General trucking industry news and information can be helpful as well, and Humbles gets this from Internet websites. “I can check on carrier safety ratings at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website,” he says. “I can make sure their insurance is current and see what kind of coverage they got. That’s what you can do with government websites like that.”
Humbles says his cell phone helps him get better information from and form better relationships with the brokers he uses. “I can’t do everything on my own,” he says. “But I’m a one-truck company, and I have to be able to trust the brokers I deal with.”
“I use my cell phone to get a hold of them,” he says. “I have their home numbers. I can call them in the middle of the night and get them out of bed if I have to, and they’ll help.”
Some carriers might not know how important information about freight and loads can be to a driver. But nothing frustrates a driver more and chases him or her away from a job faster than a dispatcher or fleet manager saying “we’ll call you” and then leaving the driver dangling in the wind, often for days, with no information and hundreds of miles from home.
It’s critically important for trucking companies to regularly keep their drivers informed: why they’re sitting, why there’s no freight. Waiting for days in a strange place without information is powerfully alienating and demoralizing.
“We all need to work together at a deeper depth of relationship than just the surface,” Humbles says. “The drivers, the receivers, the dispatchers and the brokers all need to share information. You got to have everything in the picture. You have to have all the information to make informed choices. We all need to educate ourselves with the facts.”
The information drivers need to do their jobs well is in more abundance and more accessible than ever before.
Below are some good sources of information along with their physical and web addresses and phone numbers.
American Trucking Associations: Primarily for trucking company owners, this organization has information about every aspect of the trucking industry from related state and national legislation to safety issues to trucking rodeos.
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance: Not a government organization, the CVSA is an excellent source of information about vehicle inspections and applicable laws. State DOT and traffic enforcement officers who actually perform or have performed inspections provide the facts.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Part of the U.S. DOT and the overall legal authority in the trucking industry, the FMCSA has information about all applicable laws, safety ratings, operating authority insurance, et cetera, et cetera. It’s also linked to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Transportation Security Administration: Also part of the U.S. DOT, the TSA was formed in 2002 by mandate of the USA PATRIOT Act and focuses primarily on national security issues, including international background checks for drivers seeking HAZMAT endorsements on their CDLs.
National Association of Truck Stop Operators: Not all truckstops belong to NATSO, but most of them do, especially the big chains. Contact them with issues about accessibility, parking, fuel quality or anything else to do with truckstops.