May 18, 20184 Comments

What do truck drivers need to have in their permit folder?

Whether we call it a permit book, a paperwork binder or a document folder you keep one in your truck. Have you had an inspection turn south because of missing paperwork? We know we have! We sat down and made this list of what truck drivers need in their permit folder.

MC Authority

It shows your company's registration with the DOT and authorizes you to transport freight. It lists your company name and motor carrier number.

Certificate of Insurance 

The title says it all. It lists your insurance company and policy numbers along with contacts for your agent. Keep in mind there are several policies on the same sheet. They might have different expiration dates, so be sure to check them all.

Truck registration

Lists your rig’s VIN, license plate, make and model as well as info on the registered owner. States issues IRP registrations annually, and they can be valid for single or multiple states. Just like with insurance, expiration dates are critical.

Annual inspection

Certified mechanics fill out these checklists. They confirm your equipment is operational and defect free. Annual means dates are important. Check for expiration. Yearly inspection stickers go on the side of your truck, but you also need the paper from inside your binder.

Lease agreement 

If you are an owner operator or drive a truck not registered under your company’s name, you need a lease agreement. These vary between a single page and multipage contracts. It's a document listing equipment ownership and lease terms.

IFTA

You need both stickers and a cab card. Both need annual updates and show company information and expiration dates. IFTA stickers change colors annually making it easy to spot outdated ones

Oregon permit 

While most states can check permit status by running your VIN, Oregon requires you to carry a paper copy in your truck. Kentucky and New Mexico no longer need hard copies and New York states now issue stickers. You can read more on the ODOT website.

ELD instructions 

Written instructions on how to operate your electronic logging device. The DOT mandates these have to be kept inside your truck and presented during an inspection.

Backup paper logs 

Again, mandated by the DOT in case of ELD failure. You need at least one week’s worth of driver logs or minimum of seven sheets. 

Hazmat permits

If your company is transporting Hazmat materials, you need to have the proper permits. For non-high-risk shipments, you need an FMCSA hazmat permit that certifies your company has the appropriate endorsements. These permits have expiration dates and can be valid for single or multiple years. In addition to the federal licensing requirements, individual states require separate hazmat permits. These states are Colorado, California, Idaho, West Virginia, Nevada, Oklahoma and Michigan (the last four share a single license). 

Read our guide to hazmat trucking

 

While truck drivers need trailer registration and annual inspections during DOT inspections, we advise against keeping them inside the cab. These go inside a box mounted on the nose of the trailer. We know drivers opt to keep them inside the cab for easy access, but this leads to problems. If you swap trailers, this paperwork stays with you and hence leaves the other driver without documents.

An excellent tip to keep your papers organized is a ringed binder with clear plastic sleeves. It will protects against rips and spills and keeps things within reach.

May 5, 2018No Comments

ELD mandate shifts the trucking industry.

 The trucking industry shifts for the better.

Dec. 18th, 2017

eld mandate truck driver workweek log book

December 18th is now in sight! It’s no longer a distant date in the future that we can put off thinking about. The ELD mandate has brought a lot of anxiety to truckers around the country and understandably so. Electronic logs are here! It is a big deal and it is happening.

Companies big and small brace for the December deadline, dreading over the expected loss of productivity and decreased bottom lines. There is a number of challenges, that company will face, with the switch to electronic logs. Equipment costs, driver and dispatcher training as well as problems surrounding the meeting and managing customer expectations.

Many fleets are scrambling to make and implement these changes while others are still holding out in hopes for the last moment miracle. Lots of truckers we spoke to are planning to play it by ear. They intend to stay on paper logs until the very last moment and then lay low over the holidays to see how things go next year.

There is a myriad of articles in print and online detailing the regulations and how to stay compliant. We will not be discussing these here. Logiflex has been utilizing the latest in ELD technology for the past 5 years and we would like to use our expertise to shed light on an issue that is widely overlooked.

Electronic logs are good. They are good for drivers, good for companies, and overall good for the entire industry.

Nothing about the ELD mandate changes the current hours of service regulations. It simply ensures that motor carriers and individual drivers stay compliant and do not cheat. It really is that simple. If you are raising hell about the DOT taking away your livelihood, you are in reality simply being upset you will no longer be allowed to cheat.

Putting an end to paper logs does not hinder drivers from earning good paychecks. It does however prevent unscrupulous employers from exploiting drivers and coercing them to drive beyond the regulated hours of service. Forcing truckers to drive around the clock in order to make up for the “bad rates” imposed by “unfair” freight brokers and customers will come to an end. In recent years, numerous companies have ”taught” their drivers they need to drive more in order to earn a decent living. Well, here’s a question — why not drive less and get paid more per mile?

This is where the ELD Mandate levels the playing field.

Drivers will no longer be exploited and expected to deliver freight in record times with minimal or no sleep. When faced with the reality of enforced hours of service regulations, shippers and brokers will naturally adjust rates to address the issue of truckers refusing their freight.

Free markets adjust themselves based on the levels of supply and demand. Trucking companies will no longer accept low paying freight, as they will find it increasingly harder to fill the revenue gap simply by making it up in volume. More miles will now equal increased overhead in terms of additional equipment and manpower. Rates will have to go up and they will because freight needs to keep moving. Freight brokers and shippers will pay higher rates or they will not move their freight. Even bottom feeder carriers will be unable to provide transportation at rates below cost.

Higher revenues will create the opportunity for motor carriers to increase driver salaries and thus make up the difference in pay they would otherwise experience under “shortened” hours. In essence, drivers will greatly benefit from the mandate. They will earn more and drive less.

But will my pay change?

Critics will undoubtedly offer that employers will not necessarily provide pay increases for their drivers and possibly pocket the extra cash, but those same basic economic principles of supply and demand will be in full play here as well. Drivers will simply leave companies unable or unwilling to offer competitive pay.

When it comes to motor carriers, the benefit of increased rates goes without explanation. There are however further benefits to consider. Decreased rates of equipment amortization will result in considerable fleet savings. Companies will also enjoy lower insurance premiums to reflect increased driver safety scores. Automated and electronically recorded geo-tagged timestamps will prevent detention and layover arguments and expedite loading and unloading times.

Driver performance will be easily calculated, compared, and quantified. Seasoned drivers will enjoy better pay and job security, as quality will finally take precedent over quantity.

The trucking industry will indeed change on December 18th. It will be safer, smarter and a better place to work.

America is making trucking great again!

May 4, 2018No Comments

Sending a truck to Alaska and back in January

Alaska trucking is not a joke, so we want to share some details about it. At the beginning of 2016 we got a load for the Military Base in Fairbanks, AK. We were trying to research how to prepare and what to expect. Most of the information we found in the forums was for commercial trucks.

Read more

May 4, 2018No Comments

Different truck insurance explained

4 types of insurance associated with owning an eighteen-wheeler

Owner operators are asking us to have truck insurance explained and what are the charges.

 We found out that many owner operators who want to lease with us, don’t know how different types of insurance coverage work. There are four main types of insurance that trucking companies and owner operators should be familiar with.

Liability Insurance

This is the most important from a legal standpoint. Without it, a trucking company cannot legally haul freight on public highways, making the company MC (motor carrier number) unusable.

As the name implies this type of insurance covers liability in a potential accident. When drivers with bad records apply for work, it is this type of insurance that prohibits the company from hiring them. From their standpoint, putting unsafe drivers in the truck is too big of a liability and the risk of potential accidents with such drivers is too high. Once denied coverage it is illegal to put these unapproved drivers behind the wheel.

Liability insurance covers only the accidents that happen under dispatch. These are during the normal work of the truck. Auto-liability insurance does not cover little personal trips.

The price varies among carriers, but for the most part starts at $500 per month and goes up, depending on the safety profile of the company. We, at Logiflex, implemented eLogs 2 years ago, which resulted in a significant revenue cut (you know paper logs are more “elastic”), but our safety scores improved dramatically and our claims decreased. I will get into more detail about the pros and cons of eLogs in a future post.

In a nutshell, when it comes to liability insurance, the safer the company the lower the premium.

Physical Damage

Covers the damages on the insured equipment. If we have an example with an insured bobtail and uninsured trailer. In a potential accident, the insurance company will pay for the first without covering the second.

The formula, calculated as a percentage of the value for which the equipment is insured, is as follows: truck value x (policy percentage) / 12 = monthly physical damage payment. If we put in some numbers it would look like this: truck valued for $50,000 with insurance rate of 3%, in the formula, we get 50,000 x 0.03 / 12 = $125 monthly payment. Sometimes the driver can bargain a lower percentage. There are plans where you pay 25% upfront and the rest of the amount splits into 9 equal payments. Not paying anything in the last three months.

Some drivers are tempted to insure their equipment for a price higher than the actual value, so in case of a total loss accident, they get more money than the truck is worth. Don’t do that!!! Insurance companies would only pay for the market value of the equipment. (You know when something happens with the batteries and the truck burns down). On the other hand, if the value of the truck on the policy is below market value, the insurance company will only use the reported value amount instead of the actual market value amount.

Cargo Coverage 

As the name implies, this type of insurance covers the cargo that is transported in the trailer. It is usually very cheap — about $50–100 a month. If you are an owner-operator who leases to Chicagoland carrier, most likely you know $700-900 “cargo” insurance per month(or $170 or so per week).

The lingo name of this truck is "bobtail". If it hits one of the surrounding cars, the claim will go under Bobtail Liability policies. The dispatcher did not authorize the driver to take it to that parking lot.

Bobtail Liability

When owner-operators purchase physical damage insurance, they are also asked to add bobtail liability coverage. It usually costs just a few dollars per month. It covers potential accidents when the driver is using the truck as a personal vehicle. An example would be  driving bobtail to and from the movie theater, buying groceries, etc.

Many trucking companies would require owner-operators to show proof of such coverage before leasing with them. This way carriers protect their liability policy from potential claims that would happen during non-dispatched driving.

There you have it - truck insurance explained. For all documents that need to be in your truck folder read here.

May 4, 2018No Comments

Blockchain and Trucking Explained

Trucks-blockchain

What’s a blockchain and why should you care?

If bitcoins and blockchain make you scratch your head in confusion, you’re not alone. I spent the better part of last week doing exactly that — scratching my head and wondering how this new technology relates to us and why I keep hearing about it from my trucking industry peers.

I googled blockchains and quickly felt overwhelmed by a multitude of articles on the topic. It turns out people are very excited about them. I promptly ran into a problem though. I could not wrap my mind around the technology. It seemed like an incredibly complicated concept, so I figured I would change my approach. Forget the mechanics behind it, let’s focus on what it does.

So, a blockchain is an internet-based system that is efficient, transparent, very secure, and highly customizable. A ledger is a proper description, as it allows multiple parties to record transactions and agreements with great ease.

Getting back to my original question though, how does this relate to trucking?

Imagine you are a manufacturer that needs to ship some freight, or better yet you are a trucker looking to transport some cargo. Blockchain technology enables the logistical connection between these two parties. An electronic contract records the agreement between the shipper and the carrier. All parties to the contract can access and confirm any of the details at any time. And this is how you create the first block of blockchain and trucking.

Blocks keep adding up as more players take the stage. Shippers, receivers, carriers, customs agents, compliance officers, financial institutions, and all parties involved in the logistic process create input which translates into new blocks explicitly relating to their part of the process.

Blockchain technology, however, offers more than just transparency and ease of access. Process validation performed by third parties regularly checks and double-checks every transaction and agreement on the network against all relevant rules, laws, and regulations.

So, let’s put this in perspective

Say you are a trucker who has to deliver some customer freight. Say delivery will have to happen within the framework of hours of service along with any other DOT rules and regulations. This blockchain eliminates the need for third-party transportation intermediaries because of the transparency and ease of access to the entire process. Electronic logging devices and global positioning systems transmit location and transit information directly. Therefore, all parties can log in and double-check any aspect of the block they are part of.

Deals can be revised and adjusted in real-time to identify and address issues as they arise. As a carrier, you can plug in additional caveats to the deal such as detention, layover and stop off charges.

The shipper can do the same. They can request temperature control on their shipment by adding it to the agreement. Onboard temperature sensors in the trailer will record and transmit that information to the block. Once again, all parties involved in the contract can access that block in the chain and verify the shipment is proceeding by their agreement.

As delivery is made and the blockchain is completed, everything is validated and signed off on in real-time. Once all conditions are met, the carrier receives its payment immediately. All invoicing and billing is part of the blockchain already in place.

Blockchain and trucking

This is all good, and well you say, but why should drivers care about how customers and carriers transact? After all, computer systems have been around for a while, but without the guy or gal behind the wheel, logistics is just a bunch of phone calls and empty promises.

Well, see, here’s the thing. Blocks make the blockchain, and the essential building blocks of logistics and transportation are the drivers. Going back to the concept of a universally accessible ledger that records every step of the process we now have a tool that eliminates the most common problems that drivers struggle with on a daily basis. Detention, downtime, stop off charges and mileage pay are all seamlessly becoming part of the ledger as they occur.

But that’s not all, here’s where this technology stands out. If you ever drove a commercial vehicle, you are painfully aware of not just the multitude of rules and regulations but also the fines that go with them. Instead of penalizing the drivers, the industry needs to reward them.

Department of Transportation and employers record and report driver's mistakes. Now good driving records will finally be a part of the drivers’ files as well. The same way a good credit score opens doors for consumers, a good driving record will now open the door to opportunity.

So being an owner-operator or company driver, maybe the blockchain can provide the answer to the question "Are truckers paid enough?"

Experience and performance can finally be quantified and documented, and there you have it, our industry is instantly revolutionized. Now join Logiflex and ride the wave with us or try to catch up if you can!

May 4, 20181 Comment

Trucking trip to Alaska and back in January Part 2

logiflex highway snow road january alaska trucking

Alaska Trucking

We’ve told the story from our perspective, about how we sent a truck to Alaska in January. But the better story comes from the field and our driver Marc. Here are four takeaways he took from his experience:

Wildlife

Be careful of the wildlife. Not just for the moose crossing the road, or the random bison grazing on the shoulder paying you and your truck no mind whatsoever. There’s more. There are eagles, lynxes, bears, and ravens. The moose generally tend to move out of the roadway. Animals want nothing to do with you unless they feel threatened, which they won’t allow themselves to be put in a position to be. The bison get mildly irritated by your air horn. Lynxes are blind to human existence, but also really want nothing to do with you. And then there are bears. They’re a lot like lynxes. They want to get away from you and be left alone. Leave them alone; they leave you alone. I think bison are the biggest threat. They are everywhere and usually in big herds. They pay no attention to their surroundings, and they are just oblivious to human existence, so be careful while driving near them. Always proceed with caution when there’s wildlife near/on the roads.

Cellular connections

There’s not much 4G going on up in the Yukon, but if you come across electricity, you’ll probably come across a usable cell signal. Internet signal will be dodgy at best, but a phone signal isn’t impossible. Make sure that your cellular provider can grant you international roaming and be aware of your charges. I have Sprint and while my data was free, (yee freaking haw seeing as how my data sucked) my voice calls were $0.20 a minute. You should map out your route with your GPS AND Google maps (or whatever computer-based mapping system you like) ahead of time and take screenshots. You won’t have a chance to look at it again once you are out of range. Keep in mind; there is more out there on the Alaskan Highway than a truck stop guide, or app is going to tell you. I’d say that there’s a safe haven every 50–100 miles. That’s just a guess, but that’s better than what you’d find in a guidebook.

Funds

The Canadian currency has generally been worth far less than US currency for as long as I can remember. (Born and raised within 30 miles of the Canadian border.) When we were preparing for this trip, the exchange rate was $1US = $1.36CAN. That’s a pretty substantial exchange rate. Plus, most items in Canada are more expensive than they are in the States. Figure out how much you need on a daily basis and work out a budget for the entire trip through Canada. Also, it’s a good idea to exchange some funds at the Duty-Free at the border crossing. Most banks near the border, on either side, will do the same and give you the most current rate of exchange. The Duty-Free is just a bit easier.

Distractions

If you’ve driven most of the lower 48, you’ve seen some pretty amazing things. The scenery is almost unexplainable. There’s a newly added variable when driving up the Alaskan Highway, and it’s called “isolation.” If you think Iowa is “isolated,” guess what, you’re wrong, if you think west Texas is desolate, guess what, you’re wrong, and if you think the drive on I-10, from California to El Paso is boring, guess what, yeah, you got the idea. You cannot fully grasp the concept of what it means to be so thoroughly and utterly alone and on your own, until you’ve driven the Alaskan Highway. It’s not in the middle of nowhere; it IS nowhere. YOU are nowhere.

Regardless of all that, AK trucking might be the most beautiful experience you ever come across in your life.

May 4, 2018No Comments

Are Truck Drivers Paid Enough?

Are Truck Drivers Paid Enough - Our take on the problem

The average full-time workweek for an adult in the United States is 34.4 hours. Seems like quite the workload, but we are a nation of hard workers, and we take pride in that.

Now imagine having a worker that really pushed the line and worked twice as hard. Every week. Every month. Year after year. A 70 hour workweek is something else! Imagine the productivity if one could find such workers!

Now imagine having an entire team of these workers as part of your operation. Wouldn’t you want to reward them for their dedication?

We do! At Logiflex, we don’t have to imagine these hard workers. We call them our team of expert drivers and they are the secret behind our track record of excellence!

Yellow Truck Happy Driver paid per hour tracktor trailer old logiflex logo

We don’t settle for mediocrity and neither should our drivers. Therefore we are introducing a compensation package that is virtually unmatched in our industry. In addition to offering medical, vision, dental, and life insurance benefits, we are now adding a 401k retirement plan and two separate payment options.

Drivers paid per hour

Is that the answer? This is what we think. Starting today our top runners will earn 60 cents per mile along with all the benefits and job security offered by W-2 employment. Furthermore,  we are also rolling out a different payment option for those who’ve had enough of the same old game of getting paid by the mile. Hence, we will pay those employees hourly. After all, ELDs afford you 14 on duty hours per day. And doesn’t on-duty time equal time on the job? It’s high time drivers get compensation for pre and post-trip inspections, for downtime at shippers and receivers, fueling, and of course for driving. And because driving is at the heart of it all, we will pay overtime when you log more than eight driving hours on any given day.

Our drivers certainly deserve it, and as a matter of fact, every driver deserves it.
Don’t settle for less, give us a call, and come share in our success!

© 2018 Logiflex Inc

Blog.

What do truck drivers need to have in their permit folder?

Whether we call it a permit book, a paperwork binder or a document folder you keep one in your truck. Have you had an...

→ Read More

ELD mandate shifts the trucking industry.

 The trucking industry shifts for the better. Dec. 18th, 2017 December 18th is now in sight! It’s no longer a distant date in the...

→ Read More

Sending a truck to Alaska and back in January

Alaska trucking is not a joke, so we want to share some details about it. At the beginning of 2016 we got a load...

→ Read More

Different truck insurance explained

4 types of insurance associated with owning an eighteen-wheeler Owner operators are asking us to have truck insurance explained and what are the charges....

→ Read More

Blockchain and Trucking Explained

What’s a blockchain and why should you care? If bitcoins and blockchain make you scratch your head in confusion, you’re not alone. I spent...

→ Read More

Trucking trip to Alaska and back in January Part 2

Alaska Trucking We’ve told the story from our perspective, about how we sent a truck to Alaska in January. But the better story comes...

→ Read More

Are Truck Drivers Paid Enough?

Are Truck Drivers Paid Enough - Our take on the problem The average full-time workweek for an adult in the United States is 34.4...

→ Read More