Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


Truth About Trucking on Twitter!

Jul
1,
2008
2

Just a quick note to all our subscribers, customers and followers!  Truth About Trucking is on “Twitter” and we would like to invite all who are interested in trucking….current drivers, recent CDL grads, upcoming students and those thinking about a trucking career to join us on “Twitter.”  Keep up to date on “what we are doing.”   Check it out and HAVE FUN!!!      ……….   Allen Smith

 http://twitter.com/askthetrucker 

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Truck Driving Jobs: The #1 Mistake by Shippers and Receivers

Jun
19,
2008
3

Driving a truck professionally can be a tormented vocation. Truck driving schools enjoy manipulating new students in believing that over the road truck driving is an easy, laid-back lifestyle. At times, perhaps it can be, but for the most part it is a stressful, aggravating way of life. There are hundreds of thousands of pick-ups and deliveries made every day by our truckers and if you ask them which shipper and receiver is usually the worst to deal with, the answer will nearly always be the Grocery Warehouses.

I have never understood the management team of the grocery warehouses. You would think that management, lower to upper, would comprehend the main principle of business management . . . take care of the customer. Dealing with a grocery warehouse, primarily delivering, is most often the truck driver’s worst nightmare. They purposely make you sit and wait for hours on end, and most often make you, the driver, perform the unloading.

Grocery warehouses are known for their over-powering, disrespectful and hateful attitudes. Many of them will treat the professional driver as something less than a dog. All you have to do is ask a driver that has been at it for a while . . . grocery warehouses are the worst! These little managers that run the operation enjoy the feeling of power over the driver. This is the only reason I can imagine . . . what other reason would cause a “manager” to treat truck drivers this way?

Thus, this is where the management of these grocery warehouses are making their biggest mistake in managing. They may have the title of “management,” but they are not true, professional managers. What is the #1 mistake enacted by these shippers and receivers? They see these men and women truck drivers as nothing but “lower-class.” They treat them unfairly and many times with hostility. They abuse their management “powers” by making them sit and wait for hours on end, will take seven hours to unload a one hour shipment, and on and on.

This is where these so called “managers” are making their #1 mistake. These men and women of trucking may just be “truck drivers,” but they are also something else . . . they are CUSTOMERS! If every truck driver who has been treated badly by these grocery warehouses would stop shopping at the particular store, and their spouse stopped, along with their “two” kids, that would be a loss of four CUSTOMERS. Multiply this by 200 other drivers, spouses and “two” kids, customer loss would run up to 800! If each of these told a friend to stop buying from these hateful shippers and receivers, they would witness a customer loss of 1600! And . . . well, you get the picture.

A true, professional manager understands that the sole priority of a business is to make a profit. To do this, takes the customer. Without customers, a business fails. Is the customer always right? No . . . but when a company or corporation employs “managers” who fail to understand that even the lowly “truck driver” is a customer, they are no manager at all.

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The Truth About Trucking on Audio CD

Jun
14,
2008
0

We’ve noticed during the last 3 years online,  we would receive an e-mail here and there asking “will you be putting your book on an audio CD?” Well, about six weeks or so ago, we took a mini- survey, and asked our newsletter subscribers if they would be interested in an audio of the book, “The Truth About Trucking”.  The response was overwhelming…and almost everyone said they would like to have an audio copy of the book.

We originally had the date set for the release of the audio CD for June 10th. To be honest, we didn’t realize how much more involved and technical it is to “put it all together” in a professional and well presented manner, a way that would be interesting and entertaining as well as informative and educational. We’re pleased to say that it’s in the final stages and we’ll be sending out an e-mail or newsletter giving the details of the availability.

There will be a very special price for all our loyal customers and subscribers to our newsletter.  Without you, this blog, the website,  and all the articles that are spread across the web, would not be possible. Your support and trust has allowed us  to continue  spreading our beliefs and desire to get the truth out to as many as we can.

All those purchasing the book or  PDF CD  prior to the release of the new audio CD, will be able to receive it for almost 1/2 off the new website price. The Audio will come with the downloadable e-book and all 4 bonuses as in the past. We really want to stress that you need the digital download ( which is available as an immediate download), because all the important links to the various trucking companies, truck driving schools, and other  resources are in the PDF version of the book ( e-book). The audio is meant for easy listening as many of you have said, “I would rather listen than read”. Although it’s not totally complete, it appears to be about 3 hrs long( includes the bonus reports).

So keep your eyes open for the e-mails that will give a direct link to the introductory offers for you. If you haven’t signed up for our free info yet, just complete the sign up form and your e-mail will be added to our news list. Allen has a feed for all the most relevant trucking news and he passes ,what he believes to be important, on to you.

Thanks and hope to hear from you soon,

Allen & Donna

If you Reply to this Post, Please Allow for a delay……It Will Get Posted

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Trucking Job Brings Me Face to Face With Vietnam Vet

Jun
13,
2008
8

     It’s amazing what an over the road truck driver can encounter on a daily basis. All of the sights and sounds they experience become so vast that they soon forget and accept them as simply a part of their daily lives. Experiences that few will ever know and even fewer can only dream about. I often stop and remember such things like slipping through the back roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains…….literally sliding my way down a snow covered Snowqualmie Pass……or slowing the rig down a few notches so I could enjoy the scenery of actual wild horses running across the plains of Wyoming…….and of course, that time I had no choice but to stop in the middle of the road and let that massive, huge moose cross in front of me in Caribou, Maine. All the sights, sounds and wonderment that now only live in my memories…..

     Though I no longer operate over the road, I am still “running” here in the State of Florida, averaging 420 miles per day. Not too long ago I was making a delivery in Gainesville, Florida at a small BP service station. As I pulled in, I noticed a haggard looking man huddled underneath the overhang of the building. Working nights, I often have to deal with some “rough” characters approaching me for money or food, so I kept my sight on him. It wasn’t long until I knew he was homeless as he walked up to me and the conversation began:

How you like driving that thing?” he asked.

It’s OK,” I replied, “Been doing it a long time.”

     He remained with me as I began my work and everything seemed to be going fine. Just a lonely guy, I thought, needing a little company. He walked back over to where he had been and sat back down beside a duffle bag containing all of his possessions. Suddenly, he placed his hand on the bag and started shaking it back and forth saying, “Get up! Get up!” I focused my attention back on him. Then, he began moving his head from side to side, his eyes darting here and there. I heard him mumble, “They’re dead……..they’re all dead.”

     A massive thunderstorm was moving into the area and I was working feverishly to complete my work before it hit. All of a sudden, an enormous clap of thunder and flash of lightening struck sending me running for cover. I immediately heard him yell, “INCOMING!” He was down on the ground with his hands over his head and it was then that I realized something…….I was in the presence of a hero.

     I knew I had to do something to bring him back to reality so I yelled, “HEY!…..HEY!…..you hungry?” He rose to his feet, his shaking subsided and a grin crossed his face, “I’m always hungry, dude” he laughed. I ran out to the truck and brought back a Gatorade and a ham and cheese sandwich. “Here,” I said, “This is my last drop so I’m heading home, I don’t need them.” As the rain poured down and the thunder rolled, I stayed by my new friend as he enjoyed the free meal. The political side of me kicked in and I wondered why is this man, why is this hero….left alone, forgotten by our Government, and made to live out on the streets?

     During the next thirty minutes, we talked about many things . . . from the Florida weather to alligators to truck driving . . . and with every teeth-jawing blast of thunder he would yell out, “KABOOM! ,” followed by a fit of laughter. As the storm passed and moved further to the Northwest, I said my goodbyes and told him to take care of himself. He shook my hand and thanked me for the drink and sandwich. Never once did he ask for money or help of any kind. He was his own man . . . he was a hero.

     As I began pulling out of the driveway, another loud burst of thunder occurred, followed by an enormous streak of lightening. I glanced over to see him staring up in the sky, his eyes flashing as bright as the lightening . . . his arms moving up and down . . . and I knew, once again, at that very moment he was no longer with me in Gainesville, Florida. I gave him a wave goodbye, but he failed to respond. He was no longer there . . . the hero had gone back to Vietnam.

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Trucking Problems or Not?

Jun
3,
2008
2

We read everyday where the trucking industry is “hurting” due to cost of fuel and other factors, but are these the reasons or are there other aspects involved?  Some companies are downsizing, while another trucking company provides their drivers with over 40 hours of work per week, and now faces a law suit from their drivers for failure to pay them overtime.

 Also, as owner-operators feel the crunch of high diesel prices, new driving students are lining up at truck driving schools to get the knowledge they need to become a professional truck driver.   So what gives?  Is trucking hurting or not?

Come high fuel prices or whatever, there will always be a need for truck drivers…..period.

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CDL Federal Gun Law

Jun
2,
2008
197

Due to the controversial topic: “Can CDL Truck Drivers Carry Guns?”, I have researched and found a Federal Law that so many drivers are looking for. Read what an actual Federal Law states about this topic, to put it to rest, once and for all. ( or maybe not)

Provided by Truth About Trucking.

Can a CDL truck driver legally carry a gun in the truck? This is a very HOT topic! In my previous article, “CDL Truck Drivers Carrying Guns,” much controversy was created because nothing could be found anywhere showing any Federal Law stating that it was illegal to carry. I have pointed out that there is NO Federal Law saying that it is illegal, only city, county and state laws that make it illegal to do so, as well as policies set forth by the motor carrier. I have found the actual Federal Law revealing the insight on this subject, listed below:

Title 18 Setcion 926(a). The peacable journey law.

TITLE 18–CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

PART I–CRIMES

CHAPTER 44–FIREARMS

Sec. 926A. Interstate transportation of firearms

Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or
regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person
who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting,
shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a
firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully
possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully
possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the
firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being
transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the
passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in
the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s
compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked
container other than the glove compartment or console.

OK…now that we have the Federal Law on this matter, what does it mean? I would say that you could give this to 50 attorneys, and all 50 would interpret it differently! I believe what it is saying, is what I originally wrote in my previous articles….a CDL driver may carry a gun in the truck with him or her, PROVIDING that it does not violate any other STATE law, in which the driver will be passing through. Thus my point again…city, county and state laws may be the prevention for CDL truck drivers to carry guns…

Help me out drivers….what do you think?

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Truck Drivers Security, High Fuel Prices, and the Consumer

May
7,
2008
2

According to some of the e-mails we receive, we have noticed many of you are  a bit hesitant in regards to choosing truck driving as a career.  I have written much about “making sure that truck driving is for you,”  which was in regards to a lifestyle that is only for certain  people and personality types, nothing to do with fuel prices.

If you are concerned about the fuel prices and job security, then you must know:

 There will always be trucking and trucking companies that need truck drivers. Period

This country depends on trucks to deliver goods more than any other means of transportation. It is the trucking companies  and owner operators who are taking the blunt end of the stick,  not the company drivers, (as far as fuel prices go anyway). The consumer also takes the beating because  fuel surcharges  are passed on to the shipper…which  means higher prices to the consumer. ( someone has to pay, right?)  Drivers still deal with other aspects  of  company nonsence.

Owner Operators are the ones who are  having the most difficult time with high cost of fuel. The only way they can come out of this with any profit is to also increase their surcharge to the  shipper,  same as the trucking companies. Problem is, this is easier said then done.

One trucking company  ( and also others) is attempting to alleviate the high fuel cost for owner operators and fleet owners by paying  them a fuel surcharge for both empty and loaded miles. If you think about it,  it’s  for the benefit of the companies as well as the owner operators and fleet owners. After all, when a trucking company contracts almost 3,000 owner operators and fleet owners across the country, they had better do something to compensate them……….or they won’t have their loads covered.

In the long run, as long as fuel surcharges cover the increased fuel prices, trucking should ( theoretically) go on as usual. The effects of the increased fuel prices, unfortunately, will be felt by the consumer……..in other words……all of us.

Let us know your thoughts about this post.

There is a delay in posting to avoid spammers

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Truck Drivers Strike

Apr
7,
2008
3

Whether you are a seasoned driver, just out of truck driver training or attending any of the truck driver schools across the nation, one should be watching the outcome of this recent truck drivers strike.  Primarily owner operators, many drivers shut down for a few days to protest the high cost of diesel fuel.  At $4.00 plus per gallon, nobody can blame them.  When a rig holds 300 gallons of fuel, $1200 just to fill up your tanks is destructive to your bottom line profit.

But, will the strike have any effect?  Will this small, short-lived demonstration actually cause a change for the better?  Unfortunately, the answer will more than likely be a resounding, “NO.”   Having a small group of drivers stage a 3-4 day “strike” will, sadly, accomplish nothing.   With owner operators falling beside the way side year after year, the greatest majority of drivers on the road these days are fleet drivers.

It will perhaps cause those interested in truck driver training and looking at truck driver schools to take a second look at truck driving as a career.  However, owner operators are the ones taking the dramatic hit by the fuel costs.  The company driver does not have the worry.  Most trucking companies will pass some of the increased cost of fuel onto their customers through an added fuel surcharge, but the rate of freight will remain the same . . . cheap.  Therefore, the owner operators will continue to haul the load at the same low rate, while doing battle with the increased price of diesel.  The truck driver will always be the one who loses.

Strikes of this nature will simply not work.  It will take the effort of all truck drivers working together in order to force those with the power to make changes occur.  And that, my friends, is where the problem lies.  A few hundred drivers here and there cannot make change . . . it must be done by thousands . . . no, millions. 

Eight million CDL drivers in the United States today, and most of these would have to participate in a truck driver’s strike to catch the attention of Congress and the nation, and be taken seriously.  Now, what would have to be done?  Hundreds of thousands of truck drivers, company drivers and owner operators would have to ban together and shut their rigs down.  They would have to do so, not for a few days, but for several weeks. 

CDL drivers everywhere would have to make the decision to STOP the flow of freight in this country, and do it long enough where the effects would be felt.  This would mean store shelves would go empty . . . everything that everybody takes for granted: groceries, supplies, clothes, autos, EVERYTHING . . . would come to a halt.  The general public still cannot comprehend that everything they buy . . . everything they purchase at a store or retailer or ANYWHERE . . . comes by way of a truck driver.  The ships can still sail, the aircraft can still fly and the train can still run, but the truck driver carries the products to the stores.  The truck driver carries it to the general public.

Because the owner operator is somewhat of a dying breed, it leaves mostly company drivers running the road these days.  Thus, the fear factor sets in . . . ”If I shut down and strike, I would lose my job.”  In addition, to create empty shelves in our nations store, what kind of suffering would that cause to the innocent?   A mother needs formula for her baby, but the shelf is empty due to truck drivers striking?  It is a tough situation and a hard call to make.  On the other hand, the truck driver and his or her family cannot pay their bills due to the high cost of fuel factored in with the low cost of freight. 

The good side of this is that the shelves could be refilled at an alarming rate due to the professionalism of our nation’s drivers.  But this is the only way for drivers to make a change.  For those who are attending truck driver training or considering truck driver schools, they too will have to consider the options of someday executing a massive, well organized strike with other CDL drivers.   A strike . . . a “real” strike . . . of such magnitude, will cause those in power to react.

Allen Smith
Truth About Trucking

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The “Strike” That Broke the Truckers Back

Apr
4,
2008
4

I would like to say that all the talk you are hearing about truck drivers going on strike and high fuel prices is just the final “straw” for truck drivers everywhere. I’m not down playing high fuel prices at all. As a matter of fact it was a serious enough problem to finally initiate some truckers to display their total anger and dissatisfaction and pursue a strike. However, what I am saying is that their source of being disgruntled is much more deep seeded than that.

I’ve written much about the trucking lifestyle and the sacrifices made in order to succeed in OTR trucking.  I try to paint an honest picture to everyone in regards to what a trucking career is really like. I ‘ve written the song “The Trucking Brand” to express  the sacrifices and obstacles truckers face on a daily basis.  However, public apathy is a big part of a truckers dismay. The general public as a whole finds trucks “annoying” and truck drivers part of the problem of their “inconvenience”.  In general, let’s face it, when was the last time you passed a truck and thought, “Oh great, there’s another wonderful truck driver bringing all the goods we need to our local stores.” I think never. It’s probably more like, “Man I hate these trucks, always in the way when I’m driving!”

Next, are the trucking companies themselves. Let’s face it, they’re out to make money and with a 128% turnover rate among truck drivers, they’re really not all that concerned about them, their families, or their futures. Then you have the brokers. I can’t even tell you how many shady brokers there are. A seasoned owner operator can get through this, but even the best can get fooled sometimes.

When you sum it all up; with sacrificial lifestyle, public apathy, lack of compassion, the poor attitudes of the trucking companies towards their drivers,  and having to deal with some pretty shady brokers, you can see how increased fuel prices was the final last straw for truckers.  Let’s face it, we all endure much in life to succeed. Some endure quite a bit just to make ends meet. But, when it comes down to it, if all your sacrifices lead you to little or no profit, where’s the reward?  Why bother?

Something must be done to relieve these men and woman of this burden. There must be provisions made for them by our government somehow. As their profession becomes limited in its pay, their families suffer. The government can only be forced to comply with the effects of high-fuel prices if the public becomes more sympathetic to the problems of the truck driver.

I’m certainly not one to advocate the government is the answer to all our problems.  Quite the contrary, the government is in large part, the problem.  Oil is not the problem either.  Oil brought us the industrial revolution;  oil is the reason we enjoy the comfort of living we all experience.  The problem lies with those who will not allow further drilling in this country.  The problem lies with those who will not allow further plants to be built.  I spent many years working in the oilfields of Oklahoma.  Advancement in technology now allows us to set up a drilling rig, recruit the petroleum products we need and remove the drilling rig and barely leave a “dot” on the landscape. 

 As long as those groups continue to keep us from drilling in our own country and not allow for new plants to be built, then we all deserve what we will continue to get…high fuel prices.  And, it’s not only the Middle East that we rely on so heavily either.  In fact, our #1 source for oil is Canada…and our #2 source is Mexico!  Alternative fuels are a good idea, but I don’t see that as a cure all.  Take Ethanol for an example.  The cost of producing Ethanol is far greater than what the product yields.  Also, it will only lead to higher grocery prices…think about it!

Every consumer needs to support  truck drivers , in particular the over the road owner operators that are feeling most of the impact. If  we don’t, there will be far greater consequences for the consumer.  It’s just a matter of time. 

Allen Smith

Truth About Trucking

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The Trucking Brand : Truck Drivers, Can you Relate to This?

Apr
2,
2008
2

 Truckers have a lot of time to themselves. Many of us write songs while we’re on the road.  Trucking life is a rough one, the music and thoughts we keep are what keeps us going. 

Nobody really  understands the sacrifices and lifestlye that the American Trucker endures….except the truck drivers themselves.

Trucking is a “brand” if you will. We all can relate to one another in some way, shape or form.  We may have different opinions on many things in life, but our one common bond is our trucking bloodline.

 Having a little fun, here’s a song I wrote about no one…. and yet everyone.  You’ll know what I mean after you listen to it.

I think you’re going to enjoy it……it’s dedicated to all of you  truck drivers out there…

including all the truckers  striking , demonstrating the high price of fuel

Here’s the link to “The Trucking Brand”

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