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.
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.
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.
Driver-Focused Blog Offers Timely, Targeted Content
By Tom Kelley
Last year, Randall Reilly, parent company of Student Driver Placement and several other trucking industry publications, launched a group of driver-focused blogs. Each of the blogs is featured on one of the company’s online driver recruiting sites. The flagship of the recruiting sites is OTRProTrucker.com.
The industry’s best drivers aren’t usually looking for a new job every day, so we’ve worked to provide a reason to visit OTRProTrucker.com between job searches. By turning a driver into a regular visitor to the site, the best job-hunting technology in the industry will always be just one click away whenever it’s time to look for a job.
As part of the team developing timely, targeted content for OTRProTrucker.com, I work to bring an original perspective to the site with two uniquely-themed regular columns. “The Spin Room” features analysis and commentary of the politics affecting truckers, and “Weekend Wheels” offers quick-take reviews of what to drive when you’re not driving your rig.
As somebody who started out under the truck, then behind the wheel, the perspective in the Spin Room is focused on looking out for the driver.
The carriers, regulators, unions and law enforcement are all quite ably represented by professional advocates. But all to often when it comes to politics, the driver’s voice is lost in the clamor. The Spin Room offers a chance to learn about and comment on the political news that affects men and women behind the wheel.
In addition to fresh original content from award-winning contributors, we’ll also be scouring the web to link readers with content covering several topics from across the internet. The “Road Rules” category provides links to the web’s top regulatory news each week; and “Tech Trends,” connects drivers to the latest news about their favorite personal-tech gadgets.
Top driver-oriented content is how we keep drivers visiting and coming back to OTRProTrucker.com. In today’s 24/7 online world, we don’t rely on delivering content just once a month, or even once a week, so we work to deliver fresh content Monday through Friday, every week.
Our team brings decades of combined experience to OTRProTrucker .com, offering hands-on knowledge of topics including trucks, driving, fleet operations, technology, online publishing and social media, just to name a few.
Like most blogs, OTRProTrucker.com offers the ability to comment on any posted content, as well as the ability to like, link or pin the content on various social media sites.
Have you ever had someone say something about you behind your back that you found out about later? What did that feel like? Did it make you angry? Did it hurt your feelings?
You know, people can be really cruel, can’t they? And as a student driver, I know that the older drivers can sometimes say things about you student drivers that is offensive. And when that happens, and someone makes a derogatory statement that hurts your feelings, I want you to learn a lesson from that.
Don’t get mad and fire back or try to get even. Learn this lesson as a new driver: If you can’t say something good about somebody, don’t say anything at all.
Most of the time, when people start talking about other people, they are just talking. They don’t know what they are talking about, and they are doing it just to gain favor and to build themselves up. We call that Status By Negation: trying to build yourself up by tearing other people down.
Learn this lesson, and learn it well. Don’t listen to what other people say about other people. If you want to say something about someone else, go talk to that person and find out for yourself if what you were going to say is really true.
People can really be cruel. You know that from personal experience. We all do. And a lot of people will say “Well, he did it to me, so I’ll just do it to him!” And when you start that kind of thinking, where does it stop? It doesn’t and because it doesn’t, we just continue to hurt the people we are around by saying stuff that simply isn’t so.
Let me say it again: Don’t listen to what other people are saying about other people. Do people the honor to meeting them and getting to know them before you talk about them to anybody else. When I run into people who are in the middle of a gossip session, I know one thing for sure: what they are saying is not the truth, it’s gossip and hearsay.
Can I say it one more time? If you cannot say something good about somebody, don’t say anything at all. Gossip doesn’t help anything or anybody. It just gives us a false sense of security and superiority that has no value to anybody.
As a professional driver, learn to deal face to face or voice to voice with the other people in your life. Whether it’s your dispatcher, or a customer, or another driver, be a face to face kind of person, and leave the gossip alone.
I hope things are going well for you and that your learning experience in driving school is motivating you to get out there and build yourself into a mile-running, money-making mossback driver who sees it like it is and tells it like it happens. If you do that, you will join the ranks of those professional drivers who see the truth and say the truth, and who add to everything they get close to.
Remember, it’s always safety first!!
Road Ready: Know Your Rig
Check What The Inspectors Check
By Tom Kelley
By the time you’re far enough through your training to be looking for a driving job, you should have a pretty thorough command of what’s required for a pre-trip walk-around inspection, but that is just the bare minimum standard, not necessarily the best you can do. There are certain systems that should be subjected to expanded scrutiny when you inspect your truck, because if you don’t find the problem, you can bet there’s a roadside inspection officer somewhere out there who will find the problem.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is an association of law enforcement officials responsible for motor carrier safety laws. The CVSA North American Standard Inspection program includes the following items for a vehicle compliance inspection:
Defects in many of these areas may cause the vehicle to be placed out-of-service, requiring adjustment, maintenance, or repair on the spot, before the vehicle can be returned to operation on public roads.
While this list represents the standard, some state motor vehicle codes specify additional criteria that can result in a truck being placed out-of-service.
With the exception of instantaneous failures caused by abuse or abnormally high shock loading, most problems that will render a truck out-of-service will show visible symptoms well before the breakdown actually occurs. Spotting a potential component failure before a trip is far less expensive than waiting and having the breakdown occur on the road. Not only is the cost of a field service call and/or a towing bill eliminated, but the potential for lost revenue can also be avoided.
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.
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?
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.
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 http://www.truckload.org/rookie 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:
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 www.jbhunt.jobs. You can also connect with J.B. Hunt at Facebook.com/jbhuntdrivers.
Web Roads: Retread Revamp
TRIB Updates Site, Goes Mobile
By Tom Kelley
One of the most misunderstood elements in trucking operations today is the use of retreaded tires. Retreading is a process where a used tire, after careful inspection, gets a new tread surface applied, allowing the tire’s foundation, or “casing,” to serve multiple lives before disposal.
To address the widespread lack of knowledge about retreads, the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB) was formed by many of the key players in the tire manufacturing and retreading industry. The TRIB website at www.retread.org serves as a repository of tire retreading information, and a link to reputable retailers.
According to Managing Director David Stevens, “TRIB is a non-profit trade association established in 1974 to promote the positive economic and environmental benefits of tire retreading and proper tire repair. We support an industry that delivers immense environmental benefits through the safe retreading of tires. In addition, the industry helps commercial and public fleets, including federal, state and local governments save money through the cost-effective use of retreaded tires.”
Recently, TRIB launched their newly redesigned website at www.retread.org. “We’ve used the latest in website technology to redesign our website to accurately and professionally represent our industry, as well as make it easier for users to find all the great content we offer,” said TRIB Managing Director David Stevens. “With the continued growth of smartphone web-browsing, we’ve also invested in the website to create a mobile-optimized version for our users.”
Some of the major features of the new website include:
* – A “Learn More” section devoted to educating the public about the retread and repair industries and dispelling common myths.
* – A Resources section that includes: all TRIB Educational Videos, Recommended Links, Downloadable Government Studies concerning retreading, a Retread Tire Buyer’s Guide, and other articles and information for the retread and repair industries.
* – A safe and secure online store for the purchase of materials from TRIB, including: Understanding Retreading Brochures, Industry Recommended Practices, Training Programs, and other reference documents.
* – A simple way for users to look up DOT codes and find retreaders.
* – A mobile-optimized version of the website that presents TRIB’s content in easy-to-navigate ways for smartphone users.
“Anyone who’s not looking at retreaded tires as part of their overall tire program is throwing money down the drain,” says Stevens. “Retreaded tires can save up to 60% compared to the cost of a new tire, and they can be run at the same speeds and same load capacity as new tires.”