5 Ways to Get Health Insurance Coverage for Truckers

doctor with stethoscopeOne of the first questions truck drivers have when searching for the highest paying trucking jobs is whether or not health insurance is available. As far as truck driver benefits goes health care coverage ranks at the top of the priority list. Yet with the current Presidential administration on the verge of dropping the Affordable Care Act the question of health insurance coverage is at the forefront of many truckers’ and trucking company employers’ minds. Find out how you can find health insurance for truck drivers to determine the best option for your situation.

Obamacare

Is Obamacare even an option anymore? It is, actually. A visit to healthcare.gov will let you search for the marketplace in your state, if applicable, where you can find your own health insurance. However, there is a slim chance that you can enroll today, unless you are pregnant or losing health care coverage, or if you qualify for low-income health insurance coverage. This means you will have to wait until the next open enrollment period to be able to apply and get health insurance using this method.

  • In the meantime you can check out the price of health insurance plans in your area using the 2017 health insurance plans and prices tool. This way you can at least get an idea of how much your coverage would cost when you could enroll.
  • The enrollment period for Obamacare will be from November 1 to January 31, 2017.

Health Savings Account

A more popular option for individuals who are in good health and want more control over their health insurance benefits is a health savings account. This savings account is associated with a high-deductible health plan or HDHP, so it’s not ideal if you want a low deductible. However, you will pay less each month for your health care coverage, so it balances out. The money you contribute to your medical savings account is not taxed by the federal government, and if it accumulates interest this isn’t taxed either.

If you need to use your insurance benefits for a doctor’s visit, prescription drugs, or surgery, you have money to cover your expenses through your HSA. It allows you to save your own money with interest to be used to pay for medical expenses when needed. If you opt for a HSA ask your trucking employer if this is optional at your trucking job, or check out HSA Bank to find out how to get started. You can also check with your affiliated religious organizations to see if the church offers HSA, which is an option in several states.

OOIDA Trucking Insurance

One misconception that truck drivers and owner operators have is that the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) provides trucking insurance. OOIDA does have networks for trucking insurance, but this does not include health insurance for truckers. You can, however, purchase individual insurance products, such as vision, dental, prescription drug plans, life insurance, and accident coverage. If you want to supplement a slack health insurance plan, or you strictly want particular products OOIDA can help. Of course you will have to be a member of OOIDA to receive access to these benefits.

Insurance and the NRA

That’s right, you read that correctly, the National Rifle Association provides access to health insurance for its members. NRA Healthcare Marketplace offers endorsed health care, but it’s not the same as full-on health insurance. Like OOIDA, the NRA offers access to several products including long term care, prescription discount card, Medicare supplement, hospital help plan, and cancer care insurance plan. This type of piece-meal coverage is good for filling the gaps if you know you have certain health issues or medical conditions, and you are unable to sign up for Obamacare due to lack of coverage in your area or the high premiums.

Group Health Insurance

For most truck drivers hauling for the top paying trucking companies like Arka Express, Brown NationaLease or Dot-Line Transportation health care is available as a benefit. When you search for OTR trucking jobs ask your recruiter about the health insurance options. Get all of the details including how long you have to be employed full-time before your insurance benefits will be available. At the same time, if you can get on the group insurance plan at the trucking company where you are employed you will be able to get healthcare coverage at an affordable rate. This is thanks to the group plan, which reduces the financial risk of the truck drivers being covered.

Issues with Getting Covered

Truck drivers are more likely to suffer from health problems due to the nature of their trucking job, in comparison to other occupations. As a result, it can be costly to insure truck drivers on an individual level thanks to pre-existing health problems, such as diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood pressure. By getting on a group policy you stand a much better chance of getting affordable coverage. Keep in mind in a group plan your insurance premium will likely increase if another person in your group has a medical condition or becomes a high risk insured trucker. However, as a truck driver you want to have good health insurance coverage to protect your health on down the road.

 

FMCSA Checklist for Choosing Your New E-Logging Device

Electronic logging device at truck stopTime will tell if electronic logging devices will be mandated in the trucking industry. In the meantime all you can do is sit and do your research. Start by finding out about the best e-logging devices on the market. Then read up on the ELD features or functions that will be included in your new e-logging device. If you aren’t sure if your device has all of the required bells and whistles, we have you covered. Here are some of the most important functions your ELD must have to be in full compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Timing, Timing, Timing

Considering that your ELD will be monitoring your hours of service rules, you must follow very specific timing guidelines. The FMCSA requires that your electronic logging device:

  • Records your driving time at 60 minute increments
  • Keeps your driving data for your last seven consecutive days, as well as for your current 24 hour log
  • Requires you to certify your records every 24 hours

Note that these are the minimum requirements. You may choose an ELD that keeps driving data longer, records driving time more often, and requires certification more frequently. That is up to you, just as long as you meet the basics.

Record Keeping Facts

Your electronic logging device must keep the proper data. After all, this is one of the latent reasons truckers are using e-logs, for big data collection. When your ELD records your driving for the day, it must note the following:

  • Your driver identification by name and number
  • Your current engine hours
  • The current date and time
  • Your present location
  • The mileage of your truck

Again, these are the minimum record keeping requirements. You will also need to be able to print out your daily logs when necessary. Therefore, your device should have a printer connection, and you will need to get a printer that works with the device. If you do not want to get a printer for this purpose, you can choose an ELD that allows you to save and share your logs as an electronic data file. And for those of you still adjusting to Daylight Savings time, all ELDs must be synchronized on the Universal Time Clock (UTC).

ELD Vendor Essentials

When you purchase your electronic logging device you are required by the FMCSA to receive the following:

  • A user’s manual for the specific model you are purchasing
  • Instructions on troubleshooting
  • Instructions on how to keep records when your device is not working properly
  • Instructions for connecting your ELD to the DOT for electronic transference of hours of service logs

These are required by law to be included in your purchase. If you do not have this information you won’t likely be able to maintain compliance, even when you own an electronic logging device.

Cheats and Shortcuts

One of the main reasons that the trucking industry is moving away from paper logs and in favor of ELDs is because of cheats and shortcuts. When using paper log books truck drivers can easily doctor their logs in their favor, adding an hour here, deducting an hour there as needed. ELDs are set to abolish all of that mess, and when that happens truck driver safety should improve. At least that is the goal. It is also why the FMCSA requires all ELDs in compliance to be tamper resistant. You cannot use an electronic logging device that allows you to modify or delete your driving logs.

If you try to say that someone else’s logs are on your device, you will have to review those records and acknowledge whether they are yours or not. You can’t simply say that those records were another driver in order to get them out of your way. Your driving e-log is intended to be a transparent record of your routes day after day. So if you make an error, just accept your mistake, edit your e-log and move on. If you do make a mistake, you can edit your e-logs. However, this requires you to maintain the original record of your e-log, while also documenting why you made the edit. Consider it a learning lesson, and try to avoid making the same mistake twice. Furthermore, if you share a truck with another driver you must have the ability to open your own account on the ELD. This way there is little room for driver recording error.

Preparing for ELDs

Whether you are a truck driver for BTC, Comcar, and JBS Carriers Inc. or some other top rated company, ELDs are coming for you. By December the trucking industry will implement ELDs unless there is some seriously major changes that take place among the upper levels between now and then. So prepare for the inevitable and make sure you have all of your ELD ducks in a row.

 

Trucking Industry Seeks Big Data to Improve Safety

White truck riding next to concrete barrierFinding ways to make trucking safer and more efficient is the priority for all trucking companies and drivers. One way this is taking place is via big data. As you can concur, big data is more than just some contact information and driving records. Big data incorporates all of the information within the trucking industry. To how much the price of diesel was six months ago, to the number of near accidents in a year, every single piece of information is gathered as big data. Learn more about how the trucking industry hopes to use big data for highway safety initiatives.

Big Data in a Nutshell

Big data is a technical term that represents all of the information gathered about you and every other driver. This information, such as your CSA score, driving history and drug test results, is compiled and analyzed to look for patterns. In doing so, data analysts can look for patterns and try to prevent accidents or other problems. While you are an individual truck driver, chances are that across the board, your actions are on par with the actions of other truckers on the road. Therefore, by reviewing your data and other data among drivers, those using this information can make assumptions that are valid and true. It’s simply much easier to use big data than it is to independently interview and monitor every single trucker to get this information.

Big data is nothing new, and it certainly isn’t limited to the trucking industry. Every industry on the planet uses big data these days. Thanks to the internet and computer technology, we can compile data faster than ever before, which allows us to benefit from the knowledge that big data grants us. This type of information has been used since the first census takers. It allows entire industries to make changes without taking huge risks. In the case of the trucking industry, big data will hopefully help to make the workplace safer for truckers for companies like Arnold Transportation Services, FFE Transportation, and Saia LTL Freight.

FMCSA and Big Data

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) have been working on ways to gather and analyze data for a while now. One such project is the FMCSA driver drug and alcohol testing clearinghouse, which will be one massive database where all screening results are compiled. This clearinghouse was recently put into action, so it will be some time before we can learn anything from this big data. However, there is another even more substantial way of gathering big data in trucking.

Electronic log books will be the kick starter of the big data gathering campaign. When the trucking industry starts to accept e-logs on a grand scale in December, the trucking industry will have all kinds of data to play with. Your daily logs keep track of the finest details from where you fueled up to which roads you took for your route. This information will all be broken down according to data variables. Each of these variables will be tested and compared to see what the FMCSA can make of it. The goal here is to find ways to make highways safer.

From truck driver data taken from e-logs, all sorts of information could help make that a possibility. For example, understanding which roads are chosen by truckers could help to streamline spending on infrastructure. Data, such as the times of the day and night when drivers are most likely to be into a crash, will also help the industry to restructure driving schedules for safety reasons.

Right now the CSA scorecard is in transition. However, we can be certain that if, and when, the CSA program is put back into action it will be reconfigured to account for big data. The CSA system is one of the top ways that the FMCSA analyzes big data in the trucking industry. As the CSA stands now there are too many circumstances, mainly the accessibility of scores and lack of transparency for those who are getting scored, that prevent the scorecard from being a good source for big data. If the FMCSA could correct some of the validation points, such as offering more transparency for incident reports, this has the potential for being a major source of data for trucking. Hopefully this is one of the situations being addressed by the new Presidential administration.

Your Data in Action

How will all of this big data be used? The main reason for gathering big data is to use this information to understand a large group of people in a short amount of time. While it is not possible, for example, to ride along with every truck driver in the US all day long, we can use data points from different drivers to help gain an overall perspective of truck drivers. This is sampling, and it’s the same thing that is used for surveys and other data gathering techniques.

For truck driving in particular, this big data has the ability to highlight weak links and missing areas for highway safety. We can finally have some numbers to prove, or disprove, claims about safety for truck drivers. This data will also help the industry and the FMCSA to create more useful programs for highway safety. Every group from trucking insurance companies to dispatchers will be able to understand truck driving more clearly. We will see how well received safety devices, such as side guards, are for truckers, without having to wait for decades to see results in action. While you may feel uneasy knowing that so much of your information is being tracked for big data, it is for your own good and it’s nothing personal.

 

Bay & Bay Transportation Introduces New Pay for Owner Operators

Bay & Bay Transportation truck up closeBay & Bay Transportation recently announced its plans to roll out new earning rates for owner operators beginning April 1, 2017. The carrier prides itself on providing drivers with some of the industry’s best advantages when it comes to safety, consistent loads, pay and driving opportunities. Named one of the Best Fleets to Drive For in 2016 by CarriersEdge and the Truckload Carriers Association, the Minnesota-based company is committed to meeting drivers’ needs for financial stability with best in class pay.

“At Bay & Bay, we understand that a driver’s time is important and they should be compensated accordingly,” explains Sam Anderson, President of Bay & Bay. “This is why our owner operators can rely on getting paid for their miles, whether unloaded or loaded.”

With the new earning rates, loaded mileage pay will be $0.97 – $1.27 based on the length of the run. The exact loaded mileage pay breakdown is as follows: $1.27 for 0-150 miles; $1.17 for 151-250 miles; $1.07 for 251-300 miles; and 97 cents for 301 or more miles. Empty mileage pay will be 90 cents per mile. Current independent contractors can stay on the company’s current compensation plan or switch to the new rates when they become available.

Owner operators at Bay & Bay can expect to average around 2,500 miles per week. Other owner operator benefits include paid fuel surcharges on loaded miles, 100 percent reimbursement on authorized tolls, in-cab scanners, quarterly safety bonuses and discounts on fuel. Accessorial pay includes detention pay, layover pay and extra stop pay. Lease purchase opportunities are also available.

To become an independent contractor with Bay & Bay, drivers must have a valid CDL-A; at least one year of OTR experience; a passed Minnesota DOT inspection within the last 10 years; liability, physical damage and occupational accident insurance; and maintenance, fuel and road tax escrow accounts.

Bay & Bay Transportation is proud to offer truck transportation services focused on providing safe, consistent and quality transportation solutions for its customers. The company provides the security of an asset-based carrier with the resources of a world-class third-party logistics provider. Bay & Bay offers OTR jobs and local truck driver jobs across the United States from Texas to Pennsylvania and throughout the Midwest. By providing meaningful opportunities for professional growth and successful experiences, Bay & Bay attracts, retains and develops the great employees needed to provide the high quality services its customers deserve. For more information at the opportunities at Bay & Bay, visit www.drive4bayandbay.com or call (888) 714-0174.

To apply, click the link below:

Application Link – Click Here

 

Trucking Industry Competes for High School Students and New Talent

Finding truck driving jobs is not the hard part. Finding truck drivers to fill the seats of semis to cover the trucking jobs is more difficult. Trucking companies Front of Peterbiltlike Venture Logistics, Unimark Truck Transport and Willis Shaw Express are doing everything possible to improve driver retention and reduce turnover. Age, competition from other industries, and job skills are three of the top reasons why trucking is lacking in drivers. However, state by state agencies are doing something about it.

Minnesota Trucking Association Attracts Drivers

In Minnesota most of the truck drivers typically take off for the oil fields of North Dakota for work. However, in the decline in oil production Minnesota trucking jobs would be filling up as drivers stay local to work. Yet this is not the case.

According to the Minnesota Trucking Association president John Hausladen, “The combination of an older demographic and more people retiring along with new regulations that either disqualify or frustrate drivers all contributes to us not being able to bring in enough young people.”

Overturning Age Limit for Trucking

Other factors compounding this problem are waiting until drivers are 21 before they can work for over the road trucking companies. By the time most young people turn 21 they have almost graduated from college, or they have started their own business. Falling back on trucking is still an option.

But it’s less likely that they will take that option if they have a choice. The lifestyle of a long haul trucker doesn’t appeal to young people hoping to start a family, either. Yet if we depend on the older generation, as Hausladen points out, that’s a bad idea, too, since they are all retiring.

The MTA is currently lobbying Congress to get the age limit for OTR truckers lowered from 21 to 18. This would help resolve the issue of finding new truckers who are just graduating high school and entering the workforce for the first time. At the same time, truck driving is a highly skilled and stressful occupation, and young adults especially males tend to be aggressive when driving.

If we were to allow 18 year olds to drive a long haul truck, what would that do to truck driver safety ratings? Obviously this is what the leaders have been considering for years, in hopes of coming up with a better solution. However, if the trucking job pool is primarily young adults, we have little option but to train these drivers young.

Tech Toys of Trucking

Hausladen added the fact that truck driving is highly technological these days. This is true, and younger minds are better equipped to handle all of the tech that is a part of truck driving. It is also a great way to attract young people to the industry. All of this new technology is geared at making trucking easier for the driver. Plus, when you start talking about self-driving trucks with high school students, their eyes just light up. This new tech could very well bridge the gap between your parents’ generation of truck drivers, and the truckers of your children’s era.

The MTA also notes how companies in Minnesota are helping reduce costs for freight, while improving the truckers situation. Truck drivers are testing out freight-swap services. In this situation two drivers will coordinate to swap trailers filled with freight at a midpoint destination. Then each driver will return to their home town with the freight in tow. This works for truckers who are driving in opposite directions, and it reduces the amount of time spent on the road for many Minnesota truckers.

Final Boost for Younger Truckers

In a final call to attract the attention of younger truckers, Hausladen points out how most truck drivers end up as business owners. That’s right. If you want to become an entrepreneur, being a truck driver can get you there. This is a highly independent occupation that requires every single trucker to think on their feet each and every day. You make business decisions that affect both you, your clients and your employer. You are using entrepreneurial skills that may follow you into an owner operator position, or when you start up your own trucking company one day.

This speaks volumes to high school students with huge dreams of being business owners. And who knows? It might just be the thing that brings these students over into the trucking fold. That is the hope, for which the industry depends.

 

OOIDA Working to Get E-Log Regulation Dumped by Trump

ELD on dash of truckWhen you are a truck driver for companies like GSTC, Heartland Express, and Maverick Transportation you have to follow a lot of rules. You might already be using e-logs as a company driver. If you aren’t yet you will be by the end of the year, you and every other trucker out there. But don’t worry, there are still groups fighting against the use of electronic logs. This includes one of the largest organizations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). OOIDA has no desire to sit back and let electronic logging slowly invade the trucking industry. However, it might be too late to put up much of a fight unless OOIDA appeals to the nature of the Trump administration. As OOIDA has far influence there’s a possibility something could happen in the favor of deregulation.

Supreme Court Appeal

Here’s where the case is at present-day. First OOIDA was denied an appeals request for the ELD mandate case against the Department of Transportation. This was at the circuit court level and included a request for a 12 judge panel instead of the conditional three. Then there was a lawsuit that contends the electronic device rule violates the Fourth Amendment for truck drivers’ privacy. Furthermore, the agency states the rule does not follow requirements set forth by Congress. Here’s the results of this fight.

  • OOIDA’s case was dismissed in all aspects in favor of e-logging devices.
  • The e-log mandate still stands.
  • It does not appear that any other agency is currently in lawsuit against the DOT for
  • The e-log rule compliance date is December 18, 2017.

At that time all truckers with some exceptions as noted by the DOT will be required to use electronic logging devices on their trucks.

These logging devices will track all commercial long haul truckers and document their hours of service information. This data will be aggregated and recorded by the DOT to ensure the driver is maintaining their hours of service requirements. The logging devices themselves are expected to enforce HOS regulations even more than they already are enforced. By using e-logs drivers are unable to change or edit log books to make it look like they have stayed within compliance. However, this is the entire reason why the DOT has taken to using e-logging devices in the commercial trucking industry.

Finding a Way Around E-Logs

Yes, there are some exemptions to the use of e-logs in the trucking industry. These are few and far between and include jobs like truck driver for a family farm or oil mining trucker. Most truck drivers cannot qualify for an exception for e-logging devices. If you are a regional truck driver, that is one way to bypass the e-log requirement as long as you stay within the 100 air mile radius. Most truckers aren’t stuck with regional trucking jobs though either. Therefore, the reality is there is not a way around e-logs if you are a commercial truck driver handling long haul loads in the US. It’s going to happen in mid-December, and if you aren’t ready with your newfangled logging devices the DOT is going to catch up with you. And they won’t like it if you aren’t compliant.

Getting Your E-Log Device

The best way to go when buying an e-log device is to buy it through a carrier if possible. If you are contracted through a big trucking company or drive as part of a regional fleet talk to your employer. See if you will be receiving an e-logging system through the trucking company. Or will you be able to get a discount on purchasing a system in bulk with other drivers in your fleet? You may also get a discount simply by going through your contracted carrier as part of a referral system.

Most importantly, you will be more likely to purchase a reputable and compliant brand and device. This practically guarantees that you won’t get burned with a bad device. It also gives you someone to go through if you get a lemon device for your truck. You may be getting your device set up through a carrier. If so, you may be able to score ELD training through the carrier for your own truck system. This could save you money, as well as time dealing with your device. It may also save you in fines down the road depending on if you understand everything from the training.

So while we want to believe that Trump will somehow make the electronic logging device rule disappear, it’s just a possibility at this point. After all, we are dealing with a regulation that the majority of truck drivers and trucking industry want abolished in a time when the President wants to get rid of most regulations.

*Photo credit: Truck Stock Images

 

Is the Trucking Industry Steering Clear of Safety Devices

Mayflower truck along highway with side guardsThe primary purpose of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is to keep highways
safe. But what happens if the FMCSA is pulling away from life saving devices? That’s what some in the trucking industry are saying about side guards on trucks. These guards are used throughout Europe and could save hundreds of lives in the US every year. Yet we don’t use them. What is the reason behind this?

Taking a Side on Side Guards in Trucking

As you roll on the down the road you’ll notice some semis are fitted with side guards underneath each side of the trailer. This side guard is a safety device that prevents cars and motorcycles from getting caught up under the rig. What commonly happens is at a red light, a trucker will be attempting to make a right turn. However, as any trucker will tell you, you have to cut it wide to the left before turning right to account for your trailer length. Well, all too often people will cut around the truck on the right hand side to try and sneak past. This ends up in accidents that are unfortunately often fatal.

These side guards are said to save nine out of 10 lives when used on trucks. The Department of Transportation has been tossing around the idea of using side guards since the 1960s. And many trucks are already using them, if not in the US then in Europe and abroad. So what’s the hold up? Why aren’t side guards getting mandated as yet one more trucking regulation?

Beating the Expenses of Side Guards

The rumor is that trucking hasn’t mandated side guards because the trucking industry itself opposes them. According to Joan Claybrook formerly of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the trucking industry gives Congress a lot of money. Claybrook then adds that because of this financial support, Congress does what the trucking industry wants. However, that answer isn’t up to par.

For starters, the trucking industry is made up of trucking companies like Barr-Nunn Transportation, Heartland Express, and TMC Transportation truck drivers. When a trucking company has a driver who is involved in an accident, particularly a fatal accident, the company has to pay exponentially. Insurance costs go up for years, and that carrier is going to get a negative ding on its CSA score. This means they’ll have a more difficult time finding new customers and drivers.

So to say that the trucking industry doesn’t want to pay for safety guards is not correct. After all, by not paying a few hundred bucks compared to lose thousands of dollars makes bad business sense. The better financial move would be to install side guards on all rigs asap.

Another concern with these side guards is how much they cost trucking companies over time. Reports show that the side guards could weaken the underpinning of the trailer, while also increasing a truck’s weight. If the actual investment into side guards isn’t much of a problem, perhaps it is the maintenance and upkeep costs of using these guards load after load.

While we may not have enough data to show how much side guards cost over the long haul, we know someone who does. The European trucking firms certainly would know the cost of maintaining side guards, as well as the names of businesses that manufacture side guards.

From this perspective, side guards are a good investment for safety, they are widely used and industry tested in Europe, yet we do not use these safety devices in the US trucking industry. Cost doesn’t make sense, really, when we have all of these other safety devices that are mandated for the trucking industry. Electronic logging devices, speed limiters, emissions controls systems, and the like are all going to cost trucking companies a lot of money up front and on down the line. So calling this road block a cost issue isn’t telling the whole picture.

The Reality of Safety Regulations

Safety regulations, particularly in the trucking industry, are a hot button topic thanks to the Trump administration. The President continues to call for deregulation, and all things related to regulation are coming up to the surface. Whether it is side guards or e-logs or speed governors there are all sorts of ways to improve safety in trucking.

To say that the trucking industry is just too cheap to get side guards is simply too shallow of a response to the question. Trucking companies and truck drivers alike strive for safety at all costs. After all, it’s their business or their life at stake. Safety devices are hardly ever a time to cheapen out. The more likely scenario is that certain safety lobbyists have yet to move onto the side guard train, so to speak. Side guards, like all safety regulations, need to have their supporters before they are written into the rule book.

Photo credit: Truck Stock Images

Senate Discusses Trucker Regulations, Safety and Highway Funds

Schneider truck on bridgeRegulations are a fire-hot topic these days in the trucking industry and politics. Trump’s administration is set on eliminating regulation after regulation, at a rate of 80 percent. Yet safety groups and advocates and government agencies aren’t having it. And they have the checks and balances of the regulation process on their side. Cutting regulations isn’t as simple as just removing a sheet of paper from the Federal Register. Plus, there are some in trucking who want more regulations, particularly safety regulations. So where do we stand with cutting regulations, getting new regulations, and paying for all of this new infrastructure we will be getting?

Senate Subcommittee Discussion

At a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing in February 2017 the topic on the table was federal highway funding. The conversation quickly veered onto other more pertinent topics in trucking. The CEO of Schneider National, Chris Lofgren, was questioned during the hearing. Senators dug in deep with questions about safety regulations, trucking competition with the rail system, and labor laws.

More impressing, Chairman Deb Fischer, Republican of Nebraska, expressed how the FMCSA has changed. Fischer previously worked on FMCSA reform, and she believes the agency needs to be more transparent and open in their processes. The FMCSA also needs to be more inclusive with the rest of the government and trucking industry.

Fischer goes on to discuss some ways infrastructure costs can be covered. She introduced the Build USA Infrastructure Act that would take part of money collected at the Customs and Border Patrol to go toward infrastructure spending. This project is a state level project, which would put more power to the states concerning how they handle collecting fees and what they spend the money on.

Safety of Truck Drivers

For truck drivers in the US fatalities have increased over the past couple of years. Part of this is due to a deteriorating highway system and from truckers driving equipment that is beyond its years. In order to improve these infrastructure issues, however, the money has to come from somewhere. Schneider National’s Lofgren pointed out that truckers for Schneider are using OnGuard technology by Meritor Wabco to prevent rear-end accidents. This technology alone has the ability to reduce rear-end collisions by 69 percent. Being able to prevent accidents, especially fatalities, is the primary job of the FMCSA. But is it going too far to enforce that drivers for companies like CR England and Empire Express must use a certain type of safety technology?

Concern with Regulations

This is where we are with electronic logging devices or the ELD mandate, which is now blanketed to the entire trucking industry. There is also the speed limiter mandate that requires another device to be affixed to regulate all trucks. Other regulations that require truckers to buy equipment are these safety requirements. Another such regulation has been on the table for more than 20 years. The FMCSA has been debating the effectiveness of side guards to prevent under the trailer accidents. However, to date there isn’t enough data from qualified research studies to prove that these side guards are worth the regulation.

In a way this proves that the FMCSA isn’t all for total regulation. Tack this with the Trump administration’s promise to cut regulations. Then there is the potential that regulations like the rear-end safety guard regulation called for by Lofgren will not see the light of day at least for four years. Even Senator Cory Booker was surprised to see the trucking industry leader push for more regulation. Booker said, “I do want to note for the record that an industry leader just called for more regulation.”

The question is, how does the trucking industry find the balance between enough regulation and over-regulation? If we have too much regulation as it stands, where do we start cutting back? Trump has answered this question to some extend, by refusing to pass new regulation during a regulatory freeze. Until the President comes back to the discussion block, we won’t know exactly what to expect. We can only hope that he holds to his promise of getting rid of regulations across the board.

Highway Funding Hot Topic

Another big ticket topic was the discussion of highway funding. After all, Trump has promised that infrastructure will happen, we are just waiting to see how it’ll get paid for. Highway funding should be paid for in total by the trucking industry, according to Matthew Rose, the BNSF Railway Executive Chairman. Rose states that the railroad industry pays for almost all of its own infrastructure. Could this be a possibility for the trucking industry, finding ways to cover the cost of everything from highway paying to safety equipment? Without the support of the federal government in managing roadways, the trucking industry would be in a serious financial bind.

How to Apply for Trucking Jobs on Trucker Classifieds

If you want to find new truck driving jobs fast, let Trucker Classifieds be your guide. We help you connect with the best paying trucking companies in the US in Trucks at the Loading Dockyour search for a new job. Whether you want to get your application out to prospective employers, or you simply want to scout out the job scene, we’ve got you covered. Discover how you can be more effective when hunting for top paying truck driving jobs that are perfect for you.

Start Your Search

To get right down to it, start your search for trucking jobs by looking for keywords or phrases pertaining to what you are looking for. Want to find truck driving jobs in Chicago? Type that in. Looking for regional trucking positions anywhere in the US? Search for that. Trucker Classifieds also lets you search by city and state or zip code, so you can find the best trucking jobs nearest to you. If you are considering moving to a new city or state for your next trucking job, do a job search according to the information for that new locale. You’ll be able to get a new trucking job that will pave the way for your new future.

Quick Apply in Less than 5 Minutes

Using our convenient and secure Quick Apply feature you can be on your way to a better paying truck driving career in less time than the average commercial break. It only takes 5 minutes to fill out our online form. You’ll include the following details in this quick trucking application process:

  • Personal details and contact information
  • Truck driving experience and CDL information
  • Work history and employment background

We also include a space for you to leave comments to potential employers and trucking job recruiters. Include any details you want, along with important information that will help you stand out in the best way.

Check Out Trucking Companies

Here at Trucker Classifieds we have an extensive network of trucking companies to browse through. Look up the most popular truck driving companies on the highways or those you recognize from reputation. We provide job connections with only the best truck driving companies around.

These companies are repeatedly at the top of lists for having the highest trucker salaries, most impressive benefits packages, and largest annual revenues. When you work for a trucking company you found through Trucker Classifieds, you are working with the best in the business.

Search for Trucking Jobs by Type

Are you looking for truck driving jobs that utilize your HazMat CDL Endorsement? Want to find only reefer trucking jobs for company drivers? We have categorized all of the available truck driving jobs on Trucker Classifieds by:

  • Haul Types
  • Route Types
  • Driver Types

For haul types you’ll find jobs specifically for drivers hauling:

  • Dry Van Loads
  • Tanker Loads
  • Flatbed Loads
  • Reefer Loads
  • HazMat Loads
  • Heavy Haul Loads
  • Oversized Loads

Choose jobs in which you have the most experience. Or go for the jobs that offer the greatest opportunities that will expand your horizons for your trucking career. The choice is yours. Trucker Classifieds simply offers the job search solution.

You can search by route types including:

  • Over the Road Trucking Jobs
  • Regional Trucking Jobs
  • Dedicated Routes
  • Local Trucking Routes
  • Intermodal Trucking Jobs

This gives you the ability to streamline those trucking jobs specially in your wheelhouse. You can also do a search for driver types including:

  • Company Driver
  • Owner Operator
  • Team Driver
  • Student Driver
  • Lease Purchase Truck Driver
  • CDL Graduate
  • Driver Trainer
  • Temporary Truck Driver

These driver categories cover all the bases. Choose the driver type that best fits your description to see where the search results take you.

Added Bonuses for Truck Driver Job Searching

Trucker Classifieds is set up to help you find a new trucking job, but we don’t stop there. In addition to finding jobs on Trucker Classifieds, we also give you the latest trucking industry news. Learn about what to expect when you start out with your truck driving career using our Helpful Tips on the Trucking Industry. We even have up-to-date listings for truck stops and truck driving schools near you.

You’ll be in the know when you go to your first trucking job interview thanks to the information you discovered here at Trucker Classifieds. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and spend a few minutes searching or applying for your next, best paying truck driving jobs in your area!

FAQ: Understanding the Split Sleeper Berth Rule

 

Two sleeper beds in truck

What is the Sleeper Birth Rule?

Before we talk about the split sleeper berth rule, let’s go back to the basics. The sleeper berth provision states that for OTR truckers with a sleeper berth aka bed in your truck, you can use it for your off-duty time. As with all things trucking there are rules on how you can use the sleeper berth for this time.

What are the Three Ways to Use a Sleeper Berth?

  • The first tactic is to use the sleeper berth for a 10 consecutive hour stretch of off-duty hours. You can spend any or all of that 10 hours in the sleeper. However, you may not return to driving or go on-duty during those 10 hours, as they are after all, consecutive.
  • The second method is to use the sleeper berth for eight hours of off-duty time. This is useful for extending your 14-hour limit. Keep in mind that during the eight consecutive hours of off-duty time you spend in your sleeper berth, this won’t count as part of the 14 hours. Doing this lets you extend your driving hours so you can squeeze out 11 hours for driving.
  • The final way of using a sleeper berth is the split sleeper technique that we will discuss next.

How Does the Split Sleeper Berth Rule Work?

Here you are using your sleeper berth to fulfill the rule of getting 10 consecutive off-duty, not driving hours. However, you can split up the time spent off duty to help you maximize your efficiency. You will only be able to split the off-duty time into two separate periods. To keep with the sleeper berth requirement, one of those two periods must be spent in the sleeper berth. Also you must spend at least eight hours consecutively in the sleeper unit.

Keep in mind this rest period of eight hours in the sleeper is not going to mess up your 14 hour situation. However, the two hours you spend outside of the sleeper berth will count against those 14 hours.

Will You Tell Me More About the Two-Hour Rest Period?

This two-hour rest period will give you some time to do other things, like shower or hang out in a trucker’s lounge or truck stop. So you have some freedom in your rest periods.

Which Rest Period Must I Take First During a Split Sleeper Berth Situation?

It doesn’t matter which resting period you take first. You could take the eight hour resting period first, followed by the two-hour break or vice versa.

Can You Give Me an Example of the Split Sleeper Berth in Action?

OK let’s say you have had your required 10 consecutive hours off duty. Now it’s time to get to work. You start your pre-trip inspection at 8 am and by 11 am you have started driving to your destination. By 3 pm you pull over to take eight hours consecutively as your sleeper berth rest period. You start driving again at 11 pm.

The eight hour resting period will not be included in your 14 hour limit for hours of service. You have driven for seven hours out of that limit. Therefore, your 14 hour limit has been extended from 10 pm that night to 6 am the next day. This is granted to you by taking those eight hours of rest. You are keeping with the required driving limit of 11 hours.

By 6 am the next day you get your second period of rest, which includes the final two hours from the day before. When you finish it will be 8 am on the second day of your trip, but within the 14 hours of driving allotted to you for a single “day.”

Sound confusing? You’ll get the hang of it. The main point is to understand you can take your 10 hour break in segments of eight and two hours. This allows you to take a longer sleeping period once a day, along with a time slot for napping or doing other things, like laundry or paperwork.

Can the Split Sleeper Berth Rule be Divided Up in Any Other Ways?

In the past a truck driver could split the sleeper berth up to give them break periods of four and six hours, or three and seven hours, for example. However, that is no longer the case. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation has restricted the split sleeper berth rule so that you can only divide it by eight and two hours. The intention here is to make it safer for highways by requiring truckers to take longer, undivided break periods.

There is an exception to the rule, as in most cases. Some trucking companies have filed for exemptions to the split sleeper berth rule so that their drivers can divide their resting periods in a different manner. However, this is done case by case and only when the evidence shows that the drivers would be safe with a different split berth rule. There is ongoing research studies to determine if having a split berth time other than eight and two hours is any safer for truck drivers. Until that data comes in it looks like most truck drivers for over the road loads will be required to split their resting periods by the standard eight and two hours.

What If I am Driving as a Team Driver?

If you are part of a team driving situation you can handle your split sleeper berth periods a little differently. For starters, your rig can continue to roll while one driver uses the sleeper berth for their off-duty time. As a result one driver can drive for eight hours, sleep for eight hours, drive for three more, followed by a three hour period in the sleeper berth. Notice this gives the driver an extra hour in the sleeper berth. This is because your hours roll over and you get two required rest periods, beyond the eight hours of consecutive rest.

Keeping Your Hours of Service in Line

Your logs must comply with DOT requirements for hours of service rules. As such, it is your job to make sure you follow the sleeper berth rules. If you do decide to use the split sleeper berth rule, which most drivers do to make their lives easier, make sure to get those hours right. Otherwise you can risk getting dinged on your CSA score, which can cause you difficulties down the line when searching for new truck driving jobs. The bottom line is that you want to schedule your routes so that you get adequate sleep while also managing your hours of service rules. It is entirely possible but it does take practice to get it right each and every time.