Monday, December 29, 2014

Changes to 34 Hour Restart in the Hours of Service

34 Hour Restart
Some parts of the Hours of Service have had a suspension of enforcement. You now can use a 34 hour restart more than once a week and the  two periods from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m no longer apply.

 To read the official notice published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) visit: HOS Fed Reg Notice Dec 17 2014.pdf


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 395

 Hours of Service of Drivers

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice.

 SUMMARY: FMCSA suspends enforcement of certain sections of the Agency’s Hours of Service (HOS) rules as required by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, enacted December 16, 2014. Specifically, FMCSA suspends the requirements regarding the restart of a driver’s 60- or 70-hour limit that drivers were required to comply with beginning July 1, 2013. The restart provisions have no force or effect from the date of enactment of the Appropriations Act through the period of suspension, and such provisions are replaced with the previous restart provisions in effect on June 30, 2013. FMCSA provides this notice to motor carriers, commercial drivers, State Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program grant recipients and other law enforcement personnel of these immediate enforcement changes.

DATES: The suspension of enforcement of § 395.3(c) and (d) is effective as of 12:01 a.m. on December 16, 2014. Updated: Wednesday, December 17, 2014

 For more information on the Hours of Service visit

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Truckers Help in Preventing Human Trafficking

Truckers Against Trafficking
Human trafficking is a contemporary form of slavery practiced by mankind across the globe. It is a practice where people are merchandized or used for commercial sex or forced labor as well as prostitution. Although illegal, human trafficking has been rated as one of the thriving industries for criminals after drug trafficking. Annually, human trafficking activity is worth between $28-$34 billion. Globally, an estimate of about 21 million people has been enslaved. This value is greater than any other period in times past. This trade has proven to be very difficult to curb.

In the United States, drug trafficking has been reported in all the States with the estimate of targets valued to be hundreds of thousands. Most of them are foreign nationals. However, American citizens are also vulnerable to this trade. Every year, about 17,000 are victimized and about 300,000 American youngsters are at risk. Individuals of all ages have been exposed to this atrocity which includes men, women, teenagers as well as children. A greater percentage of individuals trafficked are children and women. Typically, sex trafficking involves under aged girls usually below 18 years (minors). These tender girls are transported to different places and are threatened and forced into executing the sexual acts, with these acts done in places like truck stops, brothels, and spas.

There are various ways in which the traffickers recruit their victims. Some of these methods are:
  • Online,
  • Shopping mail
  • Out of school youths
  • Street, as well as other locations.

However, truck stops are one of the locations where this illicit sexual act is practiced. This is made possible because of the small number of people that patronize these truck stops and also due to the fact that these truck stops are secluded. A large number of the victims at these truck stops are usually minors. This has turned out to be a major concern and a possible menace to children at large.  Usually, truck pay about $40 to $80 for an unlawful sexual act with these girls. They are forced into have sex against their own wish with as many truckers because they have been mandated to meet a quota which ranges from $800 to about $1,500 per night.

There are several strategies on how these sex traffickers carry out their illegal business at truck stops. One is the use of slang or code words that denotes the availability of an under aged for sex. Another method is the use of flash light by truckers at the truck stops. These truckers may also place stickers on the window of the truck.

It is crucial to know that truckers play a part in this menace; however, not all truckers take part in this appalling act. There is a need to totally curb this and one of the crucial methods is by educating and equipping with valuable information on human trafficking. Another way this can be achieved is by creating groups such as the Truckers AgainstTrafficking (also known as TAT) among truck drivers. They should be able to identify any sex trafficking signs and report such to the appropriate body. There is a need for these affected girls to be identified and liberated.

Monday, December 22, 2014

October 2014 Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI)

BTS Releases October 2014 Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) 

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 0.3 percent in October from September, rising for the fourth consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The October 2014 index level (121.8) was 28.8 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

The level of freight shipments in October measured by the Freight TSI (121.8) reached its all-time high (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000. 

The September index was revised to 121.4 from 121.5 in last month’s release. 

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. 

Analysis: The growth in October was led by trucking, rail and waterborne. During the month, several other indicators of related parts of the economy that often impact transportation increased. Employment and retail sales both increased, as did manufacturing output, though total industrial production declined slightly. Inventories increased to reach an historic high. 

Trend: The Freight TSI increased for the fourth month in a row in October, reaching an all-time high. The increase was a return to growth after a decline in June. This October rise was the eighth monthly increase in 2014. However, due to the decline in June and the more substantial decline in January, the total 2014 increase has been only 2.2 percent, less than the 2.8 percent increase during same period in 2013. After dipping to 94.6 in April 2009, the index rose 28.8 percent in the succeeding 66 months. 

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in October 2014 (121.8) were 28.8 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.6). The October 2014 level reached its all-time high. 

Year to date: Freight shipments measured by the index were up 2.2 percent in October compared to the end of 2013. 

            See Freight TSI Press Release for summary tables and additional data. See Transportation Services Index for historical data and methodology.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

5 Must Ask Questions for Your Truck Driver Recruiter

With the economy the way it is, a potential job on the line can be exciting. However, a driver doesn’t want to jump at the first opportunity that presents itself without asking a few questions. Employment doesn’t mean getting the bills paid – in fact, a job hastily signed on to can end up costing a truck driver money in the end if certain things are cleared up at the get go. Here are a few questions to put in front of your recruiter before making that final decision.

What is the Pay Scale in Relation to Route?

Here’s an obvious question, but knowing this in advance can mean the difference between making the mortgage and digging into your savings each month to make up any shortfalls. Drivers calculate pay rates based on miles driven, so an offer of .50 per mile is a great start. However, drivers need to also know what their routes will be like. Long haul routes are where the money is in a rate per mile job, but getting stuck in city traffic that eats time but not miles can be a deal breaker.

What Are the Company’s Major Lanes?

It is also important to know what the major lanes the company expects a driver to keep to. Wheels on the road are great, but using lanes with traditionally expensive fuel and support costs are not. Ask if the company has their own facilities along the lanes to keep costs down instead of getting maintenance, and be aware of any alternatives should weather and traffic patterns make traveling the expected lanes a money drain.

Know the Home Time Policy

Putting hours on the road can be grueling, so days off policies are a significant considerations when looking at a new employer. Your contract says one day off for every five on the road, but how is that calculated? If you are unloading in the morning and heading back to the terminal, does that count as your day off the road? A day off should be exactly that- no time behind the wheel. Be sure to clarify how home time is calculated before signing on.

Is Layover Pay Offered

This can be a tricky one, as unexpected layovers out of a drivers control can be a relative term. Ask if the employer pays for time spent between loads that aren’t within your control, such as road closures, storms, shortage of unloaders, and emergency repairs. Also ask if the company covers layover costs such as meals and lodging. Every penny counts, and it shouldn’t be coming out of your pocket.

What Are the Benefits?

A job that pays .60 a mile may sound great, but if the benefits such as medical and retirement are lousy, that means more money out of your pocket. Take some time to balance out pay versus out of pocket expenses to determine if it adds up to a healthy paycheck. If the balance is right, you’re one step closer to gainful employment. If they don’t, take a breath and take a pass. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lifestyle of a Trucker

For some individuals, spending time on the road and seeing new things every day, meeting new people as well as earning cash in the process is what they wish for. This means only one thing, a fulfilled life; which is the ability to do what they love the most. One of the few professions that can make this dream possible is the truck driving. Truckers convey items throughout the United States, and sometimes to place like Mexico and Canada. Truckers play a major role in our daily day-to-day activities in almost every industry, especially the manufacturing or production, retail, automotive, food and dining sector.

Like any other career, trucking is a choice. However, trucking necessitates an individual to adapt to a lifestyle totally around the job. This includes spending so much time on the road for several weeks (usually around 3 weeks or more) and then having a few days to rest at home (this is also called Hometime). A trucker’s schedule is considered as one of the most difficult phase for both a trucker and his family. Just like other careers such as oilfield workers and the military, trucking also requires spending so much time away from family and friends. Sometimes, they may feel lonely as a result of this However, individuals that are single have fewer obligations, find trucking a rewarding lifestyle as limitless freedom to try out new things abound for them.

During the first year, most truckers are assigned to heavy load which are not encouraging. Some freight and trucking companies even allow drivers that have worked with them for a long time choose the route that best suits them when an assignment is given. This makes it difficult for new truckers, as they are faced with the challenge of having to drive to isolated locations and also have undesirable schedule. This action is typical of most trucking companies because they want their first year to prove that they are reliable and responsible. A first year trucker builds positive reputation by keeping to delivery schedule in a timely and reliable manner. It is therefore advisable for most trucker to possess a cellphone as a means of communication to both friends and family. This will assist most first year drivers to fight loneliness and home sickness

A trucker’s dexterity in operating the trucks and trailers is another physical challenge of the trucking job. Training to acquire a commercial driver’s license (CDL) usually takes a few months or even more courses and workshops. One benefit of the CDL training for truckers is that it easier to acquire than other college courses or trade schools.

Another considered lifestyle of a trucker is the total earning made. Usually, truckers are paid per mile but CDL certified truckers have the opportunity to make it either a full time or part-time income. According the a study by the Bureau of Labour Statistics, most heavy and tractor truckers earn about $38,000 on the average or $19 per hour. Trucking is physically demanding and this one major reason why a trucker's wage is twice the federal minimum wage. However, this allows a trucker provide for the family and also live a comfortable lifestyle.

It is imperative to know that trucking is in a league of its own for any woman or man who chooses it as a profession.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How to Become a Truck Driver

The romance of the open road might well be calling, but to truly find out if you’ll be happy following the yellow lines you will need to ask yourself a few hard questions and have a bit of knowledge about how such a life might play out. Holding a truck driving job isn’t a life cut out for everyone, regardless what the ate night trucking school commercials might say. Armed with a bit of information and a serious reflection on what makes you happy will go a long way – and that could either be toward the cab of a long haul, cross-continent rig or somewhere else entirely.

Start With The Questions
A trucking job is unique in that it pulls you away fro long periods on time at end, away from family so you can deliver you loads where they need to go. You have little say in the when, so being on the road to maximize your paycheck is the way to go. This means driving five days a week in a solid shift, with a day off. You will want to discuss this possibility with your family before making a decision.

Not all driving schools are created equal, so choose the one right for you and with an accreditation for your certification work. The PTDI is the accreditation to look for, and this will help you when it’s time to apply for your CDL. Your accredited school will provide you with a solid training with appropriate hours behind the wheel to get you on your feet, so head into class with a mindful attitude to learn as much as possible.

Maintain Your Driving Record
Before you even apply for a driving job, make sure you have a good driving record. A company will check during the interview process, so if you have a lousy history, the chances of you being hired are next to nothing. You will also want to keep a clean driving record while working, as this will help keep you employed.

Talk to a Working Trucker

Find a mentor who is currently working to ask question of to help you make your decision. A truck driving job is different from company to company, so seek someone who works the same type of rig and job you’d like to apply yourself toward. They can help immensely with tips and information on the realities of the road, and might be willing to let you ride along to get a feel what a trucking job might have in store for you.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Truck Driver Winter Driving Tips

Nothing can raise the hairs on a driver’s neck like several hundred tons of trailer taking control of a rig on a winter road. Icy conditions, poor driving from other vehicles and sudden changes in weather can all have an adverse effect on a rig’s behavior. With a few tips and reminders about winter road condition habits, a driver can keep themselves safe and on the road when others are burning time on the side of the road or in the repair yard.

Be a Defensive Driver
It stands to reason that no matter how careful and mindful you are of the road and winter conditions, the driver next to you hasn’t a clue about paying attention to winter driving tips. Greenhorn truck drivers, small box trucks, and those guys with a brand new four wheel drive pick-up always seem to think they have a better understanding of the road during icy weather than anyone else. Keep a close eye ahead of you, to the sides, and in your rear mirror for drivers exhibiting fool hearty behavior and keep your distance. Be over cautious when winter weather sets in, and always be prepared for the other driver to do something stupid.

Plan Your Trip
Keep up to date on shifting weather patterns and be ready to adjust your route accordingly. The initial route may have shaved a few hours off your drive time, but even a light dusting can create backups on the highways. Be prepared to run secondary roads when available, and keep the radio on. Vehicle pile ups can happen even after a storm has passed, so be ready to skirt them as well.
Keep Up With Inspections

A good truck driver inspects their rig every chance they can, and a great driver inspects even when it’s 20 below outside. Things are more likely to go wrong when the weather gets frigid, so keep up the routine of pre-trip and enroute walk-throughs to ensure everything is ship shape. Knowing your rig’s condition and capabilities will give you that much more information when deciding on how best to handle winter weather on the road.

Keep the Proper Gear Stowed
When cold weather hits, be sure to have an expanded emergency kit to handle whatever Mother Nature wants to throw your way. Have extra bedding in case of snow ins, as well as extra socks and clothes for when yours get wet. A warm change of clothes can do wonders. The same can be said for a good pair of dry boots with solid treads. Round out your preparedness kit with extra anti-gel, flashlights, batteries, food and drink items, and anything else you can use to stay comfortable.
Winter can be a bear, but paying attention to winter driving tips can make it more manageable. Stay safe, and stay focused.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

History of Mack Trucks

Mack Trucks, Inc. was established to supply extensively heavy duty trucks and components that meet the consumers’ need. Mack Trucks have emerged to be the main truck manufacturer in America over the years. In addition to heavy duty trucks, Mack Trucks manufacture other medium duty trucks with exportation into more than 45 countries worldwide as at 2002.

In 1901, the ‘Mack Brothers Company was established by five Mack brothers in which they started with assembling of small buses but evolved from assembling horse-driven wagons in 1983. By 1907, the first truck was produced after which the company experienced an instant boom and later relocated to Allentown, Pennsylvania. Later in the year 1911, acquisition of engine and chassis plant in Plainfield took place.

The company’s name was changed to Mack Trucks in 1922 with the bulldog adopted as the company’s trade logo. As the company was gaining popularity, Mack Trucks stood out and were regarded to be very tough, rugged and dependable trucks. They blazed the trail in 1918 by manufacturing trucks with air cleaners and oil filters installed. Also, by 1920, they produced the first power brake system in mark trucks. As if that was all, by the year 1938, they became the fisrt truck manufacturer to design self-own diesel engines.


The use and acceptance of Mark trucks became more prominent during the haulage heavy arms pieces through the sludge of World War I battlegrounds. It was then it got its nickname “bull dog” which was coined from the ruggedness and toughness of the trucks. Later on, the name was adopted and bulldog emblem were began to be used by the company.
Mark, who was described as a manufacturer poised to always deliver quality had issues of cash flow and nearly went bankrupt. Around 1890s, the company later folded up or abandoned as a result of financial panics. Due to these, they resolved to the aspect of maintenance and repair of engines instead of manufacturing the trucks.


The financial history turned around late 1953 and the economic state was enriched with the design and manufacture of the conventional B series. The cabin and front-end were restructured all-metal. Sales of this were made for the next 13 years. In 1965 the B series was upgraded with introduction of multifunctional R range.  The engine bonnet was made of folding fiberglass and fenders.

Expansion of Mack Company continued with new plants in Califonia, and New Zealand commencing operations. Later in the mid 70’s, Mack Company suffered another financial set back which allowed Renault, a French company, to buy about 20% of its shares and later had 41% of Mack Company in 1983. Consequently, the production output decreased in 1986 which led to the restructuring of the company in 1990 when Renault gained full control of Mack Trucks and Mack Company was rationalized as the American branch of Renault.

By 2000, a Swedish company, Volvo AB acquired Mack Trucks from Renault and new range of model and engines were introduced by Volvo. Volvo as faced her financial constraints due to the economic recess in U.S economy and this led to scaling down of productions. 

Even in the heat of competitive market, Mack trucks have survived all scares and this is proudly due to its durability, strict cost cutting management and thus, they still maintain the reputation of their brand by their dominance on American roads.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dixie Highway History

The history of Dixie Highway is understood to be the story of transformation of American travel from trails to highway. In the historic days of the automobile, locating places was an adventure. It was complicated to embark on long distance journeys as it was difficult locating places. People depended on the use of expensive tour books and road maps for navigation, which are similar to the modern devices we have today. The drawback of both navigation processes was the fact that they required a navigator to interpret. Thus, there was need for a better system for identifying good routes for travel.

The Dixie Highway came into existence as an idea of linking the North and South together for easy of accessibility of both goods and services. Early auto travelers who traveled from the Midwestern US and Canada to Florida were conveyed through the Dixie Highway. The Dixie Highway was encouraged seriously by Carl Graham Fisher. In 1925 the highway was about 5,706 miles long and extended as far as Ontario to the North and Florida City to the South.

The Dixie highways started out as an idea to link the South and Midwest in December, 1914. It was reported that WS Gilbreath from Indianapolis had earlier suggested that the trail be referred to as ‘Cotton Belt Route’ during the fourth annual American Road Congress Meeting on 9th November, 1914. The first meeting by the Dixie highway association was held on 3rd April, 1915 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The name ‘Dixie’ was chosen by the organization to celebrate Fifty Years of Peace that existed between the North and South.

In February, 1915, states such as Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida had joined the trail and in May 1915, the number of State increased as Ohio came on board. Also in May, a conclusion was reached to have dual mainlines. This was due to the fact that competition for attachment along the Dixie Highway was high among cities which insured parallel routes and also a plan for another Northern trail in Michigan. As a result, the Dixie Highway System was created. Michigan was also included in the highway trail through Mackinac City.

In December 1915, the slogan of the Dixie Highway association was revealed as “We all live on the same street.” The first sign was also announced, which had an image of a blue bale of cotton with the words ‘Dixie Highway’ inscribed. These symbols were displayed in 1916. Markers were placed at all county lines and places of historical interest.

The cotton bale emblem appeared to be too complex for daily usage. The most accepted sign was the white-red-white with the white lettering “DH” on the red band. Also accepted was the band of red bisecting a white sign horizontally. Tri-banded trail signs were the most common and artistic. They could be painted on virtually anything which included telegraph and telephone poles along the route. Also, they were very economical to produce.

In 1927, the roads integrating the east and west mainlines were accomplished, and the Dixie Highway Association was dissolved.

Today, the Dixie Highway exists largely as street signs. Local roads bear witness of a grand past as major interstate corridors.