5 States Where You’re Most Likely to get a Dirty DOT Inspection

Trucker Being InspectedGetting pulled over by the DOT inspectors makes for one hairy day as a trucker. If you were busted for speeding or some other moving violation you are already in jeopardy. However, you still have the DOT inspection to get through. After they inspect you and/or your tractor-trailer the inspector might have additional bad news for you. All in all, you want to avoid this scene at all costs, especially in states where you are more likely to end up with a bad inspection. Here is the top five states where you’ll most likely incur a violation during your next DOT inspection.

Dirty DOT Inspections

What exactly does this mean? In some states the DOT inspectors are more stringent in their inspection practices. This might be as part of the latest task force effort to reduce hours of service violations. Or it could be caused from overzealous inspectors. Another reason some states are more strict with DOT inspections is because they are part of a research grant or program.

For example, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) has the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) High Priority Grant. Through MCSAP states are granted award money for each DOT inspection at specific inspection levels. The more inspections completed in depth by the DOT officials in participating states, the more free federal money that is paid out to the state officials. As a result, some states including Arkansas and Montana are regularly at the top of the list of the most DOT inspections per mile. But what about the states where these inspections are more likely to indicate something is wrong? Failed inspections are a burden to truck drivers, but in some states they are far more likely to take place.

Profiling the Top Performers

CCJ keeps a check on the states that are more likely to have dirty DOT inspections. As part of data compiled by Overdrive here are the five states where you are most likely to get a bad report card by an inspector:

  • Connecticut 15 percent clean inspections
  • Louisiana 16 percent clean inspections
  • Idaho 17 percent clean inspections
  • Wisconsin 18 percent clean inspections
  • Indiana 19 percent

As a reference point the national average of clean inspections is 40 percent. This means that four out of 10 inspections are clean, which is great news for truck drivers. In states where you have 15 percent clean inspections, as with Connecticut, you are looking at a whopping 85 percent of all DOT inspections come out dirty. In other words, if 100 truckers get DOT’d in Connecticut, 85 of them are going to be boiling mad.

The Bottom Line

You are responsible for the state of your tractor-trailer. It is your professional responsibility to be able to pass a DOT inspection with flying colors. That is all on you. However, when you get pulled over for a DOT inspection all of the sudden a tail light is out, which happened literally in between the last truck stop and this inspection. Your CSA score and trucking job prospects will be hampered by this blown bulb. Here’s where the clean versus dirty state issue comes into the scene.

If you are in a state where they are more likely to complete a Level 1 DOT inspection then you have more of a chance to fail the inspection. There is simply more areas where you can make a mistake. That’s the case with these “dirty” DOT states. You are far more likely to have a comprehensive DOT inspection rather than a less strenuous check.

So what can you do to ensure you won’t get dinged in these heavy hitting states? You’ve likely already guessed it, keep your rig and logs in tip top shape. Also be prepared when you enter Connecticut, Louisiana, Idaho, Wisconsin, or Indiana. You can bank on getting more stringent inspections in these states. If you do a lot of hauling in or through these states learn the tricks on which truck stops, weigh stations and highways to hit up, and which to avoid. Some behind the wheel experience will give you skills in making the most of these dirty DOT’d states.

What to Do If You Think You Have Sleep Apnea

Trucker Inside Trucking CabAccording to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration nearly one-third of truck drivers have sleep apnea. That’s right, one in every three truckers are suffering from a serious breathing condition that leads to an increase in fatigue-related accidents. This is why it is so important to get your sleep apnea diagnosed, whether you have it or not. In addition to being dangerous to your health, it is also detrimental to your truck driver jobs if left untreated. Once you learn how to test yourself for sleep apnea you’ll be set to treat and protect yourself and others from the symptoms of this sleeping disease.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing in the middle of your sleep. It occurs when you have loose skin blocking your airway. If you are a heavy snorer this is a typical symptom of sleep apnea. Others who hear you sleep may recall hearing you stop breathing for a few seconds before you kick in with a loud snore. Again, common among sleep apnea sufferers. Unfortunately most truck drivers sleep alone in the cab so they aren’t likely to notice this. That’s why other tests are used to determine sleep apnea. These include measuring the diameter around your neck and doing a sleep test.

Why is Sleep Apnea Serious?

If you are unable to breathe at night, you stop breathing for several seconds at a time, then this is a problem. Fortunately your brain kicks in and wakes you up so you can start breathing again before you smother in your sleep. That’s where the bigger issue is. You constantly jump in and out of sleep and you can’t get adequate, deep sleep. A lack of regular sleep increases other health problems including high blood pressure and foggy thinking.

Why is Sleep Apnea a Problem for Truck Drivers?

As a truck driver you need all of the sleep you can get. Being fatigued and behind the wheel automatically increases the likelihood you’ll be involved in an accident on the road.

In fact, if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea you will have to find a DOT-approved sleep apnea treatment. These treatments are typically done with a unit called a CPAP machine. This is an oxygen mask you wear when you are asleep. While they aren’t the most attractive thing you’ll ever wear to bed, they can help you breathe better and sleep more soundly.

Where Do I Go to Get Tested for Sleep Apnea?

Typically you will receive your first warning sign from your DOT physical during your annual exam. If this is the case the doctor will give you a referral to a sleep doctor. Otherwise you will need to see your primary doctor or a sleep specialist in order to go through the sleep test for sleep apnea. Note that depending on your health insurance coverage you may need to be referred by a certain type of doctor to be covered. Make sure to find out about this with your insurance provider before you attempt to get a referral.

Once you have been referred to a sleep education center for a study you will be required to spend the night at the center. Various nodes and sensors are added to your body to detect any changes while you sleep. This sleep test will determine what is causing your sleep disturbance, and whether or not you have sleep apnea.

I Have Sleep Apnea as a Trucker; Now What Do I Do?

If you are a truck driver and are diagnosed with sleep apnea you will have to use a DOT approved treatment method. This is primarily the CPAP machine, also known as the continuous positive airway pressure therapy machine, can be used in your rig. You will need to have a way to power it up, and some CPAP machines require more amps than others. Check out your truck driver requirements before choosing a CPAP machine. Also when you go to get your next DOT physical you will have to let them know that you have sleep apnea and are using the CPAP machine for breathing therapy.

Having sleep apnea is quite common among truck drivers. However, it does not have to end a trucker’s career. Getting a diagnosis for sleep apnea is the first step. Next is treatment with a CPAP machine, which is a lot easier than having to go through some surgical procedure or long term medication.

What are your thoughts on sleep apnea? Do you suffer from this condition? If so have you used a CPAP machine, and what was your experience? We’d love to hear from truck drivers who are dealing with this situation every day.

Watch the Road! Texting and Driving is Legal in These States

Trucker in City LimitsYou see it every day. People driving and texting and talking on their cell phone. Some cell phones are as big as tablets, which makes you wonder if they are watching movies when driving. Texting is one of the most dangerous activities drivers can do, especially when on highways where the speed limits are increased. As a truck driver you have to be on high alert due to other drivers. Considering they may be texting or talking as they drive, it’s a constant threat to truckers’ safety. Yet a lot of states allow this. Find out where cell phones are A-OK throughout the nation, so you can be aware of the states where you’ll need to be more cautious.

Texting Permitted

Reading texts and typing them out takes concentration. When you do this while driving you are not paying attention to the road. By default driving and texting is dangerous for the driver and those around them. However, some states still allow you to text while driving. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), texting is allowed in:

  • Montana
  • Arizona
  • Missouri for drivers who are over 21
  • Texas along with a variety of restrictions

In all other states you cannot text while operating a motor vehicle. It is against the law of the state. As a reminder truck drivers with a CDL cannot operate a motor vehicle while texting in any state regardless.

Cell Phone Use Banned

Using your cell phone while driving to talk to someone is equally distracting. However, most states do not have a law against doing this activity. In fact, several states allow the use of cell phones by drivers. According to the IIHS HLDI you can use your cell phone while driving a passenger car in:

  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
  • South Dakota
  • Iowa
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • Nebraska
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Alaska
  • Michigan
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Florida

A few states allow you to use cell phones with restrictions. These include:

  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Lousiana
  • Arkansas
  • Wisconsin

For example, in Wisconsin you can’t use your cell phone when driving in construction zone areas. Drivers in Arkansas have to be at least 21 years old to be able to use their cell phones while driving. Again, as a commercial driver you won’t need to worry about knowing the specific laws of cell phone use in states. You aren’t allowed to use cell phones at all when driving. At the same rate, it’s important to know where drivers will be using their cell phones. A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 69 percent of US adult drivers 18 to 64 had used their cell phone while driving.

States Where Cell Phones are Banned for Youth

Another age group you have to worry about when it comes to texting or talking while driving is young drivers. Several states have banned the use of cell phones by drivers under 18. In Illinois you have to be 19 before you can use your cell phone while driving. Here is a complete list of the states where you can use your cell phone as a young driver:

  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • Idaho
  • Nevada
  • Arizona
  • Alaska
  • Oklahoma
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Florida
  • South Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York

In these states there are no bans against young drivers using cell phones. So proceed with caution as you haul loads across these states.

Ways to Be Safe Around Cell Phone Users

If you want to be safe when driving around cell phone users consider the greatest rates of accidents caused by this activity. According to the Governors Highway Safety Administration:

  • 3,179 people were killed in crashes caused by driver distraction in 2014 on US highways
  • Texting and talking on cell phones are two of the top distractions of drivers

When it comes to what you can do to avoid this issue, know that typing a text message causes a driver to not be responsive to traffic events. So you have to be cautious around cell phone users. Look out for cars with drivers looking at their cell phones. At night it’s really easy to spot cell phone users and their glowing squares reflecting onto their faces. By understanding that these drivers are automatically more dangerous to be around, it’s up to you to steer clear whenever possible.

How to Prepare for Your First DOT Inspection

Truckers Parked TogetherOh boy, you are in for quite a treat if you haven’t had a DOT inspection yet. The thing is you can be inspected at any time. You could be pulled over for a moving violation and get inspected then. You might have your driver number drawn from the pot for a randomly selected inspection. Your first inspection may take place in a weigh station. You just never know. So your best move to make is to be prepared for a DOT inspection. Print off this handy checklist to make sure you have all of your T’s crossed and I’s dotted for your first inspection by the Department of Transportation.

  • Check your service brakes and coupling devices to make sure they work properly.
  • Is your parking brake working?
  • Do a visual and hands-on inspection of your steering mechanism aka your steering wheel.
  • Double-check all of your lights and reflectors every time you stop to fuel, during your pre-inspections and for post-inspections. Keep extra bulbs and reflectors in your toolbox for replacements.
  • Check the tire pressure in your truck and trailer tires using a tire pressure gauge periodically or as needed. Check the tread of your tires to make sure it’s up to par.
  • Blow your airhorn and steering wheel horn every once in awhile to make sure they are working properly.
  • When is the last time you used your windshield wipers? Give them a go to check for loose rubber or broken parts. Replace as needed to ensure they are usable, keeping a spare set in your rig for emergencies.
  • Keep your rear vision mirrors clean and in well-functioning order. Replace any cracked mirrors to avoid getting dinged by the inspector.
  • How do your wheels and rims look? Rust or cracks are a call for replacements. Also if you are missing lug nuts to hold the wheels in place, you’ll want to get those replaced stat.
  • Once a month go through your emergency equipment and replace anything that is out of date, such as fire extinguishers. If you use your emergency equipment replace the used or worn items as soon as possible.

If you have an intermodal trucking company job then you need to have some additional inspection items on your list. These include:

  • Do a check of your air line connectors including couplers and hoses. Replace anything that is leaking, cracked or rusted.
  • Inspect your king pin upper coupling device, which is a heavily used item for intermodal trucks.
  • Where are your tie down bolsters? Are they secured on your trailer?
  • Check all of your locking pins, hooks, clamps, clevises, and sliders. Everything should be accounted for and in proper working order.

Now that you are good to go with the vitals regarding a DOT inspection, it’s all up to you to make sure you follow the rules. However, things happen and on occasion a trucker has been known to fail a DOT inspection. Typically this means you have one or two items that need repair, such as a light that’s gone out within the last mile before your inspection. This kind of stuff happens a lot, and you won’t get shut down for small scale repairs. You do have to get these repairs done before you can go back on the road, however, and the DOT will be comparing dates and times on inspection reports and driver’s logs. Don’t try and shortcut here, get everything back up to speed before you go back out on the road.

Sharpen Your Mind and Fill the Silence as a Trucker

Truck Driving on Foggy RoadAs you roll down the road day after day, you might get bored. Hey, it happens when you are an over the road truck driver. One way to combat the boredom is to listen to audio books. Its like having someone read to you, which can be both soothing and entertaining. If you are someone who loves to listen to talk radio, this could be right up your alley. Plus, for truckers who don’t have time or energy to read actual books, audiobooks is the next best alternative. Discover ways to listen to audio books for cheap, as well as some of the best audio books available.

How to Listen to Audio Books

You’ve got a few options here. First of all, there’s the good old fashioned CD version. While a set of audio books on CD is rather costly, you can normally borrow audio books from your local library. Since these are typically checked out for travelers, the lending periods are usually relaxed unless you are listening to one of the newest releases that everyone wants.

If you want to save some money, but are interested in having mobility with your audio books, you can get them through Audible. The way Audible works is you sign up for a membership that costs approximately $15 depending on the plan you choose. Then every month you get a credit that is worth one audio book. Considering the price tag of most are at least $25 you save money. Audible lets you download audio books on your smartphone or tablet. Then you can listen to them through your truck audio system, or via your mobile device. While you can stream the books and listen to them that way, you want to download the book to your device when you have Wi-Fi. Otherwise you are looking at very hefty data usage.

“A Game of Thrones” by George RR Martin

First of all, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the HBO series based on this book series. Whether or not you’ve read the books, of which each is several hundred pages long, you want to check out the audio book version. Start with the first book, also titled “A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1.” It’s nearly 34 hours long so you will get plenty of listening time out of it. After that there are four more in the series along with at least one that has yet to be published. (Come on, George, please finish it before you croak.)

Also the audio book version featuring Roy Dotrice is highly regarded as one of the best voice overs ever. Dotrice uses different voices for each of the characters, which is very challenging considering how many different characters there are. The story itself has some similarities in early European royals, but you’ll find the violence to be more Viking-like. Best of all, when you are finished listening to the audio book versions, you can watch the television version to see how they compare.

“Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand

If you are more into history, you cannot miss “Unbroken.” If you made the mistake of watching the movie, try to block that out of your mind as you read the book version. For starters, it’s taken directly from the words of the person it’s about, Louis Zamperini who was an Olympic athlete and a lieutenant in the Air Force. The real story is about how Zamperini faced and beat all, and I do mean all, odds including being lost at sea for thousands of miles and getting tortured in a prison camp until he was starved and beaten nearly to death. And yet he lived. It’s one of the most heartbreaking and inspirational stories you will ever have the chance of listening to. For any trucker with a penchant for World War II history, it is a must.

Other Ideas for Audio Book Selections

Did you know you can listen to self-help, educational, religious, romantic, and classic books in audio book version? Literally any book you’ve ever wanted to read, but haven’t had the time, can be listened to via audio book format. That’s the glory here, having the opportunity to do something with all of that silence that you face day after day as a trucker. Fill the void while filling your mind and heart with some literature. Get ahold of an audio book or two for your next over the road trucking trip.

Do you listen to audio books? If so what are some of your favorites?

How Do Truck Drivers Get to Be Highway Angel Recipients?

Truckers Parked at Truck StopSure, your sweetheart might refer to you as her highway angel. However, that isn’t the kind of highway angel we are talking about here. The Truckload Carriers Association started a program called Highway Angel in 1997. Ever since then this program has brought to light those commercial truck drivers who go the extra mile. A Highway Angel is a trucker who’s courageous, kind and often heroic. Every year these angels are nominated and placed in a contest to see who is the most epic angel of them all. Find out what it takes to be part of this program.

Getting Nominated as a Highway Angel

Truck drivers who become Highway Angels are recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty. You might have saved a child from a burning car or rescued a stranded truck driver who was stuck in a flood zone. These are the types of truckers who get awarded as angels. If this sounds like you or some trucker you know, the next step is a nomination. You may be nominated by someone, such as a spouse, coworker or boss, or you may nominate a truck driver yourself. To nominate someone you need to fill out the Highway Angel nomination form.

The next step in the process is a vetting process of the nominees. In order to be a nominee you must have some reputable situation that makes you stand out as a hero of the highway. The TCA will investigate and verify the situation that led to your nomination. Therefore it has to be something that can be tracked back to you.

  • One of the latest Highway Angels to be recognized is Daniel Sieczkarski who rescued a truck driver from floodwaters in Houston earlier this year.

Perks of Being a Highway Angel or EpicAngel

EpicVue, a satellite TV provider for big rigs, is the main sponsor of the Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angels program. Among the nominees of the program, one truck driver is selected each year to stand out from the crowd as the EpicAngel Highway Angel of the Year. This is a play on the sponsor brand of EpicVue.

  • The winner of this prestigious award wins a trophy, in-cab entertainment package, and recognition at the TCA Annual Convention.

In terms of rewards if you are recognized as a Highway Angel, there are some swag items you’ll receive. These include a lapel pin indicating you are a H.A. along with a patch you can sew or iron onto your trucking jacket. You get a decal to put on your big rig or personal vehicle, as well as a certificate to recognize your honor. Your boss will also get a certificate to hang in the trucking office, which will drive your trucking buddies crazy.

However, you get more than just swag. You also earn the honor of being a TCA Highway Angel, which goes on your trucking record. If you want to find a better paying trucking job this will boost your trucker status immediately. Everyone likes a hero and an angel, and being commended by the Truckload Carriers Association looks great on your resume. Also, if you are ever interested in going out for top prize at the Great American Trucking Show, such as the Overdrive Owner-Operator or Company Driver of the Year, you’ll need all of the street cred you can muster. Having the recognition as a TCA Highway Angel will make you look that much better when it comes to judging GATS drivers.

Looking at the big picture, having this program available to recognize the heroic and selfless situations that lead truckers to take the higher road is wonderful for the public image of truckers. The trucking industry as a whole gets a bad rap for everything from environmental issues to the behavior of truckers. A program like Highway Angel helps to shine a light on the good side of being a trucker.

Top 6 Songs to Gear Up with as a Truck Driver

Trucking with Windows DownDay after day it’s just you and your radio. While radios have come a long way from AM FM to satellite and streaming, a love of listening to tunes as a trucker remains the same. Maybe you are a truck driver who blasts the tunes loud to get woke up when sleepy. Perhaps you prefer easy listening to keep you in between the lines. Whatever your preference for listening to music, one thing is for certain. There are plenty of songs out there written with truck drivers in mind.

Six Days on the Road

As one of the most popular trucking songs to date, this little tune has been keeping truckers motivated for decades. Originally recorded by Dave Dudley in 1963, “Six Days on the Road” has been rehashed many times over. Sawyer Brown has recorded it, and so has Steve Earle who has been married a surprising seven times, twice to the same woman. The song itself is about the difficult life as a trucker and the regularly broadcast dream of heading home. But did you know the original version had a drug reference? The line, “I’m taking little white pills,” was rewritten by Brown as, “I’m passing little white lines.”

East Bound and Down

No, we aren’t talking about that HBO series starring Danny McBride as the self-destructive PE coach. “East Bound and Down” got it’s start as the title of a hit trucking song. It was written in the 1970s and recorded by Jerry Reed as a single track. More importantly it was part of the Smokey and the Bandit soundtrack. Just like “Six Days on the Road,” this tune was also recorded by Dave Dudley, as well as the alt-rock group Tonic, and country legend Aaron Tippin.


If you are a huge country fan, then you might not have ever heard of this track. “Truckin’” is a popular song by the Grateful Dead, an old school jam band. The Grateful Dead avoided going mainstream so most people haven’t heard most of their songs, other than “Touch of Grey.” However, “Truckin’” hits right at home with the lyrics of “Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been,” and “I’m a goin’ home…back where I belong, back home, sit down and patch my bones.” It’s a trucker’s plea if ever there was one.

Space Truckin’

Another rock and roll tune, “Space Truckin’” takes true driver to another galaxy, literally. Written and recorded by rock band Deep Purple from the UK, this song will definitely get your blood pumping. And who knows? If this whole living-on-Mars thing ever works out in the future, truck drivers just might do a little space trucking of their own.

Trucking My Blues Away No. 2

Now this is one of those tunes that will get stuck in your brain and make you smile as you hum along. Written by Blind Boy Fuller of Wadesboro, NC, you can find this mysterious blues tune on streaming channels, such as Spotify and Pandora, as well as YouTube. It features old school Ragtime sounds by Fuller who lived from 1907 to 1941. A side fact, Fuller was completely blind, which led to his name of Blind Boy Fuller, while his real name was Fulton Allen.

Addicted to Diesel

Here’s a song that is super new to the trucking scene. Written and recorded by Jayne Denham of Australia, “Addicted to Diesel” was performed live at the Great American Trucking Show in August 2016. It was actually her first official live performance in the States, albeit not her first time on the stage as she’s a popular act in Australia. This young lady is not a truck driver herself, but she comes from a long lineage of truckers. Other truck friendly tunes from Denham include “Cousin Jude” which describes the glamorous life of women truckers.

Do you have a favorite trucking song that really gets your gears in motion? Please share!


Is this the Future? Custom Luxury Sleepers for Truckers

Luxury Sleeper in Trucker CabTired of sleeping on the same old sleeper mattress? Wish you could shower and shave in your rig rather than depending on truck stop showers? Do you ever long to have a more luxurious place to call home while over the road? If this sounds like you, then check out the world of custom luxury sleepers for truckers. While the price tag might scare you to death, we can all dream at least.

Custom Truck Companies

If you are interested in examples, prototypes or ready to buy customer sleepers, you need to go to the right place. There are custom sleeper manufacturers all across the nation. Some of the most popular include Bolt and Legacy Sleepers. Check out their websites to see pics of these tricked out trucks. You can also check out custom sleeper videos on YouTube to see a more interactive take on these fancy sleepers.

Amenities of Custom Sleepers

While you’ll see some sleepers that look like mini-mansions, they aren’t all tricked out to be that fancy. For the regular Joe truck driver you can find the basic amenities that you would have in a camper or mobile home. For example, you might appreciate having solid counter tops and a table, or maybe you want leather cushions and cabinetry. For the real big show stoppers, check out the showers they put in these bad boys. Here is a quick list of some of the most common customized cab amenities:

  • Kitchenette with a microwave and table
  • Bathroom with a shower and toilet
  • Washer and dryer combo
  • An entertainment setup with a flat screen TV and satellite hookup, as well as surround sound and a gaming console and a DVD player

It’ll make you wish you could live in your rig all of the time, which is the goal, to make truck drivers more comfortable when they are away from home. If a decked out sleeper could improve trucking job satisfaction, it would be worth the price.

Price Tag for Fancy Rigs

To be able to afford one of these super charged cabs is the real question you want to answer. Of course as with all things, prices vary by amenities and factories. However, for an example of a 110-inch sleeper for team drivers, Overdrive reports one such cab by Indiana Custom Trucks as costing $40,000. For this price point the cab includes Wi-Fi, flat screen TV, laptop computer, and a generator to power it all up.

Reality of Suped-Up Sleepers

Would you actually spend that kind of money to get a new custom-built cab for your truck? If you are an owner operator with the money to burn, sure, maybe. For older drivers who are hauling with their partner or spouse, the investment could replace the cost of a home. Instead of coming home these types of OTR drivers can cruise on down the road, as if they were on a never-ending road trip. Of course with that kind of sleeper you’d feel comfortable enough to stay on the road for a while. And for the price tag you’d have to so to be able to pay it off. Sure most drivers aren’t going to get the luxury of a custom built cab. But could it be the future?

Future Trucking Concept

Trucks are getting super fancy with self driving technology and e-logs. So why not throw some of these upscale amenities into the mix? After all, one of the biggest problems with being an OTR truck driver is you get tired of being cramped up in your cab all of the time. You want space, your own space, and especially the ability to feel comfortable. For some just the idea of being able to shower and use the toilet in your truck would be a winner. It would make life on the road not quite so tedious.

As the trucking industry looks for ways to make trucking safer for drivers, custom luxury sleepers could fit right in there. Your overall health would improve if you could be happy with your surroundings. You would be far less likely to catch athlete’s foot or the common cold from sharing showers with other truckers. In fact, you’d be far more likely to bathe more often if you had access in your cab. Tack on the health benefits of having a kitchenette and laundry service right in your rig.

It sounds like it’s too good to be true, but don’t discount it just yet. Finding the right sounding board with the FMCSA and other trucker safety advocate groups is the first step. Then introducing the positive benefits of customized sleepers is the next. Who knows? Custom cabs that let truckers live a healthier life on the road might be right around the corner.

* Photo Credit: Bolt Custom Trucks and Manufacturing

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!