Pros and Cons of In-Cab Cameras

In-cab cameras are a hot discussion topic. Some people really like the idea of introducing them into the cabs of every truck. There is plenty of backlash as people cite invasions of privacy and a general distrust of camera usage. There are still many conversations to be had about the necessity and relevance of in-cab cameras for today’s driver. The future remains to be seen on their implementation. Statistically speaking, in-cab cameras do seem to provide a benefit for road and cargo safety which may win the favor of the more reluctant audiences.

In-Cab Cameras

Cameras within the cab of a truck may sound like an odd idea. Why would you want camera footage of a driver in their cab? While often this footage would be very boring as it is the driver sitting, possibly eating, turning up the AC, or taking a sip of water, there are many occasions where having footage of the driver and cab could be important. This is especially true when it comes to accidents. In fact, having recording devices can also reduce the likelihood of a major crash by stopping distracted driving.

In the past few years, there have been major developments in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry. There are now in-cab cameras that can tell how many times drivers pick up their phones, when they are distracted, and even when they appear to be fatigued. This is an incredibly odd thing to hear for many drivers who have been on the road for decades as there was never any supervision before and rarely any questions about one’s safe driving ability if no wrecks occurred.

Pros and Cons

Driving with an in-cab camera can sometimes make drivers uncomfortable. A sudden introduction of them without warning is an invasion of privacy as drivers would not have consented to being filmed. However, if drivers are properly warned of being recorded and allowed the chance to learn from the AI cameras (which provide feedback about distracted driving), the installation of in-cab cameras can be a good thing. The only con is driver pushback and the issue of privacy. However, in a company owned vehicle, if drivers are notified of this change, then in-cab cameras are a great idea for most fleet owners.

In-cab cameras have been shown to decrease texting and driving, distracted driving, and fatigued driving by providing the drivers with feedback about what they’re doing well and what issues they should address as they continue driving. Having less distracted drivers on the road is always a great thing for the safety of both drivers and civilians and will assist in keeping the roads free and clear of accidents!

Should Your Fleet have In-Cab Cameras?

Some fleet owners do not believe that in-cab cameras are a good choice for keeping their drivers and civilians on the road safe. However, some do not believe this is a necessary addition to the fleet. This is a very easily debated question and there are many privacy questions to keep in mind. However, if you are planning on installing in-cab cameras, be sure to notify your drivers and have an open, honest discussion about why you think in-cab cameras are a good choice for your business! 


Be Aware: Holiday Weekends Bring Cargo Theft

Cargo theft is one of the largest problems facing drivers and their companies to date, costing $57.9 million in 2021 alone in the U.S. and Canada. Cargo theft has been rising in the past few years. Many believe it is because of the amount of freight that is left idling and the lack of safe parking areas for drivers. These thefts are more often to occur at night, and especially on holiday weekends, when less people are traveling and there is more opportunity for thieves to strike without being noticed.

Cargo Theft Awareness

As a driver, being aware that cargo theft is a problem that will face many drivers on the road is important. You likely know someone, or have mutual friends with someone, who has been a victim of cargo theft and know that it is not a victimless crime. There is loss of money and sometimes credibility for the driver because they were unable to deliver their goods. 

Cargo thieves often target trucks that appear to be easy to break into. The ease of access to trucks can also be assessed by their location. Ideally you will be using the best security equipment you can and following safety guidelines, like parking in well-lit areas at night. Preventing cargo theft is often possible, and taking the initiative to guard your freight will help you to make your journeys safely and successfully.

Why Holiday Weekends?

Holiday weekends see a rise in cargo theft for a few reasons. The first of these being that during holiday weekends there is less traffic, which means fewer witnesses for the cargo thieves. Additionally, regular security guards and delivery offloading help may be limited giving thieves a chance to steal cargo. Finally, long holiday weekends mean more people who may be prone to cargo thievery are off work and able to participate in theft. 

How To Prevent Cargo Theft

Cargo theft is often a preventable crime. Being aware of your truck, surroundings, and time can help you to stay safe. Maintaining your truck and ensuring the locks are up to date and secure is a great first step to take to protect your freight. Many thieves still get away with their crimes because of old, worn-out locks. Checking your surroundings before pulling off to rest and ensuring your way will be well-lit at nighttime will help keep your trailer safe. Then, noting the time, including the time of day, and how long you’ve been driving (it’s best not to stop within 250 miles of first taking off), can scare off potential thieves. 

Final Thoughts

Don’t let holiday weekends and all their festivities get ruined by cargo theft. By following these tips and doing your research on safe places to pull off along your route, you can help keep your cargo safe until it reaches its destination. This is not a full list of things you can do to prevent cargo theft but doing some research on everything from security tech to cargo theft data along your route can act as preventative measures. Stay safe out there!

The Freeway Layout

Before you continue reading, ask yourself, “Do I really know what a freeway is?” Many people use the terms interstate, highway, and freeway interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences between them. The interstate refers to the Interstate Highway System, which connects states together with a series of highways. The interstate is made up of highways, but not all highways are a part of the interstate. A highway is merely a public road that might have restricted access and could have tolls. Restricted access is where cars and similar motor vehicles only are allowed on the road, as well as the only way a car or similar motor vehicle can access or exit the road by an on or off ramp. A freeway, also known as an express highway, is a restricted-access highway that does not include toll booths. Freeways are a part of the Interstate Highway System, but like highways, not all freeways are a part of that system. Freeways also tend to connect big cities to one another. Furthermore, freeways are created specifically for high-speed vehicular traffic and do not have traffic signals, intersections, railways, or pedestrian paths. 

Now that we have distinguished the difference between an interstate, highway, and freeway, let’s move our focus onto freeways and their layout. 

How Are Freeways Laid Out?

If you have ever investigated how freeways are designed, you may have realized it is simpler than you thought. Considering some freeways are a part of the Interstate Highway System, then it only makes sense that they are identified using the same route marker. A red, white, and blue shield including the word “Interstate” with the state name and route number. 

Freeways were designed to serve many purposes including:

  • Eliminate traffic congestion
  • Replace “undesirable slum areas” with immaculate strips of concrete
  • Make coast-to-coast transportation more well-organized
  • Make it easy to get out of big cities in the incident of an atomic attack

The most important characteristic of freeways is that they have at least four lanes, two lanes in each direction of travel. Many freeways have more than four lanes, some having as many as 10, especially near cities. Other characteristics include:

  • Lanes must be 11-12 feet wide
  • Shoulder lanes are usually 8-10 feet wide, allowing vehicles to safely exit traffic in the event of an emergency
  • A median separates the opposite side to improve safety, by avoiding head-on collisions of vehicles traveling towards each other. Medians range from 16-60 feet wide.

Major freeways are labeled by one- or two-digit numbers. Freeways that run north and south are odd numbers and end in the number 0 or 5. For north to south routes, the lowest numbers begin in the west. Freeways that run east and west are even numbered and end in the number 0. For these routes, the lowest numbers are in the south. For instance, I-5 runs north to south along the west coast, while I-10 runs east to west along the south. 

Another fact to keep in mind is that freeways with three digits are considered local freeways and the last two digits tell which major freeway they stem from or connect to. 

Final Thoughts

Freeways were first thought of as a way to reduce the impact of traffic within cities, as well as a way to link cities together. For professional truck drivers, freeways can have a major influence on their daily travels and making sure their freight gets to its destination on time. Without freeways, and the benefits they provide, it’s a wonder how the trucking industry would survive. 

What is the economic impact of the trucking industry in the United States?

The United States has one of the strongest economies in the world and much of its rigor is powered by its incredible logistical network that allows goods to be transported across the nation rapidly and efficiently. After the creation of the interstate system in the 40s and 50s, the trucking industry took hold on the nation by creating thousands of jobs and providing the means for reliable transportation. The United States economy depends on the stability and dependability of its transportation system.

Money Talk

Money is on everyone’s mind. It is even more salient to economists who have analyzed the United States economy. With a quick look at the statistics, one can see that trucking is big. It takes up over 70% of the transportation industry, and recently, yearly revenue has exceeded $800 billion through completed deliveries. That’s over 11.5 billion tons of cargo each year, according to Beyond the direct economic impact lies the impact of stores and distributors selling the goods that were transported. CFS reports that as of 2017, 71.6% of goods in the United States were transported on a truck before reaching their points of civilian distribution.

Impactful Industry

The trucking industry touches many different aspects of American life, from groceries, pharmaceuticals, household goods, to cars and building materials. America truly runs on trucking. The economic impacts of trucking are also able to be quantified in terms of employment. Trucking is a great career for many people, and there are drivers on the road today from nearly every walk of life. Trucking used to be a career predominately reserved for men, but now anybody can have a successful career driving!

In fact, there are around 3.36 million drivers on the road in the United States today, of this number, about 6% are female drivers, but this number is increasing yearly! Additionally, nearly 10% of drivers are veterans who have found fulfilling careers after serving the United States in the Military. Professional drivers make on average over $60,000 per year, which is nearly twice the national average income according to Census estimates. This access to a lucrative career is great for the economy because it means drivers are self-sufficient and able to purchase and invest in what they need.

Run the World

The transportation industry is one of the driving forces of the global economy. The presence of an interconnected network of supply, demand, and transit allows a free flow of capital that can instill economic growth. Trucking is a major part of this network, especially in larger nations like the United States. As we continue in time, it is expected there will be more need for drivers as the trucking industry is expected to grow. The zenith of the economic impact of trucking is yet to be seen.

Final Thoughts

Drivers are the lifeblood of the United States and its economic power. The incredible logistical system that allows goods to be transported from pickup to drop-off is part of what makes the United States such a wonderful place to live, and drivers are the most important piece of the economic puzzle. The economy is still recovering after the pandemic, but it is already looking like it will reach even greater heights than before and drivers will be crucial in building it up!

History of the Trucking Industry Within the United States

Since the semi-truck was invented in 1898 by Alexander Winton, the American Trucking Industry has rolled on and been driven to incredible heights becoming one of the largest and most important industries in the United States. American Trucking has survived dark times, always lighting the way to a better and brighter future for the industry and for America as a whole. The story of the trucking industry is one of perseverance, triumph, and improvement, and this spirit persists to the present.

Trucking Through Time

The Beginning

We have already discussed the history of the semi-truck in a previous post that you can check out here, but the story of the industry built around the machine is equally as interesting. The first commercial semi-truck was built as an answer to the increased need for the transportation of goods across the country. The first major use of trucks was by the military in World War 1, though after the war, the increase of paved roads across the country made it possible for the industry to take hold for civilian purposes in the 1930s. Once the industry was well established, it became subject to regulations as it and other occupations began to grow and expand. 

Growth and Expansion

20 years later the interstate system in the United States was created, allowing for easier and faster national transport of goods. This allowed for major expansion and improvement of the trucking industry, making it more reliable and efficient. The advancement of temperature-controlled trucking, first invented in 1925, but improved upon greatly in the 40s and 50s allowed for the safe delivery of pharmaceuticals and food products as well.

Music and Protest

In the 1960s and 1970s the American Trucking industry became more prevalent in the public eye with many songs being written about it while gaining incredible popularity. There was something about the subject matter of trucking songs, the long coast to coast drives, traveling through wide open spaces, and the struggles that drivers faced that greatly touched the American public. During the early 70s, the trucking industry took a major hit when the energy crises of 1973 and 1979 incited protests and strikes by many drivers who were upset by rising fuel prices. 

Dysregulation and Further Growth

In 1980 the Motor Carrier Act was passed by President Carter. The Act decreased the governmental regulations on the industry which allowed owners of fleets and individual drivers more liberty in the management of their business. President Carter said this about the act: “This is historic legislation. It will remove 45 years of excessive and inflationary Government restrictions and red tape. It will have a powerful anti-inflationary effect, reducing consumer costs by as much as $8 billion each year. And by ending wasteful practices, it will conserve annually hundreds of millions of gallons of precious fuel. All the citizens of our Nation will benefit from this legislation.”

Now and the Future

The trucking industry has come to dominate the United States transportation industry, replacing the horses and carriages of the previous centuries, long lines of trains, and even exceeding air transport in volume and efficiency. Now the trucking industry is entering a new era with the rest of the digital age. There are now online blogs about trucking, websites and magazines that allow drivers to communicate with their peers across the world (like you’re doing right now), and the rise of electric trucks and self-driving vehicles. The trucking industry is still growing and changing, and its future is incredibly bright! 

Tips for the Driving Test

“Is this a test?” That’s a question that you hear often in school. There’s always someone wondering whether the assignment at hand counts for a grade. There’s no ambiguity about that when it comes to the driving test. You may be a bit nervous knowing that you need to do well on this test. The good news is there are plenty of strategies that can help you gain the confidence to take the test and pass it with flying colors.

Quizzing Your Knowledge

The driving test for truck drivers is like a rite of passage to be inducted into the long list of licensed drivers who take part in making the world a better place. The driving test can be a challenge but preparing for it and ensuring you know your stuff can go far in helping you curb the anxiety you may feel. The best things you can do to prepare are to attend a CDL training class (which is required by most driving positions), research study materials online, and talk to your instructor or other licensed drivers about their experience taking the driving test.

Taking the Test

The driving test is not designed to be difficult, but rather to assess your knowledge to ensure that you will be a safe driver on the road. Through your experience in the CDL training class, your prior experience driving with a CPL, and studying the rules and regulations you must follow on and off the road, the test will be a breeze. The most important tip for studying for the test is to take practice tests. Understanding the format and content of the test will greatly help with combatting stress. There are many free practice tests available online!

In addition to being familiar with the content of the test, being in tune with yourself and making sure you are feeling well enough to take the test, both physically and mentally, will allow your test taking experience to be as painless as possible. If you are feeling particularly anxious about the test, study and take practice tests until you are doing well enough to pass each time. Once you reach this level of knowledge, you should feel comfortable taking the test!

Pass With Flying Colors

Passing the driving test with flying colors is a task that you can surely handle with enough preparation and practice. Being sure to familiarize yourself with the content and format of the test will help to decrease your stress and put your best foot forward! Remember as you are preparing to take the test, to get enough sleep the day before and eat a good breakfast to ensure your brain is ready and that you are as comfortable as possible for your experience. Trucking is a great career, and we are glad you’ve decided to join in on the world’s greatest industry. Good luck on your test!


Driving in High Wind Speeds

It’s a windy road out there! As a driver, you’ve likely experienced crazy wind situations and if you haven’t, you certainly will. Wind and other weather conditions are some of the most dangerous hazards a driver can face on their routes, regardless of the location. Wind advisories can happen anywhere, so it’s important to have a game plan for whenever the wind decides to blow in your direction.

The Windy Road

You’ve likely heard a rundown of the most dangerous highways in the United States for drivers including Minnesota Highway 2, Colorado Highway 550, Connecticut I-95, and Interstate 10 in Arizona. Each of these highways is dangerous in part due to wind and often winter wind is what causes the most difficulties. Typically, the windiest spots on the road are those with large mountains or valleys nearby as there are extreme temperature differences in a small area which causes a swift movement of air. 

Wind may also be caused by weather emergencies such as tornadoes in the Midwest, hurricanes in the Southeast, and blizzard conditions in Northern and especially high altitude parts of the United States. When driving through any of these regions or the highways mentioned, make sure to monitor weather conditions especially closely.

Gusts and Gales

Wind is unpredictable, especially in locations with sporadic weather conditions. While you will see notifications of wind advisories on your weather app or hear it on the radio, it can be hard to determine whether the winds are too strong for your load, making it difficult to decide whether or not to proceed or stop to wait for the winds to slow down. One important thing to remember while driving is that it never hurts to stop safely and review your plan and options for going forward.

Stay Safe

When the wind blows at over 35-40 miles per hour, you should begin planning for if the wind speed increases as gusts between 40-60 mph can be enough to topple your truck. Remember to stay alert and listen for radio announcements of strong winds if you begin to feel gusts hit your truck. If you are hauling a lighter load, you should be extra vigilant about wind gusts as lighter loads are more likely to be blown over in high-wind conditions. 

If you decide the winds are too swift to continue, the best thing you can do is park your truck facing the wind so there is less surface area directly in the wind. This will help keep your truck on its wheels. After that, the best thing you can do is monitor the situation and wait for the winds to calm down. As you are waiting, try to listen to a podcast, watch a movie, or plan out the next steps of your route. 

Final Thoughts

Driving in high wind conditions can be scary, especially if you have a lighter load. Having a plan for high winds is important, and so is having a plan for any other adverse weather conditions or road hazards you may face. When you’re in doubt about what you should do, there is no harm in pulling over and taking a moment to rationally consider your next steps. As always, your life and license are not worth the risk of driving in highly dangerous conditions.


How To Stay Active as A Truck Driver

As a truck driver you are well aware of the long hours, in the seated position, while watching the road pass by. Here are some helpful tips to keep your body limber, even while on the road.

Take Advantage of What’s Around

The easiest form of exercise is walking. Depending on weather and location, walking can be the most convenient option for physical activity. Checking out the local parks or walking around the parking lot of a truck stop can be an easy way to keep yourself moving.

A simple, daily 15-30 minute walk can greatly improve your overall health. Walking is great for your heart, increases your metabolic rate, helps tone your muscles, and can help protect your joints, especially in your knees and hips.

If the weather is unfavorable, you may consider purchasing a gym membership. Nowadays, several gyms have 24 hour access and with locations across the county. The 24 hour access is not only for exercise equipment, but most gyms have amenities such as showers and massage chairs to help relax your muscles. These amenities are excellent for a body that is often in a seated position. 


Driving long distances means longer sitting times, which can lead to pain in your neck and back. Stretching your body before, during, and after a long drive can help decrease your chances of having any injury to your neck or back. 

Stretching can greatly improve your physical performance because it helps your joints move through their full range of motion, increasing your overall flexibility. Starting the day out with stretching will help enable your muscles to work effectively and decrease muscle stiffness. The more flexible your muscles and joints are the less risk of injury there is,  which means a smoother drive for you!

Consider keeping simple exercise equipment in your truck, such as a yoga mat or weights, so you can stretch and exercise your muscles while on the road.

Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand

Keeping active and exercising as a truck driver is very important, but we all know that exercise and diet go hand in hand. It can seem hard to eat right while on the road, especially if you have limited time to stop and eat. This is why keeping healthy, easy to grab snacks readily available can be a great benefit to help you maintain your overall health! Some examples of healthy on-the-go snacks would be:

  • Trail Mix
  • Jerky
  • Popcorn
  • Dried Fruit

Choosing nutritious and filling snacks may help avoid any hunger attacks while on the road and can play a large role in your overall health.

Truck driving can be hard on your body, but the journey to better health is all about developing good habits. Try implementing some of these recommendations to your daily routine and help guide your body back to good health!


Guide To Truck Driver Retention

Statistics show that most truck drivers leave their jobs because they feel underpaid, overworked, and underappreciated. When the amount of work exceeds the number of employees, more responsibility is expected from the remaining team members. With these added pressures, it can cause the drivers to start looking for other opportunities with new employers.

Driver retention is a top issue facing the commercial trucking industry. Here are a few suggestions for how your company can increase job satisfaction and ultimately employee retention

  • Set Realistic Job Expectations
  • Commit to Providing Employer Support
  • Offer Competitive Pay
  • Support Driver Health
  • Encourage Input and Feedback

From the beginning, a driver should understand what is expected of them for the job. The training and support that is provided can help employees clearly understand the expectations and help guide them to effectively complete their tasks. Detailed training will help new employees understand the basics of the job, understand the workplace culture, and ensure that they have the necessary tools and knowledge to do the work. Clear training opportunities make for a better driver and allow for a driver to improve their skills!

Let’s talk about money. Compensation is one of the top reasons why an employee will seek out other opportunities. It is important to evaluate and adjust salaries, and if your company can, offer things such as bonuses, additional healthcare benefits and retirement plans. By offering health benefits, stress-management programs, retirement planning or offering gym membership, employees feel better supported when their employer prioritizes their overall well-being. Being competitive in the industry will help entice new applicants and keep your employees for the long run. 

An open door policy is beneficial for any industry. Employees should feel like they can come to their employers with ideas, questions, and concerns at any time. As an employer, providing timely, constructive and positive communication will create an atmosphere of connection and job satisfaction.  Good workplace communication can help employees understand how to reach their professional goals and help them visualize their future with the company.

These are just a few suggestions for how your company can increase job satisfaction and employee retention. Be sure to re-evaluate your efforts regularly by staying current on market standards for salary and benefits and the best practices for developing strong manager-employee relations. High performing truck drivers are an incredibly valuable asset to any business.

It is inevitable that there will be some employees that will leave your company sooner than you may like, but by applying some of these suggestions you can at least hope that they will leave knowing that they were valued and supported. 

How to Handle Toll Roads

Whether you are a seasoned truck driver or new to the career, you are probably aware of the many expenses that go along with this profession, including tolls. Toll roads are currently in 34 US states and can pose major costs to freight carriers. As a truck driver, it is important to understand how different tolling systems across the US operate so you can avoid costly mistakes when transporting freight. 

Different Methods of Determining Toll Charges

There are three main methods of determining how much you will be charged for tolls.

  • Toll by Axle Count

Toll by axle count is the most common way of figuring out toll charges, with 5-axle, single trailer trucks being the most common configuration. Other stipulations such as single versus double tires, number of trailers, and axles-per-trailer will help determine the toll charges. 

  • Toll by Size

The dimensions of the truck is another common method used in determining toll charges. These dimensions include width, height, and length of the truck. 

  • Toll by Weight

Some tolling stations charge truck tolls by weight, which might be surprising to some. You may not realize it, but when you pull up to the pay booth you are driving onto a scale that is weighing the truck and applying the appropriate fee. 

How Do Truck Drivers Pay for Tolls?

Truck drivers pay for tolls two ways: cash or all-electronic tolling. 


Although paying with cash is still an option, there are an increasing number of toll stations that no longer accept cash. If you pass through a toll booth that is being managed by an attendant, you will be able to use cash. However, this can slow you down some. 

All-Electronic Tolling (AET)

AET is a cashless service that enables toll collection through transponders or license plate readers. It also gets rid of the need to stop to pay a toll. More and more toll stations are installing transponder readers and video cameras to capture the license plates of vehicles that do not have transponders. Drivers will then receive a bill by mail to the address registered to the plate. Two examples of common AET transponders are EZ Pass and NationalPass. The EZ Pass is a battery-operated machine that is mounted on the windshield and can be used in 17 states. It is activated by prepaying and allows drivers to pass through a toll booth without stopping. The NationalPass does cost more than the EZ Pass, but it provides access to all toll roads in the US without having to transport more than one transponder. As a truck driver your driving will involve much use of the interstate, therefore, you will want to invest in an option that covers all the locations you visit often. 

How to Save Money on Tolls

Besides using a transponder, another way to save money and decrease the difficulties related to tolling is to use the Tollsmart Toll Calculator for trucks. This tool allows you to easily calculate toll costs for a route and find a different route with fewer tolls. As a result, you could save a large amount of money in some areas. The app also informs you of which transponders and method of payments are accepted at each toll station on your route. 

Toll roads and toll stations can be a frustrating part of anyone’s journey, especially for truck drivers who are expected to keep to a schedule and arrive at their destination by a certain time. Knowing ahead of time what to expect at toll stations, how your toll will be determined, and the options for payment will help ease any anxiety or problems that could potentially happen. If you have questions regarding toll stations, contact Direct Freight at (888) 894-4198. Any one of our staff members would be happy to answer your questions!