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Crimes Against Women Drivers

by Sandy Long

According to an Ohio sheriff’s report, on a January ‘06 night at a large truckstop, a woman driver was attacked and beaten by two males with a 2x4 and robbed of a couple of cubic zirconia rings.  From other reports, this is not an isolated incident.  We hear these stories and wonder how and why this could have happened.  Shouldn’t we be safe at least at truck stops that we have to frequent at all hours?

Truckers have always been targets of crime, robbery and high jacking for the most part.  In today’s world little has changed other than according to the ATA’s figures 7% (at least) of truckers are women, adding rape, sexual harassment and domestic abuse to the crimes against truckers.

Due to urban sprawl, truck stops that were once located in the country or at the very edge of town have now more than likely become encompassed by the city.  They no longer cater to predominately truckers, but have become ‘travel plazas’ with 24 hour fast food joints that are frequented by all types of people at all hours of the day and night.  Due to higher expenses, many have limited lighting and no longer have security or surveillance of their parking lots and fuel islands.

Driver’s habits have changed also.  In the old days on nice nights, drivers would gather on the lot to visit or cook out providing many eyes to see what was going on.  We paid attention to what was going on around the parking areas, today, we have become more isolated, staying in our trucks using the computer, watching television or playing games.   We tend to stay in the sleeper more than we used to.  The new HOS have added to this.  More drivers come into a truck stop and stay for 8-10 hours at a time instead of a steady in and out of traffic all night.  With anti idling laws becoming more prevalent added to high fuel costs, more drivers are turning off their trucks, so even the ambient light of a truck’s marker lights is lost.

One might ask who commits these crimes?  The answer is complexly simple:  lots of people and it could be anyone!  The two guys mentioned attacking the lady driver in the opening paragraph are thought to be two drivers targeting women drivers.  Sadly, there are still a very few male drivers that still resent women coming into trucking as drivers and may use criminal acts to dissuade them from remaining in it. 

Drug use is rampant in all areas and can lead to increased robberies and burglaries.  The increasing lack of good paying jobs can lead weak people to choose the ’easy way’ to make a living by robbing others.  Gangs are becoming more common even in smaller communities and may decide to ’prove’ themselves by attacking a ’big, bad trucker’ even a female one.

Women historically have been easy targets for crime.  Viewed as the ‘weaker’ gender, we represent easy prey.  Two things we women do in general mark us; we tend to carry hand bags that are easily snatched and wear flashy, though not always, expensive looking jewelry.  Hand bags usually contain our billfolds, credit cards and cash, and jewelry is easily fenced.  Even cubic zirconia will bring a buck or two in a pawn shop.

As more of us choose to run solo, lady drivers will increasingly be the targets of crime.  Though it has been covered before, the things you can do to protect yourself bears repeating.

  • Choose your parking spots and stops wisely.  If you have to stop at an unwell lit truck stop, pull through the fuel islands and take care of any business you might have inside quickly before parking unless there are front row parking spots available.  Save the showers and eating for daylight hours. 
  • Only walk your pet in well lit areas.
  • Carry a hip pocket billfold or wallet instead of a hand bag.
  • Save the expensive looking jewelry for day light hours if you have to wear it at all, or when you are going to be going to and from the truck stop with another driver.
  • Never sleep where you get a cash advance or use the ATM.
  • Don’t advertise where you are stopping to sleep or what type of load you have on your truck.
  • Be aware and alert to your surroundings.  Before getting out of your truck, sit for a minute or two and look around.  See who is moving around.  Watch for any four wheelers in the truck parking areas.  If anything seems suspicious, stay in your truck.
  • Keep your doors locked even if you are sitting in the seat.
  • Don’t carry big amounts of cash or flash money when you get it from the cashier or ATM.
  • When you are walking across the lot, keep your head up and your eyes moving.  Walk confidently and quickly.  Don’t stop to visit on the lot at night.
  • Carry identification with you at all times, CDL and any qualification cards you have identifying the company you work for.

There are no guarantees that you won’t become a victim of crime either on the road at home, but an ounce of prevention may be worth a ton of cure.  Be safe out there!

Call in the Federal Marshals?

By Sandy Long

Back when I traveled with carnivals, we would all get laughs from sending some pesky town kid, 10-12 years old, on wild goose chases to find things like left handed screw drivers, paint that went down in a checkerboard pattern and the key to open the midway.
We of course would give them a dime for a coke when they came back despondent at not being able to find the illusive item.
 
If you have been trucking any time at all, it is most likely that some coffee counter cowboy will tell you to call the Federal Marshals if you have trouble anywhere, anytime while on the road.  You will also probably hear at least one story about how the Federal Marshals came to the rescue and arrested a DOT officer, shipping/receiving clerk, or anyone else who was giving the poor story teller a hard time.  
 
A driver not long ago told me a story about how a friend of his that was a Federal Marshal asked the driver to take him into a grocery warehouse so he could see first hand the abuse a driver was subjected to.  Of course, the Marshal arrested the dock foreman, the receiving clerk and the warehouse owner…in the story at least.  It is his story and he is sticking to it.  Like the checkerboard paint, the advice and story is a myth.
 
Federal Marshals are part of the federal government and were established in 1789 to enforce federal law.  They were a big part of the old west, remember Matt Dillon?  Also, they were implemental in organizing posses, apprehending escaped slaves before the Civil War and enforcing civil rights laws after it.  Until 1896 Marshals received a fee for everything they did such as serving a warrant, apprehending a criminal or protecting a federal judge, they started receiving a regular salary in 1896.
 
Ninety-four U.S. marshals, appointed by the president or the U.S. attorney general, direct the activities of 94 district offices and personnel stationed at more than 350 locations throughout the 50 states, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Each district, and the District of Columbia Superior Court, is headed by a U.S. marshal. The Marshals Service’s headquarters are located in the Washington, D.C. area. (all italics from the Federal Marshal website)
 
Primary duties include protection of the judicial system.  This goes as far to overseeing the new construction of court houses and judicial office buildings to make sure security is of the highest possible.  The Marshals are also in charge of the witness protection programs, protecting lawyers and witnesses along with the judges.  Apprehending national and international federal felons is also a big part of their jobs, clearing 39,000 federal felony warrants last year.
 
Along with the above, the Marshals are responsible for transportation of convicts and prisoners:  In 1995, the air fleets of the Marshals Service and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) merged to create the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS). The merger created a more efficient and effective system for transporting prisoners and criminal aliens. Operated by the Marshals Service, JPATS is one of the largest transporters of prisoners in the world, handling more than 1,000 requests every day to move prisoners between judicial districts, correctional institutions and foreign countries. On average, nearly 3000,000 prisoner and alien movements a year are completed by JPATS via coordinated air and ground systems
 
Finally, The Marshals Service is responsible for managing and disposing seized and forfeited properties acquired by criminals through illegal activities. Under the auspices of the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program, the Marshals Service currently manages more than $964 million worth of property, and it promptly disposes of assets seized by all Department of Justice agencies.
 
As the above shows, Federal Marshals have nothing to do with trucking unless a federal law such as drug or illegal alien smuggling is involved.  I would suppose though if a federal judge issued a federal violations warrant, the Marshals would serve it, but the day to day life of a driver isn’t the focus of the Federal Marshals, or for that matter, on the peripheral edge for them.
 
The next time you hear a trucker suggest you call the Federal Marshals to come fix some problem you are having, you can now look at them and smile knowing that they have either fallen for someone else’s story telling or are sending you looking for checkerboard paint.
 
Ya’ll be safe out there!

The Neener Factor

By Sandy Long

Have you ever wondered why people are so fascinated with police writing some poor person a ticket or when going by an accident site that they slow down to almost a stop?

Doesn’t matter who it is either…little ol’ men and women, business people or teenagers…they all do it. This has to be one of the great imponderables of trucking down the highway.  I think I finally have it figured out.
 
The other day, there was a couple of troopers searching a SUV while the driver stood handcuffed next to the patrol car, along side of the interstate.  It took me about an hour to navigate the five miles up to where they were because of the Looky Lous.  Gave me time to ponder this great mystery.
 
As a student of history, I know that throughout the ages people gathered to watch executions, battles, gladiator contests to the death with animals and other humans, brutal sporting events, often times turning these blood baths into a fair like atmosphere.  Boxing has always brought out crowds to watch two people beat the other to bloody submission.  It appears that in two events, car racing and bull riding, the spectators actually want to see the big wrecks and falls.
 
Wrestling too comes to mind.  People crowd auditoriums and around their TV sets to watch men and women attack each other with trash cans, tables, chairs and slam into them with every part of their bodies.  Of course we know that it is high theater, but think about how involved the spectators get into the action.  Some have even attacked performers outside of the ring because of their in ring persona.  Let two wrestlers get in the ring and scientifically wrestle and the crowd boos them…they want to see blood!
 
Blood lust is a genetic part of a human being’s make up.  It is part of the fight or flight part of our brain.  It spurs adrenalin to rush through our systems and in some gives them a rush akin to drugs.  This attribute used to be burned off during battle and survival against wild life and the elements.  In today’s society, it is suppressed, one cannot go around physically fighting wild animals and killing people at will after all…it is just not done according to Emily Post!
 
Our highways have become so crowded that they relate to the survival of the fittest.  It is the accepted way to do battle for some with one’s life on the line.  This is seen with all of those people who dart in and out of lanes cutting off everyone, even someone driving something as big as we do, and out racing everyone.  The herd instinct is also evident in the bunching up of cars and trucks running at highway speeds.  Safety in numbers right?  No.  Have you noticed all the huge multi vehicle pile ups?  Directly related to herd mentality.
 
Slowing down to look at a wreck is akin to putting one’s foot on one’s foe and shouting about your victory.  You won the battle that day…that poor person getting put in the ambulance or worse, lost.  Their charger is dead and their armor is battered.  You survived and they didn’t.  You were smarter, wiser and a better driver.
 
Figuring out why people slow down to look at a police writing a ticket or searching a vehicle is harder to understand.  Could they be looking to see if they know the person getting the ticket?  Could they be looking to see if the officer or trooper might need assistance so they can stop and do battle to save the police, or in some cases the bad guy?  Is it the modern way of staving off fatigue and boredom of a long trip?  Are they taking this opportunity to instruct their children about the costs of not obeying the laws?
 
Nope, I don’t think so, I think both reasons for Looky Lous are the Neener Factor at work.
 
Remember when you got in trouble at school and were being reprimanded by the teacher and the other kids, even your best friend who was into the mischief as badly as you but hadn‘t gotten caught, giggled to see you being punished?  Did you ever have a younger sibling that would stand back while you got a spanking and snickered all the while you howled?  Yep, I think it is just what those people are doing, snickering at someone who got caught doing something wrong or lost the battle of the highways.
 
So, next time you have to creep along for hours in a miles long back up due to the rubber necking Looky Lous going 2 miles an hour past an accident scene or where a police is writing a ticket, now you can imagine every one of them going “Neener, Neener, Neener! I won, you lost“ or “You got caught and I didn’t!” as they pass by.
 
Whether I am right or wrong about both of the Looky Lou situation explanations doesn’t really matter.  I will promise though that the next time I am in a back up situation and getting frustrated, I will giggle thinking about that well dressed couple ahead of me in their Hummer looking at the scene on the shoulder going “Neener, Neener, Neener!”  with a glint in their eye.  It will lessen my stress while inching along so people can relieve their primal urges….and of course, I would never think “Neener, Neener, Neener!” as I passed another trucker getting a ticket on the shoulder, neither would you…or would we???
 
Ya’ll be safe out there!

Paranoia or Reality

By Sandy Long

A caller on a trucking radio show recently said that truck drivers have to lose the ‘us against them’ attitude that they have, that no one is against safe, professional truck drivers.  Do truck drivers have that type of attitude or is it just paranoia and a misunderstanding of what is going on between truck drivers and the government, or is it reality.

During the last 20 years or so, the government has added increasingly strict regulations on the trucking industry, drug testing, new hours of service (HOS), new medical standards, distracted driving reduction, all in the name of safety.  FMCSA developed so called listening sessions on some of these things saying they encouraged truckers to get involved and participate; that they wanted to ‘hear’ what truckers had to say.  Truckers spoke out, they attended those sessions and spoke, and they wrote letters and emails and called their representatives.  Did the Federal DOT or the FMCSA really listen to those truckers, no.  Very few in congress listened either.
For instance, over the new HOS, truckers in droves asked for more flexibility in the hours of service to wait out rush hours, sunrises/sunsets and inclement weather or backups.  Truckers also wanted flexibility to be able to take a lunch break or a shower during the workday.  What did the FMCSA come up with, a mandatory ½ hour break between the 3rd and 7th hour of the day…without stopping the clock, actually cutting a driver’s workday by a half hour.  This is not what little flexibility truckers asked for.

EOBRs are another area, the majority of truck drivers and small business truck owners do not want these EOBRs to become mandatory due to little return on investment and the lack of real need for them.  Reports have abounded about EOBRs being used to harass drivers to the point that OOIDA went to court against the using of EOBRs for non-compliant carriers, which was FMCSA’s first salvo to get EOBRs mandatory, and OOIDA won.  That did not stop the FMCSA, even though thousands of truckers are speaking out against EOBRs becoming mandatory, the FMCSA is proceeding at a fast pace to make them mandatory for all carriers.

The Mexican Border Program required under NAFTA, was shot down initially when OOIDA and thousands of truckers wrote, called and emailed their representatives to protest about allowing Mexican trucks to come freely into the USA to haul freight.  For once, congress listened and the program was closed; but sadly, it was not a whipstitch of time before the border re-opened under the Obama administration.  This, even though truckers once again stood up and spoke out.

Truckers are not stupid contrary to public, and it seems government, opinion.  While the FMCSA touts safety and an unrealistic desire to see absolutely no accidents involving commercial vehicles, truckers know that they are the safest drivers on the road and for the most part, are not responsible for the accidents they are involved in with other vehicles.  Truckers also know that accidents are just that, accidents, and sometimes are unavoidable.  Yet, truckers are constantly under fire from not only the media, but the government and special interest groups who have never driven a truck, or have financial interests in more regulations against truckers.

Truckers also know that all of these regulations are treating the symptoms not the disease.  They know that the root of many accidents, violations and equipment failure or driver error is a lack of training and detention time.  Truckers, many of which have gone through training in recent years, have spoken out in huge numbers about the need for stronger training regulations and standardized training policies at companies.  Does the FMCSA show even an inclination to address these issues, no; instead, they say that there are no statistics showing a need for stronger regulations concerning training and they cannot address detention time.

Is it possible that truckers have an ‘us against them’ attitude, yes, rightly so.  The FMCSA continually ignores the specialists in trucking safety, those who drive the trucks, in their continued attack against those same truck drivers.  One cannot help believe that these attacks made through overwhelming, unnecessary regulations will not stop until all freight is hauled on rail cars.  In this day and age, it is a wise person who has a little paranoia when the reality may cost them their career, their business, their home and affect adversely their families; at least they can plan ahead to be unemployed.

Burning Out Doesn’t Mean Spinning One’s Tires

by Sandy Long

A person is going down the road screaming obscenities at passing vehicles, goes home and cannot eat supper, cannot make love to their spouse, yells at the kids, kicks the cat, cannot sleep, is late for work in the morning and wouldn’t smile if a VW full of clowns suddenly appeared before them or they got a new truck.  What is wrong with this person?  Most likely burnout.
 
Trucking is a high stress job.  Dealing with traffic, shippers, receivers, dispatchers is enough to stress out anyone, add in performance pay, breakdown, poor food, inadequate rest, DOT, weather and family problems, you have a volatile mix of stressors.
 
Stress is a major player in a driver’s health and safety both on the road and at home.  Stressed out drivers aren’t as alert, exhibit road rage, have heart attacks and other health issues such as diabetes, mental problems and drug and alcohol problems.  They can become less productive as sleep patterns are interrupted causing late deliveries and pickups.  Attitudes change making what once was a very congenial and cooperative driver into a cranky, hard to deal with non team player.  Marriages break up, kids act out and finances go down the tube.
 
Too much stress can be identified by looking at one’s behavior closely and is the first step in correcting the problem.  If you notice any of the above symptoms or a friend or family member points it out to you, pay attention to what is going on in your life.
 
TAKING AN AUDIT OF YOUR LIFE
You think you might be stressing out.  Burnout or over stressed is usually not just one bad thing going on in your life, but either a combination or accumulation of several bad things.  Some of these might be:  a death in the family, fighting with your spouse, a child acting out, illness in your family or yourself, money problems, a bad employer, loneliness, depression, bad equipment or weather delays.  At times the final straw that sets you over the edge might be so insignificant that you miss it consciously such as a shipper that won’t let you use the restroom, not a big deal to those of us who are experienced drivers usually, but combined with any one of the major stressors listed above can become a contributor to stress overload.
 
TAKING ACTION
You find that it is really bothering you that your boss doesn’t seem to care if your truck runs or not, doesn’t pay you enough to pay your bills or runs you beyond your limits.  Start looking for a new job, develop your options; that in itself sometimes bumps us enough that we can ease the stress.
 
If you are having family problems, then do something about them.  Find someone to help; a counselor, a minister, another family member or a lawyer.   A counselor can help in the event of death or severe illness issues also.
 
If you are lonely to the point of isolation, find another driver every day that is willing to visit a few minutes at least, join a dating site or join an activity group to attend when you are home.  Make a few new friends and start a cell phone circle of people that you enjoy talking to.
 
MANAGING YOUR STRESS LEVELS

Learn what your warning signs of excessive stress are and watch for them to appear so you can take action before you reach that burnout level.  For short term relief, take a break, eat a snack, call a friend, park and watch the sunrise or sunset…what ever relaxes you.  Eat as well as you can, take vitamins and get some exercise outside of your job description.  Avoid alcohol, it doesn’t help in the long term.
 
Many companies are recognizing that drivers stress out at high rates and are starting to encourage regular home time.  Just getting out of the truck for a couple of days on a regular basis can go a long way to resolving many of the issues that might be causing you stress.  Plan some fun activity for at least some part of your home time…forget about trucks or whatever else is bothering you for a few hours.
 
Stress causes us sometimes to act like dogs chasing their tails…we get in a rut and cannot think of a way out of stressful situations.  Identifying the stressors in your life, changing the ones that you can, learning to deal in a positive manner with the ones you cannot change and understanding that you are prone to stress related problems will go a long way to allowing you to better deal with the stress you face.  The Serenity Prayer has it right:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
--Reinhold Niebuhr

Finding serenity inside yourself is hard but it is less hard than dealing with the reactions of burnout.  Remember that burning out from stress is like burning out of a parking lot spinning your tires, it can cause irreparable damage and doesn’t accomplish anything positive.
 
Ya’ll be safe and I wish you peace and some serenity in your busy lives.
 

Defining the Truck Driver Shortage and the “Qualified Driver”

Originally posted on Ask The Trucker.com

The Truck Driver Shortage- Part 1
Defining the Qualified Truck Driver

In the recent ATA press release, addressing the continuous “driver shortage” plaguing the trucking industry, their analysis states that the shortage has grown to nearly 48,00 and could increase more due to industry growth and the retiring truck driver community. According to analysis and if the current trend holds, the shortage may balloon to almost 175,000 by 2024

This October 6th report from the ATA raised questions about the “Driver Shortage” dilemma ,which has been a topic of discussion for as long as I can remember.
The first question that came to mind, is the definition of a driver shortage, and who is defining it, the driver or the carrier?

It is the definition of truck driver shortage which will also shape and define the cause and effects of the shortage, as ones perception of cause will also ultimately dictate their solutions for the shortage.

A drivers’ definition of a truck driver shortage “A lack of drivers willing to work for low wages”
A carriers’ definition is , “A driver shortage is a lack of qualified  drivers”

Those are vastly different definitions! In order to address a problem, such as the Driver Shortage, both sides will need to at least recognize each ones perception of the problem. If not, solutions will be a long way off.

Defining the Qualified Driver

Let’s first begin with the definition of “Qualified Drivers”
Drivers would state that a qualified driver is one with knowledge, experience, and a safe driving record...

Read the full article here

 

FindaTrucker.com Celebrates First Anniversary, Reports Strong User Growth

With over 3,000 drivers now registered and employers just as active, young site has quickly become a top resource for those in the trucking industry, FindaTrucker.com reports

McKinney, TX, United States of America – October 8, 2015

FindaTrucker.com, an online truck-driver job and hiring site, announced the passing of the company’s first anniversary and strong user growth over the course of its first twelve months in operation. Founded in August of 2014, FindaTrucker.com has quickly become an indispensable resource for both drivers and employers, offering up a number of valuable, innovative features that benefit users of each kind. With over 3,000 drivers now registered on and actively using the site, FindaTrucker.com is a reliable, economical way for trucking companies to find drivers of all experience levels and boasts one of the Internet’s richest collections of trucking jobs listings.

“We’re proud to report that we have now been in business for a full year,” FindaTrucker.com President John Peroyea said, “It has been an exciting time, with truckers and employers alike really appreciating what we have to offer. We have many great things planned for the near future, too, and we’re confident that the coming year is going to be just as rewarding as the one now past.”

Of all the freight moving around the United States on any given day, close to 70% of it does so aboard commercial trucks, according to the American Trucking Associations. That economically critical traffic requires the use of around 3 million vehicles of this kind, ranging in size from 28-foot box trucks to tractor-trailers, with a similar number of Americans being employed to drive them.

Even when relying so heavily on professional transportation of this kind, the country suffers from a longstanding shortage of qualified drivers. An Oct. 6 report by the ATA pegs the current gap at around 48,000 nationwide, with that number expected to grow consistently in the coming years, reaching a projected 175,000 within a decade.

FindaTrucker.com was founded in 2014 to help drivers and employers match up in mutually rewarding ways. For those looking for work, the company offers an extensive online database of current truck driver jobs, along with an array of powerful tools that can make the search even easier and more productive. With custom job alerts, reliable application tracking, and personalized job-matching services, FindaTrucker.com goes well beyond the typical job board, a fact that over 3,000 drivers have shown their appreciation for in the year since the service’s founding.

Employers benefit every bit as much from what FindaTrucker.com has to offer. Keenly aware of the cost-related challenges that employers face as they confront a lack of available drivers, FindaTrucker.com was designed from the start to make it less expensive to hire. Drivers of all experience levels are consistently available on FindaTrucker.com at lower prices than anywhere else, delivering real financial benefits to the many trucking employers who now use the service.

In the short space of a year, FindaTrucker.com has become a go-to source for thousands of truck drivers and many of the country’s top employers. Users of both kinds can look forward to a continuing stream of improvements and new features in the year to come.

About FindaTrucker.com:
Offering valuable, exclusive features to both drivers and trucking employers, FindaTrucker.com goes far beyond the traditional job board, helping companies cut costs as they hire and giving drivers powerful tools that make the job search more productive.

For more information about us, please visit http://www.findatrucker.com/

Contact Info:
Name: John Peroyea
Organization: FindaTrucker.com
Phone: 214-504-1320

Five Healthy Eating Tips for Truck Drivers

Are you frustrated as a truck driver with your weight gain? It’s hard enough to fight the middle age spread without throwing truck stop food, seat time and odd hours into the mix. So what’s a trucker to eat? Are you looking for some practical tips that you can actually use, some ideas that aren’t too hard to implement? (This article assumes you will have a way to cool your food and heat your food.) Read on for five healthy eating tips for truckers.

Plan Ahead – Don’t Impulse Shop

You know the feeling, you’re not just hungry, you’re hangry – that’s so hungry that you’re also angry. Have you ever made a wise food choice under the pressure of a growling stomach and a bad attitude? No – you know it’s wrong, but you point to the burrito under the heat lamps, snag a bag of chips, and clutch a can of coke as you lumber back to your truck.

The great thing about eating is that you know you need to do it. It should not come as a surprise that you’re going to need to eat. Your truck needs fuel – so do you. Don’t wait until you’re running on empty to search for a fill up. If you can plan even three days, just nine meals, in advance, with a few snacks, and buy those ingredients in advance, you’re already on your way to eating better.

Avoid Processed Food

Consider the pros and the cons. Sugary, salty, fatty foods are quick and easy, tasty, and satisfying in that just-one-more-bite type of way. On the other hand, they pack on the pounds, set you up for cravings in a few hours, and endanger your life and health. Everyone knows they’re bad, but what are the alternatives?

Even small efforts add up. Don’t try to change everything all at once. Go for an apple instead of a bag of chips. Instead of Mountain Dew, drink black coffee or brew your own green tea (the bottles you find in the store have all the sugar you’re trying to avoid).

Can’t Get No Satisfaction?

If you’ve ever tried munching on carrots and rice cakes to lose weight, you know how ineffective it is. You can fill your stomach with raw vegetables and puffed rice, but you’ll not be satisfied until you also gobble some junk food. If a healthy eating program is going to have any chance at success, it has to acknowledge the importance of the feeling of satisfaction. Junk food does this, and that’s why we eat it, but there is a better way.

Don’t combine sugar and fat

Junk food satisfies temporarily because it combines carbs, protein and fats. The secret is to combine carbs and protein, or protein and fats, but not all three. Eat vegetables and grilled chicken without extra oil, butter, or cream sauce – just carbs and protein. Eat tomato soup with cream or cheese, but no bread, rice or potatoes. Even a cheeseburger without bun, fries and coke could be an option if you forgot tip #1. It’s the combo that does the damage. Separate fats from carbs and always eat protein. You will be satisfied without resorting to junk food, and the pounds will start falling off.

Eat this

Quinoa, pronounced KEEN-wa, is a grain from South America with good flavor that is adaptable to breakfast, lunch or dinner. Add cream and a couple berries for breakfast, or cook it in chicken broth to supplement a couple drumsticks for dinner.

Fry up four eggs in butter, and I know how hard this will be to hear, but don’t put them on bread. Eat them alone, or with lettuce instead. (You don’t have to confess this to anyone until your belly starts shrinking and they ask you how you did it.)

For a snack, consider Greek yogurt, but get it plain and make your own modifications. Add nuts, or blueberries, or any kind of fruit. Add a shake of cinnamon to some apple slices and chunks of walnut. 

Trucking is a lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to coincide with poor health and weight gain. With a little planning and some slight modifications, you can stop any weight gain, and maybe even lose a few pounds. Get started today! All you have to lose are inches!

Findatrucker.com has been connecting truck drivers with trucking companies for years. Drivers sign up free. We also have a free load board. Check us out today.

 

Questions to Ask During Your Truck Driver Interview

Truck drivers looking for a job are in a good position these days, as there are more positions open than drivers to fill them. Wages are increasing as a result, but a driver should still do his or her research before jumping at a job offer, especially if a contract is involved. There are many other factors to consider before accepting a truck driving job. Remember, you are interviewing them to find the best fit as much as they are interviewing you.

First, consider the type of trucking job that you want to have. Do you want dry van, refrigerated, tank truck, or flatbed? Are you looking to work in the Western States, Eastern States, within a city, or coast to coast OTR? As you look at specific companies, take some time to do research.

Second, seek out drivers who have been working with the companies you’re considering. Find them on truckers’ forums and find out what the experienced drivers have to say about the different companies. Ask open-ended questions that also give some direction: What’s the most frustrating experience you’ve had with this company? What’s the best experience you’ve had with this company? Can you explain a typical job from start to finish, focusing most on your interactions with the company? These questions give you an idea of the culture of each company and what the working experience will be like. Some situations are so horrible, no paycheck will ever make it worth it – you want to find this out ahead of time.

Once you’ve identified the type of work you want to do and eliminated companies that would not be a good fit, you’ll get the chance to have some interviews. You should always answer every question honestly, especially regarding years of experience and the quality of your driving record.

When it’s your turn to ask the questions, you may want to jump right to the money questions, and that time will come, but those answers won’t do much to differentiate the working experience of one company compared to another. Some questions with the most bang for the buck include the following:

  • What is your DOT SafeStat score? (You can find this beforehand on the internet through the FMCSA, so their answer to this question will give you a sense of their truthfulness, as well.)
  • What are you hauling?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Can a driver take the truck home?
  • What is the passenger policy? (And/or pet policy, if you’d like to roll with Spot or Mittens.)
  • What is the inverter policy?
  • What is the idle policy? Do they allow use of APU’s?
  • Can I refuse a load? What would happen if I did?
  • How often does a driver get home time? For what reasons might it be delayed?
  • Who performs the periodic maintenance – oil changes, etc.?
    • Are the locations for service near the locations of operation?
    • What happens if my truck breaks down?
    • What if I get a bad trailer?
    • What is the average age of the equipment?

Now, the money questions:

  • What’s the pay per mile?
  • Is there a guaranteed minimum weekly mileage?
  • How many paid holidays?
  • How often or for what reasons do drivers get raises?
  • Are there any benefits?
    • Retirement?      
    • Health Insurance?

We hope that you’ve found these suggestions help level the playing field when it comes to interviewing for a job as a truck driver. Findatrucker.com has been connecting truck drivers with trucking companies for years. Drivers sign up free. We also have a free load board. Check us out today.

Top 5 Reasons to Become a Truck Driver

The reasons for becoming a trucker are as numerous as the men and women who motor across the highways of America in a big rig. A recent thread in a trucker’s forum reveals diverse and interesting responses to the question: Why did you want a job as a truck driver? Despite the differences in the individual responses, however, there were a few themes that reappeared. These are the top five reasons why truckers became truckers:

1) Truck Drivers Enjoy Working Alone

The vast majority of truckers seem to be satisfied with their job, which appeals to a group with some common characteristics. Truck drivers said they were comfortable with solitude, or even preferred it over an unpleasant office environment that included complaining customers and fellow employees who fought like cats and dogs. Many said how much they appreciated the independence of being a long haul trucker – “no boss looking over my shoulder,” said one.

2) Truck Drivers Enjoy Travel

Those involved in truck driving jobs also have a sense of adventure. Most enjoy being able to get paid for traveling and seeing the sights of these great United States of America. From sea to shining sea, and all parts in between, tuckers have their favorite sights and favorite memories all through the country. One driver wrote to say that he had always wanted to see all fifty states, and while truck driving likely didn’t get him to Hawaii directly, the job might have allowed him to buy the plane ticket. How many other jobs allow a person to experience all fifty states?

3) Trucking Driving is in the Blood

These experiences can get in a person’s blood and make all other stationary jobs seem less appealing. The blood factor goes deeper, though. A minority of truck drivers have family members who also drive. It might have been their father, or an uncle or cousin, but a little familiarity with the industry can go a long way to guiding a person to make a career choice. There were even some who did not like that their father drove, but found themselves following in his footsteps nevertheless.

4) Service to the country

One driver joked that he became a trucker “for the respect and the money.” This comment makes light of the reputation that trucker drivers have in the US, and yet their service is essential to the economic health of our nation and the standard of living that we all enjoy without giving it much thought. A few trucker drivers were proud of this service they offered, even if there wasn’t widespread appreciation.

5) Truck Drivers Enjoy Making Money

Jokes about income surfaced regularly, as in the comment above. The pay for truck driving jobs varies widely, with some locations or business models being better for more money than others. The general consensus was that the wage was sufficient, with words like “decent” and “consistent” making a few appearances.  Truck drivers aren’t getting rich, but they are providing for their families and currently there are more openings than drivers, a good place to be if you’re a driver.

For those considering a job as a truck driver, then, recognize that truck driving is more than a job – it’s a lifestyle. Making money, while important, was last on the top five list of reasons for choosing a job as a truck driver. Much higher on the list were solitude and independence, and the joy of traveling and driving.

If the idea of being a truck driver appeals to you, and you don’t know where to start looking for a job, findatrucker.com has been connecting truck drivers with trucking companies for years. Drivers sign up free. We also have a free load board. Check us out today.