Category: logistics company

How to Stop Cargo Thieves in Their Tracks

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As a truck driver, cargo theft is one of the worst imaginable occurrences. The possibility of cargo theft keeps many drivers up and on high alert, which increases stress levels and decreases the amount of enjoyment one can get from their career. It is not a certainty that you can always stop cargo thieves from striking, but there are many ways to decrease their chances of stealing your valuable freight.

Criminal Activity

Cargo thieves, in some form or another, have been around for as long as people have needed to transport goods. From thieves lying in wait beside the roads in ancient Rome and pirates on the high seas to cattle rustlers and train robbers in the Wild West, thievery is a way of life for some people, and this carries over into our time as well. Unfortunately, criminals have gotten smarter in this era with the increase in global and nationwide communication and the ability to track the motions of the industry. Thieves are far more strategic in their schemes than ever before.

Thankfully, the industry and people working in it are getting smarter too. It is important that you educate yourself on ways to stop cargo thieves in their tracks. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB), “Cargo Theft is a $15 to $35 billion problem.” This thievery takes a huge toll on individual businesses, as well as the larger US economy. As a driver, the safety of your cargo is one of the main priorities and you can help keep the economy and your business rolling by taking a few simple measures to ensure the safety of your freight.

Stranger Danger

Preventing cargo theft is possible. One of the most important things to remember on the road is to stay alert and watch for any suspicious people around your truck. Even if someone seems friendly, do not let them lure you away from your truck for any long period of time as there could be cargo thieves lurking nearby. This is one of the last measures you can take to prevent cargo theft, but there are many actions you can take to stop cargo thieves from even considering your freight.

Following the popular advice to never stop until you have already traveled 200-300 miles away from your pickup can save your freight, as most cargo thieves that tail trucks after their departure will likely not follow you beyond this distance. While driving it is also important to be aware of high-theft locations, which can be found with a quick online search. If possible, avoid these areas and try to drive until you reach a safer location. Choosing well lit populated places to stop at can help prevent cargo theft as well, as thieves are less likely to strike when witnesses are around.

In addition to prevention while driving, preventative hardware can aid in keeping your cargo safe. Installing alarms and locks on your truck, as well as cameras, can prevent thieves from stealing your freight. If they see these measures before they attempt to take anything, they may be dissuaded from trying to steal your cargo. Cameras and alarms can help alert you if there is suspicious activity around your truck, so you can address the issue and alert the police if needed. Cameras may also aid in bringing the thieves to justice if they are not caught on the spot.

Prevention is the Best Medicine

The popular saying by many doctors, mechanics, and security workers is that prevention is the best medicine. This means that by taking measures to keep safe, you can save time and money. Keeping your cargo safe is incredibly important, and you have an important role to play in the prevention of thievery. Practicing these suggestions and tips while on the road, can make your transportation trips safer, happier, and far less stressful!

USDA Issues New Guidance For Hemp Transportation

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Truck drivers can’t seem to get a clear answer on whether or not  transporting hemp across state lines is legal? The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued guidance on this topic, rather than a law. The USDA’s recent guidance states that nothing in the 2018 Farm Bill (the bill that hemp growers currently operate under) prohibits the interstate commerce of hemp. This is to say that truck drivers can indeed haul hemp for the purpose of interstate commerce.

The USDA, however, says that it lacks the authority to issue a true regulation that thoroughly protects truck drivers who haul hemp. What does that mean for you? Truck drivers should always have their paperwork, including the THC level test results for the hemp products they are hauling, with them in the event that they are pulled over and/or inspected.

Although the USDA supports the interstate transportation of legal hemp, it has yet to provide official shipping documents that could help truck drivers avoid being subject to detention by law enforcement when crossing state lines.

“At this time, the USDA recommends that transporters carry a copy of the producer’s license or authorization, as well as any other information the governing state or Indian tribe recommends or requires that will validate that the transporter is transporting legally grown hemp,” the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service said in a Jan. 19 Federal Register post. “the USDA is not adding transportation paperwork requirements to this rule because it does not have jurisdiction over common carriers or other types of transporters.”

Since the USDA is not providing the official paperwork, they suggest that truck drivers carry legal documentation before crossing state lines with hemp products. These can include:

  • U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency laboratory test result (or other THC content test results)
  • Contact information of the load’s buyer and seller
  • A copy of the hemp grower/producer’s license
  • An invoice or bill of lading

Though there is a lack of USDA documents for the transport of hemp, what is clear is that truck drivers can legally transport hemp as long as it is absent of high levels of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol (the part that gets users high). Cannabis with a THC level exceeding 0.3% is considered marijuana, which remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance regulated by DEA.

The interstate transport of hemp is legal, but, due to the lack of official documentation from the USDA (or the Department of Transportation,) there are still potential risks for truck drivers hauling hemp.

Since hemp is so similar looking and can even smell like THC-laden marijuana, it is understandable from law enforcement’s point of view why a load of hemp could be delayed or seized in order to test it for THC levels.

A law enforcement officer who pulls over a truck driver hauling hemp does not currently have a way to test for THC content like a lab does. That is why it is crucial to get ahead of any suspicion and carry all the paperwork you have access to in order to prove the legality of your load as we await further provisions from the USDA.

 

Health-share vs Traditional Health Insurance

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Truck drivers have a statistically high risk job. The combination of sleep deprivation, long hours, and tight schedules means that truck drivers can be susceptible to accidents that, under normal driving conditions, might not happen. It’s a high stress job and working conditions are often hard on the body. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that approximately 70% of truck drivers have at least one serious health condition. A preexisting condition, plus a high risk job, means that less health insurance companies will cover you. The companies that will cover you are also going to charge you more than the general public. On top of all of this, the average age of a truck driver is 55, which is an age where the body begins needing more medical attention than ever. In short, getting a good health insurance plan for truck drivers is not an easy task.

Faced with the prospect of being denied by health insurance providers, or paying hefty premiums, what can you do? What is the best health insurance option for truck drivers that want to keep it affordable? There are multiple options and we’ll walk you through them.

Do Truck Drivers Qualify For Medicaid?

It depends on how much you make. If you’re just starting out as a new truck driver and you make below $30,150, then Medicaid may be the best option for you. It just might not be the best long term option for you. The average truck driver’s salary is around $43,464 per year. With this being well over Medicaid’s salary cap, a career truck driver cannot depend on Medicaid for their health insurance needs. So, for most truck drivers, the ones who want to make a career out of driving,  Medicaid is not going to be a viable option.

What Other Health Insurance Options Are Out There That Are Affordable?

Truck drivers can take advantage of something called a health-share plan that can be an alternative to traditional health insurance. This can make driving a truck a more appealing career choice by making your healthcare more affordable. Essentially, a health-share plan works in the same way as a traditional plan would whenever you go to pay for healthcare. However, health-share plans are uniquely suited to the truck driving industry.

Your payments (or premiums) into a health-share plan are going to be lower than you would have to pay for traditional health insurance. Not only that, but your hard-earned money isn’t going to a faceless insurance company. Your premium goes toward helping other truck drivers when they need the money for their healthcare needs. Then, when you have a health care need, it’s your turn to take money out of the account.

Under the health-share system, your payments made into the plan are placed into an escrow account. When a healthcare need arises, your claim will be paid for through the funds available in the escrow account.

Finally, you can depend on health-share plans acting as most other insurance options. Health-share plans offer visits to the doctor, discounts on prescriptions, and preventative care programs.

FMCSA Announces Proposal to Amend the Vision Standard For Truck Drivers

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A new proposal was announced in January 2021 suggesting a new vision standard for CDL (Commercial Drivers’ License) qualification. The alternative vision standard would make it easier for those with vision deficiencies to both retest for their CDL and receive a new CDL without seeking an exemption.

With the current vision standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), those who do not meet the vision requirements to physically qualify for their CDL are sent through an exemption process that often takes months. The process, along with taking a good deal of time, also requires a substantial amount of paperwork. With the newly proposed standards, the time and paperwork required to qualify for the exemption will be a thing of the past. As a result, the barriers of entry in the trucking industry will be greatly reduced.

Currently, there are 2,566 truck drivers who hold an exemption for vision reasons with the FMCSA. Along with eliminating the exemption requirement for new CDL applicants, this new proposal will cover current truck drivers. So, those 2,566 drivers currently holding exemptions will no longer have to re-test and maintain their exemption status. Additionally, current drivers who may experience changes in vision will not have to seek exemption should their eyesight fall below the standard. This helps prevent interruptions in employment, as veteran drivers who test below the standard would be required to obtain their exemption status before returning to work.

This new vision standard is making big waves in the trucking industry for its obvious benefits:

  • Increases the pool of qualified applicants in this high-demand industry
  • Reduces hours of time previously qualified drivers spend unable to work
  • Alleviates pressure and overtime hours that overworked drivers currently face as a new pool of potential drivers becomes available

These benefits don’t come without their downsides and doubts though. Those who oppose or are cautious about the new FMCSA proposal cite safety as their main concern. Do we want to lower vision standards that may possibly put both truck drivers and civilians at great personal risk? Are the current overtime conditions more or less hazardous to the driver’s health? With studies that support the fact that overextension, lack of sleep, and repetitive visual habits can all contribute to vision loss or deficiency, an assumption can be made that vision loss and industry conditions are related?

The FMCSA is hearing questions like these and more from their announcement date in January through March 15th.

To view the proposal yourself, visit the following link:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/01/12/2020-28848/qualifications-of-drivers-vision-standard

If you have thoughts about this and want to submit comments on the proposal, which is identified by docket number FMCSA-2019-0049, you can submit your thoughts through the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov
Fax: (202) 493-2251
Mail: Docket Operations, U.S. Department Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001
Hand Delivery: Docket Operations, U.S> Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001, between 9 a.m. and 5p.m Monday through Friday except Federal holidays.

How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL?

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The first step to becoming a Truck Driver is becoming certified to drive a commercial vehicle. In the United States, a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required to drive large heavy vehicles, those with multiple passengers, and those carrying hazardous materials. In this article, the focus will be on the process of obtaining a Class A CDL for interstate transit. Getting a CDL can be a life-changing opportunity allowing access to a fulfilling career.  It can also be a very valuable investment in your future and the best part is that it only requires around a month of your time!

Pathway to a CDL

The first step to obtaining a CDL is meeting all the requirements. Many states require that you be at least 18 years old for intrastate (only within your home state) transit and 21 years old for interstate transportation. You must be a US citizen or have a green card and you must pass a physical at a location certified by the Department of Transportation. To prove that you are eligible, you will have to bring proof of age, social security card, residency, and clear driving history to acquire your CDL.

The next step in the process is applying for a CDL Learner’s Permit (CLP) at your local driver’s licensing agency. There will be an application fee and knowledge assessment that you must pass to get your CLP. Studying for this assessment with your state’s CDL handbook or training guide is an integral part of getting your CLP. Once you have a CLP, you will be able to practice driving a truck if someone with a valid CDL is supervising you.

CDL Training Programs are a great place to go for learning the ropes of driving trucks. Many companies sponsor training events that will allow you to prepare yourself for getting your CDL. If your company does not offer training or if you do not have a company, there are many private options for CDL training. Private schools for truck driving are a popular choice that can take as little as 3 weeks to complete, and community colleges may offer CDL training that usually lasts around 6 weeks. It is essential to consider how you will pay for CDL training as most programs are not free.

After attending your CDL training program and becoming confident in your ability to drive a truck, you are ready to get your CDL. Scheduling a Skills Test appointment with the DMV in your area is the first step, you are required to possess the CLP for 14 days before taking the Skills Test. You will need to arrive at the appointed time with the vehicle you intend to drive. The three skills you will be tested on are vehicle inspection, basic controls, and road test. Once you pass this test, you may take your certification from the skills test and present it to the DMV where you will pay a fee and receive your CDL. Some states will give you the CDL that same day, while others send it to you in the mail.

Final Thoughts

It typically takes around 3 to 6 weeks to get a CDL. It may take more time  if it takes you a little longer to study and learn the essential skills. Getting a CDL is a great investment in your future, and it is worth the time and money spent to obtain it. Make sure to shop around to receive the best training, at a price that suits you, if you are attending private training. Keep persevering- the future is calling, and we hope to see you on the roads soon!

Sources:
https://www.cdl.com/becoming-a-cdl-driver/how-to-get-a-cdl
https://www.cdl.com/becoming-a-cdl-driver/cdl-license-classifications
https://schneiderjobs.com/blog/how-to-get-cdl

COVID-19 Updates

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The world suddenly turned upside down with the rise of COVID-19 cases in early 2020, leading to a global pandemic far beyond anything anyone could have ever imagined. COVID-19 has distanced and separated many people, but it has also brought many closer together in spirit. 2020 was filled with many unfortunate events but it is quite possible that we will see an end to this pandemic soon and we will emerge from this stronger and wiser than ever before.

Unprecedented Times

It almost seemed like something out of a Science Fiction novel when it was announced that large-scale quarantines would be placed into effect. Businesses, schools, and government offices shut down as people started wearing masks and distancing themselves from others. The stay-at-home and mask orders were implemented for everyone’s safety, but they were shocking measures for everyone.

No one thought that a pandemic would arise in 2020, but the way people of all walks of life have mobilized to stop the spread and keep life as normal as possible for others is truly inspiring. Wearing masks and working hard allowed the United States and the whole world to continue functioning even in the darkest times.

Controlling the Spread

COVID-19 is not under control just yet. Even though efforts in socially distancing, mask-wearing, and widespread testing have been successful in reducing community spread, there are not enough people vaccinated to return to normal just yet. As we are approaching the end of the pandemic, it is still important to protect yourself and others by wearing your mask, keeping your distance from others, where possible, also washing and sanitizing your hands often.

Following these guidelines is the best way to keep yourself and the people around you safe. These small inconveniences have already helped reduce the number of people exposed and hospitalized. Practicing safe guidelines until COVID-19 is under control is crucial for saving lives and reducing the stress on medical personnel as well.

Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic

Much of the focus during the pandemic has been placed on medical personnel. However, essential workers of all kinds have been of the utmost importance in maintaining the livelihoods of the United States and global population. Truck drivers have been an especially integral component in this process as they never slowed down in transporting goods, ensuring that stores, businesses, and even hospitals are well-stocked with essential supplies, so that life could go on for the people depending on these services.

The dedicated service of drivers across the nation cannot be praised enough. Their hard work kept everyone afloat and we appreciate all the long hours, handling of difficult conditions, and willingness to tackle new challenges faced by the pandemic. Heroes from comic books don’t exist, but there are true superheroes on our roads right now that deserve recognition.

Looking to the Future

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was not much hope for the end; however, modern medicine is becoming increasingly more effective and the first vaccinations are being sent out right now. Life will return to normal soon, and it will be possible to embrace loved ones again. Until then, stay safe, mask up, and be thankful for the work that truck drivers, medical personnel, and essential laborers have put in to make this experience far more positive than it could have been without their contribution.