10 Best Apps for Truck Drivers

Smartphones and tablets have become critical companions for the truck drivers of today. If you’re hoping to save on fuel, cut out-of-route miles or simplify document submission, you truck-driverswould benefit from downloading today’s 10 best apps for truck drivers.

BigRoad Free Trucker Log Books

Make driver logs easy again with BigRoad. This app keeps track of duty status changes, automatically calculates drive time based on HOS rules and allows you to scan documents directly to your fleet. It’s the top-rated trucking app on iOS and Android, and it’s available for free.

CoPilot Truck

Available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, CoPilot Truck is a voice-guided navigation system with truck-specific routing to help avoid out-of-route miles. Downloadable maps give you instant access to routes even when offline. Just be prepared to spend $149.99 if you want this app for truck drivers.

uShip Mobile

Owner-operators in particular appreciate this app, available for free on iOS and Android. uShip Mobile gives you the opportunity to bid on shipments, find nearby loads, view booking details and get automatic notices about your bids.

iExit

Looking for a Starbucks? Have a hankering for Arby’s? It’s easy to check what businesses are at the next 100 exits with iExit, available for free on iOS and Android.

Trucker Tools

This app helps you find truck stops and rest areas, track loads, plan your route, save on fuel, get local weather updates and much more. Trucker Tools is available for free on iOS and Android.

Beat the Traffic

Don’t you hate driving into a traffic jam when you could have easily taken another route if you had known ahead of time? Beat the Traffic, free on iOS and Android, takes the guesswork out of planning your daily route.

TruckSmart

Use TruckSmart to make your next TA or Petro truck stop visit more efficient. Submit work orders before you arrive, purchase a shower in advance and check parking availability to avoid unpleasant surprises. Download it for free on iOS and Android.

GasBuddy

Your truck goes through hundreds or even thousands of gallons of diesel every week, and the cost at the pump really starts to add up. GasBuddy is a free app available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. It uses GPS to help you locate the cheapest nearby gas.

Skype

There’s nothing like a good Skype call to keep in touch with family even when you’re thousands of miles away. This free app is available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and Amazon Fire Phone.

Freightliner Hauler Challenge

Not every moment of a truck driver’s day is dedicated to working. During your downtime, enjoy a fun, truck-themed racing game called Freightliner Hauler Challenge. It’s free on iOS, Android and Amazon Kindle.

To learn more about being a truck driver, please visit the Transport America website. Then, find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube for more information about making it in the trucking industry.

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Student Truck Drivers and Instructors at Transport America

At Transport America, we understand the importance of investing in our truck drivers. It’s the reason behind our student driver program, a chance for industry newcomers to receive real-world instruction from seasoned veterans. Watch this video to learn how Transport America truck drivers become prepared for a career on the road with classroom instruction, behind-the-wheel training and realistic simulators – all with a dedicated instructor by your side to ensure your success as you enter the transportation industry.

If you’re interested in driving for a company that truly invests in your future with the best training program in the industry, please visit the Transport America website. Then, find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube for more information about being a truck driver.

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Transport America Community Initiative | Open Door Food Shelf

Nonprofit organizations are the backbone of many communities. ­Transport America supports nonprofits that strive to make a difference in the lives of those in need. The Open Door is one organization in particular that Transport America is proud to support.transport-america

Located in Dakota County, Minnesota, The Open Door assists over 5,500 individuals monthly thanks to the community’s strong support of their efforts. The nonprofit’s initiatives include:

  • Two Food Shelf locations in Eagan and Lakeville, Minnesota to provide food resources to the hungry across the south metro area.
  • Seven Mobile Pantries that deliver healthy, wholesome food to families and individuals who lack reliable transportation.
  • The Mobile Lunch Box, a program designed to bring healthy lunches and enrichment activities to children in low-income families during the summer.
  • The Garden to Table program, which includes 140 community garden plots where families can grow their own food free of charge.
  • Family advocacy/community resource referrals to link families up with social service agencies as needed.

The Open Door is the largest non-profit food shelf in Dakota County and places a heavy emphasis on providing not just any old food, but wholesome, nutritious food for those in IMG_0801need. About 70 percent of the food offered at the nonprofit’s Food Shelves and Mobile Pantries include fresh, perishable items, such as milk, eggs, chicken, fish, bread, fruits and vegetables.

In 2015, Transport America showed its support by donating $1,252 and 130 pounds of food to the Open Door Food Shelf. For every dollar donated, the organization was able to provide up to $10 in healthy, wholesome food for families in need.

If you’re interested in working for a company that gives back to the community, learn more about us by visiting the ­Transport America website. Then, find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube for more information about working in the trucking industry.

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Transport America | Student Tuition Reimbursement Program

If you’ve ever paid tuition, you know that getting an education can be quite expensive. Fortunately, going to truck driving school is among the most affordable, least transport-americatime-consuming ways to become certified in a new career. Trucking school can still set you back a few thousand dollars, but ­Transport America has a way to combat student debt – the tuition reimbursement program.

This program is designed to start your career off right and take you to a new level of success without debt hanging over your head. Here’s how the program works:

  • ­Transport America adds $300 to the first paycheck of every month for an entire year, totaling $3,600 in reimbursement after 12 months.
  • The tuition reimbursement comes on top of your base mileage pay. If you choose to participate in the program, your pay starts at 2 cents per mile below level one pay. For example, if you qualify to start at 34 cents per mile without tuition reimbursement, you’ll start at 32 cents per mile and receive $300 extra in tuition reimbursement.
  • After one year and $3,600 in tuition reimbursement, you resume standard pay plus a 1-cent-per-mile raise. In the example outlined above, this would bring you from 32 cents per mile to 35 cents per mile.
  • Student drivers are not required to participate in the program. If you want to join ­Transport America without tuition reimbursement, you’ll start 2 cents per mile higher.

In order to qualify for the student tuition reimbursement program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a solo or team driver: Students joining the ­Transport America family in other divisions will start 2 cents higher, but they are not eligible for the program.
  • Meet all other hiring criteria: Any trucking school graduate who attended any school and earned a class A CDL is eligible as long as they meet all other ­Transport America hiring criteria.
  • Prove your tuition costs: Students need to provide documentation showing how much they paid to attend truck-driving school in order to receive reimbursement.

­Transport America doesn’t just offer an industry-leading student tuition reimbursement program; we also offer best-in-class student driver training, full medical benefits for new recruits and competitive pay in the top 10 percent of the industry.

If you’re interested in paying off your tuition while starting a promising career as a truck driver, please visit the ­Transport America website. Then, find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube for more information about the trucking industry.

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Transport America | New Per Diem for Truck Drivers

Over-the-road ­truck drivers must make purchases every day while on the road to get the job done. The cost of food, showers, laundry services and phone truck-driversaccess adds up fast. That’s why Transport America is introducing a new per diem plan for ­truck drivers. This is the reclassification of income as non-taxable reimbursement. Under the program, the IRS allows you to reduce your taxable income by up to $59 per day for each full day you work away from home.

Per diem allows you to maximize the amount you take home from your job by reducing payroll and income taxes. Be aware that the program reallocates your income; the non-taxable reimbursement is not in addition to your base wages.

Record Keeping Requirements

The per diem program does not require you to keep receipts or prove your time away from home. This simplifies your tax recordkeeping obligation for a less stressful experience when it’s time to file your taxes.

Effects of Reduced W-2 Wages

If you apply for a loan, Disability or Unemployment benefits, the income on your W-2 is an important point for officers to consider. Transport America provides ­truck drivers in the program with taxable income on a W-2 along with the per diem amount and an explanation letting officers know that the per diem amount is part of your income; it’s just not taxable income.

Note that the per diem pay plan will reduce social security benefits. However, you still come out ahead because you could save $2,000 in taxes each year under the per diem program and only lose out on $4 to $11 per month in social security benefits. Speak with a tax advisor for more information about your situation.

Contributions to your 401K retirement plan and workers compensation claim amounts may also be reduced by participation in the per diem program. Fortunately, the reductions are minor compared to the tax savings you can enjoy.

Standard Pay Rate Reduction

While Transport America strives to maximize ­truck drivers’ take home pay, a one-cent administration fee is needed to pay for the costs of tracking and processing per diem, paying additional income taxes owed and covering IRS audit fees.

Join Transport America’s per diem program today to maximize your benefits and eliminate the need to keep receipts for tax purposes. Enrollment lasts until March 31, 2015. You can pick up a form at any Transport America Service Center or by calling your Fleet Leader.

To learn more about this opportunity for ­truck drivers, visit the Transport America website. Then, join our online communities on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.

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Fuel for Thought | Merry Christmas from Transport America

Fuel-for-ThoughtI want to sincerely thank you and your family for the outstanding work you have done this year. I know it’s a tough job and the realities of the work create difficulties for you and your families. We all appreciate the benefits of the Scott Arveswork you do.   Merry Christmas to you and all of those you hold close to your heart.

The upcoming year will have challenges and difficulties we have seen in the past. I look forward to working with you as we face those obstacles together. I am proud of the work we have done, optimistic about our future and believe there is no better team to conquer the market.

The economy is expanding, and we will continue to grow as our success and service are like none other in the industry. Lower fuel prices and better networks will put pressure on our competitive advantages, and as you continue to improve our safety and productivity, we will stand the test of the New Year.

Thank you again for your contribution and the support of your families. Have a Merry and safe Christmas.

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Transport America Adds Trailer Tracking to Their Fleet

When your job is driving long distances to pick up and deliver freight on time and in one piece, it’s important to ensure that you’re using the equipment that will help you do that most efficiently. Transport America has taken the next transport-americastep to make that happen with SkyBitz, a trailer tracking satellite system that makes the process of freight delivery infinitely easier for truck drivers.

What is SkyBitz?

SkyBitz is a tracking system that enables companies to keep tabs on their trailers. It consists of two components:

  1. The satellite terminal, located on top of the trailer, sends signals to a satellite that then communicates or “pings” the location of the trailer to a terminal. It then communicates that information to a web-based system used by TA to monitor the information.
  2. The cargo sensor, located in the front of the trailer, senses movement and helps TA track the status of the trailer load. When attached to a tractor, the device pings every fifteen minutes; when not attached, it communicates a signal once a day. Although it functions with batteries, the batteries can keep the device pinging for about 8 weeks when fully charged.

Transport America started implementing this system in all 2007-and-newer fleet trucks, with an average of 50 installations happening a week for a total of 1,300 so far. While there are still 2,000 trucks in the fleet left to retrofit, all new fleet trucks will have the SkyBitz system already installed in factory. Expected date of full installations is 2016.

Benefits of SkyBitz

There are many benefits to installing a trailer tracking satellite system like SkyBitz in a freight truck fleet, both for the companies and for the truck drivers.

  • Reduced empty miles. In other words, drivers no longer have to worry about not being able to deliver freight due to lack of empty trailers. In addition to tracking where the trailer is, SkyBitz lets TA know whether a trailer is loaded or empty, facilitating the process of finding empty trailers for drivers to load and cutting down on search time.
  • Easy load location. Whether a driver is halfway to his or her destination or has already dropped off a load, with “pings” happening every fifteen minutes, a load can be located and estimated transit times can be determined. SkyBitz also makes it easy to find out whether or not another company has picked up the trailer and moved it.
  • Theft prevention. The SkyBitz tracking system reacts immediately to movement. Since it maintains consistent communication with satellite systems, it makes finding stolen loads much easier. It also prevents theft by sending signals every time a trailer is moved.

 SkyBitz is just one of the technologies that enable Transport America to deliver freight more effectively. To learn more about the technologies and state-of-the-art equipment available to truck drivers when they drive for Transport America, check out our website, or join our online community on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Transport America on the Great Driver Experience

It’s important for truck drivers to take care of themselves, spend time with their families and be healthy and happy. Unfortunately, there are many Transport-Americacompanies taking the work their drivers do for granted. That is why Transport America has implemented what they call “The Great Driver Experience,” an initiative to ensure that drivers who come to Transport America know they are the company’s number one priority.

What is the Great Driver Experience?

The Great Driver Experience focuses on taking care of Transport America’s most valuable asset: truck drivers. Whether driving solo or as a team, men and women who operate freight trucks for Transport America can count on the company to provide the following essential tools:

A positive company culture. At Transport America, it’s important for drivers to know how valuable they are. That is why they are surrounded with a positive, engaging and encouraging company culture that makes it easy for them to do their job with comfort and ease.

A strong focus on safety. Being in the driver’s seat means putting safety first at all times. Transport America puts the truck drivers in control by giving them the necessary tools to do their job safely and effectively. That means any time drivers feel unsafe operating a truck or are unable to drive safely for any reason, they can make the call to shut it down. The people at TA trust their drivers’ judgment when it comes to safety and drivers have the final say.

A real open-door policy. There are many companies who claim to have an “open-door policy,” yet make their employees set up appointments, talk through glass windows and basically jump through hoops to get their issues resolved. Not at Transport America. TA prides itself on a true open-door policy, in which drivers can come into any of their facilities, without an appointment, sign in and talk to anyone they want. This gives drivers the assurance that their voices are always heard.

Supportive, engaged leadership. Without leadership that is committed to preserving a positive experience and good morale for their drivers, there can be no Great Driver Experience. One of the ways leaders at TA can make that commitment is by taking advantage of every opportunity to learn what their drivers go through, whether it’s through past driving experience or going on ride-a-longs in the truck. Likewise, drivers have the chance to learn more about what their supervisors do and what the company’s processes are, through things like corporate visit programs. Fleet leaders, team leaders and executives help to create a seamless, streamlined process that gives drivers the confidence to trust the company they work for.

Flexibility and freedom of choice. One of the things that companies tend to take for granted is how much their drivers’ lifestyles may change and how that plays into their work-life balance. Transport America prides itself in being thoroughly flexible, working with drivers to ensure that their work and home life is balanced. They provide choice in the type of driving career they want, be it dedicated, team, regional or solo over the road.   They also provide tools to enable drivers to be healthy and happy, including their sleep apnea program, employee assistance program, health and wellness initiatives and the freedom to choose how often they can be home. With the opportunity for drivers to make smooth and seamless transitions into the variety of driving divisions that will suit their home life, truck drivers truly have the freedom of choice they need to be successful at TA.

The Great Driver Experience: A Focus on You

Are you a driver looking to make a change? No matter what your experience, Transport America’s Great Driver Experience ensures that drivers from all walks of life are comfortable and happy in an environment that values choice, positivity, safety and communication. To learn more visit our website or join our online community on Facebook and Twitter.

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So You Want to Be a Team Driver? | Team Driving Basics at Transport America

Are you a solo driver thinking about switching to Team Division? Whether you have been on the road for years or you are new to the industry, Transport America makes it very easy for you to become a team driver. If you need a partner, we will work with you to find a transport-americacompatible co-driver. Do you want to see the country?   Do you want to drive state of the art equipment? Do you want to be among the highest paid drivers at Transport America? Then teaming may be for you. Let’s discuss some of the advantages to driving team at Transport America.

What is team driving?

Simply put, team driving involves two drivers working together to keep the wheels continuously rolling. While one driver is driving, the co-driver is resting in the sleeper berth. As a result, freight moves up and down our highways at a pace that can not be matched by a solo driver. In fact, a team operation is only rivaled by airfreight, in terms of transit time. Said differently, our Team Division is the fastest way to move freight from coast to coast.

Teams at Transport America are very diverse. Who makes up a team? Well, all kinds of people! Some teams are made up of married couples, while others are friends or family members. Still others are comprised of students who meet in school, or in some cases, solo drivers who are paired up with other drivers in the area they live in. Whatever the configuration, there is no question that team driving is a popular option for freight drivers and one that solo drivers should consider.

Why team driving?

There are some great reasons why solo drivers should consider driving freight as part of a team:

  • Better pay. Pay for teams running an average of 6,000 – 7,000 miles a week can translate to a sizeable pay increase over solo driving. At Transport America, for instance, with mileage rates of up to $.54 per mile (split miles), team drivers can make a very good income for themselves and their family.
  • Job security. Because of the expedited nature of team driving, and the high demand for such services, we enjoy great business relationships with many stable customers that offer year-round business that means you will keep moving.
  • Better equipment. The nature of expedited freight dictates that trucks driven by teams will be on the road much more than the average truck, creating more wear and tear. To prevent issues on the road, Transport America provide teams with late modal equipment that offer best in class safety and comfort features for our team drivers.

Can I be a team driver?

Any driver eligible to work at Transport America can drive in the Team Division – that means passing a background test, drug and alcohol screening as well as having a good driving record. Successful teams at Transport America live out our core value of Safety every day; they are healthy and remain rested; and they understand the importance of good communication.

Running as a team means you will average of 1,200-1,300 miles in a 24-hour period and will likely be on the road for more than two weeks at a time. However, at Transport America we understand the importance of balancing work and life for efficiency and good morale, so we provide customized teaming solutions that will meet the business needs and your time at home needs.

With competitive pay attractive team driving benefits packages, newer equipment and a focus on a great driver experience, Transport America is a leader in team driver opportunities. To learn more about team driving opportunities, visit our website or join our online communities on Facebook and Twitter.

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Open Enrollment | Maximizing your Benefits

As we enter open enrollment season with some major change, we want to remind our truck drivers of the importance of participating in open enrollment. You need to know what you truck-driverscan do as an employee to maximize your coverage so that you’re making the most of your benefit choices.

What is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is the time for our truck drivers to elect medical, dental and vision coverage, as well as a Flexible Spending Account, and short-term and long-term disability coverage. Drivers can also elect company-paid and supplemental accidental death and dismemberment coverage. They can make their elections as tobacco-free users to incur savings on their medical insurance option. Open enrollment can be done online through the ADP employee self-service site or by phone through the benefits hotline.

As this year’s open enrollment gets underway, from now until Nov. 30, employees will note a significant change: Transport America has changed providers, from Blue Cross to HealthPartners, which uses the Cigna network. This means that employees will need to sign into the employee portal and make elections on every part of their benefits package. Open enrollment is an important time for several reasons:

  1. It gives employees the opportunity to elect and review coverage options. Because all benefits are selected à la carte, employees can customize their plans to suit their individual and family needs. For instance, someone who doesn’t need medical but needs dental or vision can choose to bypass medical coverage.
  2. It allows employees to verify dependent information and to correct, update or change it as needed.
  3. It gives employees a chance to review and update beneficiary information so that it’s also as current as possible.

Maximizing Benefits: Making the Most of your Benefits Package

So, how can our truck drivers make the most of their Transport America benefits package? Here are some things you may not know that could help you save money and use all the perks available to you as an employee.

  • Verify that you’re tobacco-free to save big on your annual premium. If you’re an employee who is either tobacco-free or currently participating in a smoking cessation program, you are eligible for a $598-a-year discount from your medical insurance. Please note that if your spouse is included in your policy, both you and your spouse must be tobacco-free to receive the discount.
  • Complete your Health Risk Assessment in 2015. Thanks to the provider change, requirements to complete the Health Risk Assessment have been changed. This assessment can save employees up to $19.50 a month on their coverage. This year, employees will be granted a grace period until the first quarter of 2015. During this grace period, all employees will save $19.50 a month on their coverage. After the first quarter of 2015, however, only those who’ve completed the Health Risk Assessment will be eligible for the discount.
  • Choose doctors that are in-network. There are often many savings associated with choosing doctors in a provider’s network. Be sure that your doctors and specialists are in your network for lower costs.
  • Visit the HealthPartners website to learn about additional benefits. The HealthPartners network offers a variety of perks that can help you make the most of your coverage. Visit the employee portal or www.healthpartners.com to learn about things such as prescription drug coverage, online pharmacy access, discounts on wellness programs, products and services and much more.
  • Consider choosing FSA. While the Flexible Spending Account is an optional selection, it’s in your best interest to consider it. The benefit of FSAs is that you can set aside a specific amount of pre-tax dollars to help you pay for deductibles, co-pays and other medical costs, so you’re not caught off guard when a medical issue arises.
  • Use the Benefits Healthline. The Benefits Healthline has up-to-the-minute information on all benefit coverage and plans, as well as other valuable information. Representatives can help you with open enrollment and with any questions regarding coverage and other benefits. Call them at 866-708-7719. Their daily, extended hours are 8am-7pm CST to accommodate open enrollment.

To learn more about open enrollment, benefits coverage and more, visit Transport America’s page and click on “For Our Employees” to access the Employee Self Service through ADP. Also, find us on Facebook and Twitter to join the trucking conversation.

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