The Trucking Community is Continually Giving Back

Giving back to a cause or group can be a very rewarding thing that a person or company can do. I’m a firm believer in, “what goes around comes around” type of thinking and believe that our lives are intertwined to help each other in some sort of strange way. Many causes are asking for donations or raising funds for research and you would think that donating a certain amount of money to a cause would solve the issue. The problem with just writing a cheque is that you miss the passion and the real gift of giving back. Experiencing the joy you put back into the hearts of others can be more rewarding than any cheque you could write.

What always amazes me is how much the transportation industry steps up to the challenge when it comes to helping others. We all know that truck drivers are very busy, under time regulations, and only get paid when the wheels are turning, yet truck drivers and the transportation industry come out in droves every time to give back to great causes. When I interviewed many of the drivers and people at the events they all said one thing, the smiles on their faces kept bringing them back again and again. It wasn’t the money, it wasn’t the time, but the smiles. Touching other people’s hearts can be a wonderful thing.

Think about this, truck drivers work around 70 hours per week, get limited time off with their families, yet managed to take time to help three convoys on the weekend raise almost $200,000 for important causes and that’s just in Ontario. 50 trucks showed up to the Truck Convoy for Special Olympics GTA convoy and raised over $50,000 dollars along with sponsorships and donations. The Truck Convoy for Special Olympics in Paris Ontario with 70 trucks, sponsorships, and donations raised over $75,000. And Trucking for a Cure had their Eastern convoy had 50 trucks and raised almost $70,000. All those convoys were on the same day in different parts of the Province for different causes, but it was the trucking community making a difference.

Kim Richardson of the TTSAO

Many associations like the Truck Training School Association of Ontario and the Fleet Safety Council support these causes in various ways through their members or associations as a whole and often send funds for a certain level, but it is always nice to see members attend and participate in the event showing their support. Even more impressive in other ways is when the owners of companies get involved with these causes and take their time to show support for their members involved and the cause such as Challenger President Dan Einwetcher who participated as a driver in the Paris convoy.

If you have never been involved in a cause as a participant or spectator then I would urge you to get involved. Many reputable carriers urge their employees to get involved as a way of showing support and giving back to the industry. Get involved!

Check out some of those great carriers here!

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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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Use your training time to get job ready as a new driver

As I was surfing some industry blogs the other day and I came across an article that got me thinking about new drivers and preparing themselves for a new career as a professional driver. The article was a comment style article where a person new to the industry was asking which carrier they should sign on with to get their training.

The new driver had the option of getting his licence on his own or signing on with a carrier and have them train the person through their own training program. His dilemma was which carrier to choose. He posted the comment on the website asking for feedback on different carriers and got a whole lot of information. He was looking at some of the big carriers in the United States trying to evaluate the best ones to work for. In one of his last comments he had talked to a carrier and liked what they had to offer. One of his main reasons for choosing that carrier is that he would be close to home for his training allowing him to be home to sleep in his own bed and eat meals at home.

Driver-in-truck

This is a common way that many people new to the industry decide on choosing a school. They look for a school close to their home so they don’t have to drive too far for their training. I have seen this first hand in training programs as an instructor where students want to leave early from class or are in a hurry to get home to finish chores around the house, but could that be hurting their success?

One of the issues we find in the industry is that people are not prepared for the life style change that comes with a job in the transportation as a driver. The training schools tell the students about it, the recruiters remind them about it at the time of hiring, but then the student gets a job and finds it very hard to adjust to being away from home. Part of the problem may be in the mindset of the student. Trucking is not a nine to five position even in the city as a local driver. Students need to prepare their minds for the change of lifestyle that will occur once they start driving for a company. This means adjusting to the job at the beginning by practicing what you will have to do in reality. Of course you want to keep expenses down until you have money coming in but adjusting your schedule so that it begins to feel like it will when you get hired can go along way to success in the industry.

How do you mimic a lifestyle that you don’t know how will work for the future? The biggest adjustment for most students is the time away from home. Let me tell you from experience as much as it is a big adjustment for you, it is an even bigger adjustment for your family. Depending on how you have set up your training schedule changing it up can be the best thing you can do. Try not to set it up to be nine to five everyday. Spend additional hours practicing what you’ve learned. If you can pick a school that is not in your area so that you can get used to staying out over a few days at a time even better. Adjust your time to waking up early or staying up late, practice taking lunches and snacks like you would on the road. Basically you are getting used to your new life. Once you work for a carrier you won’t be going home at noon after a four hour yard shift or have multiple days off in between runs, so get used to the new lifestyle. The faster you and your family adjust to the new industry, the faster and more successful you will be once you start your new career.

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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

Do you know if you are appreciated as a truck driver?

This week it is Driver Appreciation Week in Canada. This happens every year in the first week of September. In the United States Driver Appreciation Week begins in the second week of September and many companies will celebrate it for the whole month of September. The celebration has grown over the years to include all people in the transportation industry and there will be many discussions and events showing drivers how important they are to the industry and economy. There will be barbecues offering free food and swag during the month but does that really show drivers we care? How do you know as a driver if you are appreciated?

Hamburgers

What can you expect to see in the month of September for Driver Appreciation Week? You will definitely have your fair share of hotdogs or hamburgers. Almost every company I know has a barbecue going on offering free food. Some will offer awards and others will give out hats and shirts. Does that work for the long term though? Can we not get more creative than a barbecue? In my mind driver appreciation should go on all year and can be as little as being recognized at the company to more pay or new trucks. Many of the good carriers have gone as far as to reward drivers with nicer equipment, displaying their names on the truck and more. It really doesn’t matter what you do to acknowledge the driver as long as you do it. The other point is that it should be done all year long.

When I was on the road we were rewarded with better runs, better equipment, and steady loads. Almost every company I worked for used a better truck as the way to make me feel appreciated the most. Steady work and a team atmosphere were what kept me at most companies for years. When I did leave a company it was rarely due to being treated unfairly, but for an opportunity that wasn’t available with that carrier. Many of those carriers never had barbecues or even mentioned Driver Appreciation Week, I am not sure it was even in existence in 80’s and 90’s. When I think about the carriers the feeling for me was like being at home with friends. We got together outside of work and learned about each others lives. We celebrated new additions and mourned when we lost someone. We were like family and we knew we were appreciated for working hard. It’s the little things that made the difference, not the big things.

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Driver appreciation doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it does have to be consistent. I think Driver Appreciation should be all year long and the good carriers are working towards that. Show your drivers you care every day, not just in the month of September. Happy Driver Appreciation Week to all the drivers and everyone involved in the transportation industry. Without you our World would stop. Thank you for all you do.

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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Do Your Homework When Searching for a Carrier

I have been in this industry for a long time and I am always amazed at some of the issues I hear going on within the industry like the issue many drivers face called “Bus and Dump.” I was looking through some articles on the industry when I came across this article from Fleet Owner Publication on “Bus and Dump” which is a practice some carriers use in the United States to recruit drivers to their team. I have never heard of the practice in Canada, but apparently this is a practice that has been going on for some time in the U.S. So what is “Bus and Dump?”

 

“Bus and Dump” is the practice of hiring drivers through an online application form on a website with a promise to hire, offering them travel arrangements to attend orientation, and then once they arrive making an excuse to turn them away.

You’re the driver and you want to get a new job in the transportation industry. You fill out an online application and get a message or phone call from the recruiter telling you that you have been accepted for the position. The carrier sends you a bus ticket to arrive in orientation at an arranged date and time and you accept. You head out to the location that is often across the Country and are excited to start with a new company. When you arrive the carrier tells you for some reason that you are no longer required and sets you on your way. You now have to find your own way home with no money or accommodations. You can read the actual article by clicking this website link. https://www.fleetowner.com/driver-management/bus-and-dump-drivers-expose-industrys-dirty-practice

depressed-person

How do you protect yourself against the “Bus and Dump” practice?

The first step is to do your homework on the carrier and make sure they are legitimate. There are plenty of jobs available in the industry for the right candidates so there is no reason to go to carriers that are participating in unethical practices. Know who you are applying to and make sure they are a reputable company. You can do this by following the same format of investigation the carrier uses to hire you.

Investigating a Carrier

  • Only apply to carriers through reputable job websites or carrier specific websites
  • Make sure you understand if you are going for a first time interview or have actually been hired.
  • Research the carrier profile and safety record by adding their name to searches on websites like www.fmcsa.dot.gov or Google and review the information about them.
  • Talk to three references about them from drivers or other people in the industry
  • Have a discussion via phone or video with the person hiring you and find out any pertinent information required, such as dress for the job, equipment required, etc.
  • If traveling far from home have a letter of intent to hire from the carrier in writing. This may come in handy should you have to take legal action at a later date.
  • Be honest about any convictions or other information that may cause issues in the hiring process.
  • Have a your own original copies of all documents such as abstracts, licence, and so on should they be altered by someone else in the process
  • Take enough money for accommodations and travel back home if required.
  • Keep in contact with family or friends about your whereabouts and progress.

You can’t stop a carrier from unscrupulous methods of hiring drivers but you don’t have to participate in the practice. This is why many industry professionals caution new students on accepting the first job that comes along. Do your homework, I can’t say that enough! Reputable carriers don’t participate in such practices as “Bus and Dump” and you shouldn’t either.

TTSAO-carrierl-banner-2018

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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We need to change the stigma of trucking to the mainstream population!

Is it time for us to take trucking to the mainstream population?

We have changed the regulations countless times since the 70’s, implemented training programs to get your licence, and created certified strategies for new drivers. We have talked about how store shelves would be empty if trucks didn’t deliver product to stores or if trucks stopped running all together. Yet we still have the same stigma that we had in the 70’s. That truck drivers drive trucks because they can’t do anything else. I used to think this was a North American problem until I came across a video on Polish drivers.

The video was produced to show people the challenging job of driving a truck but with comments from people who don’t understand the industry. The video focuses on one driver showing family issues, traffic issues, loading issues, and other challenges such as long hours on the job or missing important family events.

Here is a look at the video

Anyone in the industry knows that the job of driving a truck is not only demanding but a job that requires extreme skill, knowledge, and dedication to safety in order to perform well. Yet that same stigma still holds true to this day in many areas of our industry. The industry still struggles with being a job of last resort, the view that the drivers are drug induced maniacs, and the media reporting on the increasing amount of truck crashes happening on the roadways. We in the industry know this is wrong and not what the industry has to offer.

When I started in the industry in the early 80’s the stigma was the same. In fact the saying was if you can shift gears you would make a good truck driver. Many of my fellow truck drivers had little education and I remember applications back in 1980 reading that applicants must have at least grade ten education. A couple mainstream movies in the late 70’s and a push from the education sector to get more people in post education didn’t help our image either.

Today things are still the same even though I know drivers making $80,000 per year. We still struggle with the amount of time away with family, yet I know people in other industries that are away just as much, miss just as many family events, and struggle with stigma and image issues in their own industries.

There are many benefits to being in the transportation industry but how do we change the stigma of the industry? I think the change will have to come from above our industry although I think we can be doing more to change the image. I think it will take a change in how we look at employment in general and instead of talking about the salary or education of a job we talk about what type of person fits a certain job. For instance I would be a terrible mechanic because I don’t enjoy fixing things, but that certainly doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with being one. Let’s put the employment options on a level playing field instead of the current hierarchy with everyone trying to get the top job of a banker or doctor. A truck driver is a well respected profession and one that most people couldn’t handle if it did pay millions of dollars.

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

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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