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Trucking & Big Rigs

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Valuable Skills you need to Succeed in the Trucking Industry

Being a truck driver involves much more than sitting behind the wheel of a
vehicle and driving all day. There are plenty of skills needed in order to do a
great job at it. The image of truck drivers isn't the best in society, and many
drivers strive to change that mentality by always offering fast, friendly
service.

Excellent communication skills make a great truck driver. You have to be able
to talk with your dispatcher in order to get the right loads and to work out
any delivery or pick up problems. You will also encounter people as you go
about your job and you need to be able to get along well with them.

Navigation is a large part of driving a semi truck as there are particular
roads that can be used and those that can't. Truck drivers have to be able to
read maps so they can find their destination. They also need to look for
clearance information relating to bridges and bypasses to ensure their truck
and trailer aren't too tall to fit under them.

Truck drivers need to be responsible and reliable. Driving a semi truck can be
dangerous for yourself and for other people on the road. Paying attention to
the activity going on out there is going to help prevent accidents from
happening. Obeying the rules on the road and following the speed limit is very
important.

Motivation is very helpful for truck drivers because it helps them to get their
job done correctly. It can be too easy to turn off that alarm and go back to bed
when you are tired, but knowing you have a delivery to make is going to help you
get moving. Truck drivers also need to be motivated to take care of their own
health needs so they can perform as best as possible out there.

Organization is a key skill for successful truck drivers to do. There is plenty
of paperwork that has to be done on a daily basis. The log book needs to be
filled out correctly or you can end up in trouble with the law and with your
employer. Trip packets have to be completed with all of the necessary paperwork
or it can delay your pay for the work you completed. You also have to keep track
of your expenses so you are able to use them as deductions on your income tax
return.

It is useful if the truck driver has a basic understanding of how their semi
truck operates. This way they can identify any problems that may be prevented
as well as complete some of the necessary repairs. While this isn't a necessity
of the job, it definitely comes in handy and it can save a great deal of money
for expensive repairs by a professional.

Truck drivers may be male or female, and they vary in age as well as
experience. Having many of these skills will help ensure the individual does
well in their role as a professional truck driver. These skills will also help
keep the job enjoyable because no one wants to work in a profession where they
aren't happy. Working to improve any of these skills will result in parts of
the job becoming easier and completed more efficiently.

Hours of Operation for Truck Drivers

There have been various changes to the laws pertaining to the hours of service
for truck drivers over the years. The most recent changes took place in April
of 2007, and they were met with a great deal of controversy. The idea behind
these new hours of service is to ensure all truck drivers get enough sleep and
to keep the roads safe.

Yet for many truck drivers, the hours of operation have left them with having
to split up their sleep time in order to accommodate their load times. In their
opinion, this leaves them feeling more tired then the way the old hours of
operation were. In many instances the hours of operation laws require the
driver to get sleep when they aren't tired, but they are out of hours.

A truck driver can legally drive for a maximum of eleven hours during any
fourteen hour period of time. Once that eleventh hour has been reached, the
driver must rest for a minimum of ten hours. In addition there is a weekly
clock that the driver has to abide by as well. No truck driver can legally
drive more than sixty hours over a period of one full week.

Each driver has to keep a daily log book that shows their hours of operation,
sleep time, off duty time, and vehicle inspection time. If a truck driver is
pulled over by law enforcement or pulled into a port, the log book can be
reviewed. If the driver is in violation of the hours of operation they won't be
able to move their truck until they have had adequate hours of rest. They can
also receive a hefty fine in order to help reduce the number of driver's with
such violations.

Any time a semi truck is involved in an accident, the log book is checked over
to make sure they are in compliance with the hours of operation. If they
aren't, the driver will likely get a citation regardless of who was at fault
for the accident. These penalties have quickly taught truck drivers and
trucking companies that breaking the hours of operation laws just isn't worth
it.

The issue of these hours of operation continues to cause problems for the
entire trucking industry. Drivers claim they aren't able to make enough money
due to the hours and there is a high rate of turnover in the business now. Many
business owners have to charge more for hauling freight due to the time it takes
to get it moved now. These costs are passed on to the merchant and ultimately to
the consumers.

In July of 2007 the issue what taken before the United States Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court struck down the option to return to the previous hours of
operation laws that were implemented in 2005. The ruling was made because the
judges felt the new hours of operation offer more safety to truck drivers and
the public in general.

This is a debate that continues to get more support for both sides as time goes
on. Many of the various trucking companies, drivers, and trucking industry
support organizations continue to build a case that the hours of operation are
unconstitutional. They believe it is costing them money and having a negative
impact on the overall economy.

Other organizations fight to keep the hours of service in place. They believe
it protects truck drivers from unrealistic demands of employers who are more
interested in making a profit than the health of their drivers or the safety of
everyone on the roads.

You can expect to see this issue in the courts again and again as both sides of
this battle attempt to push forward with their information to make a case for
why the hours of operation should or shouldn't be enforced. For the time being
though truck drivers and trucking companies have no choice but to be in
compliance with them.

Truck Driving Shows

Truck drivers work very hard for a living, and this is a fact that deserves
some appreciation. There are truck driving shows held in various locations
around the country in order to recognize them. These are events that generally
last for several days, and the whole family can attend. The cost is generally
free to encourage more truck drivers and their families to show up.

Most of these truck driving shows are held at large event centers or convention
centers. They feature food, entertainment, and even live concerts by well known
bands. There are booths that offer various information on insurance, laws that
will affect truck drivers, and information. There are also vendors selling
custom made hats and accessories for semi trucks and trailers.

Many of the different vendors offer brochures, informational packets, and even
have drawings for various prizes. You can take your time looking around and
seeing what options you have. Chances are you may discover some very useful
information that you can use to make your truck driving profession easier or to
safe you money.

These are popular events for the manufacturers of semi trucks and trailers to
put on displays as well. They bring out the latest models they have to offer as
well as feature new engine designs. They offer brochures and even excellent
financing options that you can take advantage of during the course of the truck
driving show.

This is a great opportunity to tell these various manufactures what needs
aren't being met for the truck drivers out there. They will take that
information back to their company and hopefully start looking for ways to meet
those needs. They know if they can offer something for the trucking industry
then it will sell well so they aren't too worried about taking a risk when the
requests are coming from those in the industry.

There are generally various classes offered at most truck driving shows as
well. There is usually a charge for them but they are well worth the
investment. Some of the hot topics covered include the new hours of service
regulations, filling out log books properly, hauling hazardous materials,
fitness for truck drivers, safety, and changes in the trucking industry. You
will find these courses to offer you valuable information that you can use.

You will also find a Show and Shine competition at the various truck driving
shows. This is an event that gets plenty of attention for the drivers and the
investments they have made in their trucks. Many of them offer amazing quality
and detail to every aspect of the truck. To enter the competition each truck
must be used for work purposes and not simply put on display at the various
truck driving shows.

If you have never been to one of the various truck driving shows, you are
missing out on an opportunity to spend some time finding out what is going on
with everyone else in the industry. You may be surprised when you realize just
how much support truck drivers really have.

While you will find a truck driving show very educational, it will also provide
you with a chance to relax and enjoy others with similar interests. In most
instances various portions of your visit to a truck driving show are tax
deductible so make sure you discuss this with your tax preparer.

You can find a schedule of the upcoming truck driving shows taking place
online. If possible schedule a load to haul that direction and stay for a day
or two. There is always plenty of parking and most offer shuttles to local
restaurants and hotels for your convenience. You can also plan a great vacation
for your family to travel to a truck show in Las Vegas, Nevada; Anaheim,
California; our Houston, Texas where there are plenty of other things to spend
your time doing as well.

Should you Purchase an Extended Warranty on a Semi Truck?

Buying a semi truck is quite an investment with the total cost often being more
than many people pay for their first home. Yet this equipment can be used to
generate a nice income if you look for work in various aspects of the trucking
industry.

One of the biggest overhead expenses for a semi truck owner is the cost of
repairs. In addition to the cost of parts and labor, there is the down time for
their truck to sit while it is getting repaired. That means no income is being
generated during that period of time.

Many dealerships offer a warranty period for a semi truck when you make a
purchase. This generally expires after a set period of time such as one year
from the date of purchase or after you have put a set amount of miles on the
equipment. A good quality semi truck can go hundreds of thousands of miles
without experiencing any trouble. Of course this means you have to take good
care of it and get it serviced regularly.

You may have the option of buying an extended warranty for your truck either at
the time of purchase or when the warranty you already have in place is about to
expire. Many owners aren't sure if this is a good investment or a waste of
their money. If you plan to keep the semi truck for several years, you may want
to go ahead and invest in that warranty. The more miles you put on the vehicle,
the more likely that something major will go wrong.

Owner operators who don't have a substantial amount of money set aside for
repairs definitely need to buy the extended warranty. It can cost thousands of
dollars to repair the engine or transmission on a semi truck. This can lead to
the owner operator losing their business or suffering a significant economic
hardship if they have to come up with the funds on their own.

Some truck drivers make it a practice of getting a new truck every four or five
years. This is to offer them the luxuries they enjoy, keep their truck under a
warranty, and help them with their taxes because they get to depreciate the
value of the truck over a set period of time.

The cost of an extended warranty for a semi truck depends on many factors. The
dealership will be able to explain the various options to you regarding the
coverage. The more coverage you want the more expensive the extended warranty
is going to be. Yet you will find the cost of such an extended warranty is
going to be much less than paying for the necessary repairs out of your pocket.

In most instances you can use the cost of the extended warranty as a deduction
on your income taxes. This type of warranty may not be extended in all cases so
make sure you inquire about it if it is important to you. There are also
independent insurance agencies where you can get one on your own. Make sure you
carefully compare prices and coverage so you know exactly what you are buying.

You also want to make sure the extended warranty is offered by a legitimate
company. Take the time to see if they have any complaints filed against them
with the Better Business Bureau. You don't want to need to access your extended
warranty and find out it is a scam and you don't have any such coverage.

Hopefully you will never need to access your extended warranty but it is a very
good safety net to have in place in order to offer you financial security. The
trucking industry is a great way to make a living but the wear and tear on the
equipment can really affect your bottom line. Protecting yourself against
unnecessary and unexpected expenses is an important part of being a successful
business owner.

The Requirements to Operate a Big Rig in the United States

Thousands of men and women drive big rigs in order to get the goods to the
stores for us to conveniently walk in and buy. They also haul dirty and other
materials for building homes and roads. Just as each person needs to fulfill
basic requirements in order to get a traditional driver's license, there are
requirements in order to get a commercial driver's license (CDL) to operate a
big rig.

There are two types of tests that have to be successfully passed in order to
obtain a CDL in the United States. There is a written test that goes over the
various rules and regulations. This is completed first at any local Department
of Motor Vehicles or through a truck driving school. There is also a driving
test that has to be completed just like there is for operating a regular
vehicle.

An individual must be at least 21 years of age before they are allowed to apply
for a CDL. There are some special laws that apply for individuals from 16-20
years old who operate semi trucks used in conjunction with agricultural work.
They also have to be able to successfully read and write English due to the
many road signs pertaining to trucks on the road and the necessary paperwork.

The Department of Transportation requires all CDL license holders to
successfully pass a physical completed by a doctor trained in their
requirements. This physical has to be renewed annually in order for the
individual to remain in compliance. Since the terrorist attacks of 09/11/01,
those individuals applying for a CDL also have to be a citizen of the United
States and pass a background check.

There are special endorsements for a CDL that a person can apply for as well.
Hauling chemicals and flammable materials requires the individual to complete a
Hazardous Materials course. Upon doing so they will be given an endorsement to
acknowledge this on their drivers license. To find out the specification of
obtaining such endorsements ask your local DMV or take a look at the
information found online.

The driving record of an individual is going to determine if they are able to
obtain a CDL. While you can if you meet all the other requirements and have a
valid traditional driver's license, it doesn't mean you will be able to get a
job. Most employers look very closely at a driving record when hiring drivers.
The cost of insurance for big rigs is very expensive, and the get a discount
when they have a fleet of drivers with a safe driving history.

Any individual holding a CDL has to understand that they can lose this
privilege if their regular driving privileges are suspended or revoked. In many
states failure to pay child support according to the court order can result in a
driver's license being suspended. This can also happen due to excessive amounts
of speeding tickets, accidents, or driving under the influence of alcohol.

There are various ways in which a person can learn how to operate a big rig.
Many students enroll in a truck driving school. This is a program that lasts
for several weeks and teaches them all the fundamentals for both passing the
written exam and the driving test. Most students master the rules faster than
they do the driving skills. Instructors watch closely and work with students in
many areas until they master the necessary skills to safely operate a big rig on
the public highways.

Others learn from someone else who already holds a CDL. It is very common for
fathers to teach their sons how to do this, especially if they have a business
where holding a CDL is vital. The rules for obtaining a CDL in the United
States are in place to ensure that the roads are safe. They are also in place
to prevent those who have a poor driving record from having control of such a
large and powerful piece of equipment.

Choosing the Right Trucking Company to work for

There are so many different trucking companies out there that the chances of
you finding a job you enjoy driving a semi truck is very high. Yet you need to
know that these companies all have different recruiting techniques that they
use to entice new drivers to sign up with them. It is to your advantage to take
a close look at the various trucking companies out there and see what they have
to offer you. Since you won't be comparing apples to apples you need to
evaluate each one on an individual basis.

You want to find a trucking company that offers a terminal in your general
area. Otherwise you are going to find you have to drive endless miles empty in
your own vehicle if you are using a company owned semi truck. If you are an
owner operator with your own truck then you will be driving these additional
miles in the big rig without pay, and that is quite expensive.

Many of the larger trucking companies have terminals in many locations while
the smaller ones may only offer one or two terminals. This will generally be
the location where you drop of your paperwork, attend safety meetings, and take
care of other essential tasks related to the trucking industry.

The amount of money you will get paid is very important, but you need to
evaluate this carefully. Many trucking companies offer a sign on bonus if you
agree to a contract of one year or more. This may be payable when you initially
start or when you reach the time mark outlined in your contract. You need to
find out if you will get paid by the mile or by the hour for your work.

It is important to find out when you will be paid for your work. Some trucking
companies pay you a set number of days after you turn in paperwork for a load.
Others have set pay dates. You also need to find out if you will get a check or
if the funds will be direct deposit. If you are an over the road truck driver
the direct deposit option generally works best so you can access funds even
when you aren't in the area.

Inquire about various benefits that the trucking company may offer you. These
include health insurance, 401 k plans, and bonuses for attendance and safety.
All of these items make up a complete employment package and they are worth
investing in. It isn't a good idea not to have health insurance and you should 
always have some type of savings plan in the works for your future.

The way dispatch works for different trucking companies can make getting loads
a smooth process or it can be a nightmare. Look for a trucking company that has
plenty of freight to offer. This way you can deliver your load, call dispatch
for another load, and be on your way again. You will be wasting your time and
your money if they continually leave you sitting around waiting for a load.

Find out how the company handles time off. You may be offered paid vacation
time after you have been with the company for a set period of time. However,
you may need to take a couple of days off to deal with issues that have been
piling up or for a special occasion. Look for a trucking company to work for
that understands these things arise and they are willing to work with you to
get your personal needs met.

What to Look for in Truck Driver Training Programs

There are many different programs out there that teach you how to drive a semi
truck. They often assist you with learning the written materials as well so you
can pass both tests in order to get your CDL. It is important to look into the
qualifications of such truck driver training programs though. You want a
quality program that is going to teach you valuable skills. It can be very
dangerous to place new trainees into the work force with a CDL when they don't
have sufficient training.

You also want one that is affordable for you to attend. Many of the accredited
truck driver training programs offer financial aid to help assist with the cost
of attendance. They will also work out payment plans to assist you with paying
for the remainder or if you don't qualify for any type of financial assistance.

There are many instances where you can get your truck driver training paid for
by an employer. Yet you have to look closely at what they require in return.
Most of them will require you to sign a contract that you will work for their
company for a specified amount of time. Generally one or two years is the term
of such a contract. If you are fired or voluntarily leave the company before
that span of time you will be responsible to repay the company for the cost of
your truck driver training program.

The length of the truck driver training program is very important. Some of them
claim they can get you in and out in a couple of weeks. While this may seem
appealing, keep in mind that there is plenty to learn about driving a semi
truck. You don't want to be rushed and you don't want to be on the road on your
own in one before you are ready. You want a program that is full time and is at
least four weeks long.

Ask about the curriculum of the program so you can see for yourself what
information will be covered. You should also ask about class sizes so you can
find out if you will be able to get one on one attention for your specific
needs in the program. Don't be shy about asking about the qualifications of
their instructors either. The more experience they have in the classroom and
driving a semi truck the more first hand information they will be able to share
with you.

The internet is a great place to find out information about different truck
driver training programs. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any
complaints have been filed against them. Look online for independent reviews
about the program from other students. This information will help you discover
the pros and cons of any given truck driver training program before you commit
to it.

Once you find the truck driver training program that suits your needs, find out
what you need to do to get enrolled. Most of them will have specific guidelines
and an application you need to complete. There are deadlines for getting in
your application, applying for financial aid, and providing the requested
verifications. Make sure you make this process a priority or you may find you
can't get into the program until the following term.

It can be very exciting to learn how to drive a semi truck, and it can open up
many wonderful job opportunities for you. Selecting the right training program
is essential for you to have a solid foundation to build on. Knowing the basics
of how to operate a semi truck, the rules of the road, hours of operation, and
being safe should all be a part of any quality truck driving training program.
Don't settle for anything less because it will result in you not having the
skills you need to succeed in this type of career.

Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

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 come 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.

No matter what you are driving, you always have to on the look out for other
drivers not doing their part to be safe. Big trucks can't stop as quickly as
other vehicles so you need to be prepared for road construction, accidents, and
congestion on the roads. Leave enough room between you and the vehicles ahead of
you to anticipate anything that could possibly occur. Make sure you pay close
attention to blind spots on your truck before you attempt to change lanes or
pass other vehicles.

It is a good idea to always wear your seat belt while in a semi truck. Too many
people have the misconception that they are perfectly safe up there but in the
event of an accident you could be seriously thrown around or even thrown out of
the vehicle. It is a good idea to always have a fire extinguisher in the cab of
the vehicle as well.

Since most truck drivers travel from one part of the country to the next in
order to pick up or deliver a load, the weather changes can be quick. It is
important for a truck driver to have essential clothing for any kind of weather
including the extreme hot and the bitter cold.

Both the heater and the air conditioning need to be in good working condition
in the cab and in the sleeper of the semi truck. Make sure you have dry foods
and water in the cab in case you have to stay in there for any length of time.
Tire chains are also good to carry in case you are facing harsh ice and snow
conditions.

Most truck drivers carry cell phones, and they can use it to be the eyes and
ears of the road. Reporting stranded motorists, poor road conditions, road
kill, or even other drivers who are being careless and reckless can prevent
serious injuries and accidents from occurring. It is never a good idea to pick
up hitchhikers while driving a semi truck. They can be distracting and they
might even be dangerous.

Many truck drivers log thousands of miles each month without incident. This is
due to the fact that they work hard to take care of their own needs, they
routinely inspect their truck and trailers, and they pay attention to what is
taken place around them. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, so
professional truck drivers know to be prepared for anything.

Tips for Truck Drivers to Save Money

When it comes to driving a truck, there are plenty of expenses that come with
the territory. The bottom line for a truck driver is the gross amount of money
he or she makes less their expenses. Cutting down on various expenses can
really help to increase the amount of revenue they are able to keep for
themselves.

The most expensive investment for a truck driver is the truck so getting a good
deal on a quality piece of equipment is important. The industry tends to have an
abundance of used trucks on lots and you can get one that is in good condition
for a reasonable price. New trucks are more expensive but they come with a
better warranty and you have the peace of mind that it hasn't been through too
much wear and tear.

Getting a good interest rate on your truck is going to lower the cost of your
overall payments. It is a good idea to pay extra on your truck towards the
principal when you can. This will help you to pay it offer sooner and it will
reduce the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan.

Investing both time and money in routine maintenance is a good way to save
money. Your truck will run better with regular oil changes and taking the time
to check over all your hoses and lines will prevent you from having to buy
expense parts on the road. Having the right amount of air in the tires will
also save you on fuel expenses.

Pay close attention to the cost of fuel when you are driving over the road. You
may be able to save several cents per gallon by going to another truck stop.
Many of the chain truck stops offer fuel cards that will also save you money.
Each time you use your card you can save a few cents per gallon. They can also
offer a points system where you can buy meals or other items from inside.

Showers can become expensive for truck drivers, with many truck stops charging
up to $7 for one. Most of them offer the shower for free if you get a set
amount of gallons of fuel. It may be more cost effective to get fuel each
morning instead of filling up at one location so you can take advantage of free
showers. That is one expense that really adds up fast.

Food is another cost that truck drivers find puts a dent in their wallet. It is
a good investment to get a small refrigerator for your cab. You can store lunch
meat, fruits, snacks, and drinks in there. This is also more convenient than
having to stop to get something to it. This will also help you eat healthier
because many truck stops offer fast food options as well as a restaurant.

Truck drivers do need some hot meals though, and these can be eaten at any
truck stop restaurant. There are also small stove tops that operate on butane
you can buy for your truck. They work great for heating up meals you can enjoy
in your truck instead of having to pay for a meal in the restaurant. There are
plenty of personal supplies a truck driver needs to carry with them. Paying for
these items at a truck stop is very expensive. Pack plenty of soap, deodorant,
toothpaste, mouthwash, and razors so you won't run out. You should also carry
plenty of clothing so that you don't have to pay to do laundry at truck stops.

A good way to prepare is to pack a very large duffle bag with all of your
travel supplies. Carry a smaller duffle bag with one change of clothes, your
personal hygiene items, and a couple of towels. You can conveniently carry in
the small duffle bag and leave the majority of your supplies in your truck.
This is also a good safety measure in case you happen to leave your bag behind.

Tips to Help Truck Drivers Stay in Shape

It is hard for most people to find the time in their day to stay in shape, but
when you drive a truck it can be even more difficult. Your job is difficult but
it also requires you to stay in your seat for hours each day. Over time this can
lead to a very unhealthy lifestyle, heart problems, and becoming overweight.
There are some great ways for truck drivers to stay in shape though.

Most over the road truck drivers stop to eat and rest at truck stops. Park at
the end of the parking lot and walk inside to eat, shower, and relax. This
exercise each time you stop will really add up in no time at all. Instead of
sitting inside the truck stop and watching TV go for a walk around the area.
This will give you some fresh air, exercise, and the chance to stretch out your
legs.

Getting in and out of a big truck can be dangerous if you aren't careful. Many
truck drivers jump down instead of using the stairs. As a result they risk
injuries to their knees and to their back. It is also important to wear quality
shoes or boots that offer plenty of support for the arches in your feet.

You might be able to walk when you are making your deliveries as well. It
depends on the rules that are set up at the place where you deliver. Many of
them have rules in place where the driver's have to stay in the cab at all
times for safety reasons. If that is the case you can use that time to do
paperwork or to take a nap.

It is possible to keep some basic exercise equipment in the cab of your truck.
Lifting weights is a good exercise routine to incorporate into your day about
three times per week. You can easily store the weights under your bed when you
aren't using them. There are some other types of exercise equipment that fit
well into the cab of your truck as well that you may be interested in
purchasing.

Getting sufficient sleep each nigh is important, and this can be difficult when
you drive a truck. You may have deliveries at off hours and that means your
sleep schedule is broken up rather than all at once. Make sure you have a
comfortable mattress and pillow so you can sleep comfortably. Never accept
loads that require you to work when you should be sleeping. Not only is this
going to affect your overall health, it is illegal and you could find yourself
in serious trouble if you get inspected or you are involved in an accident.

The foods you eat are very important to your overall health. Instead of
grabbing fast food all the time, try to eat a good meal that offers you plenty
of nutrients. Look for truck stop restaurants that offer you a quality salad
bar full of fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also install a small
refrigerator in your truck and stock up on nutritious foods for you to eat for
meals and healthy snacks.

You need to make sure you eat enough during the day to keep up your energy
levels. A person's metabolism can slow down if you skip meals. Don't starve
yourself all day and then eat one large meal. It will be hard for your body to
digest and you won't have the energy you need to get through the day.

Most truck driver's have a couple of days off in between runs. Use this time at
the gym, playing sports, or doing yard work. There are so many different ways
you can get the necessary exercise and stay in shape. Driving a truck is a
rewarding career for those who really enjoy it. Yet if your health deteriorates
you won't be able to drive a truck so do all you can to stay fit now.

Team Truck Drivers

Many truckers out there prefer to drive their rig alone, but others enjoy
having a friend or their spouse to be on the road with. The idea behind team
truck drivers is to get deliveries made faster. They truck is able to go
further in a 24 hour period because you have two drivers that can drive. They
can each drive all of their hours of service and then switch or drive in timed
shifts.

Most team truck drivers decide to drive in full shifts so that the other person
can get sufficient rest. Basically the team will stop at regular intervals so
each can eat, shower, and use the bathroom. Each person that makes up the team
has to keep their own log book of their hours of service, both on duty and off 
duty.

This is one of the few times when it is acceptable to have more than one log
book in a semi truck. Generally this practice is banned so that truck drivers
can't be accused of running with more than one set of books in order to
manipulate the hours of service regulations.

The biggest advantage to having team truck drivers is they can get deliveries
to the destination in half the time of a solo driver. Most trucking companies
send their team trucks on routine routes because they want to keep the customer
happy by always having the deliveries completed on time.

Many team truck drivers are sent over the road with hazardous materials because
they are on the open road for less time. The truck is generally on the move
instead of being stopped for hours at a time due to the hours of service
regulations that will result in a solo driver parking the hazardous load and
waiting until they have new driving hours.

There are a couple of downfalls to the concept of team truck drivers though.
First, many people have their own way of doing things and this will carry over
to taking care of the truck. It can create issues when each person wants things
to be done their own way. Secondly, it can make it difficult for couples because
even though they are in the truck for many hours per day together, they get very
little time to actually spend together.

It can also be difficult to stay with a set schedule when there are traffic
hold ups, delivery delays, and other unforeseen events. If the team truck
drivers aren't doing their finances together such as best friends driving
together it can be tricky to divvy up earnings. Most trucking companies pay
team truck drivers half of the overall miles completed for a given trip to
avoid such issues but this is dealt with on a company by company basis.

Many trucking companies place new drivers with an experienced driver to show
them the ropes over the road. This type of team truck driving can be very
uncomfortable and strained. Since neither person knows the other they may find
it difficult to get into a routine that works for both of them. It is also hard
for the new driver to learn because he or she should be sleeping during that
period of time. Likewise, the experienced driver may find it difficult to sleep
with someone so inexperienced behind the wheel of the semi truck.

Should you invest in a New Semi Truck or a Used One?

You will find there are plenty of choices out there when it comes to buying a
semi truck. You can have your pick of color, make, and model as well as various
accessories. One of the biggest decisions you will have to make though is should
you invest in a new one or a used one? This is often a personal decision that is
influenced by many factors.

If you are limited in funds to make the purchase and need low monthly payments
then you will likely need to opt for a used semi truck. You don't want to get
yourself into a situation where you can't make the monthly payment and the
equipment gets repossessed. If you aren't sure about the work you will have
lined up then you definitely don't want to invest in a new truck immediately.
After you have work that will be ongoing you can always upgrade.

The warranty offered on a new truck is often a good sales position because the
cost of repairs on semi trucks are so expensive. Many truck drivers feel more
confident with a truck that comes with a long term warranty. This is especially
true is the equipment will be used for over the road trucking as a large number
of miles will be accumulated in a short span of time.

If the semi truck will only be used locally or seasonally, then investing in a
used one may be more cost effective. Keep in mind that most used semi trucks
only offer a very short term warranty or no warranty at all. Still, there are
so many used semi trucks at the dealerships that you can generally get them for
a very low price.

For many truck drivers, the fact that they spend the majority of their time in
their truck means they want something new. They want comfort and style so they
look for a semi truck that offers them all the accessories they will enjoy.
They take great pride in the presentation of the inside and the outside of the
semi truck, so only a new one will do. These types of truck drivers often
upgrade their semi every two or three years so they are always behind the wheel
of something beautiful and under warranty.

If you are considering investing in a used semi truck, have it independently
inspected inside and out. This type of inspection is generally less than $100
and the information will be invaluable to you. The last thing you need is a
used semi truck that will need one repair after another. You also have to
consider the money lost as you can't earn anything with it while the repairs
are being done.

If you can get a great deal on a used semi truck, you will be able to save more
money that can be used to pay for any repairs or towards a new truck down the
road. For those new to the profession, you really need to start out with a used
semi truck. This way you don't get in over your head while you are trying to
make a name for yourself in the trucking industry.

You can easily compare the prices and the options on new and used trucks at
local dealerships and online. If you have a specific type of truck and various
accessories you want it to have, you can narrow down the search. You can even
search by price to find out what you are able to buy with the funds you have
available. The decision to invest in a new or used semi truck is different for
each person, but you need to take the time to weigh the pros and cons of each
one before you make a final decision. You want the semi truck to meet your
needs in the industry as well as offer you reliability and comfort.




Women Truck Drivers

Most people associate the term truck driver with men, but more and more women
are finding this is an enjoyable career choice for them. Some of them are team
drivers with another woman or their spouse. Others enjoy being out on the open
road with their pets or by themselves.

Due to the increase of women truck drivers, many truck stops have had to make
changes to what they offer. They now have shower rooms equipped with items for
women. They also offer many amenities that females will need while they stop at
a truck stop including feminine products, perfume, hairspray, and other
accessories.

You may find some people out there who ridicule women truck drivers as they
think it is a joke. Yet most of these women are very competent behind the wheel
of an 18-wheeler and they know all about how to keep their truck in good working
condition. Some trucking companies are hesitant to hire women even though they
can't come right out and say this due to discrimination laws. They worry about
the safety of the women while out there on the road. They also worry about
harassment they may encounter by their male employees.

There is a non-profit organization known as Women in Trucking that works hard
to advocate for women's rights in this profession that is dominated by men.
They work hard to acknowledge the accomplishments of women in the trucking
industry and to help the overcome any barriers to employment. Over the last
five years they have worked hard to help women find more jobs in the trucking
industry and have been very successful.

Women in Trucking have also released a documentary on DVD called Alligator on
the Zipper. This film documents true stories about seven female truck drivers
and their experiences. It is believed offering such educational information
will help women be more accepted in the field of truck driving.

Today there are almost 200,000 women truck drivers in the United States, so
they make up approximately 5% of the total truck driver workforce. While many
women still feel intimidated in this profession, they are finding hard work and
dedication to safety and delivering loads on time is earning them respect of
companies all over the Nation.

If you are a woman interested in driving a semi truck, take the time to find
out what your options are. If you are a United States citizen, at least 21
years of age, and you have a good driving record then you may be eligible to
obtain a CDL. You will need to find a quality truck driving training program so
you can successfully pass the written and oral examinations.

There are plenty of excellent truck driving jobs out there, so you will need to
look hard for them. You will also want to join support groups including Women in
Trucking. They can help you with any questions or concerns you may have while
entering the trucking industry. They can also assist you if you feel your civil
rights have been violated due to the fact that you are a female pursuing a
career in truck driving.

While it is harder for a woman truck driver to be accepted for many positions,
don't give up. There are some trucking companies such as Mary Kay Cosmetics
that prefer women drivers. Think of the thrill of being the driving force
behind a pink semi!

Ways to Increase your Fuel Mileage on a Semi Truck

Can you imagine being happy with getting six to eight miles per gallon in your
vehicle? Most of us would not be impressed at all, especially considering the
cost of fuel these days. Yet for professional semi truck drivers, striving for
increased fuel mileage is very important. Getting six to eight miles per gallon
means the semi truck is operating very efficiently. Some of them only get four
miles per gallon, and that needs to be changed because the drivers are simply
throwing money away.

Those who drive for a company don't worry too much about the cost of the fuel
or how many gallons they get per mile because they get paid based on the number
of miles they drive. Owner operators pay very close attention to these figures
because they have to cover all the costs of their own fuel. In many cases this
cost can be as much as 40% of the gross earnings per month.

There are some factors that will affect your fuel mileage in a semi truck that
you really can't control. They include the wind and the weight of the load you
are hauling. The cost of fuel per gallon is also something that you won't be
able to do much about. There are some ways you can increase your fuel mileage
though that aren't going to cost you very much to implement.

Many semi trucks offer a heavy drag in order to pull a standard size trailer.
These can be modified to still offer enough power but without the weight. Many
owner operators like to add chrome and nice accessories to their semi truck.
Try to avoid too much of it, especially those pieces that are quite heavy as
they will add weight and increase the amount of fuel your truck consumes.

The amount of air in the tires will affect your fuel mileage as well. They
should be routinely checked to ensure they don't have too much or not enough
air. If you seem to have a tire with a continuous air leak in it, have the tire
repaired or replace it.

The amount of air that is moving underneath the semi truck is important as
well. Too much air means you are fighting it as you drive down the road. There
are special designed pieces you can place under your truck as well as on the
roof of it in order to cut the amount of resistance you are driving against.

There are some hybrid models of semi trucks on the market right now that offer
a great way to save money and increase fuel mileage. Since they will run on
solar power during the day, the only fuel that will be consumed is when the
energy cells have run out or the sun has gone down. You can expect to see many
more hybrid semi trucks on the road in the years ahead.

Think about the weight of a semi truck before you purchase it because it is
going to affect your fuel mileage. The heavier a truck is the more fuel you are
going to need to move it. Sure, having all those accessories inside of the truck
is nice, but if you want to make a decent profit you need to compromise. Make
sure you have plenty of comfort since you will likely spend a great deal of
time in your semi truck. However, you need to make sure you are getting one of
the higher rates when it comes to your fuel mileage.

Incorporating these various types of ways to increase your fuel mileage in a
semi truck is very important. Even increasing it by one mile per gallon will
significantly add up fast if you drive several thousand miles per month. The
cost of fuel continues to get higher and higher so you need to do all you can
to keep overhead costs as low as possible.

Semi Trucks and Terrorism

After the world was taken by surprised with the terrorist attacks of September
11, 2001 significant changes were implemented in the United States in regard to
semi trucks. There is a possibility that the use of large trucks could be used
for terrorism and that is something that needs to be carefully guarded against.

The United States government closely guards against those with a CDL accessing
hazardous materials. They require a background check with fingerprinting to be
completed for anyone with a CDL that wants this type of endorsement. There are
plenty of flammable and toxic materials hauled in semi trucks that need to be
protected.

There is also the problem of terrorists taking semi trucks that have such
products on them in route. They can kill the driver's and take the trucks if
they really want to access the various materials they are hauling. The
potential scenarios that could result from such materials being used for
terrorism are too many to mention. Yet it is likely that they could result in
mass deaths and even contamination of the water and the air.

There have already been some semi trucks involved in various terrorist attacks.
In 1993 they were used to engage in the attack on the World Trade Center. The
fact that there are so many semi trucks out there hauling dangerous materials
makes them a viable weapon for terrorism. The fact that placards have to be in
place on semi trucks hauling these materials is supposed to be for safety but
they also identify them as easy targets for terrorists.

One of the ideas the Department of Homeland Security has been considering is
placing GPS on all trucks that haul hazardous materials. This way it would be
very easy to identify those that are off course. It would also be possible to
identify any semi trucks hauling hazardous materials into areas where they are
not allowed.

In the event of a semi truck hauling dangerous materials, being involved in an
accident, the GPS could result in clean up crews being sent to the scene
immediately. All of the information relating to the types of materials being
hauled would be available so crews would know how to proceed. Yet the cost of
implementing such a program would be very expensive. There would also be
ongoing costs for monitoring the activities of all these semi trucks.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has also come up with a device to
prevent terrorists from using semi trucks. This device can be mounted in
various areas of the truck. If it is believed the safety of the semi truck has
been compromised the device can be instructed to come to a full stop by
activating the air brakes. There is still more research that needs to be looked
into for this type of concept to be realistically installed in all semi trucks.

We have all seen the effects that terrorist attacks can have on society.
Protecting semi trucks from getting into the wrong hands is very important.
Most truck drivers are trained in the possibility that their truck could be
taken for such a purpose. Many trucking companies have procedures in place for
the driver to follow if such an event occurs. Many of the reports of suspicious
activities relating to semi trucks are reported by truck drivers themselves as
they are the eyes and ears of the open road.

Trucker Talk

Truck drivers are professionals who have their own terminology for many
different events that take place. They often talk to each other on the CB to
offer assistance and information to each other. The most common phrase that
truck drivers use that most of us are aware of is the term 10/4. This basically
means they have acknowledged what was said and they are signing off.

Truck drivers generally warn each other about road hazards and safety issues.
The term four wheeler refers to a regular sized vehicle on the road. They may
want to let other drivers behind them know about a car on the side of the road
ahead or other concerns. They also notify each other of cops by various terms
-- a smokey is a cop on the ground in a car, Evil Kinevil is one on a
motorcycle, and a bear in the air is in reference to speed being monitored by
aircraft.

We have all seen those large pieces of rubber from semi truck tires on the
highway. They are referred to as alligators. Road kill is a common site on many
roads, and truck drivers refer to it as road pizza. Flat bed trailers are often
referred to as skateboards. Tractor trailers are commonly referred to as a box.

If you see a truck moving without a trailer attached to it, truckers call this
bobtailing. While it saves them of fuel mileage, it is a bumpy road without
that trailer on the back to help smooth things out.

At truck stops you may hear the term lot lizard. This is in reference to the
girls who are wondering around in the parking lot trying to get paid to perform
sexual favors for truck drivers. They call them lizards because they scramble
when they see light from security or the cops. You can even see them
dangerously walking underneath moving trailers on semi trucks to avoid being
caught.

Some of the lot lizards stay in their vehicles to avoid being detected by
security. They use codes on the radio asking if someone wants their chrome
polished or their truck detailed. These are code words for various types of
sexual favors -- yet they can't be charged with anything if a cop hears them
say these terms over the CB radio frequency.

You will find that some of the slang used on the CB's varies by location on the
country. There are many different variations and many of the long term truck
drivers are able to correctly identify the region another driver is from just
by the terminology they use. For the most part though trucker talk is common
knowledge among this profession.

The truck talk that pertains to safety issues seems to be more standardized
across the board. It is the terms that refer to other aspects out there that
seem to come with the most variations associated with them.

While most of us have no reason to learn truck talk, it can be interesting to
understand what they are talking about if you work in a truck stop or you have
a CB in your vehicle. I have learned various types of trucker talk listening to
my husband and other drivers talking around me. While I find some of their
terminology to be silly, it serves its purpose.

The Truth about Accidents Involving Semi Trucks

We have all heard the commercials on TV for lawyers who claim they can get you
thousands of dollars if you are involved in an accident with a semi truck.
There are also plenty of news stories in the media highlighting crashes
involving these large pieces of equipment. Yet statistics show the majority of
accidents that involve a big truck are due to the negligence of other drivers,
not those who are responsible for keeping eighteen wheels on the road.

The sheer size of a semi truck often means that any accident it is involved in
with other vehicles is going to be more severe than when two or more regular
sized vehicles have a similar accident. Even as low speeds and accident
involving a semi truck can be very serious. To help reduce the risks of semi
trucks being involved in accidents, employers are working hard to offer
effective training programs for their employees.

Many employers who have a fleet of trucks mandate each employee attends a
safety meeting on a regular basis. This may be monthly, quarterly, or twice a
year. During these meetings all of the safety violations that have taken place
in that period of time should be reviewed and evaluated. This way others can
learn from mistakes that have already been made and prevent similar accidents
from occurring in the future.

The cost of insurance for semi trucks is very high, and companies as well as
owner operators do all they can to reduce it. Having a clean driving record is
important for this to happen. Many trucking companies refuse to hire
individuals with a history of accidents or speeding tickets. They are
considered a high risk because the potential is there that they will be
involved in an accident.

Incentives for employees that drive a set amount of miles without any types of
accidents is a good way to reward them for their attention to safety. This can
be a flat fee for a set period of time or it can be an amount based on the
number of miles the driver has covered during that span of time.

The percentage of accidents taking place involving semi trucks compared to
regular passenger vehicles is very low. Yet the drivers of these large trucks
are often assumed to be at fault in the eyes of society. While there are
instances where the driver was tired or under the influence of something, this
isn't generally the case. Sometimes accidents do happen due to the weather
involving large trucks, but the myth that truck drivers are careless
individuals who speed excessively hold no truth.

It is a good idea for all truck drivers to carry a disposable camera in their
glove compartment. This way pictures can be taken if an accident does occur
before the vehicles are moved off the road. Make sure you take the time to
write down the date, the time, road conditions, and get the names of any
witnesses to the event. If you work for a company you need to report the
accident to your dispatcher immediately.

Having this information can make all the difference when it comes to figuring
out who was at fault for the accident. Too many people are in a hurry to sue
truck drivers and their companies when such incidents occur. If you have to
hire an attorney or you have to go to court over the incident you want to have
detailed information to protect your innocence.

Save Time and Money with the Prepass System

There are weigh in stations called ports at many locations where trucks have to
pull in by law. The amount of time it takes to complete the process depends on
how many trucks are in front of you and what they plan to do. Trucks can
randomly be pulled aside to be inspected, and this can quickly eat away at the
amount of time you have left to get your delivery to its destination.

An innovative way to get around this hassle is to enroll in the Prepass
program. This will allow you to save time, fuel, and money. With the Prepass
program you have a monitor in your cab that is read by the port. The
information for their truck is recorded electronically so the driver is not
required to pull into the station.

The electronic signal in the cab is activated approximately one mile before the
semi truck approaches the exit for the port. The information about the truck and
the weight of the truck and the load are sent to the terminal. Once this has all
been processed the driver will get a green light in their cab and they can
proceed.

If for some reason the information can't be read or there is a problem with the
information the driver will get a red light, and they have to stop. There are
also some types of loads that have to stop regardless of the Prepass process
being in place. These specifications vary by state so make sure you are aware
of them if you driver over the road. For example some states require all
oversized loads to stop at the port and others require all trucks hauling
hazardous materials to stop.

Not everyone is eligible to get a Prepass authorization though. Each individual
has to be carefully reviewed based on their length of time with a CDL, their
driving record, and even the overall record of the carrier that the individual
is employed for even if they are an owner operator. Prepass has the right to
revoke authorization at any time when they are conducting reviews. This means
if any of your credentials that earned you approval have changed you may no
longer be eligible to use the service.

A Prepass transmitter and program only costs $15.49 per month, and it can be
paid monthly or annually by mail or online. It is very convenient to purchase
and most truck drivers will tell you that the amount of time and fuel they save
each month is much more than what they pay for the Prepass.

Most employers who have fleets of trucks will even cover the cost as it adds up
to big savings for them as well. Owner operators will have to pay the charge on
their own, but it is an eligible deduction for income tax purposes.

There are currently more than 415,000 semi trucks in the United States using
the Prepass option. There is no cost for the transponder that goes into the cab
of the truck. It is very easy to place the transponder on the windshield of the
truck without damaging it in any way. There is also no lengthy contract that
has to be signed. The customer can cancel their Prepass agreement at any time
and simply return the equipment and pay their outstanding bill in full.

If you are interested in signing up for the Prepass program you can contact
them for an application to be mailed to you. They also have one online that you
can submit electronically. As soon as they can verify all of the information on
the application and get your account approved you will be sent the transponder
and instructions for installing it. If your application is denied you will be
notified of the reason why by mail as soon as the decision has been made.

The Differences between Owner Operators and Company Drivers

There are thousands of trucks out there on the road each day, hauling goods and
supplies to various locations. Some of these drivers are owner operators and
others are company drivers. The jobs they do may be the same but there are
plenty of differences that separate the two. If you are interested in driving a
truck you want to take a look at what each one has to offer.

For those who have just received their CDL, becoming a company driver is
generally the best option. At least in the beginning as it will allow you to
decide if operating a semi truck is really where your interests lie. It will
also help you gain work experience and built a reputation for being a quality
truck driver.

Company drivers are provided a truck by their employer. They are generally paid
by the hour if they drive locally and by the mile if they drive over the road.
The company is responsible for the truck payment, the insurance, and all the
repairs. They also pay for the fuel expenses. Many company drivers find they
get to be in late model trucks because they replace the older ones in the fleet
on a regular basis.

Some expenses that a company driver will have while on the road are food,
showers, and phone calls. Some employers offer a per diem which is an amount
per day they allow for such expenses. This per diem is added to their paycheck
so the driver still needs to pay for it out of their pocket and then be
reimbursed. If the driver doesn't spend the amount offered per day then they
can generate some additional income as well.

Most company drivers have the option of buying health insurance and they may be
eligible for paid vacation time after they have been with the company for
awhile. The specifics of these offers depend on the specifications of the
company.

Owner operators are able to generate more income than company drivers, but they
also have a high overhead. They are responsible for their truck payment, truck
repairs, insurance, and maintenance expenses. Still, they have the freedom to
haul what they want to through a broker or by leasing their truck to a company.
They have more say in the loads they haul than a company driver.

They also have to pay for their own meals, showers, and fuel. An owner operator
needs to make sure they put enough money away to cover their taxes as none will
be taken out of their paychecks. They also need to have money ready for repairs
should the need arise. Owner operators have to secure their own health insurance
and if they take any time off, they won't be paid for that period of time.

There are many legitimate expenses that an owner operator can take on their tax
return. It is important to keep all receipts and to categorize them into the
different areas of deductions. Being prepared for the end of the year filing is
important so this paperwork should be carefully maintained.

There are many exciting jobs out there for truck drivers, but the decision to
be an owner operator or a company driver is an important one. The decision is
going to affect the amount of money you can earn, your expenses, and the
responsibilities you will have in the trucking industry.

Semi Trucks and Drug Trafficking

Drug dealers and smugglers use all forms of transportation in order go keep up
with the supple and demand of this underground industry. Since semi trucks move
all over the country, it is only practical to assume they are used for this
purpose as well. Under the pretense of delivering actual goods, many trucks
travel along the highways with drugs in the trailers. In these types of
instances, the truck drivers are aware of what they are hauling. They often due
it for the amount of money they can earn hauling it.

In other instances, the truck driver and the trucking company aren't aware of
the drugs on their vehicles. The drugs are placed behind the wheels of the
vehicle or even in some of the merchandise in the trailer. The drug smuggling
is a process that is done behind the scenes among individuals at various cargo
pick up and delivery points.

The FDA is always on the look out for suspicious activities that take place
with semi trucks. They pay close attention to the trucks that are coming in and
out of docks. Suspicious activity that is reported is quickly investigated. They
have the right to use drug dogs in order to check the inside of the cab if they
suspect drugs are on board. They also have special gauges and tools they can
use to check for drugs stored in gas tanks or under the vehicle.

Sometimes the drugs found in semi trucks are for personal use. That is quite
dangerous when you consider the professional responsibilities that come with
being a truck driver. To help alleviate such issues, most truck drivers have to
belong to a drug pool. These are in place by the companies they drive for and
owner operators can sign up to become part of one on their own. If the driver
is randomly pulled for a drug test they will be contacted. They have a set
period of time to comply with taking the test. If they drive over the road they
will be given instructions on where they can go in the area to have the drug
testing done.

While most truck drivers are hard working individuals who strive to make a
living doing what they enjoy, others take the easy way and want to earn the
money associated with drug trafficking. The risks are very high though and any
truck driver caught with drugs in or on the vehicle can be charged with
possession. It can be very difficult for a truck driver who is innocently the
transport without knowing it to prove they are not part of the process.

Should Trucks from Mexico be allowed in the United States?

The issue of trucks from Mexico being allowed to enter the United States is one
that comes with plenty of controversy attached to it. The volumes of letters
that various political offices have received from truck drivers and business
owners in the trucking company indicate that this is not a welcomed change in
the field of the trucking industry. Many are afraid it will compromise the
contracts they have in place as the workers from Mexico will be willing to haul
the loads for a lower price.

Even with such resistance, a pilot program was allowed to move forward in
September of 2007. This allowed an initial 859 carriers from Mexico to begin
entering the United States for work. This project is being monitored by the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It is not known if the program
will be able to continue as there is already a motion on the floor of the
United States legislation to bring it to a halt.

The biggest complaints from regular citizens seem to be with the concern that
they don't believe trucks coming from Mexico will be safe. Under the initial
pilot program agreements, all of the drivers must be able to read and write
English at an acceptable level. This way they can safely navigate with the road
signs, talk to law enforcement, and complete necessary paperwork.

There are no restrictions on the products that the trucks from Mexico can bring
into the United States or take back to Mexico. Many are concerned that this
allows them to haul hazardous materials. They also worry about the possibility
of more semi trucks being used for drug trafficking purposes under such an
agreement. Many people believe it is not safe to have individuals from other
countries coming into the United States with the ability to haul dangerous
materials. With the risk of terrorist attacks being possible with the use of
such products on semi trucks it is definitely something to think about.

Yet there are some positive attributes to the thought of allowing trucks from
Mexico into the United States. There is a shortage of qualified truck drivers
to keep up with the demand for the amount of freight to be hauled. With the new
hours of service laws, it is taking even longer for the work to be completed.
With the additional trucks it is hopeful that it will help the overall industry.

Under the outlined plans only a specific number of trucks would be allowed to
enter the United States from Mexico. It wouldn't be an open door policy as many
in the trucking industry have been lead to believe. The qualifications of the
drivers will be carefully reviewed and the trucks will have to meet inspection
requirements for the United States before they can enter.

In addition, the trucks are to be inspected by their independent carriers every
90 days. This is to be in effect for the first three years of the program. At
the border there will be scales and inspectors as well. They will work for the
United States and they will have the authority to deny any truck coming from
Mexico access into the United States.

They also have the authority to inspect the qualifications of the driver of the
vehicle. There will be an electronic monitoring system in place to check
licensing requirements. This process is expected to introduce 200 new jobs by
the end of 2007. It is believed it will be virtually impossible to fake the
credentials to drive a semi truck into the United States with the electronic
process in place.

It is also believed that this agreement with Mexico could result in trucks from
the United States being able to freely travel into Mexico. This could generate
millions of dollars in revenue due to the fact that it would allow the border
to become an area of free trade. This is likely to be a controversial issue
that continues in the political arena for quite some time.

Hybrid Semi Trucks

The cost of fuel continues to rise, and that makes it difficult for just about
everyone. If you are a trucking company or an owner operator though, you feel
that hit at the pumps more than anyone due to the amount of fuel that semi
trucks need to operate.

There is also the fact that they contribute significantly to pollution in the
environment. The idea of hybrid semi trucks has been in the works for quite
some time to offset high fuel prices for truck drivers and to reduce their
effects on the environment.

The idea of hybrid vehicles has been in place for quite sometime, and there
have been numerous test projects going on in recent years for hybrid semi
trucks. Some of these tests have been done with providing vehicles for the
United States military. The results of these projects are very good, and the
plan is to roll out hybrid semi trucks in 2009.

Peterbilt is considered to be a quality brand of semi truck, and they will be
the first to introduce the hybrid semi truck models. They will be available for
viewing at the 2008 truck shows taking place in various locations.

Some trucking companies and owner operators have already placed their orders
for hybrid semi trucks and they are expected to do well in sales. Negotiations
are currently in the works between Peterbilt and Wal-mart regarding the hybrid
semi trucks. This will be a tremendous contract for Peterbilt because Wal-Mart
operates the second largest fleet of trucks in the United States.

Kenworth is another very reputable brand of semi truck, and they are working on
hybrid semi truck models of their own. While they already presented some models
at truck shows in 2007, it is believed their production will be on a smaller
scale. It is also believed their hybrid models won't come out until after those
from Peterbilt are released. Kenworth is looking for a big trucking company to
initiate contracts with though at this time.

It is estimated an over the road hybrid semi truck can save the driver or the
company at least $10,000 annually. This is quite a significant amount of
additional profit for any owner operator to take notice of. For those trucking
companies with thousands of trucks, this savings can quickly computer to
hundreds of thousands of dollars being saved annually on fuel.

Some people remain skeptical about the use of hybrid semi trucks, but for the
most part the trucking industry is excited about their introduction. This
particular type of semi truck will significantly impact the trucking industry
as we know it today. While these hybrid semi trucks will be expensive, the
amount of money that can be saved on fuel costs makes it a great investment.
There will likely be plenty of incentives offered by the government when you
buy a hybrid semi truck as well.

With so many semi trucks on the road, the positive impact that hybrid semi
trucks will have on the environment are very encouraging as well. If you are
interested in learning more about the future of hybrid semi trucks, you can
visit the Peterbilt or the Kenworth websites. You can also find out when they
will be displaying their hybrid models at future truck shows. This is a great
way for you to get to see one of the hybrid semi trucks up close and personal.

Owner Operator Independent Driver Association

Truck drivers may have some difficult issues to face out there on the road, but
they are not alone in their efforts. There are plenty of resources out there to
lend a hand as they realize the importance of truck drivers and the work they
do. They offer support and help to ensure that the rights of truck drivers are
met while doing all they can to make the industry as a whole better for
everyone involved.

One of the leading advocates for truck drivers is the Owner Operator
Independent Driver Association (OOIDA). They offer a full range of services to
support truck drivers including financing for trucks, advocating with the
government to get certain issues addressed, and the opportunity to purchase
health insurance and retirement plans.

OOIDA currently has more than 150,000 members and it continues to grow. They
have been working hand in hand with the trucking industry since 1973. These
members are from all over the United States and in recent years truck drivers
from Canada have been allowed to join. This is one of the top organizations out
there to give truck drivers a voice.

With the information gathered by OOIDA, truck drivers can get the facts about
various issues taking place. Too many times the information found from other
resources is biased one way or another. This can make it hard to make an
informed decision. Members of OOIDA know they will always get both sides of the
story with accurate data and facts.

They also know that the OOIDA team takes their concerns and comments to
legislation on state and federal levels. Based on the information that they
have gathered from members they are able to take stand on the behalf of their
members for important trucking industry related issues.

They work hard to keep truck drivers informed of current issues, and post all
of them on their website. They also offer scholarship programs for children of
truck drivers, call to action forums, and information on new rules and
regulations. If there is something you need to find information about but don't
see it offered from OOIDA, contact them. They will do all they can to get you
the right resources to take care of it.

They have made significant contributions to the trucking industry over the past
30 years. Instead of focusing on the problems out there they focus on solutions.
For example they pushed for more parking at truck stops and more rest areas with
sufficient parking along common truck driving routes. This was in response to
complaints that drivers continue to drive when they are tired or out of hours.

When OOIDA started discussing this with the drivers they represent, it quickly
became evident that there was a lack of places for them to stop and get some
sleep or to wait while they regained driving hours. It is their dedication to
correcting such issues that makes this profession better for all truck drivers
and the roads safer for all people on the roads.

If you are interested in joining OOIDA you can visit their website or complete
a postage paid card from various magazines. The annual fee for the membership
is $45, but it is a very worthwhile investment. You will find this is one of
the best advocate programs for owner operators.

Common Tax Deductions for Owner Operator Truck Drivers

Filing taxes is never a pleasant event for most people, but one that is
necessary. Most owner operators have a variety of different expenses they incur
during the course of their business that they can deduct. Taking the time to do
so means they end up paying less income taxes.

You will be able to depreciate the value of your truck over the course of
several years. The amount you can take depends on the purchase price of the
equipment. If you sell a truck or trailer during the year you should know that
you will have to count that is income because you have already taken some of
the depreciation on the equipment. You will also be able to deduct the interest
you pay on your truck payments and trailer payments. You aren't allowed to
deduct the actual payments though, only the interest portion.

There are often tolls and fees for scales that truck drivers have to pay along
their routes. These fees can be deducted as well. Make sure you keep track of
what you pay for showers, truck parts, maintenance, and repairs. All of these
items are deductible. You don't need to keep your receipts for meals because
the government gives you a per diem rate that you can claim. You need to make
sure you keep track of the number of days you are out over the road though so
you can figure the deduction.

Clothing can't be deducted unless it is specifically for work related services.
For example you can claim a bright orange vest and a hard hat that are required
to be in a construction zone you may be delivering materials for. However, you
can't claim your jeans, tennis shoes, and shirts because they aren't considered
to be a required uniform for work.

You also can't claim any traffic tickets or attorney fees you have to pay in
order to fight tickets. Many truck drivers have attempted to deduct these
expenses on their tax return. The result is they end up getting a bill from the
IRS telling them they owe more money. In some instances there are fees and
penalties assessed as well.

Fuel is the most common expense that truck drivers incur. Make sure you keep a
close eye on those receipts because each one will likely be worth $100 or more.
Losing these different receipts can really add up during the course of a year,
and that means you will have to pay more income tax.

The use of a cell phone and a laptop are often common items truck drivers use.
However you can only claim half of the cost of them because the government has
the opinion that both of them will be used for recreational use as well as for
business. Any maps, notebooks, pens, log books, or other items you buy
specifically to use in your truck are deductible.

You do have to be careful though as there is a line between what is necessary
and what is a luxury. For example you can deduct the cost of a special seat for
your truck that is ergonomically correct. You can also deduct the cost of a
refrigerator for your truck. Yet you can't deduct a new stereo system or the
customized curtains you buy to decorate your cab with.

The various tax deductions for owner operator truck drivers need to be
carefully looked at. If you have a tax preparer they can take care of it for
you. Make sure you keep all of your receipts together. It is a good idea to
have a large envelope for each month of the year. This way you only have to
provide your tax preparer with the figures instead of with the actual receipts.
Keep them in a safe location for at least three years in case you end up getting
audited by the IRS.

Films Featuring Trucks

There are some really great shows out there that feature trucks and truck
drivers. Some of them are realistic and others are more science fiction, but
they do seem to hold the attention of the viewer. Those in the trucking
industry are often able to pick out the inconsistencies in the sounds of the
trucks and what they are able to do, but the rest of us are entertained by
their power and their presence.

The movie Convoy starring Kris Kristofferson was released in 1978, and it is
still a very popular movie today. It has been digitally re-mastered and
released in a DVD format as well. The movie tells the story about some truck
drivers who get into trouble with the law because the Sheriff doesn't like
truck drivers coming through his town. The truck drivers decide to fight back
instead of being intimidated by the Sheriff.

The movie portrays the powerful numbers of truck drivers when they band
together for a central cause. As a result of their efforts, the government
steps in and takes notice of the ill treatment of truck drivers and steps are
taken to make positive changes.

Stephen King has long been known for his creative stories, and one in
particular has the semi trucks running the show for once. The show is called
Maximum Overdrive and it tells the story of a comet that causes the machines to
come to life and move on their own. A group of individuals are terrorized by the
trucks at a local truck stop. The film was released in the 1980's.

The cartoon Transformers was very popular in the early 1980's, and it has found
a renewed life recently. A full length movie of the cartoon was released in 2007
with a sequel due out in late 2008. The leader of the good guys is Optimus
Prime, a very large semi truck that is able to transform into a robot. He is
powerful yet his is very wise and attempts to resolve conflicts with his mind
instead of his strength.

In the Disney Pixar animated cartoon called Cars, various semi trucks are given
personalities. They portray the hard work of semi trucks on the roads very one.
My favorite scene is at night when all of the trucks are lined up at the truck
stop sleeping. Some of them are even snoring after a hard day of work.

A new series on the History Channel called Ice Road Truckers is very
interesting to watch. It documents the events of truck drivers on the icy roads
in Canada who work to safely transport equipment and materials to and from the
diamond mines. This is considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the
trucking industry due to the heavy loads and the inclement weather.

The program takes a close look at the trials and tribulations these truck
drivers face to get the job done. It also shows viewers the dedication that
many truck drivers have due to the passion for driving. They work hard to
deliver what they are hauling safely and on time. Maybe this type of show will
earn truck drivers the recognition they deserve instead of being classified as
road hogs and lazy people who sit behind the steering wheel all day.





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