The trucking lifestyle can make it hard to juggle spending holiday time with family and friends. For so many trucking families (just like families with members in law enforcement and public safety) moveable holiday celebrations are the norm. If you have to have Thanksgiving dinner on a Wednesday or a Friday, it’s OK. You can make it just as special and perhaps even more memorable. Remind friends and family that flexibility is key! Instead of insisting that celebrations and gatherings be held on a specific holiday date, focus on the importance of being together when you can, and find the joy in gatherings whenever they take place.
Technology Helps Keep You Connected
Skype and FaceTime have revolutionized the way we communicate with faraway loved ones. We know that most truck drivers are already using these important tools to keep in touch with loved ones every day. These technologies are even more important when you’re away from home during the holidays, a birthday or another important occasion. Use Skype to read a special holiday story to the kids, say grace with the family or join in a Christmas carol sing-along. Many churches and other places of worship are streaming services via the Internet, so you can attend that special holiday service virtually. It’s not quite the same as being there in person but it’s a million times better than not being there at all.
Holiday shopping used to be a big worry for truck drivers, but experienced drivers agree that online shopping is the way to go. Get your holiday list together and start buying gifts with the click of a mouse. If you can, arrange to have gifts shipped to a friend or neighbor so everyone at home can be surprised. By shopping online, you can avoid buying overpriced last minute gifts at truck stops, and most online retailers offer free shipping and other great “door buster” deals on Cyber Monday, the Monday immediately after Thanksgiving, as well as throughout the season.
Find Connections On The Road
If you find yourself away from family on an important holiday, find others who are away from their loved ones and create your own celebration. Share a meal with fellow drivers, talk about your own traditions and ask about theirs.
Give Yourself The Gift Of Health
Being away from family, along with winter driving conditions and holiday traffic can make November and December particularly stressful for drivers. Medical professionals agree that it’s an especially important time for drivers to focus on their health. Avoid making unhealthy decisions about food and alcohol and get as much sleep as you can. Also, get regular exercise—it not only helps keep you fit but also relieves stress. For example, one of our TransForce drivers carries a mountain bike in his truck so he can exercise whenever and wherever he stops for the day.
Many in the trucking community are also discovering the benefits of mindfulness and mediation. It’s something everyone can do, and you don’t have to be in a yoga studio to do it. There are lots of free resources online that offer tips and guided meditation. Some suggestions include focusing on your breathing in stressful situations and finding small moments of joy while on the road to help you decompress and diffuse stressful situations.
Remember The Importance Of Your Role As A Driver
The holidays are a season of gratitude, and it’s important that everyone recognizes the immense service that truck drivers provide to others. You are literally helping bring smiles and joy to children around the world, as well as supply the food and goods needed for all of those feasts and celebrations.
The bottom line is that without truckers, there would be no Santa. Just keeping that in mind should help put a little more joy in the holidays, even if you can’t spend as much time with loved ones as you’d like. A positive attitude and a little help from technology can help reduce stress and create meaningful connections at this busy time of year.
TransForce offers flexible schedules with guaranteed home time. Contact us today to see what we can do for your trucking career.
There are lots of excellent reasons to go into trucking. It’s a growth industry and, with the right company, offers competitive pay and benefits along with a flexible schedule. But it’s a skilled profession that isn’t for everyone. Becoming a commercial truck driver requires a higher level of knowledge, skills and physical ability than driving a non-commercial vehicle. The U.S. Department of Transportation has developed a set of strict requirements for commercial drivers. And at TransForce, we set the bar even higher. Our drivers are required to meet a tougher set of requirements above and beyond the U.S. DOT rules. These additional requirements help us maintain our outstanding safety record. And we don’t cut corners on verification procedures.
According federal requirements, drivers must meet the following criteria:
- Must be 21 years old.
- Must speak adequate English.
- Must be able to safely operate the type of equipment he or she is assigned to drive.
- Must be physically qualified to drive a commercial vehicle (according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration standards). You’ll need a valid medical certificate completed by a registered medical professional.
- Must provide a list of moving violations in the past three years.
- May not be disqualified from driving for any reason.
- Must have a valid commercial license and a road test certificate–usually a CDL (Commercial Driver License).
To get your CDL, you should get a copy of your state’s CDL manual (available online). You are required to pass a skills test (and in some cases a written test). You’ll be issued a CDL learner’s permit that allows you to practice with a licensed CDL driver before earning your license. Special endorsements are required to operate the following types of vehicles: a truck with double or triple trailers, a truck with a tank, a truck carrying hazardous materials or a passenger vehicle.
At TransForce, we have a list of non-negotiable requirements above and beyond those listed by U.S. DOT. These have been put in place to make sure we preserve our outstanding safety record and get the very best drivers. We run a nationwide background check on all candidates to let us know about any disqualifying criminal convictions. Our additional requirements are as follows:
Our drivers must have a minimum of one year of recent (within the last 24 months) experience driving the type of equipment that they will be assigned to operate.
Clean Accident Record
Our drivers may not have DOT defined accidents in the past three years (in any type of motor vehicle). This includes all accidents in which the driver was convicted for a moving violation in connection with the crash or charged with responsibility for the crash.
Limited Moving Violations/ No Convictions on Serious Offenses
Our drivers may have no more than three moving violations in any type of motor vehicle in the past three years.
Our drivers may have no convictions for any of the following serious offenses (in any type of vehicle) in the past seven years:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol (.04 or greater alcohol concentration, driving under the influence under state law, or refusing to test).
- Driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
- Leaving the scene of an accident.
- No more than one excessive speeding violation (15 mph or more above the posted speed limit).
- Reckless driving.
- Any moving violation in connection with a fatal accident.
- Vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide.
- Eluding a police officer.
- Operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license.
At TransForce, safety is a top priority, and we are serious about hiring the very best drivers. If you are an experienced driver with a CDL, are medically fit and have a safe driving record that meets our very strict requirements, we want to talk to you.
Companies in the market for a reliable firm to manage their truck driver staffing are looking for a way to save money and hassle. One thing they aren’t looking for is extra headaches because they chose an inferior staffing company. With their reputation on the line every time a truck bearing their name is on the highway, companies need to know they can safely rely on their staffing firm to deliver the best drivers possible.
We know that one of the most important things for clients is a sense of trust. For us, this means transparency and clearly structured contracts. Our commitment to safety and reliability has allowed us to attract the best drivers, which in turn has led to our remarkably low accident rate. We attract great candidates by offering them competitive pay, solid benefits and flexibility. And this lets TransForce offer our clients the very best talent available.
We’ve come up with some thoughts on what to look for in a truck driver staffing company. And– you guessed it– we meet every single one of these criteria with flying colors.
We know that while our drivers work for us, they’re representing your company on the road. Here are some things to think about as you look for a staffing firm:
Access To Driver Records
From the client perspective, transparency is key. While our drivers are our employees, we know that they’re working for you in a very public role. And we understand that providing our clients with timely access to driver records is important. Our contracts guarantee access within 48 hours, and most can be forwarded instantly.
Past Employer Checks
At TransForce, we don’t take shortcuts. We know that not all issues or personnel problems show up through government records. Consulting former employers can provide important insight to driver conduct. We don’t give up on contacting past employers, and we require extensive documentation about past employment from all candidates.
Motor Vehicle Records From The Source
We get drivers’ motor vehicle records from state agencies, not the drivers themselves. This reduces the potential for fraud and gives you more confidence in your driver’s safety record. It seems simple enough, but not all staffing firms take this extra step.
Verification Of Hours
Tired drivers are dangerous drivers. In the interest of safety, we check hours before each assignment to ensure that the driver has available hours to complete the assignment within legal limits. Our drivers’ health and public safety are of top concern.
DOT Compliant Drug And Alcohol Screening Program
This is another area where it doesn’t pay to take the easy road. Other companies may use invalid testing programs (such as instant tests). But our testing is completed according to DOT approved procedures at certified laboratories. Our contracts also guarantee clients access to all testing results and notification of positive tests. Once again, transparency and safety are key.
Sole Employer Status With Employees and Workers’ Comp
The reason our clients hire a staffing company is to remove the administrative headaches of hiring drivers. Our contract establishes TransForce as each driver’s sole employer. We are responsible for hiring, termination, discipline, wages, salaries, benefits and compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. This is clear to our employees from the outset, and takes all of these issues off our clients’ plates entirely. This includes the all-important workers’ compensation, which is solely our responsibility in the event of a claim. Because our drivers are TransForce employees, and not independent contractors, this means no tax-related surprises for clients.
Our contracts are specifically designed to protect clients from workers’ compensation claims and other liability claims. Our goal is to build a relationship built on trust with our clients. That’s why we put it in writing.
Our record of success is based in large part on the fact that we recognize that our drivers are professionals and treat them as such. We offer our drivers a combination of flexibility and job security that’s unparalleled in our industry. We also pride ourselves on treating our drivers with the respect they deserve.
Here are a few things for drivers to look for in a staffing company:
Our drivers are our employees, plain and simple. We take responsibility for your salary, benefits, workers’ compensation and more. This helps ensure that drivers are valued employees rather than dispensable contractors.
Driving a truck is a professional occupation that requires skill and training. We believe in paying our drivers as the professionals they are.
Like most great companies, we offer medical, dental and vision insurance, paid time off and a 401K program. We know that employee health is key to offering clients the best drivers available, and we’ll work with you to keep you healthy. We also believe in the importance of rest and family time, as well as saving for retirement.
We offer local, regional and Over The Road driving options and allow drivers to change assignments when circumstances change. Instead of changing jobs because of a life change, we work to keep our great drivers on board by being flexible. We also believe that combining steady home time with steady, reliable work schedules is the key to happy, productive drivers.
Whether you’re a carrier looking to get rid of the administrative headache of managing a truck driving staff or a driver looking for the best workplace for flexibility and job security, it’s important to do your homework. Once you know what to look for in a staffing company, we think you’ll agree that TransForce meets these important criteria. That’s why we’re the industry leader, and that’s why we’re 100 percent ready to meet your needs.
During this week, the staff at TransForce Inc. would like to take a special opportunity to thank all of our drivers who operate safely each and every day.
We are proud of our group of drivers–and thank you for the professionalism and dedication you exhibit. Please join us in thanking all professional Truck Drivers nationwide. For more information regarding National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, click here to visit the American Trucking Associations website.
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.
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!
When 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.