All posts by ttsaoadmin

Operation Safe Driver Week needs to be for more than just trucks

Operation Safe Driver Week started on Monday with enforcement officers stepping up patrols looking for dangerous drivers on the roadways. My question is do we really need all these road safety weeks? Is this really helping us be safer?

Industry publication Truck News put out some alarming statistics about the industry noting that there is a 38% increase in accidents on the roadways in Ontario with an 800% increase in the Northeast regions. You can read the actual article here https://www.trucknews.com/health-safety/opp-concerned-about-truck-crash-rates/1003086757/. The article goes on to offer inspection statistics and information on enforcement efforts but are we getting better?

If you haven’t noticed we seem to have more safety inspection programs, more regulations, more education, yet we seem to be going in the opposite direction and honestly I don’t think more truck inspections will change the behaviour of the motoring public.

The 401 corridor is said to be one of the busiest highways in North America rivaling places like Los Angeles and Atlanta Georgia. That may not mean much to you but I still remember the morning in my driving career when I arrived in Atlanta Georgia in the middle of rush hour and said to myself I had never seen so many cars on the road, it was like a sea of vehicles. That was twenty years ago so I can only imagine what Atlanta is like today and for the 401 to be busier than Atlanta is a scary thought.

Trucks in mountains

Our roadways are so busy now with everyone in a hurry to get to their destination that the chance of them being caught driving distracted, speeding, or doing anything else unlawful is a small percentage so people do it anyway, we will never have enough enforcement officers to catch everyone. By focusing on commercial vehicles enforcement officers have a directed focus and since trucks can cause a lot of damage stopping those crashes can lower fatalities in a big way. Now I certainly am not saying that truck drivers are the cause of such accidents I just think that is how enforcement agencies have tried to attack the number of accidents on our roadways. The question now becomes will it work and my gut instinct tells me it won’t.

There seems to be a push back from older drivers to get people to start at the bottom of the ladder and learn the industry from the ground up. That’s the way we used to do so in the eighties when you would work on the dock, then wash the trucks, then learn to drive. I think we can all agree that program won’t work with the current driver shortage so what do we do?

I myself believe there needs to be a mix of the old and the new. Let’s use technology to our advantage and mix in the values from former years. Let’s educate the whole population and not just one group and expect them to lower the accident rate for everyone. I don’t have all the answers but here are a few suggestions to get the conversation started:

  • Add safety questions for trucks on every driver test and include general truck training in new driver classes.
  • Add technology to vehicles that will block cellular signals so people can’t use their phones with the exception of emergencies while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Create training programs where professionalism in the industry is part of the curriculum and is trained upon.

We all need to be working on ourselves when it comes to safety and in a world where we are all busy and in a hurry we need to monitor what we do and not rely on enforcement. It’s up to you!

Find a TTSAO Certified School in your area

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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My GPS told me to do it!

I don’t have a problem with technology in fact I use many programs everyday in my life, but doing some things the old way just made more sense like reading maps. I am not against using a GPS to help find a destination but you need to back it up by reviewing the trip as a whole to ensure the GPS is correct. I have found some GPS programs to be better than others and some fail miserably, but at the end of the day it is the common sense of the driver that makes that person a professional or not. I keep telling students don’t follow your GPS unit blindly, it will get you into trouble eventually.

map-and-gps

 

Over the last year or so I have heard of a number of truck drivers that have got their trucks stuck in the sand of a beach. Now I think common sense would tell most drivers that a tractor trailer is too heavy for a sandy beach, yet there are stories and videos that prove drivers don’t understand this simple rule. In Canadian schools we are taught to stay off soft shoulders in the Spring and we certainly don’t want drivers driving on beaches after all I have been to many beaches and don’t remember seeing any loading docks on the beach. Places like Daytona Beach and other beaches along the coast often allow people to drive on them, but it certainly is not meant for the weight of a truck.

Recently there was a story about driver on social media that followed his GPS and ended up at the end of the road facing the beach. Hey at this point I blame the GPS and understand that could happen to the driver, however a map would have shown him there was a ocean there. It’s the next part where the driver saw the sand and still kept going trying to drive out on the sand to turn his rig around. That’s the part where common sense went out the window. The driver managed to get pulled out by a tow truck but it could have been much worse. Unfortunately this driver was caught on video not helping our industry at all.

Truck on beach

If you would like to see the video on YouTube click here.

We need to get back to some of the ways of the past when it comes to common sense. Reviewing your whole trip with another source where you can see the trip as whole and understand the difference between South and North, or East or West when travelling and verify any directions that don’t seem correct with other drivers, customers, or your carrier. Being a professional driver is more than just driving a truck blindly, but about making smart decisions. Learn how to understand the geography of roadways in the United States and Canada. Double check your destinations and do proper trip planning. I know it’s hot outside but the beach is no place for a truck.

Looking for a certified school to help you be a true professional driver? Check out the TTSAO schools.

Find a TTSAO Certified School in your area

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Trucking on the 4th of July

Happy Independence Day to our American friends in the United States as you enjoy this 4th of July holiday. The United States has been celebrating independence since 1776 and this is a major holiday of the summer. For those of you that are new to the trucking industry you may not think that a holiday like the 4th of July can affect a Canadian driver delivering loads down in the United States but it can be one of the best times to travel south of the border.

Like everything in life there is good and bad in everything and trucking on 4th of July is no different. Let’s look at the good part first. When it comes to passionate patriotism you won’t find it any stronger than in the United States. Known as one of the strongest and largest countries in the World makes it a goal to live in for many people. People born in the United States are very proud to be American and display it proudly. This makes it a great place to drive because you will feel that patriotism as you drive down the road.

Truck-with-american-flag

I have always enjoyed driving on the back roads as much as possible when time allows. It gives you a different perspective into the way people live and I find it much more relaxing than always being on the big highway network. That is where you will see the pride of the country on those little back roads and small towns. Roll through Small Town, U.S.A. and you will see homes and businesses with flags out front waving proudly, you will find parades going on celebrating the day, and if lucky you will stumble onto one of those great State Fairs that are held throughout the nation. The 4th of July is a big deal and celebrated proudly with lots of celebrations and entertainment. Even for those of us not from the United States you can feel the pride of the country. When you’re parked at night don’t forget to look up as there will be many firework displays going on in most areas.

I found over my years on the road when you are in the United States the area you are in may dictate how much patriotism is shown. Everyone is patriotic but certain states seem to enhance it even more. I found states like Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont, and New Hampshire always seem to really show their Pride as well as many of the southern states such Kentucky, Texas, and the Carolina s. Maybe it was just the areas I ran the most so I noticed it more. No matter where you travel it can be a very joyous time of year.

So what do you have to look out for when operating in the States over the fourth of July. The first thing is to check your delivery times. Many companies will be closed for the day and possibly longer due to the holiday so make sure you know when receivers will be open. Driving through an area as much as it can be fun can be a challenge. Parades will be happening in almost every town and road closures can make your trip a lengthy one. If you are trying to make miles on the 4th of July stay to the Interstate. The last safety tip is to beware of fireworks. While they are certainly beautiful to look at while in the sky they can be very dangerous when handled incorrectly. Fireworks are readily available to many and some may use them dangerously without thinking about their surroundings. The last thing you need is a truck fire because of firework debris from someone that doesn’t know what they are doing.
Be careful out there.

Driving through the Country during holidays and special times can be a great way to get a feel for a place and enjoy festivities that you may not get to see otherwise. Enjoy the benefits of being a professional driver and being able to travel and see places most people can’t, so enjoy it. Happy 4th of July!

Looking for a carrier that can offer you a career seeing the Country? Click the banner below to see a list of carriers that offer driving opportunities.

TTSAO-Carrier-Group-banner

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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TTSAO is honoured for contribution to M.E.L.T.

TTSAO was honoured by the Ministry of Transportation for outstanding contribution and commitment to the Province of Ontario MELT program. The TTSAO has been an integral part of helping the Ministry of Transportation with designing the Mandatory Entry Level Training Program implemented in 2017 ensuring new drivers are trained properly. The TTSAO began meetings in early stages and was recognized at the PMTC conference for their efforts. The TTSAO is working to make the trucking industry a better place.

TTSAO is honoured for Melt Contribution

The TTSAO envisions that through the co-operation and joint efforts of all schools involved and the industry itself, specific standards and educational programs can be set for drivers that will not only prove more realistic but much more effective than those currently being put into place by various government agencies.

“Striving For Success In Training”

For more information on the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario please email ttsao@ttsao.com or call 1-866-475-9436 or visit www.ttsao.com

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Canadian Carriers Driving for New Hires

Want a pay raise? Sign on with one of the many Canadian Carriers that are increasing pay packages and benefits for drivers. If you are new to the industry you may not have known about the perfect storm that is brewing for drivers that can help you get the perfect job with a carrier. If ever you were looking at a job in the industry now is the time. Drivers that take advantage of that in a professional manner can map out there career success with the right strategy.

We have had a perfect storm brewing for many years in the industry. It started a few years ago with the amount of drivers coming into the industry or not coming into the industry causing a driver shortage. With fewer drivers entering the industry trucks were being left empty causing carriers to turn away business. A truck left empty is a major cost to a carrier even for a short period of time. This driver shortage was the first element of the storm.

Challenger truck

The second element of the storm was the implementation of electronic logging devices into the industry last year. With the implementation of electronic logs (ELDS) it caused some drivers and carriers to get out of the industry because of the regulations and it leveled the playing field on how goods are moved across the country. The playing field is equal because it now shows where delays are for drivers and companies are adjusting contracts to fit driver schedules.

The third element which is now coming into affect is the trading environment within North America with tariffs being talked about and the North American Free Trade issue in the middle of negotiations. We shall see how this plays out in the future but it will certainly affect the trucking industry in one way or another.

When you have a perfect storm like this in an industry it is either good or bad and this one is both. It is a rough time for carriers as they are trying to bring people into the seats and good for drivers because there are so many options for drivers with carriers. Carriers at this point are willing to get very creative to get people into the seats and it is now causing the industry to raise wages and benefits for drivers. The improvements however aren’t just monetary but improvements in carrier culture are also at the forefront. Carriers are now implementing focus groups and team meetings to find out what drivers want and many are improving communications and other benefits to make drivers more comfortable and happy. At the end of the day it is about making sure you as a driver are happy and have good place to go to work.

TTSAO-Carrier-Group-banner

What does this mean for you as a driver? It has been many years since driver rates went up the way they have over the last year and they continue to rise. You now have more power over your career options and can in many cases decide on the type of work you would like to do. Carriers are making adjustments in their fleet to keep drivers happy and keep them for the long term. For new drivers more carriers are implementing training programs to help drivers be safer and trained better and many are now looking at working with training schools which offers new drivers options right from the start. If you are thinking of getting into the trucking industry you could not find a better time. If you are not in the industry talking with a carrier or training school is the first place to start.

Find a TTSAO Certified School in your area

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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TTSAO Holds June BOD Meeting at PMTC Conference

The TTSAO Board of Directors held their June meeting at the PMTC Conference in Niagara Falls. Here are some pictures from the event.

Photos by Niko Charlambous

About the PMTC

The PMTC is recognized as the voice of private trucking in Canada. We regularly field calls from trade press seeking PMTC opinions on subjects of interest to the trucking industry. PMTC President Mike Millian also has a monthly column in a leading industry magazine to promote the views of private carriers. www.pmtc.ca

 

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Preventing theft as a truck driver?

How to prevent theft as a truck driver?

Recently I was reading an article from an industry publication on the effects of crime in the trucking industry. The article was reviewing a presentation to the Private Motor Truck Council (PMTC) during their annual conference by Todd Moore of the Canadian Armed Robbery Associates. The presentation outlined the the problem of cargo theft in the industry and how far reaching the problem is and where it stems from. You can read the article by John G. Smith of Newcom by clicking here. https://www.todaystrucking.com/mob-rules-italian-mafia-leading-source-of-cargo-theft/2

The linked article talks about the problem from an industry standpoint, but what can you do as a driver to prevent crime? The one thing that the article points out is that crime is everywhere and you never know who is watching you or interested in your load.

One of the best parts of being in trucking is the people you meet and the places you see. I have met people from all across North America because I drove a truck. Some of those I have bumped into again on occasion and others I have never seen again. I have met good people and people that I wouldn’t trust with a ten foot pole. This also brings a bigger problem of not knowing who you can trust and who is befriending you just to gain information for the future. In the back alley of New Jersey I already know those characters are not people trying to be my friend, but what about the person next to you at the truck stop counter?

Until 9/11 came upon us drivers were offering many details over the C.B. Radio about their destination and cargo without even a thought as to who was listening or asking on the other end. When the devastation of that day happened I was on the road with a load of chemicals and we immediately had communications come out stating that no information was to be offered to anyone as authorities believed that vehicles such as chemical trucks and fuel tankers could be used as targets of terrorism.

Trailer-back

So what should you do as a driver to prevent crime? What is realistic? The article on crime suggests that much of the attention for crime prevention falls on the carrier in the way of tracking equipment, offering tips to Police, and securing yards with trailers, that however will only take us so far. You as a driver are the ones out there on location and can either help by reporting a situation or help prevent it by not offering information about your load. It’s not uncommon to be asked by another driver over the radio about where you’re going on a trip or what you have on the load. For the most part the person asking is just making conversation and passing the time. Where the danger really lies is in who else is listening on that same channel or following your vehicle.

Tips for preventing crime on transport trucks

  • Inspect your vehicle regularly looking for unapproved entry
  • Don’t share any information on load content or destination
  • Report any suspicious activity at truck stops or destinations
  • Monitor those around you, especially if a vehicle is following you throughout your whole route.
  • Always secure and lock your vehicle. Never leave it running unattended.
  • If possible park where you can see your vehicle at all times.

Follow these basic tips and it will go along way to helping cut down on cargo crime. If you think that cargo crime is only a problem in the Untied States think again. Toronto Ontario is one of the top crime hubs in North America. Be safe out there.

Looking for a training provider in your area? Check out the TTSAO schools.

Find a TTSAO Certified School in your area

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Should you work for a carrier based on here-say?

Should you work for a carrier
based on here-say?

I was reading some posts the other day from beginning drivers in the United States talking about the type of carrier they wanted to work for and I found it interesting to view the conversation from someone within the industry. The chat was really about large carriers in the States which will remain nameless, but you would instantly know from social media. The conversation started with who should you work for and quickly went into why you wouldn’t want to work for different companies based on what people thought was important to them.

speeding-truck

The first part of the conversation was by a young person that didn’t want to be employed by a certain carrier because they have been seen on social media having many incidents and are the laughing stock of the industry.

The second part of the conversation started on another large carrier that a person saw many of their trucks drive through their small town so they figured they would get home regularly. When they called the Recruiting department they were told that their lanes didn’t go through that town very often and they would not get home. They were advised to move to another area and the person asked if the carrier would pick up the tab for the move? The carrier responded, “Once you move give us a call.” Needless to say the person wasn’t impressed with the answer.

The third part of the conversation moved to another carrier also large and well known but with a different twist. This carrier I have known for much of my driving career and was always impressed with their trucks. The conversation went to fact that this carrier did inspections on the inside cabs of their trucks and if they found it dirty they would charge the drivers a fine. One person commented that half his fleet would be on death row if they did inspections at his fleet, I thought that was funny. The complaint was that the person that started the company was a retired Colonel from the military and was very strict with their equipment. I believe you can be as strict as you want when you fit the bill for $100,000 piece of equipment, just saying. Like I said before they have a very good looking fleet so that says something.

There was one common denominator in all of these comments and stories, no one that was commenting had ever worked for these carriers. Everything was based on one person’s idea of the company or what they heard or saw on social media. Even the person that talked to the recruiter and wasn’t happy with the answers didn’t talk to another driver from that company. They either took information from social media, thought advertisements offered all the facts, and took advice from others that aren’t in the industry. There was even a comment about someone that drives and stays out for six months at a time and then goes home for a week. If you think that is the norm in trucking you’re wrong! That may be that person’s personal choice which is fine, but you can’t then go and say that all truck drivers stay out for six months on the road.

If you are looking into a job in the trucking industry do your homework but do it from trusted sources. Listen to shows on the trucking industry, read respectable publications from the industry, and ask questions from people with actual experience. As they say in the movies, “Get the facts, just the facts!” If you are looking for quality carriers that hire new drivers check out the TTSAO Carrier Group.

TTSAO-Carrier-Group-banner

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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