CPAP assistance program

The St. Christopher Truckers Development & Relief Fund (SCF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist drivers when a medical condition leads to financial difficulty.  Our beneficiaries have been plagued with a gamut of illnesses and injuries, from broken bones to terminal cancer.  While they are dealing with these issues, we help to cover everyday expenses such as: mortgage/rent, utilities, prescriptions, medical bills, medical treatment, car payments, insurance, etc.   To date, we have helped over 1,030 drivers with more than $650,000.

As part of our mission to help drivers, we are excited to spread the word about the American Sleep Apnea Association’s (ASAA) CPAP Assistance Program (CAP).  The ASAA recently received 10,000 new apnea machines from ResMed (you can read the full press release here), which they will distribute through CAP.  In order to receive a new machine, the applicant must show financial difficulty, but also pay $100 to cover shipping and handling and set up costs.  Therefore, drivers applying to the SCF may be eligible for funds to cover the payment to ASAA.  The SCF is also working with other organizations to get humidifiers, if needed, to go along with the apnea machines.

To apply for CAP, scroll to the bottom of this page and click the CPAP Request Form.

To apply for aide from the St. Christopher Fund, visit and click on the Application buttons.

If you would like to help, Corporate and individual donations are accepted.

The St. Christopher Fund: “Saving Lives and Families, One Driver at a Time”.

Truck Driving – Solitude or Solace

Truck Driving – Solitude or Solace

Life as a truck driver can be one of long times by yourself. Local delivery drivers will often have much more interaction with customers and even company dock workers. However, most new drivers will not be working locally. They will be at best regionally and most likely Over the Road (OTR).

The result is that you will be spending a lot a time alone. Some people become truck drivers because of they crave this loneliness. Some are tired of the rat race of office politics or the being just a number of factor working. Some people are natural introverts and being alone is no big deal.

Every person deals with the alone time differently. Some people do not realize how lonely driving a truck can be. They think that they are going to enjoy it, yet all their employment thus far has been part of a team. A truck driver is part of a team – but they are operating as independent team member. The truck driver has to be a self motivated and self starting person by nature or must be able to learn these skills and traits.

The ability to handle and deal with the Solitude or Solace of being a trucker, especially an Over The Road driver gone from family for weeks at a time, can seriously affect your health. A long haul (1,000 mile average) driver who literally will spend 90% of their time locked in their truck cab is about like being a prisoner in solitude. The driver will have dock interaction picking up the load, getting fuel and maybe stopping to eat and then when they deliver the load. The rest of the time, it is just them. That is a lot of alone time.

This solitude, unless accepted and even appreciated, can also affect the safety of the driver and the rest of the traveling public. Solitude can be very tiring. And a tired truck driver is a dangerous truck driver. The sudden increase in Solitude that a person that had previously had a daily interactive family life and was part of an office or business environment with numerous co-workers could be more then some drivers can stand. One of the ways to deal with this sudden shift in social interactions would be to be part of a team driving. Most new drivers will spend several months as a trainee driver anyway where they will be working with an experienced trucker to learn their job. It may be necessary or at least recommended for some new drivers to seek opportunities as a team driver member even after completing any training requirements.

On the other hand, there are many people that the change from an interactive life style to one of solitude as a truck driver is actually a blessing. It may just what they need to achieve the mental state they relish. Being alone does not mean being lonely – it just means you are comfortable without the need for external reinforcements.

Being a truck driver, especially a new one working over the road, is a different lifestyle then most people are use to living. It can be one of Solitude or it can be a life of Solace.

Happy trucking, John

Eating on the road

 What you will be Eating on the road

Diet on the road for truck drivers is challenging. In the old days, while far fewer truck stops were available to select from – those that did exist generally operated full service restaurants. There were obviously diners at both ends of the spectrum – really good food and really good service, to the bottom of neither good food or good service. During your trucking career, you will be eating on the road a lot.

The growth of fast food in the America economy has crawled it’s way into trucking and traveling industries. As a result, not only do fast food purveyors dot many freeway intersections, they are not the primary food source food in many truck stops, they are the only source of nutrition.

While there is growing pressure for fast food outlets to provide more healthy servings, there is still going to be a gap between having eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast or two bacon & egg biscuits. A sit down and order from a menu restaurant will always have more options then an order by the number menu on the wall. The larger your selection to option from, the better you can pick food that will satisfy you and provide you with the energy and refreshment to keep you healthy and capable of doing your job. Clearly, the less selection, the more you are settling for something to eat.

The cost of Eating on the road.

Eating in restaurants are seldom cheap, however, when the restaurant has a captive audience then it often becomes even less value in your food purchase. This can be a factor of the cost of doing business in the the location or it could be a simple factor of the restaurant owner realizing you have limited options. In the case of the cost of doing business, rent is often a large operating factor. (Think about airports or large shopping malls where there is high demand for space.) The demand for space at or convenient to major freeway intersections, greatly drives of the cost of buying and developing the land. This means that the businesses located at this locations must either move customers or charge the customers more for services – or both. The result is that while easy to get to while traveling, you are more likely to see more crowds and slower service or higher prices.

Unfortunately many truck stops now view the restaurant as more then just a source of income, they view it as a guaranteed revenue. They achieve that by leasing out the space as opposed to operating them. Operating a truck stop, means the manager must be aware of competition from new or existing businesses, be concerned with maintaining inventory to sell yet not stocking stuff that won’t sell and thus losing money on it. Hiring, training and maintaining a staff is always a major issue. When a truck stop operator opts to off-load some portions of these responsibilities, the restaurant is generally one of the easiest to do. And by owning or contracting with a franchised fast food, they gain the national advertising and the simplification of management.

A lot of truck drivers are now discovering the value and convenience of pulling into a large grocery stores (or sometimes even small groceries) and visiting their service deli’s. While not all offer made to order sandwiches, many do have premade salads, sandwiches or other selections that can be eaten cold or (if the truck has a microwave) warmed up. In order to get more value for their dollars, many drivers, since so many newer trucks have mini-refrigerators, are buying a selection of lunch meats, bread and other condiments as well as ‘TV dinners’ and preparing meals in the truck. This is not only economical it can be very much more nutritional as you are selecting the food you like and prefer. Many drivers still enjoy at least one meal a day in some form of diner/coffee shop/restaurant venue simply because of the personal interrelations, as truck driving can be a lonely at times lifestyle.

Regardless of your personal options for obtaining food and refreshments while on the road, it is important to consider the cost value you are receiving and also the nutritional value. Proper nutrition is important to maintaining your health and well being and a sick truck driver is not an effect truck driver.

Sometimes it will be truck stop dinners, other times full service and family diners near by, and then of course fast food of many flavors. You will also likely visit a grocery store and buy simple fixings. Regardless of the source – learn to enjoy your meals while eating on the road.

Hours of Service (HOS) Overview

Hours of Service for truck drivers

The Hours of Service regulations for commercial truck drivers was originally in implemented in 1938. The regulations have been regularly tweaked but have had major revisions in 1939, 1962, 2003 and 2011. The HOS specifies such things as the number of hours a driver may drive without both short and long term breaks, how many hours drivers can do other work such as load and unload, paperwork, truck maintenance and other support services.

In general, all drivers of vehicles of vehicles with a combined Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 10,001 pounds or more or hauling cargo requiring HazMat placards are required to comply with HOS regulations. Local delivery drivers, while still subject to driving/duty hours requirements, may be exempt from maintaining log books (if their employer uses time clocks or other methods to monitor their activities. There are also other exemptions for select industries, certain weather events or during certain peak business days for some drivers.

The purpose and enforcement of HOS rules are strictly safety based. Contrary to comments over coffee at the local truck stop that the rules are to prevent drivers from earning money – research has repeatedly proven that the longer a driver is working the more likely they are to be involved in an accident. And the risk increases greatly the longer the driver is on duty.

Hours of Service ~ A Driver’s Guide ~ Driver Handbook (Hours of Service)

Hours of Service are divided into 4 classes of activities:

  • Off Duty: No duties or obligations
  • Sleep Berth: Resting in truck sleeper area
  • Driving: In the driver’s seat and operating the truck
  • On Duty, Not Driving: All official duties not driving

HOS activities can be recorded either with a paper log book or electronically using an Electronic On Board Recorder. Either way, the driver is responsible for accurately recording their duty status. Violations of HOS rules by drivers can result in drivers being fined or being placed out of service (truck and loads now parked and delayed). Companies can also be fined or have other actions taken against for them repeated HOS violations by their employees. One action that can be taken against companies with chronic violations is the requirement that the company install Electronic On Board Recorders in their trucks. Another factor affecting truck drivers is that if they get too many moving violations (traffic tickets), they can have their license suspended by their state’s licensing agency – which would mean they would also lose their job.

The goal of Hours of Service rules

In general, HOS regulations state that drivers must log all time as either Driving or On Duty if they are doing any form of work or if they have any obligations. Drivers may not log time spent waiting to load or unload as Off Duty unless they are actually free to leave the truck and have no responsibilities to be present.

Current HOS rules also state that a driver must get at least a 30 minute break after 8 or less hours of driving. And, the driver is entitled to 8 hours of consecutive hours of rest (either off duty or in sleeper) before beginning a new “day” of up to 11 hours of driving. Also, the driver may not drive (at all) if they have accumulated more then 11 hours of driving or 14 hours of all work activities until they have taken the required rest times and time off duty.

Your compliance with Hours of Service regulations will be followed carefully – so play by the rules and have a safe trip.

Rolling Strong and Freightliner Trucks Introduce Freightliner In-Cab Training (FIT) System

Rolling Strong and Freightliner Trucks Introduce Freightliner In-Cab Training (FIT) System (via MarketWired)

SOURCE: Rolling Strong March 21, 2013 10:43 ET LAS VEGAS, NV–(Marketwire – Mar 21, 2013) – Rolling Strong and Freightliner Trucks have introduced the first-ever OEM designed and integrated in-cab exercise and flexibility system at the Mid-America Trucking…

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