military truckerThe presidential election isn’t the only important election happening this fall. The voting booth for America’s top military rookie truck driver is open, writes American Trucker magazine. And it’s up to all of you with CDL trucking jobs to choose your favorite!

Overall, the veteran who acquires the most votes in this contest will win the Transition Trucking Driving for Excellence Award. In addition, the veteran wins the keys to a 2016 Kenworth T680 commercial truck. The truck, valued at $170,000, helps propel the rookie driver’s burgeoning career in the trucking industry.

After a national nomination process, three finalists include:

  • Army veteran Kevin Scott, a driver for TMC Transportation
  • Army and Navy veteran Russell Hardy, a driver for Trimac Transportation
  • Navy veteran Troy Davidson, a driver for Werner Enterprises

How to Vote

Through Veterans Day, Nov. 11, CDL drivers and other members of the public watch videos of the three finalists. In addition, they vote for their favorite up to 25 times per day, writes American Trucker. Vote by visiting: http://bit.ly/TransitionTruckingAward. Also, the voting page, along with more details on the competition, is found through the competition’s primary website, TransitionTrucking.org.

The Transition Trucking Award was created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program, Kenworth, and FASTPORT. Overall, it recognizes deserving veterans who made a successful transition from military service to the trucking industry.

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Blue Ridge Mountains

Many CDL permit holders know full well the beauty that blooms along the East Coast every fall. As drivers, you probably have your favorite spots to espy vibrant colors along your trucking routes. But there’s perhaps no better place than the Blue Ridge Mountains or the Shanandoah Valley to absorb the beauty of the season.

One Los Angeles Times reporter put fall colors to the test when he drove all 105 miles of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Va., then all 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina.

In beautiful prose, reporter Christopher Reynolds captured the majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the fall.

For four days I could almost hear the swelling violins as I zoomed under leafy canopies of red, orange and gold; hiked along creeks, lakes and ridge lines; listened to plenty of bluegrass and blues; and gave thanks to the National Park Service for bringing together so much beauty and so much blacktop.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is America’s most popular national park, with good reason.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, authorized in 1936, has been all about the automobile from Day One.

Both the parkway and Shenandoah National Park were Depression era projects intended to create jobs in a desperately poor region. For the parkway, the idea was to sculpt an epic country road, a black ribbon that would unfurl seamlessly amid the knobs, hollows, notches and gaps of Virginia and North Carolina.

The work took decades, but now the road’s shoulders are graced with overlooks, its straightaways unsullied by billboards or service stations. (There are also plenty of hiking trails along the route, including the 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail.)

The parkway speed limit is 45 mph, Reynolds notes.

Which means drivers move slowly enough to notice the region’s nuances and beauty.

For most of the last 50 years, including 2015, the parkway has been the most-visited unit in the park system. Last year its rangers counted 15 million visitors, who spent an estimated $950 million.

The parkway rises, falls, bends and straightens, following the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains with no commercial buildings or truck traffic, cushioned by a buffer zone of landscaping that alternates between narrow and wide, semi-wild and manicured.

The scenes I glided through were not quite natural.

They were more orderly than that. But they were unfailingly pretty.

Now I was heading into the busiest stretch of the parkway, the area around Asheville, N.C., where rangers counted 42,520 vehicles passing through in October, the month of my visit — almost three times the traffic tallied at the Peaks of Otter.

It was easy to see why. I happened to hit this stretch within a few days of peak color. In the hour before sunset, about Milepost 360, the scene turned surreal as the road carried me through tree tunnels of flowing orange and flaming red, then luminous yellow-green.

As CDL permit holders, what are your favorite roads to drive in the fall? We’d love to hear!

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ksl.comTruck driver Kevin Otteson of Reddaway Trucking received honor for driving more than 2 million miles without a single accident.

Otteson holds a CDL trucking job at Reddaway for 23 years.

Overall, throughout his 30-year professional driving career, he drove about 3.5 million miles accident free, he told Salt Lake City’s Deseret News.

Otteson was presented with a ring from Reddaway Trucking Friday to honor the achievement.

Mike Matich, the company’s terminal manager, called it a rare accomplishment.

Otteson said he drives because he likes the solitude. Otteson also makes it part of his normal routine to stop to help drivers whose cars are stuck or need help fixing a flat.

His secret to being accident free for so many miles?

“Pay attention to your surroundings,” he said. “Don’t watch just the vehicle in front of you. Watch two or three cars in front of you. Maintain an even keel out here.”

Read the rest of the Deseret News story here.

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While women constitute about 5 percent of truck drivers here in the United States, the numbers are even fewer in foreign countries. That’s why this story out of Nigeria is so unusual, and it’s why it attracted our attention.

According to a feature in thenationonlineng.netThe Nation, Nigerian women are making inroads into all sorts of male-dominated industries, from truck driving to welding. In the story, writer Dorcas Egede highlighted several women who are thriving in Nigerian trucking jobs.

One after the other, motorists moved away from their cars to see the cause of the traffic ahead. On getting close to the cause of the traffic and discovering that it was a truck belonging to the Dangote Group, most of them made to turn back in indignation, cursing under their breath. But they soon stopped in their tracks. A woman behind the wheels of a truck? Surely this was no common sight in this part of the world. In no time, there was a pool of humans, particularly males, all struggling to take a shot of the wonder woman.

Hajiya Gambo Mohammed, a senior driver with the Dangote Group, was a spectacle on this particular day. The sight of her masterfully manning the wheels of a heavy-duty truck wasn’t a common one. In a clime where some men still dread driving cars and small buses on long distance, the sight of Hajia Muhammed was no doubt a spectacle.

Mohammed is just one of many women in Nigeria who has a job considered to be exclusive to men. But that’s starting to change. “Over the years, more females who have become skilled in certain manly jobs have emerged,” the article states. “Among them are female mechanics, painters, commercial bus drivers, conductors and welders.”

Another female driver, who goes by the pseudonym Geraldeen Agbonifo, is a widowed mother of three.

She said she veered into transportation business early this year, exactly two years after her husband’s demise.

Like it is with many widows, Agbonifo revealed that she would do everything within her power to raise her children to the highest level possible. “I’m not thinking remarriage. I just want to train my children to the highest level I can,” she said.

Agbonifo got a trucking job after her textile, shoe and bag business folded.

Asked if she indeed faces the challenge of battling the many wild men in the transport business world every day, Agbonifo smiled and asked, “What do you expect? You saw how that driver tried to bully me at Obalende while we were hustling for passengers. I get a daily dose of that, but it doesn’t bother me.

Before you decide to come and do this kind of work, you must have prepared yourself to tussle with bullies like that.”

Interestingly, there’s also the challenge of certain passengers, particularly males, who would refuse to board her bus once they notice its driver is female. But again she says this does not bother her. “I get a lot of admiring stares. In fact, some people purposely get on my bus when they see who the driver is, so it doesn’t bother me when I see those who despise me.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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sj-r.com

One truck driver from Springfield has assembled decades of safe driving, spanning an amazing 51 years.

Bob Wyatt, who has held a CDL trucking job at Schneider out of Green Bay, Wisconsin, for the past 43 years, received an award from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance for his incredible safety record.

Wyatt clocked nearly 6 million miles without a single preventable accident.

The award recognizes commercial vehicle drivers who distinguish themselves through safe operation for an extended period of time. The Springfield (Ill.) State Journal-Register wrote that Wyatt was “surprised and humbled, to say the least,” by the award.

“You just take it one mile at a time,” Wyatt said of how he stayed safe on the road.

But even with all his success, Wyatt told the newspaper that CDL trucking jobs aren’t easy.

“A million people, they all want to be at the same place at the same time, they don’t want anybody to get in their way,” Wyatt said. “And the fact that they are texting and talking on the phone makes it even worse. I’ve been out here 50 years of my life, and you can’t even imagine what I’ve seen.”

CVSA president Maj. Jay Thompson praised Wyatt and his stellar safety record.

Overall, he serves as the most decorated driver in Schneider history, according to the State Journal-Register.

“We remain so impressed by Bob Wyatt’s spotless record of 51 years of safe driving, his unwavering, long-term commitment to public safety, his proactive approach to growth and learning, and his willingness to engage with leadership to be a catalyst for industry improvement,” he said.

In addition, Wyatt has been married to his wife, Linda, for nearly as long as he’s gone without an accident (49 years).

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duluthnewstribune.comLast week, the University of Wisconsin-Superior hosted 20 Girl Scouts to teach them about the transportation industry and encourage them to consider careers in the typically male-dominated field. The Duluth News Tribune wrote about the outing, saying the Girl Scouts observed first-hand about five types of transportation jobs, including CDL trucking jobs.

“There’s this perception that the transportation industry is for males,” said Cassie Roemhildt, research associate at UWS. “We want to teach young girls that that isn’t the case, so we got involved with the Girl Scouts.”

Ellen Voie founded the Women in Trucking Association in 2007 and currently serves as the organization’s president.

“There aren’t a lot of role models for young women looking into transportation,” Voie said. “There isn’t a truck driver Barbie yet, but I’m working on it.”

The article says the girls started their day with a conversation with Voie in her capacity as a female truck driver.

“We want to introduce these opportunities before girls make their career decisions,” Voie said. “Otherwise, women don’t tend to think of themselves in a truck.”

The Girl Scouts then toured a retired freighter to learn about the shipping industry and explored the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. They ended their day in the cab of a Halvor Lines semi-truck and learning about aerodynamics with paper airplanes.

By the time the day was ending, the girls were putting transportation into the context of their own lives.

“We’re Girl Scouts, we do Girl Scout cookies,” said Emily Schaefer, 11. “Wheat starts at the farm and travels all the way to the factory. I think that’s cool. If we didn’t get the wheat, we wouldn’t get the Girl Scout cookies.”

Check out other Fun Friday stories from Drive My Way here and here.

Photo courtesy Duluth News Tribune

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Truck driver takes amazing photosIt’s not every day that people think of truck drivers as great photographers. But perhaps it’s time for that to change. From what we’ve seen at Drive My Way, many people with CDL driver jobs have quite an eye for the angles, scenes and life streaming through their windshields every day. It’s inspired us to launch this new monthly series, “Sharpshooters,” where we’ll highlight truck drivers who happen to be great photographers.

To get “Sharpshooters” started, we interviewed one of the best truck drivin’ photographers we know, Tempie Davie. Davie, who teams with her soul mate and best friend, Frank Tucker, is leased to Gulick Trucking out of Vancouver, Wash. In this exclusive Drive My Way interview, she discusses why she shoots, her inspiration, and how others with CDL trucking jobs can take quality shots.

Truck driver takes amazing picturesWhy do you shoot?

Because I love it. Time passes so quickly, I want to remember it all. The sun may never hit that barn the same way again. You may never see a rainbow that big and bright again.

It allows me to hold onto the things that will never happen again. It also allows my friends and family to travel with me, to hopefully feel the excitement of the moment.

What inspires you?

Everything! I love finding beauty in the ordinary. For example, some people see an old barn. However, I see the lines, the light, the stories of generations long gone.

Others see an old pair of doll shoes. However, I see a little girl trying to remember where she left them and crying because her baby’s feet are cold. Furthermore, some people see just a flower. However, I see the elderly widow, wishing for just one more bouquet. Overall, it’s the story, real or imagined, that inspires me.

Truck driver takes amazing pictures

Springtime in the Gorge

What is your favorite subject to shoot?

Oh, how would I ever choose? There is beauty wherever I look. If I have to pick just one, I’d have to say the Columbia River Gorge.

It’s my home, and the beauty is ever changing. Just a shift in the light or a change in season and everything looks different. You have to experience it for yourself.

Truck driver takes amazing picturesHow did you get into photography?

My parents bought me my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, when I was 8 years old. I was hooked! At 10, I got a Polaroid.

How fun was that to see the pictures instantly! My next camera was a Ricoh 35 millimeter, I was in heaven. I took pictures of everything. Then life happened, two kids, an alcoholic husband, work and a drug addiction. Photography took a back seat. I got my life together, raised my children and started thinking about pictures again. Before, I lost my camera to the disease of addiction, so I started taking pictures with my phone. Instantly, I was hooked again. I got my first DSLR camera for Christmas. I’m enjoying learning how to use it!

What worthy tips can you give other drivers who like shooting from the road?

If you are shooting on the fly, a fast shutter speed is your best bet. If you use a cell phone, find the manual settings for the camera on it and play with them. Learn what they do. Learn to read the light and adjust the exposure accordingly. Most importantly, just have fun. Shoot what moves you.

Truck driver takes amazing picturesWhat should a picture do?

A picture should transport the viewers to another place and time. It should convey a feeling, tell a story, record a memory. I want people to feel what I felt, wonder what I wondered and imagine the stories of the people who lived in that old house. I want my pictures to make you smile, cry, think and most of all, experience life through my eyes.

All photos by Tempie Davie. See her photos on Facebook here.

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Think you’re too busy with work to get out and explore this summer? Think again, truck drivers. That reasoning isn’t going to fly this summer. That’s because American Truck Business Services (ATBS) has released its Truck Driver’s Summer Recreation Guide, and it’s jam-packed with fun activities people with CDL driver jobs can enjoy while on the road. The best part? It’s available for download right now.

“This guide includes over 40 pages of restaurants, games, attractions and more that you can enjoy while on the road this summer,” writes ATBS.  “At ATBS, our goal is to be more than just a consulting, tax, and accounting company. Because we were founded by a trucking family, we understand what it means to live the life that you do.”

A Great Summer Guide for Those with CDL Driver Jobs

That’s right, ATBS was founded by those with a history of CDL trucking jobs. With the summer guide for people with CDL sriver jobs, the company strives to “deliver a richer life” to its clients.

The purpose of this book is to help bring balance and enjoyment into your life. We know that being a truck driver is hard. You drive for hours on end, and you may spend weeks away from home and your family. With this guide, we hope to spark some ideas for ways you can still enjoy the beautiful American summer.”

Click here to have the summer recreation guide emailed to you for free.

Find the best CDL trucking job for you. Register today. It’s free!

How to Protect Yourself from the Sun Over the Road as a Truck Driver 

Download the complete guide for 5 easy tips for sun protection while on the road.

Download the Guide Now

timesfreepress.com

Covenant Transport, one of the largest trucking companies hiring in the United States, celebrated a landmark anniversary this month, its 30th year in the industry. Covenant feted the occasion in style on the grounds of its Chattanooga, Tenn., headquarters. The Chattanooga Times Free Press was on hand to cover the event.

A carnival was gearing up in the tractor lot outside Covenant Transportation Group headquarters. A band tuned its instruments. Funnel cake batter dropped into searing grease. And David Parker, chairman of the trucking company he founded in 1986, was busy at work. But he welcomed the chance to talk a few minutes about the significance of the milestone.

“Thirty years,” he said. “I’m 30 years older.” He flashed a big smile and leaned back in his chair.

Parker was raised in the trucking industry by longhaul trucking pioneer Clyde Fuller. Parker and his half-brother, Max Fuller, worked for Fuller in their youth, coming up in the business.

That was in the 1970s and ’80s. In the mid-’80s, Clyde Fuller left his company, Southwest Motor Freight, to his boys. They eventually sold the company. After the sale, Parker, a devout Christian, felt a calling to start Covenant Transport. So in 1986, he did. His half-brother Max Fuller, along with Pat Quinn, started U.S. Xpress Enterprises the same year in Chattanooga. All three inherited trucks from Southwest Motor Freight.

“We were 28 years old when we started this sucker,” Parker said of himself and his wife, Jacqueline.

Covenant has grown a lot since then. How will Covenant evolve in the next 30 years? Time will tell.

Read the rest of the Chattanooga Times Free Press story here.

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One WomenAt age 73, Veronica Longwith has four grandchildren and a great-grandchild. And yet, at a time in life when others are winding down, she’s revving up—again.

Longwith already had held a CDL trucking job from 1987-1992, as she told The Chattanoongan website. Now she’s excited to return to driving all these years later.

“My first time around, I found a local company out of Chattanooga that offered training for truck drivers,” she said. “With me raising a young daughter at the time, I found it easiest to take their weekend classes all day Saturday and Sunday for three months.” On the last day of class, Ms. Longwith got her license and was ready to begin orientation with Reeves Transportation in Calhoun, Ga.

For five years, Longwith hauled carpet and flooring for Reeves—from Dalton, Ga., across the United States.

“I loved every minute of it,” she said. But, it was family that saw Ms. Longwith take her hiatus from a career she enjoyed and concentrate her efforts on caring for her only brother. “Gerard got very sick and I needed to stay closer to home and take care of him when he really needed some help,” she said.

Her brother passed away, and Longwith rejoined the workforce as a business owner.

But deep down, the open road called her back to a CDL trucking job.

She made the decision to return to commercial truck driving 24 years after her first stint as a big rig driver. Married once before, the now single senior had nothing but time and the open road ahead of her. So, this past winter, she enrolled in Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s ten-week Commercial Truck Driving program in Walker County, Ga.

When asked what her family thought of this decision to be a commercial truck driver one more time, it was her son who was first to find out. “I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it,” she said. “He happened to see me on the highway one morning and saw me pull into the main entrance for GNTC. That’s when I realized that I’d need to tell him. He wasn’t happy about my decision. But, I’m really happy about it.”

Longwith tells others striving for CDL trucking jobs that they need a passion for driving or they won’t last long in the business.

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