Tag Archives: trucking

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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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!

find-a-ttsao-Carrier

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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Celebrate All Transportation Professionals

In Canada it is currently “Driver Appreciation Week” which is a week where we celebrate truck drivers for the work that they do in getting products on our shelves or materials into the hands of builders. Canada celebrates the first week of September and the United States celebrates the second week of September. We call the weeks ”Driver Appreciation Week” but really we are celebrating everyone in the transportation industry especially those on the front lines.

With that being said I personally feel that we should have a week for each area of transportation. That may also help in showing the public all the areas of transportation and the people behind the scenes. Should we have National Dispatchers Week, National Instructors Week, Load Planning Week, and other areas usually behind the scenes. A trucking company is a small team of dedicated professionals that have to work together to get a load down the road. If the load planners hadn’t arranged the load, then dispatch would not be able to do their job. Without dispatch truck drivers would not have anything to haul. We are all connected.

What about other people in the industry? We are starting to see changes and awards for other professionals in the trucking industry such as instructors, recruiters, and more. The last award winner from the Truck Training School Association of Ontario for Instructor of the Year was Joe Teixeira from Rosedale Transport. Teixeira has been in transportation for over 30 years and is truly dedicated to the transportation industry. He takes training and safety seriously and has been helping in keeping drivers fully trained and safe for many years. Without people like Teixiera and his dedication to safety we may not be celebrating drivers.

Joe-texiera
Joe Teixeira – Instructor of the Year 2018

Should we rename the week? As a former driver I am in no way minimizing the job that the men and women driving have to do everyday. It is a hard and demanding job that requires a level of dedication that much of the general public doesn’t understand. If you asked all of those drivers you will find that there was someone who may or may not have been a driver that has been instrumental in helping shape their career. For myself it has been another driver that taught me to drive in the 80’s, a dispatcher that stood up for her drivers, a terminal manager that made me feel like family, and a company owner that invested in the those that took care of their equipment. They have all played an important part of my life and I still remember the many lessons they taught me.

Thank you to the drivers that go up and down the road each day, but even more thank you to all of you that are in the transportation industry and keep our economy moving. We salute you!

Nominate An Instructor on Your Team
at the 5th Annual TTSAO Conference

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Instructor of the Year Award Sponsor

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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Transportation Combines Multiple Industries Into One for Great Careers

The Transportation industry is not only the one of the largest industries in North America but also one of the most diverse. Why is this important? As someone moving into the industry it allows you many options for employment and a varied career. Let’s explore the the types of industries one would find within trucking and then how to best determine the one that may be best for you.

Possibly the easiest way to get a grasp on the amount of diversity in the transportation industry is to look at all the products that are on the shelves in a store. Each of those products come from a different manufacturer and on a different type of truck. The car you drive, the furniture you have, the electronics on your desk, each of those are an industry within the transportation industry. Many of those products require their own type of truck or delivery method to transport them to the end user location. That’s thousands of different opportunities within one industry called transportation.

Let’s go a step deeper and look at the transport truck itself. If you were to dismantle that truck you would have thousands of pieces laying in front of you. Each one of those pieces comes from a different manufacturer and requires a different type of service person or transport type to make them into the item we know as a truck. If you add the drivers required to be employed to drive all of these trucks, the driver trainers, the mechanics to maintain the equipment you have thousands of jobs available not to mention dispatchers, load planners, and other essential positions. How do you decide where to start to gain employment?

Driver-in-truck

The transportation industry is very diverse and that’s the beauty of it. You can start in one area and branch out over time into other areas of the industry allowing for continued growth in your career. But you have to start somewhere to gain that knowledge and experience that will stay with you for the future. So where do you start?

The best and easiest place to start is with the area that will give you the best understanding of the industry, has the most positions available, and can earn you money right away. That position is in the driver’s seat. This is the foundation that many of us who began our careers by accident have flourished over the years and gone into other areas of the industry with a strong foundation due to our years in the seat as a professional driver. It offers an understanding of the industry that no other position can give no matter how much you study. It teaches you a multitude of training in areas that will be helpful for the future from geography to dealing with people and much more.

How do you decide which area is best for you? Knowing what type of work interests you is the best way to start. Are you mechanically inclined and like to fix things? Do you like to work on your own and travel? Are you good with paperwork or working in a fast paced environment? Do you enjoy technology or training others? All of these areas have multiple jobs available for the right person and many of these jobs may be available at one company. There is no reason anyone should be unemployed if they have some focus for the future. It means you just have to get started and investigate the best fit for you. Talking to a certified school or carrier may be your best option to getting your career started for the future.

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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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