Company Profile: Jerry Moyes — Founder, Chairman & CEO of Phoenix-based Swift Transportation

Swift Transportation TruckAfter more than 50 years at the head seat at Swift Transportation, CEO and Chairman Jerry Moyes is looking forward to his retirement. Moyes will be leaving Swift at the end of 2016. Currently he is acting as co-CEO with Swift’s former chief operating officer, Richard Stocking. Once Moyes is fully retired Stocking will step into his CEO position, leaving Moyes as a director of Swift.

Born a Trucker’s Son

Moyes was born in Plain City, Utah in 1944 as the son of a truck driver. Trucking jobs are clearly in his blood, and his passion followed suit. By 1966 Moyes had moved to Phoenix, Arizona where he hauled steel with a single truck. His partnership with this steel company, Common Market Dist. Corp., was the beginning of Swift Transportation.

As an aside the name of Swift came from the Swift Meat Packing family, which was associated with operating authority of the early company. Moyes worked alongside his father and brother, as well as a business partner, to grow the business to where it is today. Annually Swift is bringing in more than $4 billion in revenue with a fleet of more than 20,000 tractors.

It should be noted that Moyes didn’t go from a trucker with one truck to immediately building another one of those billion dollar trucking companies overnight. He first graduated from Weber State College with a bachelor of science in business. Since his huge success at Swift he has even been given an honorary doctorate degree by the business school. In addition to being the CEO and chairman at Swift Moyes is also actively involved in the trucking industry and business world. Here are some of his professional achievements and leadership roles:

  • President of Arizona Trucking Association
  • Vice president of American Trucking Association
  • Member of the board for Truckload Carriers Association
  • Greater Phoenix Economic Council director
  • Center for Entrepreneurship member at Brigham Young University

On a personal side Moyes has been married to Vickie for 39 years. Together the two have 10 children and just as many grandchildren.

Beyond the Business World

Moyes has been busy with Swift Transportation, but that hasn’t slowed him down from pursuing other interests. He is also the owner of Swift Air, which is a charter airline based at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Swift Air serves major league sports teams and tour operators, as well as charters for private owners. This fleet has 13 airplanes, a slight scale compared to Swift Transportation’s fleet size. In addition Moyes is the owner of SME Steel Contractors Inc. based in Utah.

An avid sports fan Moyes has made his mark in the sporting world. He has or had ownership in the following teams:

  • National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes
  • National Lacrosse League’s Arizona Sting, in which he was part owner with Wayne Gretzky
  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Phoenix Suns

As you can see Moyes has quite a stake, and interest, in the sports leagues in Arizona. However, due to several legal moves and financial issues with the leagues, Moyes is currently only involved in the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Surely now that Moyes has entered retirement he will have plenty of time and opportunity to delve into his favorite activities, whether it be owning Arizona sports teams or the like. As stated by Avondale Partners analyst Donald Broughton, ““[Moyes is] a very energetic guy. I can’t envision him sitting around somewhere gathering dust.”

What is the Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation?

Truck Driver Driving up Snowy RoadIf you are looking for an organization that supports truck drivers, consider the Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation. ASECTT is a nonprofit organization that is a conglomeration of carriers, shippers, brokers and truckers who want to stay abreast to the latest CSA changes. Learn what this organization is up to and how you can join up.

Mission of ASECTT

The primary purpose of ASCETT is to keep up with the latest changes and updates regarding CSA. CSA is the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). As a trucker, carrier or trucking company you are already familiar with your CSA scores. This score affects your ability to get hired by trucking companies and to find trucking loads. ASCETT is interested in the impact of the CSA on competition, liability and capacity in the industry.

Over-regulation of Industry

Why does ASECTT care about the CSA scorecard? The alliance wants to make sure the federal government doesn’t go too far with regulation of the trucking industry. Sure, regulation is great for safety purposes on the highway. However, when regulation doesn’t do any good in terms of safety then there’s the rub. ASECTT is working to advocate for the deregulation of the trucking industry when it’s out of line with highway safety.

Latest Issues Discussed by ASECTT

The biggest action that ASECTT has taken was to go against the FMCSA directly. Take a look at ASECTT et al v. FMCSA. In 2012 ASECTT was joined by Bolt Express, Medallion Transport, and the National Association of Small Trucking Companies along with a dozen other carriers. This group went up against the FMCSA in court regarding the CSA program. According to ASECTT the CSA program is unlawful due to a number of reasons including disproportionate harm for smaller carriers and statistical errors in their research.

Since this court case changes have been enacted regarding the CSA scorecard.

Other issues that ASECTT are addressing in 2016 include the FAST Act in reference to the CSA program. For instance, the nonprofit sent a letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee of Transportation, Housing and Urban Affairs regarding the Carrier Safety Fitness Determination. The purpose for the letter is to prevent the FMCSA from avoiding the issue of fixing the CSA program as mandated in the FAST Act.

According to the letter the FMCSA is attempting to defy the mandates by using SMS methodology (Safety Measurement System) as is. The ASECTT is adamant that the SMS is flawed and needs an overhaul. Furthermore by using it as is for the updated CSA requirements is defeating the purpose of the FAST Act mandates. The SMS data that will be used for CSA scoring has yet to be independently reviewed by an outside agency.

If all of this sounds far too legal for your liking, that’s exactly why the ASECTT was formed. This nonprofit organization is standing up for the rights of truck drivers and carriers alike in the face of government regulation. You can expect to hear more from ASECTT when the electronic logging devices become official in the near future. If you would like to support ASECTT and its mission you can sign up for the mailing list or donate financially.

Online Fitness Coaching for Over the Road Truckers

Woman Trucker RunningWhen you are on the road you might want to exercise and get into shape to maintain a healthy trucker lifestyle. But where do you go for tips and advice? How do you know what exercises to do or how long to do them? Many people simply need someone there to motivate them to exercise, which is a tall order for a person with a truck driving job that could be 2,000 miles away from home. Once again, here’s a great use for the wonders of the web—online fitness coaching.

What is Online Fitness Coaching

An online fitness coach is someone who can communicate with you over the internet during the duration of your exercise program. Typically you will use online videos. As a truck driver you can record your videos and then send them when you have Wi-Fi service.

How it works is you connect with a fitness coach via the internet. They help you set up a program depending on your current fitness level and your goals. You then record yourself completing the exercises and send this to your fitness coach. This serves two purposes:

  • Accountability with your exercise routine
  • Instructor feedback in which the coach watches your videos and makes notes for improvements with your posture, etc.

In terms of feedback, look for a fitness coach who will take screenshots of your videos and draw notes on the images to help you improve your movements. For example, if you are consistently getting squats wrong due to a round back, your coach will be able to point this out and correct your movements.

This concept is great for truck drivers. It allows the fitness coach to find ways for you to exercise with your limited equipment, time and space. In the same way that a fitness coach would help you to improve your movements in the gym, they can use modern technology to assist you no matter where you are parked at.

How to Get Started

You will find a lot of online fitness coaches on the internet. As with all things you have to sort through the junk. Here are some signs to look for in a beneficial program:

  • Regular coaching sessions via your phone or online video, i.e. Skype, as well as texting and email communication as needed to stay in contact with your coach
  • A range of package options, i.e. a beginners package, individual lessons for purchase, personal trainer support, etc.
  • The option of joining an online community to get feedback and support from other members of the online coaching program
  • Flexibility with scheduling and connecting with your coach
  • A personalized program that includes fitness plans, as well as nutritional advice
  • Video feedback with software that allows the trainer to narrate, highlight focus areas, sketch lines, and use slow motion to help you improve your workouts
  • A monthly fee, rather than a yearly commitment which can be overwhelming to someone who’s just starting out with a new exercise program

You might also prefer to have a male or female coach, which is something to note before you select an online coaching program. Also before you select a program do your research online and check out reviews. Since this is an online program offering, you won’t be able to use Yelp or TripAdvisor to see what others have to say about it. Instead choose a program provider and search for reviews about that specific program. You will likely come across bloggers or social media posts where people have something positive or negative to say about a particular online fitness coaching program.

Here are some of the fitness programs found online:

  • Born Fitness Coaching
  • Just Go Fitness
  • Scott Laidler Fitness
  • AnthroPhysique
  • My Fit Body Life
  • Blissful and Fit
  • Karina Inkster
  • JMax Fitness

In terms of cost online coaching ranges from $100 to $200 a month. You may be able to commit to more than one month for a better rate. Also considering what type of support or services you expect, i.e. do you want a food plan created especially for you, you will pay more. A tip here is to purchase one month of online fitness coaching to see if the company is going to work for you.

All online coaches are different, and you might need to test out a few before you find the right match. Since you are a truck driver working over the road you will also want to find a provider who can accommodate your needs, i.e. lack of gym equipment. Also inquire with online coaches to see if they offer a free trial period to test out their services. This could save you a lot of hassle if you aren’t satisfied and want to switch coaches and fitness providers.

What about you? Have you ever used an online fitness coach? Do you have any tips or words of warning for other truck drivers?

U.S. Xpress Launches Military Hiring Initiative

US Xpress TruckerUS Xpress is the second largest private trucking company in the US. Established in 1985 this company provides trucking jobs for more than 3,000 drivers. Intermodal trucking jobs, OTR trucking careers, dedicated drivers, and more than 650 team drivers round out the truckers at US Xpress. Now you can tack on military truck drivers to that extensive list of job titles. US Xpress is proving to be a forerunner in hiring vets as drivers. Check out their latest initiative, the Employer Support and Guard Reserve.

Dire Situation of Military Truck Drivers

Imagine if you enlisted into the US military and spent six years overseas as an active duty soldier. Your main job was to drive heavy trucks, and you have experience as a diesel mechanic working on said trucks. You retire from the military and return to the US in sure hopes of finding a trucking job. Well, guess what?

All of your service and dedication both to our nation’s freedom and the military as a trucker isn’t transferring as experience behind the wheel. So you are left out in the cold, unable to find a trucking job due to a lack of experience in the eyes of trucking companies. What a shame.

Fortunately trucking companies are coming around to understanding that the skills military truckers develop while in service are far outweighing the lack of official ‘behind the wheel’ experience. From being on time to following through with commitment it’s not a far cry to say that military truckers are going to be trained to handle the rigors of the trucking industry. Now its up to trucking companies like US Xpress to find ways to show vets support with trucking jobs.

Employer Support and Guard Reserve

The Employer Support and Guard Reserve (ESGR) is an initiative that follows up with US Xpress’s commitment to hiring military truckers. The company already gives truck drivers with military experience two years of driving experience. This puts these drivers ahead of the competition as they get started with a domestic trucking career. Furthermore, with this gained experience drivers are able to move up in the pay scale that is based on years behind the wheel. Drivers at US Xpress who were honorably discharged in the past 36 months will begin at an advanced pay rate.

As for ESGR this is a recruitment initiative that is geared at attracting more military truckers into service. The initiative will include hundreds of trucking jobs specially for highly skilled guardsmen and reservists.

Eric Fuller, US Xpress President and COO adds, “We are proud to celebrate the launch of our new, military recruiting initiative. US Xpress recognizes the skills, values, commitment, safety and leadership exhibited by our servicemen and servicewomen. We want to do our part and support and honor these individuals and their families.”

U.S. Xpress Military-themed Tractors

Another highlight of this initiative is the showcase of six tractors that have been outfitted with a military theme. These tractors follow in line with the eco-friendly company of US Xpress by featuring:

  • Dometic eNow solar power auxiliary
  • Dometic Blizzard Turbo auxiliary air conditioning
  • Dometic eNow solar power battery charger

Each of these special edition trucks are outfitted for a particular branch of the US military. Best of all, US Xpress is giving these trucks to veterans who drive for the company as a tribute to their service.

US Xpress is showing its commitment and passion for supporting truck drivers who served in the US military. It would be great to see more trucking companies providing this level of support for vets. After all, if it weren’t for those veterans fighting for our freedom then we wouldn’t be able to have truck driving jobs as we do.

7 Simple Things That Should Be Done to Make a Trucker’s Life Easier

Trucking in Construction ZoneIt goes without question that the life of a truck driver certainly isn’t an easy one. No, truckers don’t just spend days – perhaps even weeks – on end away from their homes, friends and families, but the nature of their trucking jobs also makes them more susceptible to obesity and the development of diabetes, anxiety and depression, and a myriad of other potentially dangerous issues. This is certainly a lot to ask for average pay and benefits, not to mention often drawing the ire of passenger cars around them due to their slow accelerating and driving nature.

Life as a trucker isn’t for everyone, but undeniably, there are things that can – and should – be done to make a trucker’s life easier. While some of these changes are more feasible than others to make, none should be eliminated completely from consideration:

7 Simple Things That Should Be Done to Make a Trucker’s Life Easier

  1. Thank them: Being a trucker isn’t easy, yet the profession is essential to keeping the country’s economy moving forward. Without trucks, just about every good would be unable to get to where it needs to go. This, in turn, would lead to massive shortages. Grocery stores wouldn’t have food, pharmacies and hospitals wouldn’t get drugs and medical supplies and life as we know it would be drastically altered. While there’s an annual Truckers Appreciation Week that’s meant to honor these warriors of the road, just saying “thanks” any day of the year goes a long way.
  2. Eliminate/reduce “no idling” zones: No idling zones are zones where truckers have to shut off their engines if they’re stopping. While the intentions behind no idling zones are good, it can make nights at a truck stop in the middle of the desert or in warm weather climates very uncomfortable for truckers after a hard day on the road. While it may not be feasible to reverse no idling zones, a better effort should be made to equip truckers with fans or auxiliary power units to work around these regulations.
  3. Better pay: The average trucker salary is about $40,000 per year or about $19 per hour. Considering how tough life on the road is and how crucial the role is to the U.S. economy, better pay and/or benefits seems like the least that employers could do.
  4. Stipends: When most people travel for work, they lodge, eat and are entertained on the company’s dime. That’s not necessarily the case for truckers, as many pay for food and entertainment out of their own pockets. If trucking companies gave drivers some sort of a trip stipend, it would go a long way. For starters, truckers would likely be more apt to eat better and healthier meals. Stipends would also likely boost driver morale.
  5. Less government regulation: OK, so this might not be a “simple” change, but you know what they say – the more government becomes involved in something, the worse it’s likely to get.
  6. Counseling and therapy: While this ties into the aspect of offering truckers a more comprehensive benefits package, the mental health of a trucker cannot be downplayed. That’s because all truckers are likely at some point in their lives to witness – or be involved in – a bad traffic accident. This can take its toll on the mental health of drivers, and such issues only get worse if they’re left untreated. Complicating things further is the lack of company on the road. Offering more thorough counseling and therapy for drivers can prove highly beneficial – regardless of the mental health issues they may be experiencing.
  7. Company tablets: Life on the road can be lonely. That’s why it would be a great gesture if companies offered their drivers complimentary tablets to take with them. With these, drivers can stream video during breaks for entertainment, utilize fitness apps to stay active and healthy in a profession that poses challenges of the like and stay in touch with friends and family via social media and video chatting. Just proving drivers with a little thing like a tablet (and an adequate monthly data package) can go a long way to improve the life of a driver.

Best Vitamins and Supplements for Truck Drivers

Runner on TreadmillStaying healthy is a top priority this time of year. From winter colds to flu viruses there is always something going around. And the last thing you want to have to deal with when driving a big rig is being sick. No one there to take care of you, a delivery deadline that doesn’t care who’s sick, and the potential for getting sicker because you are stuck in your truck. It’s a tough time to go through. If you want to protect yourself with a boost to your immunity take advantage of these trucker friendly vitamins and supplements.

Common Health Problems for Truckers

First, here are some of the common trucker health problems:

  • You can’t sleep because you’re off of your time zone.
  • You are spending a lot of time up north.
  • You aren’t eating healthy or getting enough exercise.

Truckers can check off at least one of these boxes at some point or another in their weeks on the road. Here are some ways that you can naturally combat these health issues. If you already take medication or are considered to be on the unhealthy side, speak with your doctor before trying any of these. Remember, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous.

Sleeping Aids

When you have to sleep according to hours of service rules combined with traveling through time zones, it can be tiresome. Worse yet you are limited in the type of medication you can take for insomnia. Things like Ambien are completely unavailable for truck drivers, so what are you supposed to do to get a good night’s sleep? Consider taking melatonin. Your body produces this hormone naturally when it’s time to go to sleep according to your circadian rhythm. Whenever you get off of your body’s sleeping schedule it makes a mess of things. You can take melatonin as a natural sleep aid without jeopardizing your CDL. To be sure it won’t adversely effect you take the melatonin for a week during your next home time. It’ll give your body a chance to get used to it as well.

Seeking the Sun

During the snow white winter months there’s one thing that you won’t see a lot of up north. Sunlight. The way the earth is tilted the sun doesn’t shine as brightly here in the winter time. As a result you could stand outside for hours and not get the vitamin D you would in a few minutes in the summer months. Vitamin D in a bottle is your best bet. Why do you need vitamin D? Low levels of vitamin D lead to several conditions, most notably depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you are feeling down during your trucker job in the winter, start supplementing with vitamin D.

Omega-3 Vitamins

Also referred to as fish oil, omega-3 is a fatty acid that is key to brain productivity and heart health. As it’s found naturally in few foods including certain fish, walnuts and flaxseed, it’s difficult for us to get this fatty acid in our diet. Yet it is important for reducing inflammation, improving gut health, and lowering triglyceride levels. For truck drivers who already have poor heart health, potential high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, taking omega-3 can help in numerous ways.

Prostate Health Supplements

Sitting and rattling in your rig year after year can lead to problems in your prostate. A lack of core muscles and an increase in stomach fat adds to the issue. Your prostate gets a workout and it causes it to be irritated and inflamed. As a result you can have issues, such as frequent urination or a high PSA level that determines prostate problems. Saw palmetto is a common prostate supplement that helps reduce frequent urination.

Multivitamins for All

For all truckers the least you can do is take a multivitamin. It will protect you from the dangers of a bad diet by ensuring you get the proper level of vitamins and minerals. Make sure to choose a multivitamin provider who offers certification of purity of ingredients. Also do your research regarding the validity of added supplements. For example, many multivitamins advertise the addition of a single vitamin, such as COQ10, as a marketing ploy.

Your best bet is to stick with a basic multivitamin for your age and gender. This will ensure you have the most accurate level of vitamins and minerals for your general needs. Also, avoid any multivitamins with things like metabolism boosters or energy supplements. These could be very troublesome for you as a truck driver. Finally, read the instructions regarding how to store the multivitamins and their expiration date. You do not want to ruin their effectiveness before you get a chance to benefit from them.

Line Haul, Specialized and Dedicated Trucking Jobs: What You Should Know

Trucking into a StormSearching for a trucking job involves dealing with a lot of different job types. Flatbed trucking jobs, tanker loads, dry van deliveries, reefers, and cattle haulers are just some of the haul types you’ll get a chance to work on. If you are interested in branching out to other types of trucking jobs you need to know the difference between line haul, specialized and dedicated trucking jobs.

Line Haul Trucking Job

If you are interested in over the road trucking, then line haul trucking jobs are what you want. These are trucking jobs that require you to move loads from one major city or port. These two places have to be at least 1,000 miles apart. For example, Chicago trucking loads are just over 2,000 miles from Los Angeles trucking loads. Truckers handling these loads are in the line haul business. One good thing about line haul jobs is you earn a decent pay check. Also, since you are over the road for at least a few nights with these long distance loads you get reimbursed for lodging, meals, etc. come tax season.

Specialized Truck Driving Jobs

Another category of haul types is called specialized trucking jobs. These are niche positions that only haul a particular type of load, often which requires a certain type of trailer. These pay more because of the CDL endorsement requirements along with the experience they detail, and the specialized trailer required. These things add up when it comes time for you to get paid. Here are some examples of the most common specialized trucking jobs on the market:

  • Ice road trucking, something we’ve all heard all about thanks to that TV show
  • Oversized loads that are going to pay you more but will take you longer, and will require more paperwork and bureaucracy
  • Tanker truck loads hauling liquids, gasoline, hazardous materials, chemicals, etc. that require you to have a tanker endorsement on your CDL
  • Speaking of hazardous materials, jobs hauling hazmat require the hazmat endorsement on your CDL
  • Car haulers of exotic, sports, vintage or imported autos

As you can see these specialized trucking jobs bring in the bank when it comes to earnings. Ice road truckers, for instance, we know earn anywhere from $80,000 to $250,000 and this doesn’t involve a TV endorsement deal. Plus you are only working a couple of months max out of the entire calendar year. You would be able to come back down to the Lower 48 to work for the rest of the year, increasing your bank account all the while.

Another type of specialized trucking job that pays very nicely is team driving. If you are a team driver you have another CDL driver with you in the truck. Since you are both hauling the same load, you would expect to get a smaller paycheck. However, there are two drivers in the rig, allowing the truck to stay rolling for 8 more hours a night than solo drivers. This really puts you ahead of the competition. As such you are able to get more hauls in and make more money for each of you on the team.

Dedicated Truck Driving Jobs

If you prefer to stay close to home and stick to the same route, then this might be your cup of tea. Dedicated trucking jobs allow you to run the same route week after week. Most typically these jobs are drop-and-hook loads, meaning you don’t have to do anything regarding loading as your trailer is ready to go. You aren’t required to tarp or strap these types of loads either, which reduces the amount of work you have to do outside of the truck.

As a dedicated driver you are a company driver, for sure. This can sometimes mean you’ll get more flexibility with your schedule. For example, at Schneider dedicated truck drivers can choose from part-time and full-time work. You are better able to keep a regular sleep schedule and social routine because you always know when you’ll be home. This can be an ideal situation if you have a family at home.

When you are searching for better paying trucking jobs these are some job categories to consider. If your current job isn’t paying too well think about applying to one of these types of trucking jobs.

Everything You Need to Know About Back Hauls in Trucking

Trucker Passing PetroOnce you get into the trucking industry you start to hear some of the same words and phrases. Backhaul is one of those words that you’ll hear a lot in trucking. But what exactly is a backhaul and how can you make more money with these types of loads? Be on the up and up about backhauls so you can improve your bottom line in the trucking business.

What is a Back Haul

When you have a backhaul this means you are hauling a load from Point B, your first destination, back to Point A, your originating destination. You are driving back from that direction anyway, so it makes financial sense to take backhauls whenever possible. There is a caveat here.

Anytime you are using your tractor-trailer to haul a load it’s costing you money. You have to calculate your operation cost before you can figure out how low you can go with freight. Before you operate with the mindset of taking any and every backhaul, know what your base rate is for making money on the load.

Dealing with Deadheads

When you deadhead you are pulling an empty trailer. So, you have better fuel economy because you aren’t pulling a load. However, you aren’t getting paid to drive during that time. Several of the national trucking companies do offer deadhead pay for truckers. This pay is typically lower than what you’d receive for hauling loads. However, it’s better than not getting paid at all for your driving time.

How to Make More with Backhauls

When you have to operate a truck you are burning fuel and oil, and you are bringing down the value of the truck. You are also putting wear and tear on the vehicle. So anytime you are putting your rig on the road you want to make sure it’s making you money. A backhaul sounds like the best option because it helps you keep your trailer full. You get two loads for the price of one. Some truckers and carriers feel that backhauls are lower in price than regular loads. However, this does not have to be the issue.

If you are looking for a load to catch on the way back home, then you are not going to have the option of being too picky since you have a specific destination you are going to. You may only have one opportunity to return home with a backhaul, no matter what the price point. That’s why some feel that backhauls are cheap freight, when in fact there is often a lack of availability. So go with what you can find in areas where the freight is low.

Next, cut back on your operating expenses. This is the only way you will be able to make up for taking lower than typical rates.

  • Start with your fuel economy. How well are you doing keeping the speedometer steady? The steadier the better when it comes to using less fuel per mile.
  • Cut out idling, which uses resources and adds a strain on your equipment. Know your route as best as you can before you go so you don’t end up backtracking or getting lost. That only adds to your mileage and cuts into your paycheck.
  • Keep your equipment under check with regular maintenance to reduce emergencies and breakdowns.
  • Reduce the number of deadhead loads you take, so that you can afford to take a lower paying backhauls when you have to. Better yet, reduce deadhead miles while increasing the number of top paying backhaul miles.

How can you make more money with backhaul loads? Know what round-trip rates to expect when you take loads. For instance, know if the area where you are taking Load #34 is good enough for you to be able to find a well paying backhaul load.

Make the Most of the Market

Next, take advantage of Hot Market Maps by DAT. These maps show you where conditions are right for flatbed jobs, reefer jobs and van trailer loads. You can zoom in to look at individual neighborhoods, as well as an overview of the states. The maps are updated daily to give you the most accurate view of the marketplace for freight.

Use the maps to find areas that have fewer trucks available. This is where a customer will have to pay more to get a truck to deliver his freight. You can also see the types of loads that are in their high season. This means the nation is saturated in most major cities with a type of freight haul. Trucking companies can earn a premium price during a high season if they are hauling that particular type of freight.

By planning ahead and using the available, free resources mentioned here you can do a better job with your backhauls. Instead of letting your trucks and drivers wear out over any old backhaul, start getting the best rates and making more money.

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Thanking a Truck Driver

Trucker at Trucking ShowEvery year, the American Trucking Association (ATA) initiates a National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, with the purpose of honoring the 3.5 million commercial truck drivers for their hard work driving long hours across the country and spending up to weeks at a time away from home. This year, this annual appreciation week was held from September 11-17, and while we certainly think it’s a terrific thing that the ATA has taken the initiative to bring attention to the importance of trucking, let’s face it – one week is hardly enough to honor the men and women of the road.

In fact, we say that truck drivers should be honored all year long. Here’s a look at 10 reasons why everyone should be thanking a truck driver – and not just during the annual Trucker Appreciation Week.

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Thanking a Truck Driver

  1. Truck drivers are pivotal to the national economy: Every good at some point is likely carried by a truck. Food, medical supplies, consumer products, building materials – you name it. If the trucks stopped driving, the economy would literally spiral out of control. Food wouldn’t be delivered to restaurants and grocery stores, medical supplies wouldn’t reach hospitals and pharmacies. If trucks stopped driving, the world would literally look similar to that of The Walking Dead in the not too distant future, just without the zombies.
  2. Trucking isn’t easy (Part 1): Spending weeks away from home and their families can be tough, but many truckers have to put lots of extra effort into staying healthy through proper diet and exercise just based on the stationary nature of their profession.
  3. They help make highways safer: The trucking industry invests $9.5 billion per year in safety, according to the ATA. While this investment includes new on-board technology, it also includes continuous safety training for drivers so they can help make the roads a better place.
  4. They’re helpful and friendly: It’s not uncommon to see a semi-truck pulled over to the side of the road helping a stranded motorist or assisting emergency responders or police officers. And truckers almost always oblige when a child in a passenger car motions for them to honk their horns.
  5. Trucking isn’t easy (Part 2): Sleeping in their trucking cabins and a lack of human interaction are other reasons why being a truck driver simply isn’t easy. Unlike most professionals who travel for work, truckers don’t stay in fancy hotels and eat nice dinners.
  6. Truck drivers help other professionals get to work: Yes, goods aren’t the only thing that truck drivers transport from Point A to Point B. They also are responsible for shipping an extremely important resource – fuel – to gas stations across the country. Without fuel, other professionals would be unable to drive to work, the grocery store, to their kids’ sporting events, etc.
  7. Truck drivers help keep all transportation in sync: To piggyback off of the last point, this fuel that truckers transport doesn’t just go to gas stations, but to airports, shipping terminals and train depots. Yes, truck drivers are pivotal to keeping the entire transportation industry on track and on time.
  8. Truckers are very charitable: The ATA is a big supporter of the Truckers Against Trafficking initiative, which has the goal of educating all drivers on reporting any signs of human trafficking that they see on the roads. This is a huge human rights issue that is becoming more problematic in the U.S., and truckers are there to help. Additionally, many truckers also participate in the Trucker Buddy Program, where they become pen pals with a grade school child. The arrangement is mutually beneficial, as truckers gain an acquaintance to make life on the road a little less lonely and the kids are able to learn about geography, social studies and more through their correspondence.
  9. Truckers have great stories: Though trucking is unconventional, the lifestyle can provide a lot of lasting memories, from various cities and geographies seen to unusual situations observed in passenger cars. Every trucker has a bevy of stories to share. It would be a shame if they were never told.
  10. Trucking isn’t easy (Part 3): Truckers drive in snowstorms and inclement weather, they drive on the weekends and on holidays, and they miss a lot of important milestones (i.e. their kids’ birthdays, anniversaries, etc.), all while dealing with the seemingly always changing regulations.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is a terrific thing, but thanks to truck drivers shouldn’t just be given during a seven-day period each year, it should be given 365 days a year. Truck drivers are the key cog to making America’s economy tick. They’re taken for granted and largely unappreciated, but trust us – you don’t want to live in a world where there are no trucks on the road.

FMCSA Considers Lowering OTR Trucker Driving Age

White Truck Cruising on County RoadIn the trucking industry you can drive a big rig if you are 18, in some states and only if you don’t cross any borders. Unfortunately the best paying trucking jobs require you to be an over the road trucker. To be an OTR trucker you have to be 21 years old according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). For a lot of would-be truck drivers this is a sore spot. Well, the FMCSA is finally reneging on this point, for a certain population.

The Reality of Young Truckers

Most 18-year-olds graduate high school with the goal of getting a job or going to college or tech school. If you decide you want to be a trucker, you want to have a decent paying trucking job. Unfortunately you are going to have to wait for four years before that can happen, until you turn 21. Sure you could take regional trucking jobs at 18 in most states, but you won’t make as much money or have the job satisfaction of driving across the country on the regular. As a result, most young adults are turning toward better paying job options for 18 year olds, and steering clear of OTR trucking.

Filling OTR Trucking Seats

At the same time the trucking industry is experiencing a decline in OTR truckers. It’s the perfect storm of baby boomers who are retiring, taking away a million drivers from trucking jobs. That is leaving a lot of empty seats. To fill those spots we need to have willing and able truckers. If you wait until a person is 21 to let them take on these jobs, they are already graduated from college or tech school with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Those pieces of paper cost a lot of money, and leave most graduates in debt. To make up for all of that hard work, and to ensure their degree or certificate isn’t going unused, these young adults are more likely to follow through with their already set career plan. Forget becoming a truck driver at this point, unless all else fails and the person is in dire need of a good paying trucking job.

Here’s the second issue. If you are pulling from a job pool of individuals who never went to college or tech school, they are most likely to be the ones going from one low-wage, low-achievement job to the next. They aren’t going to have any education beyond high school, and they are more likely to have lost focus in the job market. These are the 21-year-olds that are filling those OTR trucking jobs left empty by baby boomers.

In addition to lacking the trucking experience of seasoned truckers, these young truckers are also less likely to have the confidence that they can do the job. After all, being a truck driver is a difficult occupation that requires personal sacrifice, as well as physical and mental stealth. Do we really want these young ones taking up the reins of the old timers?

The Catch-22 here is that if you hire 18- or 19-year-olds to drive big rigs these kids don’t have the experience or life skills to be able to handle OTR trucking jobs. So while you want to get them while they are young, it’s simply a risk to the health and safety of the highways and byways to put these young adults behind the wheel. Additionally, a young adult, and males in particular, come with a high price in terms of auto insurance coverage due to their inexperience. This is a factor that trucking companies have to consider when hiring young truck drivers.

FMCSA Interstate Pilot Program

Enter into the conversation the FMCSA pilot group who will include under-21-year-old OTR drivers. Fortunately the FMCSA folks haven’t lost their minds entirely. They are using a pool of young adults who are military-trained to handle heavy trucks. This is actually a good idea, something you don’t often hear connected to the FMCSA and those government agencies. A person who has been in the military is far more likely to be skilled and responsible compared to your average young adult who’s been bouncing from fast food jobs to retail work.

Taking young adults who’ve driven trucks in the military, you stand to have a good pool of potential drivers ready to roll and take over OTR trucking jobs. The FMCSA will carry out their pilot run to gather data to determine whether or not these select groups of under-21 drivers would be worthwhile to cover interstate freight. It sounds positive at this point, but the research will be the determining factor of whether or not the FMCSA changes the age limit for trucking.

What is your opinion on this matter? Should the driving age for OTR truckers be lowered? Would you be ok with lowering it for those with military experience?