I recently read an article from Truckers News about the increasing use of natural gas among the trucking community. Trucking carriers are claiming their customers are asking for more green methods of service, and they are meeting the demand by buying more natural gas powered trucks than ever before.
A couple of reasons for the spike in popularity is the staggering price of diesel and the increasing availability of natural gas fuel stops. The price of natural gas is half as much as regular diesel and can be used with just a few reasonable changes to old diesel-fueled trucks.
You can look at the whole story here.
The fuel-saving announcement President Obama gave about a week ago on August 9th will likely impact truck driver’s in a positive way. The speech outlined brand new fuel standards for commercial vehicles, and marks the first national policy to improve fuel economy and cut down on gas pollution. The regulation is expected to create an astounding 20% improvement in semi-truck fuel economy by 2018. Obama insists the plan will save over 530 million barrels of oil. You can read the entire article on this groundbreaking policy here.
Starting out as a rookie truck trucker can be overwhelming. The long list of terms, weight limits, and regulations can be a lot to take on in the beginning. However, new truck drivers should know that they are in fact very highly valued. They have certain qualities and benefits that well-traveled truckers lack. Here’s a short list of the 3 best characteristics:
Up-to-Date Skills and Knowledge
Employers hold workers who are trained with the most modern methods and technology in high esteem. Experienced drivers are great to fall back on, but they are behind the curve when it comes to new truck driving technologies and specific state regulations. Employers save both money and time by hiring new drivers who have the complete knowledge of current trucking industry standards and expectations.
Truck drivers just entered the truck driving work force are more likely to go the extra mile than ones that have been around for years and years. It’s more likely for a driver who has been with a company for several years to want as much time as possible at home. Experienced drivers make up the majority of the trucking workforce right now, so employees willing to be away from home are in high demand. Truck drivers fresh out of driving school are most often the ones up for the challenge. They have the passion to eat up as many miles as possible to start paying off their CDL training school expenses. Not only is this useful for employers looking to fill unemployment holes, but also for the willing drivers who receive higher than average paychecks in return.
Open-Minded to New Routes
Once a driver becomes used to a particular route, it’s sometimes difficult for an employer to convince them to change it. The familiar, ‘Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks’ philosophy can sometimes ring true in this instance. Most excited truck drivers new to the road have no problem taking them on. They are also better equipped with the latest driving methods and technology abilities to drive through challenging, congested cities, which gives employers the confidence to put them in the high pressure locations.
These benefits are only a small portion of what new truck drivers bring to the table. With more job positions than ever before, today is the perfect time to get started on CDL training. Taking advantage of the high demand for new truckers will ensure a successful, rewarding, and challenging career.
Reality television has a way of attracting attention to a previously mundane topic. Once a show catches on, the public becomes intrigued. Certain industries benefit from television phenomenon. The field of Ice Road trucking for example has been talked about more in the last few years than ever before. The show responsible for the popularity is History Channel’s part reality and part educational series, Ice Road Truckers.
It depicts the risky encounters ice road truckers face on the job as they carefully inch powerful machines across miles and miles of thin roads made of slippery ice. The job is obviously terrifying, nerve wracking, and requires a high level of training. However, the industry has seen a drastic increase in job position interest.
Ice road trucking has been called the “dash for cash.” This is because of the limited time out the year that specific supplies can be hauled to remote locations. There are only 2 to 3 months out of the year when some of these areas are not covered in rocks, swamps, or lakes. Air travel is an option, but the costly expense is too high for most employers’ budgets. With no possible transportation to get across these terrains, it’s up to ice road truckers to quickly transport the necessary products to the appropriate location in very little time.
Before the ice season begins, road crews are in charge of preparing the snow and ice for travel. For several weeks they use radar to calculate things like ice thickness to make sure it will hold the incredible weight of the ice trucks. The hurried preparation is to secure the safety of 600-900 trucks hauling over 10,000 loads at 20 miles per hour. The frenzied excitement of ice road trucking can’t be found in any other occupation.
So why are so many people eager to put their lives in danger? The answer is in the numbers. A recent study showed the average trained ice road trucker can earn up to an astounding $90,000 in just three months. It’s also extremely difficult for employers to find enough workers to fill the positions. In today’s economy, it’s hard to find a career that has a large salary and long-term job security on its side.
A rewarding career comes at a high price. I’ll break down the ice road trucker job description to give you a closer look at what it takes to take on the intriguing lifestyle.
Earn a CDL
Working as an ice road trucker requires a CDL. This can be achieved by attending a CDL program at a school or online. Driving experience in harsh conditions is also helpful for employment. However, many times an ice truck employer will pay for the driver to go through specific winter driving training. Ice road trucking employers expect their drivers to be extremely confident in their driving ability. Anything less could result in costly accidents and injuries.
Do the Research
There are obvious dangers involved with ice road trucking, but before you sign up for the job, be very aware of what specific risks you will come across. If you know risks and still want to want the job, the detailed preparation will keep you safe and calm your nerves when you get behind the wheel. Here’s a short list of some of the possible dangers:
- Frostbite: It’s a very probably risk when working in cold temperature regions. Truck adjustments and fuel stations will require some time waiting outside the vehicle. Thick and layered clothing will protect the skin against it.
- Animals: This can either be a terrific or terrifying part of the job. Ice road truckers are able to see some of the most unique animals on earth, but they can also be the most threatening. Staying alert and focused is crucial in case of possible run-ins with polar bears, moose, and more.
- Skids: Sliding on the ice is usually a daily occurrence. Ice provides little to no traction, and it can get out of control when a driver doesn’t know how to handle the situation. The more time a driver practices the braking methods necessary for these emergencies, the safer they will be in the future.
A career as an ice road trucker is one of the most dangerous yet rewarding lifestyles around. The job opportunities are abundant and the pay is substantial. This path of trucking is not for the faint hearted. A person interested in the extreme lifestyle should as much research as possible before taking the risky plunge.
Choosing the right Truck Driving School will have a big impact on the types of jobs you’ll be able to secure once you have your CDL. You want to be sure you’re selecting a CDL Training program with an industry reputation for producing high-quality drivers. Be prepared when shopping around for a trucking school with these 6 important questions every trainee should ask. …
Truck driver or not, most people have probably experienced that nagging, awful ache at the base of the back. It never seems to go away, and sitting in the same constrained position for long periods of time only makes it worse. The ache can also be an effect of heavy lifting or strained movements, which are daily occurrences for most truck drivers.
These factors make truck drivers are the perfect candidates for the pain. Eighty percent of Americans suffer from back pain, and truckers make up a massive amount of the group. It should come as no surprise that a recent study revealed truck driving as one of the top five occupations to cause back pain.
The popular health issue is costing the trucking industry millions of dollars and leading many truckers to give up on their careers.
So what’s a strained trucker to do? Drew Bossen, a physical therapist and founder of Atlas Ergonomics in Grand Haven, Michigan says using just a few simple methods can dramatically improve trucker’s back condition.
Making Stretching a Habit
Doing routine stretches every day isn’t just for gymnasts and track stars. Any person at any age or shape can benefit from doing stretches. The consistent, vibrating movements that truck drivers experience on a daily basis causes the muscles to tighten over time. These important muscles have to be loosened everyday to prevent serious injury.
Bossen suggests two minutes of stretching before you begin the trucking trip and two minutes after. One of the best moves is to put one foot on the step of the truck and stretch the back leg in the lunge position. Bend the front knee and hold for about 20 seconds then repeat with the other leg.
Truckers can loosen up back muscles by touching their toes or bending backwards with both hands on their hips. Is the pain starting to feel like neck strain? Slowly moving the head back and forth and front to back can help ease the ache that gets worse with time.
Use Legs not Arms when Heavy Lifting
One of the reasons truck drivers are so vulnerable to back injuries is because of the long periods of sitting followed closely by intense heavy lifting. The bending forward movement makes the disc between spinal joints stick out which makes it very easy for a serious injury to occur.
Bossen encourages drivers to use a “lock and load” method. Locking the elbows close to the body makes it difficult to rely just on the arms for strength, which protects the spine. He says over 99 percent of back injuries are a result of not using this technique.
Adjust the Seat
Not only making this change help relieve pain, it makes truckers less likely to get tired behind the wheel. Generally, truckers who are around 6 foot fit best in the driver’s seat. Those who are shorter or taller will need to make minor adjustments. Bad posture is what slowly moves back discs out of their normal position. A seat with the right adjustments makes good posture easy. The back of the knee should barely touch the seat edge. This will remove any possibility of pressure that can reduce blood flow. The steering wheel should be an easy reach. Any sort of stretch to hold the wheel causes strain. Moving the mirrors in positions that don’t require much turning and twisting will also make a big difference.
Eat Nutritious Foods
The last thing Bossen says to keep in mind is keeping a healthy diet. Overweight truckers have a much harder time keeping back pain under control than healthy ones. Bad nutrition makes the healing process nearly impossible. Having lean snacks on-board like trail mix, fruit, and beef jerky will go a long way. Staying hydrated is also a factor. Truckers should down at least one glass of water for every hour behind the wheel.
Consistently following these simple guidelines can turn a draining truck driving career into an enjoyable experience.
The workforce in the truck driving industry is dwindling, and carriers are constantly searching for reliable, trained tractor trailer drivers. A recent article reveals a somewhat surprising demographic is starting to fill these employment gaps. Within the last 5 years, married couples have made up a large percentage of the truck industry workforce.
Most of these couples are around 50 years old with either an empty nest or a lackluster lifestyle after retirement. While most looked towards trucking as a way to keep an active lifestyle, the money associated with team driving is definitely an added benefit, helping to cushion their retirement eggs. As a matter of fact, couples driving across the United States can make a combined income of $100,000 a year.
This type of team truck driving is ideal in a few different ways. For starters, it removes perhaps the most unpopular aspect of truck driving – time away from family. Couples as team drivers couple are also safer than the average driver, as they are less likely to speed or take other hazardous risks.
Driving with a partner also makes the workload easier on each member. If one person gets tired, the other can take over to prevent falling asleep at the wheel. Alternating sleep schedules allows the team to cover more miles at a faster pace. A driving team can actually deliver products to the customer in half the time of a single driver. While a solo driver can drive 10 hours a day, a couple can drive for 20.
For this reason, employers tend to send their team drivers to the most loyal customers to ensure fast deliveries. This makes a dedicated driving couple much more valuable to employers than a single driver. Older workers who have had previous careers are also seen as more dependable, mature, and already have proven work ethic.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that since 2000, the number of truck drivers over 55 have jumped 19%. Nationally respected carrier Schneider National, claims 3,000 of its 15,000 drivers are older individuals.
Some of the possible benefits that attract couples to a truck-driving career are:
-Health and life insurance
-Rewards for safe driving
Couples with grown children and/or few obligations are most likely to enjoy time on the road. The rewarding career gives them the opportunity to travel to new places and work as a team. If you are looking for a change of scenery and think your relationship has what it takes, couple truck driving may be the ideal career move for you and your spouse!
Anyone having spent time searching for a trucking job has probably noticed two distinct types of jobs. Of the thousands of trucking positions across the country, there are two primary classifications: over-the-road trucking (OTR) and less than truckload (LTL) trucking. While neither type of job is better than the other, each one comes with its own pros and cons. Below is a short comparison of the two so that you can decide which direction to take your trucking career.
A typical OTR driver will travel to several different places in one day. Employers call this an “irregular route.” The location could be anywhere in the country and any expected destination time day or night. These drivers don’t typically have a set schedule or route- they work anytime, anywhere. Sometimes OTR drivers are expected to travel internationally (Canada and/or Mexico), which means weeks or months away from home. OTR truckers have the benefit of seeing an exciting variety of landscapes and usually get above average pay. The job opportunities for OTR truckers are endless. Truckers willing to drive long distances for an extensive amount of time are in very high demand.
Less than Truckload Trucking
A LTL trucker will haul a combination of different types of material. Usually it weighs less than 10,000 pounds. These drivers have many different places to go, but are on a strict schedule and time line. LTL truckers tend to travel the same routes every week. Most of the time the routes are regional or local because of the high number of shipments. Although the OTR benefit of seeing a variety of places doesn’t apply here, drivers are able to spend much more time at home. As you can imagine, the majority of truckers want as much time at home as possible. This creates tough competition for LTL jobs. A good way to make the job search easier is to have a top-quality CDL education, all of your endorsements, and at least two years of driving experience.
The differences between the two types are very apparent. The lifestyle of an OTR trucker is drastically different from that of LTL trucker, as is the earning potential. Take some time to consider the rewards and obligations of both positions. You will surely experience an exciting and stable career with whatever path you choose!
There was a recent article about the increasing number of open positions for new and inexperienced truck drivers. This is good news for unemployed truckers looking for work and not-so-good news for trucking employers.
The truck driver industry is short on available and trained truck drivers. The average age of a truck driver today is 51. With this age so close to retirement time, a new wave of qualified truck drivers will be desperately needed to keep the industry afloat. The shortage is predicted to be around 200,000 by 2012.
You can read the whole story here:
To many people, what the inside of a semi truck looks like is a complete mystery. It seems incredible that thousands of men and women spend weeks at a time spending 10 to 11 hours of the day inside these vehicles, yet most of us have never even seen one from the inside. Because of the nature of the job and the amount of time spent in the cab, the actual amenities a truck provides can be surprisingly accommodating. The confined space can take some getting used to, but the highly-rewarding nature of life on the road can easily outweigh the tight quarters.
A part of choosing a career as a professional truck driver is to make sure you’ll be able to adjust to the unique living conditions. To give you a better idea of what to expect, here’s a list of the most common things that can be put in a basic semi-truck sleeper to keep time spent behind the wheel as comfortable as possible:
Sleeper Berth Area
Most OTR semi-trucks have some sort of bed that pulls down from the wall. Unless it’s a customized truck, the bed is usually twin size. Just like a car, a truck can’t run all night during sleep hours. So in extreme weather season like a steamy summer or frigid winter, may truckers decide to not risk losing sleep while battling the elements and stay the night in a motel. A thick curtain to block out any light is a helpful accessory to keep nearby the bed.
As you can probably guess, storage is limited inside a semi-truck. Most of them have some space to store things like clothes, food, toiletries, and meal prep utensils. Some trucking companies put restrictions on what a trucker can store on-board.
Food Conservation Methods
There are a few different creative ways to keep food in fresh condition while on the road. Thermoelectric coolers, travel refrigerators, and ice chests are three of the most popular ways. Ice chests tend to be the most effective way to keep food cool. The only downside is it’s consistent need for ice refills.
It’s the seemingly little things that make the biggest difference when it comes to living in a small space. Having a source of electricity can make life drastically easier for some truckers. Electricity can be useful when it comes to things like personal hygiene appliances, cooking equipment, and truck support tools. Truckers can have electricity by either buying a diesel-powered auxiliary power unit (APU) or an inverter. An APU is the better quality choice, but can cost thousands of dollars.
Having to pull over every time nature calls can waste precious time on the road. A portable toilet is one the best investments a trucker can make. The toilets vary in size and color and have several different waste tank sizes. Truckers can also buy additives for the toilets to help reduce odors and break down waste.
As you can see, the life inside a semi-truck can be compared to living in a small and portable apartment. Having the appropriate features and tools can make the trucking lifestyle even more enjoyable and relaxing.
When you’re driving, there are few things more frustrating than glancing at the driver beside you only to find his or her eyes glued to their lap with one hand on the wheel, totally unfocused on the road. What’s worse is if that distracted driver is in control of a massive, 18-wheeler semi-truck. The obviously higher risk of danger associated with a distracted trucker over a passenger car driver has put into effect a law enforcing a high fine for commercial truckers choosing to text and drive.
Any commercial driver caught texting and driving can suffer a fine of up to $2,750 and an additional fine of up to $11,000 for the carrier employing that driver. Along with the fine comes a 10-point violation on the driver’s CDL record. Depending on what state you live in, that many points could cause you to have your license suspended.
An article summarizing the federal rule, lists the following and many more as what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not consider texting:
- Reading, choosing, or dialing a phone number
- Entering voicemail codes
- Using voice commands to make or pick up a call
- Reading or typing in GPS or navigation technology
An increase in federal rules and regulations for truckers only increases the need for top-quality, safe truckers. This means it’s more important than ever to look for a high-quality CDL training program that will make sure you are well-versed in the latest federal and state safety standards.
The wide variety of truck driving training options available for those interested in a trucking career can be overwhelming. Just like with any career, the investment put into schooling and training can make or break your future. When it comes to choosing a CDL training program there are a handful of factors you should take in consideration. Using the factors to compare schools can help narrow down your investigation for a valuable program that’s worth every penny. …
If you are considering spending your days as a semi-truck driver, you’ve probably wondered what life on the road is really like. Many truckers say the job of a semi-truck driver is not a job at all; it’s more of a lifestyle that takes a massive amount of dedication and a certain type of personality. …
If you’re curious about how clean a trucking companies driving record is, you’re in luck. The Federal Motor Carrier Association provides a program called Safety and Fitness Electronic System to help future or current employees keep tabs on how reliable a trucking company is. The FMCA collects safety records to give a grade in just how safe a company’s drivers are performing. The grading is done in four different areas: Accident, Driver, Vehicle, and Safety Management. …
The headlines are everywhere you go. They sneak into your email inbox, randomly pop up on the side of websites, land on brochures, and even scream at you from your television. FREE CDL TRAINING! With most CDL training programs costing more than the average person has on hand, a free program might seem like a pretty great deal. Well, I’m sorry to break it to you…but it’s not a deal at all. In fact, it’s one of the worst scams you can be tricked into. …
After several years of driving for a company, many truckers begin to dream about the freedom and independence that driving their own truck would give them. The benefits are just as attractive; if you’re in the right financial position to do it, a truck owner operator can gross $100,000-$150,000 in a year!
To help you figure out if the truck owner operator lifestyle is right for you, let’s break the most important questions to ask before you get started. …
Life on the road is not what it used to be. When the industry first started in the 1910’s and 1920’s, truckers were only instructed to do one thing: get from A to B. No restrictions. No rules. No limits. Sometimes this meant driving for days at a time on poor and dangerous roads. Their bosses didn’t care how many hours they drove at a time or how they got there, as long as the delivery was made. …
A trucker’s life on the road can sometimes be long and tiring. Unfortunately, pulling over for some easy fast food or taking a break at the local greasy diner has become the quick fix for the average trucker’s hunger pains. Recent studies performed by Harvard Medical School have revealed that the truckers not getting enough sleep are most often the ones pulling over for a double cheeseburger and fries. …
Dedicating yourself to the truck owner operator business is not only a business decision; it’s a big financial investment. Unfortunately, many drivers eager to get their own trucking business started realize this too late in the process. If you have an organized business plan and a reasonable budget, you can turn owning and operating your own truck into a long-term, rewarding career. …
I recently found this article unveiling a brand new invention to help truckers cover more miles using less gas. The TractorTail, invented by Andrew smith, looks like a short pyramid that is put over the rear doors of the truck’s trailer. The goal is to reduce the amount of drag so it’s less difficult to pull. Inventions like these are what make a big difference in profit for truck owner operators. Read the whole story here:
You’ve bought the truck, you have a business plan, and you’re ready to hit the road. Now what? Besides the truck itself, insurance is considered the most important purchase you will make of your trucking career. Go through this checklist before starting the hunt for reliable insurance. …
One of the most respected trucking companies around, Schneider National, revealed today that they are eager to hire over 300 truck drivers from the states Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas.
The chosen employees will deliver materials to and from several oil removal sites. The companies’ sudden expansion is due to the growing demand for oil. Drivers will use dry hopper or liquid tankers to transport the products. …
The average semi-truck in 2011 averages only 5 to 7 miles per gallon, and with diesel prices at $3.43 a gallon, it’s crucial for truckers to find ways to save fuel. Here are some of the best tips I’ve found from a few economically wise truckers. …
The decision to become a trucking owner operator in a highly competitive industry is not easy. There are many factors to consider before jumping into a big investment. I’ve chosen five personal areas to give you an idea of what you should be thinking about before starting your new career. By taking an honest look at your habits and lifestyle, your long-term success as a truck owner operator will be much more likely. …
It’s no secret that driving a semi truck takes a high level of training and practice. Trucking companies tell their recruiters to search for the most reliable drivers they can get their hands on. The demand for such high standards makes the military’s service man and women a recent ideal choice for employment. …