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TDMST Email Newsletter, 2017-09
September 08, 2017
Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips Email Newsletter
Issue #98, September 8, 2017
Featuring content from and supporting:
"Because truckers know that no trucker deserves to be stung financially."
Table of Contents
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In numerous places throughout some of the TDMST Weekly Round-Up content, you'll see where we request a comment "below". These are references to the place on the page from which the content was taken, where comments may be left.
How would a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax impact the trucking industry overall and your trucker paycheck specifically?
12. Last week, I attended a webinar hosted by FleetOwner.com entitled "Listening to the Voice of the Driver can Ease the Shortage". A couple of folks seemed knowledgeable about the topic but definitely left out a few things that affect driver pay and satisfaction on the job (which I left as feedback).
According to an August 14, 2017, companion article, the expert from the National Transportation Institute indicated that,
- "The average age of the truck driver is 52 and each year that number continues to increase" and
- "our prediction remains nearly flat for driver pay."
In order to help offset the negatives, the "best practices" for "driver satisfaction" are:
- Using advanced technology to attract talent;
- Have a plan around retention;
- Pay and benefit;
- Employee involvement and training; and
- Recognition and performance management.
Now this is interesting: the group director of talent acquisition at Ryder System advised carriers regarding "Pay and benefits" that they "be in line with what the market is paying and the environment in which they're operating."
And yet it was clear during the webinar that "For-Hire driver income is much more volatile than [it is for] Private Fleets".
One slide showed that no matter which area of the USA was being examined, the median W-2 income for truckers driving for private fleets greatly surpassed the income of truckers driving for for-hire fleets.
Which of the "best practices" listed above -- or one not even listed -- most motivates you to stay at or leave a trucking company?
* http://trib.in/2wgvDxT (no longer online)
** http://bit.ly/2wgMJvKl (no longer online)
From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.08.26
This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending August 26, 2017.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. The National Law Review ran an article on August 18, 2017, about the proposed federalization of trucker wages. The very end of the article stated:
Allen Smith (AskTheTrucker.com) sent the following:
2. How many times do we have to say it? Using drugs while driving can be dangerous and costly!
According to an August 18, 2017, article, one commercial truck driver experienced a heroin overdose, jackknifed his rig, and incurred a string of charges against him.
3. A "first-of-its-kind event" called the Run on Less roadshow is "intended to show off the fuel economy capabilities of modern trucking equipment", according to an August 17, 2017, article.
The seven drivers who will be running the equipment were selected by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).
The article further states, "The Run kicks off on September 6, 2017, and culminates in Atlanta during the North American Commercial Vehicle show September 24-28."
Mike and I look forward to learning more about this.
4. So, you think truckers aren't important?
An August 16, 2017, article opens with this statistic: "The trucking industry accounted for nearly 80 percent of the United States' freight revenue in 2016".
An August 15, 2017, article states: "trucks move 70% of domestic freight and over 70% of freight moved between ... Canada, the U.S. and Mexico."
Professional truck drivers are very important!
5. Technology dubbed a "textalyzer" will soon be able to tell if drivers were "using their phone while operating a vehicle... [and] using a phone legally, such as via hands-free technology", according to an August 18, 2017, article.
6. An August 24, 2017, article states that trucking is no where to be found on a "detailed analysis [that was recently compiled] of the top paying jobs Americans can obtain without a traditional four-year college degree."
What does that say to you?
7. Yes, truckers can be arrested at weigh stations -- and during random commercial safety inspections!
An August 22, 2017, article stated that a Georgia trucker was arrested in Kentucky and "charged with first offense, first-degree possession of a controlled substance - methamphetamine; possession of marijuana; possession of drug paraphernalia; first offense driving under the influence of intoxicants".
Don't use controlled substances or haul them.
8. Getting drowsy while driving can lead to falling asleep, which can lead to fatal consequences.
A trucker who fell asleep at the wheel caused a 2015 highway collision that resulted in the deaths of 5 people, according to an August 23, 2017, article.
He was convicted of "vehicular homicide" and sentenced to "two years in prison and three years on probation".
Park safely and legally instead of pushing on when you're drowsy. Contact your driver manager, if necessary, to let him/her know of your delay.
9. A trucker who was upset that his wife was cheating on him -- on their 13th anniversary -- and shot at her "was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and shooting into a vehicle", according to an August 23, 2017, article.
At this point in time, it is not lawful for truckers to carry a firearm in some jurisdictions within the USA.
Furthermore, unless one is clearly lawfully hunting (as in deer or other wildlife), one should use a gun for defense, not offense.
10. A Louisville, Kentucky, tow truck driver has been arrested for scrapping -- that is, selling for scrap -- "several victims' cars -- without their permission", according to an August 24, 2017, article.
He faces "one count of theft by unlawful taking, and two counts of receipt of stolen property."
Don't be a thief. Don't take what doesn't belong to you, hasn't been assigned to you, or hasn't been lent to you (with terms on its return).
11. An August 23, 2017, article and video reveals that a new weight limit sign posted near a bridge over Buffalo Creek near Omaha, Nebraska, is causing confusion.
Bridge weight limits could cost truckers money by forcing them to haul less product and potentially get paid less.
Be aware of weight limits, truckers. Those who ignore them and drive on without regard to their trucks' weights could face fines.
12. If those who enter a CDL training program offered by a trucking company "leave before the contractual agreement is completed" -- usually "a commitment of at least a year of working for the company" -- is it fair that the truckers are then stuck with the bill for "paying the company back"?
This question, in essence, was asked in an August 22, 2017, article.
In our opinions, yes, it is completely fair because it is a contract free entered into.
However, that is why prospective truck drivers need to do their due diligence to determine if a trucking company-based truck driver training program is worth it.
Mike and I recommend getting training through an independent school that is separate from one's earning ability. That way, if things don't go well at the trucking company, a trucker is free to leave without financial penalty or exploitation.
13. The subtitle of an August 23, 2017, article reads, "As the mid-December deadline looms for compliance with the electronic logging device mandate, experts say truckers can weather the storm and even profit from the experience--as long as shippers do their bit."
Do you agree?
14. An August 20, 2017, article states that truckers' paychecks today are "chump change" compared to 1980 paychecks, which averaged and "adjusted for inflation, equaled more than $110,000."
The article further states that "today's truckers work harder with longer hours, and with less job security."
The author pins the reason on "Deregulation and the erosion of unions."
So, what's the answer to boosting truckers' income?
15. One trucker was stopped at the end of the backed up traffic on Interstate 65 north of Lafayette on Saturday, August 19, when another trucker coming from behind failed to stop, according to an August 20, 2017, article.
The impact was so hard that "Debris from the trailers covered both northbound lanes, closing the road for several hours" and the trucker who failed to stop was pronounced dead at the scene.
The accident is under investigation and our condolences go to the family of the trucker who died.
16. Which of the 5 Smartphone apps listed on this website helps you to invest?
17. "According to NACFE, some 2017 model trucks achieved 7.8 - 9.2 mpg, with some reportedly approaching 10 mpg", according to an August 22, 2017, article.
Do you track your fuel mileage? If so, what numbers are you getting?
18. During CVSA's June 2017 International Roadcheck event, "23% of vehicles and 4.2% of drivers that received Level I inspections were placed out of service", with the highest number of violations being due to brake systems, cargo securement and tires/wheels -- according to an August 22, 2017, article.
Being placed out of service can be expensive in terms of time and money.
Guard both! Keep your truck well maintained, as if you knew your truck was going to be inspected at any time.
From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.09.02
This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending September 2, 2017.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. The opening paragraph of an August 21, 2017, article reads:
I eagerly await this technology being available for the commercial trucking industry.
2. It is illegal to bypass an open weigh station. And recently on I-44 in Missouri, a patrol was waiting to make sure that commercial motor vehicles pull in.
Beware of having a weigh station bypass unit that isn't registered.
Also, don't be so concerned about "making more money pulling more load" that you pass by when you should pull in to a weigh station.
3. "The British Columbia government is eliminating the tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges" in the Vancouver area starting Sept. 1, according to an August 28, 2017, article.
"Government estimates state the average commuter should save about $1,500 a year and commercial drivers should see a savings of about $4,500 annually."
That will help!
4. According to an August 28, 2017, article, "Pilot Flying J is giving away a combined 100 million myRewards points to celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Sept. 10-16."
Check out the giveaway dates and limits.
5. It's too bad that the author of the August 30, 2017, article about "'Pay to Reserve' Parking" didn't mention
- how much he paid to reserve his truck parking space,
- whether or not he intends to write this fee off on his taxes, and
- how much time he saved by parking in the reserved space.
He only estimated that a trucker may "drive around a truck stop for 30 minutes looking for a space at the end of his/her clock."
Have you used a "reserved truck parking" service? What was your experience?
Please write a service review to share the pros and cons!
6. "Dock411 helps drivers know what to expect when they deliver loads, providing information such as dock locations, yard entrances, restroom accessibility, wireless availability and availability of unloading equipment," according to an August 25, 2017, article.
We were contacted by someone at Dock411 and this sounds like an improvement of ideas that I've suggested on Truck-Drivers-Money-Saving-Tips.com over the years.
If you use Dock411, please write a service review to let us know how you like it!
7. Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 storm that hit the Houston, Texas, and Louisiana area of the Gulf of Mexico very hard.
- Houston is "the fourth largest city in the U.S."
- Mark Montague of DAT Solutions stated that "Houston is one of the country's most prominent freight hubs, ... ranking as one of the top inbound and outbound freight hubs, particularly for van and reefer segments."
- One article stated that as much as 50 inches of rain were predicted to fall during the storm, "the highest ever recorded from one storm in Texas".
- That amount of rain is Houston's "average annual rainfall", according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- One article predicted that the flooding was going to be "catastrophic and life-threatening".
- The Port of Houston was closed for a period of time.
- Texas DOT reported "nearly 350 road locations" impacted by high water, which at the time included "I-10, I-45, I-610, I-69 and numerous U.S. and state highways."
- Updated road closures can be seen here.
An August 28, 2017, article provided more detail:
- It could be a month or more before there is relief from "flooded and damaged roads, downed powerlines and other wreckage";
- FTR Transportation International speculated that "long-term trucking contract prices" could be elevated as a result of Harvey;
- The storm "could 'strongly affect' more than 10 percent of all U.S. trucking" in the first week and 7 percent in the week following;
- One industry hit hard is the "production of diesel fuel and other petroleum products" because "Texas is home to about 30 percent of U.S. oil refining capacity";
- Since "Houston... is a major intermodal shipping site", trucking and rail shipments may feel a "persistent impact"; and
- There are 4 principal ways that severe weather impacts trucking.
Photos of the destruction were attached to these tweets:
- NWS tweeted this: "This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced. Follow orders from officials to ensure safety. #Harvey"
- Photo of depth of water
- Shocking before and after photos
"Harvey is already one of the most devastating single storms in U.S. history," stated an August 29, 2017, article. Furthermore, "fuel prices are rising across the country" because "eight Texas refineries [were] shut down with as much as 2.7 million barrels per day of oil processing potential, according to the Oil Price Information Service";
One trucker was rescued from a flood caused by Harvey, in a place "a truck driver died in similar flooding last year."
As of this writing, the remnants of Harvey are still being felt in the U.S. interior.
Be careful driving on flooded roads. Know when to stop and park in a safe location.
From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.09.09
This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending September 9, 2017.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. "Trucking analysts project freight rates will soar over the next few months, as the nation's already scarce truck drivers are called to haul loads for the government to areas ravaged by Hurricane Harvey," according to a September 4, 2017, article.
A September 5, 2017, article states, "FTR has studied several major weather events, starting with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. These weather events show significant pricing effects, including seven extra percentage points of annualized pricing for the five months following Katrina in 2005 and a peak of 22% year-over-year spot price increases following the monster winter of 2014."
2. Truckers, be on the alert at the rest area on the southbound side of I-41 in Dodge County, Wisconsin.
A truck driver "was beaten and robbed Monday night" (September 4) "by two suspects who jumped over a wall of a bathroom stall to get to the victim", according to a September 5, 2017, article.
The seriously injured trucker had to be taken to a Milwaukee hospital for treatment.
How can one protect oneself in such a situation?
3. "The operations manager of a Kentwood trucking firm is accused of using corporate fuel cards to siphon nearly $539,000 from the business over a three-year period," according to an August 31, 2017, article.
If the suspected embezzlement turns out to be true, this was money that could have been used to pay the truckers working for that trucking company better wages.
Theft just isn't worth it.
4. Yes, a tire blow-out can lead to a fatality.
According to an August 31, 2017, article, a trucker died in a fiery crash along "Interstate 40 in northwestern New Mexico".
The article doesn't identify which tire on the truck blew out. While a blow-out of any kind is bad, the blow-out of a steer tire can result in great difficulty in maneuvering a tractor to safety.
To reduce the likelihood of this happening, do thorough pre-trip inspections and replace problem tires.
Our condolences go to the family of the trucker who died.
5. Truck drivers have been reported as having to "wait hours for fuel on San Antonio's east side" due to "one of the nation's laregest refiniries [being] shut down" following Hurricane Harvey -- and the resulting "domino effect on the trucking industry."
According to an August 30, 2017, article, "one of hundreds of truckers lined up for miles along East Houston Street" was finally able to get fuel four hours later.
In situations like this, folks, please practice patience.
6. Yes, throwing a burning cigarette out of any vehicle can be a big deal. According to an August 30, 2017, article, one trucker learned that his violation of the Wildfire Act -- "for dropping a burning substance" -- cost him a $575 fine.
Folks, don't throw anything out of your vehicle windows. It could be considered littering or worse.
7. According to an August 30, 2017, article, "Autonomous trucking will make commercial driving a safer, more enjoyable job".
The author asserts, "More rested drivers are both safer and happier drivers - and happier drivers are more likely to keep driving for a living", but he did not say "how" drivers will be more rested by attending self-driving trucks.
8. Please regularly glance at your truck's mirrors to make sure that all is well with the trailer(s) you're hauling.
According to an August 30, 2017, article, "Indiana State Police say a semitrailer driver lost one of his trailers and didn't realize it for until more than 7 miles later."
Although the trucker may be commended for having attempted to prevent a collision "when another semitrailer veered into his lane", he certainly didn't pay attention when his swerving and overcorrecting resulted in fishtailing and the detaching of the rear trailer.
I'm grateful that the loss of the rear trailer didn't result in an injury or fatality to anyone following this truck.
Seasoned professional truck drivers glance at their truck's mirrors -- driver and passenger sides -- once every 8 seconds or so.
9. An August 29, 2017, article states, "Truck drivers' pay climbed 5.7 percent over the year, according to a new report from Glassdoor."
Another article stated, "Wages for U.S. truckers, rising for several years, took their biggest jump yet in the past 12 months. Since August 2016, median annual base pay jumped 5.7 percent, to $52,079".
Furthermore, "The increase gave truckers a bigger percentage pay bump than almost any other type of employee during the time period" and "By contrast, median annual base pay grew 2 percent for all U.S. workers over the past year".
Have you seen this type of increase in your pay over the last year, truckers?
10. An August 27, 2017, article opened with this tragic statement:
"A Minnesota truck driver has been charged with drunken driving resulting in death in a crash on the Tri-State Tollway near Alsip that killed an Atlanta man, according to police and court records."
Don't drink beverages that can impair your cognitive function, including alcohol.
Any resulting accident could not only be fatal, but if you survive, it could end your trucking job and career. It just isn't worth it.
11. And speaking of driving impaired, a September 5, 2017, article stated,
"Fatally injured drivers who tested positive for prescription opioids rose seven times from 1% in 1995 to over 7% in 2015, according to a recent study from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health."
I am very concerned that people are not only being "prescribed" opioids, but are attempting to drive while using them!
A spokesperson stated, "The three most commonly detected prescription opioids were hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine."
12. Brake Safety Day is coming up on September 7, 2017, according to this article that also lists 10 tips and tools from Bendix on how to prepare.
13. "Diesel prices increased by an average of 15.3 cents across the nation during the week to an average of $2.758 per gallon, according to the Department of Energy's weekly report", stated this September 6, 2017, article.
This September 5, 2017, article stated, "Harvey leads to highest one- week diesel price increase in more than six years".
"In the first full week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast, diesel fuel prices skyrocketed in most regions of the U.S., especially in some major metro areas around the country", stated a September 5, 2017, article.
14. A Toronta, Canada-based TruckNews.com article stated on September 3, 2017:
"National Trucking Week - Sept. 3-9 - is a time for the industry to celebrate its workforce and take a brief bow for the efficient and reliable service it provides to everyone who makes a purchase, visits a hospital or clinic, or puts their garbage out weekly at the curb. We all take part in activities that are made possible or easier because of trucking companies and their employees."
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week for professional truck drivers in the USA will be celebrated from September 10 - 16. A September 6, 2017, article stated, "Drivers who feel appreciated tend to be safer and more diligent".
Truckers, we appreciate you and the work you do all year long!
If your trucking company provides gifts of any kind to you during your "appreciation week", will you please share with us the nature of the gifts provided? Thanks.
What does air resistance do to fuel economy on large trucks? Where does it happen most? How can it be reduced?
Excellent record keeping is essential for any professional. With limited time and space, what recordkeeping basics do professional drivers need?
What financial challenges do women who become professional truck drivers have? We discuss female truckers in the context of saving money.
When preparing to drive a commercial motor vehicle in the winter in some locations, you need to know the basics about truck snow chains....
This is a sampling of entertainment options available to professional truck drivers. We also address upfront and long-term costs.
9 over citation. Original fine $182.00. Used TVC and after several calls finally got an attorney. Asked to speak to him but never got a response. Then,
I have received an offer to attend Roadmaster Trucking School in North Carolina...is it a reputable program? The recruiter's sound like auto salespersons...
Earn More, Save More
A truck accident near Mobile, Alabama, resulted in at least part of Interstate 65 being closed for up to 9 hours, according to an August 31, 2017, article.
Had you been driving on the part of that highway behind where the accident had occurred, you would most certainly have been delayed in your trip.
Slowdowns, delays, detours, accidents and breakdowns can all bite hard on your trucker paycheck.
Do you have any sort of a secondary income source to help offset those on-the-road trip interrupters?
Vicki hopes to have her Second Income for Truckers Report ready soon.
Learn more about earning a second income as a trucker.
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Tempeatures have started to cool in the northern hemisphere. This might be a good time to prepare your truck for winter driving.
To all of our readers who are professional truck drivers, we wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road!
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