DAC Report
When you have an accident or fail an inspection, all drivers know that there are consequences. What you may not realize is that those records can follow you for years after an incident occurs! Future employers 2 years down the road can (and almost certainly will) be looking at your PSP and DAC records. As a driver, your record reflects your professional skills. Make sure you know exactly what is on the record. If you see a PSP or DAC report error, take steps to correct it as soon as possible.

Why dispute a PSP or DAC Error?

PSP reports and DAC errors might sound like unnecessary jargon and an entire alphabet soup of regulations, but don’t lose track of them. These two little acronyms play a big role when it comes time to find your next job. The Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) report includes your crash and inspection history. On the other hand, the DAC report is basically a credit report for truckers

Many employers will look at both of these reports before hiring a new driver, so you want to make sure that you have a good record. If you think there has been a mistake on your CSA or DAC report, take time to set the record straight. It could be the difference between getting your next job or not. 

How to Dispute a PSP Error

CDL truckDrivers can dispute PSP errors electronically. The PSP records are federal and the FMCSA manages the database. The record includes every driver’s 3 year crash history and 5 year inspection history. The website to check your record or file a dispute is called the DataQ program, but it manages PSP records. Drivers can visit the website and create a profile or login if you already have one.

Once you create the profile, it’s easy to submit a complaint through the same website. You can also view your existing record for $10. Ultimately, it’s a driver’s responsibility to ensure that the PSP record is accurate and free of errors, so make sure you know exactly what carriers will see. $10 is a small price to pay for peace of mind going into a job interview!

How to Dispute a DAC Error

Like the PSP reports, DAC records can be requested electronically. However, unlike PSP reports, DAC records are not managed by a federal organization. A private, third party company called HireRight manages DAC records. While it’s not mandatory, the vast majority of large carriers use HireRight as part of their verification process for new hires. 

As a driver, you have the right to know exactly what’s on the DAC report. HireRight offers drivers one free report for themselves. You can request a copy on their website. Their website also allows drivers to electronically dispute a claim if they believe there was a mistake. If you want to reach out by phone, you can find complete contact information for HireRight in this article from CDLLife.

Correcting a PSP or DAC error can make a big difference in hiring conversations. If you get a copy of your records and notice that something is wrong, correct it as quickly as possible. Fortunately, with PSP and DAC records now being stored online, a quick internet message will get you back on track. Disputing errors that are then cleared gives you a better chance of being hired and makes sure there are no surprises when you go into an interview. 

STAY UPDATED ON INDUSTRY TRENDS AND BEST PRACTICES

Join our community of over 150,000 drivers who receive our updates.

On the road safety isn’t just about driving practices. Maintenance of your semi truck tires boosts fuel economy and can improve the tires’ lifespans. Keeping your semi truck tires in good shape doesn’t have to take a lot of time. A little bit of regular maintenance goes a long way and can save you from long hours waiting and a headache on the side of the road!

Understanding Your Tires

The first step to proper tire care is to understand your sidewall. Did you know that everything you need to know about loading capacity and speed ratings is printed on the tire? Here’s a quick guide to your sidewall.

Most of the information on your sidewall won’t affect your day to day work. However, when the time comes to replace a tire, or you’re deciding whether a load might exceed your truck’s capacity, these little markings have everything you need!

Tire Regulations

To maintain safety on the road and stay within code for your semi truck tires, there are several numbers to know. The first is for tread depth. The FMCSA and CVSA have different tread requirements, and drivers must stay within the limits of both. For the FMCSA, the minimum tread depth for a steer tire is 4/32 of an inch on every major tread groove. Drive and trailer tires must have at least 2/32 of an inch tread depth in every major groove. The CVSA measures differently. For the CVSA, no two adjacent tread grooves on a steer tire can have a depth of less than 2/32 of an inch. For all other tires, the tread depth must be at least 1/32 of an inch when measured in adjacent grooves. Trucks that fail CVSA minimums will be placed out of service while FMCSA violations may result in citations.

In addition to FMCSA and CVSA regulations, the CSA issues tire scores. These scores are part of “Vehicle Maintenance” on the BASICs assessment. The data on these scorecards comes from roadside inspections, and tire violations can carry a lot of weight. According to Tire Review, 8 point violations include:

  • “Flat tire or exposed fabric
  • Ply or belt material exposed
  • Tread or sidewall separation
  • Tread depth
  • Audible air leak
  • Cut exposing ply or belt material”

Also, several of the 3 point violations include:

  • “Using regrooved tires (on front of truck/truck-tractor)
  • Underinflated tires
  • Tire load weight rating”

Tire violations can really add up on your CSA. Keep close track of your CSA and MVR score and be prepared to answer questions any time you change jobs. It’s important to remember that failing an inspection and being put “out of service” are not the same thing. A tire can fail the FMCSA standards while still meeting the CVSA requirements. In that case, you will likely get a violation on your record, but the vehicle won’t be put out of service. 

Best Practices

The best way to avoid tire violations is through regular inspections and maintenance. Measure tread depth to make sure it meets FMCSA and CVSA regulations. Also, look closely for early signs of tire wear. Cracks, bulges, foreign objects (like rocks or glass shards) are warning signs to watch for according to USDOT’s Tire Safety Tips. If you notice any of these problems, let your mechanic know as soon as possible. 

We spoke with owner operator Trucker Marq who shared this tip on the importance of tire maintenance:

As you inspect your tires, take a moment to gauge the inflation pressure. Make sure to do this before you drive while the wheels are cold. Overinflated tires will wear excessively on the center tire treads. An underinflated tire will wear on the outside tire treads and can lead to internal structural damage.

Finally, we recommend regular check-ups with a technician for your tires. As a driver, you can identify any obvious external signs of damage. A technician will inspect not just your tires, but also everything connected to them. A well-maintained rig will help make sure your semi truck tires are up to the job every time.

truck driver at loading dock

Find a CDL Driving Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

Moffett forklift on truck
If you’ve ever had to load or unload heavy construction materials at your CDL job, you know it’s not a light load. That’s where a Moffett forklift comes in. They’re easier to maneuver than a crane and can get in smaller spaces. These powerful little lifts are also compact. Moffett forklifts attach to the back of your truck so you can easily take them between job sites. These machines aren’t very big, but they pack a lot of power!

What is a Mounted Moffett Forklift?

Drivers use mounted Moffett forklifts to unload construction and other heavy materials. Many CDL drivers won’t use Moffett forklifts at all. However, for some drivers, they’re an everyday machine. Mounted Moffett Forklifts fit on the back of trucks for travelusually flatbed or straight trucks. The forklift detaches from the truck for easy loading and unloading. Drivers haul heavy materials to their worksite and then use the forklifts to unload from the bed of the truck. You might also hear these forklifts called “piggyback forklifts” because they piggyback on the end of trucks when moving between sites. 

Austin, CDL Driver With Moffett Forklift Experience

If you’re new to operating a Moffett Forklift, truck driver Austin offers this advice:

“The first and foremost, seatbelt, and when you are on it take your time and go slow and always keep your head on a swivel looking around you to make sure you are not going to hit something or someone.”

Moffett Forklifts have several advantages for drivers who work with heavy materials. They are smaller and more nimble than cranes, so maneuverability in small spaces is better. Moffett Forklifts also frequently have 90-degree tire rotation. That allows drivers to pull right up to the side of their truck, lift materials off, and move the load with much less awkward maneuvering. For drivers working with heavy construction materials, Moffett Forklifts are a big advantage.

About the Job

If you’re thinking about taking a Moffett Forklift job, here are the basics to keep in mind.

CDL License

If you don’t already have one, you’ll need a Commercial Driving License (CDL) to operate a truck with a Moffett Forklift. Whether you need a CDL A or CDL B may depend on the type of truck you’re driving. The best way to decide what license type you need is to look for jobs in your area and see what they’re asking for. Some companies also require additional certifications to drive a Moffett Forklift. Depending on your state and company, you might need a forklift, hoisting, or hydraulics certification. 

Route & Pay

Moffett Forklift drivers often operate flatbed or straight trucks on local routes. As a result, many drivers are home every night. Some positions are also off evenings and weekends, but that depends a lot on your specific job.

Moffett Forklift jobs are often paid hourly. If you work more than 40 hours per week, that usually means you’ll earn overtime.

Like many local jobs, Moffett Forklift jobs are often paid hourly or weekly. The good news is, there’s usually overtime after 40 hours. So, if you do end up pulling long hours, you’ll be well compensated for your time. 

Personality Fit

A good trucking job isn’t just about having the skills to get the job done. There’s also a level of personality fit with the job and with the company. Moffett Forklift jobs often have some customer interaction. When drivers deliver to a job site, you might be working directly with customers. If you like to be a jack of all trades, these could be great jobs for you. Moffett forklift drivers may be asked to do related tasks that go beyond strictly operating the truck of the forklift.

This is a good job for drivers who like working with people and are happy to have a little variety in their day.

If you’re thinking about taking a job that uses a Moffett Forklift, that’s a great choice! Depending on the job, you may need to look into extra licensing, but being able to operate a forklift is a great skill to have. Moffett Forklifts make heavy lifting a breeze, and they don’t take too long to learn how to operate. If you’re still undecided, check out Moffett Forklift jobs in your area and see if they’re a good fit for you!

truck driver at loading dock

Find a Moffett Forklift Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

buying a semi truck
Buying a semi truck is a big decision. What exactly are the most important criteria? Should you buy new or used? How can you know if it’s really a reliable vehicle? If you’re thinking about taking the leap to become an owner operator or you’re expanding your fleet, read this list before you buy your next truck.

1. Know Your Specifications and Preferences

The first step for serious semi truck buyers is to know your specifications. Consider what types of loads you want to haul, and find out exactly what your minimum specifications are. Then, don’t even look at trucks that don’t meet those specifications. If you’re not confident in the specifications you will need in your rig, find other drivers in similar roles. Ask them what has worked for them. Verify that the specifications that you’ve seen online are really enough to get the job done. 

Once you’ve met your minimum specifications for your haul type, it’s time to be realistic for yourself. Do you have any strong tractor preferences on vehicle type or features? While there may be some features you will ultimately sacrifice for cost, it’s important to know your personal “need-to-haves.” You’re going to spend a lot of time in this truck, so don’t waste your money on something you don’t love!

2. Decide New vs. Used

There are pros and cons to both new and used trucks. The choice between the two depends a lot on your needs and preferences as a driver

We spoke with Alessandra Szul, President of Flatbush Freight Express about buying new vs. used trucks, and she shared that their decision is based heavily on whether they are financing the truck.

“If we aren’t, we typically buy used trucks that have less than 300,000 miles on them (nothing older than 2016) and a flawless maintenance record. It allows us to scale more, hire more drivers, and still have very reliable units that we can easily own outright. If we were financing, we’d go with a new truck.”

Her bottom line? “We tend to find that in the tier of trucks we purchase, we have the same level of repairs and maintenance, new or used.” Ultimately, there are pros and cons to both paths. It’s important to choose the option that allows you to stay financially stable in the short and long term while meeting your goals.

New Trucks

A new truck is arguably a more reliable initial investment. Since you are the first owner, you know the vehicle’s history. The seller will give you detailed information on the vehicle before you decide whether to buy the truck. Also, new trucks won’t require significant replacement parts or maintenance for a while. They may also come with a factory warranty to see you through the first little while of truck ownership. If there is a factory warranty, make sure to read the fine print closely to know exactly what is and is not covered. The biggest downside of a new truck (and it’s no small thing) is cost. New trucks are considerably more expensive than used trucks. For some drivers, the peace of mind may be worth it, but many drivers look for a reliable used truck to reduce the cost. 

Used Trucks

new or used semi truck

The alternative to a new truck is a used truck. Used trucks are less expensive and can be a great option, but pay close attention to details when buying a semi truck. First and foremost, buy from a reputable source. Reputable dealerships should be able to show complete records for the dealer. Individual owner operators looking to sell a truck can also work well, but we recommend only buying from a trusted driver who you know well. In either case, it’s a good idea to talk to the truck’s previous drivers if possible. They know the truck better than anyone else.

When we asked Alessandra about her criteria for buying used trucks, she shared this advice:

If you’re going used, MAKE SURE you’re buying an extended warranty that INCLUDES critical components coverage. READ the warranties, so you’ll never have any surprises! Also, we recommend going with a certified pre-owned that used to be part of a huge corporate fleet. They usually take care of their vehicles really well and have great records. Ask what hasn’t been replaced, what has been replaced…”

She went on to say that, “The biggest tip, is to spend the extra money to get a 3rd party to do an independent inspection and ask for a copy of it. Don’t just take the dealer’s word for it, no matter how “big” of a dealer they are.” Spending a little extra for the peace of mind of a fair and honest inspection is well worth the cost. If you’re able to get a full vehicle history and the inspection comes back clean, you probably have a great rig on your hands at a fraction of the “new” price.

Test the Truck

Before you walk off the lot with a new semi truck, make sure you test the truck. You know what a good truck sounds like. Start the engine and do a thorough inspection as you look and listen for anything that seems out of order. Take the truck out for a test drive. Does it handle smoothly? Is there anything in the movement of the cab that could be a sign of trouble below?

Trucker Style Shawn

Trucker Style Shawn

We spoke with Trucker Style Shawn, a truck driver and now fleet owner, and he shared his advice for what to look at before buying a semi truck:

“Get an oil sample so you know you are getting a healthy motor. Look at the wiring…And last the little things like brakes, valves and ware items all add up, so take that into consideration before buying.”

Just as important as truck performance is comfort. Spend some time in the cab. Is it a good fit for you? Is it comfortable enough to spend thousands of hours in? Be honest with yourself about comfort. You might be able to compromise on some features if everything else looks good, but a truck that is not comfortable is not a good investment.

4. Know When to Walk Away, and Know When to Run

If you’re buying a semi truck, you might not buy the first (or even the 10th!) truck that you look at. Be patient. An investment this big is worth taking your time on. Do your research ahead of time, and create a list of your most important features, specifications, and your price range before you visit a vehicle. This list will keep your priorities front and center – an important thing when you’re tempted by a nice-looking vehicle that doesn’t meet your criteria. 

Trucker Style Shawn left us with this great advice:

“Make sure the truck is ready and able to be driven on the road without worries of failing a dot inspection. Remember your livelihood is dictated by the truck, if it isn’t healthy your pockets won’t be.”

At the end of the day, you have to choose the truck that’s right for you. Walk away from anything that doesn’t meet your needs. On the other hand, when you find a reliable rig that meets your needs and has a great history, you’re ready to buy! That’s a great truck.

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Find Owner Operator Jobs

We help owner operators match to companies that meet their professional qualifications and personal lifestyle preferences.

Find a Job Today

ready mix driver

There aren’t many jobs where you can say that you are literally building your community from the ground up. As a ready mix driver, that’s exactly what you’ll do. Ready mix drivers work with cement or concrete and spend most of their day outside. These drivers work with a wide variety of customers, and you can see the proof of their hard work in the buildings that form the heart of every community.

What is a Ready Mix Driver?

Marcus, Driver with PAHL Ready Mix Concrete

The main job of a ready mix driver is to deliver concrete or cement to a job site. That job site could be for a residential home or a commercial building depending on your company and the clients they serve. Ready mix drivers work in a wide range of employment situations. They may work for a concrete contractor, as an independent contractor, or as part of a concrete delivery service. In most cases, drivers will be responsible for loading and unloading, so this is a labor-intensive job, but don’t let that scare you away.

We spoke with Marcus, a Ready Mix driver with PAHL Ready Mix Concrete, and he shared this about why he loves his work:

“I firmly believe being a Ready Mix driver is the backbone of America. Not only due to the truck driving aspect of it but the way concrete contractors and our Ready Mix drivers get to Concrete the world.”

 Ready mix jobs can be a good fit for drivers who have experience as well as drivers just getting started in trucking. 

Job Requirements

To get started as a ready mix driver, you will need a license and experience. Ready mix drivers must have a CDL A or B license depending on the job. In addition, employers typically look for experience in similar jobs such as tanker and liquid hauling when possible. Experience with automotive maintenance is also a plus because ready mix trucks require more cleaning than many other types of trucks. 

Requirements for ready mix drivers don’t stop with driving experience and licensing. There are a few distinct personality traits that are very important for this haul type. Given the amount of labor required for loading and unloading, a high level of physical fitness is a must. Similarly, a strong work ethic is extremely important for ready mix drivers. Employers want drivers they can rely on who know how to overcome obstacles and will work hard to get the job done. 

Pros

Pay & Route

Ready mix jobs typically pay well. This is particularly true considering that many positions only ask for a CDL B license.  Many (but not all) ready mix jobs are paid hourly. If you’re looking to bring in some extra pay, ready mix jobs in the heavy season are a great way to do it. 

PAHL Ready Mix Truck

Marcus’s Ready Mix Truck

Ready Mix Driver Marcus also shared his perspective on his typical routine:

“Mixer drivers get to see it all, start to finish of big and small projects. Plus be outside hauling quality concrete to many different job locations and contractors. Mixer drivers get to haul something different to someone different on a daily basis.”

Ready mix jobs are a great mix of job consistency and new people and places to meet as you deliver loads.

Customer Interaction

If you’re a social driver, ready mix jobs might be perfect for you. Depending on your customers and routes, you may have a high level of customer interaction. As a result, strong customer service skills are a huge plus for ready mix drivers. Ready mix drivers will often return regularly to the same construction site, so drivers who can build lasting relationships with customers are extremely valuable.

Job Satisfaction

Trucking is about having pride in your ride. Ready mix driving is no different. In this job, drivers get the satisfaction of knowing that you helped build something. Before you came, there was nothing. When your work is done, you have created something that will have a lasting impact on your community. There aren’t many jobs that can truly say that.

Cons

Job Seasonality

The nature of concrete work means that ready mix jobs are highly seasonal. Depending on where you live and the weather conditions there, the length of the season varies. 

As ready mix driver Marcus puts it:

“[Mixers are] working together in all weather and worksite environments that’s thrown at them to accomplish the end result.”

At the day to day level, ready mix drivers have to be prepared to work outdoors in a range of weather conditions. 

Schedule

Ready mix drivers don’t sleep in. Most days will start early in the morning, so 6:00 AM start times are not out of the question. Most drivers get used to this routine pretty quickly, but if mornings aren’t your thing, ready mix work will be a challenge.

Job Physicality

ready mix truck unloadingFrom loading and unloading to cleaning the truck, ready mix drivers have to be in top physical shape. A lot of labor is required from these drivers. In addition to loading and unloading, ready mix drivers are responsible for cleaning and maintenance. Because concrete can harden in the trucks, drivers must carefully clean their truck at the end of every shift. On a good day, this might be primarily hose work, but tough concrete slabs might require drivers to chip away until the pieces come off. Ready mix drivers must be in top physical condition.

Finding Ready Mix Jobs

One of the best places to look for ready mix jobs is in your community. Most ready mix jobs are local work, so a drive around town or a call to ready mix companies in your area are great places to start. To find a job that is a great fit for your qualifications and personal lifestyle preferences, you can also check out Drive My Way. We match qualified drivers with companies that fit each driver’s specific priorities.

truck driver at loading dock

Find a Ready Mix Driving Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

trucking insurance for owner operators

There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to trucking insurance for owner operators. You’ll have different insurance options available based on your haul type, range, level of experience, and driving record. Also, insurance requirements vary by state, so be sure to review your state’s regulations for your specific haul type and needs. We spoke with several trucking insurance experts, and they shared their top tips for choosing insurance as an owner operator.

What Types of Insurance Do Owner Operators Need?

The exact trucking insurance that you will need as an owner operator will vary. The best thing to do is talk to an insurance retailer that specializes in trucking insurance. They will be able to give you details on your specific situation. That said, here are a few basic insurance types to know:

Liability Insurance

Primary liability insurance covers damage to the tractor or trailer, and most owner operators need a minimum of $750,000 in coverage. That number will go up if you’re hauling hazmat or other riskier loads. Adding physical damage coverage to liability coverage can protect against potholes, weather conditions, and similar damage.

Cargo Coverage

Cargo coverage protects the goods that you haul. In the event of an accident, you need to know that the load you’re carrying is covered. Cargo coverage is specific to owner operators who are running under their own authority.

Non-Trucking-Liability (NTL) & Bobtail Coverage

If you are an owner operator who is running under a company’s authority, you will need NTL and Bobtail coverage. NTL covers drivers when they use their truck for non-businesses purposes such as a stop at the grocery store or an outing with friends. Bobtail policies also cover drivers who are returning from a deadhead load while still under dispatch.

David Zahm, Director of New Business at Robley Insurance

If you are partnering with a specific company, David Zahm, Director of New Business at Robley Insurance, encourages owner operators to do their research:

“I would encourage an owner operator to vet a company they’re going to work with. …Ask the trucking company directly, ‘I’d like to see a copy of your CAB report.’”

That information is powerful for drivers. You have to protect your own safety record, and a company with a poor CAB report is a huge red flag.

Passenger Accident Coverage

Passenger accident coverage provides insurance protection for guest passengers in your vehicle. While your passengers may not be part of the nuts and bolts of operating your truck, people are one of the most valuable assets in life. Passenger Accident Coverage helps give you peace of mind when you have someone else in the truck with you.

What Factors Affect Insurance Prices?

Trucking insurance for owner operators varies greatly. The level of insurance coverage that you need will affect pricing, but there are several other factors as well.

Joy LaFrance, Chief Underwriting Officer for One80 Intermediaries

CDL experience plays a big role in being approved for trucking insurance and pricing. According to One80 Intermediaries’ Chief Underwriting Officer, Joy LaFrance, underwriters want to see a minimum of 3 years of CDL experience and a CDL license in the state that you operate. Drivers with less than 3 years of experience may have a hard time finding insurance from a retailer that specializes in transportation. Underwriters and insurance retailers need evidence of a clean driving record and good business management.

One80 Intermediaries’ Chief Underwriting Officer, Joy LaFrance, noted:

“Preferred programs don’t typically take anyone that’s new in business less than 3 years unless they have 5 years prior experience. So the pricing for the first 2 to 3 years could be astronomical until they have proof that their loss history is good, that they are maintaining driver files, and that they are maintaining their vehicle.”

Jeff Ice, Transportation Practice Leader for Risk Strategies

Jeff Ice, the retired Transportation Practice Leader for Risk Strategies, confirmed:

“The only thing that really gives an underwriter some comfort as to what they’re going to insure is experience. So, if there’s no experience, yes there are places you can get insurance, but you’re going to pay the piper.”

An owner operator’s driving record is another factor. A good safety record is critical. Insurance carriers will look at inspection records, hours of service violations, driver fitness tests, logbook violations, and truck maintenance records among other things. They may also look for proper signage and safety features on your vehicle like fog lamps or deer guards.

A final determining factor on insurance price is down payment. If you are able to pay the insurance premium in full, insurance carriers may discount the total cost. The full lump sum is a big upfront cost, but it’s usually cheaper overall.

What Will Your Carrier Provide?

If you are an owner operator partnering with a single carrier or are a lease purchase driver, that carrier may offer insurance. If they do, read the fine print closely to decide whether it is the best option for you.

Ask questions to understand what is and is not covered. The insurance may not cover you while you are not operating under that company’s authority. That includes the time you may be working with other companies or traveling home when you are off duty. In addition, make sure that the carrier offers coverage levels that meet your specific insurance needs. Insufficient coverage will impact your eligibility to haul certain types of freight and can affect your bottom line. When asked about carrier insurance, Chief Underwriting Officer Joy LaFrance shared this:

“When they’re operating under the authority of someone else, what happens is, if [owner operators] leave and decide ‘I’m going to go on my own now,’ they have no history. So they basically are starting over. Unless I can get the data from that motor carrier, with all the claims, by driver, there’s no way to actually assess [owner operator] history.”

LaFrance added that when drivers use a carrier’s equipment and, “are only asked to get a non-trucking liability or bobtail liability, that does not count as primary insurance. We can’t use your non-trucking or bobtail liability for proof that you had no incidents.”

To decide if insurance through a carrier is right for you, think about your future goals. Will you keep expanding your business? Will you eventually run under your own authority and need a good insurance record? If so, you may do better with an insurance plan that is independent of any carriers so you can prove your record.

Where Can You Find Providers?

The best insurance retailers for owner operators specialize in transportation. A generalist won’t necessarily understand all the nuances that you need for the job. Shop around for both price and good coverage. If you are a new owner operator, you may have to rely on generalized national insurance carriers. When possible though, look for specific trucking insurance retailers.

Risk Strategies’ Jeff Ice offered this suggestion:

“As an owner operator just getting into the business, my first phone call would probably be to [OOIDA]. They would be able to turn you on to how to get your authority, do you need your own authority…[They] will be able to give you a lot of direction.”

One of the best ways to find a top trucking insurance policy is to ask owner operators! Find out where they get insurance and what they like or don’t like. There’s nothing better than a firsthand account, and other drivers aren’t trying to sell you on anything. An experienced owner operator is one of the best places to get suggestions.

Robley Insurance’s David Zahm left us with this advice for sustainable growth:

“You’ve got to start one [truck] at a time, and build slowly. … [If you try to grow too quickly,] you’ll end up with a distressed insurance company, and their rates are astronomical, which shrink your margins down…If somebody wants to run a trucking company the right way, then there’s a way to do it, and they have a chance to be very successful.”

Becoming an owner operator is an exciting step, and trucking insurance is a key part of that transition. Successful owner operators build slowly toward long-term goals and focus on sustainable growth. That’s an investment in yourself worth making.

truck driver at loading dock

Find an Owner Operator Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

Best truck driving jobs
You have two job offers on the table. Which is one of the best truck driving jobs?

Job 1: ABC Trucking

ABC Trucking is hiring OTR drivers out of Wichita, KS. Drivers get 3 flex days off every 15 days and earn $0.45 CPM. Drivers average 2,500 miles per week. ABC Trucking offers full benefits that start immediately and a $1,500 retention bonus for drivers who stay at least 1 year. 

Job 2: Jack’s Trucking

Jack’s Trucking is hiring OTR drivers out of Wichita, KS. Drivers are home for 2 days every 2 weeks. Drivers earn $0.53 CPM and average 2,000 miles per week. Jack’s Trucking offers benefits starting after 90 days and they provide a $1000 sign-on bonus.

Which job would you take?

ABC Trucking offers a lower CPM, but more miles. In a year, a driver with ABC Trucking would earn $56,250 and benefits start immediately! On the other hand, Jack’s Trucking offers higher CPM, but fewer miles and benefits starting after 90 days. Typical annual pay would come to $53,000. Even beyond base pay, if you stay with your company for at least a year, ABC Trucking offers the higher bonus. Similarly, even though 3 flex days for every 15 on the road isn’t the most common format, 3 days off out of 15 is a better offer than 2 days off out of every 14. ABC Trucking offers higher total compensation.

The best truck driving jobs have a strong total compensation package. That includes direct and indirect forms of compensation. If you turn down a job because the CPM is a few cents lower than your expectations, you might be leaving money on the table! Consider the total compensation package before accepting a job offer. 

1. Direct Compensation

When you think of pay, many people are really talking about direct compensation. Direct compensation includes the pay that comes as dollars and cents. That said, it’s more than just your CPM or salary. Direct compensation also includes the money you earn from bonuses and savings programs. 

Base Pay

direct compensation

Base pay is the money you see in your paycheck. There are many different ways to get paid (CPM, salary, per load), but these base numbers don’t tell the whole story when it comes to compensation. Base pay also includes per diem if your company offers it. Even within base pay, it’s important to consider the bigger picture. If you’re paid in CPM, find out how many miles drivers average. Is there a minimum number of guaranteed miles? A high CPM rate does no good if you can’t get enough miles to pay the bills. 

Base pay makes up a large part of a total compensation package, but there are several other types of direct and indirect compensation to consider. 

Bonuses

Another common form of direct compensation is bonuses. Bonuses aren’t guaranteed money, but you’re likely to earn many in your time as a driver. Some of the most frequent bonuses offered are for recruitment, retention, referrals, performance, and safety. Some of the bonuses come upfront with no strings attached and others are dispersed over a period of time. In both cases, these bonuses make up a part of a total compensation package. 

Savings Programs

Savings programs are the third form of direct compensation.  For example, a 401k match from your company is a huge investment in your future! Even if you only put away a little money each year, your company will add to your savings. Not all companies offer 401k match programs, but any savings program will set you up for better finances down the road. 

2. Indirect Compensation

If you are reading CPMs and then deciding the pay is too low, you might be missing out! Base pay is important, but the highest base pay is not always the best job. Look for a job that gets you the pay you need AND compensates you in your time, benefits, and equipment. 

Home Time

indirect compensation

When you evaluate home time in a new job, there are three things to consider. The company is paying for your time, so this is part of your total compensation package. First, look at weekly home time. This will vary based on your run, but compared to similar positions, how do they stack up? Is the schedule consistent? Next, look at vacation time. If a company offers slightly lower CPM, but good, paid vacation, that could be a good offer. If you get paid vacation, that’s money you earn without rolling a single tire on the road. Finally, look at sick days.

Stay in the business long enough, and everyone will need to take a few sick days. Does your company offer paid sick days or do you have to take it out of other time off? These are all parts of your compensation that won’t show up if you only look at base pay.

Healthcare Benefits

Healthcare in the U.S. is expensive. The more your employer covers, the less your wallet takes a hit when you need medical care. Factor in whether your employer starts benefits right away or after a trial period. Similarly, does your employer offer any health and wellness benefits? Free gym memberships and smoking cessation programs are big health benefits that you won’t pay a dime for. 

If you think benefits aren’t much money compared to base salary, think again. On average, benefits cost the same as 31% of an employee’s salary. To put it in perspective, a driver who is paid a $50,000 base salary essentially earns $65,000 when benefits are included. For an $80,000 salary, the total compensation number jumps to $104,800. As a driver, you don’t see that money in your paycheck, but it would be a huge out-of-pocket cost if you were responsible for it. Medical benefits are a big part of total compensation.

Equipment

The equipment you drive is also a consideration for total compensation. Newer and well-maintained equipment keeps you moving and makes sure you get the miles you need. In any recruitment conversation, ask about the make, model, and year of the truck you would be driving. It’s also a good idea to ask about an EZ Pass and fuel card. Even cab perks such as radio and ride-along programs have value. None of these perks make up for terrible base pay, but they are worth considering as a part of total compensation. After you talk to a recruiter, make sure to do your own research too. Check the CSA scores of carriers to see how they prioritize safety and equipment maintenance, and make sure they measure up.

3. Company Culture

happy coworkersWhy are the most important things in life so hard to put a number on? There are no numbers to talk about the value of your family or pride in a job well done. Company culture is like that. Company culture isn’t part of total compensation, but the best truck driving jobs all have a good company culture. Drivers are respected and value for the critical work they do. That shows up in everything from pay to home time to how drivers and dispatchers interact. Find a company that respects your work and time, and you’ll find a job worth keeping. 

In her DriverReach interview, NTI’s Leah Shaver said it best:

“If you ask a professional driver, they will tell you pay is not the most important factor, respect is. Ask them to define how they could be shown more respect and they’ll list a number of variables related to their paycheck. Compensation is arm-in-arm with the most important factors at any job. It is the ‘handshake agreement’ that often leads a driver to accept a new position and encourages them to remain in with the company. If the pay, benefits, and company culture is there to support and engage the driver, they will stay focused and retained at their employer.”

When you look for your next CDL job, focus on total compensation and strong company culture. The best truck driving jobs have both. Those are the jobs that are worth your time.

truck driver at loading dock

Find a Truck Driving Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

moving violations
Moving violations are the gift that keeps on giving. Of course, safe driving practices are the best solution, but violations happen. If you have violations on your motor vehicle record (MVR) or Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), there are steps you should take before your next job interview. Don’t get caught by surprise by a violation you didn’t know was on your record. Here’s what you need to know to keep your record in top shape. 

What is a Moving Violation?

A moving violation is quite simply a violation that occurs while the vehicle is in use. This most often means when the vehicle is actually in motion, but there are some moving violations that can occur with a stopped vehicle as well. 

MVR vs. PSP

When you are preparing for a CDL job change, it’s a good idea to check both your MVR and your PSP. They are not the same thing, and employers are likely to check both before moving forward with an in-person or virtual interview. Here are the basic differences:

Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP)
Includes violation from a specific state Comes from a federal database and includes FMCSA violations
Only includes violation convictions. Length of history displayed varies by state Has ALL safety violations cited to a driver with 5 years of crash history and 3 years of roadside inspection history
Citations, warnings, and unsettled tickets will NOT appear Citations may appear even if there was no ticket given
Only contains data from the driver’s CDL issued in that particular state Includes data from any CDL numbers a driver has held in the past 5 years, regardless of the state

There are some violations, such as a speeding ticket, that can appear on both an MVR and a PSP. In that situation, the violation is only counted once. Drivers are not double penalized. Both MVRs and PSPs use a point system to indicate a driver’s safety levels. Every violation is assigned a point value and may be weighted by how recently the violation occurred. Then, the point total gives an overall indicator of a driver’s safety record. For an MVR, the specific point values vary by state. PSPs are federally regulated. The bottom line? Low scores are better.

What Counts as a Violation

personal vehicle stopped by police

There is a wide range of things that can be safety violations. Everything from speeding tickets to CSA violations can show up on your record. Some offenses (like speeding 5 mph over the limit) will typically result in only a few points, while others (like an expired inspection sticker) can add quite a few points to your record. There are a few moving violations that can land you an automatic license suspension from the FMCSA. Excessive speeding, leaving the scene of an accident, Drunk Driving and Driving While Impaired (DWI), and criminal conduct are all serious violations that may disqualify you as a professional driver. 

One of the most important things to realize is that your MVR is not only impacted by your time operating a commercial vehicle. Any violations that you get while driving your personal vehicle will also show up on your professional record. 

If you see an incorrect citation on your MVR or PSP, you are able to contest it. For an MVR, a good place to start is with your employer. If you believe there is a mistake, they may be able to help correct your record. For a PSP change, use the FMCSA’s website to request a review of a specific citation. You can also ask your employer to advocate on your behalf. They also want their drivers to have clean records to keep CSA scores and insurance costs low.

Who Will See My Driving Record?

hiring manager review applicantsFuture employers are the most likely people to check your driving record. Any time you apply for a new job, you can put money on the fact that they’re checking your MVR and PSP. If you have too many violations on file, a company with a high CSA score might consider you too risky to bring on because they can’t afford more incidents. At the same time, a company with really low CSA scores might also say no because they want to keep their scores as strong as possible. 

As a driver, YOU can also check your MVR and PSP. And you should. Don’t get blindsided by an unexpected citation when you thought you had a clean record. It’s usually quick and cheap to get an MVR from your local DMV. You can get a copy of your PSP for $10 online. Looking at a copy of your MVR and PSP is the only way to be completely confident in what your future employer will see. It’s well worth your time.

If you do have violations on your MVR and PSP, don’t assume you are out of the running for a new job. Drive My Way Account Executive and former Hiring Manager, Kilie Erickson shared her perspective:

Kilie Erickson“If you have, for example, one preventable accident, it’s really about the driver’s response when being asked about it. Drivers that tend to have an excuse for everything are the ones that are really going to have a harder time getting in. It’s about taking responsibility for something that happened and demonstrating corrective action.”

If you made a mistake, take responsibility. The best drivers also share how they have changed their driving habits to make sure it doesn’t happen again. A good driver isn’t perfect, but they are safety-minded and focused on improvement.

truck driver at loading dock

Find a Truck Driving Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

best truck stopsTruck Stops. Love them, hate them. Everyone has their favorites. This is your time to set the record straight. We chose seven can’t-miss truck stops around the US. Help us declare the best truck stops to visit by casting your vote. There’s no truck stop that will ever beat the feeling of being home, but there are some truck stops that every trucker should see at least once. Which is your favorite?

 

What is the best truck stop in the US?

I-80 – Walcott, IA

Jubitz Travel Center – Portland, OR

Little America – Flagstaff, AZ

Trail’s Travel Center – Albert Lea, MN

Whiskey Pete’s – Primm, NV

Florida 595 – Davie, FL

Johnson’s Corner – Johnstown, CO

Created with Quiz Maker

 

1. I-80 (Walcott, IA)

I-80 Truck Stop

Beatrice Murch, Sourced from Wikipedia

As the world’s largest truck stop, I-80 is also one of the most famous truck stops in the United States. With 900 parking spots and 5,000 customers served every day, I-80 is basically a small town! Just about every trucker who passes through that area has their own stories of I-80. This truck stop goes far beyond a typical highway stop. Need a haircut? A chiropractor? Custom engraving? I-80 has it all. You can even see a dentist for that pesky toothache that won’t go away. Drivers love that I-80 is a one-stop-shop. Many drivers come through I-80 time and again. 

2. Jubitz Travel Center (Portland, OR)

Jubitz truck stop

Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian/OregonLive

If you find yourself running north near Portland, Oregon, you don’t want to miss Jubitz Travel Center. While not as large as I-80, drivers who find themselves at Jubitz Travel Center will be talking about it for days. They have 15 acres of parking, a dog wash, and showers AND jacuzzis (plus oversized towels). If you have a little time to spend, this is the place to kick back and relax for a little while. Check out their drivers’ lounge and grab a bite to eat at one of their delis or grills. You won’t be sorry!

3. Little America (Flagstaff, AZ)

Little America Truck Stop

Sourced from Pinterest

Flagstaff’s Little America is a sure crowd pleaser for drivers passing through the southwest. For drivers who want a well-deserved night of sleep in a nice hotel, Little America has it covered. They have a delicious hot grill and deli, and you can get anything else you need at their 24-hour convenience store. Plus, the Little America Grill has 75-cent soft serve ice cream. What’s not to love! If your truck needs maintenance and service, they’ve got a truck center that can handle it. From routine maintenance to a full engine overhaul, Rocky Mountain Truck Center has you covered. 

4. Trail’s Travel Center (Albert Lea, MN)

trails travel center

Sourced from Trail’s Travel Center

When you’re driving through Minnesota, you can’t miss a stop at Trail’s Travel Center. They’ve got all the basics covered and then some. Good food, modern showers, truck wash, and a strong, hot cup of coffee. Trail’s will also look after your tractortire services, suspension repair, heavy-duty truck parts in stock. They’ll get you back on the road. Before you leave though, make a visit to Skol Woodfire Grill and Tavern. You’ll eat a mouth-watering feast of wood-fired meat at this Viking-themed tavern that you’ll still be dreaming about three days later. 

5. Whiskey Pete’s (Primm, NV)

Sourced from Town & Tourist

For drivers who want a little Vegas in their lives without a full-blown trip to the strip, Whiskey Pete’s is your answer. Located just on the NV side of the California-Nevada border, this truck stop is your last chance to fuel up for a while on either side, but drivers stop for other reasons too. What other truck stops have access to dozens of slot machines and give Vegas vibes without the hassle of being in the city? If you have extra time, take a walk or drive into Primm for a meal and a bit of old western flair. 

6. Florida 595 (Davie, FL)

Sourced from Florida 595 Truck Stop

Home is the best place to stop for the night, but if you’re down south and can’t make it home, the Florida 595 truck stop is a pretty good option. Florida 595 has just about anything you need to get yourself or your truck in order. Laundry and a truck wash to keep everything clean. Fuel and a diner and bar & grill to fill you and your truck up. Alignments and DOT Physicals to make sure things are working like they should. Florida 595 will get you rested and back on the road in top shape in no time.

7. Johnson’s Corner Truck Stop (Johnstown, CO)

Sourced from The Coloradoan

Have you ever driven across the country for a cinnamon roll? If not, it’s probably because you’ve never been to Johnson’s Corner Truck Stop. This Colorado favorite is full of all the typical amenities, and they also offer onsite physicals and a live video stream of CO road conditions. That’s not why drivers stop at Johnson’s Corner though. The Johnson’s Corner Deli is the home of their World Famous Cinnamon Rolls. You can go classic and order The Original or branch out and try their Flavor of the Month. Either way, your life will never be the same. You’re welcome.

So, it’s time to settle the score. What do you think are the best truck stops in the US? Vote for your favorite and help us declare a winner!

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Find a CDL Driving Job

We match you with a job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Find a Job Today

commercial truck driving
Are you considering making the career switch to commercial truck driving? A CDL job is not just about the work for drivers who take pride in their profession. Driving is a lifestyle. It’s a commitment. It’s about feeling you belong and you’re valued. You decide if commercial truck driving is right for you. We’ll help you find the job that fits your skills, lifestyle, and personal preferences.

1. What Is It?

Commercial truck driving is any job where you are driving a commercial truck. While most people think of the 53’ semi-trucks that you see on the highway, commercial driving also includes school buses, garbage trucks, straight trucks, and more. Typically, commercial driving means hauling goods or people (in the case of passenger vehicles) from Point A to Point B. There are tons of different commercial driving jobs, and your day-to-day depends on your specialty and run type. 

2. Types of Jobs

Type of Run

The first distinction in trucking jobs is the type of run. Your type of run determines how far you typically drive from home and how many nights you spend on the road. Local drivers are usually home daily and stay in a relatively close geographic range. These drivers tend to spend more time on surface streets and do regular deliveries to customers. Over the Road or OTR drivers are the other end of the scale. These drivers are often on the road for several weeks at a time and may run loads from coast to coast and anywhere in between.

Regional drivers fall in between local and OTR drivers. They are usually home several times a week but also spend some nights on the road. Their geographic range might include several states in close proximity to their company’s home terminal. Last but not least, are dedicated trucking jobs. Dedicated drivers have a set route and deliver to the same customers on a consistent schedule. 

Type of Haul

cattle haulerThe second classification of commercial drivers is in type of haul. Depending on the type of goods you haul, you need a different type of truck. Many rookie drivers start with dry van or refrigerated (reefer) trucks because they are a good way to get experience without too many extra details to worry about. These are the 53’ box-shaped semi-trucks that are so common. Dry vans haul non-perishable goods, and reefer trucks carry loads that are temperature sensitive.

Tanker trucks haul liquid or dry bulk goods such as milk, sugar, or sand. Drivers need a Tanker endorsement to drive this type of truck, and there is an additional endorsement if you want to haul hazardous materials like chemicals or gasoline. Flatbed trucks haul a wide range of loads on trailers that are completely flat. Flatbed drivers often have to secure their loads with tarps and require some physical labor. There are also several types of specialty freight such as auto hauling, intermodal trucking, and livestock transport, but many of these jobs require a few years of experience. 

Type of Driver

two men in a truckThe final big decision to make is what kind of driver you want to be. As you can probably guess from the name, company drivers work exclusively for one company. Company drivers can work solo or in a team of two people. Starting as a company driver can be a good way to learn the ropes of a job without also having to run a business. It is also a good way to build your reputation as a good driver. 

Some drivers work as company drivers for their entire careers. Others choose to work for themselves. If you want to make your own decisions about when you are home, where you run, and what you haul, become an owner operator. These drivers run under their own authority, and they own their own equipment and negotiate for loads. Owner operators must be confident running a business as well as meeting all regulatory requirements.

Lease purchase drivers work with a company and put money down to start paying for their own truck. Lease purchase drivers work for one company, and at the end of the lease, these drivers will own their trucks. Programs that offer lease purchase are a good way for some drivers to work toward becoming an owner operator. 

3. Job Outlook

The job outlook for commercial truck driving is quite strong. There is a high demand for quality drivers, and there is a shortage of drivers available. Many companies are willing to hire new drivers, and drivers with a few years of experience and a clean record will be able to choose from top jobs that are a good fit for their skills and lifestyle.

One of the most important questions when you change jobs is the pay. Commercial driving can be quite well-paid. It all depends on your type of job. Typically OTR positions pull a higher wage than regional or local jobs, and NTI, the National Transportation Institute, anticipates that wages for all three will rise over the next 36 months. 

NTI anticipates that wages will rise for OTR, regional, and local jobs over the next 36 months.

Drivers can be paid in a variety of ways, so it’s important to look at total compensation when you compare job offers. To start, there are many types of truck driver pay. Some companies pay drivers by the mile, others by the hour, some by the load, and still others will pay with a salary. In addition to your base pay, company drivers frequently earn bonuses and have benefits included. These can add a significant amount of money to your bank account! Even beyond pay, consider things like home time as part of your compensation. If two companies pay the same wages but one gets you home more often, that might be a better fit for you, even though the money is the same. The bottom line is, look for a company that meets your needs and fits your lifestyle preferences.

4. How to Get Started

Once you decide that commercial truck driving is the career for you, the first step is to get your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). To be a professional truck driver, you need to be at least 18 years old. To drive interstate or hazmat routes, you must be at least 21. You will need a CDL A or CDL B. A CDL A license is the most universal because it also allows you to drive most CDL B and CDL C jobs. That said, it takes less time and money to earn a CDL B. Learn more about each license type and decide what is best for you. You will also need to consider whether to get any CDL endorsements for specialized loads such as hazmat or tanker. Once you have figured out what type of program you need, find a certified driving school where you can get started.

After you have your CDL, you are nearly ready to hit the road with your first job! As part of your CDL training, you will have completed your DOT physical fitness test.  Before you can officially hit the road, you will need to register with the FMCSA Clearinghouse. This database tracks positive drug and alcohol tests to identify unqualified drivers. As of January 2020, all drivers must be registered with the Clearinghouse for future employment. After that, the only thing left is to find your first job!

While the job search can be overwhelming, we’re here to help. Drive My Way partners with companies that are ready to hire new drivers and experienced pros alike! We’ll help you find a job that matches your skills and lifestyle preferences.

truck driver at loading dock

Find a CDL Truck Driving Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile