Tips for Women Truck Drivers Driving provides women truckers with many of the same advantages as it does to men—independence, flexibility, and the opportunity to travel across the country.

But being a woman driver in the male-dominated trucking industry comes with a unique set of challenges. Women truck drivers have to think about the job, safety, and hygiene differently. While the industry is starting to change to become more friendly towards women, there’s still much work to be done. Until then, here are 6 tips for women truck drivers.

1. Work-life balance

While work-life balance should be important for all truckers, it’s sometimes not as important to men. Carriers may become used to offering insufficient home time and opportunities for balance simply because men aren’t as vocal about these concerns as women. Women truckers may find themselves on the short end of the stick simply because their male counterparts aren’t asking for more.

We spoke to Heather, a trucker with 2 years of experience. She said,

“I did OTR just long enough to get a little experience to find a local job. I have 3 boys so I wanted to be local as soon as possible. It was a vey long 7 months, and I learned everything in the winter months in the snow and ice.”

Communication with your fleet manager or leader is essential to ensuring that you get the work-life balance you deserve. In fact, women drivers shouldn’t be waiting that long to start discussions around home time. Communicating with recruiters that this is a priority for you will set you on the right path to achieving the kind of balanced lifestyle you’re looking for.

2. Safety at a truck stop

truck stop safety tips

Truck stops are notorious for being minefields for women truck drivers. Although many truck stops are taking measures to improve conditions and become more woman-friendly, they can’t control the behavior of the characters who lurk around.

We encourage women to know precautions to take to stay safe at truck stops. Heather said,

“When walking through the truck stop at night, have something handy in case you need to protect yourself.”

Women truckers should also take precautions to protect themselves when they’re in their cab for the night at a truck stop. We also spoke to Michele, a trucker with a few months of experience so far in the industry. She suggests that solo drivers keep their bunk curtains closed at all times.

“Let people think there’s someone sleeping in the back even if you’re driving alone.”

Michele also notes that placing a team driving sticker on your truck will also create the impression that you are not traveling alone, and she highly recommends this trick to other women drivers.

3. Behind the wheel

Some of the women we spoke to had specific advice while behind the wheel. Road conditions can become dangerous during nighttime or the winter season. Michele recommends that women truck drivers pre-plan and keep checking their routes, especially in the winter.

“Just because it was open 2 hours ago, doesn’t mean it’s open now.”

Heather listens to forensic files and chews gum to help keep her awake during night driving. She encourages women drivers to pull over if needed and states,

“If road conditions become too treacherous, just stop! Freight can wait.”

4. Hygiene

Women truck drivers will have specific concerns about hygiene that male drivers won’t. And unfortunately, sometimes male drivers, fleet managers, or truck stop employees may be unaware or unsympathetic to these issues.

Heather said that one of the biggest lessons she learned from her OTR driving days is to always have baby wipes handy. She also recommends to keeping an empty big gulp cup in your cab in case of a bathroom emergency.

Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but with OTR driving, the stops can be few and far between, so it’s better to be prepared in the case of emergencies.

5. Reach out to other women truckers

women truck drivers

While it may seem easy to understand the concerns of women drivers, or imagine what the job will be like, there’s no way to know until someone has done it. We recommend completing some research about what to expect, but there’s no substitute for speaking with other women truck drivers who’ve been there themselves.

Reaching out to other women truck drivers will give you an inside look at what issues they’ve been facing and how they’ve handled them. As you speak to more women drivers, you’ll build a network of colleagues who have each others’ back and can work together. You may also want to connect with organizations like Women in Trucking, which focus on addressing these obstacles.

6. Find the right carrier

While women truckers can take certain measures themselves, they can’t do it all alone. It takes a community that values women’s issues and concerns in the trucking industry. Before signing with your next carrier, do some research and find out which carriers value their women drivers.

Some carriers will do more to promote career opportunities, improve conditions, and deliver resources needed to address women’s issues in trucking. A company’s culture can have a large impact on a woman truck driver’s sense of belonging, identity, and purpose. Finding a carrier that aligns with your own values will help you feel comfortable and secure in a male-dominated industry.

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truck driver gear

For many truck drivers, especially those running OTR and regional, their cab is their home. This means that they need to keep it stocked with everything they could possibly need while on the road. We were able to talk to a few CDL drivers who shared what truck driver gear they always bring with them.  

What are CDL Drivers Bringing With Them?

For CDL Driver, Brandon C., it’s better to have some things you might not need, than to find yourself without the thing you really need.  

“I always make sure to have anything and everything I might need in my truck. Non-perishable food, like canned or dry goods is a must (and a can opener). Spare clothing as well, as truck drivers are called upon to traverse varied and unpredictable climates.

Basic hand tools are a must. Ex. multi-tool hammer, screw drivers, electrical tape, flashlight & batteries. Anything can happen out there. A burned-out bulb, poor electrical connection, a frozen padlock; the list goes on.  

If you keep a decent set of even the most basic tools to address these random bouts of misfortune, I promise you will be rewarded with extra money and home time by avoiding long delays at the service counters.

Also, a good old fashioned Rand McNally atlas comes in handy when (not if) our digital devices let us down. It also has a wealth of info beyond the cardinal rose, like weight limits lengths & GVW data.” 

Another CDL Driver, who goes by e18hteenwheelin shared his thoughts on what gear is essential, 

“The big three for me are headset, GPS, and Raincoat. Never get in my truck without them.”

Truck Driver Gear Checklist

Here’s a list of items that it might be good to bring with you on the road, if you’re not bringing these already.  

Cleaning

Studies show that living in a clean environment can have great effects on your productivity, stress level, and overall mood. That holds true for truck drivers and their cabs as well. 

  • Disinfectant Wipes 
  • All-Purpose Spray
  • Paper towels Truckers spill things too. The last thing you want to do is spill your soda and have to clean it up with your last good shirt.  
  • Handheld Vacuum/Dirt Devil
  • Broom & Dustpan
  • Garbage bag – It can be tempting to toss wrappers and empty cups onto the passenger seat and say “I’ll get it later”, but having a small garbage bag next to you is a much better option to avoid clutter and keep your cab nice and clean.  

Maintenance

While you won’t be able to fix everything on your truck, having the right tools to tighten, straighten, or replace something in a pinch can be the difference between waiting hours for roadside assistance and getting back on the road in a matter of minutes.  

  • Work Gloves 
  • Flashlight 
  • Tool Kit – Extremely important. Make sure you have everything you need in case something small happens with your truck that you’re able to fix. Hammer, screwdrivers (both Phillips and flat), vice grips, duct tape, adjustable wrench, etc. 
  • Replacement Bulbs
  • Extra fluids – Windshield Wiper Fluid, Oil, Coolant, etc. 
  • WD-40 

Toiletries/Personal Items

The importance of taking care of yourself on the road can’t be overstated. While most of the items on this list seem like common sense, it’s never a bad idea to double check to make sure you’re not missing anything important.  

  • Electric/Disposable Razor 
  • Shaving Cream 
  • Toothbrush 
  • Toothpaste 
  • Floss 
  • Kleenex 
  • Loofah/Washcloth 
  • Body wash 
  • Deodorant  
  • Shampoo 

Clothing

Getting stuck on the side of the road during winter isn’t fun. Getting stuck on the side of the road during winter without the proper clothes is even less fun. As a truck driver, having the right clothes can make all the difference, especially when you’re driving in the northeast or pacific northwest.  

  • Jacket 
  • Underwear 
  • Socks 
  • Thermal long sleeve shirt 
  • Steel Toe Boots 
  • Rain jacket 
  • Sunglasses – Aside from looking good, wearing sunglasses when needed can provide protection from harmful UV light and reduce the risk of developing certain eye conditions. 

Entertainment

For most drivers, their smartphone is all they need for entertainment when stopped for the night. But if you’re looking to spend less time on your phone, there are a number of options for entertainment that don’t involve your smartphone.  

  • Books/Magazines 
  • iPod – It may seem a bit old school at this point but having all your music without having to rely on streaming services and Wi-Fi/data is a great feeling. 
  • Portable DVD Player 
  • Nintendo Switch/DS/GameBoy – This is for the truckers who double as gamers. And if you’re not one, with the handheld systems that are out right now, it might be time to consider. 
  • Word Search, Crossword or Sudoku

Misc. Gear

Here are some other things you might want to add to your list.

  • First Aid Kit 
  • Canned or non-perishable food 
  • GPS – If not using your phone
  • Atlas – For when your phone or GPS doesn’t work
  • Headset
  • Cellphone charger 
  • Written list of important phone numbers 

 

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can truck drivers use cbd oil

Over the past few years, there’s been a surge in the popularity of medicinal marijuana-related products, specifically CBD. Truck drivers may be thinking of turning to CBD oils and lotions for relief from aches and pains that come from the job, but they should know all the facts before they do.  

The issue is that the legal waters surrounding the use of CBD are a bit murky. This is especially true for truck drivers as they need to not only think about the legality of it, but about drug screenings from employers and the new clearinghouse regulations as well. 

So, you’re probably wondering, “can truck drivers use CBD?” The answer depends on if you think it’s worth the risk. But before you make your decision, here are 4 things you need to know first.

1. CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA yet

CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a compound found in cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. There are over 113 such compounds in the cannabis plant, known as cannabinoids. The most well-known cannabinoids are CBD and THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol).  

THC is the psychoactive agent in marijuana that is responsible for producing the sense of euphoria or high that people feel when using it. THC is also measured in drug tests and will lead to a positive result if detected. CBD on the other hand is a non-psychoactive compound—it won’t make you feel high, anxious, or bring redness to your eyes. 

CBD is being researched and used for a variety of different medical purposes, and is said to help relieve anxiety, muscle and joint pain, depression, migraines, and other ailments common to truck drivers.  

Despite these claims of health benefits, CBD products haven’t been regulated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As of right now, there is no consensus in the medical or regulatory community about the effects of CBD on the body, so it remains a gray area.

2. CBD may cause individuals to test positive on a drug screening

There are many CBD derived products that are available for use on the market. For example, CBD oil is made by extracting the compound from either hemp or marijuana plants. These products of course contain CBD, but other things as well, including trace amounts of THC. 

Most states require that commercial CBD-derived products contain less than 0.3% THC. That’s such a small amount that it’s not going to have any psychoactive effect on your body or get you high. The bad news is that even a trace amount like that could be detected on a drug test. 

Some CBD products claim to be “THC-free”, but it’s not clear whether this is actually the case since regulation on CBD products is so lax. In fact, many CBD products companies will state disclaimers like, “We cannot make any claims on whether or not any of our products will show up on a drug test. We are not legally able to make any recommendations or guarantees regarding drug tests on THC free or full spectrum products.” 

Basically, this means “buyer beware” if you have a job like trucking, where you’re regularly tested for THC.

3. State laws differ on CBD products

It’s important to remember that while marijuana and its derived products are becoming legalized in more and more states, it’s still illegal on the federal level. This means if you are drug tested using the federal drug testing panel and use CBD, it will be reported out as a positive drug test. The recent clearinghouse regulations mean that this test result data will be available to other employers in the trucking industry.  

4. Bottom line for truck drivers

So, what’s the bottom line for people wondering “can truck drivers use CBD?”  

While there’s a possibility that a truck driver could use CBD products for the rest of their trucking career and never have it show up on a drug test, it’s just not a risk worth taking. For whatever benefits CBD products are said to have, it’s not worth your career. 

CBD lotions may be a better option than CBD oil, but even these can’t guarantee no trace amounts of THC. For those truck drivers hoping for pain relief, they may want to look elsewhere. 

Of course, the situation surrounding CBD products is bound to change. Every year, more and more states choose to legalize marijuana (and CBD) outright, so it’s very possible that marijuana and marijuana products in all forms could be legalized federally within the next 10 years.  

But drivers should remember that it’s not just the legality they need to worry about. If you drive for a private carrier, they can still choose to test for it, regardless of if it’s legal or not. 

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This summer, Drive My Way client, NFI set out to celebrate their drivers who reached an amazing milestone. They inducted over 80 drivers into their One Million Miles club. But these aren’t just drivers who’ve driven one million miles, it’s drivers who have driven one million accident-free miles.  

NFI President, Bob Knowles had this to say,

“We are proud and honored to recognize these drivers as they join the elite Million Mile Accident Free Club. They represent the best of NFI and professional truck drivers throughout the industry. We truly appreciate everything they do for NFI and our customers on a daily basis.”

This is a huge accomplishment that not many drivers can say they’ve achieved. To commemorate the occasion, NFI held 6 events all across the country where these drivers and their families were honored. Here are their names. 

  • Arlington, TX – July 16th
  • Braden M.
  • Garry M.
  • Jerry T.
  • Kevin M.
  • Martin R.
  • Milton F.
  • Rickey H.
  • Sergio T.
  • Tim H.
  • Willie S.

 

  • Bethlehem, PA – July 22nd
  • Doron E.
  • Eric T.
  • Jesus S.
  • Joe E.
  • Joe W.
  • John C.
  • Johnny G.
  • Johnny H.
  • Kenneth N.
  • Mark S.
  • Melody S.
  • Paul O.
  • Robert K.
  • Sandra W.

 

  • Columbus, OH – July 29th
  • Ben W.
  • Bryan W.
  • Eric S.
  • Jerry B.
  • Loren G.
  • Mark W.
  • Randall Y.
  • Russell E.
  • Thomas L.
  • William G.

 

  • Cherokee, NC – August 6th
  • Anthony R.
  • Danny F.
  • Dearrell G.
  • Donald B.
  • George K.
  • Jeffrey D.
  • John L.
  • John R.
  • Johnnie S.
  • Joshua C.
  • Kimberly N.
  • Mark S.
  • Michael J.
  • Michael Jo.
  • Michael M.
  • Paul P.
  • Randall R.
  • Reginald E.
  • Richard J.
  • Shawn S.
  • Tommie B.
  • Tracy N.
  • William L.

 

  • New York, NY – August 12th
  • Albari N.
  • Anthony N.
  • Dean B.
  • Ernesto R.
  • Henry W.
  • James S.
  • Jeffrey H.
  • John G.
  • Jose G.
  • Jose P.
  • Mark L.
  • Phi T.
  • Tyler S.

 

  • Chicago, IL – August 20th
  • Cesar C.
  • Derrick R.
  • Greg D.
  • Jammie S.
  • John T.
  • Marlin F.
  • Mathew O.
  • Richard G.
  • Ron N.
  • Roodachus S.
  • Salvador S.
  • Wade C.

Congratulations to these drivers on this amazing accomplishment!

 

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Diesel fuel prices are finally beginning to fall. For the first time since March 2022, the average price for a gallon of diesel slipped below $5 per gallon. While that is good news, prices still remain much higher than they were just a few years ago.  

Owner operators are taking the brunt of this diesel fuel hit, with many having to either sell their truck and sign on as company driver or get out of trucking altogether. For those owner operators who are sticking it out, they’re looking for any way they can save on the costs of owning a semi. Luckily, fuel cards are a convenient and easy way to ease some of the burden owner operators are feeling at the pump.

What is a Fuel Card?

A fuel card is a card that allows owner operators and fleet owners to purchase diesel fuel or related trucking services. Some fuel cards function as a credit card where you have a line of credit that you can buy fuel against, while others work as a debit card that you load money onto before filling up.  

What are the Benefits of Fuel Cards?

Discounts

This is the biggest reason that drivers apply for fuel cards. The average discount for fuel card holders ranges from 8-25 cents per gallon. While that might not seem like a lot, when you add that up over the course of a year, fuel cards can save owner operators hundreds, if not thousands off their fuel costs.

Less risk of theft

Another big benefit to fuel cards is the reduced risk of theft they present. A fuel card that can only be used to purchase gasoline is much less appealing to a would-be thief than a wad of cash or a credit card.  

Better Fuel Cost Tracking

It’s much easier to see how much you’re spending on fuel when the money comes from one dedicated card, rather than some coming from your credit card, some from your debit card, and some paid in cash. Since diesel fuel is most often the biggest expense for owner operators, being able to track this easily makes understanding and controlling your costs much easier.  

Other Perks

Aside from discounts on fuel, certain fuel card providers offer other benefits to card holders. These benefits include discounts for preventative maintenance, oil changes, new tires, and other services for semi truck owners. 

What to Consider Before Getting a Fuel Card

Cost

With almost all fuel cards, there are associated fees. When making your decision on which fuel card to go with, look into if there are any start-up costs, monthly fees, or transaction fees. Providers might not always make these fees clear, so read the fine print and ask questions when you talk to a representative. 

Location Restrictions 

Some fuel cards have either geographic or brand restrictions for where you can use the card. While no fuel card allows you to purchase fuel from any station you’d like, some cards, especially the more prominent ones partner with more fuel stations. This is another thing to consider before signing up for a fuel card.  

What are the Biggest Fuel Card Providers?

There are hundreds of fuel card providers out there that each offer their own unique benefits. Some cards cater to carriers with hundreds of trucks in their fleet, while others are more specific to owner operators. Here are 10 of the best fuel cards for owner operators. 

  1. Axle (Pilot Flying J) Fuel Card
  2. Convoy Fuel Card 
  3. EFS Fleet Card 
  4. Fuelman Fleet Card 
  5. NASTC 
  6. OOIDA 
  7. P Fleet 
  8. Shell Fleet Navigator 
  9. TCS 
  10. Wex Fleet Card 

Just like when you’re signing up for a credit card, applying for a loan, or looking into any other financial obligation, it’s important to research and compare your options for fuel cards. With the number of different ones out there, you’re bound to find a fuel card that fits your needs as an owner operator.  

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truck driver safety

Truck driving is a dangerous profession. Getting behind the wheel of a 15-ton semi always presents risks, especially when the roads are crowded or there’s inclement weather. But, there are other parts of the on the road lifestyle that can present dangers as well.  

Stopping at truck stops and rest stops, especially at night, can lead to situations where drivers don’t feel safe. Almost every experienced driver has a story of when something went wrong or almost went wrong at one of these stops.  

For many of these drivers, taking precautions to protect themselves is what got them out of these situations safe and sound. Here are a few different ways to practice truck driver safety while stopping on the road. 

Limit Night Stops if Possible

While this isn’t always possible for OTR and regional drivers, limiting rest area stops at night is the best way to protect yourself on the road. When you do have to stop at a rest stop, avoid stopping at the nearest truck stop. Instead, do some research on the best ones on your route. 

Apps like Trucker Path can show you reviews of truck stops left by truckers before you. Before you hit the road, plan out where you’ll stop so you can avoid sketchy or poorly reviewed stops.  

If you do have to stop at a rest area, avoid leaving your cab unless you really need to. 

Watch for Dangerous Spots

The same rules that apply to parking garage and parking lot safety also apply to truck stops. If you need to get out of your cab at night, there’s a few different things you can do to be as safe as possible.  

The first is to avoid walking directly next to a trailer or between two trailers. These areas are the perfect spot for someone to lay in wait if they wanted to. Also, try and avoid walking directly next to corners if you can help it.  

Having a flashlight or even better, wearing a reflective piece of clothing while getting out of your truck could be the thing to dissuade would-be attackers. If something were to happen, you’d be much easier for a passerby to spot if you’re wearing something neon yellow as opposed to black or brown. 

Arm Yourself (Legally)

When people talk about protecting themselves, one thing usually comes to mind; firearms. While many drivers do prefer to carry while in their vehicle, there are some things you should be aware of if you plan on doing the same.  

To have a firearm in your cab, you’ll first need to obtain a concealed carry permit. This isn’t too hard for local drivers since they’re usually only driving intrastate, but for OTR or regional drivers, this is where carrying a firearm can be legally dicey.  

The issue is that since you’ll be crossing state lines, you need to make sure your concealed carry permit is valid from state to state. There isn’t nation-wide reciprocity, so the CC permit that you have in Missouri may not be valid the second you cross into Illinois. You can view this map to see which states a concealed carry permit is valid in.  

Aside from guns, there are any number of other things a truck driver could use to defend themselves if they needed. Think of things you probably have in your truck right now; wrenches, padlocks, hammers, tire iron, etc.  

Any one of these items could be used to defend yourself in a pinch. If you don’t have anything like those, doing something as simple as carrying your keys or some other sharp object between your fingers in a fist could be the difference between being a victim or not.  

Crime will always be a part of life, but that doesn’t mean that truck drivers have to be on the receiving end of it. Avoiding possibly dangerous situations, being aware of your surroundings, and staying prepared are your three best defenses as a truck driver on the road.

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cdl finishing programsEven after graduating from a CDL school, many drivers feel like they’re not ready for all of the challenges life on the road throws at them. This is understandable as there’s a lot to being a truck driver that isn’t included in CDL schools.  

Drivers who go straight from the CDL exam to months on the road are likely to feel unprepared, unsupported, and have bad experiences because of this. These bad experiences can even lead drivers to exit the industry altogether after a few short years or even months on the road. 

Trucking is an industry that’s stretched thin as is in terms of a workforce, so this phenomenon of drivers leaving almost as quickly as they came isn’t doing anyone any favors. Luckily, many carriers and the industry at large are recognizing this issue and coming up with a solution for it; CDL finishing programs.  

What is a CDL Finishing Program?

A CDL Finishing Program is an entry-level position where a driver is teamed up with an experienced driver trainer for their first few weeks on the road. The driver trainer will act as a supervisor and mentor to the new driver, helping them deal with any problems that come up or answer any questions they have.  

These programs have been around for a while but have gained popularity recently as an answer to low retention numbers across the industry.  

Finishing programs can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the company you’re working with.  

What Should Drivers Know Before Enrolling in a Finishing Program?

cdl finishing programsLike with anything in life, it’s important to understand the terms of what you’re agreeing to before you sign-on. Some companies may want you to work for them for a designated amount of time after the program is up, while others may not.  

There may be certain policies relating to pay and home time that you’ll want to be aware of as well. Just make sure to read the fine print and ask any and all questions before you enroll in a finishing program.  

Do Finishing Programs Cost Money?

safe truck stopNope. Finishing Programs aren’t like CDL schools. It’s an entry-level position where you’ll be working for the company you’re signed on with and earning a paycheck just like any other employee.  

What Companies Offer Finishing Programs?

Truck Driver Hiring Events: What to KnowMany large carriers offer finishing programs for new drivers.  

Josh Mecca is the Director of Recruiting with Drive My Way client, American Central Transport. ACT has recently launched their own finishing program, and they had this to say about it. 

We’ve recently started a driver finishing program with two CDL schools here in Kansas City. We were noticing that a lot of times in our industry, a driver would finish their CDL training and immediately be thrown to the wolves before they had a real chance to get their feet under them. This led to a lot of careers in trucking being thrown away before they began because these new drivers would have such bad experiences.

Companies didn’t want to invest in the training that these new drivers needed beyond the bare minimum, so we decided to take a different approach. Once they’ve finished CDL school, we help our new drivers by giving them the support and knowledge they need from an experienced trainer while increasing their pay every 90 days for that first year they’re with us.” 

Why do Drivers Enroll in CDL Finishing Programs?

Many drivers feel that while CDL training is great, it only gives you the bare minimum of what it’s like to drive a semi. There’s any number of things that could happen on the road that drivers who come straight from CDL school may feel unprepared for.  

That’s why finishing programs are a great alternative to jumping into an OTR or regional position. It’s a way for new drivers to learn the ropes so they feel ready for life on the road. 

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Tax season is right around the corner. It may not be your favorite time of the year, but we want to help make it as painless as possible. Truck driver tax deductions are a great way to save money on taxes. There are three golden rules of filing taxes. 

  1. Find your Form      

  2. Save Money with Truck Driver Tax Deductions

  3. File before April 15

The money you spend for work on the road might increase the money you get back from taxes. So, keep a careful record of any costs you have that are job related. Staying organized might bring you a big payoff in your taxes. Remember, if you have any questions or doubts, ask a professional.

The Trucker’s Report made this list of trusted sources who know trucking. Many tax companies offer a first free conversation that can clear up your concerns. You can also use services like Turbotax or H&R Block to make filing easier. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Find your Form

If you are a company driver, you can no longer claim work-related deductions on your taxes. This is thanks to changes to the tax code made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act a few years ago.

If you are an owner operator, the easiest way to report your income is with a 1099 form. The 1099 form is used to report miscellaneous earned income. If you made the leap to become an owner operator, it’s important to stay very organized. This form allows you to carefully itemize the costs of your work and deduct them from your taxes. That’s money back in your wallet!

Step 2: Save Money with Truck Driver Tax Deductions

This is the good stuff. Claiming work-related tax deductions is important. It reduces your adjusted gross income, and that means you pay less in taxes. 

Here’s how it works: John makes $75,000 annually as an owner operator (his “gross income”). He is able to claim deductions for licensing fees and other work expenses that total $6,500. Since John already paid $6,500 for these expenses and wasn’t reimbursed, he can subtract $6,500 from his total income. Now, John only pays taxes on $68,500 (his “adjusted gross income” or AGI).

A lower adjusted gross income means you pay less in taxes. You report your gross income and then calculate your adjusted gross income on your tax forms, but only the adjusted gross income is taxed. 

Now, let’s find those truck driver tax deductions!

Who can claim these deductions?

In general, local drivers can’t claim certain deductions. To claim these deductions you must have a “tax home”—a place the IRS can contact you. Usually this is your home address. A good rule of thumb is that you can’t claim anything your company reimburses you for (you’ve already gotten that money back).

Key Non-Deductible Expenses

We’re all for saving money, but there are a few common costs that are NOT deductible. Drivers are NOT allowed to deduct the following things from their annual income.

  1. Expenses reimbursed by your employer
  2. Clothing that can be adapted for everyday wear
  3. Commuting costs to the company headquarters. However, many companies WILL reimburse for commuting costs to the truck yard. If you’re not sure, ask your company.
  4. Home phone line
  5. Owner Operators CANNOT deduct the time spent working on their equipment
  6. Owner Operators CANNOT deduct the income lost as a result of deadhead/unpaid mileage. But, Owner Operators CAN deduct the expenses incurred to operate the truck during that time such as fuel, tolls and scales. etc.
  7. Owner Operators CANNOT deduct for downtime

The 9 Deductions You Should Consider

1. Cell Phone Plans & Internet fees

cell phone

No driver spends a significant amount of time on the road without using their phone and internet a lot. Luckily, the IRS agrees. Since most drivers use their phone for both personal and professional purposes, you are allowed to deduct 50% of your phone and internet costs. You can also deduct the entire cost of a new phone or laptop that you bought this year. Communication and technology costs add up and now you can show it in your taxes!

2. Medical Exams

Did you see a doctor for a work-related issue? Deduct the out of pocket cost! Normally medical expenses are not tax deductible, but in this case, they are actually considered business expenses. Your health is a top priority, and it’s nice to have that recognized during tax season.

3. Licensing Fees

Any costs that you pay to get and maintain a CDL license can be claimed! 

4. Food on the Road 

Drivers who spend long hours on the road are allowed to deduct food expenses from their taxable income. The IRS understands that you’re spending a lot of time behind the wheel and food costs add up! Drivers are allowed to deduct either a per diem amount (this varies based on where and when you drive) per day from their annual income. The other method is to keep your receipts from each time you buy food. When tax time comes, you’ll be able to deduct 80% of what you paid in meals for the year. Local drivers are not allowed to deduct food costs because you are able to eat at home after your route is complete. 

5. Truck Repairs/Maintenance

Any expenses you paid to repair or maintain your truck that were not reimbursed can be claimed! Cleaning and maintenance costs are also deductible. This could include truck parts, cleaning supplies, etc., but NOT the cost labor if you repair the truck yourself. 

6. Association Dues

Most drivers are required to be part of a union or other collective trucking group. Any required fees to take part in these groups are deductible. If you are part of additional trucking groups, you may still be able to deduct the cost. You can claim this deduction if you can demonstrate that it helps your career or is a regular membership in the trucking industry.

7. Personal Products

Personal products are typically the small purchases (that really add up!) that are necessary on the road. It could include food storage (think a cooler), logbooks, a flashlight, specialized clothing, electronic equipment you need for the road (ex. A GPS), and much more. Keep careful track of all these little expenses because they add to a big total, and you can deduct them on taxes!

8. Fuel & Travel Costs

If you own your own truck, you can claim the exact number of miles you drove on the job. You can also claim vehicle related costs including maintenance (see above), insurance premiums, and loan interest. 

9. Non-Trucking Standard Deductions

In addition to the trucking specific deductions you get to claim as a trucker, don’t forget about the common deductions that aren’t related to your work. These could include things like child tax credits, lifetime learning credits, and child or dependent care among other things. 

Step 3. File before April 15

It’s time. You’ve added costs and finished the paperwork. You’ll know by the time you submit your forms whether you need to send a check or will be getting a refund. You can file your taxes electronically or by mail as long as they are submitted by April 15. 

And with that, kick back and relax! Your taxes are done for another year!

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budgeting tips

The effects of inflation are hitting everyone, especially truck drivers. Along with the price of everything rising, diesel gas prices are at a record high right now. With all this extra strain on driver’s wallets, it’s more important now than ever to find different ways to save money. Here are 5 budgeting tips for truck drivers to save money while on the road. 

1. Keep a Budget

budgeting tips

The first and best budgeting tip is to keep track of your money. You can use an excel sheet, a free smartphone app, or just a good old-fashioned notebook. No matter which way you do it, just make sure that every dollar in and out is planned and tracked. Get started now if you haven’t already, and you can always adjust as you go.

  • Create a separate account just for driving to help streamline budgeting. Bonus, use a credit card that pays a reward on all purchases.
  • Pay all bills and taxes promptly to avoid penalties and late fees.
  • Set up reminders on your phone to go off a few days before each bill is due.
  • Go paperless and use auto-pay options whenever possible.
  • Keep all receipts in a designated place to avoid losing them. Make it a habit to put receipts away as soon as you get them.

2. Plan Efficient Routes

This can go a long way to saving money as a truck driver. Planning the most efficient routes can save you money on both gas and tolls. Using your cruise-control consistently and effectively will save on gas consumption as well.

Cruise-control can also keep you from exceeding the speed limit and racking up unwanted tickets and speeding penalties. Keeping up with all maintenance on your truck is also be a great way to save money as a truck driver. Paying a little here and there for preventative maintenance is always better than waiting until there’s a major issue with your truck.

3. Plan Well & Be Prepared

budgeting tips

As much as possible, avoid buying things at truck stops or convenience stores. For truck drivers, food is often their biggest daily expense. Packing and bringing food with you has two benefits, since you’ll be eating healthier while saving money daily. Plan the laundry you’ll need before you hit the road as well. You can save time and money by not using coin operated machines while on the road.

Having a well-stocked first aid kit and personal care items is much better for your budget than having to buy these things one at a time while on the road. Though emergencies do arise, everything you can buy at home instead of on the road will save money.

4. Participate in Loyalty Programs

This is an often overlooked budgeting tip, but the benefits can really add up if you stick with it. If you do love a certain brand of coffee or slice of pizza on the go, join that company’s loyalty program. It’s usually quite easy to sign-up for them at restaurants, truck stops, gas stations, and even hotels.

Your purchases could turn into a future free cup of coffee, sub sandwich, a shower, or even a night’s stay in a hotel as points accumulate. Additionally, ask any local restaurants, hotels or even insurance companies if they offer CDL discounts. Even a 5% savings a few times per year will help keep money in your bank account.

5. Use Free WiFi

budgeting tips

Whenever possible, use free Wi-Fi when you’re stopped for a break, or for the night. The overage charges that cell phone companies charge can be expensive. Spending a lot of time away from home can help you blow through your monthly data allowance and rack up fees. Using free Wi-Fi at truck stops, restaurants, and coffee stops can shave off time against your monthly data and help avoid overage charges over time. Just look for a sign and ask for the password.

Some of these budgeting tips might seem obvious, but it can’t hurt to check and see if you’re really maximizing the savings that are available to you. Take a look at your last few trips and review your biggest expenses or where you were over budget. Tightening up on your trip preparation routines, personal efficiencies, and budgeting skills can turn into big savings at the end of the year.

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can truck drivers carry guns
Aside from what’s on the road, truck driving can be a dangerous profession even when drivers aren’t behind the wheel. That’s why many truck drivers choose to carry a firearm in their truck for their own personal protection. Drivers, especially those who run OTR and Regional, find themselves all over the place, and sometimes those places are less than reputable. Combine this with a lack of safe and available parking nationwide and you can see why many drivers choose to carry. 

But as important as it is for drivers to protect themselves, it’s equally important to understand the laws surrounding carrying firearms while on the road. This is especially important for drivers who travel across state lines, as they need to know the laws for every state they drive through. Here’s what to know about carrying as a truck driver. 

Can Truck Drivers Carry Guns?

Truck drivers are allowed to carry a firearm, but it needs to be unloaded and kept out of reach of both the driver and any passenger with the ammunition stored separately. This means that keeping your firearm in the glove box is not allowed since it’s easily accessible from your driver’s seat. The best bet is to keep it in a locked box.  

Can Truck Drivers Get Their Concealed Carry?

While some drivers may be fine with the above arrangement, it’s understandable that many drivers who carry aren’t. It’s unlikely that if you’re ever in a situation where a firearm is needed, you’ll have the time to unlock a box, retrieve your firearm, and load it. That’s why many drivers opt to have their concealed carry permit instead.  

A concealed carry permit allows drivers to carry a firearm on their person while in their truck. Every state can issue you a concealed carry, but the requirements are different state by state on how to obtain one. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the requirements before attempting to get your conceal carry. Plus, there are a number of states known as “may issue” states. This means that you could meet all the requirements to receive your concealed carry permit and still be denied, as the state works on a case-by-case basis. 

Can Truck Drivers Carry Across State Guidelines?

Even after you’ve received a concealed carry, it’s important to be aware of the laws and regulations surrounding  carrying; the most important being carrying across state lines. As of right now, legislation has been introduced to the House of Representatives that would make a concealed carry permit obtained in one state valid in all others. This is known as reciprocity. The bill would first need to pass the house and then be picked up by the senate and passed there.

A similar bill was introduced and passed the house in 2017, but the senate did not act on it. As of right now, it’s unclear when the legislation will pass, if at all. This is why drivers shouldn’t wait around for congress to act, and instead familiarize themselves with concealed carry laws state by state.  

You can view this map to see which states your concealed carry permit is valid in. Simply select the state that you have your concealed carry registered in and you’ll be shown all the states that honor your permit and the states that do not. This means that before you cross over into a state that doesn’t honor your concealed carry permit, you’ll need to unload the firearm and store it in a locked container away from the ammunition, just like you would if you didn’t have your permit. 

What About Carrier Rules and Guidelines?

Also, be aware that just because you’re legally allowed to carry a firearm in your cab, this doesn’t mean that your carrier allows it. This is no problem for Owner Operators, but company drivers should be aware of all company rules and guidelines regarding firearms before carrying in their truck.  

While carrying a firearm is a measure that many drivers choose to take, it doesn’t have to be the only thing that drivers do to stay safe on the road. Making sure to park only at safe and legal stops along with pre-planning your routes to avoid stopping in any dangerous areas are precautions that should also be taken by truck drivers. 

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