Wednesday, 23 May 2018

What You Need to Know About Driving in Severe Weather

Severe weather spring 2018 puts drivers at risk. Here is what you need to knowA spring storm safety refresher is essential whether you are a seasoned veteran or a rookie. During this time of year, you run a higher risk of severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and more while on the road. Here is what you need to know about driving in severe weather this spring.

What Truckers Need to Know About Driving in Severe Weather

The most important thing you can do during this time of year is to stay up to date on weather conditions in the areas you will be driving through. Watch the weather channel, listen to local stations, or check the weather conditions on your phone along your route. Being informed of severe weather will help you plan the safest route possible.

Avoid Severe Weather When Possible

Plan your route accordingly and avoid potentially dangerous weather when at all possible. If your destination is in the path of the storm, you should consider leaving early or waiting out the storm. However, this is not always possible, but avoiding hazardous conditions altogether is still the best solution during storms and possible tornadoes.

Overpass Death Trap

The myth of hiding under an overpass is not only a lie, but it could cost you dearly. Never hide out a storm under an overpass. Truckers used to believe that this was one of the best places to wait out a storm. During a severe thunderstorm or tornado, an overpass can become a wind tunnel creating powerful winds.

Staying in The Truck vs. Getting Out

There is much debate on whether to remain in your cab or to get low to the ground in a ditch or valley. This decision wholly depends on the individual situation. Sometimes it will be safer to leave your cab while others will call for you to remain in your truck for shelter.

However, seeking shelter in a building is always the better option than hiding in a ditch or remaining in your cab.

Staying in The Truck


Overturned semi truck in the ditch after severe weather
Inside your truck, you are protected from flying debris, lightning, and hail. If you remain in your cab keep your seatbelt fastened. If the wind is too severe, your vehicle may overturn. If there is loose debris or a possibility, crouch below the windshield to protect yourself.




Ditch The Truck

Literally! Get out fast and get in a ditch to get below the wind and out of the path of debris. If the wind is strong enough to overturn your vehicle, you will be thankful not to be inside. However, you need to be far enough away from your truck so if it does overturn you won’t end up underneath it.


Stay Safe Truckers

You are now armed with the information you need to combat severe spring weather. It is also a good idea to go over safety with your family before hitting the road on your next route. Making sure your family is safe at home will give you peace of mind while you are away.


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Thursday, 17 May 2018

Top Health Risks All Truckers Should Know About

Truck drivers are at a higher health than those in other professions Truckers have a fantastic job; you have freedom, flexibility, and financial stability. Not saying everything is sunshine and rainbows. You understand the value of hard work and long hours. However, there are unique health risks with any position and truck driving is no exception. In addition to the dangers on the road here are the top health risks all truckers should know about.

Top Health Risks All Truckers Should Know About

There are so many factors when it comes to your health such as genetics, diet, exercise, stress and so much more. However, with that in mind here are the three critical health risks that all truckers should be aware of.

1. Skin Cancer

Parts of the body exposed to the sun for extended periods of time are 90% more likely to develop skin cancer. As a truck driver, you spend long hours with the sun on one side of your face and arm. It is important to be actively applying sunscreen and wearing long-sleeves when possible.

Make sunscreen a part of your pre-trip maintenance. Be sure to use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more and go to the doctor immediately if you see any new blemishes or moles.

2. Obesity

Truckers are at a higher risk for obesity because of the nature of your job and limited healthy food options while on the road. When you are overweight, your heart has to work harder to pump blood to your organs especially after eating a large meal. Obesity can cause diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, heart disease, joint problems, cancer, and sleep apnea.

Doctors recommend eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Also, exercising for as little as 30 minutes a day can help you combat any future health problems.

3. Sleep Apnea


Truck driver face more than dangers on the road with their jobs
Sleep apnea also referred to as the silent killer, is one of the major health risks you should be aware of. You might not even know you have sleep apnea unless you record yourself sleeping or someone tells you that you snore extremely loudly. You might wake up coughing, irritated, with headaches, and exhausted.

You may think you are not at risk for sleep apnea because it is more common among larger truckers. But the unhealthy lifestyle can make you gain weight without noticing and lead to conditions like sleep apnea. It can also affect smaller people for reasons such as airway obstruction or due to having constricted airways.

Those who have been screened and started their treatments rejoice in the fact that not only do they have their lives back, but their quality of life is greatly improved. Treatments may include working out and living a healthier lifestyle, surgery, and getting a CPAP machine.

If you aren’t sure that you need to be tested check out Aeroflow’s sleep apnea screening questionnaire. All you have to do is honestly answer the questions and submit the form and they will assess your sleep apnea risk for you, for free. Then you can take further actions based on the results.

Truck Driver Health

Trucking is a gratifying profession with the freedom of the open road. However, it comes with great responsibility. Don’t let the temptations of eating totally unhealthy meals and not taking care of yourself ruin your health. By making small adjustments to your diet and seizing opportunities to move more, your heart and waistline will thank you.


Comment down below how your stay healthy on the road and visit TruckLogics for more blogs.



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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

How to Make More Money Using Load Boards

How to Make More Money Using Load Boards
Do you need to find loads fast to keep your trucks moving? Then might we suggest using a load truck load board? There are dozens of load boards to choose from all over the internet. However, you need to do more than check the load boards to find hauls that will pay for you to turn a profit. Here is how to make more money using load boards. 

How to Make More Money Using Load Boards

The first step in selecting a haul is knowing what represents a profitable load for you. This requires you to know and understand your operating costs and available funds. Many owner-operators accidentally take on money-losing loads, because they fail to pay attention to their finances.

To avoid taking on money-losing loads, you need to calculate the range of rates that will keep your business in the green. Consider what a good rate is at a particular time of year and the funds you need on hand.

Develop a Trucking Load Criteria

Write down the most important qualities you want in a shipper or a broker. Your list should look something like this:
  • Has a good reputation
  • Financially secure
  • Good communication
  • Pay is on time

Not every broker or shipper you work with will meet all of these qualities. However, having a list helps you set a standard and will help you find long-term partners who provide a steady income. 

Choosing Your Lanes Wisely

When choosing your loads, make sure they are in lanes that work for you. While $2.00 per-mile for a haul from Chicago to Houston may sound generous, is it worth it if you are empty the whole way back? Keep in mind the expense of the haul in rougher parts of the country. Plan ahead by choosing hauls that allow you to make money both ways. 

Choosing a Trucking Load Board

How to Make More Money Using Load Boards
You cannot marry the first load board you find. You could, but who knows what other loads you might be missing out on? Research different load boards to find a few different ones to use on a regular basis. Keep in mind that some have a monthly subscription fee.

Word to the wise, if the fee is over $30 then move along, you can do better.

When looking, pay attention to the trucking load boards with the most loads and the best rates in the lanes you currently serve. It can be easy to settle for low rates in the lanes you don’t serve if you get tired of looking, but stay focused and take your time.

Negotiating With Brokers and Shippers

Be aware that with load boards you will be working with strangers so you will have to feel comfortable contacting a lot of different people. When you call them just remain firm and ready to negotiate. But don’t get overly frustrated when they want to offer low rates. Loads have plenty of competition, and companies are wanting to make the most profit possible.

You can always walk away from the load if it doesn’t suit your needs. Hold out for the right one for your trucking business.

Better Hauls Better Money

Load boards are becoming increasingly popular as a way for owner-operators and fleets to find work. They can really help you get your business off the ground and find hauls fast as long as you take the time to find the right loan for your needs. Research your options and know your financial requirements before picking one and running with it.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns comment below.

Are you looking for a better way to manage your trucking business? Well, we have the perfect solution. Sign-up for your free 15-day trial of TruckLogics and see the difference.



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Thursday, 10 May 2018

In the Fight Against Human Trafficking, Why Truckers?



Truckers can make the difference in the fight against sex trafficking
This is a guest post by Lyn Leeburg, Co-Founder and Communications Specialist at Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT).

When working on a strategy to fight human trafficking, one of the first steps should be to determine which groups of people have the greatest opportunity to spot human trafficking as it is happening. In other words, who could serve as the primary surveillance?

When it comes to this crime, those front-line people include such groups as medical personnel, who treat victims in medical clinics; service personnel in local neighborhoods (such as postal workers, and cable, electrical, and water providers), who come by homes on a regular basis and would notice if something unusual was going on; restaurant and hotel personnel, who might see trafficking taking place in their establishments; and members of all segments of the transportation industry, including airport employees, because traffickers are continually transporting victims to sell them in a variety of places.


Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) began as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries in 2009 to work with the trucking industry because it’s 7-million strong. Truckers are trained to be extremely observant. The trucking industry is composed of people already entrusted with caring for other people’s goods, which speaks to the character of the industry when it comes to caring for others—especially when the interest of others might be in trouble. Members of the trucking industry are everywhere, covering the entire United States. Lastly, traffickers wanting to make fast money often target truckers at truck stops and rest areas (because they’re everywhere and easy to reach right along highways) to sell their victims. This is evidenced by the number of victims rescued from truck stops by the FBI. 


The members of Chapter 61 Ministries believed that if the trucking industry were empowered with education and equipped with tools to fight human trafficking, they would be quick to mobilize against this crime. They could do their part to see victims recovered and perpetrators arrested. Members of the trucking industry could be everyday heroes in the course of their jobs and make a significant impact against the criminal activity of human trafficking. Perhaps they might even have a greater impact than the average person, because of their mobility and training. They were a critical front-line group to recruit.


Using tools such as an informational website (www.TruckersAgainstTrafficking.org), on-demand webinars, a trucking-industry-specific training DVD, wallet cards with signs to look for and questions to ask, and social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter), TAT began making contacts throughout the trucking industry to build relationships and state the case for trucking members to join the abolitionist movement. TAT also began having a presence at major trucking shows as well as providing free presentations wherever requested by members of the trucking industry. The trucking industry began responding positively. By 2011, TAT had grown so much and was making such an impact in the industry that it needed to become an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization in order to sustain its efforts.


Members of the trucking industry, who had witnessed the prostitution of women and minors at various places throughout the United States for years but who had not known what it was – forced prostitution and modern-day slavery – began calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline to report what they were seeing. Polaris Project, which runs the hotline, reported that calls from truckers rose substantially between 2009-2017. Since Dec. 7th, 2007, when the hotline began, the national hotline has received 1900+ calls from truckers, which have opened 557 likely cases of human trafficking involving 1035 people, 319 of which were minors. 


Major travel plaza and truck stop organizations joined TAT by making a commitment to train their employees with TAT materials and to make those materials available for trucking customers across the United States. Truck-driving schools, national and state trucking organizations, trucking companies – both large and small –individual truckers, trucking organizations of all types, and trucking media have also joined forces with TAT. 


Truckers are very observant and can make a different in the live of victims TAT works to create relationships between state and federal law enforcement and members of the trucking industry through half-day events called coalition builds. These events provide a more effective localized response to human trafficking by gathering law enforcement agencies (state, federal and local) and local anti-trafficking resources (task forces and local non-governmental organizations) in the same room with key industry stakeholders, including general managers of truck stops and representatives of state trucking associations and carriers.


Using TAT materials, the Motor Vehicle Enforcement division of the Iowa Department of Transportation has created a model for other states to follow in working with the trucking industry. They place TAT materials in their state scale sites, state rest areas, and state truck stops. They are also working with major carriers in the state to train their employees with TAT materials.


Why truckers? Watching the TAT training DVD readily answers that question. With one phone call, a trucker who saw some under-aged girls working a truck stop not only facilitated the recovery of those girls, but also that of seven other minors. Thirty-one offenders were arrested and a 13-state prostitution ring was broken.


Training and working with front-line responders in the United States in the fight against human trafficking is a strategy that can and does yield big results … and members of the trucking industry are some of the leading front-line responders.

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Tuesday, 8 May 2018

CVSA Roadcheck 2018: What You Need To Watch Out For

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 31st annual International Roadcheck will be June 5-7, 2018. During this 72-hour period, CVSA-certified inspectors will be out there to inspect your vehicle. We understand a 37- point inspection might sound slightly intimidating. So here is what you need to watch out for during CSA’s Roadcheck 2018.

CVSA Roadcheck 2018: What You Need To Watch Out For
During the Roadcheck, CVSA inspectors will perform a 37-step inspection on you and your trucks. You will be required to provide your motor carrier registration and commercial driver’s license. The CVSA inspector will check different parts of your vehicle, including braking system, fuel and exhaust, suspension, and windshield wipers.

But if you have been making your pre and post trip inspections, you will have nothing to worry about.

Brake System

Checking your brakes is essential in any situation, but the Roadcheck just drives this point home. You want to constantly check your brakes for any missing or damaged parts, warning devices, leaks, and incorrect air pressure adjustment.

Coupling Devices

When you're checking your truck, you will need to look at your coupling devices. Check the secured mounting for your fifth wheel, the spaces between plates, and any damaged parts that can make a locking mechanism faulty. 
  


Cargo Securement

Roadcheck 2018 is all about safety. When you are hauling lads, making sure you have proper cargo securement is major. Check for improper tailboard security, damaged tie-down anchor points, unsecured end gates and rear doors, and faulty cargo securement devices.

Suspension Check

Sometimes you expect a bumpy ride, but you do not want to have a rough haul. First, check for cracked, crooked, or missing springs. Also, watch out for loose shackles and u-bolts, unsecured spring hangers, and a misaligned or damaged front axle.

Tires and Wheels

Check your tires for proper inflation and tread groove depth. Make sure your wheels and rims do not have any cracks or damaged parts. Your hubs should have no damages, leaks, and must be aligned.

Hours-of-Service Compliance

This year’s focus is on hours-of-service compliance because of the DOT’s electronic logging device mandate.


“Although the electronic logging device (ELD) rule that went into effect on Dec. 18, 2017, does not change any of the underlying hours-of-service rules or exceptions, the ELD mandate placed a spotlight on hours-of-service compliance,” said Capt. Turner. “We thought this year would be a perfect opportunity to focus on the importance of the hours-of-service regulations.”

If the CVSA does find significant violations, you or your vehicle may be placed out of service. This means you will not be allowed to operate your vehicle until the driver and/or vehicle violation(s) are corrected.

Moving Forward

Since we are talking about proactivity, we hear they have started pre-filing HVUT Form 2290 at ExpressTruckTax.

Don’t wait until it is too late. Be the trucker who is ready for everything.

Are you ready for Roadcheck 2017? What do you do for your pre-trip inspections? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below. 




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Thursday, 3 May 2018

What All Truckers Need To Know About IRS Form 2290

IRS Form 2290 pre-filing season is officially here and the regular filing season is on the horizon. So to help get you ready here at the ten things truckers need to know about IRS Form 2290.

Time and time again truckers filing their 2290 online tend to ask the same questions and make the same mistakes when it comes to their heavy vehicle use taxes. So let’s go over them, so they are fresh in your mind when you pre-file or e-file later this year.

1. Is my vehicle subject to the HVUT/Form 2290?

You are subject to HVUT/Form 2290 if you are registering a vehicle in your name as an owner-operator or self-employed driver, it weighs more than 55,000 pounds, and you are using it on public roads. The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax applies to both interstate and intrastate drivers.

2. If I am based in Canada or Mexico, does the HVUT apply?

Yes, if you drive your vehicle in the United States. You will need to file a 2290 Form 2018 and pay any owed taxes. You will also need to carry proof of tax compliance when entering the U.S. as well.

3. When is Form 2290 due in 2018?

IRS Form 2290 returns are due on the last day of the month following your vehicle’s first month of use during the reporting period. That means if your vehicle was on the road last July (2017) the deadline for filing is August 31, 2018.

If your vehicle goes into service during the reporting period, you will need to file an additional Form 2290, Schedule 1, and pay the tax amount. For example, if you purchased a vehicle in November 2018, you are required to put the vehicle in your name making its first month of use December. In this case, you will need to file an additional Form 2290, Schedule 1, and pay owed taxes on or before December 31, 2019. This is a partial year filing and will be a reduced tax amount.

4. Can I suspend my Heavy Vehicle Use Tax?

You can apply for a suspension of the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax if you expect to drive your vehicle less than 5,000 miles during the year (7,500 miles for agricultural vehicles).

However, you are still required to file IRS Form 2290 even though you do not have a tax payment. If you do end up driving more than expected, you must file an amendment to your original 2290 and pay taxes.

5. Am I required to file my 2290 Form online?

Only if you have 25 or more qualified vehicles. If you do, the IRS does not require you to file 2290 online. However, the IRS highly encourages all taxpayers to file and pay online with an IRS-authorized e-file provider, like our sister product ExpressTruckTax.

6. How can I claim a credit?


Now is the time for you to claim any credits you earned last year. The credits can be claimed using a couple of different methods.

If you ended up driving your vehicle less than 5,00 miles (or 7,500 for agricultural vehicles) you can claim a credit. Or if your vehicle was stolen or destroyed last year, you can claim a credit. For more information, I would visit the IRS website for the full list of situations.

7. Can I claim a refund on my IRS Form 2290?

Yes, if your credit exceeds your taxes owed on your 2018-2019 filing, you will need to file a refund. This can be done by filing IRS Form 8849, Claim for Refund Excise Taxes.

8. What do I need to register my vehicle?

Proof of your HVUT payment is required before you register your vehicles. You will not be registered unless you can provide your stamped Schedule 1.

9. How do I pay 2990 online?

You can pay via the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or by check/money order.

10. Where can I find more information about IRS Form 2290?

You can check out our blog page for more information concerning pre-filing and the upcoming 2290 season. Or you can find more information via the IRS publication “Instructions for Form 2290.”

We Got Your Back

We understand that we are coming up on a very stressful time for the trucking industry, but we will be there every step of the way. We will continue to supply you with up-to-date information about the IRS Form 2290 deadline.

If you have any questions about e-filing your 2290 or calculating your totals please don’t hesitate to contact the dedicated TruckLogics support team. We’re available over the phone Monday - Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM EST at 704.234.6946. We also offer live chat and 24/7 email support at support@trucklogics.com.


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Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Controversial Denham Amendment Moves Forward In The House

Many drivers in the trucking industry are worried how the Denham Amendment will impact their pay and break timesOver the past several years many within the trucking industry have pushed for legislation standardizing meal and rest breaks. This would prevent individual states from setting their own rules and regulations. The controversial Denham Amendment moves forward in the House with the passage of the FAA reauthorization bill. 
 

Controversial Denham Amendment Moves Forward In The House

Before we get into what happened on Thursday, April 26, 2018, let’s review current regulations. Under the current federal hours-of-service regulations, drivers are required to take a 20-minute break after driving for eight hours. However, in California drivers are required to stop for a 30-minute break after four hours of service.

So potentially this means drivers passing through states like California are required to take two 30-minute breaks during a 10-hour route. This has consequently lead to several class action lawsuits where truckers claim not being allowed to take their breaks. This creates a certain level of confusion about which regulations to follow.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham: Denham Amendment


How will the trucking industry react to the new Denham amendment regulations The Denham Amendment is a piece of legislation proposed by U.S. House Representative Jeff Denham (R-Cali) to standardize the meals and rest breaks required by truckers. The amendment moved forward on Thursday with the passage of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill by the House of Representatives.


“Congress shall have the power. To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”
                                                        - Article 1, Section 8, U.S. Constitution (The Commerce Clause)


On Thursday, April 26th the House of Representatives passed the amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill in a bipartisan vote. This will prevent states from creating a patchwork of meal and rest rules for interstate truck drivers.

As more information unfolds concerning this new piece of legislation, we will keep you updated with the latest trucking industry news and information.


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