The Importance of Pre-Trip Inspections

Before you hit the road each morning as a truck driver, you’ll need to perform a pre-trip inspection. This inspection is also part of the commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test and knowing how to do one correctly is an essential skill for truckers.

Here are some of the reasons pre-trip inspections are so important:

1. FMCSA Requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry and sets requirements truckers must follow. One of these is that drivers must perform a pre-trip inspection each day they are on the road to ensure their vehicles are in safe operating condition.

2. Safety

The most important reason to perform a pre-trip inspection every day is that it helps keep you and others on the road safe. Semi-truck accidents are typically more severe than accidents between passenger vehicles and it is your responsibility as a driver to focus on safety at all times. Pre-trip inspections help you catch any issues and fix them before they cause an accident.

As an example, consider your semi-truck’s tires. Tire issues are not uncommon and at highway speeds and a blowout can lead to an accident. When you examine your tires, you’ll check if they are worn down or if the air pressure is low. These things may seem simple, but addressing them early reduces the risk of them causing an accident.

3. Avoid Downtime

It may seem counterintuitive that getting maintenance for a truck issue reduces your downtime, since your truck may need to be off the road temporarily while the issue is addressed. However, getting maintenance when you first notice an issue does save you time in the long run.

Consider the tire example again. Replacing a worn-down tire will take some of your time, but getting your truck towed after a blowout on the highway will cost a lot more time and money, not to mention the risk of you or someone else getting hurt.

4. Minimize Liability

After an accident, you could be found liable for any damages depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. If you can’t demonstrate that you’ve been performing thorough pre-trip inspections as required by the FMCSA, this could be used against you. In addition to inspecting your truck, you also need to make sure to properly document that you did so. You should also document any repairs.

Learning How to Perform a Pre-Trip Inspection

In order to earn your CDL, you will need to demonstrate your ability to perform a pre-trip inspection. Since there are so many parts you’ll need to name and inspect, this is often one of the parts of the CDL test that students stress over the most. Performing mock inspections and making flashcards can help you learn how to perform an inspection. Additionally, choosing a high-quality CDL training program gives you access to helpful resources while you learn this and other trucking skills.

Truck Driving School in Albuquerque

At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you get on the road and earning in as little as four weeks. Our program covers essential information related to trucking safety and operation, including how to perform pre-trip inspections.

To learn more about our truck driver training, contact us today.

What Jackknifing Is and How to Prevent It

Due to the large size of semi-trucks, accidents involving these vehicles are typically more severe than those involving only passenger vehicles. Many of the most serious semi-truck accidents involve jackknifing. This can also be called “a jackknife” and it is important for professional drivers to understand what this is and why it occurs so they can take steps to prevent it.

What is Jackknifing?

Jackknifing is when the trailer portion of a semi-truck folds in toward the tractor portion. This creates an acute angle, and it gets its name from the fact that it looks similar to a folded pocket knife. A jackknife starts with the trailer skidding and then the force of the skid pulls the truck into an acute angle if no action is taken.

This is different from trailer swing, which is when the trailer of the vehicle moves to one side, often while on a slippery surface. Trailer swing is less serious and can be corrected, although it is still important to be mindful of it so the trailer does not collide with anything.

Why is Jackknifing Dangerous?

When a semi-truck jackknifes, it often turns horizontally. This can result in it blocking several lanes of traffic, and nearby vehicles may be unable to stop before colliding with the trailer. This results in a chain reaction and can impact a significant number of vehicles.

Why Do Semi-Trucks Jackknife?

Understanding the circumstances that can lead to a jackknife helps you take the steps to prevent these issues.

Here are some of the reasons a semi-truck can jackknife:

  • Speeding: A semi-truck takes significantly longer than a passenger vehicle to come to a stop safely. Speeding increases this distance and if a driver is going too fast and needs to stop suddenly, this can result in the trailer skidding.
  • Unbalanced Cargo: It’s important to ensure your load is balanced correctly before you start driving. Unbalanced cargo can cause the trailer to tip or tilt. Light loads also increase the risk of a jackknife since there is less traction between the trailer and the road in these cases.
  • Poor Weather: Rain makes the road slippery, and this increases the possibility of jackknifing if a driver tries to stop too suddenly.

What to Do If Your Trailer Starts to Skid

Preventing skidding is the best way to prevent jackknifing, and you can do this by driving at a reasonable speed and making sure you do not brake or turn suddenly. If your trailer does start to skid, it is still possible to prevent a more serious issue, but it’s important to act quickly. Take your foot off the gas, avoid braking until the skid stops, and turn your wheel in the direction you want to go.

Learn How to Be a Safe Trucker

At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and cover a variety of topics that help you become a safe and successful truck driver.

To learn more about our CDL training in Albuquerque, contact us today.

Making Your Semi-Truck Sleeper Feel Like Home

For truckers, their cab functions as both their office and their home while they are on the road. Making this space feel comfortable is important. While the area is relatively small, it’s still possible to add a few personal touches and customize the area so it feels more homey.

Here are some tips for making your semi-truck sleeper feel like home:

Start With The Essentials

When you’re working with a smaller amount of available space, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need before you start adding more. For your first few solo trips, it’s best to start with the most essential items. This allows you to get used to organizing and storing these supplies and by the time you’ve gotten some more experience, you’ll have a better idea of what space is available. Additionally, part of feeling at home is having peace of mind that you have access to everything you need, so having these supplies is an important step in feeling comfortable on hauls.

Some of the key supplies for truckers include clothing, any prescription or over-the-counter medication you take, personal hygiene products, organizational supplies for storing key documents, and tools for maintaining your truck. It’s also best to have some healthy snacks and meals available to avoid eating too many meals at truck stops or restaurants. Water is also essential and you should have a good supply in case of any emergencies.

Consider The Quality Of Your Sleep

Sleep is essential for anyone’s health and wellbeing and for truckers, minimizing fatigue can lower your risk of getting into an accident. There are many simple steps you can take to make sleeping in your semi-truck more comfortable. One is to consider adding a mattress topper to your bed or upgrading your mattress. You can also get high-quality pillows, sheets, and comforters. Customizing these items can help you decorate your cab and make it feel more like your own space.

In addition to the bed itself, you can add small items to help you sleep. Some options that are small enough for a semi-truck include an essential oil diffuser, a white noise machine, or a portable fan. You can customize these based on what you know works best for helping you get to sleep. However, it’s best not to go overboard and add multiple items all at once. Instead, add one at a time and see if it makes a difference, then go from there.

Add Electronics and Other Entertainment Items

When you aren’t driving, it helps to have ways to keep yourself entertained. Your semi-truck’s inverter can be used to power small electronics such as a television or gaming system. Of course, you won’t be able to fit a big flat-screen in your truck, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have a small TV set.

You can also bring your laptop or tablet on the road as long as you have a mobile hotspot to connect to the internet. Many truck stops also have Wi-Fi available, but keep in mind that this isn’t always reliable or fast, and not all truck stops have it available.

Make Your Cab Your Own With Personal Touches

Even a few small personal touches can make your semi-truck sleep feel more like home. Items that you can hang up on the wall take up minimal space while boosting your mood and helping your space feel unique. You can hang up flags, posters, and/or photos of your family and friends.

Sharing Your Cab With a Pet

Trucking is one of the few professions where you can have your pet with you every day on the job. Bringing a dog or cat on the road can make your rig homier and gives you a companion to share your hauls with. However, it’s important to be aware that it takes planning ahead of time to bring a pet on your semi-truck. You’ll also need to have enough space for their essential items such as food/treats, bowls, water, toys, and supplies to clean up after them.

Interested in the Trucking Lifestyle?

Trucking is as much a lifestyle as it is a career and for many people, this is part of the appeal. If you want to enjoy the freedom of the open road while also earning competitive pay, you may want to consider becoming a truck driver. The first step to do this is earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL). At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you do this in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about our CDL training in Albuquerque, contact us today.

5 Tips for Semi-Truck Organization

Over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers need to bring a variety of different supplies with them on the road. These include personal items as well as important documentation for the freight that is being delivered. Staying organized is essential to maximize the space in your truck and to keep the area from getting too cluttered. It’s also important to make sure you can find anything you need quickly and easily.

Here are some tips for semi-truck organization:

1. Stick to the Essentials at First

After finishing school and completing company training, you’re likely eager to be able to customize your cab to fit your personality. You’d be surprised how much you can do with a small space. However, it’s a good idea to stick to only the most essential items for your first few solo trips. After you’ve gotten the hang of life on the open road, you can start to add more items if you’d like. This helps you stay organized because you’ll have less items to worry about at first and can avoid clutter.

2. Use Organization Supplies

Having many items all around your truck can get confusing and organization supplies can help you keep everything in its proper place. One of the most helpful is a folder or small file cabinet for important paperwork. You can also get plastic bins and other items to make organization easier. Keep in mind that you should only buy what you actually need. Otherwise, the bins and organizers may become clutter themselves.

3. Take Advantage of Wall Space

A semi-truck cab is small, so you may need to get creative to find space for organization. One great way to do this is to add hanging organizers to take advantage of wall space. You can get command strips to hang up organizers and small items without damaging the cab. Just make sure everything is secure before you start driving.

4. Store Items For Easy Access

When you decide where to put different items, think about how often you’ll need to get to them and plan for convenient access. For example, paperwork that you might need during a traffic stop or roadside inspection should be easy to get to from the driver’s seat. Shower supplies, on the other hand, can be under your bed or in another area in the back of the cab since you’ll only need to get them when you’re stopped.

5. Reevaluate Regularly

Every so often, you should think about how your cab is organized and identify what is and isn’t working for you. If there is an item that you always seem to lose, for example, you may want to change where you put it. If there is something you haven’t used at all since you got it, it may be helpful to get rid of this item to free up some space.

Start Your Trucking Career

Before you hit the road, you’ll need to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). At Phoenix Truck Driving School, our accelerated training can help you get started in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about our truck driving school in Albuquerque, contact us today.

Top 3 Benefits of Becoming a Husband-and-Wife Trucking Team

While many truckers spend most of their time in their truck alone, this isn’t always the case. For trucking teams, two individuals split up driving time. This means that if you and your spouse are both interested in the trucking industry, you can both earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and hit the road together. Husband-and-wife trucking teams are relatively common in the industry and there are many benefits.

Some of these include:

1. Earn More Together

Truckers must follow regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for driving and on-duty hours. Drivers must take regular breaks in order to ensure they are well-rested. For solo drivers, this means they will need to stop the truck. Team drivers, on the other hand, can switch off who is driving and keep the truck moving more consistently. As a result, motor carriers are typically willing to pay more for team drivers. If you and your spouse both have your CDL, you can earn more driving as a team than you would driving separately.

2. Drive With Someone You Know

The main reason some truckers prefer to stick to solo driving even when team trucking pays more is that driving with someone you don’t know can be challenging. You’re sharing a small space and will need to be able to communicate effectively and make decisions together. Husband-and-wife trucking teams are already at an advantage here because they (hopefully) learned how to communicate well over the course of their relationship and are more comfortable around each other.

3. Spend Time With Your Spouse

Trucking is a great career, but that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. One of the downsides is that you’ll spend more time away from home than you would with a traditional 9-5. Although the high pay and freedom of the open road make this worth it for many, it’s still a challenge to be away from family. If you bring your spouse on the road with you, you’ll be able to spend more time with them.

What to Consider

While husband-and-wife trucking is an excellent decision for many drivers, it’s not for everyone. Before you commit to this career path, you should be sure that both you and your spouse are equally interested in it. Trucking is as much a lifestyle as it is a career and some individuals will enjoy it more than others. 

If your spouse doesn’t think they will enjoy trucking, you can always pursue a CDL on your own. You can compare home time policies to find one that works with your preferences.

Earn Your CDL in Albuquerque

The first step to a trucking career, whether you are interested in team or solo driving, is earning your CDL. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you get your license in as little as four weeks with our accelerated training. If you are interested in trucking with your spouse, our job placement assistance team can help you find companies that are hiring team drivers.

To learn more about our CDL training program, contact us today.

 

All About the New ELDT Requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated its entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements as of February 7, 2022. These apply to drivers who are earning their Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time, as well as those who are upgrading from a Class B to a Class A or who are earning certain endorsements. 

 

In order to earn your CDL and become a trucker, you will need to do so in compliance with these regulations. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, our programs meet the new ELDT requirements and we can help you get on the road and earning in as little as four weeks. 

How Have the ELDT Requirements Changed?

Understanding how the recent changes to the ELDT requirements are different from the previous regulations is helpful for getting an idea of how these changes affect CDL instruction.

Here are some of the differences: 

  • Under the new requirements, only institutions on the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR) can provide entry-level CDL training. Before the updated regulations, institutions only had to meet state-level training requirements. 
  • The topics students need to learn in order to earn their CDL are now standardized. 
  • As of February 7, 2022, schools must administer the CDL written test and report students’ scores to the FMCSA. Previously, this was the responsibility of each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

CDL Theory Instruction Requirements

 

CDL instructors must cover a list of specific topics under the new ELDT requirements. In order to determine proficiency, instructors must use assessments and students need to earn an 80% or higher on these assessments. There are no minimum hours for theory instruction as long as students can demonstrate proficiency. 

 

There are five categories for theory instruction and each one includes various sub-topics. 

 

The theory instruction categories are:

    • Basic Operation: This topic includes subtopics such as pre-trip and post-trip inspections, coupling and uncoupling (for Class A CDLs only), and basic vehicle control. 
  • Safe Operating Procedures: To earn a CDL, students will need to understand topics including nighttime driving, handling extreme conditions, and the dangers of distracted driving. 
  • Advanced Operating Practices: CDL students must understand hazard perception, railroad-highway grade crossings, and skid control/recovery. 
  • Vehicle Systems and Reporting Malfunctions: Entry-level training must cover topics related to vehicle systems and malfunctions, including how to handle roadside inspections. 
  • Non-Driving Activities: Truck driver training must cover a variety of sub-topics related to non-driving activities, including post-crash procedures, trip planning, and environmental compliance issues.

Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements

CDL programs must also include behind-the-wheel training. There isn’t a minimum number of hours for this training, but instructors do need to document the total clock hours and ensure they cover all required topics. 

 

The ELDT regulations require programs to cover the following skills in a range setting:

  • Coupling and uncoupling
  • Blind side parallel parking
  • Sight side parallel parking
  • Alley dock backing (45 and 90 degrees)
  • Straight line backing
  • Off-set backing
  • Pre-trip, en route, and post-trip vehicle inspections

Additionally, the training must address these topics on a public road:

  • Regulations for hours of service (HOS)
  • Vehicle controls such as entry and exit onto highways, turning, and lane changes
  • Visual search
  • Speed management and space management
  • Safe driving behaviors
  • Driving at night
  • Railroad crossing
  • Shifting/transmission
  • Signaling/communication
  • Hazard perception
  • Skid control/recovery, jackknifing, and other emergencies
  • Driving in extreme conditions

Some of these topics cannot be simulated during training, such as emergencies or extreme driving conditions. In these circumstances, the instructor must have a two-way conversation with their students and address how to respond to the situations outlined in the required topics. 

Earn Your Commercial License

If you are interested in earning your CDL and becoming a truck driver, Phoenix Truck Driving School can help. Our programs meet the new ELDT requirements and we give our students the skills they need to succeed in the trucking industry. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help you earn your CDL in as little as four weeks.

FMCSA Regulations Truckers Need to Know

As a trucker, safety should always be a top priority. Part of staying safe on the road is following all regulations from the Federal Motor Safety Administration (FMCSA). This organization regulates the trucking industry. Following FMCSA requirements is important not only for your safety but also for avoiding fines and other consequences. The trucking company you choose to work for should assist you in staying compliant, but you are also responsible for being aware of regulations and following them.

Some of the key FMCSA regulations for truckers:

Drug and Alcohol Tests

Before you can drive a commercial vehicle, you will need to pass a drug test. Some companies may require an alcohol test before you begin employment as well. Throughout your career, there will be other circumstances when you are required to undergo drug and alcohol testing. These include random tests, after an accident, and if a supervisor has a reasonable suspicion of use/abuse.

If you fail or refuse to take a drug or alcohol test, your company will remove you from safety-sensitive duties, meaning you cannot drive. You will need to complete the return-to-duty process. Any drug and alcohol violations are reported to the FMCSA Clearinghouse, meaning they are visible to potential employers later on.

Hours of Service Limits

In order to help prevent truck driver fatigue, the FMCSA sets hours or service (HOS) limits. These regulations govern how long truckers can drive or be on-duty before they have to take a break. Truck drivers are responsible for planning their days to stay within these guidelines.

Depending on the type of trucking job you pursue, you will likely need to use an electronic logging device (ELD) to record your HOS. This means that if you are stopped by law enforcement or are subject to an inspection, your driving and on-duty time can be audited.

Here are some HOS rules you should know:

  • There is a maximum of 11 hours of driving time before you must take 10 consecutive hours off-duty. In the event that there are unforeseeable adverse conditions that make it impossible to find safe parking before the 11 hours is up, you can extend the maximum time to 13 hours. However, this only applies if the conditions were truly unforeseeable (e.g. rush hour traffic or predicted weather would not count).
  • After 14 consecutive hours on duty, you must take a 10-hour break. Driving time occurs within this window. On-duty non-driving tasks may include pre-trip inspections or fueling.
  • You must take a 30-minute break after 8 consecutive hours of driving.
  • In a seven-day timeframe, the maximum driving time is 60 hours. In an eight-day timeframe, the limit is 70 hours. You need to take a 34-hour break to reset this.

The above guidelines are the most basic you need to remember but keep in mind there are other rules you must know and follow. You can use the educational tool on the FMCSA’s website to help you understand HOS requirements.

Vehicle Inspections

Before you hit the road each day, you need to perform a pre-trip inspection to ensure your vehicle is in good working order. Per FMCSA regulations, this is a requirement for commercial drivers, and driving an unsafe vehicle or failing to ensure the vehicle is safe is a violation. If there is ever an issue during your inspection, you need to let your dispatcher know so they can arrange for it to be fixed promptly.

During hauls, you may also be stopped from a roadside inspection. These involve a thorough check of your vehicle, as well as your HOS and various documents. A pre-trip inspection helps you ensure you are ready if you are ever subject to one of these inspections.

Other Regulations

The regulations in this article are only some of the rules you need to know. When in doubt, keep in mind that you can always ask your supervisor (once you start working for a trucking company) or your instructor (while attending trucking school).

Get Your CDL and Enter the Trucking Industry

If you are interested in a trucking career, Phoenix Truck Driving School in Albuquerque can help. We teach you everything you need to know to pass your commercial driver’s license (CDL) test and offer job placement assistance to help you hit the road as soon as possible.

Contact us today to learn more about our CDL training programs.

Tips for Trucking With a Family

Trucking is a promising career path. Commercial drivers can earn more than $69,000 a year* and it only takes a few weeks to get the necessary training to get started. Many individuals chose to enter the field due to these benefits, including individuals with families. Long-haul trucking (which is most common for entry-level positions, and has the highest earning potential) is as much a lifestyle as it is a career. This will affect not only you, but also your loved ones back home. With a bit of effort on both ends, it is possible to make trucking with a family work for you.

Here are some tips:

1. Take Advantage of Technology

Modern technology has made it easier than ever to stay in touch with loved ones even if you are far from home. Make an effort to call at least once each day while you’re out and to video chat with your family a few times a week. This way, you can stay up to date with everything that is happening in their lives.

During fuel stops and other breaks, send photos of interesting truck stops, roadside attractions, or anything else you think they’d like to see from your day. This will remind them that you’re thinking of them while you’re out on the road. However, make sure you never text while driving!

2. Let Your Family Help You Trip Plan

Before starting a haul, it’s important to plan your route. During this process, get your family involved by letting them help pick where you’ll stop. When you’ve made your plan, give them a copy so they have a timeline of where you’ll be at different points of your trip. Each day when you check in, they’ll be able to reference your plan to get an idea of what area you are in. It’s likely your plans will change and you won’t follow the route completely, but your family will still get to feel like they’re a part of your daily life on the road.

3. Spend Time Together When You’re Home

During your home time, there are likely several things you’ll need to do. You will want to make sure you can finish any essential tasks and take some time to relax. In addition to taking time for yourself, make sure you also take advantage of the time you have with your family.

There are sure to be many events or special occasions where you want to be with your family. Be realistic and prioritize the most important of these. Make sure you are realistic and don’t make any promises you can’t keep. Surprising your family by getting home earlier than you thought is going to be better than missing out on something you said you’d be there for. Setting clear expectations for this ahead of time is helpful and when you can’t physically be there, try to call, video chat, or otherwise be involved as much as you can.

4. Consider a Trip With a Loved One

Depending on which motor carrier you work for, you may be able to bring a passenger on the road with you. If one of your family members has time, consider taking them on the road for a short trip. This gives them the opportunity to see what your day-to-day working life is like, and it lets you share a special experience together.

For children, be sure to check your company’s minimum age requirements. You should also consider whether your child is prepared to spend hours at a time in your truck.

When taking passengers on the road, be sure to plan ahead. Choose a route that is short and relatively easy when possible. A route through a busy city or an area with inclement weather is likely to raise your stress levels and may not be a great trip for bringing a family member along.

5. Set Goals With Your Family in Mind

You and your partner/co-parent should be on the same page when it comes to what is best for your family situation. Set clear expectations with each other and discuss your long-term and short-term career goals. If you want to transition into a job with more home time, consider spending one year as a long-haul driver before transitioning to a regional or local job. Alternatively, if you find you love over-the-road (OTR) trucking, be sure your family is on board. Both options are possible for truckers with families so it just depends on your and your family’s preferences.

Earn Your CDL in Tucson

If you are interested in a trucking career, HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) can help you earn your license in as little as four weeks. We have trained many students with families and offer job placement assistance to help you find opportunities that align with your needs and goals.

To learn more about becoming a truck driver, contact us today.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $48,710. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $69,000 per year according to the 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Future of Women in Trucking

If you ask someone to picture a truck driver, many of them will think of a rugged man. Although it is true that the trucking industry has a high proportion of male drivers, the number of women truckers continues to grow. Data from Freightwaves and the Women in Trucking Association (WIT) shows that the percentage of over-the-road (OTR) truckers who are female has increased from 4.9% in 2008 to 10.2% in 2019.

Due to the continuing truck driver shortage, there is an increased demand for drivers of both genders. This means that welcoming more female truckers is a promising way to meet this need while also allowing women to take advantage of the many benefits of the trucking industry.

More information about the future of women in trucking:

What Brings Women to the Trucking Industry

For the most part, women choose to become truckers for the same reasons men do.

Some of these include:

  • High Earning Potential: OTR drivers can earn competitive pay and take advantage of excellent benefits. Truckers can earn more than $69,000 a year.*
  • Accelerated Training: Getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL) can take as little as four weeks. Especially considering the high earning potential, this is a relatively short training period.
  • Freedom of the Open Road: Long-haul trucking gives you the opportunity to see more of the country.

Key Barriers to Address to Help Women in Trucking

Over the years, the trucking industry has become more welcoming for women. However, there are still some barriers that companies are working to address in order to help women drivers.

Some of these barriers and possible solutions for them include:

Varying Company Cultures

Some motor carriers unfortunately still have corporate cultures that are not entirely welcoming to female truckers. Luckily, more and more companies have begun to realize how valuable women truck drivers can be and are taking steps to create a more inclusive environment.

If you are a female trucking school student, one way to help ensure your future company will be a welcoming workplace is to talk to current drivers. All trucking students, regardless of gender, can actually benefit from this as it allows them to make decisions about their future with access to all of the available information.

Semi-Truck Design

Women are shorter and smaller than men on average and in the past, semi-trucks have been designed for male drivers. As a result, women may not always feel as comfortable in tractor-trailers. Today, companies have begun to consider the needs of women and are making cabs that are more accommodating.

Safety

Female truckers traveling alone may be concerned about safety. The good news is that there have been advancements in security technology that can help these women feel safer. Additionally, female truck drivers who have dealt with issues in the past can help those who are new to the industry and give them advice.

Motor carriers have also become more aware of the unique concerns of their female drivers and trainees. As a result, they have worked to improve safety on the road. In addition, updated truck stop facilities provide more safety and comfort for all drivers regardless of gender.

We Welcome All Trucking Students

At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we strive to provide a supportive and welcoming environment for all students, both male and female. Our program can get you on the road in as little as four weeks and we offer job placement assistance to help you get your career started.

If you are interested in earning your commercial driver’s license, contact us today.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $47,130. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $69,480 per year according to 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Types of Trucker Pay

Trucking can be a rewarding career path and drivers can make more than $69,000 a year.* Determining how much you can earn as a trucker can be confusing at first because the pay structure is typically different for over-the-road drivers compared to other workers. Beyond the base pay, there are also additional types of trucker pay and it’s helpful to understand what these are and when they might apply.

Some types of pay for truck drivers include:

Base Pay

Most of what you earn as a trucker will be from your base pay. This is the standard pay you receive for driving. The way your company calculates base pay will vary depending on the type of driving you do.

Your base pay may be:

Pay Per Mile

This is the most common type of pay for over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers and many regional drivers as well. As the name implies, this type of base pay compensates you based on the number of miles that you haul goods and materials. The company will express this rate as cents per mile (CPM).

There are a few different ways to calculate mileage, so it’s important to know which your company uses.

These are:

  • Practical Mileage – one of the most common and is based on the number of miles in the most efficient route from the starting point to the destination.
  • Household Goods (HHG) – measures from zip code to zip code
  • Hub Mileage – includes every mile a truck drivers

Hourly

Local drivers and regional drivers with short routes may have hourly rates instead of being paid per mile. This type of base pay becomes more practical if the driver performs non-driving tasks (such as loading and unloading or interacting with customers) for long periods of time on a regular basis. It is very rare for OTR drivers to be paid hourly.

Salary

Truck drivers with a salary earn a consistent amount on a weekly or biweekly basis. These are similar to hourly trucking jobs in that they are more common for local or regional driving compared to OTR.

Pay Per Load

This is one of the rarer types of base pay in the trucking industry, although companies may offer it under some circumstances. You are more likely to see pay per load for specialized trucking jobs or as pay for owner-operators. This may be a flat rate or a percentage of the profit the company makes for the load. The second is less common.

Additional Trucker Pay

Motor carriers may compensate truck drivers beyond base pay depending on the situation.

Some additional types of pay that may apply include:

Per Diem

A per diem is a daily allowance and helps cover daily expenses a driver may have on the road, such as meals. Many motor carriers will add a per diem into their CPM rate. One thing to note is that per diem pay is non-taxable. As a result, it’s important to know what portion, if any, of your pay per mile is considered per diem.

Detention, Layover, and Breakdown Pay

In trucking, things don’t always go as planned. Compensating drivers in these situations can help reduce their stress when they are not able to travel as many miles as expected due to delays outside of their control.

Motor carriers may offer pay for:

  • Detentions – a trucker is stuck at the receiver and has to wait to drop off their load
  • Layovers –  a driver is waiting to receive a load
  • Breakdowns – an issue with the tractor-trailer that requires the truck driver to stop and wait for repairs

Stop Pay

In many cases, OTR drivers deliver a full truckload to one customer. However, there may be circumstances when a load will include two or more stops. Many motor carriers offer additional stop pay for every drop-off past the first one.

Bonuses and Incentives

Trucking companies often offer incentives to encourage the best performance. Some examples include bonuses for passing Department of Transportation (DOT) inspections, safe driving, and fuel efficiency. Due to the driver shortage, many carriers offer sign-on bonuses as well.

Start A Rewarding Trucking Career

If you are interested in seeing more of the country while earning high pay, you should consider trucking. The first step is earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and at Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you do this in as little as four weeks. We also offer job placement assistance and many of our students have offers even before graduation.

To learn more about our truck driver training, contact us today.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $47,130 (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm). The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $69,480 per year according to 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

5 Tips for Getting The Most Out of CDL Driver Training

Earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) is the first step to a rewarding trucking career. In most cases, it’s best to get your training at a truck driving school. To get the most out of your CDL driver training, it’s important to have the right mindset.

Here are some tips:

1. Research the Industry Before You Start

Before you attend CDL school, read about the trucking industry. This helps you make sure that you are fully committed to this career path. There are many benefits, such as high pay and the opportunity to see the country, but you should consider every aspect of trucking and be prepared for the unique lifestyle.

Researching before you start CDL classes also helps you figure out what topics you may need more help understanding. Read the New Mexico CDL manual and keep track of any questions that come up. As you go over these topics again in school, you’ll be prepared to retain more of the material.

2. Stay Positive

During your CDL driver training, you’ll be learning a lot of new skills. You’ll be better at some than others and it’s easy to get overwhelmed or frustrated. However, staying positive can help you have the best possible experience. Remind yourself of why you are interested in a trucking career and focus on working toward your goals.

3. Ask Questions

There will be a lot of information to take in during your training. To help you understand everything your instructor covers, ask questions when you need to. Don’t feel self-conscious. Chances are other students will be wondering the same thing, and questions give everyone the opportunity to learn more about the material.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

Your instructors will help you prepare for your CDL test, but you should also study on your own or with classmates. The skills on the driving test will require instructor supervision, but you can practice pre-trip inspections and study for the written tests without this. Find a study method that works for you and practice as much as you can.

5. Observe While Other Students Drive

In most cases, you will spend a portion of your time driving during hands-on training, and you will spend the rest of the time watching while other students drive. Instead of checking out, pay attention to what your classmates are doing. If they make mistakes, make a mental note of what you can do to avoid the same issues. If they are doing especially well, consider what you can learn from their technique. This helps you make the best use of your time.

Bonus Tip: Choose A High-Quality Trucking School

The above tips focus on what you can do to improve your experience, but this will also depend on the quality of the program you attend. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, our instructors have real-world experience and work hard to help you succeed. We also have a job placement assistance team and many of our students have offers before graduation. We can get you on the road and earning in as little as four weeks.

Get Started On The Road to a New Career

If you are interested in earning your CDL with Phoenix Truck Driving School, contact us today.

Why Most Entry-Level CDL Jobs are OTR

After earning a commercial driver’s license (CDL), many drivers start their career with an over-the-road (OTR) job. In the majority of cases, experienced drivers will advise rookies to start out with long-haul trucking. You will also likely see that most entry-level CDL jobs are OTR.

Here are some of the reasons why most new drivers start with an OTR job:

1. Build Experience

OTR job allows you to get exposure to a variety of driving conditions and situations. Since you’ll be driving across the country, you’ll learn how to handle icy roads, mountains, traffic, sudden weather changes, et cetera. Whether you continue to drive OTR or eventually transition into a regional or local job, your first year as a long-haul truck driver gives you the opportunity to start building these skills.

2. Space Out More Difficult Driving Conditions

Local jobs (and, to a certain extent, regional jobs) tend to involve a lot of city driving and backing into loading docks. These are challenging tasks for a new driver. While you get the chance to do both while driving OTR, you won’t spend your entire working day doing them.

This gives you the opportunity to focus on learning new skills without the stress of constantly doing the driving tasks that are most challenging for beginners. It’s also worth noting that staying accident-free your first year is helpful for finding jobs in the future, and this can be more difficult if you are driving in city traffic and backing into tight spots all day.

3. Higher Pay and Tuition Reimbursement

The specific pay scale varies depending on the carrier you choose to work with. However, OTR tends to be the highest-paying option for new CDL holders. This is because of the high demand for long-haul truckers. Many companies also offer tuition reimbursement for new graduates, further increasing the amount you can earn.

4. Insurance

The three reasons above illustrate where OTR jobs are often the best starting point for new truckers, but it’s also helpful to understand why there are fewer entry-level regional and local jobs. One of the major reasons for this is insurance.

It costs more to insure new CDL holders compared to those with experience. As this article previously mentioned, local and regional jobs can include challenging conditions on a daily basis, which further increases the risk for insuring new drivers in those positions. As a result, most regional and local routes will require 6 months to a year of previous experience, whereas entry-level OTR positions are more accessible to a student who just graduated CDL school.

Start Your Trucking Career

If you are interested in earning your commercial license, Phoenix Truck Driving School can help. We can get you on the road and earning in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about earning your CDL, contact us today.