Tag Archives: transport companies

Should you work for a small carrier or a large carrier?

What is the best experienced company when looking for a carrier?

That was the question a young driver was asking that has just started his career. I came across this question on a social media site and thought it was interesting so I kept reading some of the answers. Some were silly, some humorous, and some had good information. The intrigue wasn’t so much with the answers, but the intent of the question itself. The driver who left the question explained that he was working for a large carrier in the United States for now but once he got his six months to a year of experience he wanted to find a small carrier to call home. His exact comment was, “Obviously we don’t want to drive for the megas forever, so what are good smaller companies?” This driver is looking at his driving career in the wrong way in my opinion and will always have trouble finding a good fit because the size of a carrier doesn’t mean anything.

There are carriers that are very large and great carriers that are very small and everything in between. The real questions you have to ask and only you can answer it is what do you want to do? Where do you want to go? What type of work do you want to do? How far do you want to travel? I have worked for various carriers over my career and found all of them had good and bad qualities.

Small carriers are great. You will often find a family feel and great equipment. When there’s a problem you can go right to the top and voice your concerns. Many times your dedication and hard work will be noticed by the top faster and that can lead to better runs and good money. The downside of a small carrier is that there can be little opportunity for growth outside of the driving position. If it is a family owned company there may be little opportunities available outside of the seat and it can lead to feeling stuck and unhappy down the road.

Man-with-blue-truck

Large Carriers are great as well. At large carriers there can be a wide array of support services for drivers from maintenance to administration that can help make your life a whole lot easier for day to day operations. Get stuck at the border and there is someone to call, need help with a maintenance issue and they can swap out equipment or have the resources to help you. The biggest positive I have found with large carriers is that there is room to grow in your career. If you want to expand out of the seat you can apply for positions inside of the office and create career longevity without changing carriers. The downside of many large carriers is the politics. This can happen in small carriers as well, but is often found in large carriers just due to the size of the operation.

Small and large sized carriers both have positive and negative points to their operations. I have seen drivers that have loved working with a large carrier in the fact that there is more flexibility for work options and time off. Some people don’t mind working long hours but want that family feel of an operation. There is no wrong or right answer what you are looking for will dictate the type of operation you apply to and only you know what that is.

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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. 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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Clean up Safety to Recruit New Drivers

All of transportation is wondering how to recruit new drivers to the industry, it’s an ongoing issue that many face. We’ve seen wages rising which is good, trucks getting more comfortable which is good, and more events going on with opportunities to learn more about the industry which is also good. We talk about the people in the industry and the various opportunities for growth and work for the future, so why do we have such a hard time bringing people into the industry? I blame it on the six o’clock news.

If you have been in this industry for any length of time you will know how good this industry is and that what you hear or see on the television is untrue, that we are not dangerous animals on the road. We also know that many of the incidents happening on the roads are not the fault of the truck driver. I know we can all agree on that. Yet often that same person who is thinking of looking at driving as a possible occupation sees the six o’clock news with another truck crash and wonders if they will even survive and come back to their families. We need to clean up safety to help attract new people to the industry. No matter how high we raise wages or how comfortable we make our trucks people won’t be attracted to work that may cause them harm.

Train-wreck

How do we do this? Well if I had the answer to that I would have changed the World already. Unfortunately I don’t have an answer that would solve that problem in one swoop. I do have some ideas that would help, but how well they could be implemented would be another thing.

First we need to focus on education and not just for drivers, but for the motoring public at large. Every driving test should have questions regarding commercial vehicles and all driving programs whether for commercial vehicles or not should include training on driving around large vehicles. Anyone that tows a trailer with a non-commercial vehicle such as a camper trailer should have to go and get a permit showing they have passed a knowledge test driving with a trailer and have an hours of service component to it.

We often hear about accidents on the roads but we rarely see the outcome of the investigations to show whether it was the fault of the truck driver or car drivers in incidents. A truck may be in an incident but that doesn’t mean it is their fault. We need to show the public the whole story so they see the actual statistics as we do in the industry.

This point will be the hardest to implement but why haven’t we added HOV lanes for commercial vehicles. There should be a separate lane for commercial vehicles allowing them to move through high traffic areas without cars playing their games on the highway. That would take us a long way in improving our safety if many of the consumer vehicles are the problem. The movement of goods should be a priority in this Country. We keep telling the public how important trucks are to the economy, maybe we should start to show them.

These of course are just my ideas but I thought I would offer them up as food for thought. We are always looking to improve safety and this may be a start. We all need to do our part to make the roads safer.

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 announces date for 2019 Conference

The TTSAO has announced the date fror the TTSAO 2019 conference and will be opening up registrations in the near future. keep an eye out for more information on the 4th annual conference.

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TTSAO Insurance Group talks insurance acceptability for course curriculum

The TTSAO Insurance Group would like to update all member Lisa Areseneauschools on the subject of insurance acceptability of course curriculum.  To clarify, non-fleet insurance and fleet insurance are deemed to have different standards when applying the rule of driver eligibility.  Currently, for non-fleet policies, only the full AZ 200+ hour courses are being accepted by some insurers.  The minimum 103.5 MELT basic standard has not been accepted by any insurer on a non-fleet insurance basis as of yet.  Fleet insurance eligibility is determined between the fleet itself and their insurer and would be decided on a case by case basis.

Lisa Arseneau, R.I.B.O.
Commercial Producer
Staebler Insurance
PH  519.743.5228  |Ext 222| TF 1.800.321.9187 | Fax 519.743.7464

About the TTSAO Insurance Group

The TTSAO Insurance Group is formed from member insurance companies supporting the training and employment of new and experienced students graduating from certified training facilities within the TTSAO (Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario. www.ttsao.com

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Don’t End Your Career Before It Begins

As I read an article the other day on the Humboldt tragedy I was very sad. I was sad for a community that lost so many good people, I was sad for the driver that has not only lost his career but much of his future once he is sentenced, and I am sad for the transportation industry that I know with so many good hard working people in it that have been scarred again by a situation causing such grief.

We still haven’t heard the details of the horrible crash that killed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, but after an extensive investigation the driver was charged with 29 charges ranging from dangerous driving causing death to dangerous driving causing bodily injury. If convicted of all charges this young driver will be in jail for many years. You can read the article at Truck News at https://www.trucknews.com/health-safety/twenty-nine-charges-laid-on-truck-driver-involved-in-humboldt-broncos-bus-collision/1003086645/

It is very sad to see a good community lose so many of their members and I am sad for the driver who’s life has changed for the future. All we have now are lessons to be learned from this tragedy so that it doesn’t happen again. We haven’t heard all the details but whatever the reason for the crash I am sure the driver didn’t mean to have this happen. Incidents like this can change a driver forever, it’s much like war vets with Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder where this driver will live with this tragedy his whole life.

 

When I was a young driver another driver that worked for one of our customers had his young son along with him for the summer and while the boy was opening the doors of the trailer he got caught between the truck and the dock and was killed. That driver never drove again.

A couple years ago a driver that had a stellar 40 year career was driving down the 401 when someone on the side of the road acting as though they were fixing a car stepped into the path of the passing truck killing themselves. The driver had no chance of prevention and was devastated ending his driving career.

In all of these incidents the drivers lived, but also died with the victims. There careers over no matter how experienced and their lives changed for the future. The memories will always be there of that night and although those affected may be able to get help to cope they will never truly be the same.

depressed-person

How do we combat these tragedies? In some cases we can’t do it alone as some factors are out of our hands, but as a new or experienced driver what you can do is to keep learning, keep alert, and pay attention to the task at hand. Shut off the distractions in the cab, focus on the road, and do proper trip planning keeping communications open. Don’t end what can be a great career because of inattention or trying to make a quick buck by pushing a mile. The decisions you make may last for a lifetime. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragedy.

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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. 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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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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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.

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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. 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.

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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. 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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