Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


Truck Drivng School List Expansion for TruthAboutTrucking

Sep
14,
2008
2

I would like to tell eveyone that I’m in the process of expanding our Trucking School list.  While doing this I will be asking those interested to sign up for information regarding the approved trucking schools on this list. We will be researching the many worthy and dedicated training facilities that prove to offer a safe, quality and affordable cdl truck driving school. This is a tedious and time consuming task, but will be well worth the effort in the end.  We invite those who believe that they have a Quality and Excellent Training Program to come forward and we will review their program.

All those who have purchased the “The Truth About Trucking” will receive this updated information as it comes in, however, we will ask you to be a member of this list so that you will agree to accept information from the approved schools, should they desire to send it to you.

We are hoping to create a “match” system of schools and students. The process is still in the early stages, but I feel that when it is completed, it will be one of the most complete and thorough lists of students and schools around. Actually, I don’t believe there is anything quite like it .  We will only accept the finest trucking schools and in return the schools will have the best of the best trucking students.

Our next Blog Talk Radio Show will be the start of this new investigation. We will be interviewing a truck driving school CEO and owner. Watch for the next blog post when we will release the details of the school name and guest speaker representing the school. You will be able to call in and ask questions as well as use the “chat” mode on your computers keyboard.

I want to continually thank all of you for your trust and support in our cause to raise the standards of the trucking industry.

Allen

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Federal Government Rejects Application To Toll I-80 in Pa

Sep
13,
2008
0

The Federal Government has rejected Pennsylvania’s application to toll  I 80, one of the states most traveled highways. Pa’s Dept of Transportation and Pa Turnpike Commission were told by the Federal Highway Administration ( FHWA) that,  it “doesn’t meet statutory and technical requirements”. Pa Gov. Rendell believes the states infrastructure is in need of repairs and he will now attempt to convince those involved that privatization is the only other available option. Many people are opposed to this alternative as it would allow profit seekers to benefit, while the residents, businesses, and commuters carry the burden of more added tolls.  Obviously, trucking is one of the industries which would be directly effected with the addition of new toll roads scattered throughout the country.

Read what Jim Runk, president of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association ( PMTA) has to say in response to the announcement. He shares many sentiments and concerns that many of us in the country own and believe to be true, especially right here in the  great state of Florida.

If you were on our Blog Talk Radio call the other night with Allen, Sally Baptiste and Franklin Perez, this discussion may seem all too familiar when comparing what has happened  in Pa to what is presently going on in Florida.  Sally is presently fighting  to prevent the addition  of new toll roads in the state of Florida, and is planning the “RUSH HOUR PROTEST” rally on September 22, 2008 in Orange County Florida.

 

 

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HR6630 Passed

Sep
10,
2008
3

The voices of Truckers and citizens were heard and HR 6630 was passed last night. HR6630 will require the immediate termination of the DOT’s crossborder trucking pilot program with Mexico and revoke the DOT’s ability to grant Mexico-domiciled carriers authority to operate beyond commercial zones without Congressional approval.

Despite heavy threats from the White House and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, HR6630 passed with 395 lawmakers voting for it and only 18 voting against.

During the debate regarding HR6630 on the House floor last night prior to the vote, half of the lawmakers who spoke mentioned that they have been hearing from truckers back home.

As I always say, “there’s two sides to a story”. Read what another well respected  trucking blog has to say: :

House Votes to terminate Mexican Cross Border Pilot Program

As always, your opinion is welcomed.  We’d like to know your thought on this highly controversial topic.

Allen

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Congress Should Investigate Driver Turn Over Rate

Sep
10,
2008
1

There is always some kind of investigation going on with some kind of issue.  I’ve noticed that many times the investigation will relate to an “insider” type of special interest.  Why has there never been a call for Congress to investigate the annualized driver turn over rate, which now stands at 128%?  Why is this constant revolving door allowed to continue?

Those companies that continue this act of ruining the lives of good, hard working people should be investigated and brought to an end.  Long time, professional drivers know what is going on . . . I believe it is time for Congress to step in and investigate this practice.  However, if there is enough money being tossed under the table, no wonder authorities turn the other way.

There should still be a call for a Congressional investigation.

Allen

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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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