Fuel for Thought | Regulation

note header dear driver APPROVED Fuel for Thought | RegulationOn occasion we update you on the expansive regulatory agenda, as if you didn’t have enough to concern yourself these days.  In total, there are over 20 regulations that are in various stages that could impact you in the coming years, many of which those of us in Scott Arves 213x300 Fuel for Thought | Regulationtrucking are in disagreement with.  The reason we are against many of them is not because we are anti- safety, rather we believe many are poorly designed and don’t improve safety, in some cases, make the industry less safe.  To update you on a few that may impact you:

  1. Hours of Service- The American Trucking Association (ATA) has testified before congress recently about the damaging impacts the change in the 34 hour restart has had.  The hope is for a suspension of the new restart provision for 1 year to study the impacts of the change on both safety and productivity.  Expect nothing to happen until after the elections.
  2. CSA-  A bill is currently in front of Congress that would require FMCSA to remove CSA scores from public view while FMCSA works to address the litany of shortcomings that still exist with the current CSA law.  Once again, the hope is the bill will be acted on after the election.
  3. Electronic Logging Devices-  This law was first advanced in Feb 2011 with mandatory implementation supposed to be completed in 2015.  Here we are almost 4 years later and they are still working it, having missed numerous deadlines.  We would expect a final ruling next year.  In the meantime, almost 40 percent of the industry has moved to ELD’s and we strongly support this rule.
  4. Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse- The rule, which we support, would create a Federal Clearinghouse to track positive drug and alcohol test results, as well as refusals to test.  We would expect this bill to be passed next year but it is still being developed and as you can imagine the devil is in the details.

There are many other regulations being proposed but we as an organization try to resist the federal government reaching too far into regulating us and you.  Both as a company and through the ATA, we actively work to try to influence the development of regulations that do make sense but challenge those that serve no positive purpose.  In particular, Transport America provided a lot of feedback on CSA that was incorporated from the initial proposal.  In addition, we have testified before agencies of Congress on the negative effects HOS changes would have on safety and the economy.

I hope this update has been helpful, thanks for adapting to all of the change hoisted upon us, lets hope for less government regulation in the years to come.

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Essential Safety Tips for Winter Truck Driving

With winter starting early in some parts of the country, now is the time to discuss the shutterstock 164819084 300x199 Essential Safety Tips for Winter Truck Driving importance of truck drivers following every safety precaution on the road. The risks of winter weather aren’t limited to snow – ice on the roads, wet conditions and gusty winds can all lead to a slew of dangerous situations.

Traction and Visibility

Why is truck driving in winter different from other weather conditions? Two key factors: Traction and visibility.

  • Traction. Snowy, icy conditions mean lots of slipping, so starting, stopping and steering are all difficult due to the lack of traction. Improperly dealing with a lack of traction can have dangerous results.
  • Visibility. Snow and sleet make it extremely difficult to see ahead on the road. Impaired visibility prevents drivers from seeing what’s ahead or beside them, which can result in collisions and many other accidents.

Winter Driving Safety Tips

The key to safe winter driving is planning and preparedness. Understanding the serious hazards on the road when winter weather is in full swing — and knowing how to stay safe in the face of those dangers — can be the difference between a conscientious driver and a dangerous one. Here are some tips to help drivers stay safe.

  1. Maintain control of the truck’s speed. A lack of traction makes it easy to lose control, especially at high speeds. Don’t speed in slippery conditions to avoid trouble.
  2. Pay attention to the road ahead. Avoid distractions at all costs, especially during winter weather, when roads are icy and slippery.
  3. Always yield the right of way. It’s important to be aware of other drivers on the road and always yield the right of way to them in order to ensure their safety as well as the truck driver’s.
  4. Keep your distance. Drivers should allow themselves at least three times as much stopping room in winter weather to avoid hazards.
  5. Stay to the right. Truck drivers should never be in the passing lane and should never pass other vehicles unless absolutely necessary.
  6. Know what to do to avoid accidents. For instance, when losing traction, never use the clutch or the engine break. Also, keep windows, windshields and mirrors clear at all times to prevent problems with visibility.
  7. Be prepared with the right tools. Be sure to have a winter weather survival kit handy. It should include non-perishable snacks, candles, bottled water, mittens, an extra pair of warm boots, an extra set of clothes, spare spikes, a flashlight with batteries and a snow scraper.
  8. Be careful when getting in and out of the tractor. Even when stopped, measures must be taken to ensure that the driver doesn’t slip when coming in or out of the tractor, as steps can get wet and slippery.
  9. Make sure all equipment is in working order. Be sure day and night lights are on and working properly at all times. Be sure the heater and other equipment works properly and that the equipment is in good condition.
  10. During dangerous conditions, get off the road. When conditions are too dangerous, the best thing for a driver to do is simple: Get off the road. This will get the driver and all others on the road out of harm’s way.

Winter road conditions and careless winter driving make for a dangerous combination. Keeping these safety tips in mind can help keep truck drivers, and those sharing the road with them, safe.

To learn more about safety at Transport America, please visit the TA website. Then, find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube for more information.

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Good Customers Helping Transport America’s Truck Drivers

It goes without saying that customers are valuable to all companies, but that’s especially true at Transport America. How can having particularly good customers help truck driverstrucking jobs 3 226x300 Good Customers Helping Transport America’s Truck Drivers achieve success? It’s easy, according to Transport America’s Vice President and General Manager of the Solo Division, Greg Handwerk.

Firstly, how do you define a “good customer?” According to Mr. Handwerk, these customers have limited bid activity, provide consistent load volumes throughout the year, have efficient freight characteristics and, most importantly, treat Transport America drivers with respect.

Truck drivers benefit from this type of customer in a number of ways. These customers provide quick and efficient loading and unloading times, sufficient transit times for each load and allow Transport America drivers to occasionally take a break on their property. In return, Transport America truck drivers are more satisfied drivers and provide even better service to the customer. In addition, these truck drivers will share their experience with friends and family and encourage others to think about the trucking business as a career.

Certainly, not all trucking services are alike – there is truckload, less-than-truckload, expedited and additional services to fit the needs of customers. Regardless, a good customer is defined the same way across all services. Drivers want to be safe, efficient, treated well and appreciated for the difficult work they perform.

Finally, there’s always room for improvements for both truck drivers and customers. The best way for a driver to help a customer is for them to make recommendations when they see opportunity for improvement and vice versa.

Customers are extremely important and are highly appreciated at Transport America. At the same time, truck drivers are the backbone of Transport America. When working together, these two important components can produce fantastic results.

To learn more, please visit the Transport America website. Also, find us on Facebook and Twitter to join the trucking conversation.

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Transport America’s Support Centers Help Truck Drivers Achieve Success

How can a support center help truck drivers? Transport America centers have it down to a science. According to Carl Rochford, manager of Transport America Support Centers, theyservicecenters 300x158 Transport America’s Support Centers Help Truck Drivers Achieve Success help truck drivers do their job well. This is accomplished in a number of ways throughout Transport America’s nationwide network of support centers.

There are 11 centers across the U.S. that vary in size and offerings. Full centers, like in Atlanta, Georgia and North Jackson, Ohio, offer a wide range of services such as fuel and maintenance for trucks as well as exercise equipment and online training requirements. Other centers may provide an area to park overnight, showers, vending machines, kiosks to access pay, company information and training opportunities. All support centers offer Wi-Fi for truck drivers to enjoy.

Mr. Rochford wants truck drivers to consider these support centers as a “home away from home.” Transport America employs staff depending on the size of the center. The Atlanta center, for example, also serves as the location for the company’s southeast regional dispatch. Truck drivers can meet with their fleet managers for feedback, support and assistance at this facility.

The centers play a big role in health and safety of Transport America truck drivers. Healthier food selections in vending machines, devices for truck drivers to use while on the road and fitness centers in select locations aim to help truck drivers maintain a healthy lifestyle. In addition, to meet the company’s core value of safety, some support centers have invested in driving simulators. As Mr. Rochford describes it, this allows truck drivers to practice different driving scenarios in a safe environment. Soon all Service Centers will host a winter training event to help prepare truck drivers for winter.

Transport America believes strongly in supporting its most important internal customer – the truck driver and looks for innovative ways to provide the support for drivers to be successful.

To learn more, please visit the Transport America website, and find us on Facebook and Twitter to join the trucking conversation.

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Transport America’s Great Partnership – Fleet Leaders and Truck Drivers

Exceptional fleet leaders equate to exceptional truck drivers at Transport America. Indeed, one could describe the relationship between fleet leaders and truck drivers as aBonnie 225x300 Transport America’s Great Partnership – Fleet Leaders and Truck Drivers partnership to achieve Transport America’s goal as a top-notch transportation company. Dedication from such fleet leaders as Bonnie Audie, a 22-year employee with Transport America, demonstrates the devotion these managers have towards working with truck drivers to achieve success.

Team leaders such as Bonnie Audie are instrumental in training and coaching fleet managers who in turn work directly with truck drivers to make sure agreed goals are achieved. Fleet managers are involved in everything and are tasked with making such things as maintenance, scheduling, idling and utilization, easier for the driver. Not only are these types of tasks important to drivers, but also spending time at home; fleet managers work to make this happen.

One of Transport America’s core values is safety. According to Ms. Audie, the company conducts lots of training around this topic. In fact, every day, a safety tip is provided, and discussions follow on how to implement it, expand upon it and so on. Safety is taken seriously at Transport America and no matter what a truck drivers’ daily or weekly plan may look like, safety comes first and the driver has final say.

The relationship between fleet leaders and truck drivers is strong. For fleet leaders, they actually walk the walk by going out on rides with drivers to see what it’s actually like. Truck drivers meet with fleet managers and are involved in meetings in order to meet other employees, but also to see how orders are received, planned, processed and executed.

It’s a win-win situation for all involved at Transport America. It begins with the new driver who works with a transition board that is dedicated to teach and help drivers learn the ropes including managing time and utilization. A lot of coaching and mentoring is involved with the end result of a successful truck driver. Even after the driver advances past the transition board, the coaching and mentoring continue. As the bonds grow stronger, the driver depends on the fleet manager for well-thought-out plans, while the fleet manager depends on the driver for safety concerns.

To learn more, please visit the Transport America website. Also, find us on Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation.

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How TA Looks Out for Their Truck Drivers | Health and Wellness

TransportAmerica Stills 009 201x300 How TA Looks Out for Their Truck Drivers | Health and WellnessAs a company, Transport America’s goal is to create a culture of health and wellness among ­truck drivers. It’s just one way TA looks out for their drivers. To accomplish this goal, TA holds events throughout the year to help drivers develop lasting healthy habits.

Nutrition Blitz

One such event was the Nutrition Blitz held in July. The blitz focused on the benefits of healthy eating, including disease prevention, risk reduction and improvement in overall health. Transport America understands that food options are limited for truck drivers, so a main focus of the July Nutrition Blitz was to help drivers understand some of the healthy alternatives to deep-fried truck stop food.

A truck driver’s schedule is busy, so the Nutrition Blitz was designed with grab-and-go content. Informative, interactive resources made it easy for participants – including drivers, office workers and shop employees – to navigate through the material easily. Available resources included nutrition education, diabetes education, healthy snacking ideas and mini cooking demonstrations.

Exercise Blitz: Introducing the Mini-Stepper

Transport America employees can look forward to another wellness blitz during Driver Appreciation Week. This Exercise Blitz will feature information about the role exercise plays in heart health, muscular strength and stress reduction.

During Driver Appreciation Week 2013, Transport America rolled out the FIT in-cab system, an affordable program that allows users to do upper body, lower body and cardio workouts from the comfort and safety of the cab.

For Driver Appreciation Week 2014, Transport America is proud to provide truck drivers with another exercise tool for health and fitness: the mini-stepper. This compact device is ideal for on-the-go employees. It allows drivers to do complete workouts inside a parked truck or at any location during a break or home time. The mini-stepper targets excess fat, increases cardiovascular endurance and improves the user’s metabolism.

The mini-stepper pilot program is already underway, with a select group of truck drivers testing the exercise device for six weeks leading up to Driver Appreciation Week. Transport America is confident that the mini-stepper will serve as an excellent resource for drivers looking to better their health and fitness.

TA employees are encouraged to participate in upcoming health and wellness events to help build the foundation for a healthier future. To learn more about how Transport America looks out for their truck drivers, please visit the TA website. Then, find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube for more information.

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Fuel for Thought | Why Pay is Part of the Great Driver Experience

note header dear driver APPROVED Fuel for Thought | Why Pay is Part of the Great Driver Experience
Scott Arves 213x300 Fuel for Thought | Why Pay is Part of the Great Driver ExperienceLet’s talk about a common concern among truck drivers: getting the compensation you deserve. Have you decided that it’s time to switch to a carrier that actually “walks the talk” regarding pay? Or are you going to let another year pass by, wishing you could have made what you truly deserve?

While home time, mileage and benefits are important when choosing your next trucking company, we at Transport America aren’t afraid to talk about the subject of pay—because we know we pay better than the other guys.

Let’s set the record straight once and for all: Transport America is a Certified Top Pay Carrier by the National Survey of Driver’s Wages. That means we pay in the top 10% of the industry. We pay our drivers well because we know the only way to have a successful business is to attract and retain the best drivers in the industry. We’re asking a lot of our drivers when we send them out on the road; they deserve to be paid in the top 10% for their hard work.

Even more good news, we just gave a company-wide pay raise; for current and new drivers. I cannot think of a more deserving team than the drivers at Transport America.

So, what’s pay got to do with it? It’s just another way Transport America proves our commitment and dedication to our drivers.

Call us today at 877-838-2320 to learn more. We’d love to start a conversation—right now—about the pay you should be earning.

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Transport America Announces Truck Driver Pay Raise

Theft Prevention 300x150 Transport America Announces Truck Driver Pay RaiseTransport America is a company driven by its dedicated truck drivers. That’s why a company-wide pay raise went into effect September 1, 2014 for all current and new drivers! The increase impacts solo, team and regional drivers as well as owner-operators.

“Not only have we increased entry level pay, but we’ve also enhanced the earnings experienced drivers can achieve within our organization,” says company CEO Scott Arves. “The new pay structure keeps Transport America as a leader among industry pay and one of the first to increase pay among the larger fleets.”

In addition to the pay raise, Transport America has lifted the HazMat endorsement requirement for its Pay for Performance Plan, allowing more drivers to receive financial incentives for exceptional performance.

Some highlights of the truck driver pay raise include the following:

  • New truck driver recruits start as high as $0.40 per mile.
  • Drivers new to Transport America with at least four years of experience start at $0.43 per mile.
  • Owner-operators receive a $0.02 per mile increase.
  • The majority of team drivers receive a pay increase of $0.01 per mile per driver.
  • Solo drivers receive a $0.01 per mile pay increase.
  • Regional drivers enjoy a relaxed HazMat requirement in the Pay for Performance Plan, moving pay forward at an accelerated rate.

Transport America is dedicated to providing “The Great Driver Experience,” a promise that is not only reflected in the truck driver pay raise, but in other aspects of the company as well. For example, drivers have the chance to attend health and wellness events at company terminals every year, and drivers have the final say on truck safety. With this vision and exceptional company values, Transport America is propelling itself forward as one of the top carriers in the US.

If you’re looking for consistent home time, great pay and respect from everyone within the company, it’s time to join the Transport America team. For more information about the truck driver pay raise, please visit the ­Transport America website. Then, find us on Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation.

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Fuel for Thought | Driver Appreciation

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Scott Arves 213x300 Fuel for Thought | Driver Appreciation At Transport America, we are more thrilled than ever for Driver Appreciation Week this year! 2014 marks TA’s 30th anniversary, and in celebration, we have some great things in store for our drivers. Here’s a look at what you can expect when you visit any of our Support Centers during Driver Appreciation Week September 14-20, 2014:

 

  • Face-to-face interaction: It’s our intent to have Transport America leaders discuss key business messages with our drivers and gather feedback on how we can be even better. If you have a suggestion, please let us know during the face-to-face interaction time.
  • Wellness blitz: In July, our Nutrition Blitz was a huge success. We’re looking forward to the Exercise Blitz during Driver Appreciation Week when we’ll be unveiling the mini-stepper. This exercise tool helps you achieve better fitness right in your truck. It’s an easy way to add a quick workout to your busy daily routine as a truck driver.
  • Giveaways: We’re offering free gloves and safety glasses for all our drivers during Driver Appreciation Week. Plus, we’ll have food and prize drawings at all Support Centers, including “Drawings of 30” for a special item at each location.
  • 50/50 raffle: All proceeds from the raffle, along with charity baskets located at the Corporate and Birmingham Support Centers, go to the Wounded Warrior Project. It’s a great cause we’re proud to be part of.
  • Safe work methods: Stop by to learn some important safety information.
  • Red Wing Boot Mobile: This will be available at most Support Centers during Driver Appreciation Week.

 

Our drivers are the face to our customer and the heart of our organization, Driver Appreciation Week is exciting as it gives us a great opportunity to thank our folks for their hard work.  Be sure to stay tuned for more information about Driver Appreciation Week as it gets closer!

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Transport America | The Great American Trucking Show

thumbnail 300x300 Transport America | The Great American Trucking ShowThe Great American Trucking Show (GATS) is coming up fast, and ­Transport America is greatly anticipating this year’s event. GATS is scheduled for August 21-23, 2014 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. If you order tickets in advance, admission is free! Even if you arrive at the gate without a ticket, admission is only $10. Here’s a little of what you can expect from The Great American Trucking Show this year.

Recruiting Pavilion

This is the place to be if you’re interested in truck driving but haven’t secured a job yet. More than 100 exhibiting companies will be present this year, including ­Transport America. This motor carrier is excited to showcase everything it has to offer new drivers, so be sure to stop by booth #15167 to learn more.

Educational Seminars

Each day during GATS, you have the chance to attend one or more educational seminars. Transportation industry professionals give presentations to enlighten the audience on topics such as HAZMAT violations, preparing for safety audits, HOS regulations and more. Check the schedule so you’re sure to attend the seminars that interest you most.

Celebrity Guests

Even if you come for the recruitment opportunities and educational seminars, be sure to stick around for all the fun GATS has to offer as well. A few celebrities will be attending the event this year, including:

  • Captain Edgar Hansen from the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch
  • Stuntman Mike Ryan
  • Professional bull rider Douglas Duncan
  • 2014 Overdrive’s Most Beautiful Contest Winner Emily Weymouth

Rookie of the Year

Randall-Reilly has announced the finalists in its 2014 Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie contest. The program, which received 55 nominations this year, is designed to increase pride and professionalism among new drivers, and to promote truck driving as a career choice during a severe driver shortage.  An expert panel of judges, which included representatives from training schools (both public and private), suppliers and trade associations, named 10 finalists including Transport America driver, Kyle Friauf, who went to Kirkwood Community College.

More than $25,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to these deserving drivers at a ceremony on Friday, August 22 during the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. Eric Harley of the Red Eye Radio Network will interview the winner, who will receive a variety of prizes including: a $10,000 check; a custom plaque from Award Company of America; 100,000 MyRewards points from Pilot Flying J; a GPS unit; and a dash camera from Cobra.

Pride & Polish

Check out the most decked-out trucks you have ever seen at Overdrive’s Pride & Polish truck beauty contest. You can view all the trucks on the floor Thursday and Friday. Then, the award ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 23 at 11:00 am. The trucks are scheduled to roll out at 5:00 pm that day at the conclusion of GATS. Come find a seat near the exhibit hall doors where the trucks will exit the building and hit the streets.

We wish Kyle good luck and hope to see many of our drivers at the show!

For more information about becoming a truck driver, please check back weekly on the ­Transport America blog and find ­Transport America on Facebook and Twitter to join in on the conversation.

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