Category Archives: Truck Driver Articles

Are You Creating Your career Opportunity?

Is it time to treat yourself to a gift? It’s amazing how many people go through life doing the same job or working in the same capacity and never think about moving up or changing their career environment. We often go through life doing the same job everyday hoping that
someone will notice our hard work and offer us change to a better opportunity. Sometimes that can take years for someone to notice your hard work among the other employees at the company and management still may not see you as right for the job. The secret to making this happen is to create the opportunity.
This happened to me back in 2003. I had been a truck driver for over 20 years at this point and was looking to move out of the truck. I had been at the company for over 9 years and one of the reasons I moved to the company in the first place was to advance in my career. The change to the company itself was an advance but I now felt ready for the next step. I had decided a year before to go back to school to learn some new skills and clean up my educational
background. I took a number of courses in technology, business, and other interesting career courses to help build my education for the future. At the same time the company was upgrading their technology and moving managers and supervisors to different departments. Things changed and I found myself with the opportunity to be supervisor of the same fleet that I had worked for as a driver for many years. As it turned out I got the job beating out another driver that had a long standing career with many more years of experience. The reason he didn’t get the job even after I threw my support behind him is that he hadn’t upgraded his computer skills and the company was changing in technology.

Man driving tractor

You have to create opportunities in your life and career. There are too many people looking for that promotion for you to standby in the shadows hoping someone will notice you. When I went back to school people noticed my ambition, asked about courses I was taking, and were impressed with the determination of working harder than the next person. I didn’t quit my job to do this as there are many flexible courses online or at local establishments allowing you to work around your current job hours. This is the perfect time of year to start thinking about upgrading your skills for the new year. Whether for yourself or someone in your family giving them the gift of training can be the best thing you can give. Check out the video below on the career of Joe Teixeira.

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 Transportation Start Policing Themselves

Trucking is a serious job! Forty tons of freight on a vehicle that is 75 feet long and bends in the middle is not something to be taken lightly. It takes skill, dedication, and training above other drivers on the road. If you add drugs and alcohol to the mix you are making a bomb that is traveling at 100 kilometres per hour and has the potential to do harm to many at once.

Here we are in the heart of Holiday Season with an increased presence of police enforcement with RIDE Programs and new technology for evaluating impairment putting driver impairment front and centre on the map of safe driving. But is it working?

Recently there have been an increase in driver impairment among truck drivers with alcohol or drugs. The last few reports on this the drivers were not in any type of incident but were found impaired after being stopped for another violation such as a traffic stop or inspection. Why is impairment among truck drivers increasing?

To be fair driver impairment has been in the news more over the last year with cannabis becoming legal over the last couple of years in Canada and the Holiday Season approaching. You would think with the amount of awareness and the increase in monitoring of drivers by carriers that the numbers for impairment would be going the other way, yet they seem to be increasing.

What is the answer to decreasing the trend upwards of impairment among drivers. Is it more information or additional training? Is it breathalyzers in every truck such as they have for those that have been convicted of offences?

Here are a couple of articles talking about impairment issues. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/policing/police/community-safety-policing/impaired-driving/drug-impaired-driving.html and https://madd.ca/pages/impaired-driving/overview/cannabis-and-driving/

depressed-person

When I talk with other drivers at safety meetings and shows many of them have the same opinion in the fact that drivers know the importance of keeping their licences free of violations and the fact that it can greatly reduce opportunities for their career in the future. If drivers know this then why are we continuing the trend upwards.

I believe common sense needs to be added to training. As an industry we spend a lot of time training drivers for compliance to ensure the carrier can show insurance that they are keeping up on safety, but how many are training based on leadership, professionalism, and common sense decision making. How many carriers included drug and alcohol training in their training over the last year on a regular basis?

As an industry we have to start policing ourselves in a number of areas from impairment to safety to tax evasion. As we get more people involved in the industry from other cultures and Countries where laws may be different we have to enhance those standards that make our industry professional. As an industry we invest a lot of money in technology and equipment but if we can’t help a driver understand the importance of being free of drugs and alcohol and good decision making we will always be a threat to other motorists on the road. Please be safe this Holiday Season and don’t drink or do drugs when about to drive.

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 for Truck Drivers. 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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Human Trafficking Hot Topic in Trucking

Human trafficking is a hot topic in trucking and the Government of Canada. We often feel that Canada is immune to issues we hear South of the Border but in reality Canada is a leader in cargo crime only behind California and is now becoming increasingly a problem with other crimes such as human trafficking. Human trafficking has been increasing since 2009 and usually involves women from 20-30 that end up working in the sex trade. The Globe and Mail recently wrote an article about the issue which you can read by clicking the link. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/toronto/article-more-than-30-people-arrested-in-multi-province-human-trafficking/

An increase in crimes such as cargo theft is a sign that other crimes may be increasing in other areas. Cargo crime specialist Todd Moore of ISB Global Services has presented many times on cargo securement and says that general cargo crimes are seed money for other crimes with human trafficking being one of them. Organized crime is behind much of the cargo crime in Canada and as mentioned in the article above by the Globe and Mail organized crime is also behind human trafficking showing a constant link that I am sure is strong signal to law enforcement.

With an increase of refugees and other immigration issues at the forefront human trafficking has been increasing around the World. Truck drivers are often used in these crimes as was reported with people found in trucks in England, the United States, and Canada with refugees trying to escape their homelands.

Past presentations I have seen on human trafficking include being aware of those in public locations such as truck stops being aware of those that may look like they are being controlled by someone else, frightened, or being watched from afar. Lately the people being trafficked have been found in the back of trailers so now the focus has been on people buying large amounts of products like water, food, or other supplies as a possibility to human trafficking.

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If you are interested in learning more about human trafficking and how it may be affecting your operation or the industry in general the Truck Training School Association of Ontario will be hosting a presentation on human trafficking by Heather Fry, Canadian Director of Truckers Against Trafficking, and Jim Dimech of Praxair Canada Inc on what can be done about the issue and what agencies are doing about the problem. Here is the press release for the event on December 11th, 2019.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Starting Your Job Search in the Right Place

If you’re looking for a job opportunity you have to be in the right place to find the right job. I was recently reading a post from a young person looking for a job in the trucking industry and wondering where to find a carrier that would hire them and help with training. Now I personally know many carriers that are looking for truck drivers and other positions for their fleets here in Canada and the United States is much the same.

Often I find people are trying to find employment in the wrong way. They are trying to find a job asking people on social media. Now I know social media is considered main stream these days and it has its benefits and drawbacks but the opinions for the most part will be personal and may not relate to your specific situation but to the person offering the opinion. Social media should be used as a way to learn more about a company once you have found one rather than at the start of your search for a job, so where do you start?

If I was looking for a truck driving job and didn’t have an inside connection to a particular carrier I would start with the industry resources or job boards. Any carrier that is well connected in the industry will be part of an industry association or advertise in industry publications. Some carriers will advertise outside of the industry but truck driving is different from many other industries and a person needs to understand the job before applying for the position.

Pipe Truck

Starting with industry specific publications will give you a bird’s eye view of who is hiring, what they offer, and the type of freight they haul. After that you can look into benefits, training, and other important factors involved in working with a carrier.

Asking friends is fine, but you may not get the proper information. Trusting carriers alone can be an issue if the carriers are not reputable. Starting a job search can be a daunting task but if you do it the right way you can get the proper information and be successful. If you are looking for tips on getting a job in the trucking industry the TTSAO has an article list on their website with some great tips. http://ttsao.com/category/industry-employment/

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Are You a Mobile Support Equipment Operator

Over the years we’ve changed the face of trucking with new cultures and immigration programs, maybe it’s time we change the name. One thing trucking hasn’t improved in is respect. We have improved in technology, we have more training, we have more regulations, but we don’t seem to have any more respect. If you say the term “truck driver” to anyone in the general public you will see their face twist and usually hear something like “ that’s a hard job” or “tough industry.” The only time that changes is when you talk to someone who understands the industry or has driven before.

What if we changed the name? We all respect someone in the Military for the hard work they do and the danger of the job. There are many people in the military either doing the exact same job that a truck driver does, but because of the function of the military people’s perceptions are totally different. If motorists get held up in traffic by a line of trucks they swear and curse at the drivers. If they get held up by a military convoy they salute and wave. Could it be the name that helps to change the perception of the job. I agree that people in the army are amazing in protecting our Country and supporting war efforts for others, but we all know if we were to stop the trucks transporting goods across our Country the shelves would be bare. Does it make us any less important?

Trailer-back

I was reading an advertisement for a job to become a truck driver in the military. No I am not trying to get a job but was curious to see what they would look for in a person and what type of work they would be expected to do. I was expecting the job description to say things like; Must be able to drive a tank, ten years experience hauling helicopters, or something like that. When I read the description it was almost the same as a truck driver job. The items were drive buses, trucks, and tractor trailers. Inspect vehicles, fill out paperwork, maintain the vehicle, etcetera. That sounds much like what a truck driver does. You can see the description for yourself at https://forces.ca/en/career/mobile-support-equipment-operator/.

Here is the difference, the job is not called truck driver for the army but “Mobile Support Equipment Operator.” Doesn’t that sound nice? It is much of the same job with a lot more respect and of course learning to shoot a gun. Marketing has always been the transportation industry’s problem. Whether we change it to a skilled trade or rename it for more respect I think we need to look at that as an industry.

On another note our military personnel are crucial to our freedom and survival as a Country. Please remember those that have served to give us the freedom we now enjoy in Canada and beyond and pause to remember them on November 11th. Thank you to all of our military services for the work you do.

Military-Trucks

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Over Regulating vs Over Promoting, What’s Best for our Industry?

In January 2020 the United States will be launching their drug and alcohol clearing house for commercial drivers that is suppose to offer transparency for truck drivers allowing employers to see the results of testing done on drivers in the industry. This apparently is to make our roads safer and solve the problem of drug and alcohol related deaths behind the wheel. You can read about the new regulations here. https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevebanker/2019/10/24/a-shocking-loophole-affecting-road-safety-is-finally-about-to-close/#519cec65770f

Over the last few years we have brought in Mandatory Entry Level Training, Electronic Logging Devices, and changed a number of regulations regarding Hours of Service. I am all for making our roads safer but are regulations the way to do it or are we just making it more of a turn off for people to get into our industry? If you add in all the talk of self-driving trucks, Amazon shipping, and robotic technology it can be very hard to attract talent our industry. We are already driving out the many long term drivers currently doing the job and not attracting the younger generations we need because the industry isn’t attractive. Are we focusing on the right areas in our industry or are we killing our industry?

We can’t tell what will happen in the future but there are opportunities now in the industry in a number of fields. If we spent as much time teaching people to make the right decisions and fixing the real problems in the industry such as safe parking and infrastructure such as separate truck lanes or priority traffic patterns to keep goods moving it would be much more safer and attractive than telling everyone when they should sleep. Regulating an industry that has so many variables is not only making roads unsafe but not attracting the people that we need to carry out the very important task of truck driving.

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What people developing new technology for the trucking industry are not telling us is the price of those trucks and the fact that most small to mid-sized fleets won’t be able to afford those vehicles. They are not telling us that the transportation industry has been slow to follow in technology over the years and that if you were to put a self driving truck in the fleet most people wouldn’t know how to get it to move. I use technology in a day to day basis and believe it is helpful to our lives if it is used to make our lives more efficient and safe.

We need to spend more time showing people why our industry is important and changing the industry to be more attractive to the next generations instead of the way we are doing it now and turning everyone away from an industry that many of us have built a life on. Trucking will change that’s for sure, but I don’t see it going away!

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Being Job Ready in 2019

What does being job ready mean in 2019 and 2020? Does it mean you have to be able to out work the person next to you? Does it mean you have to a university degree in your chosen field? Does it mean you have to have a technological background? What does job ready mean anymore?

Decades ago being job ready means you were willing to put in long hours at work and do what it takes to get the job done. Trucking companies were looking for people that didn’t mind hard work and that’s why people with a farming background succeeded so well in the industry. Being educated was for those with financial resources to get someone to college and many people had grade 10 education or less but had a work ethic that carried them through and gave them a good life. They excelled in the industry because of the farming and mechanical backgrounds allowing them to fix equipment and have pride in their work.

Today those same values are only important to the older drivers that made their careers successful through hard work. Today people are educated and focused more on work / life balance than getting the job done at all costs. As carriers struggle to change with a rolling economy and demands from a changing labour market it is changing what is attracting new drivers to the industry leaving transportation in a fluctuating market. Who are we looking for?

When you apply for a job in the market today you have to have a number of things going for you. Employers want a mix of old and new and that is very hard to find in the same person. They want someone educated and tech savvy with the old values of willing to work long hours and get the job done while being safe. Those people are out there but our industry has not changed the way things have been done for over 30 years. We haven’t shown respect for the time of the driver and we are still looking for someone to work long hours while that someone is good around equipment with a safety mindset. Unfortunately that is not what young people want in their job. What does that mean for being job ready in 2019 and 2020?

Carriers are changing to meet the demand of applicants in our industry so they can attract the talent they need. They are doing their best to add flexibility to their operations with shorter days and flexible start times. Many are now paying for detention time and offering more technology in the trucks. Different types of people are now making up many carrier teams allowing for different operation styles. Driver pay is slowly rising to help attract talent to the workplace.

Team-Drivers

What does the perfect truck driver model look like in 2020? “A truck driver that is educated with a willingness to be better,” would be my statement if I was asked. Trucking offers so many opportunities but many of them you cannot see until you are in the industry. Someone that is willing to take a little blind faith and get started in an industry that is changing rapidly will have many opportunities available to them that they may not be able to get anywhere else. Since our industry has so many career legs to it you can create a custom career path while making money and seeing the Country at the same time and you will be at the forefront of the technological change which is beginning to happen right now. There has never been more opportunity in our industry and for the right mindset the future is unlimited. Trucking will always be here in one form or another and you can be part of it.

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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 for Truck Drivers. 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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Be Thankful for Trucking at Thanksgiving

As we move into another Canadian Thanksgiving I always like to remind everyone that without trucking you would have an empty table. I have always said that trucking has terrible marketing campaigns and what many refer to as a dumping ground for people with a lack of education in the past is possibly one of the most important professions on the planet. Without truck drivers there would be nothing on that Thanksgiving table.

I recently interviewed a young reporter on my podcast who has been reporting specifically on the transportation industry for the last two years. She was in her mid twenties and when I asked her what people her age thought of the trucking industry she said they didn’t find it attractive. She mentioned that many young people feel the industry is such as those movies from the 70’s where we are all shown speeding from the police, gear jamming through outlaw convoys, and drinking in the truck stops before heading out on the road. Being a product of that time and starting my trucking career in the early 80’s I can tell you the industry couldn’t be any further from those scenarios seen in many movies. Like any good movie scenario getting a turkey to the kitchen table by truck certainly isn’t as thrilling as hauling illegal beer back from Texarkana Texas with Police in chase.

Even the movies that are made to reflect a more accurate look on the industry get caught up in movie making effects and can soon turn fable over fact in a short period of time. Unfortunately these movies and television shows are there for entertainment and that causes scenarios to be embellished for ratings. My friends that are involved in some of those shows will tell stories of how producers will ask them to make a scene more interesting by re-shooting it outside of what is allowed in the regulations or cut out certain scenes to make things more dramatic.

It’s a shame that television changes reality into fiction because our industry may be very different. Since it is such an important industry to the economy of our Country it should be treated as such because we keep saying, “Without trucks there would be nothing on our shelves.” Truck drivers are expected to get deliveries made in all sorts of weather and traffic situations yet we treat them like children. Even though our industry has changed over the years our importance is still being determined by movies made for entertainment from a time that is long gone.

Thank a truck driver!

As you sit down for that fabulous meal at Thanksgiving this weekend take a moment to reflect on the items on your table. The food came from a store that was supplied by a truck. Your table ware came from stores that were supplied by trucks. For many truck drivers they aren’t sitting at a table for Thanksgiving, they are driving up and down the roadways keeping those shelves stocked for others while you enjoy your meal. Thank a truck driver and Happy Thanksgiving.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Company vs Freight-Choosing a Carrier

Scrolling through a recent social media website on trucking I noticed a lot of questions from new drivers on whether to go work for a certain company based on the type of freight they haul. Sure drivers do choose carriers based on the type of freight they haul but is that the best way to choose a company that you hope to stay with for a good part of your career?

The question comes down to what do you feel is more important? In my personal opinion choosing the right company to work with far outweighs the type of freight they haul however there are many drivers out there that prefer to work with only flatbed, tanker, automobiles, or more. Much of that is what you’ve been introduced to at the beginning of your career and what has been accessible to you over time. For instance I never pulled B-trains just because I never worked for companies that had those opportunities available. I fell into the hazmat side of the industry due to the companies I worked with did a lot of that type of work. When I look back on my career I worked for good companies so don’t think I would change anything if I could.

Where you are in your career will make the difference in how you answer the question company or freight, it is kind of like the chicken and the egg scenario. I feel it comes down to how long you have been driving and the type of work you enjoy doing.

Let’s start with new drivers. If you are a brand new driver or someone that has been driving for under 5 years then you should be choosing a company to work for that has a good culture, good training / finishing program, and can offer you various types of trips or freight to gain experience. You want to gain experience on the road and if you get hired by a company that offers different types of freight even better. I worked for several companies that had a variety of freight from flatbed or steel, to refrigerated freight, and dry van before settling on a carrier that was specifically hazardous materials. You want a company with a good culture and one that is willing to be patient with someone new as they learn the ropes.

pipe truck

If you have been driving for more than 5 years then you may want to choose a company based on the freight they haul. At this time in your career you may have experienced a certain type of freight and realized you enjoy working with that type of equipment and enjoy the work. Choosing the companies that have that freight type would be the better way to choose a company but only if you know exactly what you want. Even then I would determine the type of freight I want to work with and create a list of those companies, then choose a company by their culture and other criteria.

No matter where you are in your career you want to work for a company that treats you right as an employee no matter what they haul. Choosing a company that has your type of freight, but doesn’t pay you, has you sitting waiting for freight, or has bad equipment won’t offer you a rewarding career as a professional driver. Choose wisely!

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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3 Steps to Learning the Truck Inspection Process

Learning how to conduct a truck inspection can be a daunting task when you’re a new student in a truck training school. There are many parts to inspect on a truck or bus and missing just one area can result in fines and downtime for any driver. This is why the inspection process is so important and a reason that every student has to take it seriously.

I recently attended a school to understand their yard work program and what students thought of going through the yard work process. The testing procedures have changed since the implementation of Mandatory Entry Level Training and has become more challenging for the student. Previously the inspection process was taught as a routine that a student would learn and show when testing for their licence. Over the years the testing changed to a random item test where the testing agent will ask the driver to inspect different items on the truck in various orders. The student doesn’t know ahead of time which items will be asked of them therefore having to learn the whole process.

Talking to instructor Jean at the school conducting the training for inspections I asked how the new way of testing has improved the training process? “Students have to learn the full schedule 1 with the new system. Previously the students were taught a routine for inspecting a truck, but due to the time frame in testing were memorizing what to say more than what they were actually inspecting. Because the requests are random students have to know exactly how to inspect an item and not just what to say to the tester.” Says Jean.

Instruction picture

One of the things I noticed when attending the training is that the students going through the program took the instruction very seriously. As a trainer myself I can tell you that not all students understand the importance of training or have the same level of determination. The students going through the inspection schedule, asking questions, and redoing tasks they didn’t understand or do correctly were determined to understand the components fully. Those are the students that will pass successfully but also make professional drivers in the future.

If you are a new student or someone just getting started in the process of looking for a training facility then there a few things you can do to ensure your training is successful:

  • Ensure you are attending a certified training facility. Certified schools have the top instructors that have the knowledge to show you the proper way to inspect items.
  • Participate in the training. Many times the inspection process is taught in a group setting. Don’t just stand on the side lines but be active taking notes, doing tasks, and asking questions.
  • Take your training seriously. Failing to inspect a truck properly can result in fines, delays, or even death. It is important to take your training seriously, review your work, take notes, and ask questions of things you don’t understand.

Truck inspections are required of drivers every day and there are many that don’t do them properly. They are important from a safety standpoint, required from a testing standpoint, and can minimize delays on the road, but only if you know how to do a proper inspection.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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