Understanding what fatigue is and how to manage it – through rest, diet and other methods – is vital to fostering what Tom DiSalvi, vice president for safety and loss prevention at Schneider, calls the “safety payoff” in trucking operations.

“The biggest piece of truck transportation planning is how to insure drivers are well rested so they can stay alert,” DiSalvi told Fleet Owner magazine. “For us, that starts with education through driver training: gaining an understanding about the sleep cycle, sleep debt, sleep hygiene, and proper fatigue management,” he explained.

DiSalvi touted the importance of truckers finding safe overnight parking. He also suggested truckers do what they can to make their tractor interiors more comfortable for sleeping. Taking such small but important steps will help drivers stay more alert, DiSalvi reasoned.

“It’s about helping drivers be more prepared so they understand the warning signs of fatigue and also know how to counteract it,” DiSalvi said. “We then help tie that into our safety expectations. The whole idea is that the driver is the ‘captain of the ship’ and the need to have the right information to know if they are too tired to drive.”

Better managing fatigue at the wheel ultimately can have lasting benefits, such as improving a fleet’s safety profile and increasing driver retention.

“It develops a stronger and more [positive] relationship between drivers and front-line managers,” DiSalvi noted.

Some trucking companies are becoming proactive in combatting on-the-job fatigue. Southeastern Freight Lines (SEFL), for instance, implemented a sleep apnea interdiction program designed by FusionHealth back in 2011. Learn about the positive results they saw and read more of the article here.
Image from www.fleetowner.com

For truck drivers, and new ones especially, it can be hard to stay healthy on the job. Many hours of sitting at the wheel and a lack of convenient healthy food options at stops along the

way don’t help the situation.  So for drivers, taking control of your own wellness on the road can have a lasting beneficial impact.

By staying fit, you’ll be able to take on harder assignments and longer routes — making you more desirable and opening more high-paying opportunities. Staying healthy is a gift that keeps on giving, too — you’ll be physically able to extend your career over many more years if you choose to do so.

Drivers early in their careers also should think long and hard about their career development early on. They should ask themselves what their priorities are and make decisions that will get them there over the long term. For example:

For drivers looking to work independently, it’s essential to learn the business side of trucking: accounting, fuel mileage tracking, maintenance tracking, expense tracking, tax reporting, and profit and loss calculation.

Those in the business say trucking companies make safety their top priority. Sharing that mindset will earn you the attention of employers, they say.

Every reputable trucking company on earth makes safety its No. 1 priority. If you demonstrate a serious commitment to safe hauling, you will be in high demand as either an independent driver or part of a company team.

Read more here.

Image from truckerslogic.com

Drivers well know about the shortage of drivers out there. After all, they’re living that reality. But that doesn’t make the problem any easier to accept.

ttnews.comThe American Trucking Associations says the shortage is hitting the for-hire trucking industry most, with drivers who typically don’t get home for a week or more. And with Baby Boomers hitting retirement in high numbers now, the shortage isn’t expected to stop anytime soon.

“It’s not the most appealing career in the world,” says Jon Coca, president of Diamond Transportation Systems. “And there are roadblocks to becoming one in the first place.”

The shrinking pool of drivers is further compounded by the lifestyle of the long-haul driver. After all, many such drivers don’t get to spend much time at home.

“Often it’s a job of last resort,” Costello says, so. transportation companies have been raising pay, he says.

Sean Kilcarr, executive editor of the trucking trade publication Fleet Owner, observes that the driver shortage is nothing new; it’s been coming for the last 20 years as an onslaught of truck drivers churned toward retirement. Young people during that period, meanwhile, opted for college instead of driving careers.

“(We should) make the career available just coming out of high school,” Coca said. “I think that would increase the driver pool.”

Several other challenges to entry into the truck driving field exist as well. To learn more about them, read the full article here. 

Image from ttnews.com

With the median age for truck drivers hovering around 45, the trucking industry is constantly looking for information to help recruit younger drivers.  As unemployment rates remain literally unchanged as whole they have increased to 7.8 percent in March from 7.5 percent in February for millenials.

So why aren’t those in their 20s — who have a much higher rate of unemployment than the national average — interested in driving a truck?

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CCJ sister site Overdrive’s Senior Editor Todd Dills talked in February with a longtime driver now working in retention at a mid-sized carrier about the issue, who subsequently pitched it to one of a twenty-somethings, Bruce Jenkins, who’s in a non-driving role at the company.

Jenkins describes in “A 20-something’s take on how carriers can recruit younger drivers” how millenials think of working in general.  The article gives great insights into their lifestyles and issues they face in the present economy. Here is a short list of the topics Jenkins speaks on:

  • Compete
  • Advertise
  • Recruiting
  • Technology
  • Money
  • Programs to acquire a CDL
  • Benefits
  • Image

Read more…

Image from .jobs-numbers-march-2015-1024×693

Featured image from http://cdllife.com/2013/top-trucking-news/demand-for-younger-drivers-on-the-rise/

The brains of these trucks is a system similar to autopilot on an airplane, which employ radar sensors and cameras to compose a 360 degree picture of the truck’s surroundings. Some include a three-dimensional digital map. Used in conjunction with Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) technology, the systems help maximize fuel efficiency by reacting to changes in terrain and topography.

http://www.knoxnews.com/business/experts-driverless-trucks-would-ease-shortage-create-efficiencies_23845712While driverless cars may be a hot topic these days, some experts think that driverless trucks might be roaming the highways first. The technology is in development now, and one University of Tennessee transportation expert believes autonomous trucks might be on the highway within a decade.

At some point, technology may advance to the point that trucks will not even need a human being aboard, Holcomb said. However, Huneryager said that trucking involves more than just steering a rig down the highway.

The opportunity seems to be for long haul drives.  There is a definite shortage in this area.  I would expect the unions to be involved here also.  One important question will be debated for sure.  Does a driver have to be in a driverless car — just in case? The U.N. Convention on Road Traffic has agreed to allow a car to drive itself so long as the driver is present and able to take the wheel and the system “can be overridden or switched off by the driver” .  Read more…

Image from knoxnews.com

Here is a great video of the Mercedes concept truck to be released in 2025.  This truck is not someones fantasy.  It has already operated in driverless mode on the A14 motorway in Magdeburg, Germany.  It reached speeds up to 50 mph and Mercedes officials claim it could be on the road within 10 years.

 

In the past, truck driving has been a pretty rough business.  To start, the trucks were very hard to drive and they weren’t very comfortable either.  Truck stops were definitely not safe for women.  Fast forward to today and trucks have become easier to handle and come equipped with more amenities than their predecessors.  Truck stops are now clean and safe environments and even have decent food.  There just doesn’t seem to be any restrictions anymore for  women to consider driving a truck for a career.

http://www.truckinginfo.com/article/story/2015/04/a-woman-driver-s-take-on-the-driver-shortage.aspxAmanda Jones has been on the road with husband Art Johansson for 13 years and driving for a little less than a year, so she’s got some interesting perspectives on what fleets can do to attract and keep drivers, especially female ones.

Although she only got her CDL about a year ago, the two have been a team for 13, with Amanda handling paperwork, navigation, trip planning, border customs, dealing with dispatch and customers, and the like. And she keeps a Facebook page that looks at their life from the point of view of their dog, The Trucking Titan.

Amanda does point out that there are still some hurdles to overcome and she lists them here in this very introspective article from truckinginfo.com.

Read more…

Image from truckinginfo.com

When men and women are in elementary school they are conditioned by their parents and teachers to take education seriously.  That usually means preparing to go to college.  There is not enough emphasis placed on considering “the trades” for a career.  With the cost of education out of reach for many of us,  we must realize that there are plenty of opportunities (especially  for women) in these traditional positions generally stereotyped as “men’s work”.  Truck driving is one of them.

http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/business-journal/2015/04/07/women-making-inroads-trades/25433975/When Alyce Widrig asks people to guess what she does for a living, they usually say a nurse or librarian.  She laughs.  “They don’t expect me to be a truck driver.”  But Widrig, fed up with her college experience, read in the newspaper a few years ago that there was a shortage of truck drivers.

On the Federal level there are a number of grants are available that can help you prepare for and even start your own trucking business. Most of these grants were not designed specifically for the trucking industry but can still be used toward the start-up costs of purchasing your own truck and equipment.  Many state also provide grants specifically for cdl training schools.  Remember each state is different so you will have to do some research.

“And if you applied with the state, you could get a grant and learn how to drive, so I applied, and I got it,” the Sioux Falls native said.

Women say that their male counterparts are very supportive, and female customers welcome them with open arms.  The few women that are in the field find they quickly develop a rapport with female customers that the men find hard to replicate.  Men have become very accepting of these women and most of the time become very protective of their female coworkers.  Men benefit because it can create a family-like atmosphere.  Outsiders are usually impressed and sometimes in awe when these women tell them what they do.  The trucking industry needs to reach out us at an earlier age.  Male dominated industries need to look into the untapped resource of women to start filling these positions immediately.

Read more…

The process of matching trucks and freight has grown over the years. It started with load boards and now uses web-based load matching tools. Recent technology has allowed carriers, shippers, brokers, and third-party logistics providers to use cloud based applications to get their information about trucks or loads and to do so very quickly.

http://www.truckinginfo.com/article/story/2015/03/online-load-boards-keep-freight-moving.aspx

The type of information online load boards offer has also evolved. In the beginning, it was mostly limited to equipment availability, load availability and contact phone numbers. Now, these services also provide rate information, carrier and broker qualification information and even “Yelp-type reviews on brokers,” Sikes adds.

Online load boards were first introduced in 1995 and now there are over 40 different applications on the market today.  Here is a short list of providers who have entered the market recently.

  1. Truck It Smart, Haines City, Fla.
  2. ComFreight, Long Beach, Calif
  3. Post.Bid.Ship., Scottsdale, Ariz.
  4. Cargomatic, Venice, Calif.
  5. 10-4 Systems, Boulder, Colo
  6. Apex Capital Corp., Ft. Worth  Read more…

Image from truckinginfo.com

Damler participates in The US Department of Energy’s SuperTruck program. They unveiled an exciting concept truck. The truck includes some really intelligent features such as:http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1097471_daimler-unveils-supertruck-12-mpg-semi-is-more-than-twice-as-fuel-efficient

  • Resultant aerodynamic efficiency enables it to run a downsized 10.7L diesel engine, which reduces its fuel consumption.
  • Solar panels mounted to the trailer’s roof which can power the climate control system among other things.
  • Waste heat recovery system connected to exhaust that converts thermal energy otherwise wasted.
  • Powertrain that selects the right gears to optimize battery regeneration and improve efficiency

During the 312-mile Texas highway drive, the truck averaged 12.2 mpg while cruising with a gross weight of 65,000 pounds at an average 65 mph between San Antonio and Dallas.

The numbers listed above, on the surface might not seem impressive, but when you realize that freight trucks make up only 4% of vehicles on the road and use 20% of fleet  fuel consumption, it is very impressive.  Damler also achieved the fuel efficiency numbers using commercially available technologies.  This means most manufacturers can achieve the same goals.

Current Federal regulations require heavy-duty trucks to achieve a 10- to 20-percent increase in fuel efficiency by 2018.

These fuel standards seem very acheivable as proved by Damler.  This SuperTruck more than doubled the average fuel efficiency of today’s commercially available semis.  Read more…

Image from greencarreports.com

Related: http://freightlinersupertruck.com/#main

The Drug Free Commercial Truck Driver Act of 2015 (S.806 and H.R. 1467) being proposed serves as a controversial new regulation in the Senate. Overall, it allows fleet owners to use hair testing as an option for drug and alcohol use.

Controversial New Regulation

Hair testing analyzes a hair sample for parent drugs and their metabolites. Then, the hair specimen ships to the laboratory, screened for illicit substances.

Overall, a 5-panel hair test detects cocaine, marijuana, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine.

“Leading employers in a variety of industries around the world recognized that hair testing serves as an effective method to detect drug use,” said Dean Newell. Dean serves as the vice president of safety and driver training, Maverick USA. “Hair tests serve difficult to evade or subvert and provide a better window into an applicant’s history of drug use.”

Overall, a hair test can find five times as many users compared to laboratory based urine testing programs. However, let’s see how this turns out. Many companies believe hair testing offers a better picture of an employee’s history of drug use.

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