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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weigh stationsMost motorists pass weigh stations every day and don’t think much of them. But for truck drivers, weigh stations are a constant presence they need to be aware of while driving. There are currently 680 weigh stations in operation all across the country. These stations serve a number of purposes and have very strict rules that all truck drivers must follow. Here’s everything to know about weigh stations.  

What is a Weigh Station?

A weigh station is an area off the highway where truck drivers pull over to have their truck weighed and inspected. They’re referred to as a “port of entry” when they’re near a state border, but they can also be in the interior of a state, especially in an area where there’s a lot of freight movement.  

What Happens at a Weigh Station?

It used to be that weigh stations did just what the name implies; weigh semi-trucks. Now, the role of a weigh station is much broader. In addition to weighing trucks to make sure they’re under the legal limit, (the federal limit is 80,000 pounds) weigh stations may also check to make sure that drivers are in compliance with all FMCSA and DOT regulations. This includes checking for HOS violations, looking at freight paperwork, and checking for other safety violations related to the truck, similar to a standard DOT inspection 

When approaching a weigh station, the driver will first look to see if it’s open. There will be flashing lights or a sign saying if it is or not. If it’s open, the driver will get in the correct lane and pull over, either getting in line to be weighed or driving up to the scale if it’s open. Some scales are portable and the driver can be weighed while driving, while others are stationery and require the driver to stop the truck. Once the driver has been weighed, they’ll either be waved off or signal lights will let them know that they’re subject to a further inspection.  

Do Trucks Have to Stop at Every Weigh Station?

Yes, drivers of any commercial vehicle over 10,000 pounds need to stop at any weigh station they come across that’s open. Never think about skipping a weigh station, even if there’s a long line. The risks of doing so heavily outweigh any benefit.  

It’s very possible that a state trooper will be at the weigh station waiting for a truck driver to drive by without stopping and pull you over. The ticket alone could be hundreds of dollars. That’s not to mention that the officer will have you get off at the nearest exit and get back on the highway to go through the weigh station. At that point, it’s much more likely that you’ll be subject to an inspection rather than being weighed then waved off.  

If you’re ever wondering if there’ll be a weigh station on your route, you can check here for a comprehensive list of every weigh station in the country. This list also contains information on tolls, fuel tax rates, and more. 

Can I Bypass a Weigh Station?

If your carrier participates in a bypass solution like, PrePass or Drivewyze, then you may be able to.  These are mounted devices that can be put in your cab to alert you when a weigh station is approaching and if you’re able to bypass it or not. Be aware, there are some types of loads, like oversized and hazmat that always need to be checked, no matter if you have a bypass device. 

While many drivers consider weigh stations a frustrating part of the job that adds time to their runs, they do serve a purpose. Weigh stations are meant to make sure that overweigh trucks aren’t causing major damage to the country’s highways that could lead to major road maintenance, delays, and possible accidents. As long as drivers follow all posted signage and keep all their freight documents in the truck, they should be out of weigh stations and back on the road in no time.  

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Step aside, Uber and Google, a career trucker is making history for self-driving tractor trailers.

Jeff Runions, autonomous-truck test driver, prepares the future of the trucking industry. As he told NPR, Runions works for Starsky Robotics. They are a small company developing fully autonomous trucks for the highway. The trucks are driven by professionals once the trucks got off at the exit.

As truck drivers continue to decrease in numbers, Runions hopes autonomous trucks will be a huge opportunity for the industry to keep up with demand. In his interview with NPR, he says automated vehicles would allow drivers to spend less time on the road and more time at home with their families.

This would be a drastic change from the three weeks of on-road time he remembers from working on his own and with a commercial trucking company. In fact, Runions would like to see drivers having a “regular life” with a 40-hour work week. By making drivers’ lives more enjoyable, he hopes to spike interest in the industry from potential drivers.


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The Department of Transportation announced Oct. 5 a new initiative to achieve an incredible highway safety feat by the year 2046: Zero traffic deaths.

Overdrive magazine wrote about the announcement in a news article.

“Overall, our vision is simple – zero fatalities on our roads,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The U.S. DOT and three of its sub-agencies — including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration — said the Road to Zero project will give $1 million a year for the next three years to “organizations working on lifesaving programs.” Road to Zero partners include, in addition to DOT and FMCSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the private non-profit National Safety Council.

Details on specific initiatives Road to Zero will promote are scarce

In addition, Overdrive wrote, the DOT focuses on several areas. For example, some of these include promoting broader use of seatbelts, greater use of rumble strips and greater use of data in enforcement.

Also, the DOT points to the fast-developing field of vehicle automation. This serves as reason to “[believe] the liklihood that the vision of zero road deaths and serious injuries can be achieved in the next 30 years.”

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Chris Spear

Chris Spear

In his first American Trucking Associations (ATA) Management Conference & Exhibition speech as president and CEO of the organization, Chris Spear put the trucking industry’s foes – including some lawmakers – on notice. Truck News captured Spear’s important speech:

“Trucking is already one of the most regulated and taxed industries in America,” Spear said. “In the eyes of some elected officials, we look like a money-filled piñata. I’m here to tell you that those days, those impressions of our industry – are over…If you want to throw the first proverbial punch, you need to knock us down. Because you will feel the one we throw back. ATA will fight your one-line sound bites and baseless rhetoric. We will publicly call out the hidden agendas of other industry groups.”

Spear said ATA fights to reduce the industry’s taxation, and he advocates for those with CDL trucking jobs.

“Shaving just five points off our corporate tax rate would allow you to make critical investments in your businesses and your employees,” he told the packed crowd. “That’s money to use to purchase new, more efficient equipment with safer technologies, increase driver pay and provide additional training to your employees.”

Spear also cautioned against reworking the North American Free Trade Agreement.

This serves as a big topic in the 2016 election.

“Any attempt to re-open or threaten this longstanding agreement could have dire repercussions on our industry,” Spear said, noting trucks carry 70% of surface freight between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. “America relies on free trade and trucking is key.”

Also, Spear said the trucking industry must shape autonomous trucking regulations and remain united. To see his comments about that and how autonomous trucking could improve safety and reduce congestion, read the rest of the Truck News article here.

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Bill Graves retired from his position as president and chief executive of the American Trucking Associations earlier this year. But the longtime trucking executive still has a lot to say about where the industry is headed. In a guest column for, Graves opines about the most daunting challenges facing the trucking industry today, and he makes some interesting observations:

As I step aside as president and chief executive of the ATA, I look ahead to the issues that will define our industry going forward. Here are five of great significance.

A growing and critical shortage of labor

Trucking has a shortage of drivers and of technicians. While some may dispute this, every measure from ATA’s economics team and nearly every conversation I have with those in the industry highlight the fact that trucking companies have trouble attracting qualified drivers and technicians to keep America’s trucks moving.

trucks.comAs our trucks grow more and more complex, with more and more advanced technology, it will become even harder to find professional, dedicated technicians to maintain these vehicles.The simple solution to both of these issues is to improve the image of our industry and improve the pay of those who work in it. Both of these things are happening, and will continue to happen, so long as there’s a shortage of labor.

Development of automated vehicle technology

Whether it’s called driverless or automated or smart, the rapid development of automated vehicle technology has the power to transform our industry in many ways. We see the need for these systems in the market today. They improve safety and efficiency, and from here the technology only advances.

However, unanswered questions remain as we head down this path. We need to ensure that these technologies don’t compete with one another.

Movement toward alternative fuels

While the industry enjoys affordable diesel fuel prices, this situation loses sustainability overtime. As the economy grows, demand for oil (and the gasoline and diesel fuel it produces) puts pressure on prices.

Graves adds that these are just a few of the issues that trucking will face as it moves forward. “One thing is certain,” he says. “Regardless of these challenges, the trucking industry continues to serve a vital part of our nation’s economy. It moves America’s goods safely and efficiently.”


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ttnews.comBlueGrace Logistics, based in Riverview, Fla., announced that Warburg Pincus agreed to an investment of $255 million in the firm, Transport Topics reports. Also, that includes committed capital and direct investment to increase growth and acquisitions.

In addition, BlueGrace Logistics expects to increase employment in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Tampa and other markets. Overall, they plan to hire 500 to 700 new employees, nearly doubling the current 370 employees.

Whether the new jobs include CDL trucking jobs remains undetermined.

“This investment gives a major shot of adrenaline to our already fast-growing operations,” BlueGrace CEO Bobby Harris said. “We help customers transform their shipping across the country. And, for me, it’s especially gratifying to see more employees come to the company and find a great career.”

Founded in 2009, BlueGrace developed a proprietary software platform.

Overall, it provides customers who need to ship goods with multiple offers from trucking companies. New York-based Warburg Pincus “has been a long-term investor in the technology-enabled logistics market. BlueGrace is a rapidly growing innovator in that industry,” said Alex Berzofsky, managing director of Warburg Pincus. “We see meaningful opportunities for continued growth for the company. And, we look forward to supporting the BlueGrace team.”

Read the rest of the Transport Topics story here.

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Covenant Transport, one of the largest trucking companies hiring in the United States, celebrated a landmark anniversary this month, its 30th year in the industry. Covenant feted the occasion in style on the grounds of its Chattanooga, Tenn., headquarters. The Chattanooga Times Free Press was on hand to cover the event.

A carnival was gearing up in the tractor lot outside Covenant Transportation Group headquarters. A band tuned its instruments. Funnel cake batter dropped into searing grease. And David Parker, chairman of the trucking company he founded in 1986, was busy at work. But he welcomed the chance to talk a few minutes about the significance of the milestone.

“Thirty years,” he said. “I’m 30 years older.” He flashed a big smile and leaned back in his chair.

Parker was raised in the trucking industry by longhaul trucking pioneer Clyde Fuller. Parker and his half-brother, Max Fuller, worked for Fuller in their youth, coming up in the business.

That was in the 1970s and ’80s. In the mid-’80s, Clyde Fuller left his company, Southwest Motor Freight, to his boys. They eventually sold the company. After the sale, Parker, a devout Christian, felt a calling to start Covenant Transport. So in 1986, he did. His half-brother Max Fuller, along with Pat Quinn, started U.S. Xpress Enterprises the same year in Chattanooga. All three inherited trucks from Southwest Motor Freight.

“We were 28 years old when we started this sucker,” Parker said of himself and his wife, Jacqueline.

Covenant has grown a lot since then. How will Covenant evolve in the next 30 years? Time will tell.

Read the rest of the Chattanooga Times Free Press story here.

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Less than a year after announcing it would produce a line of trucks for on-highway use, Caterpillar discontinues production of vocational trucks.

CCJ  published an article about this issue, and what it means for CDL drivers.

In May of last year, CAT rolled out two new refreshed trucks: the CT680L and the CT680LG. However, based on the current business climate in the truck industry and a thorough evaluation of its business, CAT says it decided to withdraw from the market.

CAT stops vocational trucks for people with CDL trucking jobs

“Remaining a viable competitor in this market requires significant additional investment to develop and launch a complete portfolio of trucks,” says Ramin Younessi, vice president with responsibility for Caterpillar’s Industrial Power Systems Division. “And, upon an updated review, we determined no sufficient market opportunity to justify the investment.”

Caterpillar shuttering its truck operations is the company’s latest effort in an ongoing restructuring.

It consolidates its Electric Power and Marine & Petroleum Power Divisions into a new Electric Power, Marine and O&G Division.

But what could this mean about the maintenance of the trucks already on the road? Not to worry, CAT says that it will continue to support those trucks.


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Trucking Software Company Gets  Million in Venture Capital from Big Names


One tech startup got a big financial boost this week when it received a $16 million windfall from investors. The Seattle-based trucking software startup Convoy makes a big splash with big-name tech investors. Investors include Jeff Bezos of Amazon, who likes what Convoy peddles.

Overall, Convoy’s software matches trucking companies to firms that need products transported.

Transport Topics magazine said word of the $16 million in new venture capital for Convoy. This comes only months after Convoy made a foray into Washington state’s technology scene. In addition, they raised $2.5 million in seed money from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, among others.

“The new round, led by Menlo Park, California-based Greylock Partners, with participation from high-ranking executive Jeff Wilke, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, Acosta Executive Chairman Gary Chartrand and LinkedIn executive Mike Gamson,” Transport Topics wrote.

Convoy creates software that connects truck drivers with freight that needs hauling. The startup developed a website and app into which freight companies enter information about what they need moved. It includes the equipment required. Next, Trucking companies then swoop in and claim the job. The traditional model involves companies working with third-party brokers to find truckers. Convoy lowers transport costs by cutting out the middle man and automating part of the process.

Convoy raised this second round of funding thanks to its rapid growth and increasing demand from trucking companies.

The company now stands at 31 employees

They preppe to relocate to a larger, 6,000-square-foot office space. It also announced this week that it will expand into Oregon. It plans to use its new funding to continue its expansion throughout the year.

“One of the only limits to our growth is how fast we can hire the people that we need,” Forecki said.


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