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SBTC Challenges the NRA to Stand Up for Truckers’ Gun Rights

Oct
28,
2015
2

 

SBTC Challenges the NRA to Stand Up for Truckers’ Gun Rights

Small Business in Transportation Coalition Challenges the National Rifle Association to Protect and Promote Truckers’ Gun Rights

SBTC Small Business Transportation Coalition

The Chairman of the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (“SBTC”) issued a bold statement today challenging the National Rifle Association to protect and promote the Second and Fourteenth Amendment Rights of Americans working in interstate commerce to be able to carry firearms for self protection nationwide. SBTC Chairman James Lamb asked the NRA to support the SBTC’s proposed bill entitled “Americans Working in Interstate Commerce Protection Act,” (commonly referred to as “Mike’s Law” named after an over-the-road truck driver named Michael Boeglin who was murdered and burned in his truck on June 26, 2014), which calls for the creation of a new business carry firearms permitting program for Americans working across state lines.

"Mike's Law" Sign the petition -Trucker Mike Boeglin, murdered on June 26, 2014

“Mike’s Law” Sign the petition -Trucker Mike Boeglin, murdered on June 26, 2014

 

“We understand the NRA has been asking members of Congress that we have approached not to sponsor the Mike’s Law bill and support their national concealed carry reciprocity bill instead. We would respectfully request the NRA reconsider their position as we believe our bill is a stepping-stone to national reciprocity.

 

 

 

“Mike’s Law is the back door to national reciprocity for all Americans.”

Whereas the NRA bill could be challenged on 10th Amendment “states’ rights” grounds, our bill is firmly grounded on the Commerce Clause. Mike’s Law also invokes the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection of the laws” guarantee in that truckers should receive the same right to possess firearms while they sleep in their trucks as the majority of Americans, who sleep in residential buildings,” SBTC Chairman James Lamb said today.

Lamb’s Petition to Congress has been signed by approximately 11,000 Americans so far who are in favor of a business carry permit that allows Americans working between states to carry firearms concealed under Federal authority, in accordance with the government’s power to regulate interstate commerce under the United States Constitution.

“U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has personally expressed to me he is in support of Mike’s Law and even indicated he would sign it into law if elected president. And we believe once Mike’s Law is passed and signed into law, the NRA could seek it to be extended to all Americans who “engage” in any form of interstate commerce, including as consumers, on 14th Amendment grounds. Mike’s Law is the back door to national reciprocity for all Americans,” Lamb added.

Lamb indicated he hopes on behalf of nearly 9 million Americans who work in the transportation industry, many of whom are NRA members, that the SBTC would hear from the NRA that they have decided to support Mike’s Law and stand up for truckers’ gun rights.

Contact Information James Lamb/Kevin Rea SBTC

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The Evolution of the Driver Shortage, Trucker Wages, and Safety

Oct
25,
2015
3

Allen Smith- Truck Driver Shortage

Truck Driver Shortage: Addressing Safety,  Driver Wages, Retention, Driver Job Hopping and Turnover rates.

The time has come for everyone within the trucking industry to address the facts about the infamous truck driver shortage. The driver shortage is not really a shortage per say, but rather a reduction in the abundance of excess drivers that were previously available in the past.

Before I go on, let me start out with this statement: truck driver wages have not changed in 25 years.

Here is a breakdown of the difference between the truck driver shortage of the past and the present so called truck driver shortage:

In the last few decades it has been common to have as high as a 125% turnover rate for drivers within the trucking industry. As long as I can remember ads have been claiming there has been a truck driver shortage, a ploy to attract thousands into the driving sector of the trucking industry.

The ads would read something like this:

“Make 100 thousand dollars driving a truck, see the countryside, no skill needed.”

Those entering the industry would receive their CDL license, many times from a trucking school, sign-on with a starter company which completed their training, and basically run team from anywhere between 18-25 cpm, driving with a trainer. They would be out for weeks or months at a time earning a weekly paycheck of between $200-$400. During this time there were many abuses existing, but that’s another topic.

Also during this time, many carriers did not raise the wages for their veteran drivers, mainly because they could get their freight moved cheaper by the steady influx of new drivers entering the industry.

Most new drivers left the industry, disillusioned after less than a year, only to be replaced by others, and so the churning of new CDL drivers continued as well as the high turnover rate. The result? Freight rates remained low and so the race to the bottom evolved along with low retention rates.

There was no REAL driver shortage as it was a business strategy to get people to enter the industry and to keep wages down. There was actually an overabundance of drivers, but they were not staying and the carriers did not care. Mission accomplished. Freight was being moved cheaply and veteran drivers would not complain about wages or treatment in fear of being replaced. Life was good for the carrier. Truckers complained in the Trucking Forums and truck stops where their voices went largely unheard.

What has changed now when referring to a truck driver shortage?

The short story is people are leaving the trucking industry, and less, rather than more as in the past, are entering. For the experienced veteran, it is no longer worth staying and for any potential newcomer, it is not worth entering. The short answer to the “why” equation is simple: wages do not match the time and sacrifice of the vocation. Many drivers who have opted to stay cannot find employment (unqualified), which we will explain.

The average age of the driver today is around 50 years old although I know many who are older. Many veteran drivers began their careers in the 70’s and 80’s when wages were envied and drivers were respected. As we entered the 90’s, the rise of Truck Driving Schools became popular and the FMCSA set requirements for a CDL License. Driving schools, company training, Government Subsidies, and cheap labor were common terms. Along with it came many other terms such as cheap freight, DAC reporting, retaliatory treatment, and starving out.

CDL training, both school and company training, became the formula for higher profits.

The industry’s business model has been the same for decades: claim a driver shortage, attract more people to the industry, receive government subsidies, move freight with low entry level wages, keep freight rates low, and eventually make it difficult for owner operators to compete with the giant “company driver” carriers.

Veteran drivers accepted the fact that their wages would no longer rise as well as the fact that many hours of unpaid labor would continue to be a part of the vocation. This became an acceptable part of the job. Drivers would be pushed to their limits against Hours of Service in order to maximize profits, often pushed to go over the legal hours. Trucks reported by drivers with mechanical problems were told to “keep going” and if they complained, they could be “punished” with “no miles.” During these times drivers would receive DOT violations, such as over hours or mechanical problems, while the company did NOT receive the violation. Was the safety of the driver a company concern or did company profits trump safety?

Drivers began “Job hopping” looking for that “better job” or that better company which would pay and treat them better. Sometimes they found it but most often they did not as again, this is the standard business model for the industry.

So what has changed? How is the “driver shortage” different than it was in the past? Is there now a real driver shortage and if so, how can it be resolved?

  • WAGES – As the years roll by, drivers are now leaving because they have not been adequately compensated for their sacrifices and TIME. This is more evident than in the past as the cost of living continues to rise and driver wages have not gone up in the last 20-plus years. Time away from home and being available while out on the road 24/7 must be considered, not just the piece work or CPM. Drivers must be paid for ALL work. A salary would solve many of the issues drivers are confronted with.
    TruckersUnited.org

    TruckersUnited.org

    Pat Hockaday of TruckersUnited.org has a detailed solution for Drivers Wages. We urge everyone to look at it.

  • Health and Retirement : Yes it is true that the average age of veteran drivers is 49 and many will be retiring soon, but it is not just their age, it is also their decision to retire. Again, a main reason is that the sacrifice of the job does not meet today’s required wages. Also, the lifestyle leads to many health concerns such as the availability of nutritious food, lack of exercise due to the sedentary lifestyle, lack of medical resources while over the road and the inability to take time off to address an illness for fear of not being paid. A salary wage would address this problem: a suggested one-week paid vacation and five personal days to address illness and medical appointments.
  • The Qualified Truck Driver – The implementation of CSA has now made the carrier and the driver responsible for violations and crashes, not just the driver.
    Companies have a safety score which is public and used by shippers, brokers, and insurance companies. Drivers do not have a public score, however they have a PSP report which reflect their last few years violations and crashes. Carriers look at this and based on the driver’s PSP, determine if that particular driver would be a “risk” for violations, thus used as a predictor for compromising carrier CSA scores.

This has greatly affected how Carriers Hire. The result is THOUSANDS of drivers looking for employment but not being hired. What does the ATA say about this? According to the October 2015 Truck Driver Shortage report:

“Many carriers, despite being short drivers, are highly selective in hiring drivers because they have made safety and professionalism high priorities.”

Is it safety or is it their CSA scores and insurance premiums? After all, prior to CSA,  they never appeared to be quite as concerned about safety. This is an unarguable fact.

Read more – Defining the Truck Driver Shortage and the “Qualified Driver”

  • Job Hopping – According to the ATA 2015 Truck Driver Analysis – Drivers who are looking for better jobs, including better pay and better treatment and who appear to be “job hopping” are considered “not qualified.”  In other words, they are available for employment and though not technically considered part of the “driver shortage” the fact that companies are reluctant to hire them, makes them unavailable for the hiring process. The ATA blames this on other companies trying to lure their good drivers to drive for them instead by offering the driver a hefty sign-on bonus. The question is, if their current carrier is such a great company, why are they not staying with them and why do they continue to job hop?
  • Regulations – Drivers are leaving because of added or modified regulations such as Hours of Service, ELD’s, anticipation of Speed Limiters, etc. Many regulations which in theory are intended to increase safety, actually have an opposite effect when drivers are being paid by their productivity and CPM. These regulations that are put in place limit driver productivity and their wages, creating an urgency by the driver to get more miles and therefore become a safety risk. A solutions is higher driver wages, again, preferably salary.

Interestingly enough, Carriers look at Regulations, specifically HOS, as a cause for the driver shortage also, only with a twist.

Motor carriers think of truck driver Hours of Service as reducing industry productivity.
According to the recent 2015 ATA Truck Driver shortage report:

“Reductions in productivity exacerbate the driver shortage as it requires more trucks, and thus more drivers, to move the same amount of freight.”

Drivers look at regulations as reducing their wages, especially when they are fighting a 14 hour clock, ELD’s, speed limiters and unpaid work, including detention time. Just as companies are concerned about their bottom line and productivity in regards to HOS regulations, the drivers are also concerned about their productivity, in other words their cpm wages. As long as drivers are paid CPM this will always be the case.

  • Entering Drivers – Because of the internet and Social Media, those entering the industry are aware of the low wages, lack of respect and health problems related to trucking. In the past, the inflated ads worked, but for today’s tech-savvy generation, they no longer do. Again, the sacrifice of being away for extended periods of time does not appeal to many, especially when their initial take home will be less than $500.00 per week and the opportunity to earn much more will be slow-coming. When they calculate their hours with their take home pay, most often it is below minimum wage.

Solutions for Ending the Driver Shortage

  • Driver Solutions

Higher wages -Paid personal days and vacation and more respect. Wages must represent an acceptable living wage and equal to the sacrifice of the job. Being Paid for ALL time working. Preferably a salary.

More At-Home Time

Driver Image – Drivers want to regain the honorable driver image of the past because they want more respect and higher wages. Hire those who have a high self worth and self esteem. This will be achieved when driver wages are increased.

CDL Industry Training Standards – Promote motivated and highly trained competent drivers into the industry. This will be achieved by quality training. This is another topic which deserves more discussion later.

Better treatment – By all aspects of the supply chain, including: trucking companies, shippers, receivers and brokers.

  • Industry Solutions

Raise Wages – Unfortunately, what is classified as a significant raise, even at a 15% increase, only represents a .06 CPM raise and still does nothing to compensate for being paid for ALL work or time on the job.

More At-Home Time – Potential drivers are often hesitant to take a job that requires so much time away from home, especially at the beginning of the new vocation.

Driver Image – The Trucking Industry wants to improve Driver Image to attract more people into the industry as well, but many veteran drivers believe this is only for giving the illusion of a well paying and respected job and to draw from the younger generation who today, are showing no signs of interest.

Lower Driving Age – Interstate driving currently has an age minimum of 21. The 18-20 year old segment has the highest rate of unemployment of any age group, yet this is an entire segment that the industry cannot access with the exception of local routes, which is generally reserved for seniority. This could prove to be a dangerous choice as the industry looks to those recently receiving a license with little life experience and allowed to drive an 80, 000 pound vehicle safely. This would once again create another new driver industry churn as years ago as it would continue the industry’s business model of bringing them in at low wages, move the freight cheap, and when they leave, just replace them.

Hiring Military – I am all for hiring our military vets as long as the industry does not exploit them using the same business model as encouraging them to get more miles through an underpaid, unfair, and unsafe CPM only wage model.

Better Treatment by the Supply Chain – Compounding the already difficult lifestyle, drivers often complain of mistreatment at shipping and receiving facilities. Complaints range from restricting access to restrooms to having to wait extended periods of time before the trailer is loaded or unloaded. Improving the experience for drivers at drop-off and pickup locations would provide for a more attractive career choice. All companies in the supply chain, including trucking companies, shippers, receivers and brokers must treat drivers with the respect that they deserve.

Conclusion – Make no mistake: carriers fully understand that the combination of being paid CPM while being compliant with HOS, ELD’s, Speed limiters, etc.,  while combined with hours of non-paid waiting time and hours of work while not driving and not being paid will reduce the drivers paycheck.

Carriers also realize that drivers are at risk for being unsafe as they try to get as many miles as they can to increase their paycheck. They also understand that drivers contend with HOS, additional anticipated regulations that by the way, are supported by ATA such as ELD’s and Speed Limiters, as well as weather, delays, and many other unpreventable factors which can interfere with the 14-hour clock, forcing many drivers to operate in an unsafe manner.

Carriers also fully understand that driver perform hours of unpaid work and unpaid waiting time. They know drivers are not happy and are leaving because of the uncompensated lifestyle. They know that the word is out that drivers are not making enough money so new drivers are not entering the industry.

The industry claims there are not enough drivers, but it is more accurate to say that there is not an abundance of drivers. Yet, SIGNIFICANT wage increases which would include being “paid for all time” are not being considered as a solution. Why? Motor carriers claim that they cannot afford it as freight rates do not allow it.

Easy Fix Consider driver wages as part of the formula for profit and allow rates to rise.

After all, the industry created cheap rates years ago by hiring new drivers at low wages and then churning them out. Just reverse the concept and remedy the problem. Allowing freight rates to rise not only would allow for increased wages, but would then aid Owner Operators to also make higher profits.

Drivers paid by CPM, while their job is based on an hourly clock which includes work and wait time without piece production no longer makes sense in today’s age of trucking.

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Recruiting New Truck Drivers 101

Oct
23,
2015
0

When someone mentions the term “Recruiting,” most folks wouldn’t associate marketing with it. Moreover, most people see the world of marketing and advertising as an annoying practice lacking any sense of boundaries. In the end though, marketing plays a vital role in selling products, promoting services, and even attracting professional drivers to the trucking industry.

Recruiting, Marketing. and then Retaining professional drivers

Recruiting and Marketing to professional drivers- What’s the difference?

While a truck driver is far from a new brand of cereal, some aspects of marketing remain constant. This is particularly true for trucking companies seeking to recruit new truck drivers. The problem is that marketing can be a meticulous and complex endeavor, full of different tactics and approaches.

In fact, I have outlined a few basic marketing practices that can help attract and retain drivers, if done right that is.

 

 

Who are you recruiting?

That may seem like a simple question since this post is about recruiting truck drivers. More often than not though, many marketing campaigns miss their marks. In other words, a successful marketing campaign needs to remain focused on a target audience, which in this case is truck drivers and those desiring to be truck drivers

Now that we know we’re targeting the truck-driving demographic, we can use that to create marketing material that speaks directly to that particular group. Marketing material can be anything from blog posts and articles, to classified ads, to social media advertising, and even promotional products.

Be truthful

New Drivers– This is where a problem has been and it continues to be when trying to attract  and retain professional truck drivers, especially new people to the industry.

It has been the practice of the trucking industry, when recruiting newcomers to the industry, to be less than completely truthful.
The problem is, you can’t use the same marketing approach as one would use to sell a box of sugary cereal to kids (or their parents), misleading them into thinking “it’s good for you”.
Using this approach, they (drivers) may try it, but they’re not going to stay.

The Trucking Marketing Hurdle:
Attracting people to the trucking industry and then retaining those who you convinced to enter in the first place.

For new people coming in, you MUST explain the lifestyle, it’s not easy an easy job. It may however attract and fit a specific mindset of many. Find those people.

You must also, at some point, explain that upon graduating, you will have to go to a “starter company”, a company which will finish your training, These companies are self-insured which will allow them to bypass the 2-3 year driving experience required by most carrier insurance companies. This also means they will be driving OTR and will be away from home for extended periods of time. In other words, “No, you most likely will not get a local driving job upon graduating CDl school” And “No” unless things change, you are not going to make 60K your first year.

The career of truck driving is for a specific group of individuals, it is not for everyone. The challenge of the recruiter, or “marketer” if you will, is to tap into the market of those personality characteristics which will be best suited for the profession… and then pay them well ( which is another topic)

You want to attract more people into trucking? Do a scientific study and understand what type of people would be most attracted to the lifestyle of the trucking industry, then create your ad copy highlighting the benefits which appeal to that specific group…. and then reach those specific people.

Veteran drivers are more savvy to the inflated promises in many of the hiring ads, almost to the point of sometimes being overly cynical, but can you blame them?
The advantage is, they already know the lifestyle and what to expect. The challenge is different with this group, however honesty of job description, realistic wages, benefits, treatment, and home time remains crucial if you want to retain these drivers.
Simply put, be honest and you will eliminate the problem of “trucker job hopping

Be specific…

There are many types of drivers including (but not limited too) over-the-road and long-haul, owner-operator, team, hazardous materials, certification-specific, etc… If you’re recruiting for a firm that employs a diverse array of drivers, then this doesn’t necessarily apply.

For firms that are looking for a specific type of truck driver, the marketing campaign may need to be adjusted to target only a specific type. After narrowing down the search, you can now begin focusing solely on the habits and trend of a particular niche. To do this, you need to focus on how this type of driver might encounter certain media as this will tell you which type of advertising—traditional, online, etc.—to use.

Online and Offline Marketing

In a nutshell, this is where you put your marketing to work. There are all kinds of innovative marketing techniques being used, but for the most part, marketing can be divided into two main categories—online and offline.

Offline marketing includes physical advertising mediums such as flyers and job postings, as well as promotional items like personalized luggage identifiers, trucker’s hats, and squeeze balls. Online marketing really only took shape two decades ago when the Internet began to take shape. As the name suggests, online marketing takes place virtually by utilizing blogs, websites, and social media.

While traditional offline marketing is antiquated to say the least, it has stood the test of time, proving to be a tried-and-true tactic. Online marketing has one distinct advantage though. Instead of being limited to a tangible area as with offline marketing, online marketing is broadcasted to potentially millions of web users across the globe.

In either case, the key to successful marketing, in respect to attracting and then retaining professional drivers, is honesty.
That may mean those hiring, will need to change their business model in order to keep their promises.

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DOT Announcement- Plans to gather info on Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Oct
21,
2015
0
HealthAndSafetyWorks

Elaine Papp-Founder and CEO of HealthAndSafetyWorks.net

On October 1, 2015 the US Department of Transportation published its Monthly Report of Significant Rulemaking. In that report, DOT published an announcement that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) were planning to jointly publish an advanced notice of proposed rule making (ANPRM) on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The documents Numbered 47 and 55 are entitled, “Medical Certification of Transportation Workers in Safety Sensitive Positions; Individuals Exhibiting Risk Factors for Moderate-to-Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.”

In DOT’s October report, they announce that the FMCSA/FRA ANPRM is to gather data and information on the prevalence of moderate-to-severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the economic impact and the safety benefits of a rule making on obstructive sleep apnea.

The publication schedule for the ANPRM is December 11, 2015 with the close of the comment period being February, 2016.

FMCSA

Report on DOT Significant Rulemakings- Access to the Report -October 2015 Significant Rulemaking Report

So what does this mean for the transportation industry? for truckers? if this a concern? Will FMCSA be issuing a rule of OSA imminently?

In my opinion, the Agencies issuing a request for data and more information is a good thing. It is an opportunity for truckers and others in the industry to get involved in the rule-making — to become active.

 

The Agency is asking for information and data — They want to gather information on whether or not this regulations would have too high an economic burden? Or, if it would be have an important safety impact — They want to develop an evidence-based regulation, if they decide to do one. They want to know facts.

So drivers, if you have information about the cost of OSA testing and treatment and how it affects you, plan to participate and respond to the request for information. Drivers, carriers, safety advocates, law enforcement, researchers, if you have information on the safety impact of a rule on OSA, participate in the rule-making.

The purpose of an ANPRM is to notify the public that the Agency(ies) are
1) considering a rule making and
2) are requesting information on the topic that the Agency(ies) can utilize in their deliberations. So, Comments that are most helpful are those that give substantive information to help the Agency make its decision.

Does requesting information and data mean the OSA rule is imminent?
NO, not at all.
Once the Agencies get the information they may decide not to pursue it any further. A new President may not want to pursue this subject. It may not be part of his/her Agenda. There are lots of processes involved. This is the first step and an important one for all of us. We don’t want regulations to be developed based on a whim. The FRA and FMCSA are taking responsible steps to ensure that whatever direction they take it will be based on the most recent data and information. The best way for them to make their decision is get a lot of comments, including lots of data and information from a wide range of people in the regulated community.

So keep informed and participate!

 

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Defining the Truck Driver Shortage and the “Qualified Driver”

Oct
13,
2015
9
The Truck Driver Shortage- Defining the Qualified Driver

The Truck Driver Shortage- Defining the Qualified Driver

The Truck Driver Shortage- Part 1
Defining the Qualified Truck Driver

In the recent ATA press release, addressing the continuous “driver shortage” plaguing the trucking industry, their analysis states that the shortage has grown to nearly 48,00 and could increase more due to industry growth and the retiring truck driver community. According to analysis and if the current trend holds, the shortage may balloon to almost 175,000 by 2024

This October 6th report from the ATA raised questions about the “Driver Shortage” dilemma ,which has been a topic of discussion for as long as I can remember.
The first question that came to mind, is the definition of a driver shortage, and who is defining it, the driver or the carrier?

It is the definition of truck driver shortage which will also shape and define the cause and effects of the shortage, as ones perception of cause will also ultimately dictate their solutions for the shortage.

A drivers’ definition of a truck driver shortage “A lack of drivers willing to work for low wages”
A carriers’ definition is , “A driver shortage is a lack of qualified  drivers”

Those are vastly different definitions! In order to address a problem, such as the Driver Shortage, both sides will need to at least recognize each ones perception of the problem. If not, solutions will be a long way off.

Defining the Qualified Driver

Let’s first begin with the definition of “Qualified Drivers”
Drivers would state that a qualified driver is one with knowledge, experience, and a safe driving record.
On the other hand, according to the ATA President and CEO Bill Graves, “The ability to find enough qualified drivers is one of our industry’s biggest challenges”

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said “An important thing we learned in this analysis is that this isn’t strictly a numbers problem, it is a quality problem too,” … “Fleets consistently report receiving applications for open positions, but that many of those candidates do not meet the criteria to be hired. According our research, 88% of carriers said most applicants are not qualified.”

Understanding the difference between the terms: driver shortage and qualified driver shortage.

The ATA report goes on to say, The truck driver shortage probably seems much worse to motor carriers than the current figures suggest because of a quality versus quantity issue. Many carriers have strict hiring criteria based on driving history, experience and other factors.

We spoke to John Peroyea, president of FindATrucker.com, who reviews thousands of driver applications. We asked him the question,
“Do you find many applicants who are not qualified to be hired? If so, what are the major reasons?

This was John’s reply:

“We are certainly not seeing a lack of experienced drivers registering for our website to apply for truck driver jobs. Many drivers have years of experience in various types of driver jobs and hold many endorsements. What can hold drivers back however are the specific application requirements at various carriers.

A factor that can disqualify otherwise experienced drivers is preventable accidents within a certain time frame and/or number of jobs held within the last few years. Also, many carriers have various requirements for length of time since a felony conviction or DWI for example.

Since the criteria varies from company to company an experienced driver may meet the criteria for most companies but fall short of others.”
John Peroyea, President of FindaTrucker.com 

FindATrucker is a trusted AskTheTrucker partner providing a truck driver employment website, matching drivers to their specific job needs.

Now, I can definitely understand the questioning of “time since the last felony conviction or DWI”, but the idea of basing a drivers’ quality by “number of jobs held within the last few years”, raised my eyebrows.   Why are drivers going from “job to Job?” Are employers asking drivers this question?

What does the ATA say about that?

In the ATA’s Truck Driver Shortage Analysis it states, Turnover is a reflection of demand for drivers, with higher rates generally indicating strong demand for drivers. The vast majority of driver turnover is churn in the industry – drivers going from one carrier to another. As demand for drivers increases, trucking companies try to take drivers from other carriers by offering sign- on bonuses, newer trucks, and better routes.”

Really?  Drivers are leaving a great well paying job for a shinier truck and better route? But if the ATA says that drivers keep hopping, then why aren’t they staying with the company offering the shiny truck and better route?  Are they then leaving for a shinier truck and an even better route? Or could it be something more sinister, like higher wages, better treatment, or maybe even being paid for all hours, such as detention time pay?

The idea that a driver is considered “not qualified” because they’re seeking better employment is ludicrous, and equally absurd is that the driver moves on to this next job with better promise… and yet does not STAY with them. Why aren’t they?
Are drivers really this fickle? Do they enjoy leaving one job and going to another, or is it possible that the industry continues to make promises they don’t keep.

If the job was truly what is was described as, would drivers not stay?
So is the problem therefore retention? And what is the correct cause of such driver behavior… Is it unstable drivers or perhaps companies who paint a rosy picture but do not follow through?

If criteria of a “qualified driver” is based somewhat upon driver job stability, and yet the employers are not following through on their driver hiring expectations causing driver instability, then I say, the industry MUST admit to at least partial responsibility  of driver job hopping.
If they do, they may have to become accountable for the driver shortage problem.

For most of you reading this, this is nothing more than the age old recruiting tactics that have been going on for decades. The only difference is that they worked in the past, bringing in thousands of people to the trucking industry, only to see them leave after a short time. Turnover was not as serious a problem back in the day, it was welcome and part of the cheap labor business model.

Truck Driver Shortage is Industry Created

It didn’t matter in the past as drivers were a commodity, used for cheap labor. The difference is now, drivers are an asset and companies would prefer to retain their drivers, mainly because those now entering the industry are fewer and have higher expectations. In other words, working 70+ hours/wk, living in a truck, and being away from home for weeks at a time, all for a whopping $500.00/week, just isn’t cutting it for those entering.

Truck driver retention and the generation gap

The fact is this, drivers go to job from job because they are dissatisfied with their job. Most often the promises made by the hiring company, which looked so appealing, were not kept.  Drivers leave and continue to look for better employment.

Want to cure the number of jobs held within the last few years aspect of the “qualified driver problem”?
Answer:  Pay and treat drivers well and keep the promises you made upon hiring.

Real Solutions to the Truck Driver Shortage

Stay tuned for Part 2
The Truck Driver Shortage- Causes and Solutions

 

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FMCSA Introduces Driver Wellness Programs

Oct
1,
2015
5

by Elaine Papp

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Driver Wellness Programs

Elaine Papp- founder of Health and Safety Works, LLC

Elaine Papp of HealthandSafetyWorks.net attended joint MCSAC and MRB meeting September 21st 2015. The 2 day meeting was devoted to CMV driver wellness programs.

So, what is it all about? The FMCSA, a regulatory agency, is talking about wellness for truckers?? HMMM — should drivers be worried? Why is FMCSA doing this? Is it an attempt by the federal government to tell drivers what to do with their bodies? Are they going to regulate our exercise, smoking and weight?

These are some of the questions drivers are asking about FMCSA’s new initiative to provide wellness programs in a private/public partnership. The questions arise from an announcement about a public meeting between the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) and the Medical Review Board (MRB). Both groups are advisory committees that provide recommendations to FMCSA regarding specific questions, ideas, or concerns about commercial motor vehicle operation.

The latest joint meeting, September 21 and 22, 2015, was devoted to CMV driver wellness programs. According to the meeting announcement, “Together, the MCSAC and MRB will identify concepts the Agency and stakeholders should consider in relation to the issue of health and wellness of drivers of commercial motor vehicles and the establishment of a driver wellness initiative, a non-regulatory public-private partnership of stakeholders to improve drivers’ health. The MRB and MCSAC will discuss the structure, content, delivery, and evaluation of this initiative.”

Elaine Papp 2015

Elaine Papp, founder of Health and Safety Works, LLC, a transportation and occupational health consulting company promoting health and safety on the road and in the workplace.

I attended the first day of the meetings and listened to the presentations about current wellness program activity from OOIDA, FMCSA, American Bus Association, as well as a member of the MRB. I heard the questions of the committee members and the comments from the public. I learned statistics about the current driver health risks compared to the average American. I was impressed with the sincerity, the concern and the depth of the discussion. It is exciting to hear all the activity around helping drivers stay healthy and live longer!

Having heard the non-regulatory direction in which the Agency is moving. I applaud the effort!

A few of the statistics presented by Dr. Morris of the MRB show that a high percentage of drivers have adverse health risk factors:

 

 

  • Most Tucker’s are 40 to 54 years old
  • 86% are overweight or Obese (2007 data)
  • 69% are obese, twice that of US population
  • 8% exercise regularly, compared to 21% of adults in the US who exercise regularly.
  • 51% drivers smoke, compared to 17.8% of US population who smoke
  • Less healthy than average person
  • Many have at least two risk factors for heart disease

So knowing that the average driver is less healthy than the average American and knowing that the driver’s health status affects his/her ability to earn a livelihood, the Agency and many other organizations are moving to help drivers.

FMCSA is seeking ways to help drivers stay healthy, minimize illness and diseases complications that will cut their driving career and perhaps their life short! One part of their initiative is a new web page on driver wellness. It will be an on-line newsletter updated quarterly with articles about various health topics pertinent to drivers. It will include recipes of the month, driver success stories and healthy eating tips.   The page will also include links to other sites that will be helpful to drivers.

The Agency is also looking at ways to get more data about what drivers need and they reported on a study of driver health conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).   But, as one member of the MRB stated, “We need more biometric data,” especially to measure the programs success. So the Agency is looking to private organizations who can gather data anonymously and can report on any changes that occur over time .   Do drivers lose weight and, if so, does their blood sugar level improve? Does their blood pressure improve. If drivers exercise more do they lose weight? What is most effective in aiding weight loss?

OOIDA reported on their wellness initiative and discussed ways to expand their initiative. The American Bus Association presented information about the Bus Athlete Programs.

Group discussion brought out a lot of important information . For example the Teamsters have a long history of wellness programs but no measurements. Some organization are starting health coaching at truck stops.

My impressions from the meeting are 1) much of what is happening in driver wellness is a shotgun approach with little coordination; 2) Many of the driver wellness programs offer what they think the driver needs and they don’t measure to determine what helps, what works and what doesn’t – what approach is successful. 3) FMCSA is trying to bring some coordination and continuity to driver wellness programs, working with non-governmental organization and private industry.

During the first day of the meeting several ideas arose, such as:

  • Programs for each driver should be individualized.
  • One-to one, face-to-face contact is important in motivating people.
  • Be sure to get families involved.
  • There is a lack of literature on nutrition, health and wellness at truck stops.
  • Drivers don’t know the nutritional content of the foods served at the truck stops
  • Get all aspects of the trucking industry working together – truck stops, fleets, drivers, associations, etc.
  • Give Medical Examiners information on wellness to hand out to drivers.
  • Assist medical examiners to educate drivers on attaining optimum health and maintaining wellness.

It seems that when it comes to wellness and health we all need to trust one another and work together to help drivers and their families minimize illness and the costs associated with it, increase health and the energy that comes with it. Having an agency coordinate the effort is a valuable, worthwhile venture that can have really dramatic results for drivers.

I look forward to seeing the MCSAC/MRB joint recommendations for FMCSA. Since I wasn’t able to attend the second day of the meeting, when they developed the recommendations, like you, I will have to wait until the recommendations are published to see what transpired. But, in any case the effort is underway. It is a significant move for a regulatory agency to develop a non-regulatory program.

As soon as I learn about the recommendations and the Agency’s next steps, I will let you know in another article.

“Driver Wellness Programs and the FMCSA – What’s it all about?:

 

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Health Insurance- How expensive is it?

Sep
25,
2015
0
PayPlans & Benefits Private health insurance plans at heavily reduced costs. 1-800-459-0962 for an assisted enrollment

Private health insurance plans at heavily reduced costs. 1-800-459-0962 for an assisted enrollment

 

One of the most well known sayings is, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything”

Before you go on reading the rest of this article, think about that for a moment.  Do you believe it?

During my 35 year+ Trucking career, I’ve watched ( and include myself) drivers place their health at the bottom of the priority list. The reasons were “time off” and “expense of policy”

 

 

1) Not taking the time to go to the doctor for fear that their time off will reduce their paycheck.  As we all know, when the wheels aren’t turning, there is no money!

2) Not taking out a health insurance policy because it is too expensive.  Although many company drivers are offered group health insurance, so many owner operators and independent contractors go without.
The reason again, “It’s too expensive”

The result?  Many times drivers pay for this decision either by an eventual life threatening illness, their career, or even death, as many drivers are found in their truck deceased from not taking care of an illness, many times because not even aware that it existed or just “couldn’t afford to see a doctor”

In this article, it is our goal to show that the majority of owner operators CAN AFFORD Health Insurance.
Update:  On November 5th, Trey Walker of PayPlans and Benefits was our special guest and explained how
Owner Operators CAN afford Private Health Insurance -Including low deductibles

 

Summary for Truck Driver Health:

truck driver healthAs everyone knows, we  have put driver health as one of our priorities on the AskTheTrucker “Live” internet radio show.  Every other Thursday night we offer a health show to educate and encourage those within the trucking industry.
Saturday shows remain dedicated to other trucking topics.
As part of our research regarding driver health, we discovered just how many truckers are going without health insurance.

 

The trucking industry itself is making a huge turn for the better also.
Drivers, Carriers, Driver organizations such as the Trucking Solutions Group. Trucking Shows such as GATS, and now even the government is taking the initiative to find ways to improve ones’ health.
Drivers are joining social media groups to learn more, Carriers are offering health incentives, and recently the FMCSA posted a health related announcement on their website in relation to the issue of health and wellness of drivers of commercial motor vehicles and the establishment of a driver wellness initiative.
You can read my Comment to the FMCSA here.
However, even with all these advances, drivers are still reluctant to purchase health insurance. The reason?

“I would purchase health insurance if it didn’t cost so much”

One of the most frustrating things I’ve heard, are owner operators who have tried to enroll for health care, but are then told that they are not qualified to receive the reduced payment rate allowed by law. In other words, they are told that “they make too much money”. Unfortunately, they were told wrong,….they did qualify!

After researching this further, we found out that MANY of those who are supposed to be assisting with O/O health care enrollment, have little knowledge about how to calculate the finances ( Adjusted Gross Income) and business model of a small trucking company, including a trucking company of one truck. #FAIL

Today I’d like everyone who is going without Health Insurance because they think “it’s too expensive” or that “they can’t afford it”, to please contact Pay Plans and Benefits (PP&B) and find out for yourself, even if you have been told before that you do not qualify for a reduced premium rate. PP&B understands the trucking industry and how to correctly calculate the allowed reduced rates for your private health insurance plans!

PP&B has specialized knowledge and assistance for getting independent contractors high quality private health insurance plans for greatly reduced prices. As a matter of fact,  enrollees are saving an average of 66% off of regular plan cost, many saving even more than that.

Below is an info-graphic which explains the 5 things you should know about Affordable Health Insurance.
Click on the info-graphic and it will tale you to the website for more info.
Or call  1-800-459-0962

You and your family CAN AFFORD Health Insurance.

FiveThingsYouShouldKnow_PPB_v2

 

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Dangers and Repercussions of Heavier and Larger Trucks

Sep
21,
2015
1
Commercial Vehicle Size and Weight Program

Commercial Vehicle Size and Weight Program Trucks entering weigh station for weight compliance check

The US Department of Transportation advised Congress not to change the current truck weight and size laws as the agency lacks much needed data to make clear assessments of the impact of any alterations.

The Under Secretary of transportation, Peter Rogoff, is reported to have said that there wasn’t sufficient data available from crash reports to evaluate a vehicle’s weight at the time it crashed; the data available could not help DOT to evaluate whether the trucks, at the time of the accident were fully loaded, at legal capacity for their axle configurations, running overweight, or had unevenly distributed weight.

The DOT issued the report to fulfil a requirement in 2012’s MAP-21 highway funding law, which required the DOT’s Federal Highway Administration to issue a report on the potential impacts on safety, infrastructure and freight movement if size and weight limits permitted larger, heavier trucks
MAP-21 Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study

Additionally, long-term maintenance costs of roads and bridges, because of heavier loads, could not be ascertained at the time. The effects of larger and heavier trucks on the Federal highway system are yet to be determined.

 

Federal Size Regulations for Commercial Motor Vehicles U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

Federal Size Regulations for Commercial Motor Vehicles
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

Federal Size Regulations for Commercial Motor Vehicles

Of course, there’s no denying that road transport, and the trucking industry in particular, is one of the major lifelines of any industrial development; transporting products from dockyards to warehouses, and from warehouses to stores across the nation. The trucking industry would obviously support better roads and infrastructure that support larger trucks with heavier loads, making the transportation of goods cheaper and more profitable.

While the ATA ,trucking company owners, and shippers are supporting larger trucks on the road, others, including the majority of truckers themselves are strongly against it. Drivers feel it’s just one more way to have more freight hauled without increased wage benefits for the CMV driver. Also, their concerns for adequate parking are also valid. Many of the truck parking spaces existing now are already too narrow and short.

Others opposed to increasing the weight and length of trucks include OOIDA, highway maintenance authorities, paramedical services, firefighters, and safety advocacy groups such as the Truck Safety Coalition

Many believe that there could be increased fatal consequences if larger and heavier trucks are allowed on the roads. Accidents could result in much worse fatalities, such as linking truck weights with such variables as braking distance along with the added weight and effect on truck stability or potential increase in roll-over, adding to the dangers. Still others go on to say that if a truck of such capacity was to hit a car, even at low speeds, it could result in no one surviving. Of course you could say that about a truck of 80,000 just as easily, but adding the other risk factors mentioned, it becomes a more serious and valid statement.

Another concern being raised by stakeholders is that while you may trust older, experienced drivers with larger and heavier trucks, young drivers who have little or no experience maybe more vulnerable to mishandling and causing fatal accidents.

Another question

The Department of Transportation is also concerned about the smaller roads. They believe that while some of the larger roads may be able to handle the load of heavier trucks, smaller city roads may deteriorate quicker and in turn, incur more maintenance costs.

The public has until Oct. 13 to provide feedback on the Federal Highway Administration’s 2015 study Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study.
Comments may be submitted and viewed at Docket No. FHWA-2014-0035. Click here to make a comment.

Summary

This notice announces a deadline for submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for consideration as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study Report to Congress. On June 5, 2015, DOT released for public comment and peer review the technical results of a comprehensive study of certain safety, infrastructure, and efficiency issues surrounding the Federal truck size and weight limits and the potential impacts of changing those limits. The DOT is now preparing a Report to Congress to conclude this study.

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DO YEAR-ROUND DIESEL FUEL ADDITIVES REALLY WORK?

Sep
14,
2015
0

Diesel fuels and diesel engines have changed significantly in recent years with some undesirable side-effects. This is especially true with ULSD and various blends of bio-fuels. Fleets, owner-operators, and others in the heavy-duty arena are well aware of these issues; new-generation fuel injectors with smaller orifices can clog easier, development of deposits can compromise lubricity and restrict fuel flow, and fuel gelling in cold weather.

PENRAY booth at GATS 2015 in Dallas, TX

PENRAY booth at GATS 2015 in Dallas, TX

Penray, a long-time supplier of fuel additives and cooling system products for the heavy-duty market, recently introduced a year-round product that addresses all of these issues. Penray POW-R 365® 5 in 1 Diesel Cleaner and Treatment cleans injectors improving fuel economy, enhances lubricity to prevent wear, prevents corrosion protecting engine components, lifts cetane for improved power/starts, and reduces CFPP to prevent gelling in cold climates.

 

First claim — cleans injectors and consequently improves fuel economy. Pow-R 365 contains a specific blend of surfactants (surface-active agents), which serve as detergents to clean away deposits. Diesel fuel, while it is a good solvent, only dissolves oily or waxy materials. Contaminants such as dirt, salt, and even water need the help of detergents to flush them out of the system. POW-R 365 incorporates the latest technology to provide more thorough cleaning than traditional products on the market. Clean injectors provide precise and consistent fuel spray patterns, which contribute to improved fuel economy.

 

Second claim — enhances lubricity to reduce wear. Fuel pumps and injectors contain moving parts that are subject to extremely high pressures and friction. These parts must move freely and still seal completely. Any wear or sticking can lead to big problems. Proper selection of lubricating additives is critical to prevent filter and injector plugging.

 

Third claim — protects against corrosion, thus protecting engine components. These same surfactants and lubricants, form a coating on the metal of the various fuel system components. This coating acts as a shield to prevent future formation of rust, corrosion, and other deposits.

 

Fourth claim — increased cetane for easier starts in all weather. One way to understand cetane is the functional opposite of octane for gasoline. Octane ratings refer to a gasoline’s resistance to ignition, until a spark sets it off. Cetane numbers on the other hand express how easily the fuel ignites without the need for a spark. The heat source in a diesel engine is primarily the compression of the incoming air. A cold metal engine can drain away this heat before it has a chance to ignite the fuel. Raising the cetane number of the fuel makes it easier to ignite at lower temperatures for quicker starts and less reliance on battery draining glow plugs.

 

Fifth claim — reducing the Cold Filter Plugging Point (CFPP) to prevent fuel from gelling in cold weather and blocking the fuel filter. Diesel fuel will develop wax crystals in cold weather, and when these crystals reach their “cloud point,” they form a thick, gooey gel. Penray developed a polymer blend for POW-R 365 inhibiting the growth of these crystals. It prevents gelling at temperatures as low as -10 degrees F, and reduces the Cold Filter Plug Point (CFPP) by as much as 20 degrees F. For climates that experience lower temperatures, Penray offers a separate anti-gel product that protects against gelling in the coldest climates.

So does POW-R 365 live up to its name? Absolutely and it is packaged for “one bottle one truck,” so double dosing is not a concern. In addition, Penray stands behind this product with a money back guarantee.

It’s certainly worth a try…  WATCH THE VIDEO!!

Penray POW-R 365® 5 in 1 Diesel Cleaner and Treatment

Penray POW-R 365® 5 in 1 Diesel Cleaner and Treatment

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Safety Fines Used to Track States’ Workplace Incidents

Sep
4,
2015
0
Posted on by
Rod Rehm- Senior Member of Rehm, Bennett & Moore Attorneys At Law, P.C., L.L.O.

Rod Rehm- Senior Member of
Rehm, Bennett & Moore Attorneys At Law, P.C., L.L.O.

 

Safety Fines Used to Track States’ Workplace Incidents

The U.S. Department of Labor Blog recently released a resource that encourages the continued discussion of workers’ compensation and safety in the workplace.

This blog post from the Labor Department features a safety-fine map that tracks “the number of workplace health and safety investigations that have led to high fines.” The tracking starts with January of 2015, and the cases are supposed to be updated weekly. All the states, whether administered through OSHA or an OSHA-approved state plan, are included.

I wish they would provide more context as to how $40,000 was considered the “high penalty” starting point, but they have to start somewhere, and it is an easy-to-understand measure of how a state stacks up within this category. You can also get more information on each specific situation by clicking on the inspection number provided.

Trucker Lawyers

TruckerLawyers.com are one of a select number of A-Rated law firms recognized by Martindale-Hubbell in the field of workers’ compensation and personal injury.

As of August 2015, Nebraska had two incidents: Affordable Exteriors of Elkhorn (in March) fined $75,240 and MP Global Products of Norfolk (in January) fined $54,000. Iowa had four incidents: Behr of Mason City (in January) fined $57,150; U.S. Postal Service in Des Moines (in March) fined $49,500; United Sugars in Mason City (in April) fined $68,600; and Sunrise Farms in Harris (in May) fined $227,500.

States that surround Iowa and Nebraska had the following numbers so far: Missouri: 13; Kansas: 7; Colorado: 4; Wyoming, 5; South Dakota, 1; Minnesota, 2; Wisconsin, 14; and Illinois: 38.

Since the information is a statistical snapshot at a moment of time, it may seem arbitrary, but it also shows a continued problem with workplace safety. And these were only the businesses in a handful of states that got caught and were imposed fines greater than $40,000. Just think about the challenges that may exist for workers at businesses that don’t get inspected or aren’t on OSHA’s radar until a worker is injured or killed doing their job.

As we come up to Labor Day, members of the firm will continue to advocate for workers and promote discussion of worker safety, OSHA inspections, and holding businesses accountable for injured workers. Have a safe and productive week

Rod Rehm is the senior member of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, P.C., L.L.O. He has been practicing law since 1973 with experience in a wide variety of trial oriented cases. Early in his career, he worked as both a prosecutor and defense attorney. He was a founding board member of the Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorneys Association.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

402-817-0464
888-857-0674 (Toll Free)

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