6 Things to Look for in a Trucking Job


Man standing in front of truck

Now is a really good time to become a trucker. The current shortage of qualified drivers means that truckers can be choosy about which companies they work for. Competition among employers is heating up, so it’s a great time to review the top six things to look for in an ideal trucking job.  TransForce is one such company that offers employees all of these benefits and more. Before accepting a trucking job, do your homework and compare!

Feeling valued. Lots of companies will say that they value their employees, but it’s best to look for an employer who demonstrates with their actions just how valuable their drivers are to them. For instance, does the company ask and care about what you want to do?  Do they try to work with you to deliver the ideal run and home time when you want it?

Strong emphasis on safety and training. Companies that proudly talk about their safety record and can show you the numbers to prove it are class operations. Being part of a culture where safety and proper training are emphasized, publicized and rewarded will take your trucking career to a new level.  You can be proud of what you do and all the while you know that your employer not only wants to keep you safe, but has programs in place to ensure that safety.

Good benefits. These days, it’s not only about your paycheck. Good healthcare, dental and vision benefits, paid time off, life insurance, disability insurance, options to contribute to a 401K and other perks of the job help truckers lead a balanced, healthy and happy life. Look for an employer that has an excellent benefits package.

Fair pay. For most people considering a trucking job, the bottom line is certainly how much money they can expect to earn. Look for positions that offer a fair wage and compensation package. Also, be sure the company can keep you on the road for as many hours a week as you’d like to drive. Balance the pay versus the hours you can expect to work each week to be sure the compensation is fair.

Flexibility. Sometimes you can end up taking a trucking run that just doesn’t work out for you, for whatever reason. If you are stuck on that assignment, and there is no wiggle room for you to try another gig, you’ll wind up starting the job search process all over again. If you work with a staffing agency like TransForce, you can either take a dedicated run, or have more flexibility. And, if you choose to be flexible, but then change your mind, that’s OK, too. What you really should look for is a company that offers you the most ways to enjoy what you do. For most drivers, that means having a lot of flexibility.  

Investment in technology. Technology can make a trucker’s job so much easier and safer. If you’re eyeing a job with a company that seems “outdated”, you may want to instead look for one that invests in modern technology and also provides training on that new technology to its drivers. Not only will it make your job easier and more rewarding, but it also provides you with critical skills to take you into the future.

Ready to start looking for your ideal trucking job?  Start here.

How Truckers Can Avoid Distractions While on the Road

We all know that hand-held mobile devices can be the biggest cause of driver distraction. But, did you know that there are many other things going on in the cab that can also distract truckers from keeping their eyes on the road?

A San Diego-based company that specializes in video driver safety technology recently released figures that show a whole range of activities that can easily cause truck driver distraction. The company, Lytx Inc., uses in-cab video and audio systems to deliver driver safety and predictive analytics to fleets. Their program captures video and audio inside and outside of the vehicle and uploads data to a review center, where it is analyzed.

According to figures from the first four months of 2015, hands-free phones caused 32% of distraction events, while hand-held devices caused 27%. Eating and drinking accounted for 20%, while outside distractions (11%), computers/TVs (10%) and passengers (1%) accounted for the remainder of the recorded incidents.

Greg Lund, director of corporate relations for Lytx, said that the data shows a marked increase over last year of incidents involving hands-free devices, which are often thought to be safer than hand-held phones. Meanwhile, the number of incidents involving hand-held devices was virtually unchanged from year to year. “Using a hand-held cellular device makes you 4.7 times more likely to be in a collision than not using one,” Lund said. “Using a hands-free device is nearly as risky — 4.6 times more likely to be in a collision.”

The National Safety Council (NSC) says that motorists who believe a hands-free phone is safer are wrong, pointing to more than two dozen studies that confirm hands-free devices are equally as dangerous as their hand-held counterpart. The council says that the human brain remains distracted by the conversation on the phone, whether it’s being held up to the ear or the conversation is taking place on a speaker.

Researchers estimate that drivers can miss up to 50% of what’s happening around them (such as traffic lights, stop signs, pedestrians) when talking on a cell phone and driving.

Lund says that the smartphones, tablets and computers can all provide real benefits to drivers, but they need to be used properly. Bridget Bradshaw, marketing manager for NationaLease, one of the largest truck leasing companies, agrees that the technology needs to take a back seat to safety. “And it’s not just about texting and cell phones,” said Bradshaw. “It can be focusing on the navigation system instead of the road ahead or unwrapping that burger to take a bite. No matter the reason, taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds can spell the difference between a safe drive and a disaster.”

Bradshaw suggests these safety tips for drivers:

  • Focus: Keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road constantly.
  • Dump the devices: Put away the cell phones, the iPods, and the tablets while you’re driving. If you must engage with these devices, pull over to the side of the road.
  • Plan ahead: Make sure you plan your trip ahead of time so you’re not staring at a navigation screen instead of the highway.
  • Wait: Check your messages and return calls during your next fuel stop.

At TransForce, our number one priority is driver safety.  We’d like to know what you think causes driver distraction, and hear your tips for staying safe on the highways. Tell us in the comments below!

Retention Is Key During a Trucker Shortage


happy-truck-driverWhen truck drivers quit, the industry suffers. Production temporarily drops, and time and money must be spent to hire and train new truckers to replace them. To improve driver retention and keep quality staff on board, we need to understand why they leave for new jobs. Here are some common reasons why drivers quit and what can be done to stop the turnover and ease the trucker shortage.

Dispatch Plays a Big Role

Drivers want to be treated with courtesy and respect. At the very least, the company should know each employee’s name. Since dispatch keeps in constant contact with the truckers, they have a great opportunity to influence the drivers’ feelings and attitude. Dispatch should be trained in people skills, and they should be honest if there are any issues with a load. Also, dispatch must not solely focus on delivery schedules. They need to keep driver fatigue in mind and build in time for drivers to get needed rest. Otherwise, a trucker could easily burnout and quit. This helps to protect against fatigue-related accidents as well.

What Kind of Benefits Are Offered?

For some drivers, a good benefits package will be enough for them to accept less pay. Think about what kind of health insurance is offered. Do they receive enough sick days and paid vacation time? Is there a retirement program? Companies should strive to make it hard for drivers to leave. For example, have a retirement program that requires a few years of service to be fully vested into it.

Safe and Reliable Wheels

A driver’s truck must be dependable and give them a sense of security. They need the vehicle to get them safely from point A to B. When drivers share issues about their truck, the complaints must be addressed ASAP. If the problems get pushed to the back burner, it reflects the company’s attitude about their staff’s satisfaction and safety.

Spending Time at Home

Many drivers have families and want to spend a reasonable amount of time with them. Truckers often say they would like to get home weekly to see loved ones and friends, as well as to take care of other responsibilities, according to surveys. When hired, truck drivers should hear all the job requirements, especially if there is a possibility that they can’t be routed home on a weekly basis.

A Steady Paycheck

One of the biggest issues regarding salary is when the promised pay and mileage does not materialize. For example, a driver will become upset if he is assured 2,500 miles per week at a certain rate but only consistently gets 1,750 miles.

TransForce Drivers Receive Respect and Competitive Benefits

Drivers are respected and appreciated at TransForce. With more than 20 years of service, we offer competitive weekly pay, steady home time, and a comprehensive benefits package, including medical/dental/vision insurance, life and disability insurance, paid time off, and 401K. Find out more at http://www.transforce.com/truck-driving-jobs/benefits-of-driving-for-transforce.


CVSA Roadcheck June 2-4-2015

It’s Back!!

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will hold their annual 72-hour Roadcheck this year from June 2-4. The annual three-day roadside commercial vehicle safety crackdown known as Roadcheck will focus on various elements of motor carrier, vehicle, driver, and cargo safety and security. This year, there will be a special focus on cargo securement compliance. Cargo securement violations represent the fourth most prevalent Out-of-Service violation category, after brakes, tires, and lighting—with a significant portion of cargo violations represented by unsecured vehicle equipment such as dunnage, blocks, spare tires, etc.

Here is a look at some statistics from the 2014 Roadcheck:

  • 73,475 total inspections were conducted
    • 49,656 were North American Standard Level 1 Inspections
      • 23% included Out-of-Service (OOS) vehicle violations
    • 72,415 driver inspections were conducted
      • 8% included Out-of-Service (OOS) driver violations
      • 825 seatbelt violations issued
    • Over 10,000 inspectors participated at approximately 2,500 locations across North America

TransForce Inc., is an active member of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, and continues to maintain a commitment to safety and compliance. For more information about Roadcheck, please click here to visit the CVSA website.



Top Tips to Help You Pass CDL School

Closeup of form being filledA CDL (commercial driver’s license) is necessary to get a good job as a truck driver, and many companies will provide training for the CDL test. In order to set yourself up for success, you need to adequately prepare for a career of driving. Here are some tips to get you started.

Do your homework.

Before you even apply to become a CDL student, you need to ask yourself if truck driving is the career choice for you. Trucking is not just a job — it is really a lifestyle. That’s why it’s important that you know all about what is entailed in OTR (over-the-road) driving. What kind of adjustments will you need to make in your personal and/or family life? Do the important people in your life support your decision and do they know what types of adjustments they will need to make? What kind of benefits are available and which type of company offers the most flexibility and support to their drivers? There are many great resources online where you can ask truckers questions and learn more about the profession.

Be prepared to work and learn.

If you’ve decided to pursue your CDL after learning as much as you can about being a truck driver, then show up every day with open eyes, open ears, and an open mind. Learning new things can be intimidating, especially if you are switching careers mid-life. But, if you show up prepared to learn, listen, ask questions and work hard, you’ll have a much easier time. There is much more to learn than simply how to drive an 18-wheeler. Trip planning, log books, regulations, inspections … you’ll need to master all of these things in order to get your CDL.

Ask for help.

Many CDL trainers are graduates of the same program you’re in — so they know what you are trying to accomplish. Not only are they there to help you succeed, but they also can point you to helpful resources. CDL school is not a good place to think you already “get it” and don’t need to study, and it is certainly not the time to be too stubborn to ask for help. Your career (and your family) depends on you doing everything in your power to get the best training possible. Take advantage of all of the extra resources available to you, like training videos and checklists. Don’t be afraid to make friends and work together with other students to study. If your program allows for time for extra practice on the rigs, take them up on it every chance you get.

Don’t give up.

The first time you step up into that cab and push the accelerator pedal on a big rig will be one of the most scary and exhilarating experiences of your life. Depending on how scary or overwhelming it is, you may get frustrated. Remember, learning anything new can be challenging. But, that’s just it. If you perceive the whole experience of learning to drive a truck as a challenge that you can master, rather than as a mountain you’ll never climb, you will have won half the battle. You can overcome your struggles — and reap the reward — with the right attitude, patience, an open mind and determination.

Are you thinking of becoming a truck driver?  Is it a lifestyle that appeals to you? Do you think being a truck driver can create a better life for you and/or your family? If you answered yes to those questions, then look into getting your CDL license.  For more information, contact TransForce today.

How Endorsements Help Your Trucking Career

cdl-endorsementsA career in driving—whether it’s moving products from one state to another or shuttling children to and from school—can be rewarding, satisfying and lucrative.

Endorsements Expand Options

Getting CDL endorsements will expand your career options immediately because you will qualify for more jobs. To make the most of your career, experts recommend getting as many CDL endorsements as possible. For example, even if you’re already a HAZMAT driver, you should consider getting a CDL passenger endorsement so that you could drive shuttle buses if needed. Getting the endorsement is not a waste of time or effort; it’s just good common sense because you never know where life will take you.

One trucking industry insider shared his story on TruckingTruth.com. He had driven a truck for several years and decided he wanted to go back to school to become a motorcycle mechanic. But he needed a part-time job to pay his bills. A company was looking for a shuttle driver to transport their workers in a school bus. The distance was one-quarter mile.

He was paid $400 a week to drive for about 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon. Fortunately, he had a passenger endorsement, so he was able to get right to work. The job got him through a year of schooling; he made more than $16,000 in little over 40 weeks. Was it just luck? Hardly. He had the foresight to get all his CDL endorsements, just in case he needed them.

Types of Endorsements Available

While each state has slightly different variations and restrictions on their CDL endorsements, the following six are available: Passenger (P); School Bus (S); Hazardous Materials “HAZMAT” (H); Tanker with Hazardous Materials (X); Tanker (N); and Doubles/Triples (T).

All of these CDL endorsements require a written test, with the exception of HAZMAT, which is a slightly more rigorous process. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the federal government has considered the possibility that terrorists will use trucks to attack Americans. Therefore, the HAZMAT CDL endorsement includes a couple of extra steps. For this endorsement, you’d need to take an initial written test, provide proof of citizenship, undergo a background check and re-take the written test every two years. The other endorsements simply require passing a written exam; no re-testing, background checks or driving tests are required.

The cost to apply for the endorsements is usually nominal and varies from state to state. For the best chance of success, and to be sure you don’t have to take it more than once, prepare for the endorsement exam by taking a practice test. You can see your score right away and get explanations for each question.

Keep Your Options Open

You don’t know what the future holds. When it comes to driving, keep your options open so you can stay ahead of the curve. TransForce offers its drivers the option of working on flex assignments – switching runs when they want, rather than having to switch employers. Drivers with a few endorsements find that they can change assignments easily, because they are qualified to handle a larger variety of runs. Talk to us today about training and jobs.

Safety First and the CMV Driver Medical Certificate

happy truck driverWhen you’re behind the wheel of a CMV, you are responsible for more than just your cargo. You are accountable for the lives and safety of the other drivers on the road. Weighing literal tons, commercial trucks and buses don’t handle like your average Class C, passenger vehicles. With adjusted stop times, bigger blind spots and limited maneuverability, drivers need to be in peak driving performance. That’s where the CMV Driver Medical Certificate comes in. The physical you take for this certificate confirms that you are healthy enough to safely perform the demanding job of a CMV driver and keep our nation’s roads safe.

What is tested?

The following attributes and skills are assessed, to determine whether you are fit for the jobs required of any driver, and not just your current work duties.

  • Sight- Your eyesight is crucial for reading the road, evaluating traffic, and inspecting the security of your vehicle, tractor, trailer and cargo. To test your eyesight, a certified medical examiner will examine your distance vision, horizontal field of vision, ability to distinguish colors, and cervical range of motion (the movement of your neck). You may take this portion of the test with contact lenses or glasses and qualify for certification with the requirement that you wear them at all times while driving.
  • Hearing- Your ability to hear the road and traffic can be the difference between cruising and crashing. To test this ability, you will receive a “forced whisper test”. The doctor will whisper to you from a distance of five feet away and you must able to hear the whisper without the use of a hearing aid. If you fail, you will need to take and pass an audiometric exam to be eligible for certification.
  • Vehicular Operation- Your tactile functions (i.e. touch sensation, grasping and coordination) are essential to your being able to confidently drive a CMV. If you suffer from a physical impairment or are missing a limb, you can still qualify. Discuss your options with your doctor.
  • Sustained Cognition and Mental Stability- Your ability to stay alert and communicate is tested to make sure you stay awake behind the wheel and do not…doze…off… Your experience of daytime sleepiness, the medications that you take, as well as alcohol and substance abuse are all factors that are taken into account in this portion of the exam. The CMV Driver Medical Certification does not require that you take a drug test, but your employer might ask that you get tested at the same time.
  • Consistent Control- As noted above, your doctor will determine whether any medications or supplements you are taking can negatively affect your ability to drive. You will also have your blood pressure and urine tested to make sure you’re in good health.
  • Physical Endurance- Lastly, your strength, range of motion and flexibility will be examined to make sure you’re suitable for the job of driving a CMV. This accounts for the ability to sit for long periods of time, load cargo, couple trailers, etc.

Safety first

At TransForce, we are proud of our driver safety record and recognize that safety is a commitment that should be shared throughout our organization.  Our focus on safety doesn’t just benefit our own operations. Motor carriers nationwide consult with TransForce on a range of compliance issues, including driver certification.

To apply for a CMV Driver Medical Certificate, you will need to see a certified medical examiner. Find one now by visiting: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/medical/driver-medical-requirements/dot-medical-exam-and-commercial-motor-vehicle-certification

Rest Period Regulation Rolled Back

speed yellow semi-truck on highwayDriver fatigue is a leading factor in large truck crashes, which is the reason regulations put into effect in 2013 cut truckers’ weekly hours to 70. The new government spending bill includes a provision that rolls back that restriction, now allowing drivers to drive up to 82 hours a week before needing a rest period. The provision also calls for a detailed study of the effect of the regulations on truck crashes. The measure only rolls back the new rules until next October.

The previous restriction required truckers to take two back-to-back rest periods in the early morning after every 70 hours spent driving. Under the restriction, truck drivers could work as many as 14 hours a day, including 11 hours of driving. If they averaged 70 hours in a week, they had to rest 34 hours, including two consecutive nights from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

This regulation created a safety concern, said Dave Osiecki, executive vice president of the American Trucking Association (ATA), because truck drivers and fleets were in morning traffic with commuters and school buses.

“Those hours are less safe statistically,” said Osiecki. “In an effort to reduce nighttime crashes, the government may be causing daytime crashes.”

No one knows yet whether the 2013 restriction actually caused the number of crashes to increase; the Department of Transportation (DOT) hasn’t compiled accident data for the past year. But Osiecki said truck crashes had been declining anyway before the rule took effect.

With the new restriction set at 82 hours a week, will we see a continued decline in crashes? The data would seem to indicate that most truckers don’t even drive 70 hours a week. A survey of 40,000 drivers’ logs—before the restriction went into place—showed an average of 52 hours driven per week, with only 2 percent having worked more than 61 hours, said Sean McNally, a spokesman for the ATA.

We will continue to watch for updates on the data and welcome your input. How will the new provision affect truckers? Will it make it more attractive for those considering a career in trucking?

TransForce is the nation’s leading specialty staffing firm devoted exclusively to the transportation industry. TransForce understands Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and knows how to recruit, screen and retain the best drivers. Safety is a shared commitment, and TransForce’s drivers have a low DOT-reportable accident rate.

TransForce Services Group “How To Survive A DOT Audit” Seminar Series


Back by popular demand, in 2015 TransForce Services Group (TSG), the compliance services division of TransForce, is offering DOT Compliance Seminars at different locations across the country:

How To Survive a DOT Audit:

  • March 4        Orlando, FL
  • April 15         Dallas, TX
  • May 13          Pittsburgh, PA

More seminar dates to be announced. Seating is limited for all seminars, and reservations are required to guarantee your seat. For pricing information, inquiries, and reservations, contact us at TSG@Transforce.com or call: 800-308-6989

What Do Truck Driver Jobs Pay?

Woman driving an eighteen wheelerIf you’re considering a truck driving career, one of your first questions will be about your earning potential. There are a few factors that contribute to the truck driving pay scale. For instance, pay rates vary with the type of freight a trucker hauls as well as its weight. Specialized freight trucking generally pays more than generalized freight trucking. Your training and amount of experience will also influence your earnings. How you are paid (salary, hourly or by the mile) is yet another factor to consider.

Pay Per Mile

Most often, truck drivers are paid at a rate that is based on mileage and not on hours. The rate per mile varies and depends on experience, training and what is being hauled.

Pay Per Hour

Many truck drivers who get paid by the hour drive either locally or regionally. The hourly rate varies just like the mileage rate and can depend on the employer, the type of cargo and the experience of the driver.

Heavy Tractor Trailer Truck Driver Salaries

Heavy tractor trailer truck drivers generally have CDL training, a high school diploma, and must meet certain other criteria. As the driver gains more hauling experience, and establishes a stellar safety record, their pay rate can increase. Drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailers are usually paid by how many miles they have driven, plus bonuses and benefits.

Over the Road OTR Truck Driver Salaries

OTR trucker salaries vary depending on the cargo being hauled and the geographic region(s) worked. Driving a refrigerated truck, for example, requires extra training and experience and therefore may pay more than a job hauling dry goods or non-perishable items.

Specialized Freight Truck Driver Salaries

Drivers who haul specialized freight can earn more than those carrying generalized freight. For example, someone who drives a truck that delivers new cars to an automobile dealership needs to know how to handle that special rig so that the cars get to the dealership safely.

Tanker Truck Driver Salaries

A tanker truck driver may haul gasoline and other hazardous materials. The more experience a tanker driver gets, the more he or she can earn. Because of the extremely dangerous nature of the cargo, a tanker truck driver must maintain a clean driving record and refresh his or her specialized driving skills periodically.

Questions to Ask Employers About Compensation

When enquiring about truck driving pay, there are a few things to keep in mind and certain questions you’ll want to ask. First, you will want to know if the rate is hourly or per mile, and what influences that rate (experience, training, cargo, etc.). Also, bear in mind that compensation is not just an hourly or mileage rate. Total compensation will take into account benefits, home time, schedule/shift flexibility and other perks. When calculating your total pay rate, remember to factor in these other benefits as well, so that you can arrive at an accurate estimate of your total earning potential.