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The Iowa 80, located right off exit 284 on the I-80 is the world’s largest truck stop, and somewhere that almost every OTR truck driver has been to at least once. But do you know about all the unique services they offer or how it became the world’s largest truck stop? Here’s everything you need to know about the historic truck stop.  

What is the Iowa 80?

The Iowa 80 opened its doors for the first time in 1964, before Interstate 80 had completed construction. Bill Moon, founder of the Iowa 80 saw that the new highway was going to be a major freight corridor and truck drivers were going to need a place to refuel, refresh and relax from the road.

The Iowa 80 started out as a small gas station where drivers could get the necessities before heading back out on the road. It wasn’t until the early 1980’s that Bill was able to expand the services and offerings of the Iowa 80 and the rest stop began to resemble what it looks like today. 

We were able to speak with Heather DeBaillie, Vice President of Marketing with the Iowa 80. She talked to us about the stop’s history and what it has to offer for truck drivers. 

The Moon Family has always reinvested in Iowa 80. We talk to drivers and ask them what they need when on the road. What are their pain points? What could we provide that would make their lives easier?  We’ve added all of those things when feasible. A lot of what we build is around saving the driver time and providing them comfort. Our goal was always to be the best truck stop and along that journey we became the biggest too. Now, we strive to keep both titles.”

What Services Does the Iowa 80 Offer?

The Iowa 80 offers everything drivers expect from a traditional truck stop and much more. They have 16 diesel fuel lanes, two dozen private showers, 10 restaurants, and 900 parking spots. It’s all part of their ideology of building bigger so drivers don’t have to wait.  

We want to make drivers’ lives easier by having everything they need in on stop.  We also have a 7-bay Truck Service Center, dog wash, Fuel Center that in addition to 16 fuel lanes includes a small store and two food options; a CAT Scale and a 3-bay Truckomat Truck Wash. We’ve added these options to make our customer’s lives easier.”

Over the years, the Iowa 80 has continued to grow, thanks to the Moon family investing in the stop. It soon became the largest truck stop in the world, offering drivers luxury services like a movie theatre, barber shop, and on-site chiropractor.  

Here’s a list of some of the services the Iowa 80 offers: 

  • Fuel Center 
  • Truck Service Center 
  • CAT Scale 
  • Movie Theatre 
  • Chiropractor 
  • Dentist 
  • Barber Shop 
  • Self-Serve Dogomat Pet Wash 
  • Laundry Area 
  • Custom Printing Shop 

Does the Iowa 80 Hold Events?

Apart from the unique services, the Iowa 80 holds an annual event each summer known as the Walcott Trucker’s Jamboree. The event has taken place every year since 1979 and includes truck exhibits, an antique truck display, super truck beauty contest, trucker Olympics, pet contest, live music, food, and more. 

“The Walcott Trucker’s Jamboree is our way of saying thank you to the millions of drivers who work hard to deliver what we need and keep the economy rolling. The event is free to attend and also gives non-truckers a chance to come and see some really cool rigs and learn more about the industry we depend on to get us everything we use. It’s the biggest Trucking party in the country.”

This year’s Walcott Trucker’s Jamboree will be taking place July 14-16th.  

Iowa 80

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum Main Exhibit Hall

If you’re a history buff, The Iowa 80 has something for you as well. You can check out the Trucking Museum which features some of the earliest known trucks, petrolinia and vintage gas station collectables, and antique toy trucks. 

Heather finished with these thoughts, 

“Like many trucking companies, Iowa 80 is a family owned and operated business. We are family friendly and are now serving fourth and fifth generation driver customers. We reinvested a lot back into the truck stop to create a place we hope drivers enjoy and feel welcomed. There are no locks on our doors, as we’ve been open continuously since our first day of operation in 1964.”

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horse transportThis past May, 16 million people tuned in to watch one of the biggest upsets in Kentucky Derby history. Rich Strike, a horse who the day before, wasn’t even slated to race, did the unthinkable and won the 148th annual Kentucky Derby in a miraculous come from behind victory. Moments like these are what make horse racing such an unpredictable and exciting sport.  

While we only see the end product on the track, there are countless people working behind the scenes to make these races possible, including the people who transport the horses from place to place. They’re called horse transport truck drivers, and they’re the engine that makes the horse racing industry go.  

What is a Horse Transport Truck Driver?

A horse transport truck driver is a driver who transports horses from place to place. This could be from training facility, to racetrack, farm, or anywhere else they need to go. These positions are typically either Regional or OTR due to the amount of distance between these places. 

How do you Become a Horse Transport Truck Driver?

You’ll of course need to have your CDL A before becoming a horse transport truck driver. Aside from that, you’ll also need to learn how to load, unload, and handle the challenges of transporting large animals like horses. Luckily, most carriers that specialize in this work will train you on that. 

What is Being a Horse Transport Truck Driver Like?

We were able to talk with Bill, a CDL A Driver with Drive My Way client, Sallee Horse Vans. Bill talked to us about what it’s like to be a horse transport truck driver and why he enjoys it. 

How long have you been a driver with Sallee?

“I’ve worked as a horse transport driver with Sallee for 5 years.”

What does your average day look like?

“I start by checking in with dispatch, getting the trailer ready (bedding down) for the number of horses we’re planning to load. Then I drive to the farm, racetrack, or training facility. Next, we load the horses and start the trip to our final destination.”

What made you choose working with Sallee over other OTR jobs?

 “I like working as a horse transport driver because it’s something different other than bumping a dock.”

What’s one thing a driver who’s thinking about working in transporting horses should know?

“There’s never a dull day in this job. The horses will challenge you daily, and you’ll always be learning something new about the job, the horses, and yourself.”

What do you enjoy the most about working with Sallee?

 “I really enjoy the people I work with at Sallee. It’s like one big family.”

Just like with any OTR position, horse transport drivers will need to be comfortable spending extended time on the road. It’s not unusual for drivers to be out on the road for over three weeks at a time, especially during peak racing season.  

Also, be prepared for a lot of east coast driving. Since the majority of horse racing takes place in the eastern half of the country, that’s where horse transport truckers do the majority of their driving.  

How Much Do Horse Transport Truck Drivers Make?

Since horse transporting is a specialization in the trucking industry, these drivers tend to make more than your traditional OTR driver. The exact numbers depend on which company you drive for but can reach more than $100,000 annually. 

Why do horse transport drivers get paid so much? There are literally millions of dollars on the line when they get behind the wheel. This isn’t cattle or sheep you’ll be hauling. They’re thoroughbred race horses. 

This is also why horse transporting is usually a team driver job. Since the cargo is so valuable, it’s seen as a worthy investment to have an extra driver in the cab in case something goes wrong on the road or there’s an issue with one of the horses.  

Another reason these jobs are done in teams is to beat tight deadlines. The FMCSA states that one truck driver can driver for a maximum of 11 hours before needing a ten-hour break. Driving in teams means that while one driver sleeps and gets their 10 hours in, the other can drive their 11. Aside from stopping for gas and other necessities, team drivers (in theory) never need to stop.  

Horse transport jobs pay well, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s for drivers who enjoy working with animals and love being out on the road more often than they’re at home. If you check both of those boxes, then you might have a future as a horse transport driver.  

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drop and hookWaiting. It’s one of the biggest frustrations for truck drivers. Every day, drivers lose hours off the clock and money out of their pockets when they’re forced to wait at a shipper or receiver for hours (sometimes days) for a live load. 

While some carriers make up for this by offering detention pay for their drivers, many don’t. This is why many drivers see drop and hooks as the answer to these problems. The question is, are drop and hooks really that much better than live loads? 

What is Drop and Hook?

A drop and hook is when a driver “drops” their trailer at the customer’s yard and gets a new one before driving off.  

Drivers will get an appointment time for these drop offs, meaning they won’t have to wait for any loading or unloading of the trailer like they would with a live load. Aside from taking less time, drop and hooks are no touch, which is always a bonus for drivers.  

What is Live Load?

Live load, sometimes known as “dock bumping” is when a driver backs their trailer up to the warehouse doors and then waits while the workers or jockeys to unload the truck. If a backhaul is scheduled, then the driver will have to wait for the trailer to be loaded back up as well. Just like with drop and hooks, drivers are given windows for when to be at the customer’s facility. 

On average, a live load takes around two hours. It can of course take more or less time depending on how many warehouse workers are on duty, what the cargo is, and how busy the yard is.  

Which is More Common?

drop and hookThis all depends on what you’re running. In general, there will be more live loads in reefer and flatbed hauling than there will be for dry van. This rule is fast and loose, so don’t bank on always having a drop and hook if you’re running dry van. 

Drop and hooks are usually utilized by larger carriers that have a lot of trailers. If you’re running for a smaller carrier, you’ll probably be looking at a lot of live loads. Space is another constraint for drop and hooks, since a lot of facilities simply don’t have the room for trailers to be sitting around waiting to be picked up. 

What are the Pros and Cons?

drop and hookMost drivers will agree that in general, drop and hooks are quicker and therefore better than live loads. This isn’t always the case though. As any experienced driver will tell you, there are a number of things that can go wrong with a shipper or receiver, resulting in you waiting well past your appointment time to get a new trailer. As a driver, these situations are extremely frustrating, since there’s not much you can control aside from getting to your appointment on time. 

Although most drivers prefer drop and hooks, live loads have some benefits as well. One is that you won’t run the risk of getting a worn-down trailer. If you’re doing a lot of drop and hooks, you’ll eventually get saddled with a less than ideal trailer. While not likely, these trailers could have electrical problems like faulty brake lights or tires that lose air. Dealing with these problems will add more time to your trip that could have been saved if you kept your old trailer.  

Drop and hooks also take a bit more skill than your traditional dock bumping. Drivers need to carefully line up their fifth wheel plate with the trailer’s kingpin. This isn’t an expert level maneuver or anything, but it’s something that you wouldn’t have to worry about with a live load.  

There’s also the issue of an overweight trailer. Some shippers may not do their due diligence in making sure a trailer is under the 34,000 tandem axel weight limit. You’ll only realize this when you hit your first weigh station. You’ll then have to go back to the shipper and start the whole process over again, which could add hours onto your trip.  

Which One’s Better?

The logistics chain is a long and messy one. There are hundreds of moving parts that go into getting a product from point A to point B. Any one of those moving parts could go wrong, with the truck driver being the one left waiting for the issue to be resolved, drop and hook or not. 

That being said, with a live load, you’re almost guaranteed to be waiting at least some amount of time. If everything goes right with a drop and hook, you should be leaving your customer’s facility with a new trailer in no time.  

If you’re a truck driver looking for a job with drop and hooks? Drive My Way has you covered. 

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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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dry van truckingDry Van hauling is without a doubt the most recognizable and common form of trucking. Just about every OTR or Regional trucker has driven dry van at some point in their career. Why? Almost everything gets transported on dry vans. If it’s not alive, won’t spoil, and isn’t oversized, there’s a good chance it’ll be on a dry van. Here are the need-to-know facts about dry van trucking.  

What is a Dry Van?

A Dry Van is a trailer that’s completely enclosed on all sides. They carry packaged goods and beverages, electronics, building materials, raw materials, and more.  

Are There Different Types?

Standard 53”

When we think of a dry van trailer, this is what probably comes to mind. These trailers are usually 53 feet long, though they can be as short as 48. They’re used to transport either pallets or loose cargo. Pallets are more common since it’s the most time and space efficient way to transport goods.  

Pup Trailers

Pup trailers are smaller trailers, usually between 26 and 28 feet that can be attached in doubles or triples. Pups are used to haul multiple smaller loads that need to be dropped in different locations or cargo that needs to be separated from each other.  

Pups are great for maneuvering through tight spaces like city streets. Though this gets more difficult when you’re hauling more than one pup. One thing to remember about pups is that they’re difficult to backup and something only experienced drivers should attempt. The easier (but more time consuming) way is to break them down and back up each pup individually.  

There are also pup trailers that can be pulled by dump trucks. These trailers have a similar design to the dump body and are used to save time by carrying two loads at once.  

Straight Trucks

Straight trucks, though not what we typically think of when we hear “dry van”, fall under that category as well. With straight trucks, the trailer and cab are one. These trucks are common in local hauling and delivery services. Since straight trucks weigh less than 26,000 pounds, only a CDL B is required to drive them.

What Do You Need to Drive Dry Van?

You’ll need your CDL A to drive a dry van trailer. The one exception mentioned above is straight trucks, which only require a CDL B to operate. If you plan on hauling pup trailers, you’ll need your doubles and triples endorsement as well.  

Where Do You Find Dry Van Jobs?

Dry van trucking is the most common form of trucking, so there are a lot of jobs out there. Most are OTR and Regional, but there are local dry van jobs as well for drivers who need to be home every night. 

Looking for a dry van job? Drive My Way has hundreds of open positions with carriers looking to hire. Create a free profile below and find your perfect job today. 

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trucker road rage

Every truck driver has been there before. Minding your own business in the right lane, when a car races up from behind you, gets right in front of you then slows down to 5 below the speed limit. These situations, along with countless others can lead to the all-too-common problem of truck driver road rage.  

Road rage causes a number of problems on its own, but for truck drivers, these problems get amplified due to the nature of their work. We love trucks for their size and beauty, but that truck becomes 10 tons of danger when you add in a frustrated driver and a congested highway. Here’s what truck drivers should know about road rage and how to avoid it. 

What is Road Rage? 

Road rage is any angry or overly aggressive act performed by a driver while on the road. It can take a number of forms, but road rage is most commonly yelling, tailgating, matching speeds with the offending party, and honking.  

Surprisingly, road rage among drivers is much more common than you would think. It’s not just a small group of angry drivers who are honking their horns, making rude gestures, and cutting people off. A recent study found that 82% of respondents admitted to committing an act of road rage at some point over the past year.  

Consequences of Road Rage 

Being a truck driver can be an exhausting profession even when a driver is in the best of moods. When they’re not, it can make that 10 hours of driving feel like 20. Anger and other intense emotions have been shown to lead to exhaustion, meaning you’ll be burnt out much quicker and not at your sharpest while on the road.  

Being pulled over is another possible consequence of road rage. If you’re letting it get the better of you on a regular basis, expect to eventually be pulled over and given a traffic violation because of it. Enough traffic violations on your CDL and it could eventually get suspended anywhere from two to four months. This might not seem like a lot at first, but that’s two to four months where truck driving won’t be a source of income.  

But the biggest consequence of truck driver road rage is the chance of accident and injury. Driving angry means you’re not thinking rationally. You’re more likely to drive faster and do risky maneuvers that could put you or other drivers in serious danger. 

How to Deal with Road Rage 

The first step in dealing with road rage is to recognize when it’s coming on. Once you start to feel those emotions begin to surface, don’t fall into the same routine of acting on them. After you’ve recognized it, you can do a few different things to help keep your cool.  

The first is to think about how much you have to lose. Aside from your truck and your job, your life and the lives of others could be at risk. Nothing in the world is worth that.  

The second thing to think about is that in the grand scheme of things, this moment really doesn’t matter. Odds are that in a few minutes you won’t even be able to remember the color of the vehicle that offended you. Even if you’re completely justified in your anger, the best thing you can do is move on.  

All drivers are at their best when they’re not overly emotional, and that’s especially true for truck drivers. Every day you’re on the road, you’ll likely encounter something that you could get angry about. You’ll be cut off, beeped at, or tailgated by an impatient driver for not going 80 in the right lane.  

These things are bound to happen, and there’s not much you can do to control them. The only thing you can control is your reaction to them. Once you’ve mastered that, road rage won’t be a problem in your career as a professional truck driver.  

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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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trucking routesWhat many OTR and Regional drivers love most about their job is the freedom they’re given. A big part of that freedom is hitting the open road and seeing the sights our country has to offer. We talked with a few drivers who’ve been all over the country and asked what their favorite trucking routes are and why. Here’s what they had to say. 

West

trucking routes

For a lot of drivers, out west, specifically Montana and the surrounding states, is their favorite region to drive in. The open air, mountains, forests, and rivers make for a beautiful and refreshing drive. The lack of congestion on these highways is another reason why so many drivers enjoy these trucking routes.

CDL driver, Jimmy had this to say about driving out west.  

“I enjoy I-90 through western Montana and into Idaho. There’s not a lot out there, but God’s handwork is amazing. The landscapes are unlike any other and really have to be seen in person. I’ve always told people that a lot of this country can’t be seen on tv or in pictures. You truly have to experience it. There’s not much traffic out there either, which is always nice, especially pulling oversize through the mountain passes.” 

CDL driver Matthew echoes the same sentiment,  

“Highway 200 across Montana is absolutely beautiful. Especially between Great Falls and Missoula. You go from plains and plateaus to mountains within minutes.”

Southwest

When most people hear the phrase, “road trip”, their mind probably goes to empty two lane roads dotted with mom-and-pop diners and motels, large rock structures, and huge sprawling deserts. There’s really no other place like it on earth. For many truck drivers, this is what makes the southwest their favorite region to drive through.   

CDL Driver Nick had this to say,  

“I’d definitely have to say, anything out in the southwest is my favorite. Every road out there is different, the views are never the same.”

CDL driver Christy is also a fan of the southwest.  

“New Mexico and Arizona are great. The scenery is beautiful️. Highway 15 through Nevada and Arizona too, really anywhere in the southwest.”

 

Here are a few photos that these CDL drivers sent in of their favorite routes. 

 

Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains are a huge mountain range that span throughout North Carolina and Tennessee. The Smokies get their name from the natural fog that hangs over much of the mountains. From a distance, this fog resembles smoke.  

The mountain range is home to lush forests, unique wildlife, and breathtaking sights. This makes it a popular tourist destination for hiking and camping, but truckers love driving through the Smokies as well for the same reason.  

OTR driver Shawn told us,  

“The Smoky mountains are my favorite! It’s beautiful and you can hear the sound of jake brakes echo in the air.” 

Aside from the great sights on these routes, there’s an economic reason for drivers liking these trucking routes as well. Most truckers are paid using a “per mile” model, so the more miles, the more money.  

Another reason these routes are loved is because you’re likely to see less congestion. A study back in 2014 found that for most truckers, their least favorite routes are around the rust belt and the major cities in the east, like New York and Chicago. There’s a higher population density in these areas so you’re more likely to see more traffic, which slows truckers down and eats up their fuel. 

Do you have a different favorite region that you like to drive through? Vote in our poll below and let us know! 

 

What’s Your Favorite Region to Drive Through?

Western Mountains
New England
Southern States
Southwest
Midwest
Other
Please Specify:

 

Created with SuperSurvey

 

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eld requirementsThe ELD mandate has been around since 2017, so unless you’re a new truck driver, you probably know about ELDs and the requirements surrounding them. But, if you are a new driver, here are the need-to-know facts about ELDs.  

What is an ELD?

ELD, sometimes referred to as E-Logs, stands for Electronic Logging Device. It’s a device attached to a CMV’s engine that tracks HOS (Hours of Service) logs. Back in the day, paper logs were used to track HOS. Some carriers eventually moved to EOBR (electronic on-board records) tracking to help make the data more accurate, while other carriers stuck with paper logs. So, why was the change made to ELD? EOBR devices were great, but they didn’t have a consistent data format, so they’d regularly have to be regenerated in a paper format, which defeated the purpose of the device.  

Then came along the ELD which did what the EOBRs did but generated more accurate data and in a consistent format, making it easier for enforcement and review.  

What is the ELD Mandate?

The ELD mandate was something announced by the FMCSA in 2017. It stated that trucking carriers and owner operators needed to have ELDs installed in all their trucks by the end of that year. There was an extended deadline given to carriers that already had EOBRs installed in their trucks, which was December of 2019. Those dates have long passed, so now all carriers are required by law to have ELDs installed in their CMVs. 

Do all Drivers Have to Comply with the ELD Mandate?

The vast majority of drivers and carriers, including owner-operators need to comply with the mandate, but there are a few exceptions that the FMCSA outlines here.  

The ELD rule allows limited exceptions to the ELD mandate, including: 

  • Drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions may continue using timecards; they are not required to keep RODS (Record of Duty Status) and will not be required to use ELDs. 

  • Drivers who use paper RODS (Record- of Duty Status) for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period. 

  • Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, in which the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered. 

  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000. 

The most common exemptions to this mandate would be under the “short haul exemption for local drivers and non-CDL drivers. There are a few different conditions a driver needs to meet to be considered for this exemption.  

“A driver is exempt from the requirements of §395.8 and §395.11 if: the driver operates within a 150 air-mile radius of the normal work reporting location, and the driver does not exceed a maximum duty period of 14 hours. Drivers using the short-haul exception in §395.1(e)(1) must report and return to the normal work reporting location within 14 consecutive hours, and stay within a 150 air-mile radius of the work reporting location.”

As you can see, the exceptions to the ELD mandate are few and far between, so it’s more likely than not that you or your carrier will need to comply with the mandate. 

What are the ELD Requirements?

ELD information packet that contains the following: 

  • User’s manual describing how to operate an ELD 

  • Instruction sheet describing data transfers supported by the ELD and instructions on how to transfer HOS records to a safety official. 

  • Instruction sheet that describes how to report when an ELD malfunctions and how to manually record HOS in the case of an ELD malfunction. 

  • Blank RODS graph paper in case the ELD functions. Must have 8-days worth of paper.  

You might be thinking, what’s the purpose of all this digitization if I’m required to keep all these manuals and sheets in my cab? The good news is that the FMCSA was thinking the same thing. The first three items on this list can be stored digitally.  

While most carriers and drivers who were accustomed to the old system may have found switching to ELDs a pain at first, they’ve definitely shown their benefits over the past few years.

Most are specific to companies, DOT inspectors, and fleet managers, but the biggest benefits for drivers and owner operators includes less paperwork, and more easily accessible data for inspections. No need to fumble around trying to find paper HOS logs anymore when the inspector comes knocking, which helps you get back on the road making money faster.  

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concert trucking

What is Concert Trucking?

Concert trucking is a specialization in the trucking industry. It’s an OTR position where drivers haul stage and lighting equipment, instruments, and anything else needed for concerts and shows. Drivers will go on tour with bands or acts for a few months at a time to support an entire tour or a leg of it. Most tours will need a full team of drivers to work it, so as a concert trucker, you’ll be spending a lot of time with your fellow drivers.

We were able to speak with Cid, a CDL A Driver with Drive My Way client, Upstaging. Cid has been with the company since January of 2021. He shared what his day-to-day looks like, what he enjoys about being a concert trucker, and what it takes to do it.

“My average day starts with loading in around 6 am till 10 am, then I go to catering for breakfast or lunch, take a walk, sleep from 1pm to 9pm, load out and continue on to the next show,” shared Cid.

What Skills Does a Concert Trucker Need?

Concert trucking is a great and well-paying job, but there are a number of skills that a concert trucker needs to have to be successful.

The first is comfort with late night driving. While most OTR drivers have some experience with driving at night, for a concert trucker, it’s your bread and butter. That’s because right after a show wraps up, everything needs to get loaded on the trailers and hauled to the next stop. This means starting your route at 11 PM, midnight, or even 2 AM if a show goes that long.

“This is not your average trucking job. We work hard and have plenty of downtime. Each venue is different, and you’ll learn something new every day. You’ll need to adjust your sleep schedule, but once you’re on tour, you get into the rhythm (no pun intended). The camaraderie on these tours is like no other, we are truly one team,” shared Cid.

Leadership and organization are also needed skills as a concert trucker. In addition to driving, concert truckers (specifically Upstaging drivers) supervise the loading and unloading of equipment in and out of the trailers before and after the shows. These skills come into play when you’re on a time crunch trying to get a trailer loaded so you can hit the road and make it to the next destination on time.

When it comes to concert trucking, drivers need to make sure they’re getting into it for the right reasons. If you just want to meet musicians and hang out on the road, concert trucking isn’t the job for you. It’s fun and rewarding, but also takes a serious, dedicated and experienced driver to do it.

Benefits of Concert Trucking with Upstaging

concert trucking“Salary, plus per diem, plus hotel buyout are a few of the perks of working with Upstaging. They lead the industry in driver pay as well. Plus, being a part of a moving project is very satisfying. These shows can’t make the next destination without us,” shared Cid.

There’s a number of benefits to working as a concert trucker, specifically with Upstaging. Here are just a few of them.

Paid by the Day

No more adding miles and calculating things like detention. Upstaging drivers are paid by the day. In other words, if you’re out on a 3-month tour, you’re getting paid for every day of that tour, even days off.

Designated Truck Parking

Also, there’s no need to worry about truck parking as a concert trucker. You won’t need to be parking overnight at a lot, you’ll be parking in an arena or outdoor venue where spots will already be reserved for drivers.

No Touch Freight

Upstaging drivers don’t load and unload their trailers themselves. Instead, they supervise while the crew does it.

Team Atmosphere

Working as a concert trucker means working with a team. You’ll be forming bonds with other drivers and workers you’re on tour with, which is much different from your typical OTR position. Doing your part to put on a show that thousands of people will enjoy is definitely a perk, and one that Cid enjoys.

“When you’re transporting entertainment for thousands and thousands of fans, it’s nice to be part of team working together to achieve a perfect outcome,” shared Cid. 

Additional Benefits

There’s many more quality-of-life benefits to being an Upstaging driver, including:

  • New Tractor Trailers (None older than 4 years)
  • Built-in Fridge
  • Custom Designed Sleeper for Extra Space
  • Catered Meals
  • 28 days PTO per year
  • Schedule-based hotel allowance

Upstaging is Hiring Drivers Nationwide

Drive for the premier transportation company in entertainment and make over $100,000 Yearly!