How to Keep Your Truck Drivers Happy

Owner-operator trucking

Making money as a long haul truck driver requires late nights, long hours, and a lot of time away from home. With the added pressure of staying safe while hauling loads within a tight time-frame, it is not surprising that many truck drivers stress, depression, and fatigue.

Happy drivers are productive drivers. In order to maximize profits and keep the roads safe, trucking companies should consider implementing these practices and making a better work experience for their drivers.

5 Ways to Keep Your Truck Drivers Happy

  1. Hands-free software – equip your fleet with hands-free GPS technology to make a safer driving experience. Smart phone applications such as FleetSafer Mobile keeps drivers safe by eliminating the temptation to text, email, or browse the web while on the road. Drivers can control the app with voice activated commands and can even send an “I’m driving” message without having to press a button.
  2. Pay electronically – keep drivers happy with instant access to paychecks. Send money to fuel cards or directly deposit paychecks in drivers’ bank accounts so your fleet is never strapped for cash. Nobody wants to wait for their paychecks so make life easier for your drivers by providing them their hard-earned money as quickly as possible.
  3. Family time – trucking businesses should encourage their drivers to communicate with their family on a regular basis. With drivers forced to spend so much time away from home, regular communication with family and friends can have significant positive psychological impact.
  4. Healthy eating – truck drivers often find themselves filling up on fast food when on the road. Tight delivery time-frames and the abundance of highway side fast food leads to poor nutrition among many truck drivers. Educate drivers on nutrition and healthy eating habits to keep them happy, healthy and more alert.
  5. Preferred jobs – assign jobs based on the age, experience, or sleeping preferences of each driver. By matching jobs with driver strengths and preferences, loads will be hauled more efficiently and drivers will have a more enjoyable experience.

Congress to Vote on Trucking Hours of Service

Highway and truck

Since changes were made to the FMSCA’s hours of service regulations 11 months ago, trucking businesses around the country have expressed serious concerns over driver safety and income. Congress plans to settle the dispute over the new regulations with this Thursday’s vote on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development budget package for the 2015 fiscal year.

Some major points of contention are the new requirements for two consecutive driver rest periods from 1 a.m. to 5a.m. during a 34-hour restart and the once-a-week restart restriction. Controversy also surrounds the research used to justify the hours of service change with trucking and safety groups claiming the data only represented drivers that used electronic logs.

The FMSCA defends the current changes in the hours of service rules, claiming that they increase driver safety by calling for more regulated rest periods. Yet, according to the American Trucking Association, hundreds of thousands of businesses have been suffering as a result of the new restart restrictions. In a letter sent to Congress on Tuesday, the ATA asked for a one-year suspension of the new restart requirements, stating, “These two new restrictions have placed economic hardships on thousands upon thousands of employers, as well as reducing drivers’ wages throughout the motor carrier industry.” The plea is directed towards Chairman Barbara Mikulski and Ranking Member Richard Shelby, along with Sens. Patty Murray and Susan Collins, who support the new rules and head the Appropriations Committee.

Since there is already an official rule-making process in place, many wonder why this controversy is being settled by Congress with an amendment to next year’s Appropriations bill. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is calling for a return to the original rule making process, claiming that the rule changes were not science based and therefore should be disregarded.

Congressional debates will continue until the vote on Thursday in light of demands by the ATA and much of the national trucking industry to suspend or amend last year’s hours of service rule changes.

10 Best Travel Apps for Truckers

Fuel pump orange

5 Best Free Apps for Truckers:

BigRoad: Free Trucker Log App
Available on: Android
The BigRoad app provides truckers with all the essential services they need when on the road. Along with keeping track of daily driver logs, the app helps drivers find truck stops, weigh scales, and traffic directions, while allowing them to send documents straight from their phone.

TRANSFLO Now
Available on: iOS & Android
Transflo Now speeds up the hauling process by letting drivers take photos of delivery documents and send them instantly to their fleet. This app saves time and money by allowing truckers to get paid quicker and move on to the next load. To register, drivers need an ID provided by their fleet.

GasBuddy
Available on: iOS & Android
Simple but useful, the GasBuddy app helps drivers find the cheapest fuel prices in the area. With prices available on regular, midgrade, premium, and diesel fuel, GasBuddy lets drivers find the cheapest nearby fuel or search for prices in a particular city or zip code.

Waze Social GPS, Traffic & Gas
Available on: iOS & Android
Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app that helps drivers avoid traffic jams and plan the best routes. The app provides real-time traffic and road alerts, voice-guided GPS navigation, and information on the cheapest fuel locations. Hands-free and voice-operated, Waze is a safe way for truckers to get the information they need and save time by avoiding traffic. As you use Waze it learns your frequent destinations, commuting hours, and preferred routes, making the driving experience better each time.

Trucker Tools
Available on: iOS & Android
The Trucker Tools app allows drivers to source coupons from more than 5,000 truck stops across America. The app also lets drivers search for truck stops, find the lowest diesel prices in any given area, and get turn-by-turn directions to each location.

 

5 Best Premium Apps for Truckers

Truckster – Truck Stops ($2.99)
Available on: iOS & Android
The Truckster app provides information on truck stops, rest areas, and Walmart locations throughout the country. With Truckster, drivers can plan stops ahead of time making for quicker hauls, more efficient driving, and a better experience for truckers.

Allstays Truck Stops & Travel Plazas ($9.99)
Available on: iOS & Android
Allstays Trucks Stops and Travel Plazas app lists the closest truck stops so that drivers can be well informed on the road. The app also provides information on weigh stations, CAT scales, truck washes, area Walmarts, parking lot size, food options, showers, and more. The search options also help drivers find truck stops with specific amenities or discounts.

Co-Pilot Live Truck ($150)
Available on: iOS & Android
The Co-Pilot Live app is a voice guided GPS navigation system that allows truckers to safely customize the best route for delivering a load. The app helps drivers avoid low-clearance and weight-restricted roads, create custom profiles for easy switching between vehicles, and view efficient routing options.

FleetSafer Mobile ($5.99/month)
Available on: iOS & Android
FleetSafer Mobile keeps your fleet safe by eliminating the temptation to text, email or browse the web while driving. Drivers can block texts and emails while driving or respond with a voice-activated “I’m driving” message. FleetSafer helps keep drivers safe and focused while out on the road.

Fast Food Calorie Counter ($.99)
Available on: iOS & Android
Truckers who are forced to eat truck stop fast food don’t need to have an unhealthy lifestyle. Use the Fast Food Calories Counter app to get nutritional information on 73 popular restaurants and 9,141 menu items. Assess calories, fat, carbs, fiber, and protein to make an informed decision on what meals are best for you at various fast food establishments.

Trucking Prevails, Remains Best Mode of Freight Transportation

trucking remains best way to haul freight

Freight hauling was hit hard by the economic recession that occurred between 2007 and 2009. However, hauling freight — especially by truck — has recovered and is now operating at pre-recession levels and beyond according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. As of 2017, trucks remain the best mode of freight transportation, and experts predict it will remain at the top for years to come.

Trucking On Top

America relies on trucks and their drivers to haul much-needed freight across the country — that has not changed since trucking was considered a profession. Without truckers to haul freight, the United States would fall apart. Though trucking businesses are subject to heavy regulation and poor road conditions, trucks remain the dominant carriers of freight throughout the country.

Hauling cargo with trucks has grown over time alongside the expansion of the nation’s population and economic activity.

Truck drivers faced hard times during the U.S. recession of 2007, and numbers showed the amount of freight being hauled by trucks during that time showed it. Truck driver salaries went down, the price of delivering freight went up because of rising gas prices and low demand.

Since 2010, hauling freight by truck has bounced back. As of 2017, the U.S. economy increased by 32.7 percent (adjusted for inflation) and the amount of cargo hauled by truck drivers is back on the rise indefinitely.

What Freight Trucks are Hauling

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports the cargo hauled by trucks accounts for 57 percent of the total value of all of the freight that is being hauled in the United States, another reason why trucks are considered the best mode of freight transportation. They’re secure, they move quickly and can be accounted for easily.

Trucks haul a large amount of building materials and hazardous waste including natural gas, asphalt, gravel, gasoline, non-metallic mineral products, corrosives, chemicals and other toxic agents. In fact, trucks moved 62.8 percent of all hazardous materials in 2017.

 

Where Trucking is Headed

Experts suggest hauling by truck will continue to be the best mode of freight transportation in the years to come. Industry analysts foresee hauling freight by truck growing 1.4 percent each year for at least another 30 years.

It’s thought that trucks will move 14,829 tons of freight in 2045, continuing to trump its closest competitor, pipeline hauling, which will carry 4,468 tons. In terms of revenue, trucks are projected to haul 18,691 billion dollars of freight that same year.

While 2018 has seen a decline in the amount of truck drivers on the roads, analysts predict that number will rise in conjunction with an increase in trucker wages. Some companies have already started adding larger sign-on bonuses for new drivers and are implementing high-percentage raises to those who have been in the industry for some time.

Ensure Your Career as a Truck Driver

Ensure your career as a truck driver by factoring your invoices. Factoring your invoices allows you to have the working capital needed to buy gas, pay for repairs and allow your freight to get hauled to the right place at the right time. Whether you’re an owner-operator or work for a trucking company, freight factoring can work with you and for you to ensure you get the money you need when you need it.

Factoring is not a loan, meaning there is no debt you have to pay back. It’s fast and easy.

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7 Ways Truckers Can Save On Fuel Costs

Fuel discounts diesel pump

With fuel prices around the country on the rise, it’s never been more important for trucking companies to cut down fuel expenses. Truckers can significantly decrease their fuel costs by taking simple measures to increase the efficiency of their fleet. Here are 7 ways truckers can save big on fuel costs.

  1. Regular Maintenance and Check-ups

Along with following the normal oil change cycle, make sure to perform regular tune ups on your trucks at each 100k mile mark in order to keep your fleet as efficient as possible. When a problem occurs don’t let it persist. If a truck’s cylinders fail, it is recommended that you replace the injectors in sets in order to ensure the optimum performance of all cylinders.

  1. Progressive Gear Shift

Truckers often mistakenly waste fuel when accelerating. By speeding up the truck beyond the necessary revs for each gear shit, truckers decrease their overall fuel economy. What many truckers don’t realize is that they can actually accelerate faster by getting into a higher gear sooner, and that’s best accomplished by using minimum engine revs for each gear change. Lower your revs and you will lower your fuel expenses.

  1. Reduce Idle Time

Too many truckers leave their engines running idle and waste a significant amount of fuel in the process. According to truckinginfo.com every hour of idle time in a long haul operation can decrease fuel economy by 1%. While many drivers leave their engines idle in order to protect their trucks from extreme temperatures, idling in moderate weather has become surprisingly common. Instead of unnecessarily burning fuel, invest in advanced heating and cooling systems in order to regular the temperature of your trucks and save yourself money.

  1. Control Speed

According to Cummins, each 1 mph above 55 mph decreases fuel economy by 0.1 mpg. Keep your drivers going slow and steady and utilize cruise control to increase the efficiency of your fleet and save money on fuel.

  1. Take Care of Wheels

Proper inflation of your tires is essential to maintaining good fuel economy and extending tire life. Proper wheel alignment is also critical to a truck’s fuel efficiency. Align all axles together instead of using just a front axle alignment and check alignment at every 60,000 miles in order to increase your truck’s fuel economy.

  1. Use Technology

Electronic cooling devices can reduce the fuel used to run your trucks’ air conditioner.

New mobile smartphone apps are helping make trucking more efficient. Drivers can use EFS’ apps in order manage funds, transfer money between cards, and view load history. TruckerTools is another mobile app which can save you on fuel costs by providing instant access to the nearest fuel locations and highlighting the lowest available prices.

Why waste fuel by stopping at tolls and weigh stations when you don’t have to? With transponder services such as E-Z Pass, Prepass, and Bestpass truckers can cut down their fuel expenses by limiting the amount of required stops.

  1. Fuel Cards

Even after putting these fuel efficient practices to use, rising diesel prices can continue to burden your trucking business. Apply for funding from a freight factoring company and receive fuel cards that save you money at the pump. Along with providing discounted fuel at truck stops nationwide, freight factoring also provides cash advances for fuel. When factoring, fuel advances are available for every load upon pickup!

Start factoring freight today! Not only will factoring provide same day cash when you need it most, but your business will be instantly eligible for free fuel cards. Call 1-855-322-8671 today to receive freight factoring cash and fuel discounts so your trucking company can increase its cash flow and grow!