Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


Truck Driving Schools – Are you the Best of the Best?

Sep
9,
2008
0

Truck driving schools are plentiful through out the United States.  Some good….some bad.  We’ve all heard the stories from students and new drivers revealing their experiences with some of the not-so-good schools.  In any industry, there will always be those businesses’ that bring about sour feelings onto the other “good” businesses’.  Those companies that are doing a good and honest job are also hurt by these “bad apples.”

As a student, how do you know the school is what it says it is?  How can you be sure you are going to receive the training you need in order to be a professional, safe driver?  What seperates a “good” school from a “great” school?  What questions should you ask and what should you look for in choosing a truck driving school?

Ken Bons is founder of Eagle Training Services, Inc. out of Illinois.  He and his staff have built Eagle Training Services into one of the best and most highly regarded truck driving schools in the nation.  How?  What does he do differently from the others? 

Truth About Trucking is on a mission to find such schools and companies. . . another way of “helping” students and new drivers.  Are you considering a career in trucking?  Are you looking for a truck driving school that you can believe in and trust?

Ken Bons will be my special guest on our internet talk radio show, Truth About Trucking “LIVE” – Monday, September 15th, 2008 at 7:00 P.M, Eastern Standard Time.  Be sure to tune in and learn exactly what to look for when choosing a CDL school.  But, do more than just listen…CALL IN!

Ken Bons will be glad to take your questions and give you the answers you’re looking for when considering a career in trucking or choosing the right truck driving school.  This is a MUST show for students and “newbies.”   Brought to you by Truth About Trucking “LIVE.”

Ken Bons with Eagle Transportation Services . . . Monday, Sept. 15 at 7 PM EST . . . mark your calender and come and be a part of the show!

Regards,

Allen Smith

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/TruthAboutTrucking/2008/09/15/TRUCK-DRIVING-SCHOOLS-ARE-YOU-THE-BEST-OF-THE-BEST

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Rush Hour Protest Rally for Orange County, Florida

Sep
8,
2008
1

We have just completed a GREAT show on our Truth About Trucking “LIVE” talk radio program…with Sally Baptiste of tollscreategridlock.org…..we had several callers and at times, more than a dozen of “Chat” participants.  Florida State House of Representative candidate, Franklin Perez did call in and “livened” things up a bit!

Sally is seeking participants who believe in the cause of “NO MORE TOLL ROADS” taxes, to join her for her planned “RUSH HOUR PROTEST” rally to be held on Sept. 22, 2008 in Orange County, Florida.  For more information, you can write her at Sally@tollscreategridlock.org.

If you missed the “live” show, listen here :

 Great Show…..be sure to check back at Truth About Trucking “LIVE” for our schedule of future shows!  We will be having a show on Truck Driving Schools very soon!!  And, as always, we want you to be a part of the show!!

Thanks,

Allen

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No More Toll Roads – Topic of Talk Radio

Sep
8,
2008
0

Don’t miss our talk show, Truth About Trucking “LIVE”, today, 9-8-08 at 6 P.M. EST…. Sally Baptiste will be our special guest, with Franklin Perez, Candidate for 08 Florida House of Representatives District 33 Scheduled to call in.

Florida politics, today, on Truth About Trucking “LIVE.”

Call in and be a part of the show!

Allen

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Selling Florida’s Alligator Alley

Sep
6,
2008
0

The selling of America to foreign interests is very much underway.  Now, it is being reported that the Federal Highway Fund is nearing bankrupt.  Monies that were supposed to go to repairing our roads and highways, went elswhere. . . and now, there is no way to provide the upkeep and maintenance.  Elite insiders know that this is just a ploy to convince the American people that there is no other viable solution to the problem, except to “sale” off America to foreign lands.  This is also their way to justify adding more toll roads and collecting additional taxes from the people.  This is where Sally Baptiste steps in.

Sally is a citizen activist fighting for the people of Florida, as well as for all Americans.  She, along with others such as Citizens Transportation Coalition, out of Naples, Florida, have discovered that the world famous, Alligator Alley in South Florida is now being put on the “for sale” block. 

The Florida Department of Transportation wants to lease the 78 mile toll road to a private company in exchange for an amount of money, yet to be determined, that could be used for other road projects in Broward and Collier Counties.  What’s not mentioned, however, is that the “private company” is foreign.  America is slowing being “sold off” into foreign hands.

Sally Baptiste will be the special guest on the Truth About Trucking “LIVE” radio talk show, Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 6:00 P.M. EST.  You will not want to miss this show as Sally explains just how the American people are being “ripped” off by tactics such as these by our local, state and national representatives.  She is also planning a “NO TOLLS” Rally to be held in Orange County on September 22nd. . . as she continues to fight for Transportation Reform.

Be sure to tune in live for the one hour show, and ask Sally any questions.  She has been “inside” politics. . .been there, done that. . .you won’t want to miss this show!  Visit her website at : http://www.tollscreategridlock.org/

Talk to you Monday!

Allen

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

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Driving With Blinders On

Sep
3,
2008
11

Years ago, while I was working in the oilfields of Oklahoma, I decided to start another business. Since trucking was in my blood, I chose to open a hot shot service. Though there was “talk” about an oilfield crunch, I estimated that I could still have a viable business for the next three to four years. There were several very successful hot shot services in the town, and plenty of room for one more. I purchased a nice dually with a trailer, capable of pulling 16,000 pounds. After establishing all the required business red tape, my newly formed hot shot business was up and running. For the first several weeks I was nearly worn to exhaustion by the constant need of pipeline, fittings and various oilfield supplies. However, it was a “good” exhaustion, even though like many in the oilfield, it was keeping me running seven days per week.

In my fourth month with the business, suddenly things changed. In 1982, President Reagan was talking about something called “Deregulation.” Two weeks later, the oil boom of Elk City, Oklahoma had literally disappeared. Oil rigs that had darted the horizon were gone. The big oilfield money was gone. I had gone from making a very large amount of monthly income to a “new” job that only paid $740.00 per month! Needless to say, things were bad. But, who or what was at fault? Looking back, all the signs were there. Eventually, I was able to come to terms with what actually had gone wrong . . . I had been driving with blinders on.

There are always two sides to a story. Several people around town had voiced their opinions about this as “not being a good time” to start an oilfield business. My banker had asked me, “Are you sure you want to do this?” A close friend who owned a hot shot service at the time, casually stated, “Just be careful.” On the other hand, there were those business owners who could not stop talking about how great things were. They were always there to tell you their success stories. There were even those who could not stop talking about how their business just kept growing and they were expanding! I took all of this information in, but I never really processed it. Why? Because I had made up my mind that I was going to start a hot shot service, and that was all there was to it!

Today, I relate this story to the trucking industry. As in any industry, there will always be those who are doing well. If everybody failed at an industry, there would be no such industry. For one driver to tell a “newbie” to trucking that there is big money to be made in OTR driving, only because he or she is successful, is very misleading. For 500 drivers to tell a “newbie” to trucking the same thing, is also misleading. How can that be? Because there are eight million CDL drivers in the United States today . . . will all eight million tell you the same thing? “Success” stories can always be found in any industry, does that tell the entire story about that industry? Are you hearing the “other side” of the story?

For my hot shot service, I chose to “listen” to the success stories, and decided to ignore the “failures.” Within the trucking industry, there is a 128% driver turn over rate with the OTR companies. This clearly shows that for every one “success” story, there are 128 “dissatisfied” stories. I want to reiterate my belief that you can make a decent living with over the road trucking . . . there are those making a very good living at it, and yes, there are success stories. However, you MUST keep in mind that there are MANY others who are not successful when they first start out.. You have to know the entire picture . . . you have to hear both sides of the story . . . any story. It is the only way you will be able to come through with a clear and accurate decision process when choosing schools and jobs.

For those who want to let their success stories be known, they fail to understand that by only giving their “good” side of the story, they could be leading you down a road that you do not want to travel. What works for one person, does not mean it will work for everyone. By having both sides of the issue out in the open, it can only help in making the right choice. Take for example, these trucking companies that experience a high turn over rate. Why? Do you think that maybe there is something wrong with them? If there was nobody willing to give the “other side” of the story, what would ever change? If students and new drivers are aware of any scams and lies practiced by a company, this will bring about two things:

1. The student or new driver will not bother applying for a job at that particular company . . . and

2. The trucking company will either go out of business or better yet . . . CHANGE!

Would it not be best to bring about “change” to these companies and schools which would benefit all drivers? Or should we all remain silent and pretend that all is well within the entire trucking industry? The problem lies with people who take every “negative” thought, opinion or comment to mean that ALL companies and schools are “BAD.” They are still missing the picture . . . they are missing the message. That message is to provide the entire truth about the trucking industry . . . the OTR industry. All one has to do is check the trucking forums on the internet. Sure, you will find “success” stories . . . but DO NOT overlook the thousands of “negative” stories. They are not negative . . . they are truth . . . they are the “other side” of the story! Many of them do eventually make it all work, but not until they’ve had to learn some rough lessons, which could have been avoided.

If all drivers just sat back and never said anything “bad” about trucking, then thousands of students and new drivers will come into the industry expecting success at ANY company or school. How is that helping? But, by voicing the truth about the problems drivers face on the road, with their particular carrier, with the truck driving school they attended, and so forth, things can change. Those companies who abuse drivers by adding false information on their DAC report . . . those companies that promise .34 CPM and then only pay .24 CPM . . . those companies that say you will be home every weekend, but you’re out for three weeks on your first run . . . those schools that give a price of $3500, and then in the end hands you a bill for $7000 . . . those schools that promise guaranteed employment, and then fail to deliver . . . all of this can change. If both sides of the story are known, it can force change by exposing wrongful tactics and practices.

We can all sit around and “talk” and complain about the poor practices within OTR driving . . . we can all lean back and tell a “newbie” that, “Yea! Trucking is great!” …..or . . . we can all send a message to those companies and schools that practice poor policies “that we are going to educate newcomers to the industry” . . . we are going to tell them the good side of trucking AND the bad side of trucking . . . we can all let these students and new drivers know what to look out for and which companies and schools have a great reputation and those that have a terrible reputation. Hopefully, they will take notice and either change their ways or we will close them down.

Or . . . we can keep driving with blinders on.

 Allen Smith

Truth About Trucking

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Truck Driving Jobs for $100,000 Per Year

Sep
1,
2008
8

If you are considering a career in professional truck driving, you have undoubtedly come across ads and articles stating that you can make as much as $100,000 per year. Although this can be true, let’s put this bitter sweet statement into perspective.

These are the kinds of claims that cause students and new drivers to jump on board with a carrier without giving it the thought that needs to be applied before joining. This is also another reason why so many newcomers to trucking fail. There are simply too many statements like this one floating around all over the internet. Many times, by those who have never even driven a big rig.

There are those making good money with a truck driving career. But what is good money? The facts are, experienced truck drivers average between $30,000 and $35,000 per year as a company driver ( and that’s with a decent company).  New, inexperienced company drivers are averaging $20,000 -$25,000 per year,        ( based on 48 weeks @.21-.27 cpm @ 2000/ mpw.)

Owner Operators can gross $100,000 per year and then some, but keep in mind that this is gross income. After tax write offs, personal taxes, expenses, etc., the final income (net) can easily be cut in half if not more. Now, that is still a net income of around $50,000 per year, but keep in mind that many owner operators continue to clear nearly the same as experienced company drivers.

Just understand that not all Owner Operators are making this alluring $100-200k per year (Although with good business practice it is possible). Successful Owner Op’s have spent years of hard work, educating themselves on business finance and management, and have “paid their dues” so to speak, in order to rake in this sum of gross income. It does not happen over night for the majority of drivers.

Leasing programs through trucking companies are the best way for a new driver to “purchase” a truck in order to become an “owner operator.” It is also the best way for a new driver to fail. Studies show that drivers that “buy” a truck through one of these leasing “scams” experience an 87% failure rate. Let’s talk about the truth when it comes to these leasing programs. Studies show that the carrier will decrease the driver’s mileage to prevent them from being able to make the payment . . . studies show that companies will add on so many deductions that they were actually receiving 90% of the driver’s income!

Now is not the time to become an owner operator. Fuel is too expensive, maintenance is still too high and there is still an influx of too many drivers and not enough freight. When you find these articles and ads claiming you can earn $100,000 per year driving a truck, just be careful. There are simply too many avenues that can take you down the wrong road.

Allen Smith

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No More Toll Roads

Aug
27,
2008
0

Truth About Trucking “LIVE” radio talk show has booked Sally Baptiste for their special guest, broadcasting Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 6:00 P.M. EST. As former Orange County Mayoral candidate and activist, she will be discussing her goal to force reform in our Transportation System and to reduce the level of Governmental corruption. She has spent years researching and analyzing the cost of Transportation, and has become highly recognized and known for fighting to stop the abuse of additional taxes implemented by Governmental Committees wanting to add more toll roads . . . not only in Florida, but in other States as well. She has appeared on many talk shows, including the popular, “Bud Hedinger Live” of Orlando’s massive AM540 WFLA.

Call in and be a part of the show! Mark your calendar and join us, as Sally Baptiste explains her plan to STOP the addition of more toll roads on FLORIDA’S I-4 interstate and ultimately bring about reform in our Transportation System. Discover the truth about toll road taxes!

Her website is: http://www.tollscreategridlock.org

Don’t miss this show!

Allen
Toll Taxes Take Their “Toll” On Truckers
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/truthabouttrucking  

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Are Toll Roads Necessary or Abusive?

Aug
26,
2008
0

Sally Baptiste is an activist who is working to stop toll taxes and to reform transportation. She is in the process of organizing a Central Florida sign waving campaign, and an I-4 caravan to protest tolls on Florida’s I-4 and to protest the selling/privatizing of our country’s infrastructure – especially to foreign interests.

The messages will be “No Tolls on I-4“, “Protect the Freeway“, “Tourist Tax Dollars for Roads” and “Vote for Transportation Reform.”   For those who have done a great deal of traveling across this country, they know all too well about the toll roads that stretch across our paths.  Have you ever wondered, “Where does the toll fees go?” ….  especially when you have to pay to drive on the road, and it feels like you’re running along a back-country road in an Army tank!

Sally has set out on a mission to change all that.  Her plight was just brought to my attention, and I thought I would pass it on to those who may be interested in joining her cause, be it through her website or through her campaign right here in Florida.  Does Florida really need more toll roads?

If interested, you can write Sally at : Sally@tollscreategridlock.org – – – For more information on her cause, please visit : http://www.tollscreategridlock.org  

Her knowledge and expertise is astounding, and I was surprised to discover a few things myself!

Check it out :   Thanks, Allen

 

 

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Ellen Voie of Women In Trucking – Interview

Aug
26,
2008
0

Had a great show today with Ellen Voie of Women In Trucking……..if you missed the show, you can listen here : 

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The 11/14 Hour Truck Driving Rule

Aug
23,
2008
59

Recently I received an e-mail asking me to explain the “very confusing” 11/14 hour truck driving rule. As you know, this is the rule which tells the driver how many hours he/she may work, when to break, how long to break, and how many hours of  driving that he/she may drive during a 24 hour period.

Here is my reply to her that I would like to post for all new drivers:

This is a real simple rule that sometimes people can make harder than it really is….me included, when it first came out. In a nutshell…it simply states that you cannot “work” more than 14 hours in a 24 hour period…and cannot drive more than 11 hours in a 24 hour period, without taking a 10 hour break.

“Work” means the same as “on duty”…As soon as you start your pre-trip, you are on duty….you have 14 hours to be “on duty” from that moment on, before you are required to shut down for your 10 hour break.

So, if you start your pre-trip at 6 AM, you have to be stopped, shut down, done! by 8 PM. Your on duty “work” includes, pre-tripping, post tripping, driving, unloading, loading, waiting time, stopping for a meal, bathroom break, stopping to make a phone call…ANYTHING you are doing between the pre-trip and post trip….this is your 14 hours you have to complete your day’s work.

Example : Let’s say you start your pre-trip at 10 AM. and you drive over to the shipper to get loaded and you get there at 10:30 AM, and they tell you it will take about 5 hours to get loaded. You are finally loaded at 3:30 PM. You now only have until midnight to drive or “whatever”, before you must shut down for the 10 hour break. You will be completely legal because you shut down at midnight, which is 14 hours (10 AM to Midnight)…and you only drove 9 hours (10 AM to 10:30 AM, and 3:30 PM to Midnight)…even though you are 2 hours under the 11 hour driving rule, the 14 hour rule beat you to the punch because of the waiting time the shipper placed on you.

Just remember, whatever time you start the day on your log, you have to be completely shut down (break), within 14 hours. Now, if you start your pretrip at 10 AM, arrive at shipper at 10:30 AM, and are loaded by 11 AM, you can drive until 9:30 PM – (11 hour rule – 10-10:30, 11-9:30), ….even though 14 hours is midnight (10 AM to midnite), the 11 hour rule beat you to the punch…you can still be on duty through midnight, like waiting to get unloaded, calling dispatch, repairing a trailer tire…etc., you JUST CAN’T DRIVE anymore.

After 14 hours you should be doing only one thing : on a 10 hour break. Just because you hit 11 hours of driving, you can still be doing work-related duties, as long as you are not driving…AND…once you hit the 14 hour spot…you must be shut down, totally, and be on your 10 hour break.

Remember two things :

1. Be shut down (on your break) within 14 hours of starting your log.

2. Within that 14 hours, make sure you have not driven more than 11 hours.

NOW! There is also the 34 hour rule! But this is easy…if you are off duty for at least 34 hours, all your hours beforehand are “erased” and you can start “clean” with another 70 hours. There is talk about doing away with this rule, but for now, it is still on the books.

UPDATE TO THIS POST:  7-20-09

Since I am constantly receiving emails from those who only wish to criticize and attempt to prove something to themselves, I would like to  address a recent email I received:

Here is the email I just received:

He wrote:

“I read, The 11/14 Hour Truck Driving Rule", it is incorrect. You state that after your 14th consecutive hour on duty you must be off duty or in the sleeper berth, not true. The law states a driver must not drive after his 14th hour on duty, nothing about working. Any work as  unloading, post trip, fueling are fine to do after your 14th hour. Please make sure you know the law prior to acting like an authority. Thanks.”

Now,  if  this guy had really read the post, then he would have seen the following paragraph within this post:

“Just remember, whatever time you start the day on your log, you have to be completely shut down (break), within 14 hours. Now, if you start your pretrip at 10 AM, arrive at shipper at 10:30 AM, and are loaded by 11 AM, you can drive until 9:30 PM – (11 hour rule – 10-10:30, 11-9:30), ….even though 14 hours is midnight (10 AM to midnite), the 11 hour rule beat you to the punch…you can still be on duty through midnight, like waiting to get unloaded, calling dispatch, repairing a trailer tire…etc., you JUST CAN’T DRIVE anymore.”

Furthermore, this guy would have seen my previous comment to another, more professional poster … here’s my previous posted comment:

Yes, you are correct.  You are referring to Reg. 395 (d) –

D. 14-HOUR DUTY PERIOD
D-1. May a driver be on duty for more than 14 consecutive hours?

Yes. A driver may remain on duty for more than 14 hours; however, the driver of a property-carrying CMV cannot drive after the 14th hour after coming on duty. Also, the additional on-duty time will be counted toward the 60/70-hour on-duty limit. But, as you mentioned, MOST companies require you to be shut down by the 14th hour. Every company I’ve ever worked for, even now, require you to be completely done by the 14th hour. So that is why I explained it this way. With a former company I was driving for, I did go over the 14 hours, legally….but I was still called in by the log and safety dept. Even though I explained to them what I did was legal, I was still “slapped” on the hand for doing it! LOL … but again, you are right….it is just that most companies want you “shut down” by the 14th hour……thanks for your post…..I appreciate it!

Allen — Posted on: 10-22-2008

So I will make this response a permanent part of this post, hopefully I can STOP receiving rude and hateful emails which do not benefit anyone.
Also, my intentions are NOT to come off as ” the authority” but instead try and help newcomers to the industry.   I suggest that people fully read my posts before attacking  either myself or other posters.
For the rude posters: Maybe they just can’t read very well or they have trouble comprehending?

Allen Smith

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