Do I Need a CDL to Get a Job as a Truck Driver?

Trucking Thinking of getting a driver’s job, but not sure if you need a CDL? There are some types of driving jobs in the U.S. that do not require a commercial driver’s license (CDL), but it is a requirement for almost all professional truck driving jobs. When you have A CDL, you have a key that can open plenty of doors to professional opportunities.

What Is a CDL?

A CDL is a special driver’s license that is a federal requirement for anyone operating any type of vehicle weighing 10,001 or more pounds for commercial use, that transports quantities of hazardous materials that require warning signs on the vehicle or that is designed to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation or 16 or more passengers (including the driver) for non-compensation. This includes, but is not limited to tow trucks, tractor trailers and buses. Although there are Federal guidelines in place for obtaining a CDL, each state has its own set of application procedures and training regulations.

Why CDLs Are Required

Before implementation of the CDL Program in 1986, licensing requirements for driving larger vehicles and buses varied from state to state. Many drivers were operating motor vehicles that they may not have been properly trained or qualified to drive. This lack of standardized training resulted in a large number of preventable traffic deaths and accidents. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 was intended to ensure that truck drivers and drivers of tractor trailers and buses are qualified to drive Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs), and to remove drivers that are unsafe and unqualified from the highways.

Types of CDL Licenses for Professional Drivers

There are various types of CDL licenses, depending on the vehicle being operated and what it is carrying:

  • Class A: Required to drive any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GWVR) of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B:  Required to drive any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.
  • Class C: Required to operate single or combination vehicles designed to hold 16 or more passengers (including the driver) or a relatively small vehicle that is hauling hazardous materials.
  • Class A Covers All:  Required to drive any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is placarded for hazardous materials.
    (Many states make exceptions for farm vehicles, snow removal vehicles, fire and emergency vehicles, and some military vehicles).
  • Endorsements: There are also specific endorsements that may be required to operate special vehicles, such as those hauling hazardous materials, tandem (double) trailers and more.

Best Ways to Obtain Your CDL

You can legally get your CDL without attending a legitimate truck driving school, but it is very hard to get a good job with a CDL that is not from a recognized school. You’ll find many more opportunities if you get your training through a company-sponsored CDL training program or a private truck driving school.

Great Job Opportunities for CDL Drivers

One of the best job opportunities for a CDL driver is working for a staffing company. Different from a temp agency, staffing companies offer more stability, flexibility, competitive compensation packages that include good benefits, paid time off and long-term assignments. When you work for a staffing company, you can expect to work for a much longer period of time, often on regular runs that last a year or more. Plus, with well-run staffing companies, you get the luxury of being able to decide when and where you want to work. You can choose your schedule so that you get more time at home, more weekends off, and the ability to take care of your family while working full-time. They should also care about your safety and should be proud to show you their safety record.

At TransForce, we find out what YOUR dream assignment is and match you to a great run. Qualified CDL drivers can find rewarding job opportunities with TransForce Driver Staffing Solutions.

Operation Safe Driver Week: October 19-25

Operation Safe Driver Week 2014 is this week (October 19-25). During this week, activities will be held across the United States, Canada, and Mexico all with one common goal in mind: to increase safety awareness of both commercial and non-commercial motorists.

Operation Safe Driver Week is sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and with support from industry and a number of other transportation safety organizations. TransForce Inc. is a proud, active member of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

Join us not only this week, but all year long in helping to promote commercial vehicle safety awareness and safe driving.

For more information, click here to visit the Operation Safe Driver webpage.



Truck Drivers Face Risk of Skin Damage From Years of Sun Exposure

The famous 2012 photograph of the sun-damaged truck driver.

The famous 2012 photograph of the sun-damaged truck driver.

If you’re a professional truck driver, you get a lot of sun exposure every day, and it’s mostly to the left side of your face. Even in the winter, you are exposed to UVA rays all day long. And, even if the sun doesn’t feel warm, it can still damage your skin. The UV rays are not diminished by the cold temperatures. So, even when it is 20° below zero, there are still harmful UV rays penetrating the skin and causing damage. When there’s snow on the ground, these rays actually reflect off the snow and become more intense. Even cloudy weather does not offer much protection. Up to 80% of UV radiation can penetrate cloud cover.

What Extreme Photo-Aging Looks Like

A famous study released in 2012 by the New England Journal of Medicine documented a Chicago truck driver who had driven a delivery truck for 28 years. The 69-year-old man presented with a 25-year history of gradual thickening and wrinkling of the skin on the left side of his face. Doctors concluded that the UVA rays transmitted through the truck’s window glass had penetrated the epidermis and upper layers of dermis, causing extreme photo-aging. Almost every news outlet picked up the story, along with the dramatic photo of the patient. This unretouched, actual photo demonstrates the effects the sun can have on aging of the skin. The right side of the man’s face is smooth, while the sun-damaged half is crevassed and pruned beyond his years. His condition is called unilateral dermatoheliosis.

Why Preventing Skin Damage is Important

Why is this story about a trucker with wrinkles on one side of his face important?  Because, while you may not care about wrinkles, you should care about skin cancer. The harmful UV rays that cause photo-aging skin damage are the same rays that cause skin cancer. These UV rays penetrate glass, causing skin damage without you even realizing it. The Skin Cancer Foundation reported one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Skin cancer is very common, especially in people whose jobs expose them to more sun, like truckers, construction workers, landscapers and painters. Fortunately, skin cancer is easy for doctors to spot, and when caught early, is highly treatable. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat it as a casual concern.

How to Spot Signs of Skin Damage

Without protection, just a few minutes of sun exposure each day can eventually cause noticeable changes to your skin. Freckles, age spots, spider veins, rough or leathery skin, fine wrinkles that disappear when stretched, loose skin, and a blotchy complexion, can all be caused by sun exposure. Over-exposure makes the skin lose its ability to repair itself because the skin’s collagen is broken down and the synthesis of new collagen is impaired.

How to Protect Your Skin

Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from the sun all day while you’re in your cab:

  • Wear sunscreen every day: According to the FDA, sunscreen with spf 30 is the best option. Anything above spf 30 is not necessary, and anything below 30 spf is not effective enough. Reapply the sunscreen often throughout the day.
  • Install a UV shield: Your window does not filter all UV rays, but there are products you can put on your window that will. UV shields provide protection from the harmful UV rays. The UV shield won’t protect you from the sun when you step outside your cab, so it’s a good idea to also use sunscreen even if you have a UV shield.
  • Wear sunglasses: UV rays can also damage your eyes, even causing cancer. As a driver, your eyes are one of your most important assets.

Take measures to protect your skin and eyes from the harmful UV rays you are exposed to as a professional truck driver. Not only will you be preserving your youthful good looks, you will also be helping to diminish your risk of skin cancer.


“Thank You” to all Truck Drivers

This week (September 14-20) marks National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. During this week, the trucking industry takes time to say “Thank You” to all truck drivers who drive each and every day dedicated to safety and quality service.

At TransForce we would like to take this opportunity to say “Thank you” to our 2,800 drivers and to show our appreciation for what you do for TransForce all year long. Our offices are frequently complimented on your driving skills, your concern for safety, your professionalism, your customer service and your willingness to make our customers happy. All TransForce branches have planned special appreciation events throughout this week to honor our drivers. In addition, we extend our sincerest gratitude to the hundreds of thousands of truck drivers operating on the roadways today.

Please join us in appreciating professional truck drivers during this special week.





Tips for Finding Truck Driving Jobs

BLD017099Take a drive on any US highway and you will see trucks galore, many of them with an advertisement on the back that says their company is hiring qualified drivers. Have you ever thought about getting a truck driving job? With so many opportunities for good pay and benefits, the flexible hours, and the variety of runs available, driving a truck can be a rewarding career. But many truckers will tell you that you shouldn’t think of truck driving as a job — you should think of it as a lifestyle. And, there is a lot of information you’ll need to know if that lifestyle — and the job — is right for you.

The Truck Driving Lifestyle

Truck drivers enjoy decent pay and benefits and can expect to work at any time of the day or night. As a truck driver, you’ll have quite an erratic sleep schedule. You will have a lot of solitude as you make the long haul to places far away. You might not have the luxury of being home on weeknights or weekends. It’s not a career for everyone. But for some, life on the open road suits them perfectly.

Qualifications Needed for Truck Driving Jobs

Driving Record: Trucking companies need to know that they can trust you, and that you have a proven track record of responsibility. You’ll need a clean driving record that is free of accidents, DUIs and other moving violations. With rising insurance costs, companies can’t afford to hire employees who are liability risks.

Criminal Record: Trucking companies look for honest and trustworthy individuals to haul hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and freight, with the lives of the motoring public in their hands. That being said, having a criminal record will not immediately disqualify you, based on your record and the company’s policies. If you have a previous felony conviction, it is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with recent convictions (within the previous seven years) related to operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol, reckless operation and/or vehicular manslaughter being considered as potentially disqualifying.

Job History: A poor work history can pose a problem when looking for a truck driving job. Be prepared to explain any long periods of unemployment. Having a verifiable work history is very important and trucking companies will go back 10 years if you already have experience in trucking, or 3 years if you’re brand new to the industry. If you were laid off, trucking companies will require proof. If you were working under the table, you will have to find a way to verify your employment during that time. All employment must be verified somehow, and trucking companies will give you verification options when you apply.

Education Level: The required level of education for a truck driver is normally a high school diploma or GED. Although this is not legally required, the overwhelming majority of truck driving schools and trucking companies will not accept anyone without a diploma or GED.

Training: Although you can legally get your CDL without attending a legitimate truck driving school, you will find it to be nearly impossible to land a job after obtaining your CDL. It’s better to get your training through a company-sponsored CDL training program or a private truck driving school, as they are all considered legitimate truck driving schools.

Additional Minimum Standards: To get an idea of other specific qualifications you will need, you can look to TransForce, the nation’s leading specialty staffing firm devoted exclusively to the transportation industry:

Truck driving can be an awesome career if you’re the right person for the job. A good driver is a valuable asset to any company. Because, while anyone can learn how to drive a truck and get a job, not everyone can learn how to operate a truck safely and keep that job. That’s why there is always a demand in the trucking field for skilled, trained drivers.

Roadcheck 2014 Results

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has published the results of the 2014 Roadcheck that took place on June 3-5. During this 72-hour enforcement period, inspectors across the nation completed 73,475 truck and bus inspections. Of the 73,475 total inspection conducted:

  • 49,656 were North American Standard Level 1 Inspections
  • 23% included Out-of-Service (OOS) vehicle violations.
  • 72,415 driver inspections were conducted
  • 4.8% included Out-of-Service (OOS) driver violations.
  • 825 seatbelt violations issued
  • Over 10,000 inspectors participated at approximately 2,500 locations across North America

For more information regarding the 2014 event, click here.

TransForce Inc., is an active member of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, and continues to maintain a culture of safety, quality, and compliance.

2014 National Truck Driving Championships: August 12-16

Best of luck to all drivers competing in the 2014 National Truck Driving Championship this week in Pittsburgh, PA! 426 professional truck drivers are expected to compete in the 77th annual NTDC which kicks off this week. TransForce is a proud sponsor the NTDC, and our entire staff would like to wish “best of luck” to all competitors vying for Grand Champion this year. Good Luck!!

For more information about this event, visit the ATA NTDC webpage.

2014 National Truck Driving Championships picture

Truck Driving Jobs: Temp Agency or Staffing Company?

happy truck driverTruck drivers have more choices when it comes to finding a good job. With the continued rise in the number of trucking companies that outsource their staffing management and recruitment to an agency or a company, the job possibilities for qualified CDL drivers have taken on new definitions. Figuring out what your ideal employment situation looks like means understanding the pros and cons between a staffing company or a temporary agency. Many people think a staffing agency and a temp agency are basically the same thing. Both types of organizations do have overlapping business models, often providing some of the same services. However, staffing companies typically offer a wider array of options for their employees.

Agencies Offer Much Shorter Assignments

While both temporary agencies and staffing companies offer temporary placement of qualified workers for their clients, staffing companies tend to focus more on long-term solutions, both for the employee and the customer. Agencies usually provide short-term labor ranging from a single day to several months — to help their customers deal with peak busy periods, absences, maternity leaves and special assignments. At a temp agency, all the parties involved expect that the arrangement is not “forever” and that it will end. Sometimes assignments can end suddenly, with little or no warning.

Better Compensation and Flexibility

Working for a staffing company offers more stability and the ability to plan ahead. Drivers at staffing companies can expect to work for a much longer period of time, often on regular runs that last a year or more. You are an employee of the staffing company, who handles your pay, benefits, schedule and assignments. While temp agencies often offer little or no benefits, staffing companies often offer competitive compensation packages that include health care coverage, paid time off, 401K, life and disability insurance and more. Also, with many temp agencies, you are a co-employee of both the company who is offering the assignment, as well as the agency. Working for a staffing company keeps one name on your resume for the length of your employment with the company. That way, your resume and employment history stays looking clean. If a driver’s employment history has too much “clutter”, or too many jobs, many companies will not extend an offer of employment.

You Decide When and Where to Work

A good CDL driver staffing company can also offer qualified CDL drivers a level of freedom and flexibility that they are unable to receive from a traditional trucking company or a temp agency. Some staffing companies offer a “no-forced dispatch” policy, which allows drivers the luxury of being able to choose when and where they’d like to work. Employees who have freedom and flexibility, along with control over their schedules, tend to have a much higher level of job satisfaction – often directly translating into better job performance. With temporary agency assignments, the driver must take the assignment given or he/she doesn’t get paid.

Choosing a Staffing Company

In choosing a staffing company, look for one that has a long history of operation and continued growth. That shows you that they are well-managed, successful and respected by both clients and employees. Also, be sure they strictly comply with DOT regulations and recommendations. They should have a safety record they are proud to share with you. The company should be able to offer flexible employment arrangements, competitive compensation and benefits and should be able to find out what you want in a dream job and match you to an assignment. The right CDL driver staffing company can offer promising opportunities.

Happy 4th of July from TransForce!

Happy 4th of July from TransForce!

We would like to extend a special “Thank you” to our drivers who will be away from home this weekend.

As you travel this Holiday, please remember to use caution and respect large trucks and buses on the road. Travel safe, and have an enjoyable Holiday weekend!

American Flag Clip Art

CVSA Roadcheck June 3-5, 2014

The CVSA annual Roadcheck will be held this year from June 3-5. “Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial vehicles in the world, with approximately 14 trucks or buses being inspected, on average, every minute from Canada to Mexico during a 72-hour period in early June. Each year, approximately 10,000 CVSA-certified local, state, provincial and federal inspectors at 1,500 locations across North America perform the truck and bus inspections. ” For more information, click here to visit the CVSA website. CVSA