Tag Archives: Truck Training Schoolsof Association

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.

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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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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Be Prepared for Mother Nature

Trucking can be a great profession for those that enjoy traveling and seeing the Country. I enjoyed my driving career over the 25 years I was behind the wheel but any experienced driver will tell you that anything can happen no matter what the weather conditions, time of year, or traffic flow. Experienced drivers know to be prepared for any conditions and that includes Mother Nature.

No doubt you have heard in the past of drivers getting snowed in during winter snow storms and being trapped in their vehicles as they wait for the road or weather conditions to clear. All it takes is an accident to close a roadway and that can happen in any weather condition. I remember one time driving through Iowa on my way to Nebraska, driving down the road I heard a message over the radio saying, “Here he comes!” and when I looked across the road I saw a vehicle coming through the median that had been cut off from the other direction. Everyone managed to stop without incident, but it just shows you that things can change in a moments notice. Over the years I have had to wait for weather to clear, accidents to be cleaned up, and roads to reopen.

Truck on highway

You’re probably thinking right now we understand that in the winter time those types of problems can happen, but this is summer time. If you missed the message from the last paragraph conditions can change no matter what time of year and can bring safety issues that many may not think about. If you have been watching the news as of late you will certainly have heard that wildfires are front and centre in the media. Normally we hear about these in places like California, British Columbia, and other heavily wooded locations away from major roadways and hopefully populations. The fires however are creeping closer and there is now the possibility that it may cause the closure of a major highway through Ontario as we approach a holiday weekend.

How can you protect yourself as a driver? For most drivers the fact that they sleep in their trucks shutting down is not that big a deal. You have a comfortable place to sleep if you have a bunk and many have some of the amenities of home such as television etc. So what should you be worried about as a driver at this time of year?

Some items are crucial to your survival should you be shutdown on route to your destination. What you have to remember is that you won’t always be located near a truck stop or service plaza. You may be stopped in the middle of nowhere and require you to be self sufficient until things clear up.

Here are a few tips to help you survive a road closure:

  • Run on the premise of the top side of your fuel tank. Fuel will allow you to remain comfortable while sleeping and be able to move if you are diverted off route.
  • Keep emergency food supplies in the truck. Many drivers may have food with them but some use truck stops. It never hurts to keep food supplies like peanut butter, crackers, or other non perishable items that can be accessed in an emergency. It is best to keep this outside of your normal food supply.
  • Keep extra water in your vehicle. Even in my car when I fuel up I like to keep two or three bottles of water in the car at any point in time. It may be warm but it will keep you alive.
  • Keep your communication devices fully charged and in good order. If you have to call for help it is important that your device can reach the help you need.
  • Keep communications open with other drivers so that you know what conditions are like up the road.
  • If you are trapped in a situation such as a road closure work with others. Be helpful to others and do your best to be a team player. Many personal vehicles won’t be as prepared for a shutdown the way professional drivers are. If they need help do your best to help, you are all in the situation together.

I don’t want to scare you but it is always best to be prepared. With fires looming out of control and a Civic Holiday weekend upon us it is always best to be prepared. Have a great holiday weekend and please be safe out there on the roadways.

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.

ttsao conference 2019 ad-Save the Date

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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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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!

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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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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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