Intro to Trucking: What It’s Really Like Trucking, Part 33

The Beginning of Fall Days – Avoiding the Tumble

By Timothy D. Brady

We interview two truckers monthly, changing names/details so they remain anonymous. But rest assured – they’re real.

Falling is one of the biggest causes of truck driver work-related injuries. Let’s check with our truckers and find out how they avoid tumbles.

What are three areas of your truck where falling is a risk?
Naomi: Getting in and out of our truck
Getting in and out of our trailer
The catwalk (And the bed … LOL) 

Ben:  Getting in and out of your truck, getting in or out of your trailer; standing on the steer tire or engine to clean the windshield or replace clearance lights.

What do you do to avoid falling in each of these areas?
Naomi: Butt out and three points of contact always. No jumping. No standing on the bed when the truck’s in motion.

Ben:  I always use three points of contact. I make sure I have solid footing before trusting my weight on whatever it is I’m standing on.

Have you ever taken an unexpected tumble doing your job as a trucker? Describe how it happened and what you do now to avoid it happening again.
Naomi: I actually stumbled last week getting out of the truck after backing into a dock. There was a pothole at the base of the steps; I didn’t see it. I stepped off the last step and down in the hole. I tweaked my back pretty badly.


Ben: I unbuttoned my jeans one day because they were so tight in the waist. But I forgot to button them back up. When I stepped out onto my running board, my jeans fell to my ankles, which caused me to trip and fall off the side of my truck. Very embarrassing; especially in a truckstop with other drivers watching. From then on I keep my jeans properly secured! (You did say this is anonymous, right?)

What’s the worst fall by a trucker you’ve witnessed? How do you avoid the same fall?
Naomi: I’ve never seen anyone fall but I’ve seen what happens after a tumble. A dude was actually wearing cowboy boots in ice and fell; broke his ankle. Do not wear cowboy boots in slick conditions.

Ben: I don’t believe I’ve seen anyone fall since I’ve been driving.

New challenges?
Naomi: Dealing with a new dispatcher … again. No one likes this guy, not even the office people. We all want to put a boot to his head. He won’t listen when we have concerns on being on time; won’t pass on information about road closures, yet we all run the same routes. He has no idea how to manage team hours and won’t answer the phone most of the time. We’ve complained to safety and to his boss. (We’ve been asked to be patient, as changes are coming.)

Ben:  I’m starting with a new company; flat bedding. It’s challenging to me because I have to learn how to secure and tarp these loads. Also, weather plays a bigger role, both on when to tarp and having to be on the trailer securing loads and tarping, regardless of the weather conditions.

Interesting experiences?
Naomi: A wreck on I-80 in Echo Canyon. I was the first eastbound truck to see the mess. I felt the explosions of fuel tanks; felt the heat of the fire. It was a way amazing scene. I’ve never seen two trucks burn to the ground; everything was lost. It was a learning experience for me – even if you lose brakes, pull that trailer completely off the road. And – if you’re hit like that and there’s a huge fire, if you can get your tractor away do it. Even if you pull your pin and go. Don’t dally; don’t unhook airlines, just drop your trailer.

I also learned drivers on the C.B. are real inconsiderate jerks – they were only concerned about their government-mandated clocks. Patience, people. 

Ben: The other day I accidentally hit a deer. He knocked out a headlight and then used the bathroom down the side of my truck. Kinda shook me up a bit.

Advice for someone just finishing school so he/she doesn’t experience a career-ending fall?
Naomi: Use your 3 points of contact ALWAYS. Always butt out!!!
Always wear the right foot wear for conditions – no cowboy boots or flip-flops.
Wear gloves with a good grip.
Do not jump from the trailer.
Use hand rails and some common sense!

Ben: Use three points of contact any time you’re climbing. Pay attention to what you are doing at all times.

Here’s to your future great loads and great roads.

Timothy Brady © 2014

To contact Brady go to

Intro To Trucking: What It’s Really Like Trucking, Part 32

The Dog Days – Dealing with Summer Heat

By Timothy D. Brady

We interview two truckers monthly, changing names/details so they remain anonymous. But rest assured, they’re real.

As we move into the hottest part of the summer, dealing with the heat can be challenging, even for seasoned truckers.

What are the three ‘hottest’ aspects of driving your truck?
Naomi: A. Sun beating on me during the evening. It’s hot. hot. hot. and blinding if driving into it.
B. If not allowed to idle, the heat from motor and trans make it stifling hot.
C. I have a sweet ride and she’s kept clean and polished inside and out! That makes me one hot momma driving a hot-looking rig!!! OK; not what you meant, I know. (LOL)

Ben: I don’t have an APU on my truck so I either have to idle my truck to stay cool, or suffer. I idle my truck when need be. I have a double bunk sleeper so it takes more to keep it cool. If I’m going in and out at shippers and receivers, I don’t leave my truck running. And usually it’s pretty hot when I get back to the truck.

What do you do in hot weather to remain cool when working outside the truck?
Naomi: Drink plenty of water and take more breaks in the shade.

Ben: I pull a dry box so I don’t usually have a lot of work outside of the truck. But when I do, I wear light-colored clothing and drink lots of water.

What’s the hottest temperature you’ve experienced OTR and what did you do to stay cool?
Naomi: 115 degrees in SoCal; hot as blue blazes out there. I stayed in my idling truck, with ice water. Ate cool foods like salads and ice cream. Note: in hot weather, best to stay away from sugary or caffeinated drinks. (Caffeinated drinks will dehydrate you, so they defeat the purpose of drinking liquids.)

Ben: 112 degrees in Phoenix. I idled my truck with the air on while parked.

List the things you carry on the truck to keep cool.

Naomi: Shorts, tank tops, a washcloth I can get wet and lay on my neck, water, Popsicles®  and a fan.

Ben: A fan, a cooler with ice and drinks. Light-weight and light-color clothes.

Interesting experiences and challenges?
An experience of what happens when one trucker for the same company fails to do his job correctly. When that happens and you’re the “lucky” trucker who has to pick up the pieces, it’s amazing how Murphy’s Law takes over. Summary: One driver fails to deliver a load on time, causing another driver to run out of route (to drop her loaded trailer for the failed driver to deliver once his current late load is off-loaded), for an empty trailer. Then she drives 200 miles to pick up the load the other driver was supposed to load but can’t, then travels another two hours through LA traffic to pick up the rest of the load the failed delivery driver was supposed to get. She drives back to the original location we dropped our trailer to swap trailers with yet a third driver, with a load going to the Midwest. Ended up again having to meet up with the same driver (who failed to deliver on time on the west coast) near the New Mexico/Texas border to swap trailers again – because he was behind schedule again.

Because of the failures of this one ‘trucker,’ (read that ‘steering wheel holder’), and two roll-over truck accidents along the way,  two loads were a day late delivering, costing the carrier fines levied by the shippers and lost time. It used up HOS hours and revenue for two other trucks. And if it hadn’t been for the fact we’re a team driver operation, our load would have been two days late. That was a rough 4 days. But it sure taught me a lesson in fate and patience.

The other driver has been reprimanded, and is on probation. He failed his duty.

Ben: I’m running more miles than usual, and it’s getting harder to trip-plan with some of the appointment times and lack of parking.

Advice for someone just finishing school to keep their cool in the Summer?
Naomi: Patience. Common sense. Courtesy. And with courtesy think this…. what would momma think if I’m rude?

It’s summer and it’s hot and more trucks are on the road now that there isn’t white stuff on the ground. More trucks means even less parking and people being temperamental because of the heat. Just smile; keep your mouth shut and go on.

Ben: Idle when you need to. Get with a company that has APUs on their trucks. Stay in light clothes and drink plenty of cool water.

Here’s to your future great loads and great roads.

Timothy Brady © 2014

To contact Brady go to


How It Works? Doing More With Less

North American Truckers Warming Up To 6 x 2 Axle Configuration

By Tom Kelley

The default configuration for OTR truck tractors in North America has long been a three-axle unit with one steer axle and tandem drive axles. This configuration is commonly known as a 6×4, denoting six wheel ends with four of the six powered.

The key reason for having two axles at the back of the tractor is to meet the legal weight restrictions imposed on each of a truck’s axles. Before gearing, braking and tire technology reached its current state, it was also beneficial to spread a truck’s power across a greater number of wheel ends, so virtually all tandem axle configurations offered for tractors featured driving power on both axles.

Now that engine horsepower and torque ratings have reached a plateau that is likely to extend well into the foreseeable future, the technology behind tires and axle gearing caught up to the point where getting power to the ground can usually be accomplished through a single drive axle, in all but the most extreme weight, grade and horsepower scenarios.

Although the newer drivetrain technology enables removing the drive function from one of the rear axles, weight carrying capacity still requires two axles at the back of the tractor, even if one isn’t powered. This configuration is referred to as a 6×2, six total wheel ends on the tractor, with only two powered.

There are two major benefits to using a 6×2 configuration.

The larger benefit is weight reduction, about 400 pounds in most cases, due to the lack of a differential and axle shafts in the rear-most axle.

The lesser, though still important benefit is a significant reduction in friction loads on the drivetrain. Every rotating part of the drivetrain adds some parasitic friction load, so eliminating a whole bunch of drivetrain components can measurably improve fuel economy.

Feature: Double Nickels

55 Compete for Title of 2014 Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie

By Brad Bentley


Randall-Reilly has announced that 55 nominations were received from this year’s Trucking’s Top Rookie program, which is designed to increase pride and professionalism among new drivers, and to promote truck driving as a career choice during a severe driver shortage. Any CDL holder who has graduated from a PTDI-certified, or NAPFTDS or CVTA member driver training school and has been employed by a trucking company for less than one year was eligible to be nominated for the Trucking’s Top Rookie award. Nominations could be made by motor carrier employers, training organizations, or the general public.

Scott Miller, Senior Vice President, Sales for Randall-Reilly, said he was pleased with the direction of the Trucking’s Top Rookie program. “More fleets and driver training schools participated this year, and it resulted in a 20% increase in nominations. Our goal was 50 nominees, so we are thrilled with the response,” Miller stated.

Trucking’s Top Rookie is a partnership between Randall-Reilly, Truckload Carriers Association, Shell ROTELLA, Commercial Vehicle Training Association, Rand McNally, Pilot Flying J, American Trucking Associations, Progressive Insurance, COBRA Electronics, Red Eye Radio Network, and the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools.

The following entry-level drivers were nominated to be the 2014 Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie:

Phillip Alley, Epes Transport System, Inc.; Joshua Andrews, Stevens Transport; Freelin Berry, Transport America; Dion Blair, TMC Transportation; Ashley Bowers, Maverick Transportation, LLC.; Joe Boyle, Veriha Trucking; Elisee Carnelli, Hogan Transports, Inc.; Kevin Carpenter, C.R. England; Jonathan Chastang, Dart Transit; William Childers, Cargo Transporters, Inc.; Jason Dulier, Hogan Transports, Inc.; Rommel Duran, TMC Transportation; Derek Fischer, H.O. Wolding; Kyle Friauf, Transport America; Matthew Frisbee, Stevens Transport; Clarence Gillespie, Hogan Transports, Inc.; Lyle Grant, Maverick Transportation, LLC.; Paul Hedge, Werner Enterprises; Brandon Hooten, Maverick Transportation, LLC.; Othello James, Werner Enterprises; Steven Jameson, Dart Transit; Alex Jusino, Maverick Transportation, LLC.; Amanda Kidd, Cargo Transporters, Inc.; Byron Kilgore, Transport America; Sean Klarer, TMC Transportation; Michael Kline, Roehl Transport; Dominick Krajewski, TMC Transportation; Jason Kiser, Stevens Transport; William Mills, Britton Transport; Daniel Mota, C.R. England; Richard Mullen, D&D Sexton Inc.; Julie Matulle, H.O. Wolding; Jeffrey Nace, Stevens Transport; Joel Nelson, Dart Transit; Carlos Nordquist, Werner Enterprises; Cheryl “Charlie” Naujokas, C.R. England; Reg Polante, H.O. Wolding; Karl Sall, Dart Transit; Adam Sanford, Core Carrier Corporation; Sandy Schultz, C.R. England; Chad Sears, Maverick Transportation, LLC.; Byron Simpson, Epes Transport System, Inc.; Fred Smith, Roehl Transport; Ryan Sparks, Boyd Bros. Transportation Inc.; Cartha Speed, Transport America; John Spofford, Premier Crude, LLC; Jordan Steffens, Norseman Express Trucking Inc.; Robert Strong, Roehl Transport; William Steinmetz, C.R. England; Michael Towler, Roehl Transport; Nico Turner, C.R. England; Joseph Watson, C.R. England; Robert White, Werner Enterprises; Joel Wieland, Britton Transport; and Roger Wright, Transport America.

An expert panel of judges, which includes representatives from motor carriers, training schools (both public and private), suppliers and trade associations, are reviewing the nominations. Ten finalists will be chosen, and those deserving drivers will be recognized at a ceremony on Friday, August 22 during the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. More than $25,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded, and Eric Harley of the Red Eye Radio Network will interview the winner immediately following the ceremony.

The 2014 Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie will receive:

  • $10,000 cash
  • A custom plaque from Award Company of America, a division of Randall-Reilly
  • A GPS unit from Rand McNally
  • RoadPro Getting Started Living On-The-Go Package
  • A dash camera from COBRA Electronics
  • $1,000 cash and 100,000 MyRewards points from Pilot Flying J
  • American Trucking Associations “Trucking Moves America Forward” package

The other nine finalists will each receive $1,000 in cash and a similar prize package.

Think It Over: Whether You Succeed Or Fail Is Up To You

By Dan Baker

Many years ago, I went to my 20th Harlingen High School Reunion in Harlingen, Texas, down in the Rio Grande Valley.

It was great being back with my old classmates, and Coach Ham, my chemistry teacher was there. I went up to Coach Ham and I said, “Coach, I remember back in 1956, when you flunked me in chemistry class.”

And Coach Ham looked at me and said, “Baker, I didn’t flunk you in chemistry class. You flunked yourself, and all I did was just keep score.”  Man oh man, did that ever put me in my place!

But the lesson I took away from that day still lives deep inside of me. When we fail, we fail ourselves. Nobody is doing anything to you that you are not allowing them to do. If you fail, you fail yourself. If you succeed, you succeed on your own.

Students often have a way of blaming their failures on their teachers, or the people that hand out the grades.  As a student driver, it is really important for you to know that you are in charge of your own learning. You are in charge of your own success. You are in charge of your future.

As a student, I know you are looking forward to graduating and getting out there on that road. That’s what we all want for you. But make certain that while you are in school, you don’t miss anything.

Go to every one of your classes. Read everything they give you to read. Absorb everything you can absorb from your teachers, and your fellow students. Be sure that you don’t miss a thing. Be hungry. Be willing to ask. Get up early and stay up late until your have absorbed everything they’ve got to give you.

Take advantage of talking and visiting with experienced drivers, and soak up every piece of advice they’ve got.  Don’t waste a second trying to look like you know stuff.  Admit that you don’t know and you want to learn. When you let people know that you appreciate what they are teaching you, they will be glad to give you all they’ve got.

And always remember that whether you succeed or fail, it is up to you!! Coach Ham didn’t flunk me in chemistry class. I flunked myself. And today, that still remains as one of the most important lessons I have ever learned. Learn it for yourself, and you’ll never have to look back.

All my best to you and yours. Get out there and make it happen.

Intro To Trucking: What It’s Really Like Trucking, Part 31

A Bit Of Independence


By Timothy D. Brady


Note: We interview two truckers monthly, changing names/details so they remain anonymous. But rest assured, they’re real.


July: celebrating our nation’s independence. The ideal of becoming a truck driver is to gain some of that ‘American independence’. Is that actually attainable for a trucker?


While driving a truck, what three things give you a feeling of independence?

Naomi: 1. Not punching a time clock … sure, we have to be on time, but I set my hours.
2. The view out my office window!!! The change of scenery is amazing; keeps things from being monotonous.
3. Not having to listen to office gossip. Life has so much less drama!

Ben: I don’t have a boss over me all the time. Most of the time I choose my delivery time. Even though I’m a company driver, at times I get to choose where I want to go.

What’s the most demanding part of your job?

Naomi: Being sure you make your pickups and deliveries on time. Yes, we have lots of freedom in this lifestyle (aka ‘job’) but you MUST be on time!
The other is traffic … four wheelers who are just totally clueless and distracted.

Ben: Safety is most demanding and important. You have to be on top of it ALL the time.

What three things could your carrier do to provide you with more independence?

Naomi: 1. Not allow brokers to call every hour or 3 or even every day. I HATE brokers checking every 10 minutes by calling me.
2. Pick the load or area of the country you want. (I already have this)
3. Pick your routing. Not have to follow a set route or fuel solution. (I already have this)

Ben: There’s not much more they can do; they’re doing just about everything possible.

What top three things could the government and FMCSA do to make driving safer while providing you greater independence?

Naomi: GIVE ME BACK MY OLD 34-HOUR RESET RULE!!! The HOS now make me more tired; making me run recap vs. reset. I ran recap for 6 weeks; not one day off and no reset. I was beat by the time I took my home-time. The rule of 168 hours between resets is absolutely asinine. Who are they to tell me when and where I am tired and need to rest? I’m also unable to get a run to somewhere I really want and just reset to spend time. Now it really has to be planned out.

Ben: More flexibility on HOS. Stop adding and changing laws and rules that make my job more difficult, confusing and stressful. Get on the shippers and receivers for running our hours down to next to nothing and then making us leave the property.

New challenges?

Naomi: Moved into a brand-new truck. In 30 days, I was down seven. Blew a radiator hose in NM; another in CA. An electrical gremlin in the dash still isn’t completely fixed. I have rubber ducks that were floating on my floor from various leaks. The new-fangled seat has blown an airline in 2 separate places, costing 2 days each in the shop. New trucks suck ’til all the bugs are worked out.

Ben: I got a ticket in a large city. When I call the number provided, I can’t get anyone in the court clerk’s office to answer or return my calls, so I can at least see what my options are.

Interesting experiences?

Naomi: Being asked by family about trucking school for a friend. Had him call me; I told him all I could and, most importantly, study – even gave him websites – before he left for school. He didn’t study – he failed, then blamed me. He really wanted a local job anyway and as a new driver that’s nearly impossible; most companies want a minimum of 2 years OTR.

The second is, CLOSE YOUR CURTAINS IF YOU’RE GONNA GET FRISKY WITH YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER. I pulled into a truckstop about midnight to park and there was a couple across from me getting busy completely naked. … My dash cam got a porn video. SO CLOSE YOUR CURTAINS! 

Ben: Freight’s picked up and I’m running more. Busy, busy, busy. Not sure that’s interesting, but my pay check is better, and I find that both desirable and interesting.

Advice for someone just finishing school to gain the independence he/she desires?

Naomi: This is more than a job, it’s a lifestyle. Be patient with companies: you’re new; don’t start making demands right out of school. You have to EARN your right for those jobs where you’re home nightly.
After you have some time under your belt, start looking for a company that fits your needs. They do exist. But you have to earn your way into them.

Ben: When you go to work for a company, be honest and up front with them. Be very nice and respectful to your dispatcher. Find out when his/her birthday is and order a pizza on that day. I promise you, good things will happen. You’ll get more choices and better miles.

Here’s to your future great loads and great roads.


Timothy Brady © 2014

To contact Brady go to


Intro To Trucking:

Stop Bugging Me!

By Timothy D. Brady

Note: We interview two truckers monthly, changing names and some details so they remain anonymous. But rest assured they’re real and these are their experiences from the road.

It’s June, and the summer heat’s upon us with the bugs: on the windshield, the grill and the back of the mirrors. So that’s the topic this month, “Stop Bugging Me!”

What three things are most annoying to you OTR? What can change them from being a problem?


1. Other drivers who are rude and inconsiderate with no common sense.

1 ½.  Four-wheelers on their phones texting. I’ll blow my airhorn at ‘em if they’re weaving real bad.

2. Shippers/receivers taking their sweet time eating up my 14 hours of time to work each day. (…Patience. Don’t ever show them you’re mad about waiting because they’ll make you wait even longer for being a jerk to them.)

3. HOS rules irritate me to no end, especially the 30-minute break and the whole reset rule. It’s the law; nothing I can do about it but be creative with my breaks. (It’s called the ‘dirty 30′ for good reason.)


Cars merging onto the interstate 30-45 mph.

Cars racing around your rig just to slam on the brakes to take the next exit.

Trucks/cars riding in the left lane under the speed the flow of traffic is moving, causing congestion. Not much you can do to change them, so best to give them plenty of room. Be the professional trucker.


What’s your biggest pet peeve regarding the operation of your truck?

Naomi: Cleanliness – it’s a small space; everything has a place. Put it away.
Breakdowns – no way to anticipate some things. Do your pre- and post-trip inspections religiously.

Ben: When you try to keep a safe following distance and cars take advantage of that space you’ve left and cut in, taking that margin of safety away from you. They do this most of the time without warning!


What three things could shippers do to make your job run more smoothly?


1. Follow appointments; stop making trucks sit in docks for hours with no explanation. Treat drivers with respect!!!! We’re hauling your freight. We’re going to do it as safely and timely as possible; we expect the same from you.
2. Speak English
3. Allow parking for 10-hour rest periods

Ben: Provide parking if they run your clock out.

Treat drivers with a bit more respect and not so much like criminals.

And have their product ready at the appointment time.


What three things need to be done to encourage more people to enter trucking as a career? 

Naomi: First, this is a lifestyle, not just a job!

1. Change HOS so drivers can get quality home time.
2. The big companies need to treat drivers with respect. We are people; fellow human beings, not a number!
3. Increase pay, in line with the responsibility we undertake every time we climb into the truck.

Ben: Better pay. Better detention pay/more parking. Less regulation/more flexibility.


New challenges?

Naomi:  Breakdowns w/brand-new 2015 truck:
Blown radiator hose in the desert southwest
Blown coolant hose to Def while climbing a mountain pass
Blinker switch works when it wants to
Cruise automatically turns off for no reason
Whole communication GPS system doesn’t work, so no radio ALLLLLLLLL the way from West Coast to Midwest (not a blown fuse)
Fuel economy gauge does not work
Blown airhose to driver seat in Missouri; crimped it off with vice grips so we could make delivery on time.
All this in one week. Truck is brand-new; aggravated beyond words.

Ben: As the weather warms up, traffic is getting worse and more reckless. Lately I’m having to run through big cities during rush hour because of my appointment times and HOS rules. I can’t park to wait for a much safer time to go through and still be on time. Where’s the safety in this?


Interesting experiences?

Naomi: Changing companies. I thought I was in my ‘forever home,’ but it wasn’t. So many things were happening internally in the company; changes we couldn’t accept. We quit. Already had another job at another company. Changing from dry van to refrigerated. It changes how you run because most warehouses are 24/7 and your schedule is much tighter.

Ben: For the first time ever, I had a lot lizard knock on my door. Always heard people talk about them but had never seen one. Kinda shocked me.


Advice for someone just finishing school about the daily nit-picky things that occur OTR.

Naomi: Pick your battles; preferably pick the ones you can win. Patience is a virtue. Courtesy and kindness go a very long way. Do unto others as you would have done to you.

Ben: Don’t lose your cool. Take it one day at a time. If you need to, pull over for a few minutes to let things calm down.

Here’s to your future great loads and great roads.


Timothy Brady © 2013

To contact Brady go to

How It Works: A Bright Idea

Truck Lighting (Finally) Meets The 21st Century

By Tom Kelley

Even though many components have continually evolved since trucks first hit the road, one key part remained frozen in time until late in the twentieth century. At the same time as engines became computerized, transmissions became synchronized, and suspensions gained sophisticated air systems, truck lighting changed very little.

Because delivery schedules don’t always fit conveniently between the hours of dawn and dusk, lighting is just as important as horsepower to the operation of a truck.

Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps were originally developed for turn, stop, tail and marker lamps, but are now being used throughout the truck. The LEDs use far less power and have a greatly extended the lifespan compared to conventional incandescent lamps. Increased resistance to vibration is also a benefit.

Most LED lamp assemblies use several individual LEDs to generate light, so a complete instantaneous failure is unlikely. While initial cost is higher than that of incandescent units, the total lifecycle cost, including replacement and labor cost, is competitive.

One of the newer developments in LED lighting technology has been the addition of white LED lamps to the original red and amber offerings. This has allowed LEDs to move inside the truck or trailer for use in interior lighting fixtures. Compared to incandescent and fluorescent interior lighting, the LED lamps perform better in cold environments such as those found in refrigerated bodies/trailers.

In just the last decade, LED technology has broken through the final frontier on trucks to become available for headlamp applications. With a projected life-span measured in years rather than hours, the LED headlamps are said to provide daylight clarity in pre-dawn/after-dusk operations.

While LED lamps were quite expensive when they first debuted in stop/tail/turn applications – leading to a bit of a problem with theft of the lamps – mass production, wider acceptance, and economies of scale have driven down the purchase cost dramatically. When the LEDs reduced maintenance costs are factored in, they are quickly eliminating any cost advantage once held by traditional incandescent lighting.

Cover Story: Randall-Reilly Announces 2014 Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie Program

Three years ago, Randall-Reilly Recruiting Media launched a Trucking’s Top Rookie contest to increase pride and professionalism among new drivers, and promote the truck driving career choice during a severe shortage of drivers. Through its many trucking periodicals and industry partners like Shell ROTELLA, Progressive Insurance, Pilot Flying J and Rand McNally, Randall-Reilly has been able to promote the contest and to recognize 99 nominees thus far.

“We’ve had great response to the Trucking’s Top Rookie contest thanks to our sponsors and support from association partnerships with TCA, ATA, CVTA, and NAPFTDS,” Scott Miller, Senior Vice President, Sales for Randall-Reilly, said. “With $25,000 in cash and prizes plus more time for entries, this year’s contest promises to be bigger and better. We hope to have 50 nominees in 2014.”

The winning driver’s award is being renamed to honor Mike O’Connell, the former Executive Director of CVTA, who first suggested that Randall-Reilly pursue an entry-level driver recognition program. Any CDL holder who has graduated from a PTDI certified, or NAPFTDS or CVTA member driver training school within the past year and has been employed by a trucking company for less than one year, is eligible for the Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie award.

Nominations may be made by motor carrier employers, training organizations, and/or other interested parties. There is a standardized nomination form, which can be completed online at between May 1 and June 27, 2014

An expert panel of judges, which includes representatives from motor carriers, suppliers, trade associations and driver training schools, will identify 10 finalists. The winner will be interviewed by Eric Harley on RedEye Radio Network and will be recognized during a press conference at the Great American Truck Show in Dallas, TX.

The win­ner will also receive: a $10,000 check; a custom plaque from Award Company of America, a division of Randall-Reilly; a RoadPro Getting Started Living On-The-Go Package; $1,000 cash and 100,000 MyRewards points from Pilot Flying J; a GPS unit from Rand McNally; an American Trucking Asso­ciations “Good Stuff Trucks Bring It” pack­age, and a dash camera from Cobra Electronics.

The other nine finalists will receive $1,000 and a similar prize pack. Please nominate your deserving drivers today!

Career Path Profile: Rolling With The Changes

J.B. Hunt’s Joe Trimble

While trucking may be your passion, it doesn’t have to be your life. In fact, life has a funny way of twisting and turning through the decades, and drivers with J.B. Hunt are fortunate that the company offers plenty of options to fit various life situations. Maybe you started out as an over-the-road driver and loved being out for extended periods of time. But then, you met the girl of your dreams, settled down and started a family. Now you can transition into a regional or local driving job and be home for baseball games and dance recitals. As the kids grow up, you think you may want to own your own truck, so you explore the possibilities of J.B. Hunt’s Lease Purchase program. Now, you drive along in your own rig, and you notice the younger guys look to you for driving advice. That’s when you begin to consider management or transitioning into a safety director position.  Later, when the nest empties, you may decide to go back out on the road again.

Once you factor in J.B. Hunt’s affordable benefit options and its well-appointed, late-model equipment — not to mention a wide variety of local, regional and over-the-road driving jobs — you can see why many drivers choose the company. Drivers like that J.B. Hunt provides flexibility and the opportunity to take different positions based on their own personal life stages.

Stan Hampton, a 20-year J.B. Hunt veteran, says he’s seen drivers move between positions as their interests and circumstances change. In fact, Hampton has had multiple positions with the company himself — he began as a part-time worker and then moved on to dispatcher, logistics manager, field fleet manager, dedicated division account manager, then regional operations manager before settling in his current position of Vice President of Corporate Driver Personnel.

“There’s really no limit to the possibilities within the company,” Hampton says. “You can transition to the job that fits with your season of life, and J.B. Hunt supports your choices by offering opportunities and training to help you succeed.”

Here is one J.B. Hunt employee who has found flexibility throughout his professional career:

Joe Trimble

Name: Joe Trimble

Location: Shelbyville, Kentucky

Position: Truck Driver

Time in Trucking: 24 years

Time with J.B. Hunt: 24 years

Veteran driver Joe Trimble says he’s enjoyed his years with J.B. Hunt. Trucking has seen quite a few changes since he started driving — however, with a solid company like J.B. Hunt, he’s been able to take them in stride.

“Trucking has changed so much over the years,” Trimble says. “But I’ve adapted very easily. It helps to have a company that works with you.”

When Trimble first completed truck-driving school, he wasn’t sure where he would land. Then a friend recommended J.B. Hunt, saying it was a larger company that was really growing. It turned out to be a perfect fit for Trimble.

“Some people think you get lost in a big company,” says Trimble. “That’s not been true for me. I have a manager who knows my name, and it has worked out well for me at J.B. Hunt.”

In addition, a larger company like J.B. Hunt has given Trimble the job flexibility he has needed. He initially drove over-the-road, but when he had children, being gone from home for two weeks at a time was tough. So, he switched to automotive runs, which gave him more time with his family.

“They’ve always been good to me, always worked with me,” Trimble says. “That’s why I’ve stayed with them.”

Ultimately, Trimble just wants to make a good living, and J.B. Hunt has helped him do that.

“They provide you with good equipment and help you do your job,” he says. “They give you good training, make you aware of situations, and reward for safety. They take care of you.”

“All in all, they’re a good company to work for,” says Trimble. “I make a good living — you can’t ask for more than that.”

For your opportunity with J.B. Hunt, call 1-800-297-4321 or visit You can also connect with J.B. Hunt at