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Preparing for a Carrier Road Evaluation

“People just aren’t prepared! I get drivers who show up and think we will give them a safety vest, hammer, gloves, and other equipment which they should have with them. New candidates seem to think that we will supply that for them, but those are the basics of being prepared for a road test. You are expected to bring that with you on a road test with our company” said the recruiter.

Safety professionals with the company conducting road tests have the right to terminate a road test at any time if they feel safety is compromised on the road. This recruiter tells the story of a driver that was on a road test and began to get road rage while performing the test. He was fine on the highway, but when driving in a city environment his attitude changed. The test was terminated part way through with the trainer driving the truck back to the yard.

A road test is more than just testing driving skills, they are also testing your knowledge when conducting an inspection, and how you interact with customers on the job. They are testing your professionalism, dress when showing up for work, and of course they are testing your driving skills. The most important test which may not be on paper but is part of your test is your ATTITUDE! Your attitude is the most important piece of the puzzle and success when trying to get hired on with carriers. Are you willing to learn, listen, and improve over time.

People show up at the company not realizing that they will see a company representative while filling out an application. “This recruiter says, “We have a process that a team member is called when an applicant arrives at our location. If available we try to meet the person right away to get a feel for them before scheduling an interview. I am always amazed how many drivers weren’t expecting to see anyone when applying.”

If you are looking for a position as a driver in transportation realize you are expected to be able to do certain things and first impressions count. Give yourself a professional makeover before heading out into the landscape of transportation.

Here are some points to go over before
heading out to your next interview.

  • Is your resume in good order, neat and clean?
  • Do you have your own safety equipment?
  • Do you look professional?
  • Are you prepared to conduct a proper pre-trip inspection?
  • Have you researched the company and know the type of operation they have?
  • Do you have the proper documents the recruiter requires?

Go through this checklist before each interview or road test and you will be well on your way to being successful when applying on the job front.

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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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WTFC Holds Bridging the barrier Event 2019

The Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada is holding their second annual Bridging the Barrier Event in Mississauga. You can learn more and register for the event through the links below.

Link to the event  https://www.womenstruckingfederationofcanada.net/bridging-the-barriers/
Registration cut off is Aug 23rd . Registration can be done online or by downloading  the pdf version Link to Register  https://www.womenstruckingfederationofcanada.net/register-to-attend-bridging-the-barriers/
Can be completed online or by downloading the pdf version Link for sponsorship opportunities  https://www.womenstruckingfederationofcanada.net/sponsor-bridging-the-barriers/
Facebook Event Page https://www.facebook.com/events/660715174388540/

Book your hotel accommodations (before Aug 9th) to get our reserved rates.  You can book online at https://hiltongardeninn.hilton.com/en/gi/groups/personalized/Y/YYZMTGI-U52-20190905/index.jhtml?fbclid=IwAR0dskvW6O3NTcWdrqdtqtGU4Wqket6pT_EAiYAN5HlKfERnQBHlAD6U7L4

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Experience the Pride of Trucking through Summer Truck Shows

Summer is a great time to get a view of the trucking industry that not everyone may notice on the road in everyday situations. I almost feel as though there are two different versions of truck drivers going on when I attend events in the industry. There are the public’s view of road raged truckers and then there are the dedicated drivers that show off the passion of the industry such as at the outdoor truck shows.

I wander around these shows talking to drivers and thinking about all the things I’ve heard over the years from the public. Comments like, “truck drivers are just holding up traffic” or “truck drivers look sloppy and don’t care as they drive junk equipment up and down the road.” There is such a disconnect between what I know in the industry and what the public believes about the transportation industry and truck drivers in general. If only we can show the public what most of us know in the industry already, the pride of the industry is strong. We just need to show that to the public.

There used to be one or two large shows in the past that drew all the attention and slowly changed from quality truck shows to music concerts. After those shows shut down many smaller shows started up again and now there are many shows across the region focused on the trucks and pride in the industry. These small shows are the perfect place to get people out to see the pride of the industry. Many of the show organizers are focused on the driver and the trucks and what much of the public doesn’t realize is that these shows are often helping out great causes such as special needs athletes or cancer research. They hold raffles, donations, contests, and many other programs to raise money for their favourite charity and truck drivers step up every time. The shows also bring traffic into local towns helping out establishments in the community through sales from the public. I bet much of the public doesn’t know that the trucks and truck drivers they complain about on the road are the same people helping their communities.

When you go to a truck show you see the real pride of the industry. You see drivers that have spent weeks cleaning their trucks to show quality. You see drivers giving their own time and including their families into an industry they love. You see camaraderie from drivers that you don’t see in any truck stop helping each other when needed. You see organizers working with small teams with no other goal than to give back to the industry and causes they love.

I have been attending truck shows for many years and that pride has been consistent throughout. Whether it is old trucks from the past or custom rides from now or the future there is a definite pride in trucking that the industry seems to see, we just need to show everyone else.

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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Starting a Trucking School Includes More Than Just Buying a Truck

“I want to start a trucking school.” This is a statement heard recently at a truck show from a driver that was getting tired of the road and wanted to slow down in his career. He had some people interested in his local area and thought it may be a good way to continue his trucking career and be home more. ”I can just buy a truck, get some customers, and I would be all set”,he said. “How hard can it be?”

As our population grows older and drivers begin to look for ways to retire while keeping income coming in opportunities such as opening a small school or doing training on the side look more appealing. In fact we have many former drivers in the industry that have gone on to open consulting businesses, become truck driver trainers, or other home stationed positions in the industry. Anyone running their own trucking school can tell you it’s not as easy as it looks. A driver may have the experience of the road but that is just one piece of the puzzle to a successful school. Many drivers find out that their experience in the truck is not as easy to translate to students when standing in front of them in class.

TTSAO December 11th Meeting

What does it take to start your own truck driver training school?

You’ve decided that you want to start your own school, so what do you need to do? The first thing you want to look at before certifications, trucks, or anything else required is to decide on the type of school you will open. Will it be a fly by night school that is focused on a quick buck and the shortest courses possible? Will it be a proper certified school that operates with integrity and class? Both options are possible but only one is suggested. If you’re getting into operating a truck driving school for a quick buck then keep looking at business opportunities because a school is not for you.

Assuming you were to open a certified facility with proper integrity and courses then there are a number of things you have to do before you can even open the doors. Having all the documentation and information required is the first step in the process. This step can take months or years as you develop course material, attain insurance and other requirements for the training centre. Once you have that set up you have to register your course information with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to be registered as a Private Career College. After you have got those steps completed you may then want to apply for memberships with organizations such as the Truck Training School Association of Ontario. Marketing and other processes for a successful business begin at this point and have nothing to do with truck driving but will take time, money, and skills most drivers don’t have.

Start an Accredited School with TTSAO

You can get an official list of requirements on the TTSAO website-click here!

I can tell you from experience as a trainer in the industry that I have seen many drivers have trouble transitioning from life on the road to standing in front of a class of students. It can be done but it isn’t as easy as people think. If you are thinking of opening a training facility please do it with integrity and safety in mind. We have enough crazy drivers on the road and we don’t need a facility putting more bad drivers onto our highways. Good luck and make sure you do the proper homework for a successful school.

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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Is the Trucking Industry Shutting Down?

There is a lot of homework that goes into choosing the right carrier to work for as a driver and although we often tell truck drivers to research an environment there is only so much a driver can do. You can look at the carrier’s equipment, talk about their maintenance plan, discuss their operating patterns, and look for good company culture. That won’t always tell you the whole story as many companies aren’t going to give you their financial information to review. So how do you know if the transportation industry is something you should pursue?

Someone brand new looking at the industry may be very confused. Job fairs are increasing with carriers looking for multiple drivers to work in their operations showing that there is lots of freight that needs to be transported. On the other hand there have been many stories of late of carriers going out of business on both sides of the border and of all sizes. Is the trucking industry shutting down?

There are many factors that have gone into the latest trucking operations closing from tariffs to operating areas and other factors. Contracts and shipper relationships are a huge factor in a carrier’s success and can be the difference between staying in business or not. Anyone who has been in business will tell you that business relationships and cash flow can make or break a business. Freightwaves has written an article about the latest trucking closure by Timmerman Starlite Trucking and some of the factors that may have been responsible the closure. You can read the article at http://www.freightwaves.com/news/trucking-apocalypse-continues-california-truckload-carrier-latest-victim-regulations-blamed

Company-closed

I honestly don’t think the trucking industry is shutting down, it is doing what it always does in cleaning itself out much like Mother Nature. The strong survive and the weak die off in wildlife and business is no different. There are many factors that have increased expenses for many carriers such as electronic logging devices, increased driver pay, changing regulations, and increased equipment costs. Businesses that don’t evolve with the changing times will be in trouble in an uncertain business climate such as we have today.

Depending on how long you have been in the industry you may have seen this happen in the past. I remember back in the late eighties we went through a similar process and back then we used to say there will only be five trucking companies in Canada. Many will either be bought out or dissolve. I don’t have a crystal ball so can’t tell you which companies will be around in the future, but I can tell you that the trucking industry is not shutting down. It will continue to change as it has always done and companies will start up and go out of business as they have always done. As a driver it is important to do your homework to the best of your ability and look at companies that have longevity and are improving or evolving with the changing times. A carrier with strong customer relationships in freight markets that are stable will be around in the future if they are operating properly. I believe trucking will never go away, but it will change!

find-a-ttsao-Carrier

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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Don’t Be Afraid of the Border-Prepare for It!

As we sit between Canada’s Birthday of July 1st and the United States Independence happening on July 4th I felt it was similar to crossing the border in a truck. When talking to drivers at recruiting events or schools many are afraid of the border. They prefer driving through Canada only and may not want to experience the border due to the many stories that they hear from other drivers. It doesn’t matter whether that driver is Canadian based or U.S based the feelings are the same. Unfortunately what those drivers don’t realize is that those that have trouble at the border often weren’t as prepared as they should have been.

I remember my early experience at the border. I was very early in my career as a driver, in fact I had only been across the border in a truck maybe two times before. Just like many new drivers I jumped into truck ownership very early and this was the first time in my own truck taking a load of furniture across the border. I was a partner in the truck with my friend who had taught me to drive and we had taken a couple of loads across the border in his Father’s truck who was also an owner operator in the furniture industry.

I still remember that night. We were moving someone from Ontario Canada to Northern New York State. We had an old cabover Ford truck that we had refurbished and reworked for about $10,000 which is big money to someone only 20 years old. My partner Andre was the one who handled the paperwork for the border and we had decided to cross the border late at night as we were running as a team. We arrived at the border and went through the normal process of submitting the paperwork and sitting in the waiting room at the border.

I remember the room being cold, dark and a place that you had a feeling you could be left there indefinitely if your paperwork didn’t clear properly. After about an hour waiting in this little room with drivers sleeping and looking very disappointed with the simple fact of being there we heard our names called. Happy to be leaving we jumped to the counter to get our release form. Instead of our release form we were told to back our trailer into the dock and we returned to the cold dark room. Four hours later we were called to repack the furniture they had torn down which took us another hour to do. In total we were there for six hours with no explanation as to why such a long delay.

I would have not been blamed if I never wanted to cross the border again. Instead I spent countless years crossing the border and for the most part trouble free. Oh there has been a few delays due to traffic, there was the time there was a trucker strike, and of course there are a few times when the load wasn’t correctly documented by the shipper. For the most part it has been a good experience. Out of my 25 year career 10 of those were operating south of the border and I am glad that I wasn’t scared off by that early experience.

If I can offer some advice for those of you currently crossing the border or thinking about going that route is to be prepared. Over the years I have found having your paperwork in order, knowing how your truck is loaded, and being professional when presenting paperwork or speaking with border personnel is the best defence in reducing delays at the border.

Speaking of the border I would like to take this time to wish our American friends Happy Independence Day, may it be a safe and happy day.

Truck-with-american-flag

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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Robert Wallace Barclay September 11th, 1955 – June 12th, 2019

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our dear friend Robert “Rob” Barclay. Rob was a very passionate member of the TTSAO and served various positions on the board throughout the years including 3 three 2 year terms president. Rob’s commitment to safer roads saw him lobby for the now implemented MELT program in Ontario. Rob proudly sat as co- founder of Crossroads Truck Training Academy where he delighted in molding new drivers into the very best that they could be. Rob’s reach was far and wide in the industry and he will be sorely missed. 

Ken Adams
Chairman of the Board TTSAO

Robert Barclay

Rob passed away Wednesday, June 12th, 2019 at the age of 63, peacefully, at home, with his loving wife by his side.
Rob was born on September 11th, 1955 in Toronto, Ontario. He is predeceased by his parents, Martha (Nimmo) and Robert Barclay. Rob was a beloved brother of Brenda (Trevor) Eugent, Gord (Karen) Barclay, and Doreen (Andy) Harris. He will be sadly missed by many nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. Rob was a cherished friend, for 50 years, and beloved husband to Pamela Livingston. He was a loving Step-Father to Mackenzie (Krystal) Mercer, and Jay Mercer.
Rob lived an exciting life. He lived in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Scotland, making many friendships, memories, and having great adventures, all throughout his life. He was an extraordinary person, who led an exciting and multifaceted life – he was a Master Yachtsman, a business person, a guitar pickin’ cowboy, and a musician. He lived a well-loved life and will be missed by many friends and family.
For those wishing, donations may be made to the Canadian Lung Association or the Canadian Heart and Stroke Association in Rob’s memory.

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Canadian Trucking Has Come a Long Way

As Canada reaches another birthday I can’t help think about the changes the trucking industry has come through over the years. I wasn’t around in those early 1900’s when the trucking industry was being born to supplement the rail industry and help with the war efforts but I have been around the industry since the early 1980’s and have seen a number of changes from deregulation to dangerous goods to truck equipment changes. I remember those days when the Teamsters were the largest union in the industry, truck drivers drove with uniforms including ties, and there was courtesy on the road. I remember the camaraderie at truck stops and the road where drivers would help other drivers or the general public when broke down at the side of the road.

The industry was a real mix in Canada back in it’s day. We were thought of as the dumping ground for people with a lack of education but it wasn’t really a place for hoodlums. In the early days feeding families took priority over education and there was a lot of work available due to the development of the Country. There was a time when you could not operate on certain days of the week depending on your freight type and that was changed to meet the demand of the people of Canada.

Deregulation opened up the transportation market being a major change for the industry in the late 1980’s and some will argue it was good or bad depending on the person you talk with. To that point companies had to buy licenses and permits to operate even in a local area and much of that was removed with deregulation. In todays market if you can buy a truck with authorization you are set to go. In older days carriers built relationships with the shippers and bought trips permits based on those travel lanes and relationships.

If you would like to see a timeline video for the industry have a look at the video below by the Ontario Trucking Association on the timeline of the industry.

Today the industry is becoming a technology advanced industry affecting everything from drivers to equipment. Safety is now at the forefront and security of freight has become more prominent as our World shrinks in a global market. Although we have developed the industry to be one of the most important industries in Canada responsible for supplying goods and services for Canadians across the Country we are still struggling with old images and a traditional mindset that is not attractive to new generations. It will be interesting to see where the industry goes in the future and I look forward to being part of the industry for a long time and doing my part in a small way to hopefully make it better.

On behalf of myself and the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario I would like to wish all Canadians a Happy Canada Day. Think about all of those in the trucking industry that has helped make Canada a great place to live.

Canada waving flag
Canada waving flag

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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Choosing a Carrier Based on Road Check

The first week of June each year is a program called Road Check which is a collaboration between law enforcement and inspection agencies across North America showing the public the importance of road safety by inspecting commercial vehicles for 72 hours straight. This happens every year at the same time and is well promoted to industry and the public. After 72 hours there will be a number of charges laid against non-compliance carriers or drivers and possibly some will be placed out of service. Charges can affect the companies safety rating, the driver’s driving record, and possibly the chance for driver employment for the future so it is important to understand the importance of the program. It’s important to note that inspections can happen at anytime of the year, but during Road Check there is high likely a driver will be inspected. How will Road Check help me find a carrier?

Road Check is widely publicized in the industry and safety minded companies will go the extra mile to ensure that the equipment going down the road is safe and compliant. Some do mini inspections in their own yard while others will have mechanics look at each piece of equipment and change out anything that looks close to being non-compliant. A company that takes safety to the next level by being serious about safety is protecting their own safety rating and the ratings of their drivers.

Many drivers feel that if something is wrong with the equipment that the company will just pay the fine. That may be true in some cases but if it is part of the job of the driver to catch the default then the driver may be responsible for fine as well. Furthermore no matter who pays the fine the carrier and driver will have the fine added to their commercial vehicle operator record. This can cause problems if a driver is looking for new opportunities in the future as it will show a lack of ability to inspect their vehicle. In addition to the record issue, the delays, road service repair costs, and downtime to the driver are all elements that can’t be taken away after the fact. It is easier to do a good inspection and catch those issues before leaving the yard.

Whell and brake assembly picture

If you are in the process of looking for employment with a carrier then one of the most important factors to consider is the safety program of that carrier. Many carriers promote safety but don’t totally believe in it. You don’t want to work for those carriers as they are the ones that will leave you helpless during the inspection process. They blame the drivers for many things, don’t maintain their equipment, and ask drivers to bend the rules, you don’t want to work for those companies. You do want to work for a company that takes safety seriously and has a culture that empowers the drivers to put safety over productivity.

Ask that question to the carrier when applying for work. What is the safety rating of the company? What is your safety program like? What does the owner think of safety? These questions and more should all be asked of a carrier before signing on with them. With Road Check you can ask one more questions to test their culture, “What do you do during the week of Road Check to ensure your vehicles are safe on the road?” Hopefully the answer will make you want to apply to the right carrier. Good luck!

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 Tips to Consider Before You Start Team Driving

There are many opportunities in our industry for people to run as teams and there are also many things to consider before you enter into a team operation as it can be a good and bad experience depending on the people involved. Understanding what team driving is and how it works should be the first step in deciding on being part of a team.

Benefits of Team Driving

I have run team a couple of times throughout my career and both times were with people I knew very well. The benefits of working in a team operation are usually money, camaraderie, and faster turn around times on trips. Team operations usually get paid for every mile of the trip whether driving or sleeping. A single driver may get paid 50 cents per mile for every mile they drive but not when stopped or sleeping. In a team operation one person drives and the other sleeps and both team members would get 25 cents per mile the whole time the truck is rolling.

If you are a husband and wife team and both have an interest in trucking then team driving is very popular. Many feel as though they are on vacation and stay out for long periods of time to enjoy the many amazing places in North America.

Teams usually driver far distances because they can keep driving and the truck doesn’t need to stop. You can drive double the distances in half the time of a single driver operation which is why it is so attractive for new people. If you make more money, turn a trip around faster, and have someone with you on the road that you enjoy then what is the downside to team driving?

What to Consider Before Team Driving

Team driving may sound like an attractive option, but there are also many things to consider before jumping into this type of arrangement. You have to really know who you are driving with while trusting them as a driver and their skills behind the wheel. Here are three things you should consider before team driving.

Safety First

Neglecting safety in any operation is bad but neglecting it in team driving can get you killed. You will be sleeping in a moving vehicle while the other person is driving at highway speeds. Are you comfortable with that and can trust that they can handle situations on the road confidently and safely. There have been many accidents in the history of trucking with team members when things went wrong. The team operations that I have seen successfully operate is where both members have strong driving skills with experience behind the wheel. Both team members need to have a safe driving mindset. Safety first!

Personality

Even the largest truck can seem small after a few days on the road and you will be with your partner 24 hours a day. Not only do you need to get along but you need to work together as a team. If one person has to clean up after the other then the operation will go down hill fast. Like minded personalities is a good start but that will only take you so far before you get tired of that person. This is why husband and wife teams work well because there is a stronger connection to each other. Make sure you get along with the other person.

Personal Time and Expenses

We all need time off, but you want to think about your personal time off. Even though a team operation can turn trips faster they also travel longer distances. If you are the type of person that needs to be home during the week or home often then team driving may not be for you.
If the team operation is owner operator based then expenses are something that should be considered. Two people eating on the road can add up quickly and if the operation is employer / employee based with one person paying expenses it may be costing you more money to operate.

Team operations can be good and bad as it really depends on the people. Spouse based teams seem to do well and many enjoy the road making the most of traveling the Country. Teams that don’t have the experience or haven’t thought through the whole process usually have a lot of trouble so really think through the opportunity before accepting a position in a team. Everything looks good on paper.

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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