Tips on Working with Truck Driving Job Recruiters

Truck Driver Crossing a BridgeWhether you are searching for a truck driving school or want to find a new trucking job, chances are you’ll be dealing with job recruiters. These recruiters are hired by trucking companies to represent them. They are the middle man in the sense that they are here to answer your questions and provide valuable trucking job information for their employer. Consider trucking job recruiters as your gateway to the management of your potential trucking employers. So, what can you do to make the most of the knowledge of recruiters? Here are some ways you can get more out of truck driving job recruiters.

Truck Driving School Recruiters

When you attend truck driving school, you will meet job recruiters, if the training program is worth its salt. This is due to the nature of trucking schools to serve as connections between student drivers and potential employers. You want to attend a trucking school that offers networking with trucking recruiters. When interacting with these recruiters, keep one thing in the back of your mind—they are your connection to a job with a trucking company. Therefore, you want to be professional at all times. Avoid being rude or difficult to work with if you want to drive for a trucking company associated with the recruiter. After all, they are your bridge to a company, and whatever you say to them can get back to the management of the company. While these recruiters are there to recruit you for trucking jobs, they are also responsible for vetting out student truckers who aren’t a good fit for a company.

Trucking Recruiters at Job Fairs

A trucking job fair is an optimal place to find a trucking recruiter who is scouting for trucking jobs. Everyone at a job fair has a common goal of finding or filling a job. This is your chance to shine. Be prepared by bringing the following with you to any trucking job fair:

  • A clean paper copy of your updated resume, in fact, bring several copies stapled and ready to hand out
  • Class A CDL if you already have a truck driver license
  • Trucking school graduation certificate, if applicable
  • DOT physical exam certificate, if applicable
  • List of references including previous employers and character references
  • Detailed list of your trucking experiences, i.e., haul types, specialized or general freight loads, routes you’ve hauled regularly, unique trucking jobs you’ve had.

This list is a good reference to have on top of your resume. It gives a detailed look at your work history similar to what your CSA score would show without the recruiter having to do the digging for it.

Questions for the Job Recruiter at Job Fairs

  • What trucking jobs and haul types are you currently hiring to fill?
  • Where are your trucking centers and terminals located?
  • If I have to relocate, do you pay for relocating expenses?
  • Is trucking orientation required, and if so, is it paid for?
  • Do you offer any sign-on bonuses, and if so, what are the stipulations for these? Do I earn more of a bonus for being a team driver or having experience?
  • What type of trucking benefits does your company offer?

These are only a few of the questions you can ask. Do your own prep work by listing any questions that you have that apply to your skills, experiences, or expectations.

Recruiters at Trucking Orientations

Speaking of trucking orientations, once you find a trucking job, you will typically be sent to a trucking orientation program. During an orientation, you are matched with recruiters who will explain everything you need to know about a trucking company that you are going to work for. Here is your last chance to make the most of your trucker-recruiter relationship. Ask any questions you have, and don’t be afraid to speak up in a crowd. Here are some topics to consider:

  • Will uniforms be provided, and if so, do you offer laundry services at a trucking facility?
  • If I’m driving a company truck or leased big rig, do you offer truck parking for when I return for home time? Or do I have to find parking for my company truck, and if so, do you offer reimbursement?
  • As for trucking benefits, how long will it be until those begin?
  • Do you offer any perks for your drivers, such as fuel cards or truck stop discounts? How do I access those?

The best way to approach these questions during orientation is to familiarize yourself with the company before you attend the program. You can find a lot of information about trucking companies online, but stick with the official info from reputable sources and trucking company websites. As long as you take a proactive approach and are prepared to deal with recruiters at orientation, you will be able to get the most out of this exchange.

Werner Enterprises Honored as Military Friendly® Company by G.I. Jobs Magazine

Werner Enterprises truckProviding trucking jobs for military veterans is more than just important, it is a great way to show your proud support of our US military. One trucking company, Werner Enterprises, is paving the way for military truckers by helping these drivers get hired and start making money as a trucker. In recognition of this trucking carrier’s efforts, Werner was recently named a 2017 Military Friendly® Company. Find out what this entails and how you can find military truck driving jobs at Werner Enterprises.

Honor as Military Friendly® Company

G.I. Jobs magazine, a US military publication that provides access to civilian jobs and careers, is constantly on the search for the next best companies for vets. In honor of those companies that promote veteran hiring practices and actively recruit vets, the magazine has established the Military Friendly® Company title. G.I. Jobs only supports companies and schools for veterans who are post-military. Among these are Farmers Insurance, the University of Alabama, Verizon, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Allstate.

How to Become a Military Friendly® Trucking Carrier

It is quite an honor to be among top-rated companies across various industries, as well as among distinguished educational institutions. Of course, Werner Enterprises has worked hard to achieve this status. To be named as a 2017 Military Friendly® Company, Werner has shown total commitment to recruiting and supporting military talent in trucking. Werner Enterprises established the nation’s first ever Professional Truck Driver Apprenticeship Program, which focuses on hiring truckers including veteran drivers who do not follow the conventional trucking career path.

Werner actively hires truck drivers from the military. More than 20 percent of the Werner workforce is composed of military vets along with military veteran spouses. Through the Professional Truck Driver Apprenticeship Program, Werner has signed on more than 25,000 vets and spouses to the trucking company’s fleet.

Regarding the recognition, President and Chief Executive Officer of Werner Enterprises, Derek Leathers, states, “It is truly an honor to be named a Military Friendly® Company among a select group of transportation providers. This recognition aligns with our policy to hire only the most elite professionals in our industry, and our military service members and spouses have consistently strengthened our workforce and proved that they are the best of the best.”

Military Truck Driving Jobs at Werner

Werner is currently hiring regional truck drivers, dedicated drivers, team truck drivers, company drivers, flatbed haulers, and owner operators. Additionally, you may be able to get up to $5,000 as a sign-on bonus once you begin your post-military trucking career at Werner Enterprises.

Are you searching for military truck driving jobs? If so, consider the Professional Truck Driver Apprenticeship Program at Werner Enterprises. If you are a former veteran truck driver and you have experience as a professional driver for the military, you are a prime applicant for the Professional Truck Driver Apprenticeship Program.

Professional Truck Driver Apprenticeship Program at Werner

The Professional Truck Driver Apprenticeship Program is Department of Labor and Veteran Administration approved for vet truck drivers, which is key for using your GI Bill benefits. If you qualify for a Post 9/11 GI Bill:

  • You can get up to $24,420 of benefits, tax-free, when you go through the Professional Truck Driver Apprenticeship Program.
  • This is in addition to your trucking pay as a trainee that you will receive by Werner.
  • You receive your GI Bill benefits directly; they are not paid to Werner Enterprises or the PTDAP.

Once you complete the GI Bill-backed course for truck driver training, you’re ready to get your Class A commercial driver’s license.

You can also choose to attend a truck driving school other than the Professional Truck Driver Apprenticeship Program and use your GI Bill benefits for that type of professional training. Werner Enterprises is well informed about procedures for attending trucking school as a veteran, and they can assist you in getting enrolled.

Paid Trucking Orientation at Werner

Once you have your CDL, you are ready to roll with Werner Enterprises. You will be placed in a truck driver orientation program that includes up to four days of training and instruction. You are paid for your orientation, whether you have experience behind the wheel or you are new to the trucking industry. Transportation to a Werner facility for the course is paid for by the company, as well as accommodations.

ABF Freight of ArcBest Logistics Will Start Charging LTL Customers by the Inch 

abf freight truck on the highwayIn the trucking world, every inch counts, and the same goes with weight. The more you can fit on or in a trailer, the more a trucker can get done in less time. Time, as we all know, is money, so finding ways to make that space count for more is a big deal. Trucking logistics company, ArcBest, and its subsidiary, ABF Freight, has figured out a way to work around those LTL freight loads that are becoming extremely popular thanks to e-commerce. Online shoppers have truly transformed the way trucking companies think, and here’s how ABF is thinking smarter.

Cubic Minimum Charges at ABF

Starting August 1, 2017 ArcBest will charge a CMC or cubic minimum charge. This fee is for noncontract LTL freight loads, which account for about 35 percent of the business that is handled by ABF Freight. The goal is to charge customers for LTL freight based on the space that they take up in a trailer, rather than a standard shipping freight. Why is this an effective solution? According to ArcBest, residential deliveries coming from online shopping has escalated by 40 percent annually. At the same time, tonnage freight per day has dropped 0.7 percent, while total shipments by ABF Freight have increased 5.7 percent. To keep up with the demand, in addition to avoiding overcharging residential shippers, ArcBest will provide the minimum pricing per cubic foot that they can by using the CMC system.

Shippers Moving from Pallet to Packages

The traditional way to charge for freight was by the pallet. However, now that e-commerce has taken a hold in the trucking industry, shippers are moving freight by the box. After all, customers typically shop for an assortment of items rather than a pallet load of anything. To accommodate the change in demand, while keeping costs on par for shippers, ABF anticipates the move to CMC will be beneficial. LTL companies like ABF Freight will be able to provide an end of line, residential delivery service that package movers like UPS and FedEx can’t handle. Larger items, like those sofas and dining room tables, sold online can be handled more efficiently by LTL haulers including ABF Freight. And now thanks to CMC pricing, residential customers will be able to afford this type of shipment.

E-Commerce Changes for LTL Shippers

ABF Freight is on the right path to make dimensional shipping happen, and they aren’t the first company to do so. UPS and FedEx have been using dimensional weight charges for packages shipped since 2014. To achieve the same level of success, ArcBest is using this baseline system along with the company’s own data. According to Kathy Fieweger, who is the ABF Chief Marketing Officer, “We have dimensional data on more than 90 percent of our shipments.”

Judy McReynolds, President, CEO, and Chairman of ArcBest, adds, “The logistics industry continues to change rapidly. This initiative is the natural step for us to take now to ensure that the value we provide is appropriately reflected in the compensation we receive.” By getting ABF Freight in line with other dimensional carriers, which also include XPO Logistics, Estes Express, and YRC Freight, this Fort Smith, Arkansas trucking company will be ready to roll with the future of trucking. Thanks to e-commerce, we have already seen major changes in the way the trucking industry must operate, and as long as carriers are willing to step outside of their comfort zone, they’ll be able to keep up the pace. We don’t expect e-commerce to slow down any time soon, so having the right type of freight shipping services in place for businesses and residential shippers is key. ABF Freight is on the right track.

Benefits of Dimensional Charging for Truckers

Reps for Stifel, a transportation and logistics company, agree. David Ross, Managing Director of Equity Research for Stifel notes, “Dimensional pricing is the way we’re moving. Anybody trying to fight it, it’s like holding onto your fax machine or VCR. It’s easier for the shipper, it’s easier for the carrier.” But what about the truck driver? Ultimately, the use of dimensional method for charging shippers will allow for more accurate pricing. Truck drivers will continue to get paid cents per mile, unless they are an owner operator.

In that case, these truck drivers will want to find a way to incorporate dimensional freight charges into their own system. The easy way to do this is to receive freight dimensions by the shipper. These include length, width, and height. Once you receive these dimensions, you can determine how much of your trailer will get filled by this freight load. Based on how much you need to make for a truckload, you can break it down by dimension of each load for the CMC charge. You can choose to follow a CMC rate or over a baseline minimum for your freight charges; it’s up to you. Ultimately, this type of freight-charging system will give drivers and carriers of LTL and truckload freight the ability to charge enough to cover the cost of moving the goods without breaking the banks of their shippers.

How to Choose the Best Type of Trucking School for You

truckers in truck driving schoolWhen you get ready to go to truck driving school it’s all a matter of choosing the right type of program for you. There are vast differences between trucking schools. Some are hosted by the government through colleges and technical schools. Far more are privately owned driving schools, or those trucking schools hosted by trucking companies. As you do your research to find the best truck driving school for you, consider the following school types.

Community Colleges

If you go to a community college to attend truck driving school, you benefit in several ways. For starters, are able to take out student loans, and possibly apply for federal grants and scholarships. This can help you pay for trucking school, which is a major roadblock for some. At the same time, in order to go to a community college you have to apply to the school. If you do not have a high school transcript or GED you won’t be able to apply. Also, you will have to provide a lot of paperwork including high school transcripts in order to attend.

The time it takes for a community college truck driver training program will typically be 2 years. This is because you’ll have to take more classes than just trucking school coursework. However, when you graduate you can be certain you are certified as a truck driver and prepared for the open road, in terms of knowledge and behind the wheel experience. As for the quality of trucking school programs that come out of community colleges, you can bank on receiving a quality education. Some of the most notable community colleges with trucking school programs include:

  • Louisiana College Coastal Truck Driving School
  • Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania
  • Pima Community College in Arizona
  • Delaware Tech Community College is PTDI certified
  • John Wood Community College in Illinois is PTDI certified
  • Vincennes University in Indiana
  • Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa
  • Chesapeake College in Maryland
  • College of South Maryland is PTDI certified
  • Dundalk Community College in Maryland
  • Baker College of Flint in Michigan is PTDI certified
  • Central New Mexico Community College is PTDI certified
  • Caldwell Community College and Technology Institute in North Carolina is PTDI certified
  • Tri C Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio
  • Southern State Community College in Ohio
  • College of Eastern Utah
  • Utah Valley State College

Technical Schools

A technical school operates in a similar way to community colleges. Tech programs are also managed by local, state and federal governments. Therefore, you can apply for federal aid and student loans as a technical school truck driving student. A difference between technical schools and community colleges is that tech schools focus more on hands-on skills. Community colleges require more academics, i.e. English, math, science and health classes, in order to complete your education.

If you want to attend a trucking school where you are provided with on the job skills training without having to spend more time on academics, then tech truck training programs are the best option. Keep in mind with technical schools your program will typically last as long as a community college program, depending on the school. At the same time, you benefit from the student loan and federal aid options. Here are some of the technical schools across the country offering trucking school:

  • Western Dakota Tech in South Dakota
  • Laurel Technical College in Kentucky
  • West Kentucky Technical College
  • Dakota County Tech College in Minnesota
  • Winona Technical College in Minnesota
  • New Hampshire Community Tech College
  • Lima Tech Truck Driver Training in Ohio
  • Central Tech Transportation and Safety Education in Oklahoma is PTDI certified
  • Lehigh Career and Technical Institute in Pennsylvania is PTDI certified
  • Southwest Applied Tech Center in Utah
  • Bates Technical College in Washington is PTDI certified
  • Fox Valley Technical College in Wisconsin is PTDI certified

Private Truck Driving Schools

A private truck driving school is owned by an individual or business. These schools do not have the support or financial backing of community colleges and technical schools. Therefore, you will have to find the way to pay for truck driving school out of pocket. Typically this involves getting a personal loan through your bank. You may also be able to work out a payment program with the school you attend. However, this is rarely an option for most private trucking schools.

Another issue with these types of schools can be the diversity in training. Since community colleges and technical schools are administered by the government, there are requirements that the program must be accredited. You can find the accreditation information on your school website or at your school administration office. If the program is not accredited by your school, then be wary. However, for private trucking schools there is no form of accreditation.

Private truck driving schools can get certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute, which is the leading agency in setting the standards for trucking school training programs. If your school is PTDI certified then you are in a good place. These training standards are of premium quality in the industry. As such, you can be sure you’ll receive the truck driver training you need to do your job safety. As a side note, you can attend a PTDI certified training program at a community college, technical institute, or company managed trucking school, as well as private programs.

If you are interested in attending a privately owned trucking school, here are some good places to start your search:

  • Northern Industrial Training in Alaska and PTDI certified
  • HDS Truck Driving Institute of Arizona
  • American Institute of Trucking, Inc. in Arizona and PTDI certified
  • Precision Truck Driving School in California
  • Pacific Coast Truck School in California
  • American Academy of Transportation
  • Smith and Solomon in Delaware
  • Sage Technical Services in several states is PTDI certified
  • Driver Solutions in Indiana
  • Transportation Center for Excellence in Minnesota
  • Commercial Driver Training, Inc. in New York is PTDI certified
  • East Coast Truck Driving School in New York
  • L&M Commercial Driving School in New York
  • Colwell’s Professional Truck Driving School in the Bronx
  • Napier Semi Driver Training in Ohio
  • Professional Drivers Academy in Pennsylvania is PTDI certified

Trucking Schools Sponsored by Trucking Companies

One route that a lot of truck drivers take when getting trained is to go through a truck driving school sponsored by a trucking company. If you attend this type of truck driving school you do not have to show your high school transcripts or apply to college. You are also not provided with financial aid or student grant opportunities. However, the training takes far less time, often weeks rather than months or years. While you are not provided with financial aid opportunities, you are guaranteed with a trucking job when you graduate and get your commercial driver’s license.

For most trucking schools offered by trucking companies you will sign a contract upon admittance that requires you to work for the company for so many years after graduation. However, in return your tuition is completely paid for by the trucking school. Since trucking school at private companies and by trucking companies can cost upward to $9,000, this can be a major draw for potential drivers. Want to attend a trucking school at a trucking company? Here are some options:

  • Carter Express, Inc.
  • Celadon
  • CR England
  • CRST
  • Jim Palmer Trucking
  • Knight Transportation
  • Maverick Transportation
  • Midwest Coast Transport
  • Pam Transport
  • Prime, Inc.
  • Roehl
  • Swift Professional Truck Driver Training is PTDI certified
  • TMC
  • USA Truck
  • US Xpress Enterprises
  • YRC Freight

We want to hear from you! What is the type of trucking school training you completed? Which would you recommend to your fellow truck drivers in training?

16 Trucking Companies Awarded 2017 Top Green Provider 

Marten Transport truck on the highwayFood Logistics Magazine is a leading publication for the food supply chain. It covers everything from refrigerated logistics to technology trends in reefer hauling. As a truck driver who handles refrigerated loads, either full time or on occasion, you can learn a lot about this segment of the trucking industry by reading an issue or two of Food Logistics Magazine. Furthermore, the publication regularly awards companies in the food chain supply. Most recently, the mag awarded dozens of Top Green Providers for 2017. Learn more about who’s who among awardees, as well as the benefits of being a green trucking company.

2017 Top Green Providers

First of all, what the heck is a top green provider? If you are thinking it’s the leading haulers of lettuce or maybe kale, you’d be dead wrong. Green providers are those companies that are sustainable, eco-friendly, and into reducing waste. These are trucking carriers that are going green either by making their operations more efficient or by helping their customers be more sustainable. Ways that trucking companies go green include reducing cardboard waste after deliveries, reusing pallets, or cutting back on fuel use. The use of technology to help truckers find routes more efficiently can also be considered a sustainable practice.

Food Logistics Magazine is recognizing companies that are involved in logistics and refrigerated loads, while also being more eco-conscious. This year, the list of award winners includes trucking companies, tech companies, and third-party logistics providers (3PLs). To be a winner on this list, these companies offered some form of green service. This includes providing intermodal, dry van, and port services while being sustainable, such as by reducing fuel use or diesel emissions. Among the list are the following trucking companies who have been recognized as Top Green Providers for 2017:

  • Duie Pyle
  • Averitt Express
  • Carter Distribution Ltd
  • DB Schenker, Inc.
  • Elite Transit Solutions
  • Hirschbach Motor Lines Inc.
  • Knichel Logistics
  • Knight Transportation
  • Marten Transport
  • Penske Logistics LLC
  • Pinnacle Freight Systems Inc.
  • RLS Logistics
  • Romark Logistics
  • Ruan Transportation Management Systems
  • Ryder
  • Schneider National
  • Transplace
  • Werner Enterprises/Werner Logistics

Becoming a Green Trucking Company

By cutting idling time, Elite Transit Solutions proves to be an example of a green company in action. The carrier managed to dispatch its drivers in 7 minutes, rather than the average time of 45 minutes. The less time spent idling, the less carbon dioxide emissions and diesel carbons released into the air.

At Penske Logistics LLC, reefer haulers provided a temperature-controlled supply chain. This allowed the cold chain to be uninterrupted from fleet pickup to drop-offs in warehouses. Penske Logistics also reduced miles of hauls by coordinating loads more efficiency using transportation management systems (TMS). The less time food spends over the road, the better quality it is upon arrival, and that reduces food waste.

Ryder has optimized its fleets by using advanced fuel vehicles powered by natural gas. This trucking carrier is pushing ahead as a forerunner in natural gas vehicle fleets. This minimizes carbon dioxide emissions, reduces the fleet’s carbon footprint, and reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. It also cuts down on the amount of fossil fuels in the form of diesel that is being used in the trucking industry.

These trucking companies highlight the ability to provide sustainable reefer transport to reduce their negative impact on the environment. Considering that trucking companies often get a bad rap for being anti-environment due to their dependence on diesel, having these companies recognized for their sustainability is a move in the right direction for trucking.

Increase Your Reefer Hauling Knowledge

If you are a truck driver hauling refrigerated goods, then consider picking up a copy of Food Logistics Magazine. In this publication, you can learn about every step of the food supply chain. From trends and news to practices that help reefer truckers move refrigerated loads from Point A to Point B with greater efficiency – it’s all here. The magazine has more than 24,000 subscribers who include food warehousing and distribution center managers, directors, and vice presidents. As such, the content in Food Logistics Magazine is geared at helping reefer shippers succeed.

As a commercial truck driver, you can stand apart by being aware of the latest technology or best practices that come out of the food supply industry. Whether it’s learning about the most current methods of material handling, or what your customers are expecting from their truck drivers during hauls, you can stay ahead of the competition. Being a truck driver involves more than just sitting behind the wheel. You also must stay up to speed on the latest happenings in the logistics industry. That is the only way to stay ahead in this career.

How Trucking Companies are Attracting Truck Drivers

Trucking with Windows DownKeeping up with the trucking shortage is a challenge that trucking companies often must tackle. The current job market requires a different set of skills for job recruiting and attracting the youth of today. The millennial generation is more focused on finding a career that brings them joy and passion.The marketplace for recruiting continues to change and trucking companies must be prepared. Here are some of successfully implemented recruiting tactics.

Social Media Networking

Social media is the winner for job recruiting, starting with the most popular form of social networking—Facebook. Truck drivers who are searching for trucking jobs will go right to the Facebook page of the companies they are interested in.

Here a potential driver will do two things. First, they will look around to see if the company is promoting any job openings. Second, they will read through comments, check out any company reviews, and note any indications that the company is not as wonderful as it portrays itself to be. For example, if you have a company with a Facebook page full of wonderful comments from drivers, pictures drivers have shared of their routes, recipes for truckers, and company led community involvement, that is a great sign that the company would treat its drivers well. On the other hand a profile full of negativity is one way to weed out those that aren’t worth your time.

Other social media networks to get involved with when job hunting include:

  • LinkedIn, which is the top social media site for anyone interested in advancing their career
  • Twitter offers access to trucking companies along with an active and up-to-the-second live feed of comments where job postings can be scouted out
  • Instagram, while a photo-centric network offers trucking companies the chance to beneficially brag about their drivers, which shows a positive work environment

Websites for Trucking Companies

The biggest, and oldest, social media network is trucking company blogs that are found directly on company websites. If you are a truck driver looking for work, go to the websites of your potential employers and scan for a blog. A trucking blog will give more information about working for that trucking company.

Having a website that is mobile-ready is another important feature for any trucking company hoping to recruit new drivers. After all, according to the Pew Research Center, as of 2017, 95 percent of Americans have a cellphone, and one in 10 only use their phone to access the internet. Truck drivers searching for trucking jobs will most likely use their cellphone to view your company’s website, so having a page that is fully functional on a mobile device is essential. This provides job seekers access to your site for searching for trucking job information, as well as contact information.

Sign-On Bonuses are Big Business

Trucking companies are doling out sign-on bonuses by the thousands of dollars, per driver, so to recruit more truckers. These bonuses range from $500 to $12,000, but often you must drive for a company for years in order to reap the rewards. These bonuses are meant to attract, as well as retain, truck drivers searching for jobs. Sign-on bonuses are one of the more popular methods of driver recruitment.

Tuition Reimbursement

If you are fresh out of truck driving school and need to start paying off those student loans, then it’s time to find a trucking company that offers tuition reimbursement. This is a new recruiting tactic that encourages new truckers to get the proper training before they get behind the wheel of a big rig. It’s a good way of ensuring that the company drivers are knowledgeable about road skills, as well as with theoretical knowledge of trucking. Several companies offer complete tuition reimbursement that is paid out in a way similar to sign-on bonuses. You receive payment reimbursement in several small sums over a period of time. However, this is a great way to encourage rookie truckers to go through truck driving school before they begin their trucking career.

Each of these recruiting tactics benefit both truck drivers and trucking companies. Drivers benefit with perks and financial incentives, as well as easier access to trucking job boards thanks to the internet. Meanwhile, trucking companies are able to retain new drivers for longer periods, which is good for morale and the bottom line.

 

Top 10 Controversial Trucking Regulations

Truck driving in traffick in a big cityThe trucking industry expects the Trump administration to hold steady with deregulation. In fact, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is going a step further by kick starting a campaign called Knock Out Bad Regs. This campaign has already sent the Department of Transportation Secretary Chao with a letter focused on repealing the ELD rule and speed limiter rule. According to the letter, the ELD rule will cost the trucking industry a staggering $2 billion. However, this is just the beginning. The campaign is also operating an ongoing survey truck drivers, trucking company owners, and anyone else influenced by trucking regulations to fill out. This survey is going to help OOIDA identify the 10 worst trucking regulations so this information can be passed along to Capitol Hill for the President and Congress to review. Along this line of thinking, we want to talk about the 10 most controversial trucking regulations that we think should be included on this list.

Electronic Logging Device Rule

At the top of this list has to be the e-log mandate that is going to require all commercial truck drivers to use e-logging devices (ELDs) as of December 2017. This rule requires trucking companies to purchase these devices, which range from $200 to $800 each followed by ongoing internet service for wireless connectivity that runs an average of $50 a month. For smaller trucking companies these costs are prohibitive running into the thousands of dollars to set up a fleet. The technology component also intimidates and concerns truckers across the nation, many of whom are ready to take their retirement early to avoid the circus these e-logs will cause.

Speed Limiter Mandate

The speed limiter rule would require all truckers to operate at a max speed of 65 mph. This speed is limited by a governor installed in the engine. In addition to being a safety hazard for highways, the speed limiter rule would reduce the amount of mileage possible for truckers. As a result, both truck drivers and trucking companies like Towne Air Freight, Inc., TMC Transportation or Texas Transport would lose money at an estimated $20,000 a year per trucker.

Hair Sampling for Drug Testing

Truck drivers who are clean and sober are less concerned with the hair drug test regulation that would require all DOT drug tests and pre-employment screenings to be carried out using hair sampling. This method of drug testing eliminates the possibility of falsifying a test sample. The real victim here is the small to medium trucking companies with limited budgets. The cost for hair sampling is more expensive than urine samples, and this cost would be absorbed by hiring companies.

New Truck Driver Training

Training new truck drivers offers great potential for increasing the number of qualified truck drivers in the career pool. However, the cost for trucking school is prohibitive. Individuals pay upward to $8,000 to attend a month-long training program, and if they fail the course and do not pass their CDL exam, then they are out that money. Additionally, the country doesn’t offer a curriculum standard, so the new truck driver training program that a potential driver attends may be completely out of date or lacking in substance. More importantly, there is not a student loan program or financial aid opportunity for trucking students that can help cover these educational expenses, which is sure to deter a good number of would-be truckers.

Overtime Exemption for Truckers

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 the US has a national minimum wage, 40-hour work week, and guaranteed overtime of time and a half for certain jobs, as well as prohibition of child labor. The law applies to employees involved in interstate commerce unless there is an exemption claim by the employer. However, for truckers the Motor Carrier Act Exemption states that anyone who works for the Department of Transportation Secretary follows the agency’s overtime qualifications and maximum working hours. As it stands the DOT does not provide truck drivers who operate for a motor carrier aka trucking company or a commercial truck that is more than 10,000 pounds, loaded or unloaded. In other words, if you are a company driver for a trucking company hauling long haul freight, then you aren’t eligible for overtime.

DOT Annual Vehicle Exam

Truck drivers and carrier owners alike have to get DOT inspections for commercial trucks when the truck is purchased or leased and put into motion. Then the truck is inspected every single time a driver is pulled over for a DOT inspection, in addition to the rigors of pre- and post-trip inspections that drivers do every single trip. Furthermore, the truck driver is in charge of their equipment’s repairs and maintenance, for which they keep meticulous records. So why does the DOT require an annual vehicle exam, too? The general consensus is that it’s a money racket and not worth the trouble.

Annual DOT Physical Exam

When you go to get a DOT physical exam one of the first things the examiner will do is measure the circumference of your neck. Your neck size is listed as one of the key variables on your certificate, and if your neck is too thick you are automatically sent in for sleep apnea testing. Yet this rudimental way of testing for sleep apnea needs an upgrade. However, according to the FMCSA and its ruling on the matter the agency has no set standards of testing for the respiratory condition. The problem is that a truck driver can lose their CDL if they are thought to have sleep apnea. There needs to be a standard of testing for this pertinent health problem that is so common, and dangerous due to a lack of breathing and inability to sleep soundly leading to fatigue, among truck drivers.

FAST Act Beyond Compliance

Here’s a regulation that is slipping in underneath truckers’ noses. Back when the FAST Act was enacted, the ELD rule was right alongside the Beyond Compliance program. This program encourages truckers and trucking companies to exceed the DOT compliance requirements. In other words, it gives brownie points to fleets that get extra credit on their compliance records. These points are added as the eighth BASICS for the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score. However, these fleet carriers have to pay for the perks by covering costs for advanced safety equipment, fleet safety management tools, and enhanced measures for improving driver fitness. Guess which companies aren’t going to be able to keep up with the pack? Those that are already operating on a streamline budget, which includes small to medium trucking companies.

CSA System

Speaking of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability system, this program is a bane of truck drivers and companies. The CSA scorecard either needs to be completely overhauled, or better yet, abolished altogether. It does little to benefit trucking safety, based on research that even has the FMSCA questioning the program. Considering truck driver and highway safety is the primary reason for having the CSA system in place, it goes without saying that the program is not doing its intended job. Instead it is costing trucking companies money and causing truck drivers to miss out on better paying trucking jobs due to scoring issues.

Over 21 for OTR Driving Jobs

The only way you can get a trucking job that pays good is to go over the road. Long haul truckers make more money annually than regional truck drivers. Yet only drivers over 21 years can leave the state with their freight. This limits the good paying trucking jobs to those who are over 21, and in most cases due to truck driver insurance over 24 years of age. As a result, the number of truck drivers that choose other careers in their young adult years, rather than becoming a truck driver, is growing. And this is a major problem for the trucking industry as the baby boomer generation is retiring and leaving gaps in skilled trucking positions. The age limit either needs lowering, or if this is a safety issue, trucker training for younger drivers needs to be coordinated. Another option would be to place truckers under 21 with a team driver for a set period, i.e. 6 months to a year, to ensure the younger driver is trained and confident.

While we’ve highlighted some of the most detrimental trucking regulations, we know we’ve left off some that are bothering you as a truck driver or company owner. So we want to hear from you. Which trucking regulations would you like to see go? Any from this list? Any that we’ve missed?

 

Health Benefits of ELDs and Hours of Service Rules

One of the most important aspects of being a professional truck driver is staying healthy. If your health is compromised, you aren’t able to handle your loads and deliver freight on a timely schedule. More importantly, if you develop certain medical conditions or health problems you may not be able to keep your commercial driver’s license. This is also the case for truck drivers who are put on certain types of medications to battle health issues. One way to be proactive about your health is to understand which medical conditions are more likely to effect you due to your occupation as a truck driver.

Most Common Health Concerns

Truck drivers operate on unpredictable schedules and work long hours, which makes it difficult to study this population. So for this study only 1,670 truckers working long haul trucking jobs were interviewed at random at 32 truck stops in the US. This is important to note, considering there are nearly 1.8 million truck driving jobs among heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The sample size is a very small number in comparison to how many long haul truckers there are over the road.

Furthermore, the study doesn’t indicate the haul types of this sample, nor does it note if the drivers are hauling for trucking companies like Mesilla Valley Transportation, P&S Transportation and Poly Trucking, or as independent truck drivers and owner operators. As you know some of the best paying trucking companies also offer health benefits, wellness programs, smoking cessation services, and weight loss competitions. Additionally, truck drivers have access to health and wellness services at truck stops across the US with walking trails, basketball courts, and gyms. So there are ways that truck drivers can be proactive about their health if they choose to be.

However, the study titled “Obesity and Other Risk Factors: The National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury” published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, does document certain conditions are more likely to be noted in long haul truck drivers. These include:

  • Obesity
  • Tobacco smoking
  • Hypertension and heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Less than 6 hours of sleep in a 24-hour cycle

If you are a truck driver you already know this. Being in a sedentary occupation where you are sitting behind the wheel for 8 hours a day is akin to being an office worker sitting in front of a computer. You are going to suffer health problems because of this, no matter if you are an OTR trucker or office worker. Obesity comes from a lack of physical activity, which is the natural result of sitting in the same seat for hours on end.

Following along is the health problems associated with a lack of exercise and obesity—high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. If you smoke cigarettes to help you stay alert due to a lack of sleep, then that only adds to your health problems. Speaking of a lack of sleep, getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep adds to your risk of health problems since you’re not giving your body time to recover during a full night’s sleep. It is a cycle that you can easily slip into if you are a long haul trucker working a steady trucking job.

Solutions to Trucker Health Concerns

While hours of service regulations and the electronic logging device rule are not the most popular government mandates among truckers, these come with their benefits. Hours of service regulations provide some enforcement of health safety for drivers that they may otherwise overlook. For example, the hours of service limits the amount of time you can be behind the wheel in between resting periods. It also enforces break times so that you have time to get out of your seat and get to moving.

Now for the ELD rule the safety benefits for truckers are still hotly debatable. Yet the main reason for these devices is to make sure truck drivers aren’t bending the hours of service rules to accommodate their delivery schedules. The idea behind the ELD rule is to prevent truckers from altering their paper logs so they can get more hours behind the wheel within a 24-hour period. After all, for truck drivers the sooner they can make a delivery, the quicker they can get paid and move on to the next money making load. At the same time, when truckers are doing this everywhere, it reduces the benefits of the hours of service rules, which are also enforced to keep truckers out from behind the wheel for long periods of time.

Truck drivers don’t want to hear about the benefits of compliance requirements for hours of service rules or electronic logging devices. Yet the reality is these two regulations were designed to reduce the most common health problems associated with the trucking occupation. If truckers are going to be required to use ELDs and this slows these drivers down, there will be negative consequences on the economy. However, for the truckers this should help to slow down the health costs of being a truck driver. And as a truck driver money might be important, but your health is the most important aspect of all.

 

Trucking Industry Applauds the Latest Changes to 34-hour Restart Rules

Parked trucks idlingOnce again the 34-hour restart is up for debate and possible removal of all restrictions. If you are hauling trucking loads for trucking companies like Celadon Trucking, US Xpress or Butler Transport, then you are all too familiar with the 34-hour restart. This hours of service provision has been changed so often that is difficult to keep track. Discover the latest change with the restart rule to ensure you are in compliance.

The 34-Hour Restart Rule

If you are new to truck driving jobs, then you want to make sure you understand this convoluted hours of service rule. As it stands the 34-hour restart gives commercial truckers the chance to reset their HOS clock whether they are on a 60- or 70-hour schedule. The reason for the restart rule is to allow truck drivers to get back rolling on the road sooner if need be. With the restart rule you can set your weekly cycle hours at zero, giving you more freedom to complete your trucking routes. You are able to take a minimum of 34 consecutive hours for either off duty or sleeping berth time, or any combination of both.

The rationale behind the rule is to give truck drivers more control over their routes and haul schedules. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted the 34-hour restart rule to give truck drivers a break if they are fatigued. As a result, there is a reported decrease in trucking accidents and fatalities over the road. 

Trucking on the Upswing

Right now we are seeing a permanent removal of the restrictions on the 34-hour restart rule. It is perfect timing, too, considering how overburdened and at max capacity the trucking industry is currently operating. Is the change to reflect a need to get more trucks rolling on the roads? Will we see more changes so to allow truck drivers more freedom and flexibility to do their truck driving jobs? That’s optimistic, especially when we see so many trucking regulations that are pushing truckers to their limits.

From new driver training to speed limiter mandates, there is struggle going on between keeping drivers under the federal government’s thumb and allowing truckers to do their job so the economy keeps moving forward. The change in the 34-hour restart rule, though, is a positive move in the right direction for truck drivers. By doing the industry research, and avoiding the commercial interests lobbying for a stake in the trucking regulation world, the federal government would do a lot better at helping truck drivers.

We want to know what you think about the newest changes to the hours of service rules in regard to the 34-hour restart. Is this a change in a positive direction? Or are you frustrated with all of the constant regulatory changes in the trucking industry on account of the FMCSA and DOT? Share your thoughts!

 

Why Trucking Industry Wants to Keep Diesel Emissions Reduction Act Perks

kenworth truck on the roadThe trucking industry is constantly trying to find ways to save money. At the same time the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is focused on truck driver safety, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s primary goal is to reduce environmental threats. These three entities have collided with the discussion of deregulation of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. The Trump Administration is pushing to get rid of the DERA while the trucking industry has other plans. Find out why the trucking industry could be in favor of actually keeping a government regulation that involves technologies for fuel efficiencies.

Pros and Cons of Fuel Economy Standards

There are two sides to every coin, as goes with federal fuel emissions regulations. On the one side of the coin emissions standards prevent greenhouse gasses from being released in the environment. These gasses have devastating affects on the atmosphere and are thought to cause global warming. On the other side of the coin these emissions standards are helping trucking companies like Ronnie Dowdy, SLT and Super Service to save money at the fuel pumps. As equipment for trucking is improved controlling and reducing diesel emissions, the side effect is that these heavy duty semis are operating more efficiently.

This saves trucking companies and owner operators on the biggest expense of any trucking fleet, diesel, which accounts for more than 33 percent of a trucking operations budget. So as you can imagine the fuel economy standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency strike a strong fight in the trucking community. While most trucking companies and truck drivers alike want the federal government to get out of the way and let them do their long haul trucking jobs, there are some perks to having better fuel economy in big rigs.

Current Regulation by the EPA

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulation was adopted by the Obama administration. It requires all vehicles sold in the US by 2025 to meet a 54.5 mpg fuel economy. The problem with this regulation is that auto manufacturers claim the expense of meeting this fuel economy average is prohibitive. It would drive up the costs of auto ownership and consumers would be on the losing end financially. Furthermore, the technology required to make these autos up to the CAFE standard is either not available or too expensive for all auto manufactures to use.

Now how does this apply to commercial long haul truckers and their tractor trailers? The EPA included Phase 2 standards that are tacked on to the CAFE regulation. These standards are documented in 1,690 pages of regulatory phrasing. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions aka diesel emissions would have to be reduced by 2027 in heavy trucks.
  • More than 1.1 billion metric tons of emissions equivalent to a 25 percent reduction in emissions are expected from the Phase 2 implementation.

It should be noted that the American Trucking Associations and other trucking representatives did not ask the current Presidential administration to remove the requirements. However, the industry is pushing to keep the regulation of another emissions program in place. This is where it gets tricky. The trucking industry proponents of the emissions requirements want the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act regulations to stay in place. Why? Along with these regulations come subsidies that help trucking companies pay to retrofit or replace older trucks so they are adaptive with effective emissions technology.

This is because the trucking industry is able to get better fuel economy using this technology. Better fuel economy equals more savings at the fuel pump, which is savings that help trucking companies stay afloat. The industry is worried that without the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act , and its CAFE and Phase 2 program, the companies that won’t be able to afford the technologies are not going to be viable for hauling freight. Meanwhile the trucking companies that can afford this technology, without the subsidies, will be able to pull ahead from the freight hauling competition with their improved rigs getting better fuel mileage.

The Trucker’s Solution

If the EPA loses the CAFE program under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, trucking companies will also lose their subsidies, or at least that’s the concern at the moment. Petitioners of the deregulation include the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, Navistar, Volvo Group North America, Cummins, and Daimler Trucks. The hope is that the current administration will keep in place money saving methods for fleets improving their fuel economy. For the trucking industry this is less an environmental issue and more of an economic concern. That is the angle that the ATA and other trucking leaders should take in hopes of getting the Republican-backed Congress to show support of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act in some form.