Image from: Iowa 80 Truckstop
The 36th Walcott Truckers Jamboree last weekend was a major success, attracting nearly 41,000 attendees to the World’s Largest Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa.

The Jamboree takes place annually at Iowa 80 Truckstop, just off its namesake in Walcott, Iowa. In its recap of the event, Truckerslogic.com wrote:

Since it’s inception in 1979, the Truckers Jamboree has been celebrating America’s Truckers. This event is a great place to celebrate and learn about trucking and those big rigs. “It’s our way of saying thank you to the millions of truck drivers that deliver the goods we consume, whether it’s groceries, gas, clothes or cars — you can bet it was delivered by a truck.”

We here at Drive My Way attended the show as well and were equally impressed by the turnout. Read more of the Truckers Logic article here — and follow Drive My Way on Facebook and Twitter to see how we launched at the Jamboree (Ooooh yeah!).

 

 

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

Clinton Blackbunew-herorn of Morehead, Ky., is one of 18 winners of the Carnegie Medal. The medal is awarded quarterly by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Honorees receive a financial grant for their efforts.

Blackburn, 44, is credited with saving the life of Darrell Herndon, a jailer from Spencer County, Ky., who was being strangled by a prisoner he was transporting along a Kentucky highway in March 2014.

Herndon was transporting a prisoner who had escaped his handcuffs and was strangling Herndon from the back seat. Herndon stopped the car on an interstate median and opened his door, attracting the attention of Blackburn, who pulled over and began trying to free the officer from the prisoner.

Blackburn remained modest about his heroism, however.

“I just thank the good Lord for putting me where he did,” Blackburn said. Read more here.

Image from Transport Topics

 

 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s June jobs report shows that the  number of jobs in the for-hire trucking industry reached an all-time high in June.

The sector added 7,400 jobs,  for a total of 1.4585 million. That’s 5,100 more jobs than the record for trucking set in January 2007.

That’s also the third monthly gain in a row after the surprise loss of 7,300 jobs in March, the biggest drop in two years, states a July 2 article in Fleet Owner magazine .

The for-hire trucking sector is showing promise in more ways as well.

The industry has recovered 225,300 jobs since the low point in the recession, March 2010. Compared to June last year, for-hire trucking has added 43,300 jobs, an increase of 3.1%.

The U.S. Department of Labor report shows that the transportation and warehousing sector added 17,000 jobs in June.

Read more here.

Image from Thinkstock

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?

jobs-numbers-march-2015-1024x693

Click on image enlarge

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…