What is the Safest Truck Driving Job?

truck route signThe priority of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is to make highways safer for both truck drivers and motorists. This is why the FMCSA requires truck drivers to get commercial driver’s license, record their hours of service in a log book, and get inspected by the Department of Transportation. It’s also why truckers have to get DOT physical exams, to ensure they are healthy enough to handle truck driving jobs. Along with all of this regulatory stuff that the FMCSA does, the organization compiles tons of data at the same time. In a recent report the data suggests that certain haul types are more likely to be involved in crashes than others. Find out if your truck driving haul type is causing you to live on the dangerous side.

Big Data and Trucker Safety

The data presented in the report titled “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2014” covers all of the fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2012 to 2014. Also known as big data, this information is key to understanding truck driver safety in a relatively fast fashion. The report breaks down the data very simply according to cargo body type and number and percentage of fatal crashes.

  • The haul type that was involved in the most crashes in that three-year period is van or enclosed box trailers.

From 2012 to 2014 that number has decreased from 1,649 to 1,585, making box van trucks involved in 42 percent of crashes in 2014. That sounds like a lot, but it is critical to put this data into context. Dry van truck loads are the most common in the US. More importantly, those numbers are declining, while the number of truck drivers hauling dry van loads is increasing.

Hazards of Hazardous Materials

On the other hand if you are hauling hazardous materials you would think that your chances of getting involved in a crash or trucking fatality would increase. However, according to the data:

  • Only 3 percent of trucking accidents that were fatal involved a hazardous materials load.
  • The percentage is even smaller for those involved in nonfatal crashes, for which only 2 percent were identified by a hazardous materials placard.
  • For those hauling hazardous materials, flammable liquids like oil and fuel are the most dangerous. Forty-nine percent of the 3 percent of fatal crashes involving hazardous materials were associated with flammable materials.

If you break this down, only 1 percent of truck crash fatalities are resulting from hauling flammable liquids. That’s not bad at all considering how dangerous this haul type is, and that goes to show how good truck drivers are at doing their job.

Pulling Singles or Doubles

For the majority of truck drivers in the US for companies like Hunt Transportation, National Strategic Transport, and Purdy Brothers Trucking, it’s all about pulling singles, single trailers that is. However, double trailers are becoming more commonplace in the trucking industry in the US in order to get goods delivered on time. Among those drivers hauling singles versus doubles, you would think that pulling doubles is more dangerous. And you would be mistaken.

  • It turns out that single semi-trailers were involved in 63 percent of fatal crashes in 2013.
  • As for those truckers pulling doubles, these only accounted for 2 percent of truck accident deaths.
  • Some truckers in the US are pulling triples, and the data shows only 0.1 percent of these were involved in a fatal crash.

Again, as with the dry van trailers, the big difference in numbers is due to the sheer volume of singles on the roads. You are far more likely to see a single trailer being pulled than any doubles and definitely triples. What is more important here is that we keep a check on the number of trucking crash deaths that occur in the next few years. Why? As fleets are maxed out and freight demand continues to climb, we can anticipate seeing more carriers and truck drivers hauling doubles and triples. Yet the concern is whether or not this type of haul is safe overall. When you have two trailers being pulled it creates a whole new dynamic for the driver as well. Newbies and rookie drivers simply aren’t cut out for the experience needed to haul these advanced convoys. At the same time, when you can haul twice as much product in half the time, the market beckons for you to pull doubles and triples.

The Bottom Line

As a truck driver use this information to help you be confident in choosing your next trucking job. Understand that truck driving safety begins and ends with you as a driver. Rather than worry about getting into a truck crash, know that the data suggests that no one haul type is more dangerous than the other. It all boils down to the number of truck drivers and hauling types on the road.

 

What to Look For When Buying a Certified ELD

Trucker Inside Trucking CabIf you are like the thousands of other truck drivers around the nation worried about the ELD situation, you want some answers. You want the facts, from the feds, about what to do when it comes to buying an electronic logging device. Whether you are driving for Shaffer Trucking, Werner Enterprises, Barr-Nunn or some other top paying trucking company, you have to be ELD compliant by the end of the year. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to buy your electronic logging device, while remaining compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

What to Avoid in ELDs

A big misconception among truck drivers and some trucking company owners shopping for electronic logging devices is that they can get a tablet, or just an app, and they’ll be good to go. Unfortunately this is not correct. Yes, you can get a tablet or an app to use with your ELD. In fact these gadgets and programs are handy for using ELDs. However, in order to be compliant for the FMCSA ELD rule:

  • The electronic logging device must be attached to the tractor’s engine.
  • It must be a certified device according to the requirements by the FMCSA.

If you are using an app you have found on iTunes or Google Play, and that is all, for your ELD compliance, it’s not going to be enough. When December rolls around you will end up getting inspected by the DOT and your e-logs will not be legit. Don’t let this happen to you.

When choosing your electronic logging device here is what you want to look for:

  • A device that includes a tracking system that must be hardwired to your truck engine.
  • An ELD that will record your hours of service log
  • A unit that can connect wirelessly or via Bluetooth to the internet in order to transmit your ELD records to the FMCSA

These three points are paramount, and without each you will not be compliant. Now when it comes to purchasing an ELD system, you’ll need the following:

  • A unit that will attach to your truck’s diagnostic port for direct communication with your truck’s engine
  • A handheld device, such as a tablet, that allows you to access the data gathered by the ELD; this can also be your smartphone via an app

The two devices work together to monitor and record your hours of service and other driving data. You will need to use both to be compliant.

Choosing Compliant ELDs

Now about that certified device part. How does an electronic logging device become certified by the FMCSA? As of March 2017, the FMCSA is not certified devices on its own accord. Instead companies selling ELDs that want to get certified must self-certify their devices. This means that these companies are expected to use the list of self-certification criteria and deem their device qualified. As you can imagine, there will be some ELD providers that attempt to self-certify devices that are not up to par. As a result, here at the onset of this new federal mandate, you want to take the time to check out the ELD you are purchasing.

List of Compliant Devices

The FMCSA has a regularly updated list of devices that are compliant. The current devices that are self-certified for truck drivers to use for the ELD mandate as of December 2017 include:

  • Load Logistics TMS by Support Resources,Inc.
  • Gorilla Safety ELD by Gorilla Fleet Safety, LLC
  • FleetUP by FleetUp
  • DriverLog by Wireless Links
  • Hutch ELD by Hutch Business Group Inc
  • TSO INCABIN PLUS by TSO MOBILE by Tracking Solutions Corp
  • e-Track Certified by ATS Fleet Management Solutions
  • KeepTruckin ELD by KeepTruckin, Inc
  • Geowiz Truck Tracker Edition by GeoSpace Labs
  • at.eDash by Assured Tracking Inc
  • MW-ELD-J9C by Mobile Warrior LLC
  • Hours of Service by VisTracks, Inc
  • driveTIME by Cartasite
  • E-Log Plus by E-Log Plus
  • DSi eLogs by Dispatching Solutions Inc
  • Titan Logbook ELD by Certified Tracking Solutions
  • Fleetwatcher E-Logs by Earthwave Technologies
  • ELD Fleet by Global Tracking Communications, Inc
  • TheTMS ELD Product Solution by THETMS Inc
  • M2MIM ELD by M2M In Motion
  • EDGE MDT by iGlobal LLC
  • EROAD ELD by EROAD
  • Saucon Prox ELD by Saucon Technologies, Inc
  • SIMPLEELOG by Simple Elog Inc
  • SIMPLETRUCKELD by SimpleTruckELD Inc
  • GEO83A by HCSS
  • ELD001 by Locus GPS
  • GEO001 by Geosavi Inc

As noted on the FMCSA list, each of these companies is only self-certified that these devices are compliant. It doesn’t mean that the FMCSA is approving these devices. Therefore you are responsible for making sure your ELD is compliant—even if you choose one of these devices from this list. Otherwise you are held accountable per the FMCSA for not having an ELD that meets federal requirements.

Self-Certified ELDs Criteria

In order to make sure you are getting a certified device the FMCSA has an extensive list of criteria your ELD must meet. These points require that your ELD must include:

  • Separate accounts for all users of the ELD, i.e. multiple drivers in a truck or trucking dispatchers accessing your information
  • Features an integral synchronization that connects to the engine in order to track and record engine status, movement, speed, etc.
  • Records your data automatically when operating the truck, as well as at 60 minute intervals
  • Records driver ID, your location, date, time, mileage, and your engine hours
  • Must capture your location within a one-mile radius; however, when the truck is being used for personal use it should only capture up to a 10-mile radius for trucker safety and protection
  • Uses UTC time (coordinated universal time)
  • Keeps hours of service data and driver log records for the current 24 hours, along with the previous consecutive seven day period
  • Requires you to certify your driving records after 24 hour periods
  • Doesn’t allow you or anyone else to tamper with the device or records
  • Requires you to review and approve any changes in your driving records whether or not you made them
  • Lets you print your ELD records as needed via a printed log or using a electronic file, i.e. email
  • Features either a USB2.0 or Bluetooth, or a wireless internet connection, so that you can submit your hours of service logs electronically
  • Must have a volume control feature if the device makes any audible remarks
  • Must include a daily header, along with the current driving duty status changes, and a daily log record similar to the paper log record currently used by truck drivers

In addition, when you purchase your electronic logging device it must come with a user’s manual. The device must also include instructions on how to handle record keeping in the event of a technical failure, as well as how to send your ELDs to the FMCSA and DOT.

As you can guess, if you use a free app on your tablet to track your hours using an ELD program, you will not be compliant. The ELD must have all of the above features as required by the FMCSA. Once you have an ELD that meets these requirements you are all set to be compliant come December 2017. That is, unless the current administration scraps the whole ELD ruling, which is what a lot of truckers are hoping will happen first.

Related Article

Frequently Asked Questions about the ELD Mandate

USA Truck Recognized as Most Valuable Employer for Military

USA Truck big rig on highwayUSA Truck is up for a major award. The Most Valuable Employers for Military may be awarded to USA Truck this May. The organization RecruitMilitary is awarding employers that do more than give military truckers a chance for civilian work. These are the companies going a step above what is needed to help veterans apply for truck driving jobs when they return home. In recognition of this honorable achievement, USA Truck will be listed among the top trucking companies for military job seekers looking for civilian trucking jobs. Find out what else it means to be an MVE for Military.

Military Truck Driving Company

When you drive a truck in the US military you receive skills, training, and behind the wheel experience that is resume worthy. Unfortunately you don’t also receive a commercial driver license (CDL) when you are in the military. As a result, when you come back home from active duty and search for civilian jobs for truckers, you soon learn you need to start all over. This is a major burden for military truckers, which is where and trucking companies dedicated to those in service, like USA Truck, come onto the scene.

USA Truck Nomination

As a nationwide trucking company USA Truck leads the way for customized truckload, intermodal and dedicated trucking jobs. This company also provides third party logistics solutions as a full-service freight management company. When it comes to supporting those in the US military,USA Truck is doing its part by hiring military truck drivers whenever possible. In fact, James D. Reed, USA Truck president and CEO, said, “Nearly 30 percent of our driver team members are US military veterans. Clearly, we put a premium on hiring veterans, and we’re honored to have our efforts recognized by such a prestigious organization.”

In line with these efforts, USA Truck was nominated for the MVE award for 2017. The winners of the ninth annual award will be revealed in the RecruitMilitary “Search and Employ” magazine publication in the May issue. USA Truck was nominated for the award for the company’s job driver recruitment, trucker retention, and truck driver training services for military truckers. If selected as the winner for the 2017 Most Valuable Employers for Military, USA Truck will be featured among the best employers for military job seekers. When those truck drivers from the military search for trucking jobs for military vets, they will see USA Truck as a top contender.

Meet RecruitMilitary

RecruitMilitary is a recruiting company focused on the military in the US. It is subsidized by Bradley-Morris, which allows RecruitMilitary to help more than a million individuals searching for jobs. RecruitMilitary provides a wealth of opportunities at job fairs, an online job board, and a publication for the US military that offers valuable info for job seekers.

According to RecruitMilitary president Peter Gudmundsson, “Hiring veterans just makes good business sense. It is evident that companies across the country see the value that veteran talent brings to the table by this year’s list of MVEs. I congratulate each of the finalists on their veteran hiring strategies and for their selection.”

If you have a trucking company that you feel should be nominated as an MVE for 2018, now is your chance. RecruitMilitary will open nominations for the Most Valuable Employers for Military application on Veteran’s Day. The awards are presented annually in the May/June issue of the RecruitMilitary publication in observance of Armed Forces Day.

 

Helpful Tips for Truck Drivers Using Electronic Logging Devices

ELD on dash of truck at a truck stopAs trucking companies and truck drivers are ramping up their electronic logging use, we are starting to get insider tips from truckers across the nation. Truck drivers who are using e-logging devices, but not yet submitting e-logs to the FMCSA, are reporting less strenuous DOT inspections. However, there are also issues with installing devices and editing log records that need to be dealt with before the ELD mandate goes into effect. If truckers and companies nationwide go into fail mode by the end of December, this could have a devastating impact on the industry and economy as a whole. To ensure you achieve a seamless transition into the e-logging experience, use these helpful trucker tips.

Understand Its Operations

Before you go out onto the open road with your new electronic logging device, know how to operate it. This involves more than just powering the unit on. You need to feel comfortable operating this logging system. After all, it is going to follow you throughout your career. Furthermore, any mistakes you make with your e-logs, and you can make mistakes, will need to be corrected, which sounds like a steep learning curve for any user. There are several ways you can learn the e-log ropes:

  • Get a manual from your e-log vendor and read it cover to cover.
  • Check out the vendor’s site to see if your e-logging device has any operational videos posted for your particular unit. Go onto YouTube and look there, as well.
  • Watch videos of other truck drivers using electronic logging systems to get a basic idea of what to do.

However, the best thing you can do is use the device yourself. Play around with it and check out all of its functions. Try actions and see what happens. This will help you feel at ease when depending on the unit for monitoring your hours of service records for the FMCSA.

Getting a Device Installed

Once you have an e-log device, you have to get it installed, or understand how to do this professionally. This is because your device must have a tracking system that is to be affixed to your truck’s engine for compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Most e-log device vendors offer a video course or handbook to help you with installation yourself. Some will also provide service calls to have e-logging devices installed. However, this is typically a bonus or perk used to attract customers with larger fleets, such as US Xpress, USA Truck and Crete Carrier Corporation.

If you are an independent truck driver who is shopping for a device to electronically log your miles, then you’ll want to learn how to install the unit. This way you can have a better handle of how the system functions, which is instrumental if you have to troubleshoot for problems on down the road. Furthermore, don’t wait until the last minute to get an e-logging device for your truck. If you do, not only will you likely pay a premium price point, but it takes some effort to get the system hooked up properly.

Learn How to Edit

Yes, unfortunately, you will make mistakes when you first start to use your electronic logging device. No, you won’t lose your CDL on the account of it because thankfully you have the ability to edit your logs. However, you have to understand how to do this before you get on the road. Making edits over the road is inconvenient and it requires you understanding how to operate your device; see Point 1. At the same time, you can’t make an edit when you are in on duty driving mode. All edits require you to log in to the administrators account on your portal. You can’t do this while driving down the highway, and you shouldn’t do this. Make sure that when you do edit your log:

  • For the logging mistake go to the “Notes” area of the logging program. Here you should always give as much detail as needed to explain why you made the edit.
  • Your edits must be approved by you, the driver.

You’ve probably already noticed that this means if you are an independent driver you have the ability to keep records, as well as edit them. This is true. Even so you are responsible for maintaining clean e-logs. Also, even if you are allowed to edit your e-logs you still can’t falsify the records like you can with paper logs. Editing your e-log records only changes the record; it does not make the old record disappear. Therefore, you want to manage your electronic logging system as well as possible so to avoid edits.

Learn How to Deal with Inspectors

The CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) is the safety advocacy group that is responsible for DOT inspections. Electronic logging devices will be tracking hours of service requirements, as well as DOT inspections. Learn how to interact with DOT inspectors now that you have an e-log device, and find out what you can expect.

Right now DOT inspectors are turning a kind eye to truck drivers who are using e-logs. Most report that their inspectors were relaxed after seeing the tracking device attached to the truck’s engine. This could be a combination of a few things. Electronic logging devices are being touted for its public highway safety benefits. Therefore, inspectors are expecting e-logs to do the job without fail. It’s the golden day of e-logs in that regard. However, the other issue could be that inspectors are depending on e-logging devices to do their job. This could have a negative impact in the future.

Another possibility is that inspectors are not comfortable dealing with e-log devices and records. This is unlike given the time that inspectors have had to understand how electronic logging works. However, consider how the CVSA recently released changes to the way inspections operate. In the newest inspection handbook, e-logging devices are just now finding their way to the discussion board for inspectors. Therefore, we could be experiencing a lack of e-log training on behalf of DOT inspectors, which could cause quite the problem.

The bottom line is DOT inspectors are more trusting of truckers who are presenting e-log records during inspections. So you could benefit from more lax inspections at this time. However, in the future as electronic logging devices become more mainstream, we shall see if inspectors will continue to be relaxed with inspections. It could come down to not having DOT inspectors for roadside inspections hardly at all unless deemed necessary by the e-log reports. That would be the greatest day ever for most truck drivers.

 

Setting the New Truck Driver Training Requirements

Training in front of truck cab

Anyone who intends on becoming a truck driver in the next couple of years will have to go through a different process. Today you get your commercial driver license (CDL) after passing a physical exam by a certified medical examiner, along with the written and skills tests at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Once the law passes for new truck driver requirements, all new commercial drivers will have to add a step to the process. They will be required to complete, successfully, truck driver training courses for both skills and knowledge as a trucker.

As we all know, right now regulations are in a blockade as Trump and his administration works to deregulate the government. However, when this regulatory change is over, here is what you can expect to see with the new truck driver training requirements.

Minimum Hour Requirement

Initially there was the 30-hour minimum requirement that was expected for this new driver training. However, since the truck driver training regulation has been put on hold, so has the minimum requirements. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is now saying it won’t indicate a minimum number of hours required for training for truckers. The organization states that ruling doesn’t make fiscal sense and it is difficult to determine the magic number of hours of training needed to be a safe driver.

So for truck drivers who hope to drive for companies like Poly Trucking, Ronnie Dowdy, and SLT in the future, it might be a good idea to go ahead and secure your CDL now. As the FMCSA determines how many other regulations and stipulations to change and amend in the next decade, the process of getting a CDL could become a nightmare.

Trump and Deregulations

The reason for the new truck driver training is to ensure new truckers are skilled and experienced behind the wheel of a big rig. Truck driving is a dangerous job. It is dangerous for both the truck drivers and those people in passenger cars passing them on the highways. This is why the FMCSA was established, to ensure safety on public highways. Therefore, when the FMCSA passes regulation on to become a law it is expected to be done with the safety of the general public in mind.

Take the new truck driver training requirement. This is a regulation designed to improve skills and training with new truckers, and when effective the training can be quite effective. By this understanding, we can easily see the benefit of training new truck drivers. However, there is one big roadblock toward new truck driver training. These training programs cost upward into the thousands of dollars, from $4,000 to $8,000 or more. This money has to be paid out of pocket because there is not a system for trucker training; it is all coordinated by independent businesses and schools.

Eight thousands dollars is a lot of money for a blue collar worker who is trying to get a job as a truck driver. You can bank on this being a roadblock between requiring truck driver training and expecting rookie drivers to be able to pay for this out of pocket. Yes, truckers need to have some formalized training before they get behind the wheel of a big rig and pull 80,000 pounds down the highway. However, there should be some sort of financial aid or grant system set up to cover the cost of new trucker training in order for this to be a feasible plan.

Yet removing the regulation requiring truck driver training isn’t likely at this stage. As the FMCSA has most recently revealed its final ruling for the trucker training requirements, we can expect for this regulation to slip through the cracks into a final law.

How do you feel about the new truck driver training requirement?
* Photo credit: Truck Stock Images

Should Rest Areas be Privatized to Pay for Trucker Parking

Finding a place to park at 6 pm on a Tuesday is a nightmare situation for any trucker west of West Virginia. three big rig trucks parkedIt’s just chaos at truck stops and rest areas as big rigs roll in and drivers hope to park for the night. Truck parking comes at a huge price, one that’s too costly for truck stops to cover. The search for funding for trucker parking may have come to a halt thanks to a consideration to privatize rest areas. But is this a good idea, and what will rest areas look like after they have been commercialized?

Commercial Rest Areas

Rest areas are state-owned facilities. They range from full-scale welcome centers with gift shops to remote rest areas that are glorified port-a-potties. As a trucker you can always park at a rest area, which is vital to the safety of truck drivers. The problem is, when states are faced with budget deficits, rest areas are often at the top of the chopping block. Just last week the State of Connecticut announced it would be closing seven rest areas, which will include the long-running Danbury Welcome Center. As rest areas are shut down it leaves fewer places for truck drivers to park while over the road.

Commercialization of rest areas would allow these facilities to become for-profit establishments. When truck drivers for companies like Heartland Express, Loudon County Trucking and Marten Transport stop by they are able to rest, fuel up and purchase food. This money would be put back into paying for upgrade and upkeep up rest areas. This would also be used to pay for truck driver parking. Trucker parking lots endure a lot of weight and abuse day after day. To keep these parking lots in safe shape, so that they aren’t destroying trucks and tires, costs a lot of money. This is where commercialization is expected to save the day. But will it?

Rest area commercialization is not a new concept by any means. In order to accomplish this task, the federal government would have to overturn the law prohibiting commercialization at rest areas. This would allow state governments to have more control over economic matters. For example, rest areas could then sell food and diesel, or they could outsource the rest area to a truck stop brand with the same intentions. Yes, this would make rest areas more on par with truck stops, and you’d have to ask what the difference would be between the two. However, there is another bigger roadblock standing in the way of commercializing rest areas.

Roadblocks to Commercialization

If we allow for commercializing rest areas this will make it easier for truck drivers, and travelers alike, to access facilities for gas, food, and resting. You won’t have to wait until you reach the next exit to pull over, as you can stop at the rest area along your route. This is where the biggest issue is. When fewer people are getting off at exits to get fuel and food, they are not utilizing the other businesses there in the right-of-way.

Local economies would suffer by the rate of over $55 billion a year for stores at exits in the wake of rest area commercialization, according to the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing. This could cause detriment to local economies across the US, and be especially devastating to those small town economies that depend on truck driving fleets stopping in for fuel and food.

As it stands, commercializing rest areas will not increase the amount of money spent at highway access stores. Instead it will simply transfer the sale of goods from one point of transaction to another. Local mom and pop stores, regional businesses, and the big truck stop brands will be adversely affected if rest areas go commercial.

Commercialization a Long Haul

The fact is that yes, rest areas could be commercialized to pay for truck driver parking onsite. However, wouldn’t it be a lot cheaper and easier to give truck stops some sort of credit or benefits for improving or increasing their truck stop parking lots? After all, truck stops are set up for commercial purposes, and they have already established a system for building and maintaining trucker parking. This sounds like another deal similar to toll roads to pay for infrastructure parking. Rather than making rest areas private, we should focus on improving the existing trucking parking we already have on the ground.

 

Are CSA Scores the Next to Go With Deregulation Under the Trump Administration

Semi trucks at truck stop parkingRemoving regulations from the federal government is one of the most pressing topics of the new Presidential administration. Everyone is crossing fingers that the trucking industry will see some deregulation this round. One of the biggest areas of regulation that involves trucking is the CSA Score. As it turns out, the Compliance, Safety, Accountability scorecard that regulates every move of truck drivers and trucking companies may be one of the first areas to be cut, or at least postponed until it is heavily amended.

Secretary Chao to Quash Regulation

In a move to deregulate the federal government, Department of Secretary Chao may be looking to rescind CSA scorecards next. We have seen several regulations in trucking on the chopping block in the past couple of weeks. From the speed limiter mandate to new truck driver training, several regulations have already been removed. Will CSA scores be the next on the list? Many in the trucking industry would hope so.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), Transportation and Logistics Council, and National Private Truck Council, along with the American Trucking Associations, all came out in a show of solidarity against CSA scores. The organizations joined 65 associations, trucking companies, and state agencies to be represented as one in a letter to Chao in February. The signees underscored the statement, “We urge you to rescind this ill-advised and harmful rule making immediately. We do not believe it makes sense to build a new safety fitness determination system upon a flawed system…this proposal is built on a flawed foundation.”

Groups have been against the CSA scoring system for years stating the methodology used for the scoring suffers from being sufficient for application. More importantly, the US Government Accountability Office has determined that the data used by the CSA system uses unreliable predictors for the likelihood of whether a truck driver will get into an accident, which is the purpose of the data system known as BASICs. If the CSA data isn’t doing its job, then the system needs to be overhauled or tossed out altogether.

The CSA of Today

Currently the CSA represents the clearinghouse for big data among the trucking industry. Everything that is accounted for during a Department of Transportation inspection is documented with a CSA score. This score is noted for public viewing, and every truck driver, owner operator, and trucking company has a score. When you apply for a truck driving job with companies, like Butler Transport, CRST Malone and E.L. Hollingsworth, your score is one of the first items that is noted by the trucking employer. If you own a trucking fleet and you are shopping around for truck driving insurance, the insurance companies offering you quotes are using your CSA score for their reference.

A CSA scorecard represents every single aspect of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability system via the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Each time you receive an inspection by the FMCSA or Department of Transportation, every data point of that inspection is recorded as your CSA score. One little error or mistake can follow you for years on your scorecard. The problem with this is that sometimes these errors are not that major or they were easily resolved. Yet this background information is not available to anyone who is viewing your CSA score. All they see is a list of categories, such as unsafe driving and driver fitness, and percentages.

Insurance companies end up charging carriers and owner operators according to the risk they note by the CSA score. The lower a score, the higher the insurance coverage costs. That’s why having the scoring system correct is so important. Another entity that depends on the CSA scorecard to operate business is the customers of trucking companies. These shipping customers will refer to a company’s CSA score before deciding to do business with the carrier.

More importantly, a CSA score can cause smaller companies to miss out on more opportunities. The smaller fleets have fewer drivers to calculate in their CSA average score. As a result, a smaller trucking company can actually lose business if it’s CSA score drops. Worse yet, if the CSA score is dinged in error, which is a possibility, it takes weeks to get anything examined and changed via the FMCSA.

On top of these issues with the CSA scorecard is the public accessibility. Allowing absolutely anyone to access the CSA scores as long as they have the driver’s DOT number or company name seems a violation of privacy. Considering how important the CSA scores are for drivers and carriers, it seems like there would be some degree of privacy here. Last year the FMCSA did make some changes to data access, blocking a couple of safety categories from general public view.

The CSA scorecard clearly needs to be reexamined, amended, and according to some, dropped altogether. At the very least, there should be some privacy given to truck drivers and trucking companies regarding access to their business and personal data. It looks like the FMCSA is moving in the right direction in that aspect.

CSA for Truckers

At the present time truck drivers must continue to have their data gathered under the CSA system. However, with the new administration there is hope that a new safety regulatory monitoring program will be initiated. Until that time regularly monitor your CSA score to ensure it is showing the right data. It could mean the difference between landing that next great paying trucking job and losing out to the competition because your CSA score wasn’t up to snuff.

 

Is Trucking Overcoming the Recession in Full Force?

Barr Nunn truck along highwayFew industries are balanced so carefully on the state of the economy as the trucking industry. If the US is going through a recession, it causes trucking companies to fail and truck drivers to lose their jobs. However, just as soon as the economy looks sunny, people start purchasing and oil prices increase. While trucking companies now have to contend with paying more at the pumps, the increased freight means that the trucking industry is getting out of the recession. But are we moving too fast for stability? Consider how to tell that we are coming out of the Great Recession, and how this looks for those in the truck driving industry.

Truck Drivers by the Numbers

Back in 2010 we were just starting to come out of the Great Recession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics it was also a grim time for truckers. The demand for goods slowed down due to the recession, and this left truckers without anything to haul. Trucking employment is directly related to demand. As a result, this period was one of the worst for job loss in the trucking world. The trucking industry reduced jobs by 14.3 percent, accounting for 208,000 trucking jobs over a 35 month period.

Today we are faced with too many trucking jobs and not enough truckers to handle these loads. The BLS states the truck driving industry is increasing by 5 percent by 2024. As of 2014 there were 1.8 million trucking jobs available, and this is going to increase by 98,800 by 2024. While this is a strong indicator that we have overcome the recession, it’s also troublesome.

What it doesn’t mention is how many truckers are leaving the industry for retirement. The baby boomer generation is heading out of the door, taking 425,000 retiring truckers with it. That’s half a million truck driving jobs that are being lost due to retirees. The truck driving industry might be out of the recession, but that doesn’t mean that issues like general population growth don’t affect it.

Increased Freight Demand

The first sign that the trucking industry is blowing by the recession in full force is the increased freight demand. Given that the lack of freight was directly causing the trucking industry to falter during the Great Recession, having too much freight to haul should mean the end of the recession. However, there is the fear that companies will push too hard right after the recession, leaving them with gaps in the supply chain. Growth on both sides has to come naturally and in perfect time. If trucking companies can invest in new, and newer, equipment at this time to slowly expand their fleets, this will help them get their share of the increased amount of goods.

Increased Truck Driver Salaries

As we start out 2017 news has already reported that trucking as an occupation is the best paid among blue collar jobs. Additionally, pay is increasing across the board for truck drivers at companies. When coupled with these massive sign-on bonuses of companies like Barr-Nunn and Celadon Trucking, truckers are bringing home the bacon. This money has to come from somewhere, that being the increased freight over the roads.

For those truck drivers for companies like US Xpress who want to stick with it for the long haul, this freight demand doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. As such, you can expect two things. First, you’ll never be without a job, and secondly, your services are in high demand and that makes your job worth more. It’s a great time to be getting into the trucking industry.

Fuel Costs and Recession Recovery

Besides labor costs, fuel is a top expense of any trucking company big or small. If the price of diesel goes up ten cents, that cuts directly into the profits of loads in that area. You can’t increase the quote you charge a customer after you’ve already started down the road. Furthermore, if a trucking company increased their rates every time they wanted or needed to, the customers would all find another trucking company to do business with.

And this is exactly what happens to most small trucking companies. They have to raise their rates to combat increased diesel costs. As a result, their customers shop around and find other carriers willing to do it at the original rate. You lose the business, and if this happens often enough, you lose your entire business.

So now that diesel prices are going up because of planned production cuts, this is increasing the price of diesel for trucking companies. If this happens too quickly after the recession, too many companies will buckle under pressure and bail. The fact that diesel prices are going up is an indicator that the world economy is strong enough to handle it. That’s good. It also tells us that goods will be increasing in price as these shipping and handling charges tick up. As long as trucking companies are prepared to pay for the higher diesel prices, the US economy will keep on moving steadily out of recession.

 

How to Apply for Trucking Jobs on Big Truck Driving Jobs

Line of trucks in parking lotTake the right turn in your truck driving career with a better paying trucking job. Here at Big Truck Driving Jobs we offer everything you need to get behind the wheel of a big rig at one of the best trucking companies in the country. Whether you are just getting your wheels rolling as a student driver, or you have one million miles behind you, we can help you. Start your search for the high paying trucking jobs in your state today.

Submitting Your Trucking Application

The first step in finding these jobs is to submit your Big Truck Driving Jobs Application. Choose the application for company drivers or owner operators and go from there. Each application asks the same basic information:

  • Personal and contact info
  • CDL info
  • Driving and experience including haul types, freight preferences and team preference
  • Employer info for up to 4 current and previous employers
  • Your criminal history, if any

Big Truck Driving Jobs also provides you with the space to add any comments you want your potential employers to read. This is your chance to explain any gaps in work history, issues on your driving record, or additional trucking skills not listed on the application. Use this to your advantage, it may be your best shot at standing out in the crowd of applicants.

What to Expect Next

Your application is securely stored in the Big Truck Driving Jobs database. Thanks to this 100 percent free service you benefit from job matching based on your application info. For example, if you list that you have experience with tanker and hazmat loads we will search for job listings that want truckers like you. Next we present this information to you, allowing you to choose whether or not you want to send them your trucking job application.

After you submit your application you’ll be enrolled in the Jobs Alert Program. This means you’ll get prerecorded job listings via your listed phone number. These job listings are only a few of the many available on Big Truck Driving Jobs. The goal is to share with you some of the hottest, latest and most in demand jobs on the market.

Scouting Out Truck Driving Companies

Want to have more say in the jobs that are selected for you? We make that easy. Search for:

  • Trucking jobs currently available
  • Trucking companies that are hiring

When searching among our thousands of available trucking jobs narrow down your options according to:

  • Driver type, i.e. company driver, owner operator or student
  • State where you want to find a trucking job
  • OTR experience in terms of months/years
  • Commercial driver’s license class A, B or C
  • Equipment types you have experience with, i.e. dry van, tanker, flatbed, auto hauler, reefer, household goods

After you have indicated the information that applies to you, get ready to start browsing the jobs available.

Easy to Use Job Search Categories

We also offer a convenient tab to the left side of the search screen. Here you’ll notice you can search according to:

Each of these categories streamlines your search, saving you valuable time. This search method also gives you a chance to see what is available across the nation.

Checking Out Trucking Companies

Another way Big Truck Driving Jobs helps you find the best paying trucking jobs is by listing all of the trucking companies currently hiring. More importantly if you are interested in finding out if your favorite trucking company is hiring, this makes it easy for you to do so.

Simply click on the tab Trucking Companies Hiring at the top of the webpage. You’ll get a comprehensive list of these companies along with the option for More Info. Click that link and you’ll get a detailed company profile:

  • Learn about where that company is hiring, state by state.
  • See what jobs they have available for driver types and tractor trailers pulled.
  • Find general driver information, such as how many miles are hauled weekly and what home time is offered.
  • Discover the driver requirements of that company, such as your minimum age to work and minimum years of experience.
  • Check out the company benefits including healthcare coverage.

You’ll also learn about the latest job perks including sign-on bonuses and driver pay rates. We also provide contact information for you to be able to apply for a truck driving job with the specific company.

Here at Big Truck Driving Jobs our mission is to make your job search easier. Give us a go and get started with a better paying truck driving career today!

 

Kentucky Trucking Association Trains News Drivers

front dash of big rigIf you are searching for truck driving jobs in Kentucky you’ve got perfect timing. According to the American Transportation Research Group the trucking industry in Kentucky brings in $5 billion in wages annually. Couple this with the fact that the industry as a whole is experiencing an increase in freight demand. For individuals in Kentucky who are looking for a job with plenty to offer, truck driving fits the bill. However, the trucking business has changed, and is continuing to change, in rapid time. Here’s what you need to know to be able to get hired for trucking companies in Kentucky.

Time to Get Technical

The biggest difference between a truck driver in 2017 and one in 1977 or even 1997 is the technology required to drive a tractor-trailer. For starters, CB radios have been all but replaced by smartphones and apps like Truck Chat and Trucker Tools. Here are some statistics to show the move toward mobile technology, for OTR truck driving jobs:

  • UShip released a survey in 2012 that noted nearly 60 percent of drivers used their smartphones for trucking business each day.
  • Almost 20 percent use the device to communicate with other truckers, as well as friends and family.
  • More than 30 percent are using mobile apps to check traffic, road conditions, weather, and gas prices, as well as to reserve trucker parking at truck stops.
  • Most notably the use of a laptop has declined by 20 percent among truckers.

If you have a smartphone you can do everything from receive paperwork from dispatchers to submit invoices to customers. Emails and text messages have taken the place of snail mail and faxes. Not a smartphone owner? You will likely become one soon after taking your first over the road trucking job. The technology has become instrumental in doing your job as a professional truck driver.

Paperwork and Governmental Processes

Another big change that has been happening slowly over the last couple of decades is that truck drivers have far more paperwork to manage now. For starters, truckers in Kentucky have to get a commercial driver’s license in order to find trucking jobs. This regulation is actually a more recent requirement, and not something that older truckers had to deal with.

Paper log books are also another government process that all new truckers need to understand. The basic idea here falls under hours of service. Every trucker has to follow hours of service rules to be able to comply with government requirements. It’s a safety aspect intending to keep America’s highways free of fatalities due to tired truckers. It should be noted that paper logbooks are going the way of the dinos. Paper logs are set to be replaced by electronic logging devices in December 2017. This goes back to the demand to adapt to technology as a trucker.

New truckers in Kentucky, as well as the rest of the US, are also going to have to add a new form of paperwork to their pile. They have to get new truck driver training before they can get a CDL. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recently passed legislation that requires all new truck drivers to take trucker training. This means you’ll have to pass a truck driver training program before you can get your CDL.

It is a new hurdle for rookies interested in trucking jobs for companies like National Strategic Transport or Purdy Brothers Trucking. When you go to the DMV to take the CDL exam you have to have a certificate showing you have passed both a written and skills portion of a trucker training course.

Kentucky Trucking Association Trains Rookie Drivers

The worry is that this new rule will prevent would-be truck drivers from pursuing a career in trucking. After all, if you go to trucking school without being contracted to a company like Shaffer Trucking you have to shell out several thousand dollars for tuition. For truck drivers in Kentucky, fortunately, the Kentucky Trucking Association has stepped up to provide assistance.

As a member of the Kentucky Trucking Association you gain access to several truck driver training courses. These include CDL training for written knowledge. The KTA provides completely online training for drivers who want to get any class or endorsement of a CDL.

  • This training is free for KTA members and it follows DOT requirements.

Note that this is only the written portion of the CDL training. You will still need to find someone willing to train you as a truck driver behind the wheel. As a KTA member you have access to a network of industry professionals who can help you find certified truck driver trainers. These include membership-led meetings with other truckers, recruiters, and truck driver training providers.