Trucking, Inc.? Probably not, but I’m betting top dollar you’ve heard of Prime, Inc. Take a look at New Prime Inc. dba Prime Inc on the CSA score site to see more about this company. As one of the biggest trucking companies in the US, Prime is the last company you’d like to hear connected with discrimination practices. Given Prime Inc.’s status as a leader in the trucking industry anything that Prime can get away with sounds like fair game to other, smaller trucking companies. So for Prime trucking to resort to same-sex trainers, this could escalate into a major catastrophe for women trying to find CDL driver jobs.

The Same-Sex Policy Goes to Court

In June 2016 the US District Court in Springfield, MO where Prime is headquartered, ruled that this trucking company is not allowed to use a same-sex training policy. Why did Prime have this policy in the first place, given that it’s not common practice among trucking companies? At some point prior to 2004 Prime Inc. was in a lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because of sexual harassment of one of the female truckers who was being trained. The move for same-sex trainers was implemented in order to prevent sexual harassment in the future. Well, it backfired.

Prime, like all trucking companies, didn’t have enough women truckers on hand to handle the training of other women truck drivers. As a result women who wanted to work for Prime had to wait as long as 18 months before they could be trained. You can imagine how few women waited for a year and a half in order to get trained for a trucking job. This policy caused most all female applicants to be denied a trucking job with Prime because of Prime’s inability to train their drivers regardless of their gender.

Prime to Pay $3.1 Million to Victims

The findings follow a statement from Prime officials stating that the trucking company hasn’t used a same-sex trainer policy since 2013. Of course, this halt was due to a discrimination lawsuit from way back in 2011. In the lawsuit:

  • 63 women truckers were denied trucking jobs at Prime transportation because they couldn’t get trained, all because of the same-sex training policy. However, more women were most likely affected, but we will never know the true count as Prime Inc. failed to keep records on applicants.
  • Prime Inc. will pay $3.1 million in damages and lost pay to these women truckers, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • Prime trucking will also have to extend job offers to the women who are noted as being turned away because of this trainer policy.

The question is, why would a female trucker want to get hired on at Prime after all this time and hassle? Chances are slim that they will be interested in filling the trucking jobs Prime has to offer, which is a shame. Women truckers are in demand and on the rise, and it seems that Prime is positioning itself at the back of the pack for hiring female truck drivers.

2 Big Reasons We Need Women Truckers

First of all, this isn’t the 1950’s when women sat at home as housewives and tended the children. The average American family needs both parents out of the house and working at jobs to be able to make ends meet. Trucking jobs, especially team driving jobs where spouses join the ranks, can help dual earning households make more money. In addition to needing to work, having female drivers on staff will help fill the gap of a lack of male truck drivers in the US.

As you’ve read about time and time again, truck driving companies are complaining about truck driver retention and a lack of truckers to fill their rig seats. Yet only 5 percent of truck drivers are women, while women make up about 50 percent of the population. If women truckers were given the opportunity to train as a trucker and get a trucking job at national trucking companies, this would lead to a huge boost in trucker employment.

So what do you think? Should women be forced out of the trucking industry with policies like same-sex trainers, or are you ready to see women truck drivers take on a solid part of trucking jobs?

What Celadon is Doing for Truck Driver Appreciation Week

Celadon trucking 18 wheelerAre you operating a trucking fleet or an owner operator? Are you working for a trucking company? If you are in a trucking management position you have a very important week coming up. From September 11 to 17, 2016 it is time to recognize the truck drivers working for you via National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW).

Looking for some ideas that are tried and true for trucker appreciation? Check out how Celadon expressed their appreciation for company truck drivers for the company in 2015. Inspire yourself to make the most of NTDAW this year for the drivers who work so hard for you 365 days a year.

Setting a Schedule

The way to roll out the best National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is to start by setting up a full week of events and activities. Take a look at what Celadon trucking company did. They celebrated with a special theme each day along with a week-long event:

  • Monday was Thank-a-Driver Day
  • Tuesday was Wellness Day
  • Wednesday was Food Truck Day
  • Thursday was Monumental Day
  • Friday was Dunk Your DM

By setting up a schedule you can easily fit in something special for your truck drivers every day of the week. This also gives your drivers the ability to know what to expect each day. This brings up another point. Most of your drivers will be out on the road some or all of the days of Truck Driver Appreciation Week. So in addition to having activities held at the trucking company, think of ways to celebrate drivers who are on OTR trucking jobs.

Premium Level Perks for Truckers

Sure, a simple “thank you” says a lot for appreciating truckers. However, considering how hard truck drivers work to keep trucking companies in the black, you want to do more than verbal appreciation. Consider what Celadon did last year. For Wednesday, which was Food Truck Day, truck drivers who were at the company enjoyed a free lunch. Several local food trucks were on site serving everything from burritos to Caribbean cuisine.

All week long the trucking company hosted luncheons and dinners for their truck drivers. They also had the Celadon band play live music for truckers. Celadon even had a live podcast hosted on site Monday through Thursday by America’s Trucking Network, and trucking blogger Jerry Ott of Big Rig Talk was one of several special guests to come by Celadon for NTDAW.

If you are looking for premium perks for your working drivers who aren’t around for free food truck feasts or live bands, you’ll want to take a different approach. For example:

  • Rather than food truck freebies, give all of your drivers a $25 gift card to a truck stop restaurant that is in the region where they are hauling loads, or give out gift cards to local restaurants so they can enjoy a good meal when they get in off the road.
  • Instead of having podcasters and bloggers on site, include your over the road truckers and regional drivers in as call-in guests to these podcasts. As for the bloggers, ask your truck drivers if they would be interested in getting interviewed or perhaps writing a blog post or two for the guest blogger’s site.

Include your entire trucking crew on the excitement of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Also, even though the week is dedicated to truck drivers you can’t forget those employees who are instrumental in keeping truck drivers in business. These employees include:

  • Customer service reps in the company office
  • Trucking dispatchers who match truckers to trucking jobs
  • Direct managers, general managers and all other management positions who lead the team
  • Human resources department workers
  • Administrative assistants and secretaries

Everyone who works for you is part of your trucking company team. Without each person your truck drivers would have that much more of a difficult time doing their job. So remember to include all of your workers in the recognition of NTDAW. For Celadon they hosted a couple of days for people other than truck drivers. On Monday, Thank-a-Driver Day, office staff competed in a decorating contest. The theme was “What Can Blue Do For You?” playing off of UPS’s brown motto. To include truckers in on the fun the company drivers were the ones to choose the winners. Friday was Dunk Your DM Day and truck drivers had the chance to dunk their direct managers in the dunk tank.

All in all, Celadon had a great Driver Appreciation Week last year thanks to their preplanning and themed days. Think of how you can translate these ideas into a NTDAW that your own team of drivers and company workers can appreciate. If your trucking company does amazing things for Trucker Appreciation Week, please share in the comments.

Why Diamond Dallas Page’s DDP Yoga is Best for Truckers

woman doing yoga on a matPage Falkinburg made a living in sports entertainment. Yes, under the stage name “Diamond Dallas Page,” or “DDP” for short, Falkinburg was a three-time world champion of the now-defunct World Champion Wrestling (WCW). Following the sale of WCW in 2001, he had wrestling stints in the World Wrestling Federation (or WWF, which is now World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, or TNA.

While that’s all good and well, you’re probably wondering what Diamond Dallas Page has to do with truck driving? After all, headlocks, suplexes and pile driving opponents through the Spanish announcers table don’t really jive with driving a semi-truck. But for a moment, let us flashback to 2001 when WCW was sold and DDP transitioned into the then-WWF.

A year later, his contract wasn’t renewed because of a myriad of injuries he suffered in the wrestling ring. These were injuries to his neck, back, shoulders and joints. Not only could injuries of this nature be debilitating and lead to a decrease in his quality of life, but they were also putting his career in jeopardy. That’s when he conceived the idea for DDP Yoga – a hybrid yoga workout that provides great exercise, builds muscle, improves fitness levels and does it all without putting pressure on the joints. This workout helped DDP return to the ring – and it has helped countless others stay fit and regain mobility from injuries.

As you know, the trucking industry doesn’t have the reputation for being the healthiest one. Specifically, it can be a huge challenge for truckers to stay fit while they’re on the road, especially when they’re spending days and weeks at a time away from home. The bottom line is that life on the road takes its toll on the body, similar to how repeated crashing against a mat takes its toll on wrestlers, so truckers have to put in the effort to stay healthy. That’s one of the big benefits when it comes to DDP Yoga – it can be done anywhere, outdoors, indoors, in the cab of a truck, etc. There’s even an app that users can download for additional convenience, which is especially helpful for truck drivers, as they can take their workouts anywhere.

Here’s a sampling of some of the benefits of DDP Yoga as it pertains to keeping truck drivers healthy:

  • It’s a complete workout that helps the entire body.
  • It’s a workout that is specifically intended to protect your joints, while strengthening them.
  • As long as you’re a member, you’ll have access not only to workout regimes and information, but nutritional information as well. Eating right and exercising are key to a healthy body.
  • Tracking: You can track your progress, set goals and make sure you stay on track and motivated.
  • The workout is designed to monitor your heart rate to ensure you’re working hard enough to get the most out of your yoga session.
  • Versatility: Just because it’s worth mentioning again, DDP Yoga goes wherever you go thanks to the app – so you can take it along in your truck and complete workouts while you’re on the road, at home or anywhere really.
  • Virtual workouts with DDP himself: Yes, Diamond Dallas Page isn’t just the creator of DDP Yoga, but still an active participant of it. So members will actually get the chance to virtually workout with DDP himself on a weekly basis.

DDP Yoga is also affordable and ranges from monthly to three-month to annual memberships. Pricing ranges from $29.99 per month, $39.99 for three months and $107.88 for the entire year. It’s a little more expensive than a gym membership, but again, truckers don’t really have the luxury of utilizing local gym memberships based on how often they’re away from home.

No matter what you do for a living, you likely have to make time for exercise if you’re serious about maintaining good health. But this is especially true if you’re a truck driver. That’s part of the reason why truck driver wellness has become such an issue in the field. In fact, the average life expectancy of a truck driver is only about 61 years – 17 years shorter than the average U.S. life expectancy. What’s more is that half of all truck drivers are obese, and truck drivers are twice as likely to develop diabetes compared to those that work in other fields.

Yes, staying healthy is imperative for truck drivers and DDP Yoga can greatly help. Perhaps the company you drive for may even purchase memberships for its drivers as part of an incentive to keep drivers healthy while they’re on the clock? After all, healthier drivers will mean fewer worker’s compensation filings and lesser healthcare expenses for the business itself – so everyone can potentially win.

Check out DDP Yoga today to see what all the fuss is about. You might never go back to anything else.

How One Trucker Was Declared an Imminent Hazard

truck driver in truck cabTalk about a bad day over the road. A truck driver in Tennessee was declared an imminent hazard to public safety. Not the best way to make the most of your CSA score, but it’s a real deal for Stevie Wolfe Breland, 58 of Charleston, South Carolina. He’s been shut down by the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and it’ll be a long time before this long haul trucker gets in some windshield time.

The Incident

Breland was busted in a hit-and-run accident in Chester County, South Carolina. The fatal accident happened on Interstate 77 near mile marker 59 after Breland rear-ended a Ford Explorer with his purple 18-wheeler, causing it to roll over on the highway. This incident occurred on February 8, 2015 resulting in the death of one of the occupants, Flora Ellenburg, 49, of Salisbury. That hardly caused Breland to slow down.

He took off the offending bumper and rolled on down the highway to make his delivery. At the time of the incident he was hauling an intermodal shipping container up to Jonesville, NC. When he made it back to the trucking company where he was employed he said it happened because he hit a deer. The bumper was replaced and Breland thought he was in the clear.

Third Strike Out

The saddest part of this is that this wasn’t Breland’s first incident. Over the eight months prior to the fatal crash he was involved in two other auto crashes while in his big rig. He made an improper lane change in November 2015 that caused him to rear-end a vehicle. Prior to that in July 2015 Breland rear-ended yet another car when he didn’t slow down in stopped traffic. That’s three rear-endings in less than a year. It really makes you pause to think about why the DOT or his trucking company employer didn’t shut him down sooner, before he killed Flora, a loving mother and grandmother, in February.

The Penalty Phase

Breland is in custody in Charleston County for charges unrelated to the incident. On February 25, 2016 he was served with a federal order that stated he is “an imminent hazard to public safety.” The FMCA states on the order that “Breland’s continued operation of a commercial motor vehicle substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public.” Well, that’s sort of obvious after three recent wrecks.

Breland is a commercial truck driver who did have his commercial driver’s license (CDL) at the time of the accidents. His CDL has since been disqualified for the next 180 days at minimum, which means Breland is not permitted to take OTR trucking loads that involve interstate commerce. He will most likely have to pay a civil penalty, but not more than $2,500.

If Breland wants to get his CDL back after the 180 period, he can, which is scary. Furthermore, he would be subject to a second offense, rather than a fourth offense since he was only penalized for the fatality. A second offense would result in the loss of his CDL for at least 2 years. What if Breland goes trucking before this? He could be subject to legal action.

Getting Away with Murder

As noted Breland was arrested, but for unrelated charges to the incident involving the fatal crash in February. A quick search of Breland’s public records show that he has been in trouble with the law, a lot:

  • He was charged with failure to reduce speed by Iredell, NC in July 2015, which would coincide with his first rear-ending accident
  • He was charged with speeding in Henderson, NC back in May 2015
  • On February 17 Breland was arrested and charged with traffic / hit and run along with “duties of a driver involved in accident with death.”

Will this mean that he will be tried for vehicular homicide? It doesn’t look like it, which is terrifying. By rear-ending the SUV and following his erratic driving record you would hope the judge would throw the book at Breland. Otherwise you continue to set the pace that commercial truck drivers are dangerous and wild, which only adds to the misconceptions non-drivers already have.

People see truck drivers as rough and rowdy, and while there are some in every crowd, this has a negative effect on the way truckers are treated. Who wants to become a truck driver when this job comes with the reputation of being seedy or out of control? Unfortunately truckers like Breland are out there and causing the rest of the trucking industry to look bad. This writer’s opinion is that the driver needs to be held accountable and taken off the road, based on his past record and actions during the hit and run incident.

What do you think? Should Breland be buried underneath the jail for the hit and run fatality?

5 Tips to Relax While On Your OTR Trucking Job

Tractor trailer trucksRelaxation and an over the road trucking job doesn’t sound like a good match. How are you supposed to relax when you deal with road rage, construction zones, traffic and bad weather all day?

After such a day you go back into your sleeper and try to unwind, but you work where you sleep and sometimes eat. It can be difficult to relax, for certain. If you are feeling the negative effects of stress and tension try these five tips for relaxing on your trucking job.

Consider the Health Benefits of Essential Oils

If you have heard of essential oils, then you probably think these are some hippy dippy deal. After all, how much can you benefit from smelling certain scents? Turns out, a lot. According to the US National Library of Medicine cancer patients use essential oils to reduce stress and tension, and to improve their quality of life. Thankfully you don’t have to have cancer in order to benefit from essential oils. Pick up a few that are meant for relaxation, such as:

  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Bergamot
  • Rose
  • Vetiver
  • Chamomile

You can find essential oils at grocery stores, Walmart and health food stores. Also, formulas specifically for reducing anxiety and stress are often available, featuring a special blend of several oils. Make sure to read the instructions before using as some oils are meant for use on the skin, while others require a humidifier-type machine to spread the scent throughout the air.

Start a Stretching and Yoga Pose Routine

If you go on a run that can reduce stress and tension. However, many truck drivers can’t find the time for jogging on a regular basis. Therefore you are more likely to get stressed out when overexerting yourself by jogging or running. Skip the stress and go with a low-impact exercise like stretching or yoga poses. You can search for stretching exercises, as well as yoga poses, on YouTube for videos that show you exactly how to move without getting hurt. Its like having your own personal trainer in the truck with you, without the exorbitant cost.

Check Your Work and Play Schedule

When is the last time you were at home? Has it been far too long? If you are feeling super stressed on your trucking job you might need a change of scenery. Request for some time off from your OTR trucking job so you can recharge and reconnect with life outside of work. These days it’s too common for truckers to be overworked and in a situation where they feel they can’t say no to the CDL jobs that come their way. However, if you are working too hard you are bound to burn out, and your body and mind will rebel against you. Treat your mind and body right by getting out from behind that wheel when you are getting overwhelmed by work.

Reconnect with Your Loved Ones

A common problem with working over the road is that you can easily lose touch with your friends and family. If you are home from time to time, that’s great, but how do you spend your home time? Are you visiting with loved ones or spending time at birthday parties, going out with friends, or hanging out with family members? If you are stuck over the road on a trucking job you don’t have to wait until you’re home to connect. Thanks to that wonderful invention called social media you have zero excuses. Set up a Facebook page, Instagram account or SnapChat profile. You can do everything from catch up with old friends to creating videos of your over the road adventures to share with loved ones.

Create a Relaxing Retreat in Your Rig

How does your bedding look in your big truck? If you are using sheets with holes, threadbare blankets and pillows that are 10 years too old, it’s time to make an upgrade. A few quick changes and you can transform your sleeper into something worth enjoying for more than snoring. Create a relaxing retreat by:

  • Purchase some new bedding that is seasonally appropriate. For example, flannel sheets are great for winter, but you want something cooler, such as satin, for summer months.
  • Buy a new pillow, or three. If you haven’t heard you need to replace your pillow every 6 months at most. If you don’t get to the trucker showers too often, toss your pillows every 3 months. Notice that you can wash certain pillows, per their label, but it can be difficult to get them completely dry when in your rig all week.
  • Add some mood lighting. Get a pack of rope lights or other indoor bedroom lighting and update your space.

The cozier you can make your sleeper and cab, the better when it comes to reducing your stress levels as a trucker.

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!