Category: truck owner

What is the Truck Parking bill all about?

Parking is something that all drivers, who transport freight long distances, worry about on a regular basis. While some truck stops offer parking and there are other locations that may be viable, there is a serious shortage of free and convenient parking available for drivers across the nation which poses a serious and sometimes life-threatening dilemma. Should the driver continue driving until they reach a parking area, which is dangerous as they are already fatigued, or should they park in a dangerous or illegal place to get some rest?

Outrage at this dilemma has caused many to speak out in favor of drivers. There has recently been a bipartisan bill introduced in the House of Representatives known as the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act or H.R.6104. If passed, this bill would mean there would be a national initiative to provide more accessible free parking to drivers across the nation to promote their safety and the safety of everyone else driving on the interstate as well.

An Explanation

So why is the Truck Parking Bill only being considered now? It has been a long needed and awaited amendment to the legislation regarding the infrastructure of the United States, so it seemingly should have arrived sooner. Unfortunately, the legal system can be slow, and it is a lengthy process to get a bill written, sponsored, and presented to the house.  then voting, compromising, and ratifying take an added period of time which varies from bill to bill.

Thankfully, bills that benefit drivers are becoming more prevalent. In fact, there has already been an effort to prevent driver injury through Jason’s Law (named after a driver who was murdered after parking in a dangerous area). The issue with this law is that it does not hold enough power to create a national change.  Therefore, Representatives Mike Bost and Angie Craig (who are on different sides of the political aisle) have sponsored the bill to increase available parking for drivers.

Safety and Security

With the truck driving industry growing larger each day, and being projected to grow even more, our current infrastructure cannot keep up with and support drivers who need to rest between long periods of driving. Creating more parking spaces at rest areas, weigh stations, and other locations would allow drivers to feel safe and secure while resting, which will reduce the strain and stress they face daily. If this bill is enacted, it will allocate $755 million to the DOT to undertake the project and provide safe and free places to rest for drivers everywhere. 

Final Thoughts

The Truck Parking Bill is an important step in improving the working conditions for members of one of America’s largest industries. Keeping our drivers safe should be one of the main priorities in legislation, and now it is finally gaining ground. The fact that this bill is bipartisan truly shows how important it is and how little debate there should be over the fact that more must be done to help drivers perform at their very best. The Truck Parking Bill has the potential to do great things for drivers across the nation and set an example for constructing proper rest locations (and enough of them) for the rest of the world to follow. 

Sources:
https://bost.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/bost-bill-expand-truck-parking-would-make-roads-safer
https://www.thetruckersreport.com/truck-parking-bill-mean-755-million-new-free-truck-parking/
https://www.truckinginfo.com/352754/bipartisan-truck-parking-bill-introduced-in-house
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr6104
https://landline.media/truck-parking-bill-receives-attention-at-house-hearing/ 

Returning to Pre-Pandemic Truckloads

A little over a year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic kicked into high gear, and we have seen huge changes in the lives and careers of almost everyone, not to mention the impacts of decreased contact on the economy. It has certainly been a unique time to live as the world has coped with a pandemic on a scale that hadn’t been seen in over a century, but thankfully, things are returning back to some semblance of normalcy. While everything is not exactly as it was, vaccinations, increased safety measures, and the ability to return to work is allowing us to heal and rise from the ashes of these unprecedented times.

Impacts of the Pandemic

COVID-19 has impacted almost every facet of life that we experience. On a personal scale, many people have lost jobs or adapted to virtual careers; on an economic scale, there was a crash followed by a resurgence as people found their feet again; and on a social scale, we have learned to be more cautious and wear masks to avoid spreading illness. 

While most of these impacts have been negative, good things have come out of the pandemic as well. We have learned to feel more connected despite the amount of physical distance and gained a strong sense of appreciation for those doing the society-preserving work of treating illness, stocking shelves, and transporting goods even when everything else stopped. 

Changing Times

Reopening transport systems and jobs has allowed for a resurgence in transportation. Samsara (a fleet management and productivity company) has reported that commercial driving has returned to 95% of its pre-pandemic volume. This return to full-scale transportation is a huge step in returning to normal, as it means that consumers are purchasing freight and helping build the economy back up. 

Truck drivers are crucial in this transition to high-volume transportation, and there is a need for dedicated and experienced drivers now more than ever. As a driver, you will likely experience the opportunity to haul freight more frequently than any time during 2020, and this will certainly benefit you and your family from a financial standpoint. However, it is important that you take time to ensure you are staying healthy and happy while on the road and at home as transitions to more high-volume work can be stressful. 

Returning to Normalcy

Building back up to 100% of the volume of pre-pandemic transportation is only the first step. As the Nation recovers from the debilitating effects of COVID-19, it is likely that there will be an even greater need for transportation. There are currently COVID-19 vaccinations being shipped throughout the nation, this is an entirely new need that truck drivers like you are likely to be able to help with.

We will be able to return to normal soon, and the opportunity to build beyond that is inspiring. The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly difficult, but we will rise and become better than ever before! In this hopeful time of regrowth and rebuilding, it is important to remember who helped us survive through the dark times of the pandemic, so we would like to thank all drivers who have worked to keep the economy open despite the challenges of this pandemic. You are truly heroes and we appreciate your continued efforts to keep the American Dream alive.

How to Stop Cargo Thieves in Their Tracks

how-to-stop-cargo-thieves

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!

COVID-19 Updates

covid-19-updates

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.

The Best Top Stacks for Your Exhaust

the-best-top-stacks-for-your-exhaust

Making your truck look good sometimes means you will have to add on aftermarket parts. A lot of trucks do not come with all of the nice chrome accessories or high-quality parts. Replacing existing parts and customizing your truck can make it look and operate better. Choosing the best accessories for your truck should be something you take into serious consideration. You want the best so you do not have to continuously replace them. You want high-quality products from a manufacturer that you can trust and come back to time and time again. One of those accessories that you should spend time researching in order to pick the right one for your needs is a top stack. According to sales and reviews, there are two companies that consumers believe carry the best truck exhaust stacks and who are known for their high-quality products-Dynaflex and Lincoln Chrome. Before doing any type of research or shopping, you need to measure your exhaust so you can properly fit the top stacks. Then it will be time to choose your stack.

Measuring Your Exhaust

You will need to measure the internal and external diameter of your exhaust. The internal diameter is the inside of the pipe, which gives you the measurement for the other pipe you would fit into it. The external diameter gives you the measurement for another pipe that you would fit around it and measures the pipe itself. Here is a simple how-to guide.

  • Internal: measure the pipe opening from edge to edge, not including the pipe, just the hole.
  • External: measure the pipe opening from edge to edge, including the pipe.

Choosing Top Stacks

Choosing a top stack may be more overwhelming and difficult than you think. There are so many options and variances between each one. Make sure you think about the overall look you are wanting along with the current look of your truck. For instance, if you are gradually adding new parts, then you will want some unity between old and new so your truck still looks good throughout the process.

Company #1: Dynaflex

Dynaflex manufactures products that are made in the USA. They are also known for being the manufacturers of the Original Monster Stacks and have been in business since 1972. Their focus is to produce exhaust systems for heavy duty vehicles. Dynaflex is known for having a deluxe, unique line up of products featuring nine styles and being of very high-quality. Customers believe that Dynaflex produces consistent products, is top in innovation, and agree that by using a Dynaflex part, you will grab attention and turn heads. The only downside to Dynaflex is that their products are some of the most expensive on the market. However, sometimes you get what you pay for, and if lasting, high-quality products are what you want, then Dynaflex may be the brand for you.

Company #2: Lincoln Chrome

Lincoln Chrome is known for their high-quality chrome exhaust systems and accessories. They have been in business since 1952 and consider chrome to be their specialty. Lincoln Chrome also focuses on the heavy duty truck market and makes seven different styles of part. They are known as a premium product brand who makes high quality products and produces long-lasting durable products that look good. All of their products are made in Nebraska and are slightly less expensive than Dynaflex, many are a plus for many consumers.

Choosing the right top stack for your truck may be overwhelming but it should also be a fun time for you. Afterall, your truck is like your home, spending many hours driving in it, so you want it to reflect who you are. You really can’t go wrong with either brand. It’s all about finding the right part that suits your needs and your truck. Once you have your truck the way you want it and are ready to get out on the road, contact Direct Freight Services so we can help you find the next load to haul.

Great Trucker Movies

great-trucker-movies

The movie industry has long had a love affair with the trucking industry and why not?  The idea of freedom that comes with life on the road lends itself well to storytelling, whether it’s adventure, horror, comedy, or even romantic comedies.  It can be dangerous, the scenery beautiful, and you never know what’s coming around the bend.

Trucking movies became hugely popular in the 1970s when truck drivers were seen as cowboy heroes and the use of CB radios became popular but by the late ‘80s, trucking culture began to fade, and a new form of trucker movie was ushered in:  trucker horror movies.  In these, the drivers or the trucks themselves were the bad guys, usually ruthless killers with an ax to grind, so to speak, with some unsuspecting motorist.  

Being a truck driver in real life may not have chases or serial killers, but trucker movies are always a good time! 

Convoy (1978)

When you think of trucker movies, often the one that first comes to mind, at least for the older generation, is Convoy.  It was inspired by the country song of the same name by C.W. McCall.  It didn’t fare well at the box office but became a cult classic for truckers everywhere.  

Every Which Way But Loose (1978)

Another classic from the ‘70s.  Clint Eastwood stars as Philo Beddoe in this comedy as a truck driver and his buddy who always steals the show, an orangutan named Clyde.  Beddoe is a former trucker-turned-prize-fighter who falls for a country singer played by Sondra Locke.  When she feels he’s getting too serious, she flees, making it a romantic comedy/trucker/pursuit movie.

Flatbed Annie and Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers (1979)

The abundance of trucker movies in the ‘70s didn’t forget female drivers.  This one stars Annie Potts and Kim Darby as friends who take up the driving reigns after Sweetiepie’s husband is injured.  Between a repo man and hijackers, the two have their hands full.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

This is one of the most popular trucker movies to date.  Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed star as drivers who have to make a strict deadline across the south.  Sally Field joins them as a hitchhiker who left her groom at the altar and they’re pursued across the country by the father of the groom, Sheriff Buford T. Justice, played by Jackie Gleason.

White Line Fever (1975)

Jan Michael Vincent plays a man who returns home from the Air Force to try and make it as a long-haul produce driver.  He finds the business rife with corruption and must fight it to survive.

Joy Ride (2001)

Paul Walker and Steve Zahn star as brothers in this cross-country thriller.  The two play brothers on a road trip when one taunts a mysterious truck driver known only as Rusty Nail who turns out to be a psychotic murderer seeking revenge.  Two sequels followed in 2008 and 2014.  

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

In this fun Stephen King thriller, the machines come to life after Earth passes near a mysterious comet and all the machines begin killing people.  The story centers around a group of people who are trapped at a truck stop and are being hunted by murderous trucks.

Trucker (2008)

This drama stars Michelle Monaghan as a truck driver whose 11-year-old son who she had abandoned years ago is left on her doorstep by his cancer-stricken father.  She does the only thing she can, takes him out on the road.  It also stars Nathan Fillion. 

Real-life driving is more professional than the average trucker movie but you can join in on the fun and enjoy some of these movies while you’re on the road.

At Direct Freight Services, our load board is one of the most comprehensive in the industry.  We provide a thorough, easy-to-use and up-to-date load board for shippers to post loads and for drivers to find them. Sign up today at Directfreight.com and see if Direct Freight can work for you!

Sources:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077369/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077523/

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079159/

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076729/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073896/?ref_=nv_sr_1

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0206314/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091499/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1087527/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

Steps to Become an Owner/Operator

steps-to-become-an-owner-operator

To buy a truck or work for a carrier as part of their fleet is an essential question most truck drivers ask themselves at some point in their careers.  Both options have pros and cons and either choice could be a good career choice.

Advantages to Working For a Carrier:

  • The truck belongs to the carrier, and associated costs and maintenance are their responsibility.
  • Benefits like group health insurance and paid vacation time.
  • There’s less financial risk.
  • Less worry.  Your job ends when you’re done driving.
  • No overhead.  The money you earn is the money you get.  No need to pay for repairs, maintenance, etc.
  • It’s easier to quit your job to find a more suitable company.
  • No start-up costs other than your CDL.  Just get in the truck and go. 

Advantages of Becoming an Owner/operator:

  • More flexible schedule.
  • While it’s not always the case, there is a potential to earn more money.
  • Built-up equity in your truck.
  • Not sharing a truck with other drivers.  Some companies do this and you may be left cleaning up after someone else.
  • You’re your own boss.
  • There could be tax advantages.
  • The truck is customized to your liking.
  • More choice of loads.

 There is no right answer to the question, only what is right for you.  Do you want to be your own boss with all of the responsibilities that go along with it or do you prefer the security of working for someone else?  

Becoming an Owner/Operator

Before taking the steps to become an owner/operator, take the time to examine the pros and cons of each.  It’s a huge financial step.  There’s nothing wrong with spending your career working for someone else.  Once you’re sure you want your own truck, you can begin taking steps to make it happen.

Obtain your CDL.  You need that for the operator part of becoming an Owner/Operator.  Some people pay for their CDL by taking advantage of programs that some carriers have where they pay for your CDL as long as you agree to work for them for a specified time period.  If you do this, you’ll have to meet those obligations before becoming your own boss. 

Get Money.  Any business needs start-up money and yours will mainly be for buying a truck.  If you don’t have the money, you can take out a loan or lease a truck.  

Get Licensed and Registered.  If you plan to operate as an interstate (across state lines) carrier you will need a USDOT number to transport cargo.  You can obtain  a USDOT number by registering online through the Unified Registration Program on FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) website.  You most likely will also be required to have an MC number which is your authority to operate, also found at FMCSA. There is a one-time filing fee of $300.  Depending on the weight of your truck, you may be responsible for paying the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax.  More details can be found here.   

Get Insured.  The FMCSA not only requires insurance, but it also requires different types of insurance depending on your load, i.e. hazardous, etc.  Of course, if you are planning on hauling hazardous materials, you must obtain a special endorsement for your CDL too.

Find Loads.  Once you’re legitimate and ready to roll, how do you get loads?  A good load board can help you find lucrative loads that will help your business get off the ground.  You can search by type of load and region, and because you’re in it to make money and not drive around an empty trailer, load boards can help you fill those deadhead miles to maximize your profits.  

Becoming an owner/operator isn’t for everybody.  It’s definitely something that you have to be in it for the long haul, so to speak.  If you have what it takes, owning and operating your own truck can be a profitable and rewarding career choice.  

If you’ve decided to become an owner/operator, Direct Freight Services is the only load board you’ll need.   Direct Freight is a full-service load board that allows truckers to find loads and companies to post their available loads. The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as a mobile app, credit reports and scores, mile calculators, fuel price data, weather conditions, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing, and more.  To see everything Direct Freight has to offer Owner/Operators, go to DirectFreight.com today!

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/get-mc-number-authority-operate

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/hvut/mod1/whatishvut.cfm