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.

Web Roads: Social Trucking

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.

Check it out at: www.OTRProTrucker.com

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:

● Seatbelt System

● Vehicle Inspection Report

● Brake Systems

● Coupling Devices

● Exhaust Systems

● Frame

● Fuel Systems

● Lighting Devices

● Safe Loading

● Steering Mechanism

● Suspension

● Tires

● Truck and/or Trailer Bodies

● Wheels, Rims, and Hubs

● Windshield Wipers

● Hazardous Materials Requirements (if applicable)

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.

How It Works: A Bright Idea

Truck Lighting (Finally) Meets The 21st Century
A_ProStar_White1

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 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:

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 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

retreadscreenshot

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.”

Check It Out @ www.retread.org or www.youtube.com/user/RetreadInfo. Follow TRIB on Twitter: @voiceofretreads or find them on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tire-Retread-Repair-Information-Bureau/177521322243

Thoughts From A Trainer, Part Three

By Tim Brady

Editor’s Note:  This is the final installment in a three-part series. If you missed the March and/or April issues, you can read them online by clicking the In The Magazine tab at www.studentdriverplacement.com

A few more points from our veteran trucker who’s a trainer for new OTR drivers.

“I can’t tell you how many times a new driver’s taken off a hood mirror, caught a bumper, or dragged a trash can. That’ll set all the other drivers laughing. Prevent something like that by using your eyes like you were an owl – look all around, every direction. Then ease into your turn or back.

And don’t go barreling through a truckstop or delivery dock area like you were still on the interstate. A tired driver walking into the restaurant, or a forklift operator could accidentally veer into your lane, and the aftermath is a tragedy.

Believe it or not, I left a new driver at a truckstop once. He wouldn’t listen to me; said I was harping on everything he already knew, and cussed me out every chance he got. He was really hot-headed – he’d cuss out other drivers, too, flip them the bird, always on his horn. Finally I called Safety and said, “Wish him luck getting the truck back without a wreck, because I’m bailing. He’s not going to take me down with him.” Safety had him wait overnight at the same truckstop and they sent out another trainer. I got my gear and spent the night at a nearby motel. He wasn’t out on his own more than three months before he totaled his truck; nearly totaled himself too. Don’t be a smart-ass who knows everything.

Learn to stay calm and even-tempered when a car driver cuts you off or another truck’s going too slow. Avoid heavy traffic when you can, by waiting for rush hour to be over, or get going to your destination before it’s in full swing. Work with your HOS and EOBR – they aren’t going away. Don’t ever drive and be shooting the bull on your phone, either. Even with hands-free – a voice in your ear or in your cab is still a distraction.

Drive so when I meet you again, I’ll shake your hand and say, ‘Welcome to a very exclusive club – of professional drivers.’ ”

Timothy Brady © 2014

To contact Brady go to www.truckersu.com or call 731.749.8567 

Career Profile: Bicket Has Trucking In His Blood

Veteran J.B. Hunt driver says he is happiest when on the road

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 moved through various paths over his professional career:

Paul-Bicket

Name: Paul Bicket

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Position: Truck Driver

Time in Trucking: 30 years

Time with J.B. Hunt: 16 years

Paul Bicket says he’s happiest when he’s on the road — after all, he says trucking’s been in his blood since he was a kid. It was only natural that he became a truck driver, and he can’t imagine leaving the road.

“I love what I do and who I drive for, and the company plays a big role in that,” Bicket says. “I look forward to going to work.”

Although Bicket didn’t start out his trucking career at J.B. Hunt, he realized it might be a good choice for him when he saw how many of their trucks passed by his house everyday.

“It was the frequency of their trucks driving by my home,” Bicket says. “I figured if they were there, it would be a good fit. I was right.”

Since joining J.B. Hunt, Bicket has hauled intermodal all 16 years. However, he has appreciated the ability to change terminals and routes as his home life required. When he had a young family, it was good to have a job that allowed him to be home at night and on the weekends. Now that his children are grown, he enjoys the extra pay and challenges that come from a night route.

“Because of their size, J.B. Hunt has a lot of options and flexibility for their drivers,” Bicket says. “It’s a challenge every day, but I think liking your job is important. And that goes for any industry.

“If you’re interested in trucking, I would suggest finding a good carrier like J.B. Hunt,” says Bicket. “Jumping from company to company will ensure you never get top pay. Give it time. So many people think the first year or two is how it’s always going to be.”

It helps to have a company that addresses any issues that come up, adds Bicket. “J.B. Hunt has always tried to meet any needs that come up. Drivers are important to them, and it helps to be appreciated.”

It’s still a two-way street, though, says Bicket. “It’s like a relationship. Don’t get yourself into bad situations. Speak up when problems come up. They don’t want to lose good drivers.”

Initiative and work ethic go a long way as well. “Drive every mile they offer you, and you can make a lot of money,” says Bicket.

As for Bicket, he says he can’t imagine working anywhere else.

“I take every day as it comes,” he says. “Sometimes I think about retirement, but I don’t know if I ever could. I think about how much I would miss the road.”

“It’s been a good trip,” Bicket adds. “I’ve enjoyed every step of the way.”

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.

Thoughts From A Trainer, Part Two

By Tim Brady

Editor’s Note:  This is the second installment in a three-part series. If you missed the March issue, you can view it online by clicking the In The Magazine tab at www.studentdriverplacement.com

We asked our veteran trucker to continue with what trainers really think when they’re OTR with a new driver.

“Well, get it out of your head that because you can push a truck forward and keep it between the lines, you’re a full-fledged truck driver.

That just means you’re a steering wheel holder. If that’s all you want to be, fine. But you’re with the wrong trainer if you think that’s good enough to make a career out of one of the hardest professions around.

It really ticks me off to have someone behind the wheel who won’t listen. I guess that’s the one thing most of us trainers would ask all our new drivers – please, just listen to us for a few minutes. Sit and listen at truckstops or truck shows when long-time drivers are talking to pick up pointers too.

And I also have to admit, I don’t agree with trainers taking new drivers out – and they’ve got a whopping six months’ of experience themselves. Come on. Not enough. If that’s the company you’re driving for, then you have to drive even more carefully. Get your two years in, and then find yourself a better carrier, one that values its drivers more than that kind of callousness.

Okay, what else will help a new driver do better? Watch over-correcting when you do something wrong. Never, ever jerk the wheel or slam on the brakes. Not only is either one hard on your truck, but it’s hard on your own nerves. Look far enough ahead to anticipate what could happen. If you’re rolling up to a stop sign, and you see a car on the side road that doesn’t seem to be slowing, gear your truck down even more. It’s better to crawl up to a stop than to go over the top of a car that roared on into the intersection.

Keep in mind that unless I’m a certified jerk, I’m lead driver, because I’m the trainer. I answer to Safety every day, as well as Dispatch. And I’m trying my best – to help you become your best.”

Timothy Brady © 2014

To contact Brady go to www.truckersu.com

or call 731.749.8567 

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