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Truck Driver

Illinois State Police Crack Down on Potentially Dangerous Truckers

For several weeks now the Illinois State Police have been keeping a close eye on truckers, focusing most of their attention on the busy Interstate 90/94 corridor, a critical route for commercial traffic. The goal is to reduce traffic fatalities involving truck drivers, though it’s an approach many truck drivers feel is focused in the wrong direction.

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Trucking Myth Busters – good article by Team RunSmart

It can be hard to separate the truck stop rumors or myths from the facts. As an owner-operator, one of your biggest concerns is revenue. Since most owner-operators are paid on a per-mile basis, this tends to dominate discussions about income because it is easy to measure.

Unfortunately, pay-per-mile is often used as the deciding factor of which carrier to lease with.  While pay-per-mile is important, it alone is not an indicator of success, nor does it mean a big settlement check is coming your way. Pay-per-mile must always be looked at in perspective with gross revenue. It can include mileage pay, percentage of revenue pay, loading or unloading pay, toll or scale reimbursement, etc.

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Professional Appearance for Truck Drivers: does it affect CSA Scores?

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that first impressions are the most important. People make immediate judgments about a person’s ability, knowledge, attention to detail, etc, based entirely on their appearance. Rarely do people forget their first impressions of someone, so you should always make sure that yours was a good one. This is especially true for truck drivers. It may not be something you have considered, but truck drivers are the face of their business, so first impressions are important. A negative DOT inspection directly affects the Driver’s PSP score and the carriers CSA Scores, presenting a professional appearance makes a difference.

As Truckers, you are out on the road most of the time and it’s easy to get caught up in running as many loads as possible and concentrating on making money. But even when you are on out the road, you encounter numerous people every day. Therefore, you need to be thinking about the impression that you are conveying because it will affect how people view your business. According to Mike Card, the chairmen of American Trucking Associations, Truckers do not always “garner the respect [they] deserve from the news media, the general public and our political leaders. The image of our drivers and our companies needs a makeover.”(Transport Topics) Truckers have a difficult and sometime treacherous job that deserves a certain level of respect.

Truck drivers need to start looking at their professional appearance as a component of running their business successfully and gaining the respect of their customers and peers. Here is a list of some of the most important aspects of having a professional appearance that will help your business be more successful:

  • Personal Appearance. Personal appearance and hygiene are probably the most obvious aspects of your professional appearance. Since you are the face of your business, you want to make sure you come across as experienced and reliable. No matter how good you are at your job, people are not inclined to take you seriously if you do not look like a professional. Although I’m not suggesting you wear a suit to drive your truck around, it is important that you are wearing clean clothes with minimal holes, stains, etc. Also, you should make sure that you maintain an acceptable hygiene level, i.e. brushing hair and teeth, showering on a regular basis, and washing your face. All these things add to your professional appearance and make it easier for people to respect you and value your business.
  • Truck Appearance. The appearance of your truck is another important part of how people perceive your business. It should be cleaned inside and out, on a regular basis, as well as regular maintenance. A clean truck is both for safety and so your truck does not look or sound like it’s falling apart. You want to inspire confidence in your customers.
  • Business Practices. Business practices are an equally important part of a professional exterior. Every aspect of your business that your customers are privy to should look professional. Your voicemail greeting should have the name of your business, your name, and an assurance that you will return the call as soon as you are able to do so. Your email address should also be professional. You do not want an email address that is derogatory, silly, or sports related. It’s a good idea to have the name of your business as your email address, but it’s not necessary.
  • Mannerisms. One final part of your professional appearance are your mannerisms. As an owner-operator, it is important to be on time, knowledgeable, and polite. When you look like you know what you are doing, your customers will be more likely to do business with you again. Also, you never know when you will be talking to potential customers and you never want to burn any bridges.
  • Professional Paperwork. Applications such as the free BigRoad Electronic Logs can help fleets and drivers present a more professional image as well to the roadside DOT inspectors.  Hundreds of accounts from drivers using BigRoad confirm that the DOT inspectors appreciate the clean logs, lack of errors and elimination of illegible handwriting.  see previous blog post about Why Paper Driver Logs Suck
paper driver logs suck

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Do you Know your PSP Score, CSA Scores? You Should!

This is the first article in a good series by Todd Dills of OverDrive Online describing PSP (Pre-employment Screening Program) and other data collection techniques by FMCSA under the CSA program.  It is becoming increasingly important for truck drivers and fleet operators to regularly verify and protect their PSP and CSA scores.  Link to original article in OverDrive Online

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Driver Pain Point: Hurry Up and Wait – Detention Time Misery

We hear from drivers all the time about the amount of wasted time spent in shipper facilities waiting for loads or simply being “shelved” until the shipper is ready to move. Too often, drivers are powerless to enforce penalties or trigger action because they lack credible source of proof of when they were forecasted to arrive and when they actually did.

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