Saturday, August 30, 2014

Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety

Saving Lives

One of the initiatives the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is undertaking to save lives on the Nation's highways is to intensify our focus on highway-rail grade crossing safety. FMCSAhas launched a nationwide educational campaign to remind commercial motor vehicle drivers of the precautions they must take at highway-rail grade crossings.

Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

A highway-rail grade crossing is an intersection where a roadway crosses railroad tracks at the same level or grade. Such crossings may be encountered on both public and private roads. There are more than 250,000 such crossings in the U.S.
Although the highway safety picture has improved considerably over the last decade, people are killed every year and more than are injured at grade crossings. Of the more than highway-rail grade crossing incidents annually, around 500 involve trucks or tractor-trailers. This translates to an average of about 10 per week. Although collisions involving buses at grade crossings are infrequent, results of such incidents can be tragic.

Safety Information

This Web site provides a compendium of highway-rail grade crossing safety information for drivers, motor carriers, and users of commercial motor vehicles. It is a "one stop shop" for readers who want to learn more about the critical importance of rail grade crossing safety.
And, remember: When you see tracks, "Always Xpect a Train"!

Emergency Numbers

Safety Guidance

Regulatory Information

Learn More

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 2014 - Dumb Truck Driver of the Month

Here is my pick for the August Dumb Truck Driver of the Month. I think he would have done less damage topping out the trailer on the low bridge.

Please leave a comment and let us know how you feel about this drivers skills!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lillie Drennan - The first licensed female truck driver

Written by Valerie

Lillie Drennan was not only the first licensed female truck driver, she also was the first female trucking firm owner in the United States who against all odds conquered an entirely different frontier—a male dominated trucking industry.

In 1897, Lillie was born in Galveston, Texas. At three weeks of age, Lillie’s mother gave her up for adoption and Lillie became the foster daughter of Francis Carolyn (Fannie, Grannie) Nichols McGee of Hempstead. Lillie dropped out of school after completing the fifth grade. At fifteen years old she married William Barney Jackson on December 18, 1912; the couples had a son but were divorced in June 1914.

At the age of twenty-two she lost most of her hearing ability as a result of the scarlet fever that she suffered. At that same age Lillie married Willard Ernest Drennan with whom she started the Drennan Truck Line in March 1928, in Hempstead, Texas. The company’s first truck was a used, open-cab Model-T Ford that was driven by her husband. As business began to grow, a closed-cab Chevrolet truck was purchased for Lillie, and additional drivers were hired.

By 1929, the couple divorced, and Lillie became the sole owner of Drennan Truck Line. In the same year, Lillie also won the right to operate her own truck and received her commercial truck driver’s license when the Railroad Commission began regulating the motor-freight business. Because of her hearing impairment, commission examiners hesitated to approve her license. Not convinced that this wasn’t sex bias, Lillie challenged the commission saying “If any man can beat my record, I’ll just get out of here.” Lillie operated Drennan Truck Line until she sold the company in 1952
During her 24 years behind the wheel, Lillie Drennan overcame the unfair practices and sexist opposition of her competitors. Lillie hauled oilfield equipment, explosives, soft drinks and general freight throughout East Texas. She hired mostly African-American drivers and insisted on training them herself. And although she regularly drove more than 48 hours with little sleep, Lillie never had an accident.

Specialists recognized the driving and managing skills that she demonstrated at the Drennan Truck Line. In 1946, Joe Carrington, a well-known insurance carrier in Texas, stated that he knew of “no other truck owner” who had a safety record comparable to Lillie’s. During her long career, Lillie received many safety awards from the Railroad Commission and the Texas Motor Transport Association.

Lillie Drennan’s colorful personality did not go unnoticed by others. Lillie was known to always to be attired in khaki pants, a shirt, laced work boots and ten-gallon hat, while never forgetting her loaded revolver when she drove. According to the Texas State Historical Association, “She insisted upon training every driver she hired; she sometimes kicked her employees in the seat of their pants and threatened, in her foghorn voice, to ‘pistol-whip’ or ‘brain them with an iron bar’ for violating her rules. When criticized for her cursing, she responded, ‘Me and God have an understanding.’”

All the while, Lillie was gaining national recognition from numerous media outlets. She appeared in periodicals, newspapers, and on radio broadcasts. In 1943, the Los Angeles Times recognized her as a modern day “dry land Tugboat Annie.” In the same year, she divorced her third husband, S. B. Boulware. Not long after, Hempstead News dedicated a special oversized edition to her for being an independent woman, calling her “a twentieth-century pioneer who has all the color of an Annie Oakley, and who lives the life of a hard-hitting frontiers-woman.”

On September 10, 1974, Lillie passed away and was buried in Hempstead Cemetery. Throughout her life, Lillie Drennan served as a role model for women. Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates nearly 200,000 women truckers and freight entrepreneurs are in the industry. Fueled by hard work and determination, Lillie showed women that anything is possible, even in a man’s world.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Truck Parking Shortage in the United States

While truck drivers have tons of steel protecting them on the road, they can still be in danger. There are some safety tips to help ensure truck drivers are safe on the roads, and that makes the safer for everyone else in small vehicles as well. A truck driver needs to take care of his or her own needs before anything else. Failing to get enough rest, not eating properly, and not getting enough exercise can all affect a person physically and mentally. Taking care of the truck they are driving is very important as well. There is plenty of routine maintenance that needs to be done on a semi-truck. This includes checking the fluids, checking hoses, changing the oil, and looking for any leaks or problems. Tires need to be in good condition so they don't blow out. We have all seen though large pieces of rubber on the roads that comes off of big trucks. These can create a hazard for other drivers when they are driving behind a big truck. Even if you don't own the truck you are driving, it is your responsibility to make sure it is in good enough condition to be on the road. If you are picking up a trailer you need to inspect it as well. Make sure the trailer is properly connected to the semi-truck before you leave so that you don't cause any problems when you get onto the road.

Despite these safety precautions exhibited by these unique people, these truck drivers a faced with the challenges of shortage of parking spaces in the United States and across the globe at large. Shortage of parking lot for truck drivers in rest areas has led to increase in accidents on highways. Tired drivers are faced with the problem of driving for hours in order to search for a space, thus forcing a risk in truck and car accidents along the motorway. As some states distraughtly seek methods to balance their budgets, these indispensable truck parking lots have been closed or destroyed as a way to save on maintenance cost As a result, these drivers find themselves random targets of violent crimes after they seek parking in dangerous and insecure places.  This incident has led to the untimely death of hardworking truck drivers such as Jason. Before the law (Jason's Law) was passed, some states' transportation personnel did not see the provision of secure, safe parking lot of truck drivers as their concern and obligation.

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (DOT) is concerned about these challenges they face. A survey conducted by DOT, in partnership with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, describes the problem as a crisis and wants to find out from drivers as to the location and the time the shortages take place. Truck parking shortage is a subject matter that has been on the rise and studies for some years, several research projects are now struggling to cope with it.

How many more intelligent and industrious truck drivers do we have to loose before plans are made to change truck parking policies or build additional truck parking places to keep them alive and well? This is appalling!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Ongoing Problem of Truck Driver Shortage in the United States

By Zoey
Over a period of at least three decades, the second biggest sector in the country – transport – has not been able to determine the reasons why so many truck drivers, even seasoned ones, are calling it quits. The numbers of young people choosing other vocations over trucking are even more grim. As a result, the United States is currently headed for a truck driver deficit of between 200,000 to 400,000 truckers.

This may surprise some people as some 40,000 new CDL licenses are given out each year.  Out of these, an estimated 50% are only license holders, not actually using their permit to drive a truck commercially. Just what are the factors that have driven this problem to its present proportions? The goal of this article is to examine just that and more.

The Issue of Wages

Probably the biggest factor driving people out of the profession is the low wages, which accompany most commercial contracts. Low pay for truck drivers has actually been a problem for years ever since deregulation of the transport sector occurred. Over time, it's become the top reason for all types of motorists deciding to leave the profession. The typical annual pay of $38,000 is just not viewed as being big enough to counter all the demands of the rather stressful profession and it has certainly not kept up with the pay wages found in other comparable industries.

Too many flashy advertisements are used to reel in new, unseasoned drivers who never receive their expected big, sign-on bonuses. The companies hiring often know that most drivers will quit after a short time on the job anyway. Working 70 hours a week and not being paid for other duties such as detention time, cause many young and old drivers alike to move onto greener pastures. Unfortunately, truck driving jobs in the US are still considered “unskilled” labor, making it difficult to positively change the issue of wages for the better.

Too Many Regulations

The overuse of regulations continues to make the life of the professional trucker challenging. For instance, millions of truckers are expected to work under identical hours of service, while governing when they are able to drive or where they are able to sleep. One single rule can’t possibly please everyone. And so, many seasoned drivers leave the profession, which is a huge loss to the entire industry since seasoned drivers have acquired a great level of security and professionalism in their driving.

Regulatory bodies have now crept into a wide range of issues ranging from anti-idling laws, forced dispatch and lack of home time causing major consternation and panic into the entire industry. These tough and restrictive security regulations together with the low pay experienced by many truck drivers, are all reasons behind the truck driver shortage in the US. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Things to Pack for Over the Road Truck Driving

As you become a seasoned trucker, you will find your own list of essentials to pack for long trips. But for the beginner, some of the necessities might be easily overlooked. With the tight spaces of the cab, a trucker needs to be conscious of how much to storage space there is. Your concerns should be safety first, communication second, and comfort third. To this end, here is a short list of things to pack as your start your life as an over the road truck driver.

Extra Cash
Starting out, you may not have paycheck to draw from on the road, so be sure to carry enough cash to cover emergencies for at least a week. Consider what might happen if your rig breaks down in Tulsa and it will take a week to get repairs done. You are going to need to stay somewhere and eat something, so having the funds to hole up in a motel while waiting on the mechanics is a good contingency to plan for any trucker to prepare for.

Blankets and Coats
Your next pick up might be in Fargo, and it gets mighty cold at night. Having extra coats to wear during hookups (it can get down to 20 below in the right conditions not considering wind chill) and extra blankets to throw on your rack during a sleep-over will keep a trucker warm and well rested for the next leg of the ride.  

Dash Mounted Cell Phone Charger with Hands Free Set
Keeping in touch with friends and family on the road keeps a trucker’s spirits up, and having a fully charged phone with a hands free set up keeps you safe and on the road without having to worry about pulling over and burning time. Many states have enacted laws about truck driving and cell phone use, and a hands-free set will let you talk while keeping your mind on the road ahead.

Food and Drinks Cooler
Several companies offer center console fitted coolers large enough for drinks and snacks. Having your own supply limits the stops you’ll need to make, and lets you stock up on cheaper solutions rather than paying the prices at truck stops. Truck driving is a numbers game when it comes to paying the mortgage, and when a trucker is on the road, every dime counts.

Flip Flops and Extra Underwear
There’s never a need to load up the cab with a full suitcase, but having flip flops for the shower to keep your feet fungus free and a change of underwear to stay clean and comfortable will go a long way. Keep these in a small toiletries bag with toothpaste and brush, a razor, and some mouthwash and the road won’t wear you down so fast.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Truck Driver Forums

A truck driver forum ‭ ‬or message board,‭ ‬is a discussion site where people can hold conversations by using posted messages. A thread or topic is a single conversation. Each new thread can be replied to by as many people as so wish. You can start new threads by posting discussions to start a new topic. Other people can read and respond to your thread. Truck driver forums are a good resource to find answers to questions you may have about trucking

You will be able to read most forum posts without having an account. If you wish to start new threads or reply to existing threads most forums require you have an account. Having an account on a forum has a few benefits. Along with being able to post threads and replies in the forum you will have a profile page you can fill out. Your trucking forum profile not only contains information about you it can be a great place to link to your Facebook or Blog.

Below you will find some links to popular truck driver forums.

The Truckers Trucking Forum -

The Truckers Report - -

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Excellent Tips For New Truck Drivers

As a new truck driver, you're likely ready to hit the highways and begin your career as a trucker. Long hauling is the manner that many new drivers start off their livelihood and is generally their first option. For others, it's merely a step before getting into local trucking jobs with firms that are smaller.

Everyone has to start somewhere! Many people quickly become disillusioned with their new trucking careers after being faced with the many long, arduous hours of doing their logs correctly, planning their trip, finding places to sleep and continuously developing their driving skills. However, there are many tips one can use early on in their trucking careers to make their transition easier and less stressful.

• Always bring something with you on your long-haul trips that remind you of your close friends or family. For example, a digital photo frame is durable enough for road journey and can support several of your favorite photos.

• Get a cell phone service plans that offer flat fees and you'll be able to talk to your friends and family whenever you want.

• Rent out or purchase audiobooks with your favorite books. This is one of the best ways to occupy your time on long trips away from home.

• Bring healthy snacks with you such as cut fruits and vegetables to avoid the necessity of having to eat fast food.

Locating Work

Locating work as a new truck driver is pretty simple because truck companies are always hiring. The offers of some companies may even contain attractive bonuses if you sign on as a brand new driver.

It is easier to get work as a long-haul truck driver than a local truck driver in the beginning. Companies that specialize in local runs may require at least two years of truck driving experience. They require the minimal 2 years of experience per their insurance requirements. It is simply more economical to cover a truck driver that has 2 years of experience and with a clean history, than it is to cover a fresh non-seasoned truck driver. Also, some insurance companies won't cover drivers that are new.

It's always a good idea to study and research each individual trucking company before signing any contract. It's also very helpful to find reviews from real truck drivers for a particular business. For example, find out about the state of their trucks. Some companies are notorious for not keeping up their gear in efforts to save money. Also be very wary of companies that have truck drivers who frequently quit their jobs.

Long haul trucking can be a wonderful profession. With preparation and some luck, you can make your time on the road cozy and enjoyable. You can explore the world, while still remaining connected with your family and friends.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Future of Electronic Logs for Truck Driving

Ken More
It seems like only yesterday that truck drivers were keeping track of all their pertinent activities that included the hours they drove, the time it took to eat meals, any accidents or breakdowns that they faced as well as the start and end destination of their route all on paper forms.

Today, that work is now being charted on electronic logs which are have recently taken over the trucking industry. Now, you'll find e-logs in all types of trucks that greatly reduce the paperwork and create a simple, efficient system that accurately tracks the entire route of each truck.

What is an E-Log?

An electronic log is a rather small device that looks somewhat similar to a GPS that you may have in your personal vehicle. This paperless log is installed in the dashboard of your truck and records basic information such as the following;
- Where the truck starts, goes and stops
- The speed of the truck
- The idle time of the truck
- The miles per gallon

This basic information is recorded in the device during the entire trip that the truck takes. An employee who gets in the truck at the start of the trip will need to enter their assigned number. At that point, the e-log will ask if the truck has had a pre-trip inspection. Once the vehicle gets going, the driver will press the "drive" button and the system will start recording.

At certain points in the trip, the driver will press the appropriate button to alert the e-log of the activity that is happening;
- Stopping for a break
- Filling up with fuel
- Making a delivery & more

The beauty of this system is that the driver only has to press a button and not write down any information. For truck drivers, having a paperless log saves them time, effort and energy in having to write down all the pertinent details of their trip.

The Benefits of Electronic Logs

There are certainly some important benefits that the e-log brings to trucking businesses as well as the drivers. While e-logs costs several hundred dollars, take hours to install and have a monthly subscription fee, they also offer the following benefits;


Even the best drivers can not accurately record information from time to time. The e-log never fails as long as the driver just presses a button to indicate a change in the status of their vehicle.


Without having to keep written logs, drivers can focus more on their primary job of driving the rig and getting to their next destination in a safe manner.

Instant Information:

Because the e-logs are in constant contact with the home base, a dispatcher can see in an instant just how long the driver has been on the road. That way, they can make accurate decisions when the drivers are reaching their maximum hours for the day.
A driver who is trained to use electronic logs can focus more on their job while their bosses can get accurate, up to the minute information that allows them to make better decisions.

Finding Local Truck Driver Jobs in USA

Written By Priyanka
With the hard economic times that we live in today, Truck Driving has been known to be a very lucrative career for several reasons. Being a Truck Driver, you can earn a lot of money, have job stability, get to travel to different places and most of all you won't have a boss to deal with. All around the world, there is a need for transportation, not just family and children who commute to school and office everyday but professionals who also transport products and services across different countries and states for a living. In the United States these professionals are known as Truck Drivers or Truckers who constantly keep the country in motion by transporting goods and produce such as livestock, fuel, produce and pretty much everything else to markets and stores as per their need.

Consumers are not the only ones who depend on transportation, there are several businesses that need goods, supplies and equipment shipped on a regular basis. It would have been impossible for businesses to function without an effective and affordable means of transportation to get goods from one point to another. Given below are some of the Local Truck Driving Jobs in USA.

Types of Local Truck Driver Jobs

Fuel Truck Drivers:

A fuel truck driver's role is to operate a truck that hauls different kinds of fuel, oil or gas and to transport it safely to the required location. He is also required to hook up the truck and its relevant attachments, check the truck before, after and during operation, adhering to the rules of the road and managing paperwork for his customers.

Construction Truck Drivers:

Hauling materials from one place to another is the main job of a construction truck driver. He follows a schedule for pickups and deliveries of materials and needs to know the kind of materials he is hauling and their weight. What he delivers are mainly loose materials in the form of rocks, sand, gravel, coal etc. He will be required to travel locally to and from construction or renovation sites as part of his daily schedule.

Light or delivery truck drivers:

Light Delivery trucks generally holds a capacity of less than 26,000 pounds GVW. Drivers driving these kind of trucks deliver or pick up goods within a particular area. The turnaround could be short where the shipment is to be delivered to a nearby city or to pick up a loaded vehicle and drive it to the home base. These drivers generally load or unload the goods at the customer's place of business.

Driver/ Sales :

Some drivers are assigned customer service and sales responsibilities. The primary job would be to deliver and sell products within an already established route. It could be sales related to food products or picking up and delivering of laundry. These drivers may also collect payments as and when required.

If you or someone you know has an interest in local truck driver jobs, you should know there are different choices available and other added benefits for you to choose from. You could also talk to other truck drivers and get a first hand opinion on where to find employment in the trucking industry to make it a career of your life.