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city truck drivingIf you were to ask truck drivers where their favorite places to drive are, chances are that most would say on the open road, with empty highways and clear skies. What they wouldn’t say is during rush hour in a congested city. Unfortunately, as a truck driver, you’ll have to drive in all types of places, even the latter. 

If you’re a new truck driver worried about city driving, you’re not alone. New truck drivers experience this fear every day. But they also overcome it and drive through crowded city streets with no problem. Here are 5 city truck driving tips for new truck drivers.  

1. Try to be early whenever possible

This is easier said than done, but whenever you can control it, try and be early for your drop and hook appointments if you know they’re in a crowded city. By being early, you can scope out where you’ll need to pull in and how you’ll need to maneuver your truck and trailer. Being early also gives you the time needed to deal with any traffic or construction delays you might encounter in the city. 

2. Use Your Mirrors

Using your mirrors isn’t just a tip for city driving, it’s important at all times you’re behind the wheel. That being said, mirrors become much more useful in a crowded city. Check them often to look out for pedestrians, bicyclists and cars attempting to merge. They’re especially useful when there’s two lanes of traffic turning at the same time.  

3. Keep Extra Distance if You Can

There’s a lot of stop and go traffic in cities. If you’re not giving the proper amount of stopping distance, taking your eyes off the road for even half a second could be enough time for you to rear end somebody. 

4. Be Cautious

More cars and pedestrians, with less room to drive means that you should have a general sense of caution when driving in the city. Don’t try to eyeball sharp turns and difficult maneuvers. Always use your mirrors and, if you’re able to, get out of the cab and check what you’re doing if you’re feeling uneasy about something.

There are some drivers who think this makes them look like a newbie or unskilled, but that’s far from the truth. The best drivers are the ones who put safety above all else. 

5. Know Your Route

If you’ve never been to a customer’s location before, don’t just rely on Google or Apple maps to get you there. While these apps are usually fine to show you which highway or route to take, they’re a little less reliable when you need them to plan routes in cities. They may not tell you about one-way streets, roads with weight limits, construction, and other road disruptions.  

Instead, give the customer a call to get directions. They’ll know the best route to get there and will even give you directions for where and how to park when you get there.  

Driving in the city for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience for new truck drivers, but as long as you’re cautious, and keep your wits about you, you’ll be out of those congested streets and back on the highway in no time. 

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class b cdl

Are you considering getting a commercial driver’s license, also known as a CDL? If you are, you should know that there are 3 options: Class A CDL, Class B CDL or Class C CDL.  

Each CDL has its own training and testing procedures, and there are pros and cons to each. Depending on your career plans, any of these might be the right fit for you. Here, we’re going to explore what you need to know when getting a Class B CDL License.

1. The Basics of a Class B CDL

Dump truck jobsThough getting a Class A CDL will open the most job opportunities for a driver, a Class B CDL can provide drivers with a great career as well.  

A CDL B vehicle is described by the Federal Motor Carrier Association as,

“Any single vehicle which has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more), or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight that does not exceed  4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds).” 

In layman’s terms, this means that drivers who hold their CDL B can drive a truck that has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 26,000 pounds but cannot carry a trailer in tow if that trailer weighs more than 10,000 pounds. So, what kinds of trucks can CDL B drivers operate?

2. Vehicles a CDL B Driver Can Operate

With a Class B CDL, a trucker can drive any vehicles endorsed for Class B or Class C. Some of these vehicles are: 

  • Straight trucks 
  • Large passenger buses (city buses, tourist buses, and school buses) 
  • Segmented buses 
  • Box trucks (including delivery trucks and furniture trucks) 
  • Dump trucks with small trailers 
  • Garbage trucks 
  • Ready Mix (Concrete) mixers 

 3. Age Requirements

cdl age requirementTo hold a Class B CDL, you only need to be 18 years old. This is actually true for a CDL A as well, but many companies will not hire 18-20 year old drivers for CDL A positions, since you need to be 21 to travel across state lines.  

This is why many young drivers looking to start early and gain valuable experience before they turn 21 will usually get their CDL B instead. When a CDL B driver turns 21, they can test for a CDL A license if they’re looking to drive bigger rigs over the road (OTR).  

4. Where Can a Class B licensed Trucker Drive?

Fed Ex VanIf you’re a truck driver looking to stay close to home, a Class B CDL might be a great option for you, since most CDL B jobs only run locally. This means that if you’re planning on getting your Class B CDL, you should be prepared for jobs as a mover, delivery driver, bus driver, or garbage truck driver. 

No matter what type of license and endorsements you pursue, the key is to make sure you’re matched with the trucking job that’s the best fit for you. If you’re a newly minted CDL driver looking for your first job, or you’re a seasoned road veteran, let Drive My Way help you get connected with the perfect job. 

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As a truck driver who’s looking for a new job, there are a ton of factors to consider before making your decision. You’re probably thinking about your preferred range, what you want to haul, and what’s the minimum home time you need, but there’s one option that you might not be thinking about; whether you want to be a part of a union or not. Here’s everything truck drivers need to know to decide whether joining a trucking union is right for them.

What’s the History of Unions in Trucking?

Labor unions have a long and storied history in the United States. Going back to the 18th century, labor unions have been the driving force behind workers advancing their interests, not just in trucking but in almost every blue-collar field.  

For many reasons that are too in-depth to get into, labor unions aren’t as popular as they were at their height in the mid-20th century. Around this time, 35% of all workers in the country belonged to a labor union.  

While unions have steadily decreased in popularity over the last 40 years, For trucking specifically, unions were dealt their biggest blow when congress passed the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. Among other things, this legislation led to a sweeping deregulation of the trucking industry. The bill had (and has) far-reaching effects on the industry and economy at large.  

One of the biggest changes it led to was allowing more low-cost, non-union carriers to enter the industry. This started a trend of there being fewer and fewer union carriers, and decreased power for labor unions.  

But it’s not all bad news for labor unions. According to a recent Gallup poll, support for labor unions among Americans is the highest it’s been in the last 57 years. Could this mean that we’ll see an increase in unionization among truck drivers? Time will tell.  

Are There Union Jobs in Trucking Today?

Yes, the vast majority of truck drivers who are unionized fall under the International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Freight Division. This division includes not only truck drivers, but dockworkers, mechanics, and others.  

Though the number of unionized truck drivers is much smaller than it was in years past, there a still a number of companies with unionized truck drivers. You can find a full list of them here 

How Do I Join a Truck Driver Union?

To join a truck driver union, you’ll need to sign on with a company that has drivers who are a part of that union. But don’t just assume that if a carrier has one location that is unionized, that all of them will be.  

With a lot of carriers, they’ll have some locations that are unionized and some that aren’t. If you’re interested in being a part of a union, do your research to make sure the specific location you want to work at is unionized. 

What are the Pros of Joining a Truck Driver Union?

The thought behind a labor union is simple; strength in numbers. The main benefit of joining a union is being part of a group that collectively bargains for better conditions together. A union will negotiate pay, health insurance, pension, and more for its members.  

Though there’s little data that compares the wages of union and non-union truck drivers specifically, earlier this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found the following: 

“Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 83 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($975 versus $1,169).” – BLS News Release, January 20th, 2022 

There’s also added job security for union members, since the union will most likely have legal representation. This is particularly useful for drivers who feel that they’ve been wronged by their carrier in some capacity. 

What are the Cons of joining a Truck Driver Union?

Some drivers have reported that the broad protection that unions offer to their members can lead to drivers with less than stellar work habits being able to stay on without punishment. There can also be internal politics, disagreements, and in-fighting when it comes to union leadership.  

While many drivers enjoy the fact that a union negotiates pay on their behalf, some more experienced drivers may not. They feel that they could earn more if they were able to negotiate for themselves.  

Of course, drivers can have very different experiences with unions. One driver might find value in being part of a larger organization with collective bargaining power, while another driver might see being part of a union as having extra money come out of your paycheck with very little to show for it.  

Just like drivers need to decide what pay, home time, and benefits they want; they also need to decide whether they want to be part of a trucking union or not. There are pros and cons to both sides, so do your research to see if it’s a fit for what you want. 

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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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PUP trailerFor CDL A truck drivers, there are dozens of skills and endorsements they can earn related to driving specialty trailers. Drivers with these skills and endorsements are highly sought after by trucking companies and tend to earn more than drivers without.  

One of the most common skills that drivers can learn is how to haul PUP trailers. Here’s everything you need to know about PUP trailers, including the endorsement(s) needed to haul them, advice for new drivers hauling PUP trailers, and companies that hire these drivers.  

What is a PUP Trailer?

PUPs are small trailers, usually between 26 and 28 feet that can be attached in doubles or triples on the back of a cab.  

What are PUP Trailers used for?

There’s a few different reasons that carriers use PUP trailers. The first being when they simply want to haul more without putting another truck on the road. PUPs are also used to haul multiple smaller loads that need to be dropped in different locations or cargo that needs to be separated from each other. 

Are There Different Types of PUP Trailers?

The most common types of PUP trailers are standard dry van 26′ or 28′. There are also specialized reefer PUPs as well, although these are less common. Aside from that, one of the most common types of PUP trailers are the ones used with dump trucks.

What Companies Hire PUP Drivers?

Large delivery and parcel companies like FedEx and UPS are the carriers who use PUPs the most. Aside from that, construction companies and building products carriers may also hire drivers to haul dump trucks with an added PUP on the back.  

Do I Need a Special Endorsement to Haul PUP Trailers?

If you’re hauling two or three PUPs at the same time then yes, you will need your doubles and triples endorsement, sometimes known the “T” endorsement. The good news is that all you need to do to get your T endorsement is to pass a written test, no road or skills test required.  

There’s a number of free sites out there that will provide practice materials for this test, but you may also be able to find them from your state’s DMV/BMV as well.  

Is it hard to drive PUP trailers?

Most drivers experienced with hauling PUP trailers say that aside from backing them up, hauling doubles is not much different than hauling a standard 53′. It can be daunting for new drivers who are pulling PUPs for the first time, but it’s more of a mental thing than anything. Once you get some miles under your belt, you’ll be as comfortable with doubles as you are with a 53′. 

Triples present a much bigger challenge for drivers. The extra trailer creates more opportunities for issues to arise, especially when it comes to turning and maneuvering the trailers. This is why a lot of states don’t even allow drivers to haul triples.  

What is Some Advice for Drivers Hauling PUP Trailers?

1. Be Diligent

 Since you’ll be hauling an extra trailer (or two), be extra diligent in your pre-trip inspection. You now have double (or triple) the number of things to check with your trailers.  

2. Don’t focus on the Wiggle

Another big piece of advice is to not constantly fixate on your back trailer while driving. It’ll move or wiggle around a little bit, but that’s normal. No need to overcorrect with your steering wheel. The worst thing you can do is pay so much attention to it that you’re not looking at what’s on the road in front of you. 

3. Avoid Backing Up

One thing to remember about PUPs is that they’re extremely difficult to back up and something only experienced drivers should attempt. Even then, these experienced PUP drivers try to never get themselves into a situation where they would have to back up.  

The easier way is to break down each trailer and back them up each individually. If you do want to practice backing up PUPs, do it in a large, empty space where you can afford to make a mistake or two. 

Whether you’re just starting your career in trucking, or you’ve been on the road for years, getting your “T” endorsement and learning how to haul PUP trailers is a great way to increase your value and earning potential as a truck driver.  

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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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detention payNobody likes detention. Not the carrier, not the shipper, and definitely not the truck driver. But, since detention is such a universally disliked part of the trucking industry, why does it happen so often? Here’s what truck drivers need to know about detention delays and detention pay.  

What is Detention Pay?

Detention Pay is what a driver earns after waiting at a shipper or receiver for an extended period of time. 

This detention pay will usually come out of the shipper’s end, with the carrier charging a detention fee for however long one of their drivers has to stay at a location. There is usually an agreed upon grace period (usually 2 hours), but anything over that and the shipper will have to pay.  

What’s the Point of Detention Pay?

If a truck driver’s not moving, they’re not earning. Without detention pay, a driver being stuck at a shipper or receiver for four hours means they’ve just lost four hours of income.

Aside from this financial aspect, no driver wants to be sitting around waiting for hours on end when they could be on the road getting to their next stop or getting home.  

Detention pay is a great step to help drivers mitigate some of the financial loss from waiting, but ideally the driver wouldn’t wait at all.  

Why Causes Detention Delays?

The biggest reason for detention delays is poor logistics on the part of the shipper. Everything from an inefficient process for loading and unloading, too few hands helping out in the yard, or lack of space for trucks can lead to long detention times. 

The ELD mandate has given carriers better data around driver detention time. According to a study done by Zipline Logistics, carriers are starting to become more selective in which shippers they do business with, and more and more are refusing to go to certain shippers that have a reputation for long load and unload times.  

But as we all know, the logistics chain is a long and messy one. Shippers can do everything right and there could still be some issue that leaves the driver waiting for an extra X hours.  

Having drop and hook appointments instead of live loads will generally mean less wait time for drivers, but this isn’t always the case.  

How Much Do Drivers Get Paid for Detention?

The amount paid for detention varies carrier to carrier but is usually around $20-30 per hour. Most companies start detention pay after two hours of waiting, but some start it as early as one hour. 

How Can Drivers Get Detention Pay?

It used to be that few carriers offered detention pay for drivers. But as carriers are finding it harder to hire and retain drivers, more and more are offering detention pay as a way to attract top driver talent to their company.  

If you’re looking for a new CDL job, always check the job description for any mention of detention pay. If there’s nothing in the description, ask the recruiter or HR manager when you talk and get a firm answer. Even if the job description does mention detention pay, still ask them about it just so there’s no confusion later on down the road.   

If you’re an owner operator, you’re able to get detention pay as well. Just make sure the contract specifies detention time, your rate, grace period and any other pertinent information before you sign it. If you don’t get it in writing, there’s a strong chance you won’t get detention pay.  

two men in a truck

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cdl truckTruck driving isn’t a one size fits all type of job. Drivers have choices for everything from the kind of freight they haul, how far they drive, and where they drive. But before they decide if they want to haul dry van or hazmat, or run OTR or local, they need to make two decisions first; Whether they want to drive under their own authority and what kind of trucking carrier they want to drive for.

Here’s a breakdown of the difference between company drivers, owner operators, and lease purchase drivers as well as private and for hire carriers.  

Company Drivers

local trucking jobsCompany drivers work as employees under the authority of a trucking company. This arrangement is where most truck drivers fall. The biggest benefits of being a company driver are the health benefits and lack of financial investment on the part of the driver.  

As an owner operator, drivers must cover the cost of their truck, any maintenance to it, their own insurance while on the road as well as their own health insurance. For many drivers, especially those who are new to the industry, these costs are too much to manage, which is why they stick to company driving. 

Not all carriers who hire company drivers are the same. They break down into two main categories; private and for hire carriers.  

Private Carriers

These are companies that have a private fleet of vehicles to transport their own goods. While for hire carriers make their money solely by transporting goods, private carriers don’t. They’re larger companies that make their money in other areas, usually by selling the goods they transport themselves. 

Some notable examples of private carriers would be big box retailers like PepsiCo and Tyson foods. These companies have their own trucks and drivers and don’t rely on for hire carriers to transport their goods for them. Most national companies that transport goods around the country will have a private fleet.  

For Hire Carrier

For hire trucking carriers transport freight for a number of different customers. The business model for for-hire carriers centers around transporting goods. There are two main types of for hire carriers; common carriers and contract carriers.  

Common carriers offer their services out to the general public. This means they can transport goods for private citizens as well as businesses, usually in a one-time only arrangement. Some examples of common carriers would be final mile delivery services or LTL carriers.  

Contract (or dedicated) trucking carriers work with specified customers for a set period and rate that is all agreed upon in a contract. This is an option usually for larger companies that don’t want to worry about managing their own private fleet.  

Lease Purchase Drivers

truck driver relaxingTruck drivers can make a lot of money bring an owner operator, but the initial costs associated with it can be too much for many drivers. This is where lease purchase programs come into play.  

Certain trucking carriers offer drivers the option of purchasing their own truck from them via a series of lease payments. These drivers then drive for the company for a set period of time, while making lease payments on the truck back to the company. In addition, the driver usually assumes all responsibility for maintenance and up-keep of the truck as needed. At the end of the lease, the driver completes the terms and will then own the truck.  

For a driver looking to bridge the gap between being an employee and an owner operator, it’s worth a look to see if a lease purchase program is right for you. These types of programs can put you on the fast track from driver to owner.   

Owner Operators

truck driver at loading dockAn owner operator is a truck driver who owns (or has financed) his or her own truck and drives under their own authority. Generally speaking, drivers will only become owner operators after years of experience on the road working as a company driver.  

We’ve already talked about the costs associated with being an owner operator, so why do so many drivers do it? Experienced, financially savvy drivers can make a lot of money as an owner operator. Aside from that, owner operators have total freedom in who they haul for, where they’ll go, and when they’re home.  

If you’re an experienced, financially stable driver with a solid home life, there’s nothing stopping you from becoming an owner operator.  

two men in a truck

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