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Archive for May, 2013


How to Get a Great Price for Your Haulage Insurance

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if you’re looking for haulage insurance, Sky Insurance can find you the best policy for your needs

If you’re looking for haulage insurance, Sky Insurance can find you the best policy for your needs

Haulage insurance is a necessary expense that can protect you from a range of different situations that could leave your truck damaged and your livelihood in tatters. However, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think.

Do Your Research

Knowing what you need and what you don’t is essential for getting a good price on your insurance. You should get three or four quotes from different companies to make sure that you get the most competitive one.

If you use price comparison sites, you may find that playing around with your quote may lower your premiums. However, you should never lie on your insurance as it could invalidate your claim if you’re unfortunate enough to have to make one.

Being a good driver will help in the long run. The no claims discounts available from certain insurance companies can vary from 20% to 60%, so you can make significant savings if you’ve proven yourself to be a good driver.

If you’re a company owner and looking to insure a fleet of HGVs, then restricting the number of drivers per policy can make a huge difference to your premiums. This works particularly well if it’s owner-only or named drivers.

Increasing your voluntary excess can mean paying less on your premiums. However, if you’re a private driver, then you should make sure that you have this amount of money before you agree on it, as you may find yourself out of pocket otherwise.

Do Your Bit to Lower the Risk of Crime

Trucks are a popular target with thieves as it is well known that they transport valuable items- indeed it is advertised on the side what is contained within. Theft of a truck has a high cost, not only in money, but the livelihood of drivers and operators and the loss of client faith. While some of these things can be covered by insurance, the loss of faith may be difficult to recover. This is why lowering the risk of crime is very important. The security of your truck should be the upmost thing on your mind. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keeping it locked and parked in a secure parking bay will deter thieves, along with using security devices.
  • Make sure the loading of the vehicle is secure, and do not discuss the nature or value of your load with anyone.
  • Try to refuel on site as opposed to stopping in unsecure places.

So if you’re looking for haulage insurance, Sky Insurance can find you the best policy for your needs. Find them here

© 2013, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

Trucking Social Media Speaker Jeff Barker

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One of the key speakers this year presenting at the 2013 Trucking Social Media Convention will be Jeff Barker; professional driver, columnist, health advocate, and outdoor enthusiast. Jeff will have the task of addressing the topic this year, Truck Driver Wages and the Driver Shortage, which will be no easy undertaking. According to a survey we posted late last year, Mr. Barker’s presentation came in as the #1 topic most requested by CDL drivers to be addressed.

Jeff BarkerJeff Barker is no stranger to the trucking industry; presently  he is a current professional over-the-road truck driver and a veteran of the road with over 2 million safe miles under his belt. He has also worked in other areas of the trucking industry as a Heavy Truck and Transport Refrigeration Mechanic and has worked as a company driver and an owner operator over the course of his career.

Jeff has also been involved in trucking journalism since early 2005 and writes from many of his own observations and firsthand experiences with various situations he has dealt with over the years. He has won Communications Awards for some of his articles that are featured in Land Line Magazine, which is the official publication of the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association. OOIDA has been a sponsor for all 3 years for the Truck Driver Social Media Convention.

Mr. Barker is also a regular Guest Speaker on many trucking-related radio shows, addressing truck maintenance, driver health, and professionalism issues on the road. With his sense of humor, sarcasm, and directness that are readily noticed in his communication skills, Jeff is often considered by many to be ‘The Dee Snider of Trucking Media”.

As a working driver, Jeff is also concerned about safety on the road and created the Facebook page that is known as Support Better Independent Truck Stops. He stresses the importance of helping the ‘Mom and Pop’ truck stops stay in business as they typically offer better amenities and safer overnight parking for drivers. He also brings to the attention of his fellow drivers the urgent need to protect the truck parking that’s already available.

Jeff is a devout believer in the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the road. He is an avid cyclist and creator of the Ride and Roll program which teaches drivers the health benefits of bicycle riding and how to carry a bike with them in their trucks. He is a firm believer in the fact that there’s more to our health than just making it past that next DOT Physical as his long-term approach to health issues addresses the quality of life a driver should be able to have when they reach their retirement age and how to make it happen.

Mr. Barker is also an advocate for improving the overall image of the truck driver that will help them earn a higher level of respect. He is serious about maintaining a professional appearance, attitude, and manner of conduct which has greatly benefited him over the years.

As a Native American with close ancestry from two different tribes, Jeff makes a conscious effort to maintain a close, spiritual connection with his heritage. He makes it a point to never allow his job as an over-the-road trucker to become any sort of a lifestyle, as he has embraced an” enjoyment of life” away from the truck.  Mr. Barker enjoys traveling with his better half, Debra to their favorite vacation destinations, living their own version of the Jimmy Buffett lifestyle.

Jeff finds Social Media beneficial to the trucking industry and uses Facebook to connect and interact with his friends, family and those within trucking who follow him through his articles, websites, and social media groups.

© 2013, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

The Baddest Cars in Fast & Furious 6 this year

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Fast and FuriousWith the release of the latest installment of the Fast And Furious franchise; Fast And Furious 6, comes the tide of car enthusiasts who can’t wait to get their hands on the latest information about the spectacular cars featured in the film. Many of the vehicles featured in the Fast And Furious films have been American or Japanese, but this particular film features some old style European cars guaranteed to get your heart racing. Here, has done there research and given you the baddest cars in Fast & Furious 6 this year to look forward to.

Perhaps the star of the show, driven by the actor Vin Diesel who plays Dominic Toretto in the films is the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona. This high performance and limited edition model was produced simply for winning NASCAR races and was the first car in NASCAR history to break the 200mph speed mark in 1970. The car featured in the film isn’t an exact replica of the 1969 model and features a shorter nose and rear wing compared to the original. The pop-up headlights proved to be impractical to fix after every stunt so were disregarded, however the car certainly looks the part.

The actress Michelle Rodriguez who plays Letty in the films is lucky enough to drive the 1971 Jensen Interceptor. The 1971 model was one of 232 cars built with a 440 c.i. engine, making it the most powerful car to have ever been built by Jensen, with a 7.2 litre engine and a top speed of 135mph.

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class features in the latest Fast And Furious film and is a classic that many fans will appreciate. This box-style car has a multitude of features and a high speed of 109mph. Often referred to as the ‘Wolf’, this car was originally designed as a military vehicle at the suggestion of the Shah of Iran.

The Koenigsegg CCX is perhaps the most visually appealing cars out of the lot, winning a place in the Top 10 Most Beautiful Cars by Forbes Magazine, as well as being designed with economics and global safety in mind. However, this car can reach a speed of 250mph making it the fastest car on the set.

There’s not one car enthusiasts that dislikes a Ferrari, and the Ferrari 360 isn’t a force to be reckoned with. This two-seater classic replaced the F355 by being 28% lighter yet 10% bigger. With a top speed of 189mph, there will be some guaranteed exciting car chases involving the Ferrari 360.

The one car we perhaps didn’t see coming is the Alfa Romeo Guilietta which is considered as a small family car. Not the usual vehicle you’d see in the Fast And Furious franchise but all the same a very stylish machine. This car came second in the European Car of the Year awards which is no easy accomplishment and can reach speeds of up to 135mph, much like the Jensen Interceptor.

There are many more fantastic cars featured in the Fast And Furious 6 film which is proving to be a film franchise that car enthusiasts enjoy thoroughly.

© 2013, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

National Truck Parking Survey

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A National Truck Parking Survey headed by the original crusader for Jason’s Law, Hope Rivenburg, is underway, measuring and interpreting data collected from Professional Truck Drivers regarding the availability of Safe Truck Parking.

The results of this study will be presented on October 12th in Kansas City, MO at Harrah’s  by Hope Rivenburg of Jason’s Law, Richard Wilson of Trans Products, and Andy Warcaba of AireDock and Warcaba & Associates, at the 2013 Truck Driver Social Media Convention.

Other major contributors to the study are Desiree Wood of the Woman Truckers Network and veteran OTR driver Sandi Talbott.

National Truck Parking Survey- Hope Rivenburg-2013 Truck Driver Social Media Convention

National Truck Parking Survey- Hope Rivenburg Presentation-2013 Truck Driver Social Media Convention

The goal of this survey is to bring awareness to the fact that there is significant lack of safe available commercial vehicle parking space, on or near interstates, for truck drivers who want or need to park. 

For over 20 years, safe available truck parking has been an issue for professional truck drivers. The situation has become more relevant as rest areas continue to close. Many times drivers are forced to drive either sleepy or park illegally on ramps, shoulders, etc. Other times they are forced to park in unsafe isolated areas, such as the case of Jason Rivenburg, who was murdered as he rested in an abandoned gas station.

The Federal Government strictly enforces hours of service, and yet many times drivers are forced to run over their HOS in order to locate truck parking. Drivers and companies are also scrutinized by the enforcement of CSA, experiencing the legal repercussions of being unable to find safe truck parking.

As EOBRS are scheduled to be mandated, the parking problem can only worsen as drivers will find themselves in a situation that will not allow them to legally drive further.

“Jason’s Law” provisions for truck parking, originally drafted as House and Senate bills in 2009 have now been incorporated into MAP-21 largely intact.
Jason’s Law would allow funding for more safe truck parking, however, a D.O.T study needs to be performed in order to allow funding for those states who demonstrate the need for it.

The DOT study, including their Truck Parking Eligibility, is part of the 27-month surface transportation re-authorization bill that Congress approved  July 6, 2012.  The US DOT will conduct their study and assessment of Truck Parking Facilities in each state by April 1, 2014.

Hope Rivenburg has met with Congressman Paul Tonko (who first introduced Jason’s Law to the House in 2009) and the DOT on April 22, 2013 in Albany, New York regarding her Truck Parking Survey. The results of Hope Rivenburg’s Truck Parking Survey will be shared with the DOT.

We believe it is those directly AFFECTED by this shortage of safe truck parking, mainly DRIVERS and companies, who should be “the voices” taking part in this survey.

For this reason we request that every professional truck driver take the time to take this National Survey which will be the ultimate voice expressing the need for more safe truck parking availability.

Your participation in this survey is vital in order that we may end the truck parking crisis affecting so many today.

Click here to take survey

© 2013, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

Trucking Social Media – Is anybody listening?

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Investigation Discovery documentary

We’re already into May and with MATS behind us all, life continues on within the trucking industry, especially for the professional driver.  Their concerns are many and include topics such as: low wages, CSA, Health Issues, EOBR’s, Sleep Apnea, Lack of Truck Parking, Cheap Freight, fuel costs, regulations, truck idling,  CDL training standards, HOS, and the list goes on.  Is anyone listening?


Drivers aren’t alone when it comes to concerns. The industry’s concerns include such topics as: the qualified driver shortage, CSA, driver retention rates, HOS,  regulations, fuel costs, EPA requirements, and  their list also goes on.


One of the greatest and most common concerns for many within the industry has been, “How can I be heard?”  Whether that comes form an individual fighting for justice, a blogger desiring to share their thoughts and ideas, or a company needing to share their products or services, the NEED TO BE HEARD and recognized is vital to them all, but…..Is anyone listening?
Social Media has opened the door for the need to be heard, including those within the trucking industry.  Drivers use social media sites to address issues, share common interests, express their thoughts and opinions, and to connect with one another. Government agencies, such as the DOT, are encouraging dialogue and attempting to listen to concerns and suggestions, and companies are trying to reach their targeted audiences through Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus,YouTube, and a host of other social media sites.

Social Media has bridged a huge gap for those who want to be heard and for those who are listening.  The Social Media platform has turned the once foreign concept of being reachable and personable  into relationship building and transparency.  2 way communication through computers, tablets, and smart phones has supported and strengthened the bond of those who are “saying” and those who are “listening”    SM has strengthened some and destroyed others, but the fact remains it is here to stay and continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

The  Truck Driver Social Media Convention ( TDSMC) broke ground in 2011 with its debut, introducing those within trucking who wanted to be heard with those who chose to listen.  Professional drivers gathered with industry professionals to listen, learn, comment, share ideas, and network.  The result?  People spoke and others listened. As attendees Networked together, business ventures succeeded, information was shared, concerns were addressed, groups were formed, and relationships were built.

Last year at the convention; drivers, companies, organizations, and government officials openly discussed concerns and solutions.  Elaine Papp of the FMCSA listened to the Deaf Truckers United Group as they expressed their deep concerns ( through an interpreter) regarding hearing requirements of the physical qualifications standards at 49 391.41(b)(11).
A few months later the FMCSA granted 40 hearing exemptions letters.  This was the first time the agency had granted such exemptions.
Was anyone listening? I think they were.

Now in it’s 3rd year, the 2013  TDSMC continues to encourage those within the industry to once again network together as they honor the professional driver.
Attendees of the last 2 years have experienced the tremendous enthusiasm, embracing the Social Media phenomenon at the Annual Truck Driver Social Media Convention.
TDSMC : Reaching out to one another through relationship building, communication, honesty, and transparency.

The 2013 TDSMC will be held once again in Kansas City, MO on October 11-13 at Harrah’s 
Highlights for this year include:

Topics and Speakers
The Truck Parking Shortage and Jasons Law– Hope Rivenburg, Rich Wilson, Andy Warcaba,
Truck Driver Wages and the Driver Shortage-  Jeff Barker
The Power of Social Media — Jim Bouchard

Q&A Session
Our Sponsors

Special Guests
Kylla Leeburg- Truckers Against Trafficking
Desiree Wood- The Womens Trucker Network

The Jason Rivenburg Making a Difference Award   Candidates are: Richard Wilson, Randall Doane, and Kathy Cass  VOTE HERE
The Pride in Your Ride Truck Contest
Almost $10,000.00 of prize drawings to attendees and award winners from 3rd year sponsor Cobra Electronics and 2nd Year Sponsor GoTruckStop
$99.00  Tickets include Friday evening Welcome Reception Party, Saturday and Sunday buffets, meeting room refreshments, speaker presentations, truck parking, tickets to prize drawings, and entry to Pride in Your Ride Truck Contest.

For more information, including the schedule of events go to
or Contact Allen or Donna Smith






© 2013, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog