Drivers Daily Paperwork

Drivers Daily Paperwork

Trucking today is as much about paperwork as it is about shifting gears. In the olden days, every driver carried a log book to record their daily break down of hours: off duty, sleeper berth, driving and on duty not driving. [Okay, some drivers carried two or three log books, but that is discussed elsewhere.]

There are three primary documents a driver will maintain: Their Hours of Service log book, their Daily Mileage or Trip Log and their records of safety inspections.

Hours of Service (HOS) Log Book. Those same designed log books are still being used after 60 or 70 years with minimal changes in the format. There have been changes to the running total of hours calculations and most importantly to how the hours have to be logged. But the premise of the 4 rows to show the four classifications of activities has remained unchanged.

However, the growing government involvement in trucking as well as other management factors, has generated other levels of paperwork.

Daily Safety Equipment Inspections. One of the daily requirements now is a daily (safety) truck inspection form. Forty years ago, before taking starting his day, a driver would check that all the tires were inflated (normally the kick or thump test – which is completely insufficient), a walk around checking lights and a quick peak under the hood. Now the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires not only a detailed inspection of the truck/trailer, but that it must be logged and copies maintained in the company’s safety or maintenance departments. These inspections require checking not only the tires & lights, but verifying the conditions of wheels, tire treads, airline and electrical connections, working windshield wipers, proper functions of warning lights and indicators, hoses & belts and many more equipment issues. While the original inspections were utilized by the companies to track maintenance issues, the FMCSA now views the inspections as a papertail to the unit being properly maintained and the driver assuring that the equipment is not being out with the motoring public with known mechanical and safety issues.

Daily Mileage or Trip Logs. Among the biggest changes in truck driver’s paperwork since paperwork began are the daily trip logs. Every state has always funded highway construction and maintenance with fuel taxes collected at the pump on gasoline and diesel fuel. The theory was that the roads would be funded by the vehicles driving over them as they drive they have to buy fuel which puts the money back into the state’s highway fund. This worked for cars/trucks/buses that operated exclusively with in one state. However, when trucks operate in multi-state operations, they might buy fuel in one state but drive thru several others. The state where the fuel was purchases collected the fuel taxes, but the truck used the highways in other states. As different states passed different tax rates, it could cause the fuel in adjacent states to very substantially which would result in truckers filling up in the cheaper states.

The solution: The International Fuel Tax Association or IFTA. Discussed in detail elsewhere, the IFTA is a member organization that allows for the equalization, of redistribution of the fuel taxes to the states where the mileage was driven regardless of where the fuel was purchased. Naturally, in order to achieve this solution of having taxes paid in each state accordingly, you guessed it – paperwork in the form of daily trip or mileage log. Some larger companies with satellite tracking systems hay have this automated and many companies developed their own forms – so exact information on completing the paperwork will be provided by the companies safety or compliance department.

However, in over view, it is necessary for the driver of the truck to record the truck’s mileage each time they cross a state or enter /exit a toll road. The company then on a quarterly basis will calculate the total miles driven in each state (or Canadian Territory) and then submit the information. It may be necessary for the company to pay additional fuel taxes if, for example, the majority of the fuel was purchased in a lower tax rate state but a lot of miles where driven in higher tax rate states. It is even possible for a refund if the reverse was common. In an ideal world, it will balance out and little to no additional taxes will apply. The IFTA is discussed in more detail in another posting.

Seventy years ago, the job of a truck driver was much harder because of the equipment that was available then as compared to today’s comfort cabs. However, with the invention of paperwork – the job of a truck driver is now much more complex with Hours of Service log books, daily safety inspections and daily mileage or trip reports.


Surviving the politics of being a truck driver


You have to understand the politics of being a truck driver

Ok, you have Truck Driver Training School. You have your Commercial Drivers License (CDL). You are ready to start your first job. However, like all schooling, you still have a lot to learn. And Politics is one of the areas you will need to master.


And before you think about Republicans and Democrats. Nope – I am talking about the people who will make your life miserable if you don’t play their games. Now before you take this negatively – it is really no different then any job you have ever had. You may not realize who they are until it is too late.


Here are some of the people you should learn to be nice to.

  1. Dispatcher. I can guarantee that your new employee packet will state that dispatch personnel are your immediate supervisors. As such, like all employment – you are required to treat them accordingly. Makes sense, but I am going to take it a step farther. Dispatchers are often under a lot of unseen pressure. They routinely will have all loads covered and everything will be going smooth when problems will arise. Some of the things that could be a major fire for them are (1) a key customer calling with several hot/unplanned loads, (2) trucks breaking down after already loading important freight that now needs a replacement truck, (3) another driver having a family emergency and now dispatch cover the work. The point is, when dispatch calls and says there is a change of plans – rather then rant and rave, joyfully respond that you will do everything that you can to make their life better. And here is the thing to realize – dispatchers are the people who decide who gets which (better) loads. The company may have a seniority system for assignments – but there is no system that could not be tweaked by the person at the keyboard. Be nice to dispatchers and they will be nice to you.
  2. Dockworkers. Expect these people to be arrogant with you. You should remember that these people are stuck on the dock all day. They are being hassled by their bosses to load/unload faster, move stuff around, and all the normal on the job (political) stuff. When they are driving to and from work – they have to deal with traffic. When they get home – the spouse and kids will raise their blood pressure. As a result – in their effort to feel, shall we say, superior to someone, anyone – you are it. They will berate you, talk down to you, sit on their forklift or behind their desk and look down on you. You are not important and the freight you are hauling is not important. They are important. And if you don’t realize this – piss them off just see how long you will be sitting there. And, hint – if you notice they only load (or unload) part of your load and then go to do something “more important”, you screwed up somewhere. They just showed you how much power they have by wasting your time.
  3. Other Drivers – You may think we are all equal, and you may be. But when another driver needs a favor, do it for them. Even if they don’t ask for help, if you see someone working on something and you have free time and can assist, walk over and offer. Just like every job you have ever had – someday you will need something and your reputation as a team player may be the deciding factor in how you are treated.
  4. Maintenance personnel. I will explain this one with a story from a family member. He turned his truck in for scheduled maintenance. Now, in the past, he was mouthy with the maintenance supervisor. (He actually had stated in so many words that he was a DRIVER this guy was just a mechanic.) So for several hours he kept looking for his truck in the area where they parked units after service. No truck. No truck meant that he could not go back on the board to get a load and make money. And since he was on duty, he was also burning hours. After about 6 hours, he finally found his unit parked around the corner near units the company was decommissioning for sale. When he relayed the story, I am certain he still had not learned the lesson that by talking down to maintenance, they had intentionally cost him time and money. Be nice to the people that fix your truck. Donuts may not hurt either.
  5. Payroll. Sounds simple enough, but often is not. If the person that handles your paperwork wants it a certain way – do it, even if you think it is stupid. Do everything in your power to do things exactly like they want.
  6. Training/Compliance. Again – it makes sense, but at the same time – I will reinforce it. Want to lose a day sitting in the office watching videos? Easy, just ignore any request from training. If they want you to watch a 4 hour video on, for example, HazMat – watch it. They may have a requirement that a certain number of drivers see the training. If you make it harder on them – they might just have dispatch pull you off the board so that you can watch an 8 hour video on Hours of Service and then the next day, watch the HazMat video anyway. Or maybe you don’t like something about how they want your logs completed because you know a better way. It don’t matter what you think you know. Don’t matter what you learned in school. What matters is what the person behind the desk wants.


In ending, it is really just common sense. Be nice to everyone you deal with. Although trucking can be fun because of the time you are basically on your own – you must still play the games of working well with others.

It is not hard, but you must lease the art of surviving the politics of being a truck driver.

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.

Why use a lease for a commercial truck?

Pros and Cons of a lease for a Commercial Truck

Ok, you have been driving a commercial truck for a couple of years and you like being a professional truck driver. But maybe you want a little more authority on operating the truck. Maybe you are tired of sharing the truck with other drivers in a slip-seat arrangement. Maybe you just want to drive newer equipment then the company is assigning you. Maybe it is a pride of ownership issue or you think that you can make more money then just being a driver.

Being an Owner/Operator is not for everyone but for many it is the way to go. Regardless of your reasons, you now have to decide: Lease or Purchase (with a loan).

With a lease – as compared to a loan to purchase, you generally have a lower (or even no) down payment, your payments will be lower; the leasing company normally assumes a portion of the maintenance and repairs (unless caused by your actions or in actions); you have greater flexibility to upgrade to newer, nicer, different equipment; and at the end of the lease, you can walk away with no additional requirements.

How To Start a Trucking Company – Your Step-By-Step Guide To Starting a Trucking Company

However, with a lease, the equipment is still owned by the leasing company and you are accountable to them for insuring that the truck is maintained (both preventative and demand); you can not make modifications or changes and you might have a limit on where you can take the truck (only certain states, no Canada, etc.). Many leases include the option to purchase the equipment at the end of the lease period – typically 3 to 5 years, but could be any time frame – however, the total cost of the purchase of unit may be total greater then if you just obtained a loan.

Advantage of a lease for a commercial truck

One hidden advantage of leasing is that you get to drive the unit before you are stuck with it. Sort of like renting cars to get a feel for how much you like a specific model before going to a dealer to purchase one.

You may be required to obtain and pay for special insurance under your lease agreement. The company that you are going to haul freight for might provide insurance, however your lease might require that the insurance on the unit is in your name. This could cost you extra money. It is important to carefully review all fine print to understand your obligations.

Another issue is that when you purchase the truck, you are making an investment in equipment and that equipment is now an asset. When you lease, the lease is an obligation, which is could be a negative affect on your overall financial balance sheet.

Like all decisions you will have to make in your truck driving career, you have to carefully balance the pluses and minuses of each situation. There are long term and short term advantages and disadvantages to leasing and to purchase loans. Don’t let the complexities of leases or purchases keep you out of the game. There are as many advantages as disadvantages to being an owner/operator.

Many dealers have the the option for you to finance your tractor and trailer right on location. This may allow you to pick out your truck and drive it home the that day. However, you do not have to get financing from the dealer, in fact you may not want to do it as you may end up paying a higher price in the long run. The dealer’s leasing company may give you the best deal they have – but it may not be the best deal for you. If you already have an established banking relationship with a local bank or credit union, discuss your plans with a loan officer and see what they can offer you. Your relationship with them might get you a much better deal in the long run.

Shop carefully when you shop for a lease for a commercial truck.

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.

Electronic On Board Recording – EOBR

Electronic On Board Recording devices are used by some trucking companies to track Hours of Service (HOS) compliance by drivers. These devices have been around for many years in different forms. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA, a division of the Department of Transportation), has previously tried to require all trucking companies to install the equipment in all trucks used in interstate commerce. At this time, the FMCSA is restricted to requiring the equipment only when the carrier (or sometimes the driver) is repeatedly found in violation of the HOS rules. However, there will always be career bureaucrats in the government that will try to impose their big brother will on the public.

The theory and the justification of the use of EOBR systems is to insure that the driver(s) are getting the required (by law and common sense) rest necessary to safely operate trucks. HOS laws require 30 minute breaks at least every 8 hours, limit the number of hours of driving without breaks, limit the number of work hours total before a rest break of 8 or more hours, and the maximum number of hours/work during a typical week without substantial time off duty.

Cheating an Electronic On Board Recording system

Although the Electronic On Board Recording can track the truck if it is moving or stopped, most systems can not (automatically) detect the difference between if the driver is on lunch break in a restaurant or is sitting in the office doing paperwork. A driver that is a chronic abuser of HOS regulations will still be able to tweak their activities – but it will be far more restricted then just using a paper log book. Since the system will record when the truck is moving, it will be impossible for the driver to record time not driving when in fact they are. However, the driver could still manipulate some activities such as recording sleeper berth when they are in fact doing other chores such as truck maintenance. An example of HOS cheating with EORB is, although the HOS rules require that a driver may only start a new day of driving (driving up to 11 hours in the first 14 hours of going on-duty) after 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time (no work). But if the driver parks the truck and manually puts the EOBR in a duty status of “off-duty” for 10 hours, while the driver actually performs work and is, in fact, “on-duty” for part or all of those 10 hours. The EOBR would report the driver is permitted by the rules to start a new period of 11 hours of driving, when in fact, the driver would be in violation of the HOS rules the moment the driver begins driving the truck. The value of the EORB depends 100% on who you talk to.


Anti-truck groups and proponents of big brother control advocate a system that tracks driver activity to the point that it (the system) knows if the driver is even in the cab, sitting in the driver’s seat, in the bunk, etc. Some trucking companies likely would like this level of control also as they want to milk every possible of driving minute from their employees. Many truck drivers (and their company’s owners) would like to eliminate all use of EOBR system as it is an intrusion into their freedom. Some people became truck drivers to get away from the BOS (boss over shoulder) syndrome. However, EOBR have greatly increased HOS compliance, especially by habitual offenders such as drivers that carried multiple log books in an attempt to completely bypass the safety goals of HOS rest requirements.

Electronic On Board Recording devices are here to stay for the trucking industry. Rather then just complaining about them as a problem, truck drivers and trucking companies need to learn to get maximum value from the systems. EOBR systems can greatly increase driver utilization by allowing the drivers to actually get their maximum number of hours being productive. In cases where drivers are also repeatedly detained at docks waiting to load or unload, this information can be documented and the shipper billed for the delays, or at least pick up delivery schedules can be adjusted to reduce wasted time and resources.

At this time, there are no GPS or smart phone apps that qualify as an Electronic On Board Recording system, although some EOBRs contain GPS like features.

The Peterbilt 579 Class 8

Peterbilt 579

The Peterbilt 579 offers a combination of aerodynamic innovation and power-train optimizations to deliver maximum benefit to cost-conscious operators. By designing with aerodynamic performance in mind, the 579 achieves the right combination of fairings, skirts and closeouts to exceed performance requirements.

The 579 can be ordered in a Day Cab or Detachable Sleeper configuration that adds versatility for a longevity of life for high resale value. Built to last, the aluminum cab is solid and durable. An in-mold process embeds color directly into the dash, which creates a long lasting finish the all buts eliminates peeling, scratching and fading. Also, electrical wiring carriages provide support while reducing wear and tear, again increasing the overall durability of the components.

The best truck in the world if of no value if the driver is not comfortable and does not find the truck enjoyable to drive. The Peterbilt 579 excels in this area with a cab designed around the driver. With a spacious and ergonomically designed cab, everything is in reach and placed with the driver in mind. Large, easy to read, operation-critical gauges improve the driver’s ability to monitor the truck’s performance. Back-lit switches enhance nighttime visibility.

Peterbilt’s SmartNav system provides integrated truck telematics and infotainment. Providing real-time truck monitoring, truck specific navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and satellite radio, the SmartNav system maximizes driver efficiency and comfort. The SmartNav features a large, easy to read 7” touch screen and includes a fully integrated audio system with a satellite radio and Ipod, USB and MP3 capabilities.

On the road with the Peterbilt 579

Over the road drivers will be forced to spend time in their mobile home away from the home – the 579’s Sleeper, a generously sized area which holds an 82” mattress, innovative television mount, abundant storage with flexible organization, and LED lighting creating a pleasant ambiance while extending battery life.

Even the headlamps are designed with safety in mind, with best in the industry down-the-road visibility and coverage. Designed with a consistent beam distribution and excellent overall road coverage, the 579’s headlamps reduces eye fatigue. A large single piece windshield aids also aids in visibility.

Available with a Paccar MX-13 or either the Cummins ISX12 or ISX15 engines and coupled with either Fuller or Allison transmissions, the 579 offers the driver smooth operations. The entire drive-line is customizable to maximize the your Peterbilt 579 to best fit your needs and your budget.

See you local Peterbilt dealer today for a test drive of your next truck.

Disclaimer: This information provided based on information provided by and other internet sources. When [if] the opportunity presents itself, we will gladly do hands review of the Peterbilt 579

Load Boards and Freight Finders

Load Boards and Freight Finders

Load Boards and Freight Finders are ways of matching up freight that needs to be moved with the proper and right equipment and drivers to move it. Although the original load boards were available at selected truck stops. Since it cost the truck stops money to install the systems, many were reluctant to do it, although the pay back was that it attracted drivers to park there. Since the driver(s) were waiting on loads, they would likely spend money in the driver’s store, restaurant, opt for truck PM and maintenance, etc.

In the old days – load board access was only available at (select) truck stops or via the home office on a data link. The growth of the internet started changing all that. Now many times drivers/owner-operators can find loads at any place where that can access the internet, even truck stops that do not have load board systems installed.

Additionally, may of the major load boards have portals for access using lap top computers, tablets and smart phones. This allows many drivers to function as their own dispatch service and reduces the need to rely on unknown and unverified brokers.

The value in load boards is the ability to scan loads looking for the best loads that may be available. Calling a broker and asking for work may result in the broker offering the most important load to the broker. There may be other work that pays more and dispatches sooner or even delivers closer to home, but the broker has promised a shipper and is now worried about getting the freight moved.

Why use Load Boards and Freight Finders

With the display of loads based on selected search criteria, truck owners, drivers or dispatch personnel can select from numerous loads that are the most profitable for the truck – which may pay less per mile but involve less detention/wait time and fewer unloaded and thus unpaid miles.

Some Load Boards and Freight Finders validate the brokers and shippers that are posting to their system. This helps reduce the rick of the truck not getting paid for the freight because the load board stands behind broker assuring payments. Brokers that don’t promptly and accurately settle up risk being barred from the load board making it harder to move their future goods.

There are numerous Electronic Load Board systems, but DAT (part of Roper Industries), is the largest and best know. It all started in 1978 at a single truck stop in Oregon and now located in truck stops from coast to coast. There are other systems and truck owners should review several to make sure they get the best on to match their needs. DAT is a general board with loads for a variety of equipments (van, flat, tanker, dump, etc), however there are also load board systems that are tailored to specific equipment. These targeted load boards may offer your truck the best value. So signing up for a load board service is like all business decisions – gets lots of information first and then talk to drivers at truck stops to see what their experiences have been.

Most trucking companies, at some time or another, will need the services of Load Boards and Freight Finders.

Your Trucking Career – Flat Bed Trucking

Flat Bed Trucking

So you want to be a truck driver but you want a more challenging job then just pulling dry van freight from dock to dock? Flat bed trucking may be for you. While most flat bed trucking companies will provide training, they generally prefer to hire drivers with 1 or 2 or more years OTR (over the road) driving experience. Some companies are willing to hire recent driving school habits and train the driver from the bottom up so they are trained specifically to the companies standards.

Flat bed freight, like any trucking job, may be solo, team drivers and may be company drivers or owner-operators.

Surviving & Thriving: Becoming a Trucker… from student driver to professional driver

Operating a flatbed is far more physically challenging then the majority of dry freight. While there are times when dry freight or reefer loads can be a workout, the majority of the loads are loaded and unloaded by dockworkers. Of course, those that are doing LTL (less then trailer load) or are doing deliveries to retail locations will receive a more aggressive workout. This compares with nearly every flatbed load where the driver(s) are normally directly involved in supervising the loading of the cargo and then securing the load with a combination of chains and/of straps. When securing a load to a flatbed trailer, the driver has to be aware of federal and state laws requiring a minimum number bindings. However, he/she must also be aware of any requirements the shipper might have. Some shippers have specific requirements on the type of tie downs, the number to be used – and more importantly, where they may be attached to the load.

And then – the tarps! While many loads are not tarped, many are. With sizes not uncommonly 16×24′ or larger and weighing 60lbs each, the driver will receive a full body workout climbing around the loaded trailer and pulling the tarps up and over the precious load. And it is not going to be one tarp – but several as the entire load will have to be protected on all angles. And secure while sitting in a parking lot may look entirely different at highway speeds – so all tarps will be secured with an abundance of rubber tarp straps. One experienced driver once commented that his rule was when he thought he had enough trap straps in place – go back and put on double that amount.

Become A Succesful Truck Owner Operator

Many times, Flat Bed Trucking loads are shipped to a variety of locations. Unlike van loaded freight which can move between the same docks creating a repeating run, flatbed can very easily be shipped to numerous locations – such as a building supply company sending materials to multiple different construction sites.

Because of the less consistency in load destinations, drivers will be come more involved in planning their routes and their schedules for driving, rest and fuel.

Oh, and did I mention that since most flatbed loads are loaded out in the middle of a large open space which is easily in the view of numerous shipping company’s employees and bosses? While much of truck driving is out of the direct view of bosses – loading large, bulk, flatbed cargo is the one time when you will always want to be on your A-Game. Acting or looking like you do not know what you are doing may result in dispatch being informed to not send you back to that specific location. And you normally on get one chance to get it right when loading. Having to spend a couple hours unloading and reloading s shipment is very costly in time – both for the shipper and for the driver as it counts against their log book hours.

Flat Bed Trucking is not for the meek – but if you like a challenging, never the same routing, it may be just the career for you.

Free Wireless Internet

Wireless Internet

Wireless Internet access is the newest component for a quality life for the over the road truck driver. With WiFi, the trucker can manage finances, keep in touch with family, keep abreast of news and current events, obtain entertainment and even submit load paperwork to the home office.

Because of this, more and more truck drivers are carrying lap top computers or other mobile devices such as IPads, Samsung Galaxys, Amazon Kindles and Barnes & Nobles Nooks. These devices can enhance the quality of life on while on the road as well as serving practical purposes at assisting driver’s to locate services from where to get fuel, obtain truck maintenance and locating parking, food and lodging.

For the family side of life, even simple email with family and close friends can shrink the miles and the loneliness of days or weeks on the road. Video conferencing, while never the same as being there, allows moms and dads to still be a daily part of their childrens’ lives. Another advantage is the entertainment options that are available from playing games, reading books, following the news, or reading online magazines.

Those drivers that already have portable devices already know this – those that don’t should consider them. Wireless internet access allow for personal communications while in the comfort of your cab as opposed to while sitting in a public place like a restaurant. A video chat with family can and should be a private affair, which is why your wireless internet device is so important.

Many truck stops realize the importance of wireless internet access and have installed the service as a convenience amenities. Some offer the services for free, others (Travel Stops Of America {at last check}) charged for the services at most of their locations. Many independent Truck Stops, and the number offering the services grows daily, provide wireless internet access which may be free or fee. Like all amenities, the local manager that makes the decision of what they offer and at what cost. Some simply do not offer wireless access at all, maybe because they do not see the value in providing the service which will attract drivers who will also purchase fuel, food or service.

However, even if your favorite truck stop does not offer wireless service, not all is lost. Luckily, many restaurants, some motels and occasionally other businesses have generously installed and made available to the public, open and free wireless access.

While this is by no means a complete list, and some local managers may not have the services available at their location, here are some nationwide businesses to look for when you are needing to find a signal for your computer.

McDonald’s (Provided by AT&T)
Starbucks (Provided by AT&T)
IHOP (International House of Pancakes)
Burger King
Home Depot
Einstein Brother’s Bagels
Barnes and Nobles
Best Buy Stores
Krispy-Kreme Doughnuts
Big O Tires (Service Central Automotive)
National Tire and Battery {NTB} (Service Central Automotive)
Tire Kingdom (Service Central Automotive)
Merchants Tire and Auto (Service Central Automotive)

As we learn of other large/chain companies and restaurants, we will add them to this list. We will not list individual locations or small chains, but will indicate those services likely to be available on a coast to coast basis or with a large regional foot print. Check the listing on Truck Stop Report for a local truck stop that provides Wireless Internet Access