Call Us : 866 390 3888

Email : cwebber@choicetransport.net

Archive for August, 2012

14
Aug

Frito-Lay Rolls Out More Electric Delivery Trucks in California

Posted by Comments Off on Frito-Lay Rolls Out More Electric Delivery Trucks in California

California is now home to the largest fleet of Frito-Lay electric delivery trucks.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
14
Aug

Diesel Prices Spike

Posted by Comments Off on Diesel Prices Spike

The national average price for a gallon of diesel fuel spiked 11.5 cents this week, according to the Department of Energy’s weekly report, while gasoline prices rose a more modest 3.72 cents per gallon.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
14
Aug

Retail Container Imports Expected to Increase 6.3% in August

Posted by Comments Off on Retail Container Imports Expected to Increase 6.3% in August

Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 6.3% in August compared with the same month last year, and 2012 should show an increase of 4.8% over last year,

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
14
Aug

Spot Freight Index Defies Economic News

Posted by Comments Off on Spot Freight Index Defies Economic News

TransCore’s DAT Freight Index, which monitors the spot freight market, continues this year’s trend of record same-month freight volumes and a double-digit increase on a year-over-year basis.

July marked the fifth instance of a same-month record in 2012 and the DAT Index outpaced July 2011 levels by 12%, but lagged June 2012 by 20%, says TransCore.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
14
Aug

Interstate Distributor Co. Launches Owner-Operator Program, Adds KC Location

Posted by Comments Off on Interstate Distributor Co. Launches Owner-Operator Program, Adds KC Location

Interstate Distributor Co., Tacoma, Wash., announced a new owner operator-program out of its Lebanon, Tenn., terminal, and opened a new regional operating center in Kansas City, Mo.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
13
Aug

Truck Driving Champs Announced

Posted by Comments Off on Truck Driving Champs Announced

Don Logan, a FedEx Freight professional truck driver from Topeka, Kan., was named the 2012 Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion this weekend in Minneapolis.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
13
Aug

Industry Research Favors Roll Stability over Electronic Stability Controls

Posted by Comments Off on Industry Research Favors Roll Stability over Electronic Stability Controls

New research by the trucking industry finds that for some carriers, roll stability control technology may be more effective than electronic stability control.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
13
Aug

Top Commercial Vehicle Inspectors Honored

Posted by Comments Off on Top Commercial Vehicle Inspectors Honored

More than 50 commercial vehicle inspectors showed off their skills last week in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s North American Inspectors Championship.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
13
Aug

Virginia Tech Studying Electronic Logs

Posted by Comments Off on Virginia Tech Studying Electronic Logs

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute is studying the safety records of drivers and fleets that have been using electronic onboard recorders to comply with federal hours of service requirements to see if they improve safety and compliance.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
13
Aug

Canadian Protesters Block Maine Lobster Shipments

Posted by Comments Off on Canadian Protesters Block Maine Lobster Shipments

Protesters at New Brunswick lobster processing plants last week refused to allow truckers from Maine to offload their lobsters.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
13
Aug

Internet Radio Show Extends Reach of TCA’s Highway Angel Program

Posted by Comments Off on Internet Radio Show Extends Reach of TCA’s Highway Angel Program

The Truckload Carriers Association’s 15-year-old Highway Angels program is getting a boost from the Internet-based radio show hosted by country music singer and official Highway Angel spokesperson Lindsay Lawler.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
13
Aug

Expect Nighttime Lane Closures on I-44 in Joplin, Mo.

Posted by Comments Off on Expect Nighttime Lane Closures on I-44 in Joplin, Mo.

Reconstruction of the interchange at Interstate 44 and Range Line Road in Joplin, Mo. (Mile Marker 8) begins this week and will result in some nighttime lane closures.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
10
Aug

Breaking Down Barriers to the Truck Driver Shortage

Posted by Comments Off on Breaking Down Barriers to the Truck Driver Shortage

Post to Twitter

Allen Smith of Ask The Trucker

Allen Smith of Ask The Trucker

By:  Allen Smith

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) states that the United States is headed for a truck driver shortage of 200,000 to 400,000 drivers within the next couple of years.

Yet as of August 31, 2006, the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) had 12.9 million CDL driver records, growing at an average rate of nearly 40,000 new CDL licenses per month.

Out of these, an estimated 50% are just CDL holders, not using their license within a truck driving employment position.

 

With 40,000 new CDL licenses issued per month, how can there be a truck driver shortage?

Although this is a fabricated “crisis”, the headline continues to gain attention by major news outlets.  There has never been a truck driver shortage in the United States and to fully understand the reasons for this so-called crisis, one must look at several aspects relating to the truck transportation industry.

Understanding the difference between the terms:  driver shortage and qualified driver shortage.

The fear mongering used by the trucking industry to induce news coverage of a truck driver shortage is a tactic that has been used for decades.  The most recent term, “qualified driver shortage,” has come about due to the implementation of the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability Program (CSA).  Because of this program, one could reason that there is a shortage of qualified truck drivers, but only because of further regulations being implemented upon the industry.

Motor carriers are now looking for the “perfect” CDL driver who has zero blemishes on their CSA/PSP scores since the CSA program now holds both driver and carrier responsible and liable for safety issues.  In the past, only the driver was held responsible for safety violations, even if the violation was the direct fault of the carrier such as a problem with the truck or trailer where the carrier procrastinated in having the problem repaired.

Because of so many new regulations hitting the industry, along with the political maneuvering between the industry and safety groups, many drivers are leaving the vocation and new would-be drivers are avoiding it for several reasons.

Where are the truck drivers?

With an impending 200,000 to 400,000 shortage of CDL drivers, why are so many recession-worn, out of work employees failing to enter a career in professional truck driving?  As drivers face stricter governmental safety regulations and a higher demand by carriers for professionalism, the wages for the CDL driver remains low.  Truck driver wages have virtually remained the same for at least thirty years.  An ad for hiring drivers in 1978 showed a starting pay rate of .36 cents per mile which is still close to the average pay today, in 2012, thirty four years later.

Along with the stagnate truck driver wages and the CSA, they also face other possible mandates such as:  EOBR’s, sleep apnea testing, BMI maximum, little or no detention time pay, anti-idling laws, higher fuel prices, attitude from law enforcement and the general public, lack of APU’s for safety comfort, stricter hours of service rules, forced dispatch, retaliation from the carrier via the DAC report, the starving out process, lack of adequate home time and 70 hour work weeks.

Professional CDL truck drivers are unskilled labor.

Due to a constant influx of regulations, many are seeing professional truck driving not being worth the effort.  Perhaps the major cause for this is the fact that truck drivers are considered as “unskilled labor” by the U.S. Department of State and the Wage and Hour Division.  I brought attention to this before in a previous post: Professional Truck Driving Requires No Skill, yet shortly after posting, the link to the U. S. Department of State unskilled page was taken down . . . something that happens quite often after I post information.

Classifying working adults as  “unskilled labor” has to do with global economics, as currently 70% of American workers fall within this classification.  By classifying workers as “unskilled,” pay wages are kept at minimum which obviously is a big plus for the truck transportation industry that is the largest sector of  private industry in North America.

Professional truck drivers are expected to work 70 hours per week and try to run as many miles as possible at a cents-per-mile basis.  The standard mileage per week is established at 2500 miles, which for many drivers are still not yet attainable.  A new driver to the industry can drive 2500 miles per week at .27 cents per mile and gross a weekly pay check of $675.00 for a so-called 70 hours of work.  This figures to be $9.64 per hour gross pay.  A veteran driver at 2500 miles per week at a rate of .36 cents per mile, 70 hour work week will gross $900 for the week, averaging $12.86 per hour gross.

Should the motor carrier begin the “starving out” process against the driver and only give them 1800 miles for the week as an example, the gross weekly hourly rate falls to $6.94 per hour and $9.26 per hour respectively.  Add to the equation the living out on the road for weeks, months at a time, sleeping in adverse weather conditions without an APU, cost of meals out, isolation from friends and family, contending with strict DOT regulations and risk of CSA violations . . .  a new driver would have to wonder why they would go through all of this for what often times, will lead to an hourly pay scale that is below the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.  Furthermore, why would a veteran truck driver adhere to such a lifestyle at such a low pay scale?

Why are new CDL graduates not being retained in the industry?

The motor carrier operating their own CDL training programs, largely the ones I call the “starter companies,” receive government subsidies for training new hires.  These subsidies can range from several thousand dollars to as high as $50,000 to $222,000 such as the Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Training Grants, for example.  My last research showed there to be about 16 such programs offered to these CDL training facilities.

The training school motor carrier can actually make more money by constantly turning over drivers than working to retain them.  Newer drivers hired at a much lower cents-per-mile rate can be used as a form of cheap labor, while starving out the more experienced driver who commands a higher pay scale while the constant CDL training program continues to bring in the governmental subsidies.

Recent CDL truck driving school graduates are expected to come out being safe and productive professional drivers and they expect to stay within the industry, yet currently there is a 200% turnover rate among first year CDL graduates.  Often within their first year of professional truck driving, they end up disillusioned, financially broke and even sometimes, destitute.

If the U. S. trucking industry really was facing a truck driver shortage, then can anyone in the industry explain to me why this happens?  A “shortage” of workers of any kind, would logically lead to steps that would end the shortage, yet drivers are still facing this type of ending to their “career” and have been for decades.

Trucking industry could end the truck driver shortage.

With the 200% turnover rate among recent CDL graduates, why are they not staying within the driving career after spending 3-4 weeks in CDL training and going in debt for several thousands of dollars?  Furthermore, why are veteran drivers, with years of experience and millions of safe miles, leaving the industry?  The answers to these questions are also the steps that could be taken by the industry in order to put an end to this so-called and fabricated crisis called the “driver shortage.”

Step 1 : Honesty

Motor carriers and their recruiters need to deal in honesty toward the driver when it comes to factual expectations for a long-haul truck driving career.  Too many ads which advertise $50,000 to $60,000 per year income are used to reel-in new hires and sway experienced drivers to change carriers.  Large sign-on bonuses that are seldom issued to drivers because the carrier knows that they will probably leave employment before the bonus is due, is another example of false enticement.  Promising a higher cents-per-mile rate and 2500 miles per week and only giving the driver 1800 miles per week, using the excuse, “Well freight is slow,” is another example.

I once went to work for a carrier that I told them that I would like to have at least 2800 miles per week.  They told me that it would be more like 2000 miles per week.  Everything they told me was exactly the way it was and knowing what to expect before I went to work for them, they turned out to be one of the best carriers that I ever hired on with.  Instead of using false information in order to lure in potential drivers, tell them the truthful reality of what your carrier can offer them as an employee and discontinue the practice of dishonesty and deceit and then actually provide to the driver what you say you will.

Step 2 : Transparency

Business transparency relates to operating in such a way that others can easily see what practices are being performed.  It implies openness, communication and accountability from the carrier to the driver, closely related to honesty.  For example, an honest and accountable motor carrier will provide all information to the driver who may be considering entering into a company truck lease purchase option.  No rushing through, “sign on the dotted line” scheme, but open communication between leaser and lessee.

Transparency leads to the removing of all barriers between company and driver, which in return, incorporates the feeling of trust where as the driver will feel more like a part of the team and not just a number.  By being transparent and openly communicate and holding the company responsible for its own actions, the driver can make a clear and definite decision as it relates to his or her livelihood.  By doing this, the new driver will not see the company as just another job, but as a place to retain their employment and view the company as a solid career choice.

Step 3 : Establish CDL Training Standards

Although the FMCSA is responsible for regulating the safety operational standards within the trucking industry, the major flaw in the system is the absence of any set CDL truck driving training standards.  CDL graduates with as little as three to six months OTR experience are being placed in driver-trainer positions.  Because of the demands of the job, driver-trainers are sleeping while the new hire trainee is driving through technical obstacles such as mountain terrain, adverse weather conditions and high-traffic metropolitan areas.

The driver-trainer is not to be blamed, but the system itself.  The trainer can not logically be expected to stay awake 24/7 while training a new CDL graduate, yet they are expected to abide by the same HOS rules as the solo driver.

There are many CDL mills across the country that will take the student’s money, rush them through the CDL training process and push them into one of the starter companies that will push them into a company lease purchase plan . . . all knowing the lack of driving skill that the student currently possesses.  When the trainee has an accident, everyone looks the other way, blaming the recent CDL graduate and blackballing them from ever driving again by placing the mark on their DAC report.  All they ever wanted to do was to learn a new skill and look forward to their new driving career.

CDL training standards must be established, not just for new students, but for driver-trainers as well.  A certified course that even experienced drivers who are willing to take on the important and serious challenge of truck driver training, can adhere to and to make certain that they have the proper people skills to hold a training position.  This should be true for trainees as well since many driver-trainers can face retaliation from the student.

The truck driver training schools that continue to churn out new drivers, regardless of their ability to find a job after completion, need to face stricter CDL training guidelines or be shut down by the FMCSA or other regulatory body.  The improper training that continues, with no set governmental CDL training standards, along with the subsidies that most starter company training schools receive that continues the constant turning over of drivers, must be taken seriously by the industry if they truly are desiring a safer operational standard.

Trucking industry responsible for truck driver shortage.

Tougher safety regulations, low pay and direct actions by the majority of motor carriers, are all the factual reasons behind the fabricated truck driver shortage.  The industry itself created the shortage, they continue to create the shortage and only they can stop it.

 

 

 

 

© 2012, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Post to Twitter

Technorati Tags: cdl training, cdl training standards, Commercial Driver’s License Information System, FMCSA, honesty, qualified driver shortage, transparency, truck driver shortage, truck driver training, trucking, Truckload Carriers Association

Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog
10
Aug

Treating drivers right keeps Nussbaum driver turnover low

Posted by Comments Off on Treating drivers right keeps Nussbaum driver turnover low

How does a trucking company with a 500-plus-mile average length of haul keep its driver turnover down around 30% when the industry average is over 100%?

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
10
Aug

Thermo King Invested Much Toil and Treasure in 2013 Reefer Products, Execs Say

Posted by Comments Off on Thermo King Invested Much Toil and Treasure in 2013 Reefer Products, Execs Say

Thermo King’s new Precedent series of transport refrigeration units that will meet federal exhaust emissions limits for 2013 represent three years’ work by hundreds of employees here and overseas, and cost more than $60 million, the biggest such investment in the company’s history, its president said during a press briefing yesterday.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
10
Aug

Natural Gas: What Fleets Need to Know, Part 1

Posted by Comments Off on Natural Gas: What Fleets Need to Know, Part 1

In 2011, the use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel rose 7.1% year over year and 38% from 2006, federal data show. It more than doubled during the past decade, to 38.85 million cubic feet in 2011.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
10
Aug

6 Keys to Choosing the Right Mobile App

Posted by Comments Off on 6 Keys to Choosing the Right Mobile App

Shopping for mobile apps to help your trucking operation? Here are some tips that can help:

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
10
Aug

Arkansas Best Corp. Posts Profit of 11.8 million for Second Quarter of 2012

Posted by Comments Off on Arkansas Best Corp. Posts Profit of 11.8 million for Second Quarter of 2012

Arkansas Best Corp. (ABF) announced its net income for the second quarter

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
10
Aug

EPA’s Navistar Proposal Up for Final Review

Posted by Comments Off on EPA’s Navistar Proposal Up for Final Review

The Environmental Protection Agency is close to releasing a revised proposal on whether or not Navistar International can pay penalties on engines that don’t meet clean air standards.

The proposed rule, which still is under wraps, is awaiting final review at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
10
Aug

Westport Projecting Strong Growth, Investing in Product Development

Posted by Comments Off on Westport Projecting Strong Growth, Investing in Product Development

Westport Innovations Inc. reported a net loss of $6.1 million in the second quarter, an improvement over the net loss of $18.1 million for the same period last year.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
10
Aug

Pilot Flying J Adding Two Stores This Month

Posted by Comments Off on Pilot Flying J Adding Two Stores This Month

Pilot Flying J recently announced plans to open two new travel centers in August.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
10
Aug

Timken Appoints Two Execs to New Leadership Positions

Posted by Comments Off on Timken Appoints Two Execs to New Leadership Positions

The Timken Company named Christopher A. Coughlin and Richard G. Kyle to the newly created positions of group presidents.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
10
Aug

GreenMan Technologies Announces Name Change to American Power Group Corporation

Posted by Comments Off on GreenMan Technologies Announces Name Change to American Power Group Corporation

GreenMan Technologies Inc. has changed its name to American Power Group Corp.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
7
Aug

Diesel, Gasoline Prices Rise Again

Posted by Comments Off on Diesel, Gasoline Prices Rise Again

Diesel prices rose again last week, with the U.S. Department of Energy reporting a national average of $3.85, up 5.4 cents from last week, while gasoline price surged by 13.7 cents per gallon.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
7
Aug

ATA Seeks Nominations for "Good Stuff" Trucking Image Award

Posted by Comments Off on ATA Seeks Nominations for "Good Stuff" Trucking Image Award

The American Trucking Associations is seeking nominations for the sixth annual Mike Russell “Good Stuff” Trucking Image Award.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
7
Aug

Meritor Net Income up 188% Year Over Year

Posted by Comments Off on Meritor Net Income up 188% Year Over Year

Meritor reported net income of $49 million for its third fiscal quarter, up 188% compared with $17 million for the same quarter a year ago.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
7
Aug

Judge Again Dismisses ABF Suit Against Teamsters

Posted by Comments Off on Judge Again Dismisses ABF Suit Against Teamsters

A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed Arkansas Best Corp.’s lawsuit against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and other parties, which had alleged YRC Worldwide’s deal with the Temamsters violated the National Master Freight Agreement.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
7
Aug

Xata: Customers Shifting to Mobile Solutions

Posted by Comments Off on Xata: Customers Shifting to Mobile Solutions

Xata Corp. saw a drop in revenue for its fiscal 2012 third quarter as it shifted its focus to more mobile-based software platforms.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
7
Aug

Waste Management Opens CNG Fueling Station in Louisville, Ky.

Posted by Comments Off on Waste Management Opens CNG Fueling Station in Louisville, Ky.

Waste Management has launched a new local fleet of 25 clean-burning compressed-natural-gas trucks and unveiled Louisville, Ky.’s first public-access, 24-hour CNG fueling station.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
7
Aug

Old Dominion 2Q Revenue, Income Up Significantly Over 2011

Posted by Comments Off on Old Dominion 2Q Revenue, Income Up Significantly Over 2011

Old Dominion Freight Line saw second-quarter revenue rise by 12.8% to $541.5 million when compared with $480.3 million for the second quarter of 2011.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
5
Aug

Xata Turnpike Improves Efficiency with TMWSuite

Posted by Comments Off on Xata Turnpike Improves Efficiency with TMWSuite

Xata Corporation’s Turnpike fleet management software is now integrated with TMWSuite transportation management software from TMW Systems.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
5
Aug

How many drivers do we really need?

Posted by Comments Off on How many drivers do we really need?

Do we really have a shortage of truck drivers in this country or are we simply adding up the empty seats across the land and calling that under-utilized capacity a driver short-age?

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
5
Aug

Plug in pallet jack’s batteries right in the trailer with TAPS

Posted by Comments Off on Plug in pallet jack’s batteries right in the trailer with TAPS

Plugging motorized pallet jacks into warehouse power supplies is so old. There’s a new solution to the battery charging chore. Leave it in the trailer and charge it right there.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
5
Aug

TomTom Launches New Version of Logistics Maps

Posted by Comments Off on TomTom Launches New Version of Logistics Maps

Navigation systems manufacturer TomTom has launched the newest version of its Logistics map product designed specifically for truck and fleet operators.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
5
Aug

DOT Announces More Than $363 Million in Grants for State Highway Projects

Posted by Comments Off on DOT Announces More Than $363 Million in Grants for State Highway Projects

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced more than $363 million in grants to fund a wide variety of highway improvements, from interstate rehabilitation and reconstruction to technologies that result in improved safety and reduced construction congestion.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
5
Aug

July Orders for Class 8 Trucks Very Weak

Posted by Comments Off on July Orders for Class 8 Trucks Very Weak

FTR Associates has released preliminary data showing July Class 8 truck net orders at 12,568 units, the lowest month for orders since August 2010 and 32% below the same month last year.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
5
Aug

Comdata now Processing Cardless Fuel Transactions

Posted by Comments Off on Comdata now Processing Cardless Fuel Transactions

Comdata is now processing live customer transactions via its cardless fueling technology. The first transaction occurred at the Love’s Travel Stop in Pauls Valley, Okla.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
5
Aug

Fatal Bus Crash Underscores Need for Fatigue Management Programs, NTSB says

Posted by Comments Off on Fatal Bus Crash Underscores Need for Fatigue Management Programs, NTSB says

As a consequence of a fatal bus crash last year, the National Transportation Safety Board is urging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to be more assertive in monitoring fatigue management programs.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
5
Aug

Navistar’s Engine Plans Include Cummins, but Its Financial Losses Continue

Posted by Comments Off on Navistar’s Engine Plans Include Cummins, but Its Financial Losses Continue

Navistar International Corp. said its switch to diesel exhaust aftreatment will include use of Cummins liquid urea injection equipment, and that it will offer the Cummins ISX15 engine in some truck models beginning in January.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
5
Aug

Arkansas Best Corp. Posts Profit of 11.8 million for Second Quarter of 2012

Posted by Comments Off on Arkansas Best Corp. Posts Profit of 11.8 million for Second Quarter of 2012

Arkansas Best Corp. announced its net income for the second quarter of 2012 was $11.8 million, which is an improvement over its net income of $5.3 million in the second quarter of 2011.

Category : Trucking Info | Blog
Page 3 of 41234