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AAAT Featured Article  >> Trucking Industry And Truck Drivers in US

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 Trucking Industry And Truck Drivers in US

Quick Links
What is Trucking industry?What is Trucking industry?
History of Trucking industry in USHistory of Trucking industry in US
What are the challenges faced by trucking industry?What are the challenges faced by trucking industry?
Proposed strategies to overcome the problems faced by Trucking industryProposed strategies for 2008,09 to overcome the problems faced by Trucking industry
Want to be a trucker? A Guide for the trucking jobWant to be a Trucker? A Guide for the Trucking Job
Truck Drivers Health Issues Truck Drivers Health Issues
Defining a Bad Trucking company-Truckers complaintsDefining a Bad Trucking company—Truckers complaints
Auto Transport truck drivers jobs Vs Other truck driver jobsAuto Transport truck drivers jobs Vs Other truck driver jobs
Your Career as an Auto transport DriverYour Career as an Auto transport Driver
What is Trucking industry?
Trucking Industry plays an importantl role in providing transportation and distribution service in American economy. It transports and distributes commercial as well as industrial goods by using commercial motor vehicles (CMV), which are most often trucks.
You will be amazed to know that over eighty per cent of all communities in the US depend on trucking industry to deliver all of their fuel, medicine, clothing and other consumer goods. The trucking industry employs approximately 10 million people out of a total population of 300 million in jobs that relate directly to trucking. Though trucking industry is the industry of small business but if ever there is any work strike or other consequence leading to halt in the truck traffic, there would be a considerable shortage of necessary supplies across a wide range of commerce and industry. The car transport by trucks also plays a major role in this.

History of Trucking industry in US
The trucking industry has played a major role in the development of economic as well as the political history of the United States in the 20th century. Trucking was first used extensively in military during World War 1. Trucking began to gain popularity in 1930s and soon became the target of various governmental regulations (such as the hours of service). Construction of Interstate Highways in 30s and 40s accelerated trucking further, linking various cities across the continent.
Movies on trucking and truckers were a massive hit in 60s and 70s which further boosted the trucking industry. With the implementation of satellite and GPS satellite navigation technology in the trucks, the industry has shown increase in productivity and brought new opportunities for the truckers. The trucking industry that alo includes the car shipping companies continues to be the lifeblood of the U.S. economy and underpins the massive distribution system that supports US high living standards.



What are the challenges faced by trucking industry?

Today, the trucking industries are facing many hardships like

Fuel costs Economy Driver Shortage/Retention
Government Regulation Hours-of-Services Highway Congestion
Tolls/Highway Funding Tort Reform Onboard Truck Technology
Environmental Issues    
 
More trucks to strike the highways in U.S. by 2010
By 2020, more trucks carrying more tons of freight will combine with an increasing human population to strain the U.S. highway system, which is already struggling to keep pace. Consequently, congestion like that shown here will spread to more major urban areas and intercity links.

In 2008, Fuel cost ranked 1st in the challenges list, before it ranked 1st in 2005, 2nd in 2006 and 3rd in 2007.

Economy ranked 2nd in 2008 and 1st in 2009 as the pressing issue facing the economy.

Driver retention remained as the 3rd top issue in 2008 & 09.

Government regulation ranked 7th in 2005, 5th in 2007 and 4th in 2008 & 2009

Hours-of-service ranked 5th in 2008 & 09

A new factor Truck Size and Weight came as an issue in 2009

 

Fuel Costs—With rising fuel costs, reducing fuel consumption is another important goal. Idling trucks waste much fuel. Fleet operators also face capital costs, truck maintenance and downtime costs, insurance costs, and the costs of back-office functions such as record keeping and billing. The burden of regulatory compliance enters into the need for record keeping.

Economy— "As high fuel prices, a deepening credit crisis and rising inflationary pressures take a greater toll on the U.S. economy, the industry is pressed by increasing regulations, slumping demand, excess capacity and increases in both fixed and marginal key cost centers."

Driver Shortage/Retention— "Although the persistent sluggishness of the economy relieves some pressure, respondents clearly remain concerned. Driver training, compensation and other issues create new difficulties in attracting new driver entrants and reducing driver turnover." A major problem for the long-haul companies is that large percentage of the drivers are aging, and are expected to retire thus leading to decline in drivers.

Government Regulation — "Though primary safety regulation is the mandate of FMCSA, carriers face other significant regulations imposed by federal, state and local authorities. Examples include security-related driver credentials, owner-operator classification status and anti-idling laws."

Hours-of-Services— "The long-term status of HOS requirements remains uncertain as legal challenges and appeals are likely to continue. Respondents indicate a need to retain several elements of previous HOS regulations and that HOS regulations should be made more flexible in certain areas."

Highway Congestion—"As more and more cars make it onto the highways, the ability for a trucker to make his trip in a timely manner decreases. Accidents, traffic congestion and highway construction can all lead to a loss of profit."

Along with a healthy domestic economy, international trade, which accounted for 25 percent of the Nation's economy in 2004, has contributed to the dramatic growth in freight moving along U.S. highways. During that year, nearly 6.9 million trucks crossed the U.S.-Canadian border, creating delays and congestion such as in the photograph below..


Tolls/Highway Funding —"In 2008, tolls/highway funding issues gained prominence from several events, including the U.S. DOT announcement that the Highway Trust Fund was running out of money and the rejection of a congestion pricing program in New York City."

Environmental Issues—"The proliferation of anti-idling regulations and other emission-reduction initiatives sought by more state and local governments has created concern that the compliance costs may exceed benefits."

Tort Reform— "Tort reform seeks to minimize industry harm caused by inadequate and excessive civil judgments against trucking firms. The trucking industry, reflective of many other industries, seeks to clarify the distinction between civil tort liability and punitive damage awards."

Onboard Truck Technology —"The industry understands and supports many of the potential benefits of these technologies, even though many questions remain. The most prolific technology topic is electronic onboard recorders, most often cited as a potentially effective tool for monitoring HOS compliance."


Proposed strategies to overcome the problems faced by Trucking industry

Proposed Strategies For 2008

1.Fuel cost
a) Advocate for increased supply through expansion of domestic drilling and refinery capacity.
b) Promote initiatives to conserve fuel including a national speed limit and tax
incentives for fuel-saving technologies.
c) Support increased design and deployment of alternative energy forms.

2.Economy
a) Support pro-freight candidates in state and federal elections.
b) Advocate for policies that control healthcare costs for employers.
c) Pursue full implementation of trade agreements (NAFTA, etc.).

3.Driver Shortage/Retention
a) Research and identify the factors that most influence driver satisfaction and retention.
b) Redesign new entrant driver training programs to increase driver satisfaction/retention.
c) Expand image campaigns to attract new entrants from non-traditional labor pools.

4.Government Regulation
a) Oppose government mandates that increase equipment costs.
b) Advocate for streamlined and standardized security-related compliance mandates.
c) Protect owner-operator/independent contractor classification at the state level.

5.Hours-of-Service
a) Continue industry advocacy to maintain 11- and 34-hour provisions in current HOS rules.
b) Seek HOS rules change to allow split sleeper berth periods.
c) Support research to identify optimal ways to manage fatigue.

6.Congestion
a) Encourage size and weight provisions to maximize productivity and decrease roadway demand.
b) Examine the potential for truck-only lanes/corridors/networks.
c) Improve use of existing infrastructure through improved emphasis on freight planning and policies.

7.Tolls/Highway Funding
a) Prevent Highway Trust Fund (HTF) diversions to non-highway programs and
ensure that new highway funding is dedicated to roads.
b) Oppose tolls and privatization efforts on existing highways.
c) Promote fuel tax increases for additional roadway maintenance and construction
funding.

8.Environmental Issues
a) Seek tax incentives for new technology adoption and alternative fuel usage.
b) Advocate for uniform environmental program standards across states to reduce
compliance costs.
c) Encourage and publicize voluntary industry compliance with sustainability
initiatives.

9.Tort Reform
a) Push for legislation imposing new caps for non-economic damages.
b) Advocate for new legal fee structure and caps.
c) Promote public education campaigns that outline the negative consequences of
excess civil litigation.

10.Onboard Truck Technology
a) Support tax incentives to help offset the cost of new technologies.
b) Continue research to quantify real-world costs and benefits of onboard safety
systems.
c) Develop technical standards and more detailed recommended practices for
implementation and use of Electronic Onboard Recorders (EOBRs).




Proposed Strategies For 2009

1.Economy
a) Promote tort reform and other initiatives to lessen carrier operating costs.
b) Actively engage in the healthcare reform debate to support policies that
control costs for employers.
c) Pursue federal stimulus funds for freight transportation initiatives.

2.Government Regulation
a) Continue public outreach efforts that highlight the potential negative business impacts associated with the Employee Free Choice Act (Card Check).
b) Identify low-cost functional solutions to government mandates.
c) Support efforts to maintain and clarify the current status of owner- operators/independent contractors.

3.Fuel Issues
a) Examine the root causes of fuel price volatility and identify solutions that can offer price stability.
b) Continue to advocate for public policies that encourage the expanded exploration and production of domestic oil supplies.
c) Pursue initiatives that conserve fuel and support the increased use of alternative energy forms.

4.Congestion/Highway Infrastructure
a) Focus funding on addressing the most critical highway freight bottlenecks.
b) Continue to educate and inform decision-makers at all levels of government on both the negative impacts of congestion and the deteriorating state of the U.S. transportation system.
c) Develop a national freight strategy and promote the economic, environmental and quality of life benefits of a more efficient freight transportation system.

5.Hours-of-Service
a) Expand research and data collection on the safety impacts of HOS regulations.
b) Preserve current HOS exemptions in the highway funding reauthorization bill.
c) Expand research on causes and management strategies associated with truck driver fatigue.

6.Commercial Driver Issues
a) Redesign and streamline current driver credentialing processes and requirements.
b) Push for implementation of a national drug/alcohol testing database for
drivers.
c) Enhance newbee driver quality by promoting research and funding of more effective driver training programs.

7.Environmental Issues
a) Advocate for credible cost/benefit analyses of environmental regulations and encourage the use of scientific evidence in the development of future regulations.
b) Pursue a national standard for truck emissions as an alternative to current cap and trade initiatives.

c) Develop strategies to increase industry awareness of and participation in voluntary environmental programs.
initiatives.

8.Tolls/Highway Funding

a) Actively pursue policies that dedicate the use of highway trust funds for highway uses only.
b) Publicize the transportation benefits of traditional funding mechanisms over the use of creative financing strategies, such as tolls and public-private partnerships. Research has shown that the use of fuel taxes is an extremely
c) Advocate for increased fuel taxes to fund dedicated highway improvements and reduce congestion.

9.Truck Size and Weight
a) Support state-level efforts to standardize combination vehicle size and gross vehicle weight limits.
b) Encourage size and weight provisions that maximize productivity.
c) Educate the public on the economic, safety and environmental benefits of higher productivity vehicles.

10.Onboard Truck Technology
a) Pursue tax incentives to help offset the capital costs of onboard safety systems.
b) Support increased deployment of onboard safety systems with proven safety benefits and positive industry return-on-investment (ROI).
c) Formulate industry consensus for use of Electronic Onboard Recorders (EOBRs) for HOS compliance.


Want to be a trucker? A Guide for the trucking job

The trucking industry has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the United States. There are close to 3 million commercial truck drivers in the United States, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor counts, and the figure continues to rise

Step 1—Drive, sleep in a moving vehicle. That is the trucker life. Don't like it or can't handle it, you are in the wrong line of work. Decide if trucking is a good career for you. A trucker spends most of his hours away from home, that may not hold tight for interstate drivers as they remain away from home for days at a time. Drivers who have no family or who don't mind the nomadic lifestyle will do much better in this career. You should be atleast 18 years for trucking within your State. For trucking across the country you should be 21.

If you make the determination to become a trucker, you need to be aware that there are certain training and qualifications needed for this line of work. Not only does this help you to be a safer driver on the road, but it helps weed out those applicants who aren’t really suited for the rigorous and demanding nature of the job.  Drivers who choose a career in trucking must be independent and self-reliant and able to deal with things without relying on someone else.

Step2—Attend a trucker training program. Time and energy invested in a program vary greatly based on whether you commit to it full-time or you take classes during the weekend. Full-time students can usually graduate within a month, especially if they are involved in a company-sponsored program, since the company has a vested interest in the drivers getting to work as soon as possible.

Step3—Pass the CDL (Commercial Drivers License) exam. This license is required for anyone who wants to drive an 18-wheeled vehicle. The CDL license requires that you pass a written and practical test and to prove that you don’t suffer from any debilitating disease that may make you more prone to having an accident on the highway.

The last part of training involves taking the driving skills exam. This is done once you have graduated from driving school. Once completed, you will be given a full CDL license and will be allowed to drive a truck on your own.


Truck Drivers Health Issues

Recent studies show truck driving as one of the ten most most dangerous profession in America. Continous driving and interation on the highways and interstates creates a way for chances to involve in serious accidents.

Due to these long periods of driving, many drivers fighting boredom tend to develop smoking habits and along with sleeping and living in a truck and working long hours and receiving little rest, physical problems can become a major problem for our trucker's health.
Right here in the United States, 20% of truck accidents are due to over worked and fatigued drivers. Fatigue is also resulting disorders such as breathing problems and sleep apnea in many of our over the road drivers. Also, women drivers show no difference in suffering from these same health issues as the male drivers. In fact, women truckers are fighting such health issues as backache, hypertension, migraine, sinus problems and vision. Backaches are still the number two health problems for truckers. Fatigue remains at number one.

There are easy steps you can take that will lead to a path of better health:

  1. Know the signs for a stroke
  2. Quit Smoking
  3. Know the signs for a heart attack
  4. Make healthy fast food choices
  5. Exercise while out on the road
  6. If you drink, do it in moderation. More than 2 two alcoholic drinks a day can increase your chances for stroke or other medical problems not to mention the potential for impaired driving.
  7. Control your blood pressure—check your blood pressure whenever you can. If possible do it at least once a month if not more often. If the upper number is over 120 and the lower number over 80, you might want to talk to your doctor.

Magnesium plus Calcium is known to be a great supplement for providing stress relief and fighting insomnia, as well as a large number of other factors. The road to better health is your choice. Life on the road is a tough one . . . but with the right attitude, better health can be waiting for you right around the next curve.


Defining a Bad Trucking company—Truckers complaints

What defines a company as a "bad company"? Well, some drivers believe that companies which doesn't consistently give them 3000+ miles a week is a bad company. Others say a company that don't pay right sucks. Some complaint that they never get home when they want and they miss every occasion which they would like to spend with their family. There are few who say that they can never contact anyone at the company.

Trucking (especially the long-haul sector) is also facing an image crisis due to the long working hours, long periods of time away from home, the dangerous nature of the work, the relatively low pay (compared to hours worked), and a "driver last" mentality that is common throughout the industry.

Trucking Companies that Don't Pay Right
There are a few companies who are careless, but that's part of the game. There are majority of truckers who do not get paid on time. Logbooks and Paperwork isn't sent in correctly, or on time. Most drivers who complain about low pay are the ones who do not worry for the delivery time or deliver goods late, spending too much time not doing their job like hanging out at truck stops. Trucking is all about attitude and if you don't have it, the trucking company won't bother for you. If you respect a trucking company where you hold a job, the company will certainly respect you.

Not Being Able To Contact Anyone?

You can occasionally hear complaints from most of the truckers about not being able to contact anyone at the company, which can be frustrating. Most communication is done with a Qualcomm ( a wireless telecommunications research and development company, based in San Diego, California ), and you need to take things into perspective here. If you drive for a MASSIVE carrier like Swift, who has over 19,000 trucks, then you may end up in congestion. If you drive for a smaller, established carrier like KLLM, who has around 2000 trucks, chances are you won't run into problems with that as much. The nature of the job is like that in trucking industry that sometimes if you need to contact someone, you need to expect waiting.

Auto Transport  truck drivers jobs Vs Other truck driver jobs

There are many types of auto transport jobs. But you think about trucking, what comes to your mind is the Truck Driver. The auto transport truck drive's job is much more difficult then other kinds of truck drivers because not only do they have to drive the truck, but they also have to do the loading and unloading of each vehicle. The auto transport truck driver also has to pick up and deliver 10 to 12 vehicles from each person's home or business.

Another difficulty is that the car shipping truck drivers will shave 10 to 12 vehicles or cars to delivers which may be from 10 different states around the country, so he has to go on a long trip which may be around two weeks. This is difficult for those who are married and have a family. These drivers will sleep in their own trucks in a "sleeper cab" which is a small room built inside the truck. For these and many other reasons, car transport drivers are paid very well.


Your Career as an Auto transport Driver
First decide if this is the career for you. As an auto transporter, you will need to transport a variety of automobiles, smilitary vehicles for your employer or clients. Car transporters are typically paid $25,000 and upward per year, which equates to $350 to $450 per car transported, $150 for RV transport and $2,100 per month for military transports. In some instances, you may alsobereimbursed for expenses (including room and board). Asa car transporter, you'll be expected to travel excessively and be extremely flexible, responsible and organized.


Secondly, ensure you have the right background. Most companies prefer that car transporters have the minimum requirement of high school diploma or GED, though its not the major criteria. You must hold a good driving record, have specialized training, and pass a drug and alcohol exam. You should not have a criminal record. Some states require that you have 20/40 vision with or without glasses or contacts.


Join a certified truck driving school in your state. There are many truck driving schools that will help you get your CDL, or commercial driver's license. When choosing school, evaluate prospects carefully. Ask about training course costs, available course schedules and job placement rates. In addition, any program you choose should be trustworthy and established in the field. In addition, they should provide you with car transport driving instructions and should pair you with a skilled and experienced car transporter that can teach you the ropes.


Study and pass the test. Study for and pass the FMCSR (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation) exam. Car transporters must pass a written, physical, hearing and vision exam.





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