Trucking Action Plan aims to resolve the immediate driver shortage but some critics say that the plan is not addressing the most critical issue - retention.
Trucking Action Plan aims to resolve the immediate driver shortage but some critics say that the plan is not addressing the most critical issue - retention.
A roadway explicitly designed for semi-trucks and trailers opened in southern Indiana.
The two-lane road, known as the Heavy Haul Transportation Corridor (HHTC), runs between River Ridge Commerce Center and the Port of Indiana and is designed to withstand vehicles weighing up to 134,000 lbs.
According to officials, the new corridor is suitable for cars and heavy trucks but is "more direct" and "safer" for heavy vehicles.
"They are not dealing with the day-to-day traffic as much. It is also safer for local travelers. They do not have to deal with the large trucks and all that could bring," said Natalie Garrett, a spokeswoman for INDOT.
This highly anticipated road began back in 2019, and it has cost more than 14 million dollars so far.
The mayor of Jeffersonville, Mike Moore, said back in the day that the purpose of this "heavy road" would be to pull "most semi-trucks" off of Highway 62 and make the roundabout in the area safer.
The Heavy Haul Transportation Corridor is fully open now.
Many company drivers dream to become an owner-operator who has their truck and drive for themselves. After all, America is the land of opportunity, and good trucking service is always in demand, so there is money to be made by working for oneself. Most of the drivers that fail in owning a truck do that because they are not prepared for all that will come towards them. We have seen excellent drivers losing their savings and owing money because they were surprised by some of the expenses that come with buying and operating a truck. Future owner-operators must think about their cost of the commercial truck, type of trailer, revenue per mile, truck insurance, etc. The list is long.
We hope that this article will help, the future owner-operator. Better to read it now, than to pay the high price of learning it down the road.
You need a horse. There are two ways — you can buy or lease.
Walk in the first truck dealer you see, and the salesman will do everything possible to sell you one and help you finance it if you have any credit history. You should consider how much the monthly payment will be for that truck. A long time ago a friend of mine told me that a truck without a monthly fee does not exist. If you buy a brand-new truck you will have the apparent loan payment, then immediately after you pay it off, there will be a new payment in the form of higher maintenance expenses.
The cost of a commercial truck, in that case, would be the price + the accumulated interest. From a tax perspective, the owner-operator can write off the insurance as an expense along with the depreciation of the truck.
As a future owner-operator, you can rent a vehicle from Penske/Ryder, as well as most of the big dealers like Freightliner, Volvo, Peterbilt/Kenworth, and International, or even most of the truck financing companies. The first two companies would charge a certain amount per month + charge per mile. They will cover most of the maintenance. However, they will not cover damages due to the driver’s fault, which includes anything from a flat tire due to nail, cracked windshield, or even if someone breaks your mirror at the truck stop and runs away, etc.
The other type of lease is called “Lease to buy” by lenders. It works similarly to a loan, but the truck is owned by the bank until you “pay it off.” Essentially, you are paying rent (lease payment) to the bank, which in the end transfers/sells it to you for $1. The sales pitch for such loans is that you can write off the payments as an expense and pay fewer taxes. If that is the only reason to choose it — don’t. It is true that a lease payment of $2000 a month can be written off at the end of the year and a loan payment of $2000 cannot in the same way. However, when you have a lease payment the maximum that you can write off is $24000, compared to the loan type, where you can write off depreciation and interest.
Next time when you have to talk with a loan officer about financing a trailer, for example, they will look at your financials or tax returns. It is much better to have a depreciation expense than a lease expense if you want to get a better loan rate.
A few things that the financing agency will ask you are — how much experience you have as a truck driver, how much (if any) experience you have as an owner-operator, and for which company you will be driving for. The first question is so they determine whether you can drive a truck. The second is to determine if you can operate a business, and the third one is for them to know that you will be doing actual work with the truck.
After all the paperwork is done, and you are ready to drive off the parking lot, you must show the dealer and the lender proof of insurance.
Big rig truck insurance is very different than car insurance. Future owner-operators must know what they are paying for. Check this article for more detailed information.
To haul any load on public highways, you need to have a truck registration. This is the next costly part of owning a truck. The plate can be a state registration or IRP (International Registration Plan). The first would permit you to drive only in the state where the truck is registered. It is usually more expensive than the other, but you don’t need to pay IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement). The second permits you to haul freight in North America (hence International Registration Plan) except for the Mexican and Canadian provinces that don’t border with the US.
We have seen drivers that take money from IFTA, but for the most part, it is around $100–200 per quarter. State permits depend on how much you drive through OR, KY, NM, and NY. Oregon charges you $0.1638 per mile driven in the state. You can offset the extra charge by fueling there since fuel is cheap. NM, NY, and KY charge around $0.05 per mile driven in the state. Other states don’t have such charges, but they do have toll roads, so one way or another you pay. You can read about all the permits in your truck folder here.
After December 18th, 2017, the trucking industry changed. Owner-operators should know how to choose their elog device or go with the trucking company they decide to work for.
The horse is here, but where is the carriage? There are four main freight types and everything else we will put in the group Other Freight.
This is the most common freight out there and the easiest to haul. Most of the TL carriers include this type of service in their business model. Dry Vans are the cheapest trailer to buy, maintain and load. Most of the time you spend on the road. Almost all companies that pay per mile pull exclusively dry vans. However, dry van loads do not pay as the others.
For this type of freight, you need a reefer trailer. It costs twice as much as a dry van trailer, and you need to maintain the reefer unit. It is like having another car attached to the trailer all the time. Oil changes, belts, AC compressors, etc., are things that you need to be aware of and concerned about. The majority of the loads are foods, which means extended pickups, deliveries, and special appointment hours. Reefer is easy to load like a dry van, but you must sleep with the unit on most nights. Some drivers are ok with it; others hate it. You make more money with the reefer loads, but you also have more expenses.
Crane or forklift load that type of freight from the top or the side of the trailer. The most commonly used trailers are Flatbeds (obviously), Step Decks, and Conestoga. Flatbeds cost almost as dry vans, where step decks and Conestoga are around 10k more expensive. However, as an owner-operator, you must buy more supporting equipment — chains, straps, tarps, to name a few. You must also use the equipment, to brace and strap the load. Chains are heavy, and you should move them around when you are securing steel coils. Tarping is not fun for many drivers as well. However, you are getting paid better for the loads.
Тhe previous three load types can be Hazmat as well. That means that they need to follow the Hazardous Material Transportation Regulations. Most of the time this type of freight is loaded in dry van and reefers, but occasionally you will see a flatbed with such cargo. It pays more than other cargo for the given lane, but you must be more careful.
These include tankers, auto carriers, livestock trailers, dump trailer, etc. People usually do not come from driving school and get immediately with Livestock or Tanker truck. They come with their specifications. Livestock is not easy, nor is it easier oversize load or a car hauling trailer.
Everyone says that they are one of the best owner operator companies. This is the hard part. How do you decide which trucking companies are good and which one is bad?!
Trucking companies pay their owner-operators in a couple of different ways:
Most of the big trucking companies pay per mile to owner-operators. They usually have a base rate per mile + fuel surcharge(fsc), and you don’t have to have a trailer in general. Signing with such company relieves you from the burden of thinking about other charges that you will have — liability insurance, trailer rent, permits, trailer maintenance, etc. The fuel surcharge changes with the average price of fuel in the US, so it is the same for everyone. However, the base rate changes with the different companies. Some will pay you one rate for loaded miles and another (lower and often without fsc) for empty miles. The other will pay a seemingly higher price for all miles, but you must pay for IFTA, KY permit, NM permit, etc. And in general, these companies will have stricter rules for you to obey.
This type of trucking company pays the owner-operator percentage of the cargo that they book for the truck. Usually, the FCS is part of the gross rate. Smaller companies pay 80–90% of the freight revenue, where large fleets pay you around 70%.
These carriers will not cover expenses such as permits, insurance, trailer, etc. in the percentage they charge. However, you have the most freedom of being an owner operator with them. Some drivers misinterpreted that freedom with changing their company once a month. Not a good idea! When companies do a background check (as required by DOT), they see that and will not take you seriously because they will know that you will work only for a limited time. There are shady companies out there (Chicago has a bad reputation), but if an owner-operator must change three carriers in 6 months think about the way you choose them or the way you work.
The Owner-Operator usually pay $700–1000 for “cargo” insurance, which is liability and cargo policy in one. On top of that, he will have the option to choose to pay an additional 5% from the truck revenue or $500–800 a month for trailer rent, insurance, and brake/tires wear. The new owner-operator can purchase its trailer, which will save him money every month. An additional charge would be for IFTA and state permits.
These charges should be in the back of your mind when you pick a load, but should not be your primary criteria.
As you sit down to enjoy some time off this holiday season, remember there are a few industries, like trucking, that never take a break. While others celebrate with family and friends, there are fleets of long-haul drivers kicking things into high gear to make the holidays happen.
It’s easy to forget where our goods come from and how they get to us. But almost anything you’ve ever bought—food, clothes, toys, electronics was delivered on a truck. As you prepare shopping lists and head out to stores where the shelves and freezers are stocked, take a moment to consider we’d have very little if it weren’t for truckers. In fact, trucks are the only vehicles that run more miles than Santa’s sleigh!
We should all help spread some holiday cheer to these important workers who make it all happen. While they may not be wearing Santa hats, they are truly the ones driving Christmas and all the holiday traditions your family enjoys.
So, during the next couple of weeks, if you pass a truck driver on the road, be sure to wave a thank you to them. They really do deserve it!
Buy vs Lease Truck is one important decision future owner-operators must take. Both options offer benefits as well as drawbacks. There are many different situations that apply to different people. Always keep in mind that a truck is a tool for work first, and a vehicle second. Potential business owners should consider the job at hand to make the best choice.
If you are starting your trucking career, leasing a truck makes sense or you if lack good credit. It does not require a significant down payment, and the monthly or weekly amount is generally smaller than that of a loan. The driver will own the truck, as the lease agreement ends. There is a type of lease where a downpayment is required. Monthly payments are generally low because the balloon payment at the end of the contract matches the value of the truck at the time. For example a 10 percent down payment on a $130,000 vehicle with $2000 per month for 60 months and a balloon payment of $24,000 at the end. This is a sweet deal for a new truck if you plan to keep and use it for longer than five years.
The most common lease is directly through a trucking company. Weekly payments will be deducted from the driver's check. A required down payment of around $5000 will be needed. It shows good money management skills and establishes good faith. It also allows for lower weekly payments.
Drivers are responsible for the maintenance of the trucks unless the lease is from Ryder or Penske. These two companies charge between $0.12 and $0.20 per mile for regular maintenance. This, however, does not include accidents and or incidentals. If you hit a deer or a rock cracks the windshield, repairs come out of your pocket.
When a future owner-operator purchases a truck and finances it, the bank takes the title as collateral for the loan. The driver owns the vehicle, and like in the lease (unless the lease is from Ryder or Penske) all responsibility for the ownership falls on him.
Financing a loan is a cheaper option. Also since the driver is the owner, he can build some equity in the truck. If the market is strong, an owner-operator can make extra principal payments towards the loan, thus paying it off early and saving on interest.
Drivers need a credit score of over 630-650. That puts those with less than perfect credit at a disadvantage. The higher your credit score, the better the interest rate on the loan will be.
Many banks require down payments when credit history is an issue. Ten percent is standard, but some will only ask for five. Almost any lender will agree to finance a truck driver with 20 percent cash in pocket. Putting down a substantial down payment secures lower monthly payments that won't put a toll on the driver when the market is slow.
A major factor in improving the odds of financing a truck is the previous owner-operator experience. Many banks will deny even 20 percent down payments if the future truck owner cannot provide past truck payment history. That is probably the main reason why many drivers start off with a lease. Experienced truck drivers are not necessarily experienced business owners, and banks know that. Previous owner-operator experience shows knowledge of how to manage a business and offers banks more security.
Your winter truck maintenance is something that you need to take care of every winter season.
Maintaining your truck during the winter and making sure it is performing at the best operating efficiency is essential for success. You get most of your truck by having it on the road. The first step to ensure efficient and reliable performance is by maintaining it properly. Winter is coming and we know what is coming with it - snow, cold nights, ice, and winds.
You need to prepare your vehicle for the temperature drop. One of the most common winter mechanical faults is a frozen engine. Your cooling system and radiator are under a lot of stress during the cold winter months. Their proper functioning is vital for keeping the engine cool without freezing in the winter.
The coldest and wettest months are always a challenge. Now is the time to prepare your truck properly for the months ahead.
The engine in your vehicle is an internal combustion engine where power is generated through the expansion of high temperature and high-pressure gases. Due to the combustion gas and the friction of mechanical parts, a lot of heat is generated. The heat in question should be removed from the engine and kept at operating temperature.
Water pump - it is an essential part of the system. It pumps the coolant and is the heart of every cooling system.
The Radiator is a heat exchanger used to transfer the excess heat developed by the engine to the atmosphere.
The thermostat regulates the flow of the coolant. It is a valve and it helps to maintain the proper operating temperature for the truck engine during the winter. Regulating the amount of coolant that goes through the radiator is The Thermostats' role.
CTS role is to monitor the engine temperature.
A coolant is a liquid or gas substance, mainly used to regulate or reduce the temperature of a system. This special fluid runs through the engine to keep it at the correct operating temperature range. The coolant has a high thermal capacity and low viscosity. It is usually made from ethylene glycol or propylene, water, and some protection additives.
The fan's main purpose is to turn on whenever your truck coolant goes above a certain temperature to prevent overheating. Your truck's cooling system is fundamental for your winter truck maintenance to efficient and safe driving. Its main purpose is to prevent overheating by distributing the engine's heat evenly throughout the whole system. The result of a failed cooling system can lead to breakdown and costly repairs.
Antifreeze is a chemical. His consisting of ethylene glycol or sometimes the lower toxicity propylene glycol. When mixed with water it serves to lower the freezing point and raise the boiling point in the mixture.
It also includes some corrosion inhibitors that which role is to prevent rust from forming on the metal parts like water pumps and engine blocks. You can see broken inhibitors when the antifreeze gets brown or rusty in color. In that case, replacing the antifreeze is a must.
The antifreeze works because the freezing and boiling points of liquid are colligative properties. Тhey depend on the concentrations of solutes or dissolved substances in the solution.
A pure solution freezes because the lower temperatures cause the molecules to slow down. The attractive forces between them bind them into rigid crystalline structures. By adding a different kind of molecule to the mix blocks those attractive forces prevent the crystalline structures from forming. Adding more solutes will lower the temperature be before the solution can freeze.
Ethylene Glycol works great because not only is it water-soluble it is also miscible which means it can be mixed with any amount and still mix evenly.
Antifreeze and water should have a mixture percentage based on the lowest temperatures typically seen in your climate. In most regions, these are 50-50 water-antifreeze mixture which will provide enough protection from little below freezing to a high of 265 degrees (129 Celsius). In the coldest temperatures, you could use a mix of 60 to 70% antifreeze.
The coolant flows through a path that takes it from the water pump through the passages inside the engine block where it collects more heat produced by the cylinders. Then it flows up to the cylinder head (or heads in a V type engine). After that, it collects more heat from the combustion chambers. Then it flows out past the thermostat, and it goes straight through the upper radiator hose and then into the radiator.
In the radiator, the coolant flows through the thin flattened hoses that make up the core of the radiator and it's cooled by the airflow across those vents. The coolant flows out of the radiator through the hose and back to the water pump, by this time cooled off and ready to perform this cycle again. Tips:
Many coolants come pre-mixed with water, but on some occasions, during the winter you may need different coolant to water ratios for better results and performance. When the temperature is below freezing outside, the correct coolant mix will help with keeping the engine from coming to a halt.
The operation of your cooling system depends on the belts, seals, and hoses surrounding it. The cold weather can be destructive to those components. Inspect and replace any components before the cold winter months. This assures you that during the winter
Inspect caps, look for cracks, and replace if you discover any damage. It is also recommended that you replace the caps when you flush the vehicle's coolant.
Coolant leaks are not rare and they are recognizable due to the color of the coolant (usually green/yellow/pink). The leaks are easy to identify underneath the vehicle. If you encounter a leak of any kind it is best to get it looked at by a professional mechanic before it turns into a bigger problem.
You need to fill your radiator with coolant and you have to make sure the fluid is at a proper fill level. The best way to check if that is the case is when the vehicle is cool. Open the radiator cap and if the coolant looks low then you will most likely need a refill. Make sure to get it looked at by a professional before it is too late.
With time, dirt can build up in the cooling system, preventing the proper flow of the coolant. If there are contaminants, the fluid can also lose its effectiveness if not refreshed from time to time. Before the winter begins, consult with a specialist on the best time to perform a flush.
You should check the radiator tank and reservoir once or twice a year. Often times you can discover small holes or punctures that you need to fix. If they get too big you may have to do a much larger repair and replace the radiator.
The temperature drop during the winter has its consequences - fluids can freeze and hoses can crack in the cold. The American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) is the official and accepted authority in the United States for heavy-duty trucking maintenance standards.
Maintaining the Conventional pre-charged Inorganic Acid Technology (IAO) and Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT) coolants needs to happen on an engine preventive maintenance interval of 25,000 miles, or as specified by the engine manufacturer.
On the other hand, Nitrated Organic Acid Technology (NOAT) coolants require a charge to achieve the full 600,000 miles or 12,000-hour service life. The recommended extended charge is 300,000 miles or 6,000 engine hours. Nowadays, OAT - Organic Acid Technology coolants provide up to 600,000 miles or 12,000 engine hours of service life.
The TMC has released recommended colors for different types of coolants. Please have in mind that while these are established colors, they are not required and some manufacturers do not follow the color guidelines.
Below you can find the color recommendations:
Please have in mind that the color on the packaging could be different from the color of the content in the bottle. Don't judge a book by its cover and always make sure to read the label so you know you have the right coolant in your hands.
Recognizing a potential issue before it turns into a major concern can be a game-changer for your efficiency. Below you can find other helpful tips for keeping your truck on point in the winter:
Testing your truck batteries is very important during the winter. The cold weather during the winter months can drain a truck battery faster and the battery connections get dirty and corrode in the winter. Make sure you keep an eye on the batteries by testing them and keep the connections clean.
Your truck depends on fuel. An old and dirty filter can prevent the fuel from getting through. Тhus it will affect the operations of the truck.
Always base your fuel needs based on the weather at your location and your destination. Diesel fuel treatment will keep your fuel from gelling and will increase the longevity of your fuel system.
Like Alan Lakein said: “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”
By doing your winter truck maintenance you do yourself and your truck a favor. Your truck will be ready for the winter. This way you will feel more safe while you are on the road.
Let's be real. We all know that the average truck driver runs ridiculous amounts of miles. But how long can a truck driver drive and how many miles can drivers drive?
Thanks to their hard work they keep the heart of the American economy beating.
Every item that you touch on a daily basis is in your hands' thanks to a truck driver. If you are not familiar with the industry you will hardly understand the sacrifice a trucker does every day. In this article, we will cover the enormous amounts of hours every trucker works, so you can have all the goods at your disposal every day.
The main rule is that truckers can drive only 11 hours per day, according to the Hours of Service regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Most trucks are set to 65-70 miles per hour. When we do the math the amount comes to 605 to 650 average miles per day. Keep in mind that weather, traffic, police checkpoints, and the route the driver is running affect the driver's mileage.
A driver, under law, can work for a maximum of 14-hours per day. After that 10 consecutive hours is required to spend off work.
Keep in mind that there can be some unpredicted time consumers. Looking for a safe parking space, loading, and unloading, making dinner, eating, or shower time. These activities can reduce the overall sleep time to only 4-5 hours.
Department of Transportation workers are likely to question any mileage that is greater than 500 miles per day, as it is difficult to get these miles in while staying in compliance with the time requirements.
There can be different circumstances that can allow an OTR truck driver and Regional driver to drive for more than 11 hours:
The FMCSA implemented a weekly rule for drivers that is called the 60/70-Hour duty limit. Depending on what start period the carrier specifies this limit can be based on a 7-day or 8-day period.
This rule implies that drivers cannot work for over 60 hours in a 7-day period or 70 hours in an 8-day period. It is specified that the trucker can only work for 60 hours for 7 consecutive days and 70 hours for 8 consecutive days.
Once you have your 60 or 70 hours completed, you need to take 34 consecutive hours off duty before you can drive again. This period when you are not on duty is called a 34-hour restart. This allows you to reset your duty period to zero, so you can start a new 7 or 8-day cycle. During this period you can work on non-driving tasks - loading and unloading freight, paperwork, etc.
This rule is not mandatory, but most companies are using it in order to prevent driver fatigue.
This entirely depends on the truck driving job. An OTR driver can spend more than 300 days on duty. This is sometimes pretty difficult for them. It reduces their home time and it taxes their time they spend with their loved ones.
When it comes to the driving job that spends the most time at home a local truck driver is the winners. Most of them drive during the night and they get back home in the morning. A regional driver also enjoys a more frequent time home. They usually drive during the week and spend their weekends at home.
The main reason people choose OTR is that it pays more and offers an opportunity to see the country. But a trucker's life is one of solitude. If you are not a fan of loneliness, it may not be the best job for you.
Choosing the OTR position comes also with its benefits. This is the position that pays more and offers more opportunity to see the country.
According to the U.S Department of Transportation the average American driver for 13,473 miles per year. When you break down the number it comes to around 1,000 miles per month or about 250 miles per week. Truck driver miles are a whole different story. On average they can cover 2500 per week! That is 10 times more than the average American driver.
If we check the statics we can see that men are driving more miles than women. We also can see that the average American truck driver is getting older. The reason for that is that a lot of younger drivers have a difficult time entering the trucking industry. This is due to the fact that a truck driver has a pretty hectic and busy life away from home, which is not so pleasing to the younger generations.
If by any chance the driver doesn't comply with the DOT rules, there are some severe penalties:
The trucking company can suffer even more severe penalties if it is found to have knowingly made the drivers break the federal regulations.
Overall the truck drivers drive a lot more than the average American. DOT rules may be strict about the hours a trucker can drive, but this helps to prevent them from driving when tired or otherwise unable to pay proper attention to the roadway, thus keeping everyone on the road safer.
© 2018 Logiflex Inc
Trucking Action Plan aims to resolve the immediate driver shortage but some critics say that the plan is not addressing the most critical issue...
A roadway explicitly designed for semi-trucks and trailers opened in southern Indiana. The two-lane road, known as the Heavy Haul Transportation Corridor (HHTC), runs...
The origin of being your boss Many company drivers dream to become an owner-operator who has their truck and drive for themselves. After all,...
As you sit down to enjoy some time off this holiday season, remember there are a few industries, like trucking, that never take a...
Buy vs Lease Truck is one important decision future owner-operators must take. Both options offer benefits as well as drawbacks. There are many different...
Your winter truck maintenance is something that you need to take care of every winter season. Maintaining your truck during the winter and making...