Blogs

Hey, buddy. Wanna buy a truck?

Most owner-operators begin their careers as company drivers. Making the leap from employee to independent businessperson is a huge step, but one that offers a great deal of promise for those with the right game plan. As part of our How to Become an Owner-Operator monthly feature, we also are offering a series of free one-hour webinars this year. The first one, Getting Your Finances in Order, is May 18 at 8 p.m. central time. It ...

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Newton’s laws of motion at work on NYSE?

Every driver knows, at least intuitively, Newton's third law of motion, right? Or is it the first? In any case, it typically runs something like "for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction," and is meant to describe momentum and the interaction of objects. The wheels and tires, propelled by the truck's engine, give it momentum enough that the consistent resisting force of the pavement doesn't slow the truck down. . . . When I ...

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How recorders can protect you

If it seems electronic onboard recorders are becoming much more prevalent, it’s because they are. Thousands of units are in place in major carriers. The recent final rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration means that thousands more are on the way for fleets that rack up too many hours-of-service violations. The May Overdrive will examine what all this means. Some of the owner-operators interviewed by my colleague Todd Dills found, often to their surprise, ...

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Excuses, excuses

It's funny and sad. For all my good intentions of getting in better shape and getting to the gym, actually getting there and doing it seems to fall to the wayside far too easily. I'm probably one of the world's biggest excuse makers, and I can come up with some doozies. "Oh, well, I can't go the gym after work, because the dogs will staaaaaarve if I don't go feed them right now." "It's raining, and I don't ...

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Running Naked

It’s not what you think. You are wearing clothes. People tend to get caught up in performance tracking. I ran 5 miles Tuesday in 45 minutes. Today I ran the same distance in 46 minutes. What’s wrong?  Nothing, but that type of thing can get frustrating. It may even cause you to give up. Of course it's fun to track improvement. But at 51 years old and 5 years of running there is just not ...

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Amid industry discussion of EOBR rule, smartphone logging apps proliferate

Though the FMCSA's just-published limited-mandate and performance-standards rule for electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs) for logging did next to nothing to open up the market for tools beyond the paper log and expensive devices tethered to the truck's ECM, smartphone applications with similar functionality continue to proliferate. The UDrove app and online storage service, released earlier this year (functional on iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices) enables owner-operators to log hours, track mileage for tax purposes, record fuel and business expenses, and ...

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Third time’s the charm? Feds say no to tolling I-80 in Penn.

A development that could mark the end of a long saga (you could make a case that it goes back to the 1980s -- heck, even that it begins prior to the establishment of the Interstate Highway System itself) happened yesterday with the third federal rejection of an application by the state of Pennsylvania for authority to toll Interstate 80 within its borders. I first wrote about the controversy over the state's attempt to generate more revenue ...

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In praise of a good scale

A scale can be the bane of a truck driver's existence, turning a long-held friendly rural-shipper relationship sour when an inaccurate estimation of cargo weight is found faulty 50 miles down the road at the nearest weigh point. That 50-mile return trip gives a driver a lot of time to think about just who is at fault.   Though I imagine some may have thought it impossible, when you hear what Kenyan haulers are going through in ...

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Trucking through hours-of-service flexibility and EOBRs

With a new rule mandating electronic on-board recorders for a boosted number of hours-of-service (HOS) noncompliant carriers, the ongoing HOS listening sessions and FMCSA review of the current hours rule and the expectation among industry parties that an across-the-board EOBR mandate may be in the offing several years down the road, the issue of work time and outside control of that time has been front and center of late. Bison Transport driver Tom Balaz of Winnipeg, Manitoba, ...

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Mack plant on ‘American Loggers’ tonight

The Discovery Channel's 'American Loggers' series, as you may remember, features in part the Pelletier Logging family, whom I last wrote about here when their friendly business rivals the Crawfords' played one particularly funny battery-powered prank on them of an early March morning. Before that, I happened upon pictures from the Discovery crew's filming at Mack's Macungie, Pa., facility, as they traveled with the Pelletiers late last year to tour the plant and pick up two new ...

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