The Dangers of Falsifying Your Log Book

It happens all the time. Maybe you’ve done it before, or you probably have heard other truck drivers talking about it. Falsifying your log book. It’s not legal, not by a long shot, and if you get busted by the DOT or at scales, you are going to pay for it. But truckers often feel like they have to cook their books in order to make deliveries on time. It’s a Catch-22 that truck drivers struggle with every day.

Why Worry About Your Log Book

Person writing in a log bookA log book is used by the DOT to determine you are keeping with your hours of service. As a trucker you can’t drive for so many hours at once without going over time. You are mandated by the DOT to stop and rest and take breaks after your HOS are used up for the day. A log book is proof that you are keeping with the HOS rules, as every mile and minute you are driving and stopping is recorded in your log book. If you are stopped for a DOT inspection or inspected at a weigh station or scale, then you are going to have to present your log book. If there are discrepancies in your time you can get shut down or fined.

Types of Log Books

There are two ways of keeping a log book. You have the traditional, old school paper logs that most truck drivers use. These are the most likely to get doctored as they are in a loose leaf paper form. You have a three ring binder where you store your log sheets. If you make a mistake on a log sheet, simply take it out of the binder and move on to a clean sheet of paper. The problem with this method is that truck drivers can easily work out their mileage and hours to make themselves legal.

The other method of keeping a log book is electronically. As it stands the FMCSA has passed the ELD rule that will require all truck drivers to use an electronic logging device. Compliance for the ELD rule is as follows:

  • Truck drivers and trucking companies that use paper logs or their own logging software have until December 18, 2017 to get compliant with the ELD rule.
  • Drivers and carriers who start using automatic onboard recording devices before it is mandated will have until December 16, 2019 to switch their AOBRDs over to electronic logging devices regulated by the FMCSA.

This is a hugely controversial situation for many truck drivers especially owner operators and those drivers for smaller fleets. As a result, the OOIDA and other trucking industry agencies are expected to fight the new ruling in court. So whether or not you agree with the ELD rule, chances are you’ll have to use electronic logging devices in the future.

Why the ELD rule? Because the FMCSA and DOT are all too aware of truck drivers falsifying their log books. They aren’t able to catch all drivers who are doing it, so they’ve implemented this across-the-board regulation that will automate all log books. For truckers this means the following:

  • All of your hours of service will be entered into the ELD automatically depending on your actual driving.
  • You will not be able to falsify your log books since the information is sent directly to the DOT for record keeping.
  • The rule is intended to prevent falsifying of logs as a safety move to help truck drivers. It is also meant to protect those four wheelers whom might be in danger of a sleepy or overworked trucker, i.e. due to trucking accidents.

Benefits of Keeping a Log

The reason why falsifying a log book is such a sore subject is that the hours of service rule was established to protect the health and safety of truckers and the public. By forcing truckers to stop for breaks, limit their on duty hours, and take regular time off, the DOT hoped that hours of service rules would reduce the stress and sleep deprivation of truck drivers.

The Truth About Logs

Unfortunately the HOS rules overlook a major issue. The reason that truck drivers are having to cook their log books is because of their delivery schedule. If you have a time sensitive delivery that has to get to a port in California by 1 pm PST, or else it misses the boat, then you have to do everything you can to get that order delivered. What if you get caught in a hail storm, traffic due to an accident, or your truck needs repairs?

All of these issues are out of the control of truck drivers, yet they happen every single day. If a driver has to sit for a longer period of time today in order to handle a repair on their truck, they’ll have to make up that time tomorrow. If they don’t the order won’t arrive on time, and they won’t get paid. In fact, they are just as likely to lose their trucking job. So yes, falsifying log books is dangerous for drivers as it forces them to drive when they might be sleepy or sick, log books place a huge strain on the erratic schedule of truckers. Sure, there are dangers with falsifying log books. But truckers are forced to outweigh the dangers by choosing to forge miles and minutes for compliance with the DOT.

4 Things They Don’t Teach You in Truck Driving School

The main reason that rookie truck drivers go to truck driving school is to get a trucking job. However, they are also interested in learning everything that they need regarding how to be a truck driver. From road tested skills to knowledge that will help a newbie trucker out on the open road, you are going to learn a lot. However, there will always be some things that you won’t learn in truck driving school, no matter how great and thorough of a program you attend. Here are a few of the most noted things.

1. You May Not Get a Trucking Job

Truck with red cab and trailerWhen you go to truck driving school the idea is that you will graduate and be placed with a top paying trucking job within days of getting your CDL. Wouldn’t that be wonderful. However, like any specialized training, whether we are talking about truck driver training programs or college, you aren’t guaranteed a trucking job just because you graduate from the program. You have to find a trucking job on your own, unless you receive letters of pre-hire during your training program. If you are a recipient of a pre-hire letter, that only grants you admission to trucking orientation. Again, it’s not a guarantee that you will be hired.

2. You Will Deal with All Types of People

The life of a truck driver involves meeting and greeting all walks of life from lot lizards to truck stop attendees to corporate bigwigs. You are going to have to learn how to bite your tongue, hold your breath, and say nice things when you least want to if you hope to make it in the trucking world. As with any job that involves customer interactions, you will become a customer service representative. You will be representing the trucking company that you haul for when out on the road. You are representing your customers when making deliveries to their customers. Unfortunately, good customer service skills aren’t something they can teach you in truck driving school. These are skills that you have to earn and learn as you work your way through life.

3. Hiring Age is 21, and Maybe It is 23

If you want to be a truck driver you can get your CDL when you are 18 years old. However, this will only allow you to drive within the state of your residency. You can’t cross any state borders to deliver loads, which severely limits you with the types of CDL jobs you can pick up. Also, since over the road trucking jobs pay the most, these are the jobs that most truckers want to get. Sorry, but it’s not happening until you turn 21 years old. By then you may have already made a different career choice, which is a thorny issue and huge roadblock for finding new truck drivers in this day and age. All the same, most trucking companies won’t even hire you until you are 23 years old due to high insurance premiums, especially if you are a male truck driver.

4. If You Don’t Get a Trucking Job Right After Graduation, You Can’t Get Tuition Reimbursement

A grand benefit of major trucking companies these days is the concept of tuition reimbursement. This is granted to new truck drivers who have recently graduated from a truck driving school. Here’s the rub, though. To get the reimbursement make note of the following:

  • You will have to have graduated from a reputable and possibly accredited trucking school, which is accepted by the trucking company.
  • You must have recently graduated. All trucking companies have their own expiration date on this, but most limit it to 4 to 6 months following your graduation date. If you wait a year to find a trucking job after you get your CDL, you won’t be eligible for tuition reimbursement so don’t delay.
  • Your tuition reimbursement is doled out in installments. For instance, you might get $6,000. However, you will only receive $100 a month as long as you work for the trucking company. Or you might receive a lump sum of $500 after 90 days of working there, followed by $6,500 after six months of employment.

So read the fine print, ask questions and don’t dilly dally when trying to get a new trucking job as a rookie driver fresh out of trucking school. Thanks to the Internet you will be able to find out which trucking companies offer tuition reimbursement, how much they offer, the expiration date, and how they will pay it out—all with a few clicks of your mouse. There is really no reason why you should miss out on the tuition reimbursement, which can be a good way to reduce your tuition expenses for trucking school.

How High Blood Pressure Can Affect Your Trucking Career

Truck drivers have a lot at stake when they suffer from health problems. For starters, truckers can’t just take any medication prescribed, or over the counter, due to complications with being behind the wheel. Also, if a truck driver has a serious health condition this could jeopardize their ability to drive coherently and safely in high stress scenarios. When you are pulling a truck that weighs 40,000 pounds you are a force to be reckoned with and anyone standing in your way is in serious trouble. As a result, health issues aren’t something to sneeze at for truck drivers. One of the most serious concerns involves high blood pressure. Given that heart disease is the leading killer of Americans, this increases the concerns related to high blood pressure, which is a symptom of heart problems.

Diagnosed with High Blood Pressure

Semi truck cab and trailer on the roadWhen you are a truck driver you have to get an annual physical exam by a Certified Medical Examiner, also known as a DOT approved physician. This involves procuring a certificate of health that will be used in your paperwork when you are inspected by the DOT, and for your trucking employer’s file. Furthermore the DOT keeps a record of DOT physical exams and CDL holders, so you want to keep your exams up to date and in good shape. So what do you do if you go in for your annual physical and all of the sudden you are diagnosed with high blood pressure?

First of all, if this is your first time being diagnosed there is a good chance that you don’t have that serious of a problem. If this is the case your doctor will likely tell you that you to try remedies including changing your diet from fewer processed and fried foods and more veggies and fruits. They will also introduce you to exercises that you can do to increase your cardiovascular health, such as walking, jogging, bicycling or jumping jacks. Aerobic exercise is a great move for someone with high blood pressure, as it exercises the heart, but it must be done with a doctor’s recommendation to ensure you don’t give yourself a heartache. Ask your doctor for exercise options that are easy to do for a trucker, since you will not have consistent access to a gym or the great outdoors. If you are dealing with a DOT approved physician, which you should be, then they should have the information you need specifically for your position.

Stages of High Blood Pressure

Then you will be given a temporary certificate that will require you to come for a second exam within a few months. This will be when the doctor will monitor your progress and see if medication is going to be necessary. The thing is, if your blood pressure ranging anywhere from 140 over 80, or 180 over 110 you will not pass your DOT. Therefore you will be out of a truck driving job. Here’s the situation. If you have Stage 1 hypertension, which means your blood pressure is 140 over 90, then you are going to get medically certified to drive for the next year. You want to keep your blood pressure below this level in order to prevent further action.

At Stage 2 hypertension your blood pressure will be at 170 over 109. This is when you are going to have three months to reduce your blood pressure. If you cannot do that and your blood pressure reaches more than 180 over 110, then you are officially disqualified due to Stage 3 hypertension. There is nothing you can do until you can get your blood pressure back down to 140 over 90, and even then, you will be subject to a physical exam every six months to monitor your health situation.

Problems with High Blood Pressure

Why is high blood pressure such a problem? This is a symptom of something lingering that could be related to heart disease or a cardiovascular problem. High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke, both of which are extremely dangerous for a truck driver who is hauling several tons of freight across the country. In addition to being dangerous for the truck driver suffering from high blood pressure, the company hiring this driver will be putting their company insurance at stake for increases. This is already a very high expense for most trucking companies. Furthermore, if the driver wrecks due to high blood pressure problems, millions of dollars could be lost in a load, not to mention the millions that could be spent in lawsuits with the victims.

As a truck driver the lifestyle leaves much to be desired. However, you can make the most of it and improve your heart health with a few lifestyle changes. Sure, change is difficult. But if it means the difference between life and death, and having a job or being homeless, then it’s time to make that change.

The Definitive List of the 10 Highest Paying Trucking Jobs

The truck driving industry offers a wide range of possibilities in terms of how much you can earn with trucking jobs. Depending on the types of hauls you are willing to take, and the experience you have with different trucking loads, you can increase your take-home pay substantially. Here is a list of the top 10 best paying truck driving jobs to get you started. Keep in mind that you will need to gain on the job experience with these trucking haul types before you will earn the most money possible.

1. Tanker Hauls

Peterbilt truck hauling carsTruck drivers who take tanker trucking jobs are going to be able to make more money. However, there is a catch. As you can imagine this type of load is more dangerous than flatbed loads or dry van hauls because the liquids are not stable and slosh around uncontrollably. That’s why you have to get your CDL endorsed to be able to haul tanker loads. A tanker trailer endorsement allows you to get into liquid hauling, i.e. hauling water or dairy products. If you are interested in getting started with tanker loads consider your CDL endorsement a good investment for your truck driving career.

2. Hazmat Loads

If you are getting into tanker trucking jobs, you would be smart to go ahead and get your hazmat endorsement on your CDL, too. A hazmat endorsement allows you to haul hazardous materials, such as chemical waste or gas. For truckers who are hauling tanker loads, a hazmat endorsement is often necessary since the majority of tanker hauls are considered to be hazardous. Again, once you have your special endorsement on your CDL to haul hazmat loads you will be able to make even more money. Not all truckers have this endorsement, which when combined with the tanker CDL endorsement gives you the special combo endorsement. That means you are placing yourself in a specialized category that automatically leads to the better paying trucking jobs.

3. Oversized Truck Loads

An oversized load can be something as simple as a load that is only an inch over-width, or a load that requires you to pull doubles with an escort. Either way an oversized load is automatically going to pay you more. While you don’t have to get any special CDL endorsements to pull oversized loads, you will be expected to do more work. Oversized truck loads require special permits that you must get from local transportation departments. Also, you aren’t allowed to drive when it is dark, so your hauling times are limited to after daylight and before dusk. This means you will have to spend more days over the road while delivering most oversized loads. However, for most truckers the extra pay is well worth the effort.

4. Ice Road Trucking Jobs

If you are a fan of the History channel, then you are well aware of the show “Ice Road Truckers.” Based on the Dalton Highway in Alaska, this show has spent nine seasons highlighting the careers of several ice road truckers including the tough yet sensible Lisa Kelly, Hugh the Polar Bear Rowland, and the Preacher Man Alex Debogorski. These trucking jobs are the real deal, however, and truck drivers who handle them bring home the big bucks. Truckers earn up to $75,000 annually, while the ice road trucking season only lasts for a few months at most.

5. Car Haulers

If you are an auto hauler you are going to make great money. That’s because this is a niche trucking job that is so difficult to get into. For starters, the national trucking companies like Swift Transportation, Werner Enterprises, and US Xpress don’t handle specialty car hauling jobs. You will need to find a local trucking employer that offers this specialized service. Additionally, you will have to learn on the job with hands-on training that isn’t included with truck driving school. In the end you will get to haul cars ranging from factory dealerships to luxury rides, which pay a pretty penny.

6. Mining Jobs

In the world of mining truckers are needed to haul everything from oil and water to coal and rock. Finding a mining job as a trucker sets you in a good position to make a great living. The hours are long and the hauls are dirty, but the pay makes up for it.

7. Team Driving Jobs

As a team driver you are working with a co-worker in your rig. The two of you keep the wheels rolling, which allows you to make the most money possible. Since you sleep in shifts and only stop to fuel, while rests are handled in between driving shifts, you stand to make a ton of money.

8. OTR Trucking Jobs

Over the road truck driving jobs involve long haul trucking. These are over the interstate, from coast to coast, and require you to be at least 21 years old. However, being able to drive over the road as a trucker ensures you will make a great living as a trucker.

9. Trucking School Instructor

If you are ready to slow down while still making a good living as a trucker, check out the instructor positions at your local truck driving schools. You get to go home every night, while avoiding the hazards of the road, and yet you are still paid for your experience as a trucker.

10. Trucking Job Recruiter

In order to fill those trucking seats truck driver recruiters pound the pavement to scout out newbie truck drivers. Use your trucking experience to place rookie truckers on their way to a successful trucking career as you get paid in the process.

Why You Should Have Your Own Camera in Your Truck

How many times have you been on a trucking job where you were the victim of road rage, you were cut off or some other vehicle drove out of control? In the trucking industry you spend your entire days and many nights on the open road. To be involved in an accident or traffic incident can jeopardize your CDL and future trucking jobs. That’s why you need to take every step possible to protect yourself from those drivers around you. Start with getting a dashboard camera for your truck.

Benefits of Dashboard Cams

ATS truck with trailer

Having a dashboard mounted video camera allows you to record everything that happens

What about those times when you may or may not have hit or run over something, typically debris or trash, but you are awfully curious about what it was? If you had a dashboard camera then you could replay the footage and put your mind at ease. Then there are those cars that are as rare as the biggest fish in the sea, ones your trucking buddies would never believe if they didn’t see them. Capture these rare autos on your dash cam and show them off later. You can also capture oddities like meteor showers, sun dogs and double rainbows.within the viewpoint of the device. If you are dealing with a driver who is weaving or speeding around you, then you have evidence in case they cause you an accident. This is some of the most indubitable evidence that you can show in court. The same idea goes with the use of dash cams to prevent potential insurance fraud. If you are hauling loads in metropolitan cities where traffic is heavy and pedestrians roam freely, then having a dash cam can help you avoid a lawsuit by someone who is committing insurance fraud. If you’ve watched the first episode of “Better Call Saul” you know pretty well how easy this is to pull off.

Sharing Your Journey With Your Loved Ones

Drivers who have families back home can use their camera footage to show their kids and spouse a road-ready view of their trip. For instance, say you are driving by Central Park during one of your New York City truck driving jobs. That footage will give your kids a front row seat to US geography. Or maybe you are cruising over one of the most dangerous roads in America along the Red Mountain Pass Colorado. Talk about a roller-coaster ride that will thrill your friends.

Get Your Own Dashboard Camera

When getting your own dashboard camera you want to choose one that will best serve your needs.

  • Do you often drive at night? Make sure the camera has a night vision option.
  • Do you drive in extreme climates, such as heavy fog or rain? Use a camera that offers a clear picture in inclement weather conditions.
  • What kind of mounting system are you going to be using? An overhead or dashboard mount?
  • Does your truck have a serious vibration issue that could jeopardize the recording? Look for the higher end cams that stabilize in shaky conditions.
  • Will you use the camera to record weeks or months’ worth of footage? Find a camera that can store the amount of data you will record on average.
  • How will you view, save or share your data? Will you need a camera that can hook up to a certain type of computer, i.e. Windows or Mac?
  • Will you have to buy extra equipment, such as cables or external battery packs, in order to operate the camera?

Before you choose a particular dash cam do your research regarding what’s available at your preferred price point. Just as this technology is much more affordable these days, the wide variety of cameras makes it easy to choose one that meets your every need.

Another thing to consider is whether or not your trucking company already has a dashboard camera installed in your truck. If so, you might think that a second camera would be ridiculous. That’s not the case. For starters, say that you want to have access to your footage. If the trucking company owns the truck and camera, then they own the footage and you likely don’t have rights to view or use it. By having your own pair of extra eyes watching out for you as you tackle trucking job after trucking job, you are giving yourself a great deal of reassurance and protection.

At the same time, if you are a company driver for a trucking carrier then you want to make sure that dash cams are allowed in your truck. Having a cam installed illegally could be a risk to your carrier’s insurance coverage, as well as your trucking job. Avoid getting fired from your trucking company by asking first.

What You Need to Know About a Trucking Compensation Package

If you are looking for a better paying trucking job, then you want to be aware of one of the perks of new truck driving jobs. The trucking compensation package grants you a whole lot more out of your job than just a paycheck. Depending on the company you are applying to as a trucker the compensation package might be meaningless, or it could tack on several thousand dollars’ worth of benefits to your annual salary. Before you choose your next trucking job be prepared to ask the right questions and scout out trucking companies offering the best compensation packages.

Why You Should Ask the Right Questions

Truck drawing with dollar bill on trailerTypically, once you apply for a trucking job at a major trucking company like Schneider National or Werner Enterprises, you will be required to attend a truck driver orientation program. This is your time to ask questions regarding any trucking compensation packages. You may feel it’s too soon to start asking about benefits when you haven’t even been hired yet. However, it is your right and responsibility to find out about what perks and benefits will be provided to you if you are hired on.

In fact, trucking company recruiters who are open and knowledgeable about the compensation packages are a good sign. Those recruiters who lack this information or answer your questions with, “That is a good question, but I don’t know the answer,” are a red flag for you. It is your trucking job that you are looking out for, and if your future trucking employer is unable to provide you with the information you need about benefits during the orientation, then you may want to move on quickly. You want to work for a trucking company that is well organized, knowledgeable and transparent regarding all benefits and compensation for their drivers. It is a great indicator that they will treat their truckers with respect.

So what questions should you ask during trucking compensation? Start with these, and branch off depending on your personal needs:

  • Will I get any healthcare benefits, and if so do you have information, such as a brochure or flyer, that tells me more about these benefits so I can go over them with my family?
  • Does your company offer any retirement packages, such as profit sharing or 401K plans, and do you have any paperwork I can read through regarding these packages?
  • Will I receive any reimbursement for expenses required over the road?
  • Do you offer truck driving school tuition reimbursement, and if so, what is the time frame in which I would need to start driving for your company after graduating trucking school?
  • Is deadheading paid for, or do you pay drivers more for time spent on the road to make up for deadheading time? How long are your drivers typically required to deadhead? Is this a frequent occurrence, i.e. once a week, or once a load?
  • Do you provide truckers with services, such as health and wellness programs like smoking cessation, weight loss programs, gym access or counseling services? Are these free or do I have to pay a fee?
  • How much will I get paid for trucking jobs? How will I be paid, i.e. cents per mile, percentage pay, etc?
  • Do I get reimbursed for hotel accommodations if I am required to stay over for more than one night?

What Can Be Expected for Benefits Packages

Any trucking company worth their tires will offer some sort of compensation package to new truck drivers they hire on. After all, in this day and age the trucking industry is in dire need for truck drivers. Most of the best paying trucking companies with nationwide locations are pulling out all of the stops to recruit and retain truck drivers. This is great news for truckers looking for jobs as it affords you the best perks and benefits in terms of employee compensation packages. You should expect the following:

  • Health insurance coverage as required by the Affordable Care Act
  • Retirement plans
  • Competitive pay rates, i.e. 4 cents per mile
  • Reimbursement for mandatory expenses, such as safety boots or gloves
  • Personal time off with pay
  • Regular home time
  • Truck driving school tuition reimbursement
  • Recognition for commitment of employment, such as bonuses for long term drivers

As you apply to trucking companies and attend trucking company orientations, be aware that you should have some sort of compensation package offered to you. This is becoming a must-have in the trucking industry in order to retain truck drivers for the long haul. If you aren’t receiving any sort of benefits at all, then move on. There are too many trucking companies out there that are making trucking a lot easier and financially stable for truck drivers through benefits packages. Take advantage of these benefits when you can and make your trucking job worth your while.

What is the Disconnect Between Customers and Carriers?

Truck drivers spend way too much time sitting around at docks. As a truck driver wanting to make the most money from trucking jobs, you understand the burden of this situation. Sure, some trucking companies pay detention pay, but not nearly all of them. This isn’t just a problem for truck drivers’ paychecks either. The increased wait at loading docks is striking down the productivity of manufacturers, distributors and retailers. But why is there such a cause for this time crisis, when time is of the greatest essence to all involved parties?

The Cause of Docked Truckers

Peterbilt 18 wheeler and tractor trailer

When you are dealing with a logistics system, there are dozens of entities and agencies involved. You have manufacturers hoping to get their product off the line, as distributors are involved in the transport process. Warehouses serve to hold the bulk goods, while retailers are in the wings and waiting to sell the products to consumers. By the time a truck driver reaches a dock, even if they are on schedule, they are apt to have to sit and wait. The reality is that among these organizations, the receiving business tends to fail on the following fronts:

  • They lack a set and proven dock scheduling procedure.
  • The receiving business forgoes having adequate dock hands, lumpers or employees on hand to handle the delivery.
  • The employees involved in unloading the shipment are unaware at the time crunch of truck drivers.

In the end, these three issues create a massive struggle for truck drivers. As well as causing a constant slog in dock wait times, unnecessary idling is at a peak in these situations. When wait times increase and delivery lines get out of control, tempers flair and patience is wearing thin. How can this be improved so that truck drivers, trucking companies, brokers and carriers create a more efficient unloading system?

Customers and Carriers Collide

More information needs to be passed between customers and carriers. A customer should be up to speed regarding the following concerns:

  • Idling issues including environmental threats, wear and tear on equipment, and the health risks for truck drivers, of which are occurring when a truck sits for a length of time waiting to be unloaded; this is especially an issue with reefer trucking jobs as reefer units require more fuel to operate than any other truck loads.
  • Detention pay, or a lack thereof; it should be clarified to brokers that the carriers in which they hire have, or do not have, detention pay for truckers. Customers need to know when the delivering driver is not getting detention pay so that they can be aware of the need to speed things up. The truth is, most customers have no idea how the trucking industry operates and assume drivers are paid regardless, which is a misconception.
  • Customers need to be aware that truck drivers are on a very tight schedule. They do not have the right to ask the driver when their next load is to be delivered, but they should have the responsibility of understanding that truckers need to be somewhere else soon. Customers need to be conscious that truck drivers have tight schedules and unload their goods expediently.

Getting Customers in Gear for Truckers

Another major issue for customers, whether they be in the retail industry or warehousing, is that they typically don’t have enough workers on hand to handle deliveries. For example, say you are working at a retail store as a sales clerk on the floor. You are there working with only one other person. If a delivery arrives, you have to leave the floor to unload the truck, which is a labor intensive and timely job to handle alone. Tackle on the time spent checking your order, by yourself, and you can see why it would take forever and a day to get a trailer unloaded. This happens all over the country, with businesses big and small.

If a business is aware of an incoming shipment, then they should make certain that they have an adequate workforce on hand to take care of the shipment as fast as possible. By having multiple employees to deal with various elements of the delivery, i.e. checking barcodes and scanning product sheets, then this would speed up the delivery process. In order to get the truck out of the dock and back on the road, the disconnect between customers and carriers has to be resolved. If employees are not available for this process, then customers should outsource the job to lumpers. Yes, there are people out there who are employed specifically to handle loading and unloading at docks. They are skilled and have appropriate safety training, in most instances, and are well prepared to get those trucks out of the docks as quickly as possible.

What to Know About Power Inverters for Big Trucks

As a truck driver you are going to come across a power inverter or two in your career. These are the mainstays of truckers who want to boost their power supply while in their rig. Whether you are juicing up a beefy refrigerator or you need more power to handle your upgraded entertainment system, first you have to understand power inverters and what types are available. Keep in mind when purchasing a power inverter, you want to shop around to get the best deal. If you are in a pinch and have to buy a power inverter at a truck stop, be prepared to pay for the convenience. Otherwise, you can find reliable and safe power inverters at tech stores like Best Buy, as well as online at Amazon.com.Semi-truck with tractor trailer

Benefits of Power Inverters

Having a power inverter lets you live a more luxurious lifestyle as a trucker. For starters, lots of cooking equipment ranging from electrical pressure cookers to toaster ovens require you to use a power inverter. If you can cook your own meals in your truck, then you are improving your general health. You are less likely to be overweight when you control the ingredients you are using in your meals. Plus, you will save money by cooking your own food, rather than eating at truck stop buffets and fast food restaurants at every meal. Eating in your rig also saves you time, which means you are able to relax longer during your off-duty times and rest up before your next load.

If you can relax and unwind while watching a rented movie on your DVD player, or by playing your favorite video game, this is an ideal situation for many truck drivers. However, you need a power inverter for most of these larger sized electronics. Truckers who can’t entertain themselves while on the road are less likely to be able to handle the life as a trucker, as it is a lonely existence. Having a power inverter increases your ability to live a more comfortable life.

Choosing the Right Size of Inverters

For most truckers the best size power inverter is the biggest. However, this isn’t the best advice when buying an inverter. You want to find the appropriate size of inverter for your rig and your power needs. Power inverters range from 300-watt plug-in inverters that are inserted in a cigarette lighter, to the largest inverters that come with transformers and are 5,000 watts. As you can imagine, the larger inverters require the most amount of space, which is often a factor for truck drivers with an already limited amount of cab room.

To choose the right size power inverter, start by listing the different appliances and uses you will have for the inverter. For example, you might have a laptop computer, gaming console, electric pressure cooker and high-speed blender. While you won’t be using each of these at the same time, think about how you will be using your devices. For instance, a truck driver who has a microwave, flat screen television and DVD player plugged into a power inverter are more likely to use all three at once. Here is a brief list of the amounts of power used by devices often found in truck driver’s cabs:

  • TV uses 250 watts
  • DVD players use 40 watts
  • Laptops use 95 watts
  • Hair dryers use 1,500 watts
  • Electric toothbrush: 2 watts
  • Electric blankets use 200 watts
  • Portable heaters use 1,000 to 1,500 watts
  • Hot plate/ warming eye uses 1,300 watts
  • Microwave uses 1,000 watts

After you have analyzed your energy consumption, then it’s time to look at your rig’s compatibility. Find out from your manufacturer if there are limits to the amount of energy that can be drawn using a power inverter. The last thing you want to do is blow a fuse while over the road due to an over-consumption of energy.

Safety Check with Your Employer

Before you invest in any size of power inverter, check with your trucking employer to make sure it’s ok. If you feel like having a power inverter would be an excellent change at your trucking company, let the boss know how this device helps with retention rates. You might just be able to convince them to allow power inverters in trucks after all.

Some trucking companies have insurance stipulations and equipment regulations that restrict the use of various sizes of power inverters. To prevent a fine or getting fired from your truck driving job, get the boss’s approval before you make any changes to your rig. You might think you can get by without getting caught, but that way of thinking is sure to land you in the fire zone. Also, just because your fellow company drivers are sneaking around and using an inverter against the company’s rules doesn’t mean you should. Be your own trucker and don’t get dragged down with those rebels.