The FMCSA and NHTSA recently worked together and released a study on the reason that trucks have accidents when it is the trucks fault. Now, as we know, most of the time the accident is the fault of the car or another vehicle. We can't control that, we can only control ourselves. What were the top three reasons we crash when it is our fault?
3. Not familiar with the roadway. Even the most experienced driver can't know every road in America but did you look at the road on a map or GPS before you left? Curves, bridges and obstructions are all causes of accidents. Be as familiar as you can with where you are going before you leave.
2. Going too fast for conditions. I totally believe this one as I see this every day. In snow, rain, bad weather, traffic, construction or whatever else, SLOW DOWN. I wish they would have added tailgating to this but I suppose it goes with too fast for conditions. This is part of the problem of mileage pay but there is no excuse for it. Heck, there are drivers going 30 in the truck stop. SLOW DOWN.
1. Brake problems. Yes, this is the highest cause of accidents where the truck is at fault. Inoperable or brakes out of adjustment. They did not break this down (get it!) into owner/ops and company trucks. I would be curious to see how that went. If your vehicle has a brake issue get it fixed. Do not drive it if it has any problems, especially the braking system.
Since we cannot control what others do, this is the list of the things we can control to reduce our chances of being in an accident. Be safe out there.
See you on the road!
In a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, trucking is the deadliest job in the United States. This is certainly not reflected in the pay of the average truck driver. These numbers reflect deaths while at work, not all of the side effects of driving a truck for a long period of time. Stress, lack of exercise and lack of human interaction certainly is the cause of many more deaths of truck drivers in America. It is a sad fact, really. Everything everyone uses is brought or handled by truck drivers yet we are looked down upon and die at work more than anyone else. Truck driving should again be seen as a profession and not just a job.
See you on the road!
Today I bring you another guest blog. I hope you enjoy it. If you would like to write a blog to be published right here, just email it to me!
Twenty After Two: A Quick Analysis of Detention Pay
A common way carriers pay their drivers for detention, or time spent at a dock being loaded or unloaded, is through a set hourly rate. This rate varies among carriers. You may see companies pay $20/hr after your first 2 hours of waiting, some carriers pay at a higher rate, some pay an immediate hourly rate on your arrival, other carriers may not pay any detention at all.
When I was looking for a new company to drive for, paid detention time was a very important factor in selecting the appropriate company as I had previously been at one of those companies who paid nothing at all for detention which was very much abused. In my transition from working in a warehouse to the trucking industry a year ago, I knew all about hourly pay – what forklift drivers, material handlers, shipping and receiving clerks made. So, looking at detention pay with higher rates than that which I was used to had me jump into something I didn’t fully acknowledge. Let’s talk about the “after X hours” aspect of this and run some scenarios to show you the real numbers behind it.
Suppose your company pays you $20/hr after 2 hours and you sit at a dock for 3 hours getting loaded. You just made $20. That’s great, right? Not so much. That’s an average of only $6.67/hr for your time. Let me also say, that 2 hours typically doesn’t start until your set appointment time. So, let me ask, did you really show up exactly at your appointment time or do you give yourself extra time to show up at least a half an hour early to make sure you get parked and checked in? That’s an extra half hour of your time working. Now the company doesn’t have to pay you for the first two AND A HALF hours and just drove your wage down to $5.72/hr.
You might say, well it's better than not getting paid for 6 hours. Sure, it does pay, but 6 hours of time is only a rate of $13.33/hr. I can’t speak for everyone here, but more times than not, I’m not sitting at a dock for 6 hours. It’s typically 1-3 hours. Only on a few occasions have I been in the dock for 6+ hours. A shorter wait time means your hourly detention rate averages lower as well - that is, if you're paid a wage "after X hours."
I often hear from other drivers or companies, it’s part of the job. Or, you need to at least give the shippers that first hour, it takes time to load freight. But do I, as an employee, have to give them that hour, or two, or three? Or should my company understand that not every aspect of their business can be profitable and take that into consideration when dealing in the business of transportation? Isn’t ALL my time valuable regardless of these uncontrollable circumstances? Should a person's wage be contingent on another department's throughput, even when this other department is a shipper at a whole other company other than your own? Perhaps the web press operator shouldn’t get paid the first two hours while the clamp truck drivers unload my truck of roll stock. After all, he isn’t exactly being productive while the press is down waiting for a specific roll in the nose of my trailer.
When I worked in the warehouse, I once had to wait on a truck that was late to load something that needed to go out. I waited three hours after close time on Friday night. I was on time and a half at $23.46/hr. I was told to just sit tight and don’t operate the reach truck due to safety reasons of me being the only one there. I was paid to sit and wait and didn’t make any profit for the company in those hours. But they recognized the value of my time. It was worth it for them to pay me $70.38 for sitting because it was a small cost to make a customer happy on a back order we were late on producing.
My advice to new drivers is to research the company. Talk to the recruiters, yes, of course, but talk to other drivers especially, and not the ones that have company provided email accounts. Tell yourself all your time is valuable and don’t sell yourself short by not including the unpaid time that you work, or are on-duty, in your calculations. Twenty after two is not $20/hr. It is $6.67/hr at 3 hours, $10 at 4, $12 at 5, etc., because all your time matters whether the company believes so or not. Once you’ve recognized your own value, find a company that matches that, and success will ensue.
See you on the Road!
Many news organizations are calling the closure of Celadon Trucking just another indicator of a slowing economy and a trucking problem. This is not the case. Celadon's problems go back for years and they of their own doing. All the way back to 2014 Celadon, by their own admission, misstated their financial numbers to make the place look way better to investors. They were supposed to submit new financials 2014-2016 by the first quarter of 2019. They did not do this. I think because doing so would bring forth the real problems which are way deeper than a few wrong numbers but that is just my opinion. In fact, those financials NEVER were brought and ultimately, as we know, Celadon closed. No matter what was happening in the economy now or who is President, Celadon was on a long slide to this day. I began telling drivers in the spring of 2019 to leave Celadon and that they were going to close soon. Hardy anyone believed me including financial experts. Hope and closed eyes does not help your paycheck. Keep up with your company. How are they doing? I mean, how are they really doing?
So, now I mark Celadon off the Death Watch List that I have. A job is not security in fact it is the farthest thing from security as we see. Never depend on a job to bring you true financial security and remember that no matter how big of a company you work for, it can close. I guess I am going to drive off in my Oldsmobile now.
See you on the road!
There is much information out on the internet about what to do with your truck if your company closes and you are on the road. I made a video for that with good information, not what you are finding on FB groups.
Some people are telling drivers to park the truck behind their house and charge storage when the company comes looking for it. This is not the things to do. You don't have an agreement to charge storage so you can't charge storage. You cannot put a lien on the truck, either. This type of information can get you in legal trouble as well. Due to the Celadon Trucking Bankruptcy this information is going around. There are also drivers who had money on their pay card and now cannot access it. Please, I beg you, do not ever get paid on a company pay card. Only get paid in your bank account or on a prepaid card that you own. Get it from a box store and pay the monthly fee. That would be much better than not having access to your money because the card is turned off. I go over several more things in the video. Check it out and I hope it helps everyone including Celadon Trucking drivers.
See you on the road!
Celadon Trucking is set to file bankruptcy in the coming days, so says many sources including HERE. This would be the largest trucking company bankruptcy in history. Is this the economy or something else? Celadon Trucking has a history going back years of accounting problems including exaggerating their assets to get loans. This sent their stock down the toilet and Friday it was 41 cents. It is reported that FedEx will no longer load Celadon trailers that are dropped on its property. Also, I have received several letters from LP drivers at Celadon and they say the company abruptly cancelled their leases on Friday. I was told this was because Celadon took the payment from the drivers but did not forward it to the leasing company, although I cannot verify that. It has happened at other companies, though. Company drivers are encouraged to fill their trucks immediately and keep them full as we do not know when or if the fuel cards will be shut off.
Look, I have been warning about this company for a while now. The writing has been on the wall. Even if they do not close and somehow restructure their way out of this, do you want to chance your next paycheck on Celadon?
It will be an interesting few days as we see what will happen to Celadon. I will have more information as it becomes available. If there are any Celadon drivers with any information about the fuel cards or just anything, please write to me HERE.
See you on the road!
In a case of extreme stupidity, a dozen people were recently caught sledding on a runaway truck ramp in California on I-15. If a truck needed to use that ramp the driver would need to make a last minute decision to either kill everyone on the ramp or continue on down the hill and perhaps kill people there, have the truck overturn or who knows what. The CHP sent these people on their way and I hope they were issued tickets, at least. This goes to show the clear lack of education for drivers of cars. Were they never told about the purpose of a runaway truck ramp or are they just so self-centered that they don't care? I can't tell if there is any dude there with a hair-bun or skinny jeans sipping a latte so I am not sure. I think we can agree this is a bad idea. ARTICLE.
On a recent live show we had yet another driver who had their job saved by a dash cam. Please, I am begging you here, get a dash cam and protect your career. You can see the one I use HERE. It could be the best investment you make in your job future.
See you on the road!
In a recent article, a Prime, Inc driver claims she was terrorized by her trainer for a month. I just want to say that we don't know if any of this happened. The only people who really know what happened were in that truck. Where the story seems to fall apart for me is she claims he made her shine the light of HER phone on him while he performed certain acts. She has a video of this, of which a picture from she entered into evidence. Now, at some point during the month he would need to sleep and at that point you could use that phone to call 911 and get yourself out of there.
There is no good resolution to this. If it is not true, companies will not want to hire women and trainers will not want to take women because of lawsuits. If it is true, women will (rightly) be less likely to enter into trucking as a profession. It is bad either way. I will stay updated on this case.
See you on the road!
A UPS driver was assigned a truck that did not have an ELD or a permanent mount for a portable ELD. He refused to drive the vehicle as this would violate the FMCSR that the company provide an ELD or a permanent mount in a fixed position for a portable ELD. He was promptly fired. He filed a whistleblower complaint against the company. He, of course, won and will receive over $47000 in back wages and punitive damages. Also, he gets his job back with no loss in seniority or insurance. The company also will remove all references to this from his record, post notices all over about driver rights and retrain management on the law. I LOVE IT!
Drivers: Do not violate the law for any reason. The government will back you up on this stuff. You have to do certain things under the law and so does the company. If they don't, simply REFUSE TO DRIVE THE TRUCK. If you feel you are being coerced to violate the regulations, document everything you can, save messages and file a complaint HERE. Don't let them force you to break the law, ever. Companies need to provide a truck that is safe and meets all the requirements of the law, including this one.
Remember, if you are using your phone as an ELD is must have a permanent mount, it cannot be in the cup holder or just sitting there. It does not meet the requirements of an ELD and you can be cited for not having a log and put out of service.
See you on the road!
Hi! Welcome. I'm Mark and I've been a professional truck driver for over 33 years, the last 19 years at the same company. It is time that drivers got paid for every minute that we work and we are treated like the licensed professionals we are.