Top 3 Reasons You’re Getting Targeted for Roadside Inspections

Trucker Stopped by PoliceNo trucker enjoys getting pulled over for a roadside inspection. For starters this can be dangerous for truckers and the inspectors, both of whom are hanging out on the side of a busy highway. However, mobile inspections are becoming more common among the Department of Transportation (DOT) inspectors.

In previous years these inspections would have been carried out at weigh stations, but given the predominance of weigh station passes, such as E-ZPass, truckers are less likely to have to stop at scales. So while you feel like you are getting singled out for roadside inspections, chances are you aren’t the only trucker. At the same time there are certain red flags that will put a target on your truck. Find out what these targets are so you can do your best to avoid getting a roadside inspection.

Moving/Traffic Violation

This one is an easy issue to resolve. A moving or traffic violation includes:

  • Speeding
  • Running a stop sign
  • Running a red light
  • Swerving or weaving, as an indicator that you are under the influence
  • Hit and run incident
  • Failure to yield to a vehicle that has the right of way
  • Failure to keep an Assured Clear Distance Ahead
  • Not wearing a seat belt
  • Driving along the shoulder when not permitted
  • Failure to stop for a school bus or crosswalk
  • Driving while using your cell phone to text or talk
  • Having your windows tinted illegally
  • Street racing
  • Reckless driving

If you are caught doing any of these things you are bound to get pulled over by a DOT inspector if there’s one in sight. In addition to getting a ticket and ding on your CSA score, you are going to have to sit through a DOT roadside inspection. That’s a double whammy that can be avoided if you follow the rules of the road and don’t give the DOT inspector a reason to pull you over. Also if you get caught doing these things by a local or state police officer they are apt to contact a DOT inspector to carry out a roadside inspection, particularly if you have committed vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, or some other serious moving violation.

Observable Defects

Next up is the red warning signs you send out to DOT inspectors, also known as observable defects. These defects are obvious indicators to inspectors that you will not be able to pass a DOT vehicle inspection. In fact, this is one of the most likely reasons you’ll get pulled over for a roadside inspection. Among the states with the most inspections per lane-mile, which include California, Maryland and Texas, certain violations are what inspectors prioritize. These are most commonly noticed as observable defects. Ready to know what they are targeting? Here is a list of some of the most common observable defects:

  • Lights that aren’t operational
  • Tires that are under inflated or flat
  • Windshield glare or cracks
  • General observed vehicle defects, i.e. fluid leaks, missing hazardous material signage, improper flagging for oversized loads, improper strapping and tarping of a flatbed load, etc.

As noted these observable defects are things that you can often fix before you leave the yard or truck stop. It’s all part of your pre-trip inspection. However, sometimes issues arise while you are driving. For example, a tire might go lax without your knowledge or you may have a taillight that blows out. These issues can happen at any time; they aren’t waiting for the perfect moment when you happen to be close to the shop or a truck stop repair center. Here are some tips to ensure observable defects don’t cause you unwarranted roadside inspections:

  • Carry spare parts including light bulbs and tools including tire gauges with you so you can do minor repairs over the road.
  • Keep your CB radio functioning so you can listen up if another driver is telling you that you have a blown brake light, etc. Return the favor by helping out your fellow truckers with the same courtesy.

Inspection Selection System

And then there are those times when there isn’t anything you can do to prevent getting dinged by the DOT for a roadside inspection. This is the case of the Inspection Selection System (ISS). Did you notice the acronym is the same one they use in schools for kids who are sent to In School Suspension (ISS)? It certainly feels like the same situation for truckers whose numbers are pulled by the DOT for an impromptu inspection. While only approximately 15 percent of DOT inspections come from the ISS it’s enough to warrant your attention. So even though you are avoiding any moving violations and you have zero observable defects, you just might get a roadside inspection anyway. It’s called the luck of the draw. That’s why it pays to be ready for a DOT inspection at any time.

What You Should Know for Your Annual DOT Vehicle Inspection

US Department of Transporation logoTruckers have all sorts of annual exams and inspections. You’ve got your Department of Transportation (DOT) physical due every 12 months at a minimum.

You also have to get your vehicle DOT inspected to make sure everything is in tip top shape for running over the road. If you are concerned with your first DOT truck inspection, let this comprehensive guide direct you.

Step 1: The 396 Form

The first thing you want to do is print out an actual copy of the blank 396 Form. This is the sheet of paper the DOT will use to check off everything required during a DOT vehicle inspection. You can find the 396 Form for the Annual Vehicle Inspection Report online. Here is a summary of the key points that the DOT inspector will go over during your vehicle inspection:

  • Brake system
  • Coupling devices
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel system
  • Lights
  • Areas necessary for safe loading
  • Steering mechanism
  • Suspension
  • Frame
  • Tires
  • Wheels and rims
  • Windshield and wipers

This is not a complete list, as the inspector will also list anything that they find that would prevent the vehicle from operating safely. So that is key, to make sure everything on your tractor, trailer and/or truck are in perfect condition. On the actual Annual Vehicle Inspection Report form you will see a detailed list of specific areas that are checked as OK or needs repair. For example, under the fuel system section, you need to maintain the following:

  • If you have a visible leak this must be repaired.
  • If your fuel tank filler cap is missing this must be replaced.
  • Your fuel tank must be securely attached to your rig.

If you have done everything in your ability to check and double-check your rig, you should be A-OK. You will be given a chance to repair any problematic areas, which will be noted in the “repair date” box next to the item. You are not allowed to operate the tractor or trailer until you have completed the repairs. The dates on your logs and bills of lading will reflect any operation prior to the repair dates. And you don’t want to try to get by on this one, the DOT inspectors are well acquainted with checking out all dates on paperwork and are looking for out of line issues.

Step 2: Find an Agency to Complete the Inspection

Yes, this is a DOT inspection. However, you may be able to complete the inspection without a DOT inspector present. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that oversees the DOT, trucking companies or motor carriers can carry out inspections on their own trucks in some instances. In this case the trucking carrier can get the inspection done at any of the following locations:

  • Truck stops
  • Commercial garages
  • Fleet leasing companies

The key here is that these businesses must employ a qualified vehicle inspector. Another way to get inspected is through periodic or roadside inspections carried out by a DOT official. If you have had a DOT check that covers all of the bases of the Annual Vehicle Inspection Report, then you are good to go for the next 12 months.

Step 3: Maintain Your Paperwork

To prove you have completed your annual inspection within the past 12 months, you’ll need to keep the copy of the inspection with you at all times. As an over the road trucker you’ll want to keep the inspection in your paperwork in your truck. You may have a copy of the report or a sticker or decal, depending on who and where the inspection was completed. In order for this documentation to be legit it must include:

  • Acknowledgement that your vehicle has passed inspection, which should match up with the DOT’s Annual Vehicle Inspection Report
  • The date of the inspection
  • Any supporting data that indicates your vehicle was inspected; note that this may be shown as a sticker or decal on your rig

See? The annual DOT vehicle inspection isn’t such a tedious task after all. You just have to make sure you have all of your T’s crossed and I’s dotted, and you should be good to go.

Do you have any tips or secrets to help make an annual DOT vehicle inspection a little less painful? We’d love to hear about them.

 

Averitt Express has Plans to Hire 1,200 Military Veterans by 2020

Averitt Express truck cruising down the roadImagine serving your country in the US military for 10 years. Now you are ready to retire from active duty and become a vet. You worked as a truck driver overseas in some of the most dangerous combat zones. While you don’t have truck driving experience here in the US, you have more than proven your ability to be professional, hard working and dedicated to your trucking job.

So you go to a trucking company in your area and put in your application. “Sorry, but you lack experience,” is the phrase you hear over and over again. After all, most trucking companies require you to prove you have six, 12 or even 18 months of OTR truck driving experience before they will even consider you. Talk about a slap in the face. Thankfully there are some trucking companies in the US who understand the predicament of hiring military vets. Check out what Averitt Express is doing in regards to helping veterans get truck driving jobs.

Hiring Vets by the Thousands

Averitt Express is a top rated trucking company, #23 according to the CCJ list of the Top 250 trucking companies in the US. In continuing with the company’s good reputation, Averitt is using its position to improve working conditions for military vets. Averitt will hire 1,200 military vets by 2020, which will add to thousands of vets already working for the company.

Thanks to this move of goodwill Averitt Express was named a “Patriotic Employer” by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a division of the Department of Defense. This honor showcases the spirit of patriotism by this good paying trucking company. Why did Averitt make this move?

According to recruiting manager Ken Chrisman of Averitt Express,

“Hiring military veterans makes perfect sense for several reasons. First, they know what it means to work together and value others. They’re also dedicated to the work they do and they are committed to outstanding service, which makes them a great fit for our unique culture.”

Where can you find trucking jobs as a veteran? Averitt has trucking job openings in Alabama in the following cities:

  • Birmingham
  • Theodore
  • Gadsden
  • Madison
  • Dothan
  • Vance

Trucking benefits for working at Averitt Express include:

  • Healthcare coverage including dental and vision insurance, as well as flexible spending accounts
  • Retirement options including 401k plans
  • Paid holidays of 8 days off after 90 days of employment
  • Paid vacation, which is not noted online
  • Wellness programs for truck drivers

Drivers for Averitt earn an average salary of $62,750 a year. You will earn 43 cents per mile if you have one year of experience. For veterans this is noted in reference to your truck driving work for the military. Top pay is 46 cents a mile, and you can earn a quarter-cent per mile for fuel bonuses. You will also be able to increase trucker pay by doing the following:

  • Tarping your loads
  • Stop-off hauls
  • Pay for breakdowns
  • Referrals
  • Pay for layovers
  • Load securement

Ask your recruiter about the specific bonuses associated with these trucking jobs. The trucking jobs at Averitt are regional flatbed trucking jobs located in 15 states along the Eastern seaboard. Note that Averitt does not handle New York trucking jobs. This ensures you have ample home time. You’ll be hauling lumber, steel and various other building materials. As a military veteran you can get your in-country truck driving career kickstarted by choosing Averitt Express as your trucking employer.

Meet Clint Henagan, OTR Truck Driver and Daily 5-Mile Runner

Truck on the highwayIf you think you lack time and opportunity to be active as an over the road trucker, think again. Truck drivers all across the US are getting into the exercise habit. Some truckers including Clint Henagan are going the extra mile, extra five miles to be exact. Find out what drives Henagan to race against the clock every single day out on the road.

Meet Clint Henagan

Henagan is an owner operator with Schneider Trucking. In fact, he’s been behind the wheel so long he’s racked up more than 3 million miles without an accident. To be a successful trucker Henagan works his body just like he does his truck, with regular maintenance and a commitment to excellence. In the process he has broken the mold of the myth of the truck driver, that you can’t stay in shape.

His hard work has paid off in more ways than just his personal health. Henagan’s commitment to running on a regular basis, in an industry where exercise is often given the boot, earned him recent recognition by Mobile Delvac. Check out the YouTube video commercial starring Henagan as he goes “The Extra Mile” as a truck driver.

This Truck Driver’s Exercise Routine

Henagan keeps fit by running, an exercise you can do without any specialized equipment, a gym membership, or landscape. Of course, good running shoes help, but these aren’t a requirement. As for the amount of running Henagan takes on, “Normally, on any given morning I’ll get up and I’ll run 3.2 miles and then get my day started.” When running on a time crunch Henagan follows this method:

  • He runs for 30 minutes one way and then turns around and runs 30 minutes back.
  • This keeps him on his schedule and ensures he gets a workout on the way back as he runs to beat the clock.

When asked why running is so important to Henagan, he told Mobile Delvac, “It makes me feel good about myself. Because at the end of the day, I’m out here for my family. So if I keep my body and mind in top shape, I’m always gonna be there for my family.” He’s a dad of two active children in sports and a husband to wife Kim. While his owner operator job keeps him away from home most of the time, his dedication to running ensures he’ll have a better time when he gets to make it home.

Tips on Running Like Henagan

If you aren’t a runner, as most truck drivers don’t profess to be, start simple with walking. Get out from behind the wheel and go for 10 minute walks to begin. Walk for five minutes one way and then walk back for the other five minutes. After you have gotten acclimated to this amount of walking, increase your time to 20 minutes round trip. Once you have been walking daily for 30 days straight, it’s time to start jogging.

Whether you are a newbie to jogging or you were a marathon runner in high school, you’ll want to work yourself up to running again. After all, you want to avoid any injuries or strains that could force you to stay still once again. Here are some tips on getting going with running:

  • In order to get into the habit of running check out running apps on your smartphone, such as Couch to 5K.
  • Talk to other truck drivers to see if you can find anyone interested in joining you for a 5K marathon as a goal for your new exercise routine.
  • Chat with truckers on your CB or at truck stops to see if you can find anyone who’d like to join you for a jog, if you are looking for motivation.
  • Look for truck stops that have walking/jogging trails on site, as well as for rest areas that offer trails for free.

As you get out there and pound the pavement with your feet you’ll feel better about yourself and be improving your health in the process. You will also meet other truckers who have similar health goals as yourself. This feeling of camaraderie will help you to keep moving no matter what the weather, season or route.

How to Find Your CSA Score and What to Expect on the Screen

Swift Transportation truckThere is so much at stake when it comes to a truck driver’s CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) score. This score can make or break your trucking career, causing you to miss out on better paying trucking jobs if it’s not up to snuff. The federal government certainly puts a lot of credit on truckers’ CSA scores, which is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has recently placed CSA scoring under review. OK that’s all well and good, but as a trucker how can you find your CSA score? Here’s what you need to know.

Start Here

When you get ready to view your CSA score, go to the FMCSA CSA webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen unless you are using a smartphone. In that case you’ll need to zoom in to be able to read the information, since the CSA website is not optimized for mobile devices. That would certainly be an improvement the FMCSA should look into for over the road truckers interested in keeping track of their scores.

Now that you are at the bottom of the webpage look for the golden yellow banner that says, “Motor carriers, log in to the SMS to view additional safety data.” This is where you are going to enter one of the following:

  • Your carrier name
  • Your US DOT (Department of Transportation) number
  • Your MC (Motor Carrier) number

You only need one of these pieces of information to be able to pull up your Motor Carrier Safety and Performance Data. However, if you are a motor carrier aka trucking company owner, and you want to pull up additional safety data for a potential or current driver, you would click on “log in” in the golden yellow banner. This takes motor carrier users to a separate login page. You would need your US DOT # and US DOT # pin in order to bypass this page. For FMCSA and state enforcement users, such as DOT inspectors, you can no longer access CSA scores from the CSA page. You would need to go to the FMCSA portal.

When you look at the initial CSA web page, before you search for your data, you will notice several dates. The site indicates when the data is considered current, which is monthly. However, there isn’t a set day each month for when the data is updated. So if you are searching for your CSA score, note the date it’s most current. If you have had a DOT inspection or incident noted on your driving record, this may not show up on your CSA score depending on the date of the incident.

How to Search for Your Data

After you have entered your name, DOT # or MC# you are redirected to a new page. If you are working for a trucking company enter that name in the “Carrier Name” box. Then filter down the selection according to service center/area, state and county. If the carrier is outside of the US you can indicate that as well. Next do a search to see what comes up.

Use a motor carrier for an example to see what you can find. Let’s go with Swift Transportation. After entering “Swift Transportation” as the name in the box on the CSA main page, you are redirected to a list of 9 results matching Swift Transportation. You’ll see that any carrier with the name “Swift” as part of the legal name is included, i.e. Waymon T Swift and Jonathan Swift Transportation, Inc.

From this point you can see what type of trucking operation is operated and where in the US, along with the total number of power units, inspections and crashes of the carrier. For Swift Transportation:

  • 25,685 power units
  • 39,829 total inspections
  • 2,198 total crashes

Now for the fun stuff. Click on the DOT # to the left of the legal name for the motor carrier or company. Here you are taken to the CSA score card. You can find out about safety ratings, licensing and insurance, and the BASIC (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories) data. For example, for Swift Transportation as of July 22, 2016, drivers for this company had:

  • 4,044 unsafe driving violations
  • 3,830 driver inspections with unsafe driver violations
  • 0 unsafe driving acute/critical violations

You will notice that two categories are not available for public viewing, the crash indicator and the hazardous materials compliance. However, anyone with a name of a truck driver or their trucking company can pull up the rest of the CSA data in a few clicks. Furthermore, while the website clearly states that the CSA score should not be the end-all information for a particular driver, it clearly holds a hefty weight with the federal government. Therefore, if you want to keep your CDL or truck driving job, make a regular check of your CSA score and do your best to keep a good score.

Truckers Seeking Running Friends on Facebook: Where to Look

Truckers runningAn unfortunate reputation of over the road truckers is that they are lazy, unhealthy people. Stereotypes of truckers are just labels; they don’t mean much. Sure, there are many truck drivers with OTR trucking jobs who are in foul shape, due to the nature of sitting all day behind the wheel and eating out at restaurants and fast food joints too often. But you could say the same about office workers sitting in cubicles or any other sedentary job out there. The truth is many truck drivers are runners, and runners are truckers. Trucking is a job, running is a hobby, and yes, you can combine the two.

Facebook Motivators

While you sit at loading docks looking on your Facebook feed for some back home gossip, steer yourself in a new direction. Whether you are already a runner, a wanna be runner, or simply interested in getting healthier without the use of equipment or gyms, check out the following Facebook groups.

Truckin’ Runners

Truckin’ Runners is an active, publicly available group with more than 850 members. Types of posts on the page are MapMyFitness updates where truckers can update their latest running stats via the Facebook page. You will also see photos of scenery from trucking runners across the US. The group serves as a social motivator for truck drivers who don’t think its possible to take up running as an over the road trucker. You’ll also see posts with motivational sayings and tips for running in various weather conditions. Members of the group also share their trucking exercise routines to help truckers stay in shape when there isn’t enough time to go on a run.

A Lack of Trucker Runner Groups

Truth be told there aren’t too many Facebook groups dedicated to truckers who run. You will find several health friendly trucking groups, such as:

These can help you get into the groove of being healthier through exercise. However, they will not provide you with streamlined running support. If you are feeling motivated you might want to consider this unfilled niche by starting your own Facebook page for truck drivers who want running motivation. As the leader of the group you would serve as motivator, moderator and mother hen. If you are the type of person who feels more motivation when others depending on you, this could be your key to keeping up with running as a trucker. In the meantime here is a way to search on Facebook for other truckers who are runners.

Search for Trucker Runner

At the top of Facebook where you typically search for people or businesses, type in “trucker runner.” This combination will help you find other people, places and things related to those searching for or posting about trucking for runners. Everything from running themed trucker hats to local news reports of marathon runners who are truckers can be viewed in your feed. Use this tool to help you connect, like and comment with other truckers who are runners.

If you are considering the start of a new Facebook group for truckers this is an ideal way for gathering like minds and finding supporters. You’ll also find websites and businesses that offer advice, tools and resources for truckers who want to start running, or who need motivation for their next marathon. As with all searches on the internet, it is easy to get sidetracked as you make your search for other running truckers. Try not to get so into the Facebook aspect of talking to truckers who run that you end up not running at all. That would be a shame!

Do you have a running schedule, or are you looking for other truckers on Facebook whom are willing to offer support for runners? Leave a comment below to start the conversation!

The Best Trucker Movies and TV Series You Haven’t Seen

Tanker truck parkedMove over Smokey and the Bandit. There are new trucking movies making their way on the silver screen. If you want something fresh to watch featuring truck driving check out these flicks. From children’s movies to obscure trucker films that were never released in theaters, these are some of the least well known trucker movies and TV series you haven’t seen.

Trucks

I bet you’ve seen “Maximum Overdrive,” but have you seen it’s father, “Trucks?” This is the precursor to “Maximum Overdrive.” Based on the short story “Trucks” by Stephen King, this film was made in Canada. True to King’s taste, “Trucks” is your good old horror flick. While the reception for “Trucks” isn’t overwhelmingly positive, if you are a diehard fan of “Maximum Overdrive,” then you’ll appreciate what “Trucks” has to offer.

The Gang’s All Here

Unless you were one of the first truckers to ride the roads, you probably have never heard of “The Gang’s All Here.” It involves a messy trucking war where Overland Transport Company truck drivers are killed after being intentionally wrecked. A lot of violence for a black-and-white movie, this flick is free to watch via Archive.

Cars

Sure this might be a movie made for kiddos. But have you seen it? Larry the Cable Guy blows the smoke out of the carburetor as Mater, one of the most beloved truck drivers of all times. OK, yes, Mater is an actual truck, a tow truck to be more specific. And if you have yet to watch Cars 2, add that to your list. This 1951 International Harvester L-170 combined with a 1957 Chevrolet 3800 takes top prize among trucker loving fans.

Black Dog

In 1998 Patrick Swayze played a cool Cat as an 18-wheeler trucker named Jack Crews. As Jack puts it, “There ain’t nothing like a Caterpillar engine,” and this movie sets out to prove it. Other famous faces in this film include rockstar Meatloaf and country legend Randy Travis. You can also pick up the movie’s soundtrack that features good ole’ Randy.

Highway Thru Hell

Welcome to Canada, a place where only the coldest blooded truckers can survive. In this TV series, available via streaming on Netflix, you going heavy truck towing companies as they battle blizzards. Throughout each episode these company drivers hunt for wrecked trucks and stranded truckers. If you are looking for some trucker-friendly reality TV this is a good alternative to “Ice Road Truckers.”

Roadkill

Another reality TV series that you can stream on Netflix, this one is for all you gearheads out there. While not specifically focused on truck driving, the goons Mike and David are all about trucking in their own weird way. Rather than investing in a big rig these two dudes go rogue by hauling trucks and cars everywhere from El Paso to Alaska. See how they barely manage to make it to their destination. You’ll certainly appreciate their handyman attitudes whether they are dealing with rust buckets or clunkers. Hopefully it won’t remind you too much of your golden days as a trucker.

Truck Stop Women

Warning here, this one features quite a lot of nudity for a film from the Seventies. However, if you are interested in brothels, the Mafia, New Mexico, or truck stop women, this is the film for you. Claudia Jennings, who was Playboy’s Playmate of the Month in 1969, is the leading, and mostly nude, starlet of this movie. Jennings starred in “Truck Stop Women” five years before she fell asleep while driving along the Pacific Coast Highway. The accident killed her; she was only 29 years old.

Deadhead Miles

As one of the most obscure trucker movies on this list, chances are you have never heard of “Deadhead Miles” nor seen it. In fact, this movie was never released in theaters. The movie is about a yellow Peterbilt trucker played by Alan Arkin whom you get to witness in his youthful acting chops. Akin would go onto be a huge star acting in “Argo,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Catch-22,” “Edward Scissorhands,” and “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.”

To watch this American comedy from 1973 you’ll have to do some digging. If you have an Amazon Prime account you can watch “Deadhead Miles” for free via streaming, as it’s included in your membership. Otherwise you’ll have to shell out the cash to purchase the DVD version.

Big Rig

Now for something that is not fiction at all. “Big Rig” is a documentary released in 2007 that talks about truck driver culture. This title is available to rent on Amazon Prime. Additionally, a sequel is in the works, so be on the lookout for “Big Rig 2” coming to a film festival near you.

Truckpocalypse: Why America Can’t Live Without Truckers

Volvo truck on the roadNews just in. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has experienced widespread power outages and will not be able to coordinate DOT inspections. This will shut the trucking industry down until the problem is resolved.

OK so joke’s over, this isn’t Delta-gate, but it is an entirely possible scenario. What would happen if the federal government shut down the trucking industry for something like a tech failure or power outage? What would Americans do without truck drivers hauling goods from state to state, coast to coast? Let’s take a look.

Total Economic Collapse

The first thing to go would be the American economy. Thanks to America’s position in globalization, the world economy would also be devastated. According to the American Trucking Associations organization here are the facts:

  • 70 percent of freight tonnage is hauled by tractor-trailer and OTR truck drivers.
  • $603.9 billion amounted to the US’s freight bill for freight revenue in 2011; without this revenue the US government would go belly up by adding to $19.3 trillion it’s already in debt.
  • 9.2 Billion tons of freight would not be transported, as it was in 2011 by the millions of truck drivers in the US.
  • Taxes to the tune of $33.1 billion would not go to the federal and state highway programs, as commercial truckers wouldn’t be there to give it to them.
  • 6.8 Million Americans would lose their jobs as they are currently employed in the trucking industry for everything from truck drivers to dispatchers and trucking company accountants.
  • 3 million truck drivers would be unemployed.

Those figures would cripple the US economy, point blank. Yet the federal government seems bent on bringing down the number of truck drivers due to over-regulation. Trucking companies that don’t pay their drivers well are also causing a problem in the truck driving world. If truckers can’t make money themselves, then why are they supposed to drive around and make the US and world economies float?

The World Would Go to Trash

Next up we have trash. Everything from your household garbage to medical waste and construction site debris is hauled by truck drivers. Whether you are talking about a regional truck driver who hauls trash or a long haul trucker with a tanker load of toxic sludge, truck drivers keep America clean. You’ve most likely considered what would happen if the garbage truck drivers quit their jobs. You’d be piled up with overflowing dumpsters and roadsides scattered with smelly, rotting and unsightly waste.

But what if your hospitals couldn’t get truckers to haul off human waste from surgeries, used needles from patients, or empty bags from blood transfusions? Add that dangerous waste to your community and imagine the number of diseases and illnesses that will ensue. Then you have industrial waste, manufacturing garbage, and nuclear waste that has to be disposed of properly, and not in your hometown landfill. Professional truck drivers with experience handling hazardous materials are trained to deal with this type of garbage. Without the knowledge and work of these truckers our amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties would be destroyed.

Social, Emotional and Physical Decline

Along with a complete collapse of the economy and a total trashing of our beautiful country, Americans would feel the pain of a loss of trucking the most. Imagine not being able to get your Amazon order delivered in two days, five days, or even 30 days. What would happen if you couldn’t get your medicine delivered on time, and you ended up in a hospital overrun by medical waste? Think of how your child’s school would be if the cafeterias were unable to stock their pantry shelves? What if public buildings couldn’t be replaced with cost effective materials because these all had to be built with locally sourced items, and those costs were passed on to the American people? No more paying $150 for a speeding ticket, now you have to pay $1,000 to help fund the local government.

All of this would cause the American public to break down at the seams. You can look at developing countries, such as Cuba or Mexico, to get a better idea of what type of life we would have. Forget having the latest iPhone or today’s coolest fashions. You’d be lucky to have a landline phone, and the clothes on your back might just be fashioned by your own hand. Being forced to revert back to a social environment of our previous generations would shock most Americans and put us in survival mode. No more trying to be the best country, we would simply be trying to live without attempting to better ourselves. Suicide rates would skyrocket and Americans would flock to other first world countries in hope for a new start. It would be the end of the world as we know it.

Why You Should Support Brands Like Trucker Path for Trucker Appreciation Week

trucker in front of a semi truckNational Truck Driver Appreciation Week will take place on September 11 to 17, 2016. This celebratory week for commercial truckers is put together by the American Trucking Associations.

Sponsors for this year’s event include SmartDrive, US Legal Services, Velociti, Help Inc., and Trucker Path. These businesses and organizations are those that provide the financial support for Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Through sponsorship you are able to receive all kinds of appreciation as a trucker. Have you considered how you can show your appreciation for these sponsors?

Benefits of Trucking Business Sponsors

As a truck driver you know that it takes lots of different businesses and people to keep you rolling. The same goes for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. It takes sponsors to make this appreciation week work, and in more ways than just financially. Reasons why sponsorships are essential to this celebratory week include:

  • The design of a newer, flashier logo to help stimulate curiosity of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
  • Tools for trucking companies that are hosting truck driver appreciation events
  • The ability to buy customizable merchandise for truckers, such as a neon safety shirt, lightweight backpack, and easy to handle flashlight.

If you go to any of the websites and social media pages of businesses sponsoring this appreciation week, you’ll find advertisements and banners featuring the event. Sharing information and showing staunch support for this week is paramount for getting the word out.

If truck drivers, their families, trucking employers, and customers are unaware of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, they aren’t going to be able to participate in the celebrations. Even the most well funded week of appreciation will be a loss if there’s no one recognizing it. As a truck driver you may be expecting lots of freebies at truck stops, friendly comments on radio stations, and an overall feeling of goodwill at the trucking company where you work. However, you can do more than that.

Showing Appreciation for Trucking Businesses

The easiest way you can show your appreciation for the sponsors of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is by visiting their websites:

Whenever you visit a website that increases the number of views of a site. This helps boost a business’s online reputation. As more people view a website it raises the site’s Google search ranking based on its popularity. So a simple visit will help these businesses, but you can do so much more.

Helping Help Inc.

If you are in need of a PrePass product Help Inc. has what you want. PrePass and PrePass Plus are electronic devices that allow you to bypass weigh stations. With PrePass Plus you can also bypass toll booths and bridge fees with the device. You need to purchase the devices and sign up for a subscription to cover your use. These are available through Help Inc., and each offer a way to save time and money when taking over the road trucking jobs.

Supporting SmartDrive

The next sponsor for NTDAW is SmartDrive, a technological service helping drivers and trucking companies save on fuel costs. Through apps and mobile devices you can monitor your fuel usage and reduce inefficiencies. If you are a truck driver working for a trucking company, suggest the use of SmartDrive technology to your employer. Owner operators and independent truck drivers can equally utilize SmartDrive tech for trucking fleets.

Trucking with Trucker Path App

Trucking apps are all the rage these days. Consider the benefits of Trucker Path, one of the best trucking apps on the market. You can do everything from find trucker parking at truck stops to monitor the lowest fuel prices over the road. Truck washes, rest areas and weigh stations are also presented on the mapping system. Best of all? The app is free to use, so there’s no reason why you can’t support this sponsor by downloading the app.

Using US Legal Services

Truck drivers who need legal advice can find support with US Legal Services. Whether you are interested in starting a trucking business or want to become an owner operator, you can find legal advice here. Truckers with legal concerns, such as divorce, child support cases and traffic violations, can get legal support via this NTDAW sponsor.

Visiting Velociti

As a top notch logistic service provider Velociti offers trucking companies everything from in-can communications systems to trailer tracking. You can also secure collusion avoidance, automatic tire inflation and monitoring, and auxiliary power units. Velociti provides a ton of high level logistics systems that can help increase your fleet’s ability to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Again, like Help Inc., Velociti is geared at trucking employers and company owners. So while this business may not be on your next shopping list, you can certainly suggest this business to your trucking employer. Consider it brownie points for both you and this National Truck Driver Appreciation Week sponsor!

The Top Truck Stops in Ohio

Trucks parked at truck stopWhen you have Ohio trucking jobs you need to know where the best truck stops in Ohio are, and fast. After all, a bad truck stop experience can cause you to have a miserable day over the road.

If you are searching for the top truck stops in Ohio, certain amenities and benefits of truck stops will stand out from the crowd. More specifically, you want to find truck stops with the most trucker parking, Wi-Fi service, trucker showers, and scales. Based on these top truck stop perks here are the best truck stops in Ohio.

Ohio Truck Stops with the Most Truck Parking

The last thing you want to do is stop at a truck stop to find the truck parking lot full, or nearly nonexistent. While several truck stops in Ohio have fewer than 20 parking spaces for truckers, quite a few have an enormous trucker parking lot:

  • Petro Stopping Center off the Ohio Turnpike has the most trucker parking in Ohio with 375 spaces.
  • Several TAs including those in Youngstown/Austintown, Dayton/Lewisburg, Seville and Hebron have more than 150 truck parking spaces
  • Flying J has multiple locations in Ohio offering 150 trucker parking spaces

The downside to these truck stops is that they are so massive that they are constantly busy. The steady flow of traffic makes it difficult to keep the trucker showers clean and fuel islands spiffy. Reports of less than friendly staff at these large trucking chains are other drawbacks. However, if you can overlook these issues, you will have the greatest chances of finding parking at these truck stops in Ohio.

Trucker Amenities that are a Must

At an ideal truck stop you will have certain amenities offered to you. The most popular are Wi-Fi, trucker showers and scales. These three trucker services allow you to stay connected and well prepared to face your next mile. If you are looking for Ohio truck stops with all three of these features, here you go:

  • All Pilots, TAs and Flying Js in Ohio
  • Duke Travel on I-70 in Buckeye Lane
  • Truck World in Hubbard
  • Short Stop Truck Plaza in Leavittsburg
  • Petro Stopping Center of Millbury
  • Stony Ridge Travel Center in Monroe
  • Newcomerstown Truck Stop

If you are looking for the most showers for truckers, Petro Stopping Center has 15, while Friendship Food Stores in Perrysburg has 16 trucker showers. Note that other truck stops in Ohio may have Wi-Fi, trucker showers or scales, but not all three.

Travel Center of America in Lodi, Ohio

For one of the best all-around truck stops in Ohio check out the TA in Lodi. Located at Exit 209 on I-71 this TA has something for everyone. In addition to the three main trucker services, the Lodi TA also offers the StayFit program featuring a walking trail and basketball court for staying in shape. Out near the StayFit area there’s also a pet area for exercising your pet as a trucker. By the time you sit down to eat at the Lodi TA you have several options including a Popeye’s, a 24/7 Country Pride trucker restaurant, and a Burger King. By the way, in the Country Pride restaurant, Wi-Fi is free for truckers. Grab yourself a venti iced mocha latte as you head on the road from the Starbucks on site. Coming through on a Sunday? Check out the big game on the DirecTV NFL Sunday ticket in the truckers’ lounge area.

Sam’s Truck Stop

In Toledo, Ohio you’ll find a truck stop that isn’t as big as the national chains, and it doesn’t offer all the perks of TAs and Flying Js. However, at Sam’s Truck Stop you will get great customer service, which goes far and above what you’ll find at some of the biggest truck stops in Ohio. Even better, this truck stop is open 24/7 with hot food to go at Sam’s Deli, as well as a Subway restaurant on site. Keep in mind there are limited diesel pumps, only 4, at Sam’s Truck Stop so you might want to fill up somewhere else before stopping here for some off-duty time.

Pilot Travel Center in Franklin, Ohio

Pilot truck stops are everywhere in Ohio, but one stands out from the crowd. At the Pilot Travel Center in Franklin, Ohio you have easy access off of I-75 for good priced diesel. As for food this Pilot features a Subway restaurant and Pizza Hut, as well as the typical truck stop snacks and beverages. You won’t find a truckers’ lounge for hanging out, but there is a gaming lounge that offers some entertainment. Clean restrooms and friendly faces behind the counters keep truckers coming back to the Franklin, Ohio Pilot Travel Center. If you are on I-75 and need an affordable fill-up and bite to eat, this Pilot is up to the task.