How Insurance Works

Most people are confused about insurance. And rightfully so. Even many people in the insurance industry are confused about some of the forces behind one of the largest industries that produces nothing. Yes, when you think about it insurance produces no actual product or service. Banks at least provide money for businesses and people to conduct business.

Taxes collected by local, state and federal agencies fund services such as roads, police, schools. fire protection, etc. Insurance companies collect money at each step of your life. Medical. Auto. Home. Life. Business. Yet you get nothing back unless you have a claim and then the true objective of insurance it to make you whole – return you to the state you started – as opposed to advance you. If you are in a car wreck – the insurance fixes your care. They don’t just buy you a newer one. And they will only fix your car if it is wrecked. Not just because you need a new car because it is old and wore out.

At some point, we shopped around for insurance – found it confusing and it appeared to be about the same in price and service so we figured insurance is insurance is insurance. It does not matter what company we get it from, it is basically the same. You have reached the conclusion that insurance is insurance is insurance. That is far from the truth. So you finally settle on a company or an agent that you like or that sounds good to you.

Several things can change affecting your insurance and your coverage – and some of them you may not even realize. Insurance companies work on the premise of spreading the risk among lots of players. The basis is that a lot of people each put a little money in a pool or pot that is then available for the expenses of the few that need it for an emergency. (Well, that was the the original idea anyway.) What happens behind the scenes, is that as companies notice higher then expected claims in one category, they adjust up the amount they want people to pay for that coverage. The Premiums.

One part of calculating insurance premiums that you have no control over is the insurance companies business model. Companies make behind the scenes changes that can dramatically alter your coverage. Company managers, in an attempt to increase a certain class of coverage (i.e. investment property, commercial property, etc) may sudden drop their premiums. This, of course, brings in more business. You may be one of the them that changes companies to enjoy the low prices. Overtime, the company is bringing in insufficient cash flow to cover claims and expenses. The company suddenly realizes this and starts raising prices. Your premiums might go up 4-5-6% every year (or even 6 months) several times in a row.

There are basically two types of agents: Independent Agents that represent numerous companies while Exclusive agents work for only one company. Examples of Exclusive agents would be State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, etc. Independent Agents have the option to write coverage or policies with any company that they have an agreement with. Not all agents represent all the companies and each agent will have their favorite company.

Your insurance agent is not always your friend, even is they are your friend. Agents are paid a commission on premiums. Different policies or policies types will pay different amounts. Different companies also pay different percentages. Because agents are primarily paid on commissions – the higher the price, the more money they make. Not that all agents are dishonest or will always place they income wants over what is best for you – you still should always place close attention to the details.

There is nothing wrong with getting regular insurance checkups and doing some comparison shopping. And it does not hurt to shop other agents. Unless you are in the insurance business you will never be an expert. t is possible that even if you are associated with insurance, that you will only know and understand a small part of the industry. Being an informed shopper is the only way to get them maximum value for your insurance money.

And one final point – Price is not always the most important part of the decision. You need the right coverage for your situation.

Motor Carrier Management Information System – MCMIS

Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) is the FMCSA or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s guilty until proven innocent – oh wait, more guilty even if proven innocent program. The program’s goal, in theory, is to increase safety on the highways. Conceptually, the program would use compliance information to identity trucking companies and individual truck drivers that were consistently operating illegally and thus placing a greater risk of accidents and injuries. It was (wrongly, in the opinion on many) predicated on the belief that by tracking narrowly selected data, it would be possible to predict and thus prevent those drivers and companies most likely to cause an accident and take pre-accident enforcement actions. The program has been repeatedly and aggressively opposed by many in the trucking industry as an unproven and inaccurate gauge of who would cause an accidents.

The program was designed to track three key fields, identified by anti-trucking forces, as proof that if violations were recorded in any of these categories – for any reason, valid or not – that the operators were a risk to cause great bodily injury or death to the non-trucking public. This risk was thus so great that the person or persons should be removed from the highway immediately.

Among other glaring drawbacks to these solution is that there was no recourse in the event that the charges or violations were later dismissed or disproven. Once entered into the system, it would dog the company or the driver for life. Sort of like, if the driver’s licenses points never expired. For example, I was once issue a citation for an oil drip at an Indiana Scale/Commercial Inspection Station after being pulled around back solely for an inspection (I was empty at the time). It was a light rain that morning, so the under carriage of the truck was dripping with all kinds of moisture and road gunk. However, the revenue officer for the State of Indiana cited my company for oil dripping. There was not a truck or car or motorcycle that could not have been ticketed that morning. My safety officer successfully argued the matter and it was dropped. Under MCMIS’ initial configuration, this road side inspection failure would have been official proof forever that both the company and I would an increased safety risk to the world.

The FMCSA was just closed a public comment period regarding a proposed rule change that would allow carriers and drivers to upload to the system documentation and adjudicated information if the charges were dismissed, reduced or a not guilty judgement was court orders. The proposed change would require the agency involved in reporting the matter to the Motor Carrier Management Information System to upload the correction.

Although, at this time, a final rule change has not been issued, industry watchers and experts are still predicting that the vocal and aggressive anti-trucking groups will be fighting any changes. They will demand, if anything, more stringent enforcement and more frivolous data monitoring. It would not be surprising if these “all truckers are dishonest” people would want to include road side break downs as a monitored category. After all, if a truck driver is so untrustworthy that they would operate a vehicle that would suffer a mechanical failure or flat tire on the highway, they can not be trusted – ever – to be allowed to mingle with law abiding, safety minded automobile public.

Regardless of the outcome of the current rule making changes being reviewed, it does not under take changes to the country’s founding fathers premise of Innocent Until Proven Guilty. Not only is, one the information of an infraction upload to the system, the operator assumed guilty without additional trial, in the event that the charges are dismissed – they remain a part of the record and the driver must provide documentation that amends the case history. You can be assured that if one of these ‘truckers are evil’ individuals ever had a traffic ticket dismissed that they would demand it purged from their record. While truck drivers should be held to a higher standard – a standard that says all mistakes will be held against you for life is neither realistic or productive in improving safety on the highways.

By John Carter / Editor / Truck Stop Report

Mid-America Trucking Show – March 27 – 29, 2014

The Mid-America Trucking Show, at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY., is more than a trade show.

As the annual forum for the heavy-duty trucking industry, attendees will have the opportunities for face-to-face interaction between industry representatives and trucking professionals.

Exhibitors will obtain marketing that can effectively introduce new services or products, increase brand awareness, promote products and connect with suppliers, customers, and prospects. Those in the trucking industry can research products and services, meeting with representatives and interview potential vendors and contractors.

MATS is where the industry comes together, where attendees network with Fortune 500 companies, where media outlets from around the world go to report on the business of trucking, and where trucking business gets done.

Mid-America Trucking Show – schedule

Thursday, March 27 VIP Session: 10AM – 1PM | General Admission: 1PM – 6PM

Friday, March 28 General Admission: 10AM – 6PM

Saturday, March 29 General Admission: 9AM – 4PM

Mid-America Trucking Show – Location

Kentucky Exposition Center
937 Phillips Lane
Louisville, KY 40209

Parking will be available for autos, RVs, and even Semi-Trucks with trailers.

Seminars may include: (Schedule subject to change)

  • CMV Inspection 101
  • Sleep Apnea-No Rule Rule on Sleep Apnea
  • Accounting/Finance
  • Big Time Training on a Small Budget
  • Increasing Tire Life and Ride Control
  • Pre-Trip Inspection
  • FMCSA Hot Topics

More information at

So, You Want to Be an Owner/Operator? Not so fast.

Richard Stephens
March 9, 2014

I have been following a soon-to-be Owner/Operator on Twitter for the past couple of months. They (a husband and wife team) have been tweeting all of the aspects of their progress, from getting licenses to buying their rig. It would seem that all of the paperwork required would scare most drivers into just driving for a company. When they finally found the right truck, you could just “hear” the excitement in their posts. The pictures they posted of that shiny new rig made you feel like doing a fist pump and shouting, “score!”

Their journey has certainly opened my eyes to all of the paperwork required before you can haul that first load. Yet with all of the hoops they had to jump through and hurdles to bound over, they were missing one critical piece in their quest in becoming a successful O/O: software.

“Software? I don’t need no stinking software to drive a truck!”

There is no doubt that we now live in the digital age. It’s all around you: smart phones, PCs, tablets, GPS devices, etc. You may certainly use a printed map to help navigate. You may certainly use a printed log book to keep track of hours. And, you may certainly use pencil and paper to track your mileage in each state (or province), the roads you traveled, where you got fuel, and any maintenance performed on your rig. However, with all due respect to the “graybeards” still out there driving, this isn’t 1975.

Software has become the accepted standard for replacing pad and paper. Besides needing software to track your driving hours, you need software to track your business. That’s right; as an Owner/Operator you are now a company. You have bills to pay, truck(s) to track, IFTA and DOT maintenance reports to file, loads to find, and money to collect from customers.

So, just how do you find the right software to help your new business? First, ask your fellow truckers. Yup – word of mouth is a great way to find out what works for someone else. Second, ask truck organizations you trust (such as OOIDA) what they recommend. Third, use your favorite search engine to look for software reviews. And finally, call the software company and ask to speak with the developer of the software.

“What?! Talk to the geek that writes the software? That’s unheard of!”

Hear me out. I hate talking to sales people, as they will simply tell you everything you want to hear. I find that if I am “allowed” to speak to the developer, that I can get specific answers to questions, rather than the politically correct, scripted answers. The developer knows what the program can, and more important, cannot do. If you cannot speak with the developer, then don’t buy the software.

The best software doesn’t necessarily have most expensive price.

That’s right. Regardless of what your country’s leadership reports about the economy, we are still in the middle of an economic “down” period. I have noticed that a lot of software companies have actually raised their prices to compensate for fewer sales. The software company that actually cares about YOU, the O/O, will reflect that in their pricing. So, look for a good “bang for your buck.”

Another key factor when looking for the right software is the “nickel and dime” aspect. Every software product has its initial licensing fee. That’s what I call, “the first shoe to drop.” The “second shoe” is, “What are the ongoing costs?” Here are five items that are important to know:

Are there any costs in upgrading to newer versions as they are released?
Are there any monthly costs just to use the software?
Are there any costs to get training for how to use the software?
Are there any costs to get technical support?
Are there any costs in getting help when you need to move the software to another PC?

I always expect to pay an up-front fee to use software. However, I detest monthly fees and fees to get any kind of support. You need to factor these items into consideration before buying the product. And if they won’t help you move the software in the future, then that should raise a huge red flag.

I recently spoke with a trucker who was using an older version of his trucking software when his hard drive crashed. Luckily, he had a backup of his data. When he called the software company to help him get going with his new hard drive, they would not help him because he was on an older version. WOW. Talk about the fastest way to lose a customer.

So, doing a little homework will get you going with the right software. Just don’t forget this critical piece when beginning your O/O journey.

Richard Stephens, owner of ALMSys, Inc., is the author of the “Rig Expense Tracker” trucking software. For more information on Richard and his software, visit his website

Why not to Lease Purchase

Note: This information provided from off hand conversations and is not based on confirmed personal knowledge. Counter points and additional dialog from drivers and companies who are or have been used lease purchase options are encouraged. Please contact me.

Prolog: Whiles in truck driving school, I saw numerous advertisements for companies offering lease purchases. Once out of school, I looked at numerous companies’ websites looking for work. I had, at the time, been working for myself for years, and liked the pride of ownership idea. Thus, I strongly considered lease options. However, my finances at the time did not give me the option to consider it. And I wanted a couple years of experience first.

The Theory of Lease Option

One of the allures of truck driving is the independence from the office. While you might have a boss that is looking over your shoulder, it is only electronically. At least as once you have completed any trainee time, and assuming your are not running as part of a team, you will be alone. Very alone at times. If you are running an assigned truck, you get a certain amount of freedom to lay out your stuff in the cab your way. You can, to a point, install extras to make the sleeper area your little domain. If you have a different truck often, you have few options to make it your own.

Regardless, the truck still belongs to someone else. They may have restrictions on any modifications you can do to the truck including mounting of CB radios, TVs or other electronic devices. Another kink is that some companies may limit what you can have in the cab/sleeper. Because of the concerns about excessive electrical loading, some companies will restrict or even prohibit such items as microwaves and refrigerators.

Now, in the event that you own the truck, you have greater freedom to customize and accessorize the truck to you. And the additional of such things as a refrig, a microwave, a TV with satellite, etc., can greatly increase your quality of life while on the road. A lease option gives a driver with less then sufficient down payment and or a blemished credit history to enter into the truck ownership business. Leases, unlike rentals, do include the option for the lessee to purchase the truck at the end of a specific time frame.

Execution of the Lease

Many lease options available to new or newer drivers are in direct concert with the trucking company that will be handling the dispatching and providing the freight that will be used to service the lease payments. While most (larger) truck dealerships and numerous truck financing companies provide truck lease options, they are generally only going to work with drivers with more experience and or stronger credit backgrounds. This relegates many drivers to doing a lease option directly with a trucking company.

This may or may not be advantageous. Well, it will always be advantageous to the company, it is really only a question of if it will be good for the driver/owner.

Here is the problem. If the company already owns the truck, by leasing the truck to the driver, the company basically transfer the obligations for the truck to someone else. The company still controls when and where the truck runs, which loads the truck gets and how many miles the truck works The company in essence still owns the truck, but the payment is coming out of of the driver’s pocket. In the event of slow times, the company can keep it’s own trucks busy or at least busier and let the lease trucks sit idle. After all, the driver is on the hook for the lease payment regardless of if he is working or not.

And since the lessee/driver is responsible for maintenance, the risk of a large repair bill is no longer a concern of the company. When a company has 100s of truck under dispatch, that becomes a large maintenance reserve. Split half those trucks off to leases, and clearly there is less tire replacements, less major and minor maintenance reserves.

Lease Defaults

Some less then honest (with their drivers) companies, are known to release trucks and trailers after a previous driver has defaulted. This can be easily achieved. During the initial lease years, the company dispatches the driver with plenty of miles. After a time frame, the miles start getting less and less. Eventually, the driver is getting so few miles that they can not afford to maintain their truck payments and have any money left over to take home. After a while, the driver throws in the towel and goes looking for a job with another company. The truck then returns to the original company under the lease, who then can lease it to another driver.

If the company does this a couple of times, it can basically make a profit off of the truck in additional to the money earned from the use of the truck to handle revenue freight. Some companies also add numerous small deductions, with holdings and reserves from the settlement checks that it reduces the net pay far below the advertised per mile or percentages, by as much as 20% or more.

Now, I am in now way saying every company does this or even which companies might be doing this. It is important for the driver that is considering entering into a direct lease purchase with a trucking company to carefully review the contract. Knowing if the truck has been previously leased or not could be a major key to motivations of the trucking company. A lawyer and or accountant should also review your lease before you sign it. And be alert to the end of lease purchase price – it may be so large as to not really be worth it.

Pride of ownership is a great reason to be a lease operator, however, fancy advertising and catchy slogans should not.

Happy Trucking, John

APU, Auxiliary Power Units, Generators

APU, Auxiliary Power Units, Generators. They go by a variety of names but they all solve the same problems. Saving money while increasing truck driver comforts when stopped for long periods of time. Most over the road trucks now include many amenities to make the truck a more tolerable environment on month long cross country dispatches. The days of having a small bunk and limited storage for the truck driver is no longer acceptable. To recruit and retain truck drivers, companies are forced to spend money on rigs with many amenities. And lets not for a minute think that they companies are doing this because they want to – for unless the rig is operated by the owner, there are few companies that would lay out the expenses for these luxury accommodations. Well, at least luxury compared to 30 or more years ago.

Today’s common 60″ condo sleeper unit was considered a ridiculous overstatement 30 years hence, but now, most drivers not getting such amenities will feel insulted, unwanted and may just refuse to make a career out of a job with that company. Owner operators or team operations appreciate the extra space of 70 plus inch units.

Of course, what good is all that extra space if all you do is store stuff? Small refrigerators, TVs with DVD players, radios and music CD players and microwaves are not uncommon. And that is on top of climate control providing heat and cooling. All of these amenities require power. The cost of idling the truck’s engine can cost upwards of a one gallon an hour, plus additional wear & tear maintenance. Thus just idling the your unit for a 10 hour break can easily cost you $40 or more in bottom line profits. Spend the weekend on layover for a Monday morning pickup and your costs can be substancial. With Truck Stop Electrification limited available at limited locations, the economical solution is a APU or Auxiliary Power Unit.

Auxiliary Power Units

There are many manufactures of APU or generator units and I will not be able to cover them all. I welcome any companies or representatives that work with Auxiliary Power Units, to provide additional information on their company’s products. Is a few of the units available. I have no personal knowledge of these units.

The Dynasys APU

: With a Dynasys auxiliary power unit (APU), drivers can maintain in-cab comfort without the noise, vibration and expense of idling. Operating costs are reduced. And compliance with anti-idling laws is achieved as an added bonus.

Externally mounted on the truck rail, Dynasys is protected in its own weatherproof enclosure and operates using the truck’s fuel supply. This compact, diesel-electric system provides dependable comfort for the driver during downtimes, reduces emissions, and dramatically lowers fuel costs during idling. An optional shore power feature also allows the driver to power the truck’s HVAC from any 110v outlet to work independently from the APU. Financing may be available.

Rigmaster Power

Provides sleeper heating & air conditioning, 120 VAC power, fits on most Class 8 trucks, can power existing block heaters.

Turn off your engine and turn on a Rigmaster. Higher fuel prices and reduced truck engine efficiencies due to changing EPA requirements and the adoption of ULSD have all worked to create a challenging operating environment for fleets and owner operators. The RigMaster APU will relieve growing operating costs and stabilize the risks of a volatile market.

RigMaster Power is a complete stand-alone Auxiliary Power Unit that runs all night on what your idling truck engine burns in two hours.

I will amend this posting if provided information on other units.

Happy Trucking, John

Red Traffic Stop Lights – Lessons from the road

When I was in high school, I use to ride with my Dad when he delivered (mostly) rough cut hardwood lumber from a local central Indiana sawmill to assorted industries in the Ohio River Valley. It was these ride a longs that gave me an appreciation for the work, labor and effort it took to deliver the goods that America needed for businesses to operate.

The anti-truck movement was as active then and they are now, just now they have more liberal media outlets that are all to happy to expound the rectoric that all truck drivers are driving illegally be it drunk, high on drugs or operating while half asleep because they refuse to take required breaks. I will not say there are not trucker that do this, but there are also a lot of ‘4-wheelers’ that do it also.

But daily, there are accidents in almost every county and every city of any size everywhere in the USA. These stories seldom make the news. However, let one truck driver be accused of improper operation of their equipment smash into a family car and it will certainly make the news. I once watched 3 school buses crash into each other – I witnessed it so I know it happened. It never made the local Las Veges news. What was on the news? A story about two trucks in northern Nevada that collided and caused a passenger car to be wrecked, the driver trapped but not seriously injured. The media loves to trash trucks.

This difference, and maybe rightfully so, is that truck drivers are expected to be professionals. They are PAID to operate large, dangerous units on crowed, often poorly maintained highways and byways. Truck drivers should be more qualified then their 4-wheeler road sharing public. Truck drivers should and must understand the true nature of the forces at effect then operating their equipment – be it a delivery van, an 18 wheeler or a multiaxle, specialty equipment hauler.

With that lecture in mind, this story has served me well – first just driving a car/pickup and then also when driving Expedite Freight in the midwest.

I was riding with Dad on the way back from delivering a load somewhere. As most of the loads were 3-5 hours one way out, he normally returned empty, as we were that day. It was raining lightly as we were south bound on I-67 from Indianapolis. As we rounded the east side of Mooresville, the highway bends slightly and starts down a gentle down grade approaching the traffic light for Indiana 144. Although the Traffic Light was green, when we were still more then 2/10 mile away, dad started applying light brakes. I never thought much about it as there was another lumber mill that he occasionally hauled from located in Mooresville and I assumed that he was stopping there to get tomorrow’s load.

When we were about 100-150 feet from the light, it was still green, he moved his foot from the brakes to accelerator pedal and started speeding up. I asked him why he had slowed down since the light was green the entire time.

I will never forget what he calming, flatly said without any emotion.

“When it is raining, all lights are red.”

The meaning clear then and always, if you wait until you have to stop – there is no way you will be able to.

Peterbilt 379 and 6 Yellow Roses: Radiator Pros

It is amazing how often, as Americans, we have learned to not say thank you. In the golden years, okay, you pick when that was for you, people appeared to appreciate doing business with each other much more. When you walked into a business, you were greeted with a hello and you respond with a smile and hello. At the end of your transaction – you thanked the person helping you. Now, it seems, that the customer assumes they owe the serving person not only no thank you, but no respect.

I was made aware of the following story Radiator Pros (1616 NE Broadway, Des Moines, Iowa). The story highlights that old fashioned customer service is still alive and well. And equally important is that there are people that appreciate it.

Please read the entire story here: A 379 Peterbilt PLUS a Heavy Duty Radiator Equals Six Yellow Roses.

I hope that this story reinforces the need for quality customer service by companies. It also should emphasize that returning the courtesy is equally valuable. If, as a truck driver or trucking professional, you just once think that you should not be polite to the people you deal with – remember all the times you are on the other side of the counter. Do you appreciate it when, after dumping $500 worth of fuel in your tanks, the clerk says thank you for your businesses? Of course you do. And all that money was not going to the clerk – it was to the truck stop.

Karma is a two way opportunity. Pass on good emotions and those good vibes will often be returned to you.

Let us return American Trucking and American Customer Service to the way we do business.

And, while I was not personally affected by Radiator Pros’ customer service representative, I would like to thank them for their care, concern and compassion.

Happy Trucking – John Carter

Truck Stop Electrification

Truck Stop Electrification is the new buzz word(s) in saving the environment. But there is more to buzz then just words. Today’s over the road trucks are mini-homes on wheels. While some are just the bunk, a little storage and maybe a 12 volt TV/Radio, many now contain small refrigerators, microwave ovens and other entertainment features. Some have sinks with hot/cold water. And of course, staying connected is now more important then ever, with email, video chat, TV show and movie streaming and video games. Add the growing office on the road requirements where paperwork, dispatch information and other reports are now handled instantly, and the growing electrical demands are out pacing the truck’s original battery power system physiology. When you factor in that many drivers are spending longer, multi-day trips on the road and are seeking more in creature comforts, the classic sleeper bunk will no longer cut it.

Be in the cold of winter or the heat of the summer, drivers now expect to be able to sleep in relative comfort. With the Hours of Service (HOS) changes now requiring longer more uninterrupted rest breaks, creature comfort is a more important factor. In the olden days, a driver could pull into a rest area, shut the truck down and craw into the bunk. About 4 to 5 hours later as the temperature in the sleeper became either too hot or too cold, the driver would wake up – and hit the road again. Now, being expected to be out of the seat for 8 to 10 hours at a time, the driver may need to maintain a more temperate environment to sleep thru the break and get the needed rest.

Modern commercial trucks are built with robust and hardy electrical systems, capable of producing more then enough electric juice for the needs of the modern, over the road truck. However, between the increased electrical loads from the toys and “household” appliances and heating/cooling needs, most drivers are forced to idle their trucks during their breaks. A 10 hour break, during which the driver will complete the mosaic of paperwork requirements, grab a meal, maybe a quick shower and of course 8 hours of sleep, a truck engine’s can nominally consume one gallon of fuel per hour. At $4.00 a gallon, that could be an easy $40 in mostly wasted money.

In addition to the wasted fuel, the idling truck creates added pollution. Both air quality pollution and noise pollution. Taken individually, the effects are minimum, however, when 100 trucks are all sitting in the same restrictively small area and each are idling away – the combined pollution and noise is measurable even without sensitive equipment. And at $40 per truck per 10 hour break – 100 trucks could exceed $4,000 in wasted potential profits.

There are two ways that truckers are cutting the idling – one is Truck Stop Electrification and the other is via APU, auxiliary Power Units or generators built into the truck’s systems.

Truck Stop Electrification

The growth of Truck Stop Electrification has taken several different paths. IdleAire, while maybe not the first, because the benchmark. Following their financial collapse, the pieces have been picked up by assorted entities. These services provide for stalls or parking spaces which have either overhead or ground level pylons with heated/cooled air, electrical connections, entertainment connections and other amenities.

The system is utilized by the driver parking in an assigned spot and connecting their truck, normally with unit installed into a cab’s window, to the system’s network. This then gives the driver access to heated or chilled air to maintain a comfortable sleeping and resting area. With access to cable TV, internet and other entertainment options, the driver can be at home even while not at home.

With some systems, the driver will purchase the the window interface and with others, the units can be rented short term during the stay. Pricing for different systems vary greatly, with some receiving support from taxpayer resources and others stand alone commercial operations.

For truck stop operators, Truck Stop Electrification, is a substantial financial investment. An investment that many truck stop owners are unwilling to partake because of the long term pay back requirements. The fastest growth in this area may require more private/public cooperation with cities or states offering grants, low cost loans or other incentitives for truck stops to upgrade these amenities. The cities, ever concerned about pollution and quality of life for near by residents, realize that Truck Stop Electrification could have a direct payback to their citizens. Several state Department of Transportation officials are also jumping on board realizing that Truck Stop Electrification offers many long term benefits to their state.

As increasing fuel prices continue to stress the profit margins of truck operators and pressure grows to curb pollution from idling trucks, Truck Stop Electrification projects will continue to grow.

Happy Trucking – John

Work Attire for Truck Drivers

You may be a company driver. Or work for a contractor. Maybe you own your own truck and you lease to a company. You may even be 100% on your own with your own truck, your own authority and book you own loads – but it is time to wear the appropriate Work Attire for being a truck driver.

Good Work Attire

Uniform shirt and pants are not necessarily a requirement, but you should dress in a manner that is presentable and appropriate for your job. I have watched drivers walk on to shippers docks wearing (dirty) t-shirts, cut off shorts and flip flops. You have to wonder if the driver was a professional employee or a guy on his weekend break at beech.

One of the allures of truck driving is the relaxed world of being on your own. No boss. Limited co-workers. Your own little world. You can smoke if you do. Drink sodas or coffees. Snack while you drive. A lot of little bits of freedoms that you will not have on an assembly line or in an office environment. You have the opportunity to chat away on the CB or the cellphone – as long as you use handsfree.

While you are in the cab of your truck, you are in your own little world. However, the minute you step out of the truck and into the dock / shipping / receiving area of your company’s customer – you are now representing the company. You should and you must present yourself professionally.

Long Hair and Beards are not no-nos. Many truck drivers have both. Clean and groomed however is expected. The more physical your job – the more important that you take the time to wash/shower as needed. A long haul, dry freight driver may be able to get by with skipping showers. However, a flat bed driver doing a lot of physical work climbing on loads and working with dirty tarps will need to max use of truck stop showers.

A trick that some drivers regularly use is to change clothes. They have work pants, a uniform shirt, a company hat and steel toed shoes that they will don before checking in to load or unload. Once loaded with the trailer buttoned down – they will stop and slip into a t-shirt, shorts/sweat pants, tennis shoes to be comfortable during the drive. Then change back before they unload.

Many drivers also like to carry coveralls that they can slip on during fueling or maintenance activities so that they can keep their work clothes clean and looking for the best during time at the dock.

There is zero reason to not enjoy the freedoms of being a truck driver, yet also looking and presenting yourself and your company in the best right at the times when it matters the most – at your company’s customers locations.

Happy Trucking = John Carter