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We already know that America would not function without the hard work of truck drivers. And now, finally, someone has confirmed it.

Global job search engine Adzuna conducted research on the most patriotic jobs in the United States.

The analysis looked at what Adzuna deemed as “patriotic jobs”, or those available jobs whose description defined them as most responsible for the improvement and upkeep of the country.

For example, a construction worker, responsible for the betterment of roadways and gentrification of local cities, would be included here.

Adzuna analyzed the nearly 3.5 million jobs on its website, searching for open positions with different specifications, such as hours and job description. It found that “patriotic jobs”, such as truck drivers, nurse practitioners, construction workers, and teachers, made up over 90% of the most in-demand jobs. Of the more than 1.5 million available jobs, the majority of openings exist in Virginia, Texas, California, and Illinois.

Image via Adzuna

With so much national spotlight on these “patriotic jobs” lately, it’s no wonder that they represent such a large piece of the unfulfilled job openings on Adzuna. For example, teachers have gone on strike, advocating for better wages and improved classroom environments. Construction workers have one of the highest on-the-job mortality rates of any profession, with nearly 14 deaths reported each day.

Truck drivers aren’t far off. Truckers are dedicated members of society whose job is to transport over 70% of our nation’s goods. The country’s food, medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and even waste are all in their hands.

Therefore, it’s ironic that such a necessary job is also the most dangerous. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, driving a truck is the deadliest occupation in America. Therefore, because of this and low wages, the demand for truckers is high.

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A California high school may be the first in the country to offer a commercial driver training program to its students.

Dave Dein, a teacher in Patterson, California, has helped establish a student driver-training course. As a former truck driver, Dein believes that the training he received early in his career gave him confidence. Therefore, he wanted to offer a similar benefit to current high school students showing an interest in the driver field.

While he also operates an adult driver-training program, Dein focuses on younger students who may need a non-traditional outlet for learning aimed at “[those] that needed to find something they could connect with,” according to the March 29th issue of Fleet Owner.

The students undergo 180 hours of classroom instruction before spending 20 hours in a truck simulator. After completing the program, students may obtain free behind-the-wheel training with Morning Star Trucking or enroll in Dein’s adult education driving training program.

Also, Morning Star, a former employer of Dein, is additionally offering students summer employment transporting tomatoes. The graduates of the high school program can earn more than $10,000.

Other program participants are Penske Logistics and Worklete, which teach ergonomics and injury-prevention skills. For more details on this junior training program, please click here.

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truck driver spendingA lot of articles about how to save money overlook the unique needs of spending needs of truck drivers.

Here’s a list built for you.

1. Food

TruckerMike of Trucking Truth says, “It is very easy to rack up $30 or more in a single day eating food on the road. That comes out to over $200 per week, and over $10,000 per year! WOW!”

To save money, buy a portable fridge and a crock pot. The Healthy Trucker recommends the “ARB 10800472 Fridge Freezer- 50 Quart” and shares a few tips and recipes for slow cookers here. If you stock up at a grocery store before hitting the road, it becomes cheaper and more convenient to eat the healthy. The fridge and slow cooker will pay for themselves in less than a year.

2. Budget

“Base your Budget on low mile weeks,” advises Derek McClain of The Healthy Trucker. Most companies pay by the mile, and your miles will change from week to week. It’s better to budget for the low weeks and have a little more than you planned for on good week than to plan for the good weeks and not have enough during the bad weeks.

3. Emergencies

You can’t schedule emergencies, but you can soften the blow by being ready for them. The Healthy Trucker says, “When in doubt if an emergency fund should be used for a purchase, just refer back to the ‘emergency’ part of the name … If there’s a question whether or not it’s an emergency … it’s probably not.”

4. Loans

A cash advance or a payday loan may be tempting but use caution. Many of these institutions tack on ridiculous interest rates and fees (as high as $15 to $30 for every $100 loaned). These fees will eat up your paycheck for months or worse, leave you taking out new loans to pay back your old loans. Always turn to your emergency fund, friends, family or even your company before resorting to a high-interest, short-term loan.

5. Free WiFi

Don’t forget to enable your device’s WiFi at stops rather than relying on your data plan. The free WiFI will cut down your data usage (and your phone bill) every month.

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truck driver stress

Stress management can be a considerable challenge for many truck drivers. Many factors contribute to truck driver stress. You have to maintain constant focus on the road while spending significant time away from friends and family.

Combine this with several other demanding merchandise transport responsibilities and your job can easily become overwhelming if you don’t find effective ways to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Here are some beneficial tips for staying stress-free on the road.

1. Eat healthy

A healthy body directly contributes to a healthy mind. Maintaining a healthy diet can help reduce irritability and depression, as well as help you feel more awake when driving and get a better overall sleep.

Many people assume eating healthy food requires sacrificing tastiness and simply munching celery sticks for the foreseeable future (not that there’s anything wrong with celery sticks). This is not the case, however, as there are many healthier choices you can make without resorting to boring, bland snacking.

2. Sleep well to avoid fatigue

Lack of sleep can spell disaster when driving long distances. However, sometimes it’s difficult getting the necessary 6-8 hours our bodies need to stay alert and avoid becoming fatigued.

If you’re having trouble getting the right amount of sleep, here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Limit your caffeine intake and avoid it a couple hours before sleeping
  • Restrict your exposure to light before bed (phones, tablets, etc.)
  • As mentioned above, maintain a healthy diet
  • Find a truck stop and take a short nap if you start to feel overly fatigued
3. Be social

One of the main causes of stress on the road is being away from friends and family. This lack of social connection can be a factor in depression.

Be sure to check in with friends and family back home on a regular basis. Also, don’t hesitate to start a chat with fellow truckers at different truck stops.

Another great way to combat loneliness is to bring a pet with you. If your employer allows it, that is.

4. Maintain fitness

Maintaining a daily fitness routine, combined with healthy eating, is a sure-fire way to beat stress on the road. It can, however, be difficult to find the time and resources to exercise when traveling.

Regardless, you should aim to get about 15 to 30 minutes of exercise per day to relieve stress. Start with some easy exercises and modify them as you progress.

Bonus: listen to your favorite podcast or music playlist

Making a playlist full of your favorite tunes can be a great stress reliever when driving long distances. Have a favorite podcast? Listen to a couple episodes per day to keep your mind interested and engaged instead of letting it wander.

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trucker-scholarship Whether your little one is preparing for their first steps or walking into their first day of college, TruckerToTrucker can help prepare you financially for the next big step in their life. Money doesn’t have to be one of the challenges that prevents you from continuing your education. That’s why TruckertoTrucker.com compiled a list of trucker scholarship opportunities for no-scam, easy-access applications.

The scholarships are for truck drivers seeking to continue their education at accredited trucking schools. The program is also for relatives of people in the trucking industry. The latter is intended to recognize your value as a driver by helping those who are important to you: your family.

TruckerToTrucker explains its own challenges in distributing its trucker scholarship money:

“In 2013, TruckerToTrucker.com decided to put together a new scholarship. This trucker scholarship is specifically for those who want to become professional drivers. It’s a great way to give back to the hard working community that makes our industry possible.

We couldn’t give the money away!

After several weeks of contacting professional commercial driving schools and trucking organizations, we had maybe 3-4 applicants. In addition, we had lots of unreturned calls and emails.

We were offering a $1,000 scholarship with no obligations on the winner or school, and it was almost impossible to give the money away! That’s crazy.

We also talked with other organizations that offered trucking related scholarships, and they had the same issue. Money, free money, they’d like to give to promising individuals looking to start a new career…and nobody applied for it.

TruckerToTrucker sees the lack of applicants but recognizing the need for the scholarship. Also, their mission is to create a “single resource for legitimate scholarships.”

More than a half-dozen scholarships are detailed on the site.

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The Women in Trucking Accelerate! Conference and Expo runs from Nov. 7-9 in Dallas, Texas. The conference strives to bring gender diversity to the trucking industry and show how diversity can positively impact a driver’s career and a company’s success.

Several Women in Trucking members will be on hand at the conference, including trucking companies, truck driving schools, manufacturers, health and wellness businesses and more.

First, the conference kicks off with the opening session (1:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7), when FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling discusses safety in trucking.

Also, the conference offers valuable networking opportunities among those who value gender diversity in the industry. In addition, there are more than 30 sessions on important transportation issues and trends. Drive My Way’s own Beth Potratz, the company’s president and CEO, will participate in one of those sessions, “Secrets to Successful Mentoring and Why It’s So Important.”

Expect engaging discussion about how women can:

  • Use mentoring to their advantage
  • Why some programs work and others don’t
  • What types of mentoring are available for new female drivers
  • And more

“I’m excited to be part of this important women-focused conference,” Potratz says. “As a woman-owned business in the trucking industry, Drive My Way is proud to be represented at Accelerate! and be part of a conversation that fosters the success of women in CDL trucking jobs.”

If you’re a truck driver looking for a job that fits your qualifications and lifestyle, visit us at Booth 607.

Drive My Way matchmakers will be on hand to answer your questions and help you register on DriveMyWay.com. Therefore, you can get one step closer to landing the best job for you.

Are you a woman driver on social media? Be part of the show’s conversation with the hashtag #WIT16. Can’t make the conference? Follow us on Facebook here and stay up to date on all the latest trucking job opportunities that can help you grow your career in the industry, regardless of your gender.

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retain drivers

The driver shortage now stands at an estimated 40,000. In response, trucking companies are restrategizing their efforts to retain drivers. And in some ways, that’s good news for those behind the wheel.

Besides offering better pay packages, benefits and incentives, fleets are looking to influence the human factors that cause and contribute to turnover,” states an article in Commercial Carrier Journal. “Factors like perceptions and motivational behaviors can be far more complex to manage than drivers’ home time, miles or model year of equipment. Despite the odds, a new wave of products and services aims to do just that.

Companies are using everything from rewards programs to satisfaction assessment tools to maintain or increase driver retention, and the article states 45 percent of fleets now use driver loyalty and rewards programs.

According to the article, the programs often reward points for meeting goals and milestones in safety, compliance, fuel savings and other categories, then drivers redeem their points for non-cash items.

“We have found that a well-structured rewards program with obtainable rewards for a driver can truly effect turnover,” says John Elliott, chief executive officer of Load One, one of the five largest ground expedite carriers in North America. “It is not a magic bullet but it helps to make companies with good culture even better.”

The study also found that rewards programs are most widely used by fleets with between 50 and 500 trucks. Read the rest of the article here to learn of new technologies and services that are empowering fleets to more effectively retain drivers.

Image from CCJdigital.com

Employers in the transportation sector, including those in the trucking industry, will need to hire and train more than 4.6 million workers from 2012 to 2022 to accommodate for market needs, job turnover and retirements in that span, a federal report released Aug. 24 stated.

The trucking industry is expected to have the largest number of openings over that time period at more than 2 million jobs, according to the report by the departments of Transportation, Education, and Labor. Most of the new jobs, the report noted, will be in transit and ground passenger transportation sectors along West Coast markets, the Gulf region, the upper Mid-Atlantic, several mountain states and the Midwest.

The report is promising for those in who work in, or aspire to work in, the transportation industry, indicating that there will be more opportunities in the sector in the near future.

 

Image from StarMama/Flickr

 

If there’s a shortage of car hauler drivers out there–and there’s a shortage of about 3,000 of them–one truck company executive says she knows why. Such drivers simply aren’t having much fun, says Kathleen McCann, CEO of United Road Services Inc., a suburban Detroit trucking company that moves about 3 million new and used vehicles a year. Automotive News drew the scenario:

Imagine driving a 75-foot rig through the snow to an auction house to pick up a load of used cars and trucks. The vehicles aren’t parked where they are supposed to be. The key is missing from one and the paperwork from another. All are covered with snow. Now what? You find the cars and you find the keys, and while you wait on the paperwork, you clean the snow from the vehicles. That’s all before driving each vehicle carefully onto your rig and hitting the road.”

McCann says that’s the norm for drivers of car haulers. And that reality is not attracting an onslaught of new drivers to the profession, to put it simply. The good news is, United Road Services is doing what it can to make the system more efficient. And that’s not all.

Now, it’s considering a step that would encourage auctions, dealerships and others to get more efficient in their dealings with car haulers, too: allowing drivers to review auctions and other customers, much as customers review restaurants online.

As the economy recovers, demand for goods is up. That includes demand for new and used vehicles. Increased demand strains the trucking industry, which needs about 16,000 car-hauling trucks and drivers to meet customers’ needs.

“We think we’re well short of that,” McCann said.

Read more.

Image from autonews.com

 

 

More U.S. truck drivers stayed with their employers in the first quarter of 2015 and annualized turnover rates declined to their lowest point in four years, reported the American Trucking Associations. The Wall Street Journal covered the issue in a July 14 article, saying:

The turnover rate was down to 84% for operators of truckload fleets with more than $30 million in revenue in the first quarter and 83% among those with smaller fleets. Both measures were 12 percentage points less than the turnover rate in the previous quarter.

Compare that to driver turnover in other recent years, when it’s typically stayed above the 90 percent mark, said Bob Costello of the American Trucking Associations in the article. He told the Wall Street Journal he did not expect to see such a dramatic improvement in the first quarter alone.

I didn’t expect it to go up a lot, but I didn’t expect it to fall to its lowest level for large carriers in four years,” he said.

He and others credit — at least in part — recent raises at some trucking companies for the positive trend, which impacted small and large trucking companies alike.

Read more of the Wall Street Journal article here.

Image from Bloomberg News