trucker stories

TD148: Being A Chemical Oilfield Truck Driver

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to drive a chemical truck in the oilfields, then you’re going to love the interview we have with Cannon Bryan on today’s show. For the record, oil is NOT the slickest thing Cannon deals with. LOL

We’ve also got surprisingly few news stories including the 14-hour rule, futuristic Michigan roads, what to look for in a used truck, what to do when your employer blacklists you, some trucker health help, and hey, what do you know; yet another safety blitz. yay.

Ryan is going to point us to some good Indian food in the Trucker Grub segment and we’ll hear from Rob, Steve, Goose, and Maurice, on topics such as scary CDL school situations, trucks stuck on railroad tracks, and the slim chances of any trucker ever needing a gun.

Be sure to check out the 50% off ebook combo pack for Trucking Life and How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job while you’re here. Limited time only and only available here!

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

Links mentioned in the news segment:

Another Truck Inspection Blitz Is Coming from

FMCSA enforcement chief details how drivers can pause 14-hour clock under new regs from

Shorter 14-clock pauses: FMCSA wants feedback on pilot test from

Michigan Plans Connected, Autonomous Vehicle Corridor from

Trucking Law: Your remedies when a fleet blacklists you from

What to look for when buying a used truck from

Check out for used trucks

Check out a used truck’s history with

Take a survey about trucker exercise habits (or lack of)

Major truck stops celebrating truckers throughout September from

Trucker Grub segment:

Ryan Moede tells us about the Bombay Grill and Buffet in Gallup, NM. All they have is a Facebook page so hopefully everyone can follow this link. If not, sorry… 😐

Links mentioned in the interview:

TD129: 4 Ways To Become A More Efficient Trucker

Links mentioned in the Feedback segment:

Rob Pinnick listened to TD147: Be Careful Choosing A Truck Driving School and writes in with a funny anecdote about his first day at truck driving school.

I share an “OH CRAP!” story told in the Trucker Dump Slack Group by Ben Dickens – de Geus, aka Goose.

Stephen Highfill wrote in wanting to join the Trucker Dump Slack Group. And he also took advantage of the 50% off discount price for the trucking ebook combo pack. Two books for the price of one!

Maurice listened to TD146: Personal Safety Tips For Truckers and brings up a good point about the slim chances of ever needing to defend ourselves as truckers. He also takes me to task about Volvo. LOL

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to

Join the Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD147: Be Careful Choosing A Truck Driving School

The topic of today’s show is CDL Farms and why you should be careful when choosing a truck driving school. I interview a driver who went to one and you won’t believe how bad his school was!

But before that we’ve got stories about safety blitzes and recalls, electric truck expectations, and of course, more COVID-related news, including the death of a trucking icon.

We’ll also hit on the upcoming new split sleeper berth rule, we’ll issue a warning about CBD products, the FBI warns about ELD hackers, and bringing the issues of truck parking and detention pay into the spotlight.

We’ve even got a Trucker Grub segment for you foodies!

Be sure to check out the 50% off ebook combo pack for Trucking Life and How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job. Limited time only!

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

  • Volvo Trucks– Check out the new Volvo Dynamic Steering on the VNL and VNR series and watch the all the videos on the Volvo YouTube page
  • Pilot Flying J app– Check out all the awesome features of the Pilot Flying J app and sign up for Push 4Points to earn up to 4 points per gallon

 Links mentioned in the news segment:

CVSA Schedules Brake Safety Week for Late August from

DTNA, Navistar Announce Voluntary Safety Recalls from (Transport Topics)

Remembering the ‘Midnight Cowboy,’ Bill Mack

Masks Are Now Mandatory At All Of The Largest Truck Stop Chains from

Hazmat endorsement renewal waiver extended through October from

States enter pact to ban truck emissions from

OOIDA presses regulators on detention time pay, truck parking

Truck Drivers Should Beware of CBD, Drug Policy Expert Says from (Transport Topics)

FBI Warns ELDs Could Let Hackers Control Your Vehicle, Steal Your Information, And More from

Rolling the 14: How to pull off the new split-sleeper under the hours of service come September from

Trucker Grub segment:

Ryan Moede tells us about the Red Arrow Diner in New Hampshire

Links mentioned in the Listener Feedback segment:

Eric Lindeau enjoyed the “golf swing” joke from TD146: Personal Safety Tips For Truckers

John Bergsing is a smart aleck (as always).

Andrew Farmer bails me out by using my Amazon Affiliate links from TD146: Personal Safety Tips For Truckers

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to

Join the Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD146: Personal Safety Tips For Truckers

We are living in a world full of nut-jobs. Maybe there’s something floating around in the air beyond COVID-19? Maybe we’re seeing the beginning of a zombie apocalypse of sorts? Not the laughably slow Dawn of the Dead zombies, but those really scary fast ones from 28 Days Later that are infected by some sort of rage virus. 

Whatever the cause, there is no doubt that it’s a crazy time to be a truck driver. If you pay attention to the trucking industry news at all, you will have seen far too many stories of truckers pulling guns on each other, trainees stabbing their trainer to death, various muggings, and beatdowns by security guards. 

If that weren’t bad enough, now we have to worry about protesters blocking roadways and yanking innocent truckers out of their cabs and mobbing them. 

Let me take a quick tangent here to address the current Black Lives Matter protests.

I have no problem with folks protesting against police brutality. If a cop is abusing their power, then they need to lose their job and not be protected by their fellow cops. Doesn’t matter what color the victim of that abuse is. So, yeah, keep it up if you’re going about this in a peaceful way. 

However, if you’re “peacefully protesting” by blocking a public roadway, then you’re out of line. The First Amendment clearly gives you the right to assemble and protest, but only to the extent that you don’t violate someone else’s rights. All motorists, including truckers, have a right to use that roadway without having to worry about running over people standing in the middle of traffic. 

As for those who are looting in the name of Black Lives Matter, you are an embarrassment and a distraction to the real cause. You are thugs and thieves looking for a way to justify your actions. Unless of course you can explain the logic behind looting and trashing innocent local businesses and retailers like a Nike store, which has always supported your heroes like Colin Kaepernick. Makes no sense. 

And back to truckers, how does looting freight from innocent truckers further the cause of weeding out bad cops? It doesn’t. So just admit what it is; an excuse to steal.

For the record, you don’t need to steal if you go out and get a job. Have you ever considered truck driving for a living? There are plenty of jobs to be had out here. Of course you haven’t. That would require some ambition and real work. Okay, rant over.

So with this new threat to truckers coming from an unexpected source, I started thinking about personal safety tips for truckers.  

What can you do to prepare yourself for these dangerous times?

I’ll share some of my ideas on the subject and I also reached out the Trucker Dump Facebook Group and the Trucker Dump Slack Group to find out what some of your tips are. 

Disclaimer: Finding information on what kind of weapons are allowed in a commercial vehicle is difficult at best. I’ve always been a company driver and I’ve asked many of my employers and really the only universal truth I’ve found is that 100% of them prohibit firearms in their trucks, but tire thumpers are okay. 

When asking about knives, Tasers, pepper spray, and the likes, I’ve always gotten wishy-washy answers that aren’t really answers at all. You can tell they’d just prefer you curl up into a ball and not defend yourself when attacked than to approve you having anything resembling a weapon in your truck. Feel free to ask your company what they will allow and if you get a solid answer, please email me at to let me know.  

You’d think the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA would want to weigh in on this, but they are remarkably silent on the subject of weapons in commercial vehicles. The only place I’ve found the word “weapon” in the DOT regulations is when it’s talking about the truck itself being used as a weapon by terrorists. So they’re no help on the subject.

So with that being said, let’s brainstorm this subject and hopefully you can make some smart decisions that will work for you.


Let’s start out with the obvious and debunk a longstanding trucking myth. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT illegal to carry firearms in your truck, provided that you abide by all state and local ordinances. That right there is the problem; these rules vary from state-to-state and it’s not easy to keep up with. 

I mean, honestly, are you really going to pull over at the state line and unload your handgun until you get to the other side of the state? Or put it in a gun safe while crossing a state? Probably not.

So instead you leave it loaded all the time, which is effectively illegal in many states. So now you’re breaking the law. Toss in the differing rules for those truckers with Concealed Carry Permits and now your head starts spinning. But hey, an unloaded gun is about as useless as a styrofoam pickaxe, right?

This “no guns in trucks” myth gained ground largely because most trucking companies do not allow their employees to carry firearms in their trucks. I’ve never seen a stated reason why this is, but I suspect it is simply a matter of not wanting to hassle with their driver employees keeping abreast of all the state firearms laws.

Also, they probably want to avoid getting into any situation where you have to use the firearm and the lawsuits that would likely point at them for allowing you to have it in the truck. Like many restrictions in the trucking industry, it ultimately comes down to an issue of reduced liability.

Should you carry a firearm?

If you are an owner/operator, the choice is yours. Carrying a gun is only a matter of learning the different state laws and following them to the best of your ability.

Company drivers have a bigger choice to make. You can choose to carry a firearm because technically it isn’t illegal to do so. But since it is usually against company policy, you’ll likely get fired if you ever have to use it to defend yourself. But as a friend of mine likes to say, “I’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.”

That’s a great point. I mean, if you find yourself in a position where you just saved yourself from personal harm or possibly death, do you really give a crap that you just lost your job?

I’m not telling you it’s okay to break company policy. But I’m also telling you that in my 23 years of truck driving, I’ve never had a company representative search the truck I’m driving for anything; let alone a firearm. At least not to my knowledge.

So if you don’t leave your Glock laying out on the passenger seat in plain view while you’re at a company terminal then hey, whatever trips your trigger…


Next on the list of fatal weapons would be knives. Another long-time myth is that you can carry a knife as long as the blade isn’t longer than 3 inches. I can’t find anything online or in the regulations to back that up.

As far as I can tell, this again is up to each state. For instance, I read that Texas will allow a blade up to 5.5 inches as long as it’s carried in a pouch on your belt. So that blows that myth.

My thoughts here are that, much like a firearm that is out-of-sight out-of-mind, having a small blade would be a good thing to have.

I keep a small pocketknife with a stout blade similar to this one (Amazon affiliate link) in my pocket that that will lock when the blade is exposed. It probably wouldn’t kill anyone unless I stabbed them in the eyeball, but it will certainly deter them if they see it or I give them a good jab with it. 

If anyone ever jumps onto my running board, that will likely be one of the first things I grab for. If they stick an arm or their head through my window I’ll cut them like a sushi chef with a tuna filet.

We have to be reasonable here folks. If a DOT officer ever asks you if you have any weapons, I doubt they’re going to get too bent out of shape if you have a pocketknife with a 3-inch blade, but they might question your motives if you’ve got a machete mounted to your driver’s seat. 

Another way to justify a good knife to a police officer is to have something that would serve a trucker as a safety device like this cool 3-in-1 tactical knife that has a window glass breaker, a seat belt cutter, and a serrated blade like this one (Amazon affiliate link). This one is on my birthday wish list. How could they argue with you wanting to rescue yourself from a fiery wrecked truck?

And remember, a screwdriver will jab into an eyeball just as well as a knife will… possibly better. Boy will that guy be screwed (sorry – I couldn’t help myself).


The great thing about having a Taser as part of your arsenal is that you can disable an attacker before they get too close to you. The bad thing is that if you miss your target, you’re out of ammo. 

Tasers work by shooting two darts at the assailant which are connected to the pistol-like grip by two thin cables. These cables transfer enough electrical current to immobilize a grown man long enough for you to get away. Hopefully he pees his pants in the process. 

Another bad thing is that a few states don’t allow them to be used by average consumers unless you have a concealed carry permit. Others like Massachusetts don’t allow them at all. Check out the Taser website for state requirements.

But perhaps the worst thing about Tasers is the cost. Even an older model is over $400 on Amazon (Amazon affiliate link). Ouch! I’m not sure what would hurt worse; the price or getting zapped by one! 

Stun guns with powerful flashlights

Let’s hear this from our first Trucker Dump Facebook Group user: 

“They sell stun gun flashlights that have both use and protection.”
Adrian Shipek
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Why yes they do, Adrian. Yes they do.

Stun guns like this one (Amazon affiliate link) are definitely an option  that truckers can consider. Like Adrian said, many models include a standard flashlight, but if you want to double your fun with Doublemint gum, make sure you get a stun gun/flashlight combo with a really bright light like this one (Amazon affiliate link).

This product is a double whammy. If you’ve ever been blasted in the eyes by a bright light, you know how disorienting it can be. That might be just enough time for you to evade a thug’s grasp and run away while he’s seeing spots!

Stun guns are also easier to deal with than Tasers because most states allow them without any special permit. Obviously you need to be aware of the state Taser guidelines. But in all seriousness, if I’m being attacked, my mind isn’t really focused on the legality of the weapon in my hand. I’d zap that sucker and deal with the consequences later. 

Another advantage of the stun gun over the Taser is the cost. You can pick up a good stun gun with a bright flashlight for under $50 (Amazon affiliate link). That’s about 1/8 the cost of a Taser!

One disadvantage the stun gun has to the Taser is that in order to stun an attacker, you need to be close enough to make contact with the person. Hopefully, it will never get to that point, but if it does, light that sucker up!

Pepper spray

Pepper spray is a great option for the cost-conscience trucker who still wants some personal protection. You can get it quite readily for under $10 (Amazon affiliate link).

Pepper spray is a chemical agent that when sprayed near the face will cause pain, burning, and temporary blindness, which is a result of inflammation of the eyes. It also causes burning of the lungs which leads to shortness of breath, which is something that will come in handy as you’re trying to run away with your own shortness of breath caused by sitting on your trucker butt for 11 hours per day.

Furthermore, pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, although some have certain restrictions such as the size of the spray bottle or an age requirement to carry.  

What’s great about pepper spray is it’s inexpensive and you can use it from up to 10 feet away. Just make sure that nozzle is pointing away from you when you start the hose-down!

Speaking of stuff that sprays, Adrian Shipek from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group says: 

“I hear wasp spray hurts. An aerosol can of something and a lighter too.”
Adrian Shipek
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Ya think, Adrian? 😉 Well I guess if you’re desperate you can go all MacGyver on a bad guy. But ouch… just ouch. LOL 

Tire thumpers

This is probably the weapon most truckers already have. But don’t settle for any old tire thumper! Let’s get creative!

Paul Derkatch from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group says:

“I keep one of those wooden tire thumper baseball bats in the bunk for protection.”
Paul Derkatch
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

I just wonder if Paul is going to yell “BATTER UP” before he uses that bad guy’s head as a baseball! Get this awesome baseball bat tire thumper here (Amazon affiliate link).

Or if you want to add a little extra punch to your baseball-themed “tire thumping,” you can always upgrade to an aluminum version (Amazon affiliate link). Batta-batta-batta, saaaah-wing, batta. 

Other trucker “tools”

Cannon Bryan from the Trucker Dump Slack Group says:

“I like to keep a framing hammer or a tire club near me while in the truck.”
Cannon Bryan
Trucker Dump Slack Group

Sure, why not, Cannon. I mean, we do need to pull nails from the trailer floor now and then, right? It’s just a pleasant perk that either end of that bad boy framing hammer (Amazon affiliate link) could be used to bash in a criminal’s skull, as proven several times over by The Walking Dead television show.

Speaking of nails, sometimes those really long ones require a crowbar. They make little crow bars (Amazon affiliate link) but why settle when you can get the full size version (Amazon affiliate link) for serious tire thumping, nail removal, and jaw breaking. 

And of course, every flatbedder has a pry bar (Amazon affiliate link) to tighten their load straps. Be careful with that pointy thing now. You could put an eye out!

If you’re going for the ultimate trucker tool (Amazon affiliate link) you should check out this hammer/pry bar/axe tool that looks like it belongs in a dungeon of a medieval castle or maybe something you might want to take to a ceremony to sacrifice a virgin by a volcano. 

I can hear it now, “Why yes officer, I realize there’s an axe blade on there. You never know when you might be stranded in North Dakota and need to chop down a tree to build a fire, right?” Nevermind the fact that you’d be hard-pressed to find a tree in North Dakota.

Fire extinguishers

I have to admit that this next one kinda snuck up on me. 

Dave White from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group says: 

“The fire extinguisher would make a good deterrent to persuade that nasty person to leave you alone.”
Dave White
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Trucker Dump Facebook Group member Andrew Aycock put it a bit more bluntly by suggesting: 

“That fire extinguisher will work both spray to the face or used as blunt force.”
Andrew Aycock
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Cheesy blunt pun intended by me. Andrew played no part in the cheesiness. 

Jeff Hardy from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group agrees:

“I've brought my fire extinguisher into the bunk with me for shady areas. If somebody gets in, spray them in the face and club them over the head.”
Jeff Hardy
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

I pity the fool that messes with these guys!

Paul Derkatch from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group has yet another use for it:

“I keep a small fire extinguisher in the bunk. The way these new plastic trucks burn, I want a fighting chance to get out.”
Paul Derkatch
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

According to 49 CFR Part 393.95, the minimum requirement for a commercial vehicle not hauling hazardous materials is one fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 5 B:C, while a hazmat load requires one with 10 B:C minimum.

For the record, the number stands for how many square feet of fire the device is capable of extinguishing. As you can see, 5-10 square feet isn’t much, so you may as well not bother putting on your toy fireman’s helmet the next time you see a trailer engulfed in flames on the shoulder of an interstate. You might as well go up and pee on it for all the good it will do.

The B and the C stands for what kinds of fires can be put out. The B means flammable liquids can be quenched and C is good for electrical equipment. So that’s good to know. Click here for more on how to read a fire extinguisher.

You know, that weapon… I mean fire extinguisher, has been sitting beneath me for 23 years and never once had I thought to use it as a weapon. But it would clearly work for every trucker.

Not only is it free to every trucker, but the spray causes just enough discomfort to an attacker for you to escape without causing them permanent damage. Not that they deserve that nicety. But hey, that dent in his skull from swinging it down on his head could be another story entirely.

Perhaps best of all, Paul Derkatch from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group reminds us that:

“Fire extinguishers are also no problem with border security or DOT officers as they can’t call it a weapon.”
Paul Derkatch
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Heck; if they’re anything like me for the past 23 years, they won’t even see that as a possibility.

How about a few trailer hacks now…

Red F. Griffin from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group has a good one:

“When you park, put tension on the king pin. Set the trailer brakes & pull a little before setting the tractor brakes. You can't pull the fifth wheel when there's pressure on the jaws.”
Red F. Griffin
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Well Red, we all know that from trying to unhook a stubborn fifth wheel, but I never thought of it as a personal safety tip. But it would certainly work.

We’ve all seen the videos of these “protestors” trying to unhook the tractor from the trailer while it’s slowly trying to make its way through a crowd of people. They could just as easily try it while you’re parked. Good luck with that if you use Red’s tip. Thanks Red!

Dave White from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group has another tip on parking:

“Be careful where you park, and write down truck numbers and plates of people that look suspicious, especially if they’re parked near your truck. If in doubt, just leave and find another truck stop, or Walmart.”
Dave White
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Well I don’t know about the Walmart with all the truck booting that’s been going on lately, but I get the gist of what you’re saying, Dave.

Adrian Shipek from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group has yet another trailer hack:

“Put zip ties or clamps on the glad hands if you stay hooked to one trailer or don't mind the work of redoing them every disconnect.”
Adrian Shipek
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Excellent tip, Adrian. This one reminds me of putting a home security sign in your front yard even though you don’t really have a security system installed. The thieves will always go for the point of least resistance. Hopefully they’ll see your zip ties/clamps and move on to the next truck… not that we wish anything bad on the next trucker. But hey, better them that you, right?!

Here’s another tip for those times when you’re sleeping…

Dave White from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group has an idea:

“I’ve thought of using a ratcheting load strap, with hooks, from door handle to door handle inside the cab to keep nasty people out.”
Dave White
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Well apparently that works because Gwyn Vela from the Trucker Dump Slack Group says:

“I use a strap to double secure my doors shut from the inside so people can’t open my doors while sleeping.”
Gwyn Vela
Trucker Dump Slack Group

Trevor Dunkel from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group has an idea for a variation on that:

“You can use the seatbelts as a secondary door lock.”
Trevor Dunkel
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Yes, you can, Trevor. I’ve been known to loop the seatbelts through the door handle and latch them when I’m in a seedy area. Gives me just a bit of extra security knowing that there will be an extra step for a perp to swing that door open.

But Travis Jellison from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group (and also the subject of the previous episode TD145: Being An Oversize/Overweight Load Truck Driver) makes a point when he rebutted with:

“Just an observation, but if you are seatbelting or strapping your doors it might hinder getting out of the truck in an emergency; like a fire. Don’t lock yourself in. Plus, bad guys can break a window and cut the strap or seatbelt.”
Travis Jellison
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Well honestly, the chances of anyone breaking into your truck are probably as slim as your truck catching on fire, but that is something to think about, so thanks Travis. And yes, a bad guy can break a window and cut a strap or seatbelt, but again, that’s one extra step they have to take before getting to me. 

Also, if you’ve watched any of these videos recently, it’s apparently a lot harder to bust out a window than the movies make it out to be. You can where they are throwing stuff and the windshield and the side windows and I didn’t see anything shattering. 

How about some safety tips for outside the truck…

Paul Derkatch from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group says:

“Swallow your pride and wear a high visibility vest when crossing the parking lot.”
Paul Derkatch
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

That’s a good idea, Paul. Sometimes it isn’t a criminal who does you harm, but a careless trucker going too fast in a truck stop parking lot. I have a co-worker who was hit by a yard truck at one of our terminals. He’s had hip damage and pain ever since. It’s a possibility that some high visibility clothing might have prevented that.

Andrew Aycock from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group reminds us to:

“Keep your head on a swivel while at the truck stop and shippers/receivers etc. Make eye contact with possible threats so they know you see them.”
Andrew Aycock
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Yep. Again, criminals look for easy targets. If you show awareness and look them in the eye, they’re far less likely to choose you as their next victim. Unless of course, you’re giving them the stink-eye

Jeff Hardy from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group concurs:

“Leave the Bluetooth in the truck and get off the phone. You can't possibly pay attention to everything around you when you're distracted. Super sweats with the Bluetooth on gabbing away is an easy target as he waddles across the truck stop paying no attention to anything. He's also not going to pay attention as he walks out in front of that truck going mach stupid through the parking lot.”
Jeff Hardy
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

I’m going to agree with everything you said, Jeff, despite the fact that you just described me. LOL Seriously though, that’s a great tip and great way to end this blog post. And by the way, I don’t waddle… yet. 

Don’t forget the obvious

Folks, we just need to make a little effort to prepare ourselves for the worst. I and everyone else guilty of phone distraction needs to pull our heads out our keisters and focus on our surroundings. 

Don’t forget the obvious things like parking in well-lit areas and parking close to the building. Choose to walk around the row of trucks instead of through the dark walkways between trucks. 

Also there is strength in numbers. You’re far more likely to get mugged while you’re parked on a side street in an industrial park than you are at a well-lit truck stop or rest area. 

Yes, I realize that I stated in TD129: 4 Ways To Become A More Efficient Trucker that I like to park at shippers/receivers to save my driving hours, but you have to be smart about that. Park inside their gate if you can and don’t park near the road if you have that option. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind, you know. 

Final thoughts on personal safety tips for truckers

Listen; there are nut bags everywhere out here nowadays. Keep a low profile and avoid confrontation like I talked about in TD132: Should We Call Out Bad Truckers. An inconsiderate truck driver being a butt munch just isn’t worth your life or your well-being. 

As for these thugs, well, just be prepared by following some of these tips you’ve just read. That way when some worthless excuse of a human being tries to enter your truck, you can break their arm with your tire thumper and spray them in the face with your pepper spray. 

If they keep coming after all that, well, what the heck, go ahead and get out your aerosol can of Aqua Net hairspray and a Zippo and light them up! But then be a sweetheart and use your fire extinguisher to put out the flames. We aren’t animals, you know. 

But wait. Maybe you’d better go ahead and zap them with your stun gun a couple of times… just to be on the safe side. 

Do you have more personal safety tips for truckers that we didn’t cover? Please share your comments below or send me an email at and I’ll share them on a future episode of the Trucker Dump Podcast!

Podcast show notes:

Boy oh boy, have we got a good show today. We’re going to talk about personal safety tips for truckers and some of you are going to be a part of it.

But before that we’ve got news stories about truck drivers and protestors, inspections and ELD coercion, more deadline extensions, and electric trucks.

We’ll also talk about health issues including sleep apnea and amputees getting CDLs. Marijuana use is on the rise too, which makes sense with the insane changes to liability insurance the government is trying to make.

We’ll also discuss the government owning part of a major trucking company through a controversial bailout deal and how changes in routing could change the future for truckers.

Top it off with a few emails from you and we’ll wrap it up.

Listen to the podcast version or read the full article and the podcast show notes on or search for Trucker Dump in your favorite podcast app.

Be sure to check out the 25% off ebook combo pack for Trucking Life and How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job while you’re there.

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

Links mentioned in the news segment:

Surviving a Level 3 driver inspection: Are you ready? from

Truck driver safety a top priority amid nationwide protests from

‘He didn’t get the signal’: Trucker arrested for driving into MN protests released without charges from

Staying safe during civil protests when avoidance not possible from

Wyoming DOT closing 10 rest areas, eliminating 80 truck parking spaces from

The irony of e-logging and coercion: Complaints on a steady rise since mandate from

FMCSA Says Congress Can’t Make Them Delay HOS Changes, Expects Rollout To Proceed As Planned from

Truck Driver Training, License Renewal, Medical Certification Waivers Get Another Extension from

Evidence emerges of stricter approach – and confusion – around sleep apnea screening from

Trucking Law: Severe physical setback might not end career from

For further information on the SPE, call the program in Washington, D.C., at Call 1-202-366-4001 or email

Marijuana Use Top Finding in First Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Report from

Rise in marijuana use among truckers expected to continue from

Amendment Passed To Double Mandatory Insurance Minimums for Truckers To $2 Million from

Liability insurance hike: Guess who would benefit? from

YRC getting $700 million government bailout for nearly 30% stake in fleet

Trucking Company Charged With Defrauding Defense Department Gets $700 Million Bailout Just 12 Days After Former CEO Confirmed In New Federal Post from

California passes ‘first-in-the-world rule’ to ban sale of all new diesel trucks by 2045 from

House Democrats Will Call for 100% Clean Cars by 2035 from (Transport Topics)

West Coast Utilities Offer Plan for Charging Stations Along Interstate 5
from (Transport Topics)

DOT Launches AV Test Initiative from (Transport Topics)

FHWA Grant Supports Automated Truck Corridor on Interstate 70 from (Transport Topics)

Industry Trends, Driver Preference Pave Way for Hub-to-Hub Routes from (Transport Topics)

Links mentioned in the main topic:

Learn more about Tasers

Taser requirements state-by-state

Stun gun guidelines by state

Pepper spray laws by state

49 CFR Part 393.95 explaining DOT fire extinguisher requirements

What do the numbers/letters on a fire extinguisher mean?

TD145: Being An Oversize/Overweight Load Truck Driver

TD129: 4 Ways To Become A More Efficient Trucker

TD132: Should We Call Out Bad Truckers?

Below are all the Amazon Affiliate links mentioned in the show. And a reminder that the seller pays my meager referral fee, not you.

A small pocketknife similar to the one I own (Amazon affiliate link)

3-in-1 tactical knife with window breaker, seat belt cutter, and serrated blade (Amazon affiliate link)

Taser (Amazon affiliate link)

Basic stun gun with flashlight (Amazon affiliate link)

Stun gun with super-bright flashlight (Amazon affiliate link)

Pepper spray (Amazon affiliate link)

Wooden baseball bat tire thumper (Amazon affiliate link)

Aluminum baseball bat tire thumper (Amazon affiliate link)

Framing hammer (Amazon affiliate link)

Small crow bar (Amazon affiliate link)

Large crow bar (Amazon affiliate link)

Flatbedder pry bar (Amazon affiliate link)

3-in-1 trucker tool with a hammer, and axe, and a pry bar (Amazon affiliate link)

Links mentioned in the listener feedback segment:

JJ Perkey asked to join the Trucker Dump Slack group and explains why he prefers to park his truck than to run at a slight loss.

Truitt Ficklin writes and guesses where I work. Uh oh.

Michael Mazur, Jake Ritchie, Pete Ryall, and Austin Anderson all sent quick emails asking to join the Trucker Dump Slack Group. Done deal, guys. Thanks.

Mark Wihowski shares a bit about his driving career and asks to joins the Trucker Dump Slack Group.

Gabriel Ibanez Romero heard me being interviewed on the Payload Podcast by Truck Driver Power and asked to join the Slack group. Listen to that episode on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Chris Sanzone sells truck insurance and asks to join the Trucker Dump Slack Group. A follow-up email prompts some talk about video games I’m playing.

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to

Join the Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD145: Being An Oversize/Overweight Load Truck Driver

If you’ve ever been interested in how oversize/overweight loads work, you’re in luck. Today we talk to Travis Jellison, who has pulled loads as heavy as 230,000 pounds, 16 feet wide, 15.5 feet tall, and 120 feet long. Yikes!

In the news segment, we discuss how the coronavirus is affecting the trucking industry with regards to the loss of work and restaurants, and Hours-of-Service adjustments, including the upcoming HOS changes. We also look at technology such as electric vehicles and it’s lack of infrastructure, CDL skills testing, and how 5G networks could help the trucking industry.

Freight brokering gets its fair share of talk time, and we hit on truck parking, truckers and medications, toll hikes, and gross injustices like the prison release of a bad trucking CEO and what is considered a preventable accident when it comes to the CSA.

In the feedback segment, we hear from Daniel, Evan, two Davids, and Aron all join the Trucker Dump Slack group. Driver Dave has an encounter with a duck, and Ben talks about buying grass. We also hear from Robert, who tells us about his unique trucking job.

Our guest Travis Jellison has been driving trucks since 1995. The vast majority of that time has been spent pulling a variety of oversize/overweight loads. His current setup is an 11-axle combo that is 120-foot long!

Born and raised in Washington, he now resides in Colorado, where he enjoys spending time and exploring nature with his partner. 

Podcast show notes:

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

Links mentioned in the news segment:

FMCSA Extends HOS Emergency Declaration for Second Time from (Transport Topics)

Trucking Sheds 88,300 Jobs in April from (Transport Topics)

TD144: Is Truck Driving A Recession-Proof Job?

A third of small fleets shut down as COVID-19 guts freight market from

Iowa Driver Among First in US to Use Technology for CDL Skills Test from (Transport Topics)

Next Generation of Wireless Technology: 5G Holds Promise from (Transport Topics)

Coming hours of service reforms skip 14-hour pause, include 7/3 off-duty split and 30-minute break changes from

TD139: Understanding The 2019 Proposed Hours-Of-Service Changes

Updated HOS regs to take effect late September from

Infographic: What’s changing in federal hours of service regs from

Quick takes: Readers mixed on hours of service changes’ impact on their own operations from

Carriers’ right to review what the shipper paid for a brokered load from

FMCSA: Brokers Aren’t Technically Breaking The Law, And We Might Not Do Anything Even If They Were from

Amazon, already a mammoth middleman, squeezes into trucking brokerage from

Electric Truck Integration Poses Challenges for Fleets, Study Shows

Electric-Vehicle Charging Startup Amply Power Secures $13.2 Million from (Transport Topics)

Truck Crashes That Weren’t Preventable Won’t Count Against Your Safety Score, But What’s “Preventable” May Surprise You from

Crazy crash eligibility examples from

Trucking Law: When meds can sideline your commercial driving

Contact Dr. Alexander E. Underwood of the KT Health Clinic by email at or at Call 1-417-832-8678.

Infamous Arrow Trucking CEO Released From Prison Early from

New Jersey Highway Tolls to Rise up to 36% from (Transport Topics)

TravelCenters of America begins reopening dine-in restaurants from

Government Groups Launch Truck Parking Survey for Northeast Region from (Transport Topics)

Take the Northeast Truck Parking survey

Links mentioned in the interview:

If you have more questions about over-dimensional trucking, you can talk to Travis Jellison directly by emailing him at

Links mentioned in the feedback segment:

Robert Terry has a really unique job driving a food trolley named Clementine. Check out the photos.

Driver Dave has a run-in with a duck.

Ben Dickens – de Geus, aka @goose tells a story about his boss sending him to buy some grass.

Jon Sinclair, aka @mouse wants to talk about free audiobooks from your local library.
Congratulations to Aron Nero, aka @Aron for starting truck driving school!

Evan Jon Kooker, @2017EJ is planning to get into trucking after he retires.

David O’Neil, aka @Junior is new Canadian driver.

David Schmidt, aka @davidschmidt just finished binge-listening to every Trucker Dump episode. I don’t know if I’m happy or if I’m sorry. 😉

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to

Join the Trucker Dump Podcast Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD144: Is Truck Driving A Recession-Proof Job?

At this point, the term COVID-19 has reached the level of being a curse word. Many have lost their jobs, lives are being lost, and many financial experts believe that another recession is on the horizon. But perhaps the most catastrophic dilemma of all; people are losing their ever-loving minds about what they are going to wipe their butts with. So this bring a question to mind…

Is truck driving a recession-proof job?

I Googled the term “recession-proof jobs” recently and the top result was an article called “Top 27 Recession-Proof Jobs & Careers – Do They Exist?” Surely this list would include truckers along with the obvious health care workers, law police officers, and morticians, right? Wrong! Believe it or not, the closest they got was with the #27-ranked Public Transit Workers, which to be fair, does include some Commercial Drivers License (CDL) holders. But still, bus drivers are a tiny portion of what constitutes truck drivers at large.

Even more flabbergasting was that this article listed Grocers at #21. Yes, grocers are important and recession-proof, but HELLOOOOOOOO… McFLYYYYYY, you can’t keep a grocery store stocked without truck drivers bringing the freight! You’d think that would’ve been made abundantly clear when even normal, non-prepper types started hoarding everything from soup, to dairy products, to frozen goods, to paper products, to cleaning supplies.

Perhaps I’m overreacting though? I thought, “Maybe this is just an old article?” Nope. It was written in March 2020; smack dab in the middle of what I’m sure will be eventually be written up in the history books as The Great TP Shortage of 2020. Like I said earlier, that’s flabbergasting considering that with all those empty shelves came a newly-found appreciation for the truckers of the world.

For the record, I shot off a stern email to this website, scolding them for their oversight. Hopefully they’ll either add Truck Drivers to their list or replace it with one of the other recession-proof jobs like #21 Librarian. Seriously… librarian? Ugh. To be fair, the rest of this list is spot-on. I just found it a farce that truck drivers were left off the list. Rant over.

So we’re back to the question; Is truck driving a recession-proof job?

A lot can be learned from history; which, by the way is something that should be considered by anyone who thinks America can make Socialism work where other countries have failed; e.g. Russia, Cuba, or Venezuela, just to name a few. But I suppose if you’d like to see which jobs are truly recession-proof, by all means proceed with your Socialism madness.

The most recent recession in the United States started in December 2007. The Great Recession, as it is now known, was primarily caused by greedy finance companies who would give home loans to people who couldn’t afford them. Much like a giant teenage zit, the economy expanded until one day it just popped, leaving a gooey mess of yuckiness.

I remember it well, because for us it seemed to happen overnight. At that time, The Evil Overlord (my wife and ex-codriver) was in an orientation class at a trucking company. For those who don’t know the story from reading Trucking Life: An Entertaining, Yet Informative Guide To Becoming And Being A Truck Driver, she was getting back into trucking after a few years off in an effort to get me off the road and out of trucking for good.

Obviously that never happened and part of that can be blamed on The Great Recession. The event I speak of happened on a Friday, which was the last day of her orientation. I had been solo trucking for the past few years and was eagerly on my way to the terminal to pick her up so we could go back to team trucking. That’s when her orientation leader walked in and said the company had initiated a company-wide hiring freeze. They promptly put everyone on a bus back to their homes. Well, everyone except her.

The Evil Overlord only escaped the axe after reminding them she was going to be teaming with me and I was due to arrive that evening. Long story short, our miles SUCKED for the next 1.5 years. When we had worked as a team for this carrier previously, we had regularly gotten between 5,000-6,000 miles. Fast forward to The Great Recession, where now we were lucky to get 3,000 miles between the two of us. 2,500 wasn’t all that uncommon either. In context for you non-truckers, 3,000 miles is a number most of us solo drivers can easily attain if our dispatcher is willing and able to give us that many miles.

Trucking freight is in constant flux

Freight goes up and down all the time in the trucking industry. Sure, there are good times and bad times; but the point I’m trying to make is that there is always freight. Maybe not a lot of certain types of freight, but there is always some. Take The Great Recession as an example.

As I mentioned earlier, that recession started primarily due to the real estate industry. Once all those homeowners lost their homes, the market was flooded with houses that needed to be sold. We’re back to the law of supply and demand now. When there is a large supply of something, the price goes down. And since many of these homes were foreclosed on, the prices on these abundant houses went waaaaaaay down.

So why would anyone want to build or buy a brand-new house when they could get a slightly-used one for peanuts? They wouldn’t; which is why the construction industry came to a screeching halt. Truckers who hauled construction materials and equipment suddenly had less freight to deliver.

So that means that trucking jobs are NOT recession-proof, right?

Not so fast, Speedy Gonzales. One thing that drives The Evil Overlord nuts about me is how I nitpick over words. The group of guys that I work with at my LTL (Less-Than-Load) company also immediately honed in on this little annoyance when I started there 13 months ago.

For instance, one of my co-workers might say on the phone, “Man! That 4-wheeler literally ran me into the ditch!” Before I can stop myself, I’d often say, “Don’t you mean figuratively? You wouldn’t still be tooling down the road right now if you were literally put in the ditch.”

Or The Evil Overlord got in the habit of saying “my bedroom” when she meant “our bedroom (understandable since I was usually on the road).” She does quickly correct herself now, but only after pointing out the fact that if I didn’t rein in this annoying little quirk of mine, I would soon both alienate all my new co-workers and find myself eating a knuckle sandwich with a big diamond ring on it. But I admit I still have to bite my tongue on a regular basis.

Now let’s relate this back to trucking. Here’s the notion I’m going to put forth:

Truck driving is recession-proof, but all trucking jobs are not

Do you see the subtly there? Much like the construction industry during The Great Recession, my current job is suffering from the same lack of need. The LTL company I work for hauls a lot of B2B (Business-to-Business) freight, meaning that we deliver a lot of products to keep businesses running.

For example, we don’t haul the toilet paper or frozen pizza to the grocery store, but we do haul the shelving units and freezers where those products are displayed. And we don’t haul the widgets a factory makes; we haul the machines that make those widgets.

We all know there is an unprecedented number of businesses closed right now due to the Coronavirus pandemic. With so many businesses closed, there is no one to produce the widgets. Sure, the factories that produce essential products such as food, fuel, and cleaning/medical supplies are still going full-bore, but again, that’s only a small portion of the supplies we would normally deliver.

So while the trucking industry in general is considered an “essential” service, the trucking job that I have has had to cut back on staff. Much to my chagrin, one of those folks was me. I reported in the last podcast, TD143: Coronavirus Trucking, that I had just missed the first round of layoffs. Well, two weeks later they got me too. So now, for the first time in my life I’m unemployed. So there; it’s definitive. Truck driving is not recession-proof! Wait! Not true!

Truck driving is recession-proof

Let the word nitpicking begin! I stand by my statement: some trucking jobs are not recession-proof (like mine), but truck driving as a profession is! I actually knew this long before the whole Corona crisis, but it got cemented in my mind once I started working here.

If you read/listened to, TD136: The Emotions Of Changing Truck Driving Jobs, you’ll know that one of my biggest fears in taking this LTL job was the threat of layoffs. In my previous 22 years of being a trucker, the term “layoff” had never even crossed my mind. But my new co-workers put my mind at ease since most all of them had been through it when they were low on the seniority list.

Every one of them knew at least one or two other trucking companies that would hire me immediately, even knowing it was only temporary until I got called back. So that was a major load off my mind. Anyway, back to the point.

Back in 2008, when the economy got so bad for a couple of years, The Evil Overlord and I continued to drive truck. Granted, we had lower miles than we would have liked, but we continued to have a job. There were a few layoffs within the OTR (Over-the-Road) trucking companies, but for the most part everyone kept their jobs, their families insured, and enough money coming in to survive. And that’s really what it’s about, isn’t it; weathering the storm until things get back to normal?

But just like is happening now, the LTL industry back then was being slammed way harder than the OTR companies. There were layoffs galore; and these weren’t short layoffs either. These were 12-18 month or longer layoffs. This is what my co-workers had gone through and they managed to come out the other end. As one of the guys said, “I’ve never missed a meal due to a layoff.”

But here’s the beauty of being a truck driver during a recession

Just because I’m laid off right now because my LTL carrier doesn’t haul enough “essential” products to keep me employed, that doesn’t mean I’m worried about my livelihood. You see, being laid off means that I can go find other work until my employer calls me back, just like my co-workers did back in 2008. That means I can keep working. Maybe not in the LTL industry, but I can keep on trucking.

All I would have to do is switch the type of carrier that I drive for; one that hauls more essential products. And the great news is that there is always someone hiring in the trucking industry. Always! This was true back in The Great Recession of 2008 and it’s true now during The Great TP Shortage of 2020. So in the end, I stand by my statement:

Truck driving is recession-proof, but all trucking jobs are not

Truth be told; I’d love to be working right now. I was actually enjoying that short little crappy Kansas City bid for the two weeks I was forced to do it. The money was still as good as my best year as an OTR driver, but it was a nice change of pace being back home in my own bed every day before I had to take my stupid 30-minute break.

I’m not thrilled about being laid off, but it’s better than the option of not being laid off and staying home without any loads most of the week where I’m not making any money (which is happening to some of our drivers). Being laid off means that I have the option to go get another trucking job if I want. With my 23 years of experience, I could be starting another job Monday morning if I so choose. But I don’t.

As I was crawling into bed after a long day of video gaming the other day, I told The Evil Overlord, “Man, that felt like a useless day,” to which she responded, “You haven’t taken any vacation time in 15 years (a true statement). Go sit on the couch, relax, and play video games for a change of pace. I’m making chocolate chip cookies.” Gratefully, I’m able to do that thanks to the combination of our savings account, my health care provider extending coverage for eight weeks, the $2400 stimulus check, and the $600 extra unemployment money provided by the CARES Act.

Hopefully things will get back to normal before the health insurance gives out and I have to start looking for a fill-in job until I get called back to work.

For now, you can still expect a new Trucker Dump podcast/blog every month. Jut don’t expect the release frequency to increase. I will be spending some of my extra time fixing my website and exploring some other trucking-related projects instead of needlessly raising your expectations of me. But for the most part I’m just going to do what I do best … obey The Evil Overlord.

TD143: Coronavirus Trucking

Well, you can probably guess what today’s podcast is all about, and unfortunately it ain’t fluffy kittens. Nope, for today’s main topic I’ll be rebroadcasting an episode of the Payload Podcast where JT Peters talks to an epidemiologist about Coronavirus and how it relates to us truckers.

But before that, we’ve got lots of news on how this pandemic is affecting the trucking industry; including suspended and forced rules, how truckers are gaining new respect, and some clarification on the $2.2 trillion stimulus plan. And of course, what you should do if you think you’ve got the virus.

But it’s not all about the Corona. We’ve got an update on new HOS rules, autonomous trucks, truck parking, and new high-tech maintenance ideas. Also, a major data breach and tips for being in an accident.

In the feedback segment, we’ll talk about ignorant commenters, under 21 truckers, tailgating, and kitchen utensils.

Listen to the podcast version or read the full article and the podcast show notes on or search for Trucker Dump in your favorite podcast app.

Be sure to check out the 25% off ebook combo pack for Trucking Life and How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job while you’re there.

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Paccar Recalls 35,671 Peterbilt Trucks for Fire Risk from (Transport Topics)

Worldcometers COVID-19 statistics

Multiple Hits to Economy Likely to Trigger Recession, Analysis Shows from (Transport Topics)

Chinese Plants Ramp Up Again as Rest of World Reels from (Transport Topics)

Senate OKs Historic $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Rescue Package from (Transport Topics)

All You Wanted To Know About Those Tax Stimulus Checks But Were Afraid To Ask from

US Department of Transportation Expands National Emergency Declaration for Commercial Vehicles Delivering Relief in Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak from

Frequently Asked Questions Related to the FMCSA Emergency Declaration 03/19/2020 from

States Suspend Weight Limits for Trucks Involved in Coronavirus Relief from (Transport Topics)

FMCSA demands truck stops must stay open 24 hours from

FMCSA waives CDL, medical certification renewal regs until June 30 from

Risk Remains Low for Coronavirus Transmission on Packages from (Transport Topics)

Step by step: What you can do if you suspect COVID-19 symptoms on the road from

Options on the road for a speedy coronavirus consult from

Showers of Praise Greet Busy Truckers from (Transport Topics)

How America Is Thanking Truckers During the Coronavirus Crisis from (Transport Topics)

CVSA Postpones Roadcheck Due to Coronavirus Crisis from (Transport Topics)

TWIC card now satisfies requirements for hazmat endorsement from

Final Trucking HOS Rule Sent To White House For Approval from

Truck Parking Bill Could Mean $755 Million For New FREE Truck Parking from

Starchy Robotics ends remote truck experiment, shuts down operations from

Autonomous Tech Company Locomotion Signs Deal With Wilson Logistics from (Transport Topics)

TuSimple Expands Autonomous Trucking Program With UPS from (Transport Topics)

How Smart Tire Technology Is Changing Fleet Management from (Transport Topics)

Fleets Move Toward Predictive Maintenance to Prevent Breakdowns, Reduce Expenses from (Transport Topics)

Trucking Law: When trying to help at accident scene can hurt you instead from

News roundup, Feb. 27: TQL data breach potentially exposed carriers’ bank account numbers from

Check out the Payload Podcast and subscribe!

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Map from Johns Hopkins University

Links mentioned in the Feedback segment:

Greg tells us about his 20-year old pots and pans that he uses to cook in the truck. They have folding handles, which is perfect for small storage space like the cab of a semi. You can buy them on Amazon using this affiliate link.

Scott enjoyed listening to TD142: Being An Expedited Truck Driver but he writes about some hateful comments made about TD95: 4 Reasons That Trucker Might Be Tailgating You. He believes that I shouldn’t give haters the time of day by sharing their vile comments on the podcast. What say you?

New listener Rico also shares his thoughts on TD95: 4 Reasons That Trucker Might Be Tailgating You.

Zachary tells us about learning to drive truck at an early age and relates it to the current under-21 debate.

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to

Join the Trucker Dump Podcast Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD142: Being An Expedited Truck Driver

On today’s show, we’ll be continuing the series where we highlight unique trucking jobs. This time Joshua Knode will tell us about expedited trucking and how it differs from a typical truck driving job. Lots of great information and fun stories in here, including rock bands, mercenaries, and a late night talk show host!

But before we get to that, we’re going to learn about a new trucking podcast, truck-only lanes, truck-only tolls, dangerous parking, and an early roadcheck safety blitz this year.

We’ll also hear about a new trade agreement, ELD yard moves, internet scams, 18-year-old truckers, trucks with no drivers, and how $50 and some elbow grease could save your life.

And we’ve got a few quick emails about recruiting and of course, tailgating.

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

Links mentioned in the podcast:

The Trucking Podcast has changed it’s name to Trucking After Hours

The ‘Over the Road’ podcast from Overdrive and PRX’s Radiotopia

Thieves Are Breaking In To Truck Cabs So Often At These Two Truck Stops So Often That Truckers Are Being “Urged” To “Use Extra Caution” from

Roadcheck inspection blitz set for early May from

Georgia planning first-in-nation truck-only interstate lanes from

Connecticut guv temporarily backs off truck tolls from

Supreme Court won’t hear OOIDA’s challenge to increasing PA Turnpike tolls from

Trump’s USMCA trade pact retains cross-border trucking program, expected to bolster freight demand from

No Steering Wheel, No Driver, No Problem: Feds Approve First Ever Truly Driverless Vehicle from

US Senate Bill to Allow Interstate Truckers Under 21 Touted at Hearing from

Cybersecurity 101: Hackers aim for owner-operators with malware attacks from

Trucking Law: How to properly log a yard move from
Contact Paul O. Taylor from or at Call 1-855–943-3518.

$50 and a little install work could save your life: Trucker Scott Carlson’s close call from

Trucker Grub: The Outpost Cafe

Links in the Feedback segment:

Eli has few thoughts on recruiters after reading TD135: Trucking Recruiters… Friend Or Foe?

Richard scolds me very gentlemanly about TD95: 4 Reasons That Trucker Might Be Tailgating You.

jj perkey left his thoughts about TD95: 4 Reasons That Trucker Might Be Tailgating You, but wound up making us all think about treating each other with civility when we have differing beliefs.

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to

Join the Trucker Dump Podcast Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD141: Women In Trucking With Ellen Voie

Today we’ve got an interview with Ellen Voie from the Women in Trucking Association, which is a non-profit organization that aims to help and promote women truckers. Dudes, don’t tune out. This is a discussion you need to hear too.

But before we get to that, we’ve got a month’s worth of news to catch up on that includes a major southern corridor opening back up, mirrorless trucks, deaf truckers, and sexual harassment. We’ll also look into what happens to your ELD data and what happens after a trucker has a stroke or seizure. Of course, we’ll also catch up with what the government is up to, including truck tolls, GPS apps, EPA guidelines, and I’ll give you an update of the California Lease-Operator debacle. And we’ll finish up with a couple of stories that involve truckers in pain.

To close out, we get a two-fer yummy Trucker Grub from driverchrismc and we only have a few quick emails from Daniel, Brandon, and Steve since we knocked out most of the feedback in the last mega-episode.

Be sure to check out the 25% off combo pack for Trucking Life and How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job while you’re there.

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

Links mentioned in the podcast:

I-59/20 bridges in Birmingham set to reopen from

Senators call for more truck info on phone GPS apps from

Connecticut governor proposes trucks-only tolls plan with Rhode Island tolls lawsuit still unresolved from

FMCSA grants waiver for mirrorless camera systems from

ABC test laws are coming: Can the owner-operator model survive? from

In push for stricter truck emissions regs, EPA also presses for ’50-state’ program from

EPA wants public input on new emissions rules from

Hurry to submit your comments about the new emissions rules by February 20, 2020!

A gold rush for ELD data from

New research under way on prevalence of sexual harassment in trucking from

Group seeks regulatory relief for deaf truckers from

Trucking Law: What happens after a stroke or seizure from

Trucker Attacked By Security Guards Beats Assault Charge, Keeps Fighting Back from

Trucker Gives Birth In Truck Stop Bathroom from

Women in Trucking Association

Become a member of Women In Trucking

Call Women In Trucking at Call 1-888-464-9482, or find them on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to

Join the Trucker Dump Podcast Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD138: Being A Rental Equipment Truck Driver

In today’s episode, I’m starting a new series where I talk to truckers who have a speciality. Every now and then I’ll interview a driver who does something different than the average trucker. Today, you’ll hear from my good friend and fellow Trucker Dump Slack Group member, Shannon Holden about his job as a rental equipment hauler.

But before that we’ve got lots of news to cover including more truck recalls, lots of new legislation, ELD privacy issues, and some stupid things truckers do, which means I’m pissed off through half the news segment. But we lighten the mood every now and then with an odd quarantine, seven of the best companies to work for (according to Forbes), a couple of cool new products, and a chance for a free trip to Nashville.

I didn’t think we’d have a Trucker Grub segment, but an old acquaintance stops in to talk about Nancy’s Pizza in Litchfield, Illinois. You’ll never guess who it is in a million years.

In the listener feedback section we’ll discuss the sleep drug Ambien, refresher courses, the importance of asking questions, and I’ll have my sanity questioned. ‘Bout friggin’ time.

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by Volvo Trucks. Learn more at

Links mentioned in the podcast:

I got a chance to co-host the May 29 episode of The Trucking Podcast with Buck Ballard when Don the Beer Guy couldn’t make it. Lots of stories and laughs in this one!

I got interviewed by Niki from the Truck Boss Show about the Trucker Dump Podcast.

I spoke with Niki from the Truck Boss Show on starting your own podcast.

The Truck Boss Show is giving away some free swag. First person to email me at wins the loot!

Brake Safety Week inspection blitz set for Sept. 15-22

Paccar recalls nearly 7,000 Kenworth, Peterbilt trucks over various issues

Mirror issue prompts recall of 4,000 Kenworth, Peterbilt tractors

Daimler issues recall for brake air supply capacity issue

CDL Mills And Bad Trainers Will Love This FMCSA Rule

Senate bill would force DOT to institute speed limiter mandate, set 65 mph limit

Bill in Congress would restore drivers’ per diem tax deduction

New Montana law will raise truck speed limits

DOT seeking input on regs around autonomous driving

FMCSA’s proposed HOS changes now expected July 31

DOT funding bill would force 30-minute break to remain in hours regs

Trucker faces 40 criminal counts stemming from deadly I-70 crash near Denver

Plenty blame to go around in Colo. tragedy, when the damage is done

Truckers’ 90-Mile Road-Rage Battle Kills Woman, Companies To Pay $26 Million

ELD data handling: ‘Privacy is paramount,’ but practices vary

Permit required for truckers in insect quarantine area beginning May 1

New TruckPark app allows drivers to reserve parking spaces

TruckPark app on Apple App Store
TruckPark app on Google Play Store

VSA PlugSaver is a cool device to keep your trailer lights from flickering.

Isela from the Truck Boss Show interviews trucker/inventor of the the VSA Plugsaver.

Seven fleets named to Forbes’ ‘Best Large Employers’ list

Truckers can enter to win free trip to Nashville with the RoadPro Ultimate Nashville Getaway Giveaway

This Trucker Fell Asleep At The Wheel After Falsifying His Logs. A Jury Awarded Him $80 Million

Links in the Feedback section:

Doug (Missouri Miller Boy (who did the May Trucker Grub segment) challenges the concept of me claiming to be both a cheapskate and an Apple-loving, cat lover and I attempt to explain the dilemma.

Joe questions a wreck involving a trucker taking Ambient, a drug used for insomnia.

Ambien on

Author Lisa Nowak offers congratulations for my new job and I spin it into a lesson that has been recently reinforced that should be a part of every trucker’s life.

David is considering renewing his CDL and wants to know the best path to upgrading from a Class B to a Class A.

Show info:

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Photo by Shannon Holden

TD137: OTR Trucking vs. LTL Trucking

If you’re a regular listener/reader, you’ll know that I recently made a job change. For this episode, I thought about just talking about my new Less-Than-Load (LTL) job, but instead I’ve decided to tell you about the new job while also comparing it to my old Over-The-Road (OTR) job. So let’s get to it.

But first, let’s define what LTL and OTR means so all the newbies and non-truckers can follow along.

OTR stands for Over-The-Road. This type of trucking is typically (but not always) freight picked up at one or two customers at most and delivered to one or two receivers. There are OTR carriers that deal with multiple pickups or stops on one trailer, but the vast majority of large national trucking companies like JB Hunt, Prime, and US Xpress, pick up a load at one location and deliver it to a single location about 99% of the time. Also, unless you’re on some sort of dedicated account, you’re probably not running the same routes every day. Pretty straightforward really. 

LTL stands for Less-Than-Load (or Truckload), meaning they pick up freight from lots of different customers throughout the day who have “less than a full load.” Each customer might only have one pallet, tote, tub, barrel, or crate to ship. All that freight is collected by local drivers who bring it back to local terminals where it is sorted based on which direction it is headed. From there it will keep moving to other terminals and branching out until it reaches it’s final destination.

Think of LTL like a tree. 

There are many roots (shipping customers) on a tree. All those roots converge into the tree trunk.

The tree trunk is the local LTL terminal where all the day’s freight is collected. Freight is then sorted according to the direction of it’s destination and loaded onto many trailers. From there, each branch (or load) forks off in a different direction until you finally get to the leaf (the freight’s final destination in this weird analogy). 

UPS and Fedex are probably the LTL carriers you’re most familiar with. They would have many more branches than most LTL carriers because they are often delivering to individual homes, whereas companies like YRC and Old Dominion are doing more business-to-business freight, meaning there are less branches before it reaches it’s final destination. 

I hope I didn’t confuse you with that analogy so much that you leaf this blog post. Sorry, I realize that’s an inexcusably lame pun, but I’m cheesy enough that I just couldn’t pass it up. 

Here’s the nitty-gritty of how LTL driving works. 

Freight is picked up by many city drivers throughout the day. One local driver might deliver and pick up freight from 10 or more different customers each day. Some terminals have dozens of local drivers that are each doing that. They then bring it back to their local terminal where either they or a dock worker separates it and loads it onto outbound trailers. 

Then the line-haul drivers like me come in and take it to it’s final destination or some point along the way toward it’s final destination. If a few pallets of freight needs to be kicked off (unloaded) at another terminal along the way, either the driver will do it or a dock worker will. 

For instance, I might be pulling a trailer from Joplin that has freight going to Des Moines, Chicago, and Minneapolis (all north of Joplin). Des Moines is the place where this route splits. From there, some of it is staying in Iowa, some is going on north to Minneapolis, and the rest needs to get moving eastbound and down towards Chicago.

If there’s only a few pallets of Des Moines and Chicago freight, they may have me kick off that freight in Des Moines and keep on trucking up to Minnesota. But if most of the freight is staying in Des Moines, they will likely have me drop the trailer there and head somewhere else if I still have driving hours. As I’m moving on, the Des Moines dock workers are splitting that Chicago and Minneapolis freight onto the appropriate trailers, which will be picked up later by other line-haul drivers.

Sometimes this routing has already been planned in advance, but sometimes it’s a spur-of-the-moment decision based on what has come into Des Moines recently. Basically, it boils down to us line-haul drivers doing whatever dispatch tells us to do. 

Okay, now that has been explained, let me issue a disclaimer: 

My only experience working LTL is with this new job, so please keep in mind that I’m only speaking from my limited experience I’ve gained in the first month or so. Not all LTL carriers are alike, so please take my thoughts on this subject with a grain of salt and always do your own research before you make any job switch.   

The job transition

I have to say that the job transition wasn’t as smooth as I’d hoped. Things just seemed confused throughout. When I asked why things were so messed up, I was told this company had just set up a new hiring process. Okay, I’ll give them that. But that still didn’t make it any easier. 

For example, there was such a long interval between my initial drug screen and my start date, that I had to go back in to do another drug screen. Although I guess part of that falls on my old job still needing me to be out a minimum of two weeks.

Let me take a second here to give a shout out to my old employer. Since my new company had called them early on, they knew I was in the running for a new job. They routed me to headquarters where I sat down with my dispatcher and her boss. When they heard my perspective new job involved similar pay and considerably more home time, instead of coping an attitude, they wished me the best and told me I always had a job there if it didn’t work out. They also promised to work with me to get me home whenever I needed throughout the hiring process. They held up their promise until the end, so kudos to them.

On my first home time since I was found out, I did the drug screen and the physical fitness test, which I’m happy to say I passed with flying colors. Then I went back out for three more weeks while the new company processed the test results and scheduled my road test. 

After the road test, I went back out for my final three weeks. I could’ve made it two weeks, but the new employer wasn’t in any particular rush and it just so happened The Evil Overlord was going to be traveling to the city where I needed to drop off my truck. How’s that for luck?

My first week on the job

Again, my first week started with confusion. I had been told to show up for work Monday night, March 4. I was told I’d be riding with a driver to St. Louis and back all week, but about two hours before I was scheduled to head out, I got a call saying that plans had changed and I’d now be riding with a guy to Kansas City and back every night for the first week. 

The bad thing was that I was getting paid for all miles, whether I was driving or my mentor (trainer) was. St. Louis and back is 604 miles round trip, while KC and back is only 310. That’s a tad more than half the miles I was expecting. Yucky. 

Even worse, the dispatcher called me back just an hour before I was due at work to warn me to wear warm clothes because I’d be working the outside dock for a couple of hours. Well, I didn’t have time to find my heavy coveralls, so I threw on some long johns and my coat, dug out my insulated boots, and scrambled to find some heavy gloves and a beanie. 

We got to KC about 12:30 AM where it was a balmy 12 degrees with a wind chill of about 2 degrees. By the end of the two hours dock work, I couldn’t feel my feet. They thawed out about the time we got home three hours later. 

I’m convinced that first night was the cause of the sickness that haunted me for the next three weeks. Not only was this wussy OTR trucker not accustomed to working in the cold every night, but I also wasn’t used to being around other people in tight quarters like our driver’s room. I found out later that all the other drivers at our terminal had been passing trucker cooties around for a while. And of course, I had shaken the hands of every single one of them the first night as I was introduced to everyone.

So there’s the first big difference I noticed between OTR trucking and LTL trucking; the trucker cooties.

As an OTR trucker, I didn’t talk to anyone face-to-face regularly. I was in my truck most of the day; a place where I came into contact with only my own cooties. 

I think of my new situation kind of like a 3rd grade class. When one person gets sick, everyone gets sick. Even worse, think what it would be like if that 3rd grade class interacted every day with other 3rd graders from all across the USA. That’s what you’re dealing with in LTL.

We all touch the same computer keys to sign in and out. We handle the same pieces of paper to punch in/out on the time clock. We all hang out in a driver’s room while we wait on our loads. We handle a different handheld ELD each day that some other driver has probably been sneezing on without covering his mouth. We all cram into a shuttle van to go to the hotel every morning. And perhaps worst of all, we all share trucks where truckers are spreading their cooties over every surface they touch. 

I mentioned in the last podcast, TD136: The emotions of changing truck driving jobs, that we have assigned trucks at my LTL job… sort of. Well, that was accurate. When we come back to work each night, we get the same truck. But that doesn’t mean it sits there unused all day. 

When I’m in bed at the hotel, some city worker is usually driving it around to make deliveries. So what I’m saying is that if you want to be a millionaire when you retire, you should be buying lots of stock in Lysol disinfecting wipes, cuz I’m stocking up on ‘em big time. 

Now I do realize that a lot of this trucker cootie stuff is true about OTR truckers too, but not to the same extent in my opinion. My OTR truck was mine. The only time anyone else was in it was for maintenance. I used my own writing pen whenever possible and I’m still going to do that. But I can’t wipe down every door handle to the driver’s room and shuttle van, nor can I put on rubber gloves to handle every log in/out sheet. Well I could, but people already think I’m weird as it is.  

I’ve always had a strong immune system, but I think it’s just out of practice from 21 years of OTR trucking. So I’m guessing I’ll be suffering with more bouts of sickness until get my body gets used to fighting off trucker cooties again. Heck, I even got food poisoning in my first full week of solo driving with them. Not a fun trip. Let’s just say that my liquid assets were expeditiously exporting from all ports. Yeah. 

Speaking of other drivers, that’s another thing that’s different between OTR and LTL driving; the driver relationships. 

I worked for my former employer for a total of 13 years. I knew a handful of office employees and a few big wigs by name, but oddly enough, I can’t recall the first names of even two of my fellow company drivers. We were just rarely in the same place at the same time. Not so with LTL. 

Since we’re all home over the weekend, most of us are coming back to work at the same time on Monday. Not only do drivers based in the same terminal chat in the driver’s room before we head out, but we also often talk on the phone. 

I have truly never experienced a driving job like this. Never have I worked a job where so many drivers were willing to help each other. There is a lot to learn coming from OTR trucking to LTL trucking and it’s hard to keep it all straight in my tiny little Brussels sprout-sized brain. Good Lord, why would I use that horrific vegetable as an example? They taste like tiny little dirty cabbages! Yuck!

Here are just a few of the questions I’ve asked multiple times (hey – it’s a lot to take in!): 

  • When can I claim layover pay and how do I figure it?
  • How much time do I claim for drop/hooking?
  • How do I make sure I get paid for breakdown? 
  • What’s the best way to get your truck serviced without someone stealing your assigned truck?
  • Where do I park and check-in when I get to a terminal I’ve never been to?
  • Is that little state highway okay to run between these two terminals? 
  • Where do I put this freight I was told to unload? 
  • How do I get to the hotel; bobtail, taxi, or shuttle van (the answer of which depends on where and when you arrive)?
  • How does this job bidding thing work?
  • And what the heck is “notching” a driver?

Just to get it out of the way, let me try to explain notching to you. I think “notching” is a union thing, but it could also be non-union LTL for all I know. Remember my disclaimer. 

With OTR, you’re often preplanned on loads, and that doesn’t always translate to first come, first served. But in LTL, the first driver to their destination gets the next best outbound load. 

But the union is all about seniority too. That means it’s important that you don’t screw someone with more seniority by leaving earlier (notching) than they do if you’re both headed to the same place. 

So for instance, I’m the low man at my home terminal until some poor sap is hired on behind me. So if the driver right above me and I are both heading to Nashville and we’re both set to depart at the same time, I need to make sure I don’t punch out (notch) and leave before he does. That puts him in a position to arrive first and get the better load back out. 

Part of me thinks that sounds fair, but another side of brain says that if I’m eager enough to leave out a bit early, then I should be able to do that. But then again, the union has been doing it this way for years, and frankly, I value my kneecaps. 😉  

But once we’re both out on the road, all bets are off. If he’s the type of driver that likes to stop and get coffee every couple of hours or pull off for an hour-long nap, then that’s his problem if I beat him to Nashville. You snooze, you lose, buddy.  

So back to all my questions…

As you know, I’m a naturally-inquisitive guy, but even I’ve asked a heck-of-a-lot more questions than normal within the last month or so. God bless Ronnie (my mentor) for being willing to answer the constant barrage during my first week. I feel sorry for him, but he was a real trooper. 

For the record, getting less miles (and money) in my first week and going with Ronnie to KC for dock work proved to be a lot more useful than riding back and forth to St. Louis for a turn-and-burn. 

I got some experience on a forklift (it’d been about 25 years since I’d been on one), but more importantly I learned how to read the freight bills to figure out where freight was moving and how much of it there was. 

I also got some basics on how to load such mismatched freight (no such thing as 22 pallets of identical freight in the LTL world) to reduce damage and maximize the space available. I still have a lot to learn in that department, but that one week of low-paying dock training gave me a leg up on other new drivers I’ve talked to.

Back to this driver relationship thing… 

That first night at work, I got the phone numbers of four or five of our drivers and I’ve since added a handful more to my Contacts app. Everyone says to call if I have any questions. I have… many times. If I can’t reach one guy, there’s always another driver to call on. That’s largely because everyone is driving at night. I’ve even got phone numbers from guys who drive out of other terminals! 

When I was driving back from orientation in Indianapolis (yes, I drove a truck to orientation the second week – first time that’s ever happened), I had to stop and kick off some freight in St. Louis before I could head home. This would be my first time doing it without Ronnie’s help. 

I grabbed a forklift and headed out. I walked up to a guy on the dock and said, “Hey man, I’m new. I think I know what I’m doing, but I don’t know whether to put the freight on the dock or in one of the outbound trailers.” He just said, “You read the bills and I’ll move the freight.” Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve always had drivers willing to help when I ask. Very cool.

Driving at night is another huge difference between OTR and LTL.

When I was an OTR driver, I did my share of overnight driving. That’s actually one of the things I like about OTR; the variety of driving hours. One day you’re up driving during daylight and the next night, you’re waking up at 10 PM to drive all night to deliver a load in the morning. Variety is the spice of life, right? Well, for some people it is and for some people it isn’t.

Seriously, if you’re a solar driver (can’t stay awake at night), LTL is NOT for you. Literally, 85-90% of our driving is in the dark. I typically start between 8-10 PM. If the miles are there and everything goes smoothly, I’m parked at the terminal and heading to the hotel by 8-10 AM, which is always my goal because you know this cheapskate wants a free breakfast. C’mon, you beautiful waffle maker!

Another major difference is preplanning.

For you newbies and non-truckers, preplans are just what they sound like. Before you’re finished with your current load, your dispatcher is already planning out your next load. As soon as they know for sure, they tell you so you can manage your hours of service better. 

The best thing about preplanning is that you almost always knew what you’d be doing next. And the closer your home time got, the more important it seemed. Thanks to preplans, I could often give The Evil Overlord a rough estimate of when I’d be home two days before I got there. Not so with my LTL job. 

Like I said earlier, my new company does everything on a first come, first served basis. Whoever gets to the delivery terminal first gets the best load back out. So obviously dispatch can’t preplan you because they never know who is going to show up first. 

The only exception to this first come, first served rule is leaving out from home after the weekend off. In this scenario, the driver with the most seniority gets the best load (usually the longest mileage). That seems fair, right? But again, there are exceptions.

Some drivers have bid runs.

These are runs that are consistent enough to warrant the same person doing them every night. This can be great if you’re a top dog, but it can really backfire on you if you’re a lowly peon like me. 

You see, there are good bids and there are bad bids.

That driver I was supposed to go with the first week has the #1 seniority spot at our terminal. His bid is St. Louis, drop/hook, and straight back every night. That’s over 3,000 miles per week in 5 days. If you could see me right now, I’m approximately the color of Shrek.

But there are bad bids too.  

Right now, my favorite person in the whole wide world isn’t The Evil Overlord; it’s my mentor, Ronnie. I’m pretty sure he’s her favorite person too, and she hasn’t even met him yet! Why?

Because Ronnie chooses to do that Kansas City bid that only pays 1550 miles plus some dock time each week. He’s in his 60’s and he’s really only doing this job for the insurance and to keep active. Unlike me, he’s been smart with his money and doesn’t need more miles. He can usually even finish his run before he needs to take a stupid 30-minute break. And did I mention it’s only 5 days per week? 

I actually kind of like that KC bid. It’s got a little bit of driving, a little bit of dock work, and lots of home time. If I was in Ronnie’s boat, I’d love to do that bid run. But I’m not in Ronnie’s boat; I’m in my crappy little dinghy with a leaky hull. If I was forced to do Ronnie’s bid, I honestly don’t think I could work here. I’d have to find another LTL job or go back to OTR. It’s just not enough money.

Sure, I would love to have a good bid and be back home every day, but I’m a long ways off from taking that #1 St. Louis bid due to my low seniority. Besides, all the good bids are taken. But there is one more bid that nobody wants and since I’m the low guy, it’s going to fall to me until we can get someone new hired. 

This bid is Joplin to Memphis 3 times one week and twice the next on a continual loop. That’s only 380 miles per day and a lot of sitting at the hotel between loads. Great for the podcast; horrible for my wallet. Normally that would force me to find another job, but everyone tells me that I’ll be able to pick up additional runs to make it worth my while.

For instance, if I get to Memphis early enough and there is freight running to Nashville that they need to move, I could actually turn a 380 mile day into a 600+ mile day. Then I’d swing back through Memphis to get back on my bid run before heading back to Joplin. On my short week, I’ll be able to ask for extra freight on Friday night, but again, this is all dependent on having enough freight to keep us all busy.

You see, being the low man on the totem pole has another downside. If there is additional freight to run, those drivers with higher seniority get first dibs. If they don’t want it, it might fall down to me. In the busy time of the year, there’s enough freight for everyone. The slow time is a different story.  

I can really only hope and pray my fellow drivers are right about this bid and these extra runs, because I like this job a lot and really don’t want to have to move on. I see the potential if I can get off this bid and back onto the open board (out all week and back on weekends) and I’m just praying for someone to come along who would enjoy lower miles and more home time. If you know anyone like that in Southwest Missouri, send them my way! Enough about that!

Not sleeping in the truck is another major difference between LTL and OTR.

I mentioned this in TD136: The Emotions Of Changing Truck Driving Jobs. I don’t know if every LTL does this, but if you see them driving day cabs they probably do. 

Turns out, it’s not so bad. I’ve had a few rough times trying to sleep during daylight (usually due to have coffee and then getting shut down earlier than expected), but for the most part I’m snoring like a chainsaw. It’s great getting a shower every day too. 

I am still getting used to the food. Most of the hotels have microwaves so I’m back to packing cans of soup again. And of course, there’s peanut butter. There’s allllllllways peanut butter. 

No parking woes in LTL!

But just as I suspected, the best thing about LTL and day cabs is that I don’t have to find truck parking every day. The only thing I have to worry about is finding someplace to stop for my 30-minute break. And you’ll be happy to know that I haven’t gone all hypocrite on you and blocked the fuel bays. Can’t say that for some of my fellow drivers, but at least I haven’t stooped that low.

Perhaps the biggest difference I see between OTR and LTL is being paid for your time.

As an OTR driver, there is this common thought of “I’m only getting paid if the wheels are turning.” I accepted the fact that I didn’t get paid to fuel, drop/hook trailers, do pre-trip/post trip inspections, sweep a trailer, get a flat fixed, wait for a load to be ready or unloaded, or take a random drug test. It’s all just part of the job, right? I’ve said that to so many drivers in the past.  

As an example, I didn’t get paid any detention time until 2013. That’s 16 years if you’re counting! When I finally did, it was only $12 per hour after one hour detention, with a daily cap of $75. I also used to get $75 layover pay or $75 breakdown, but only after 24 hours of continuous downtime.

LTL pays you for your time.

Again, disclaimer here. All LTL companies may not pay for your time, but mine sure does. 

With LTL, I get paid for waiting, which is the way it should be. I do give them some time initially, but now I get paid a lot more per hour if I have to wait on a load. And there is no cap! 

The other day, I made $100 before I even left the hotel room! I’m not saying that to brag. It’s just that I was being delayed because my load wasn’t ready yet. I was available and ready to go, so I should be getting paid, right? SO SHOULD OTR DRIVERS! But they’re not.

Guess what? For the first time in my career, I got paid for a tire blowout from the minute I called breakdown to the time I pulled out of the shop. Later that week another one blew out and I got paid hourly again. And for the record, this is a decent hourly wage. 

In case you didn’t notice, everything I just mentioned involved getting paid for my time. I wasn’t working, but that wasn’t my choice, was it? I prefer to drive because I can make more money than sitting around with my thumb up my keister, but if someone is wasting my time while I’m out on the road, why shouldn’t we drivers get paid for that? 

It’s something we OTR drivers have been disgruntled about for decades, but it never changed and likely never will until some drastic steps take place. All I can tell you is it’s amazing how less-stressed you are when you’re being paid fairly for your down time.

So it only stands to reason that I get paid for my work too, right? Yep.  

I got paid for fueling for the first time in 21 years. I got paid for dropping and/or hooking a trailer. I got paid for working on the dock. I even get paid a minimum pay if I don’t get a set amount of miles each day. 

How much of this is the union?

Now I’m honestly not sure how much of this has to do with LTL and how much it has to do with being a part of the union. After all, they were responsible for lots of labor laws that many people enjoy today.

Enjoy your weekends off and a 40-hour work week? How about paid vacation, sick leave, medical leave, military leave, or paid holidays? Then thank a union.

Now please don’t think the Trucker Dump podcast/blog is going to turn into a platform to promote unions. That’s really not my goal. It’s just that I believe in giving credit where credit is due. 

The last major difference I see between OTR and LTL is home time. 

Honestly, I was a bit mislead about this. I was told I would be home Friday night or Saturday by noon, when in fact as an open board driver (before and hopefully after this Memphis bid) I’m usually pulling into my home terminal sometime Saturday evening or early AM on Sunday. 

That still works for me because I’m still getting adequate home time. Our normal start time is Monday 8-10 PM so I’m still getting close to 48 hours off every weekend. I might get shorted a bit more during the busy season, but I’m kind of a hammer dog anyway so I’m going to take the freight when it’s there and smile all the way to the bank.

And speaking of banks, I’ve already deposited the biggest paycheck I’ve ever gotten in my 21 year career. And that’s with making 11 cents less per mile than my last job. This, my friends, is the power of getting paid for ALL the work you do, not just driving. 

Again, not to brag… oh who am I kidding? I’m totally bragging!! LOL  

For many years I’ve heard drivers talking up LTL trucking. 

I’d always heard they made more money than the average OTR trucker, but I just never took it seriously. Why didn’t I ever take the time to see if there was any merit to it? Dunno. 

Listen, I have never been one to tell another driver who to work for. I’ve said it as long as I’ve been blogging; I don’t know your situation and I don’t know what your priorities are, so I’m not going to recommend any particular trucking companies to you. Or types of trucking for that matter.

So if you’re happy with your OTR job, by all means keep it up. But if you’re fed up with not being paid for the work you do or the time you’re being forced to waste out on the road, then LTL driving might be for you. 

If you can drive at night without careening off into a river and if you can handle putting in your dues on the bottom rung of the seniority ladder for a while, then I would highly recommend at least looking into an LTL job in your area. What can it hurt?

I can honestly say that I wish I’d made this move about 10 years ago. Then again, if this forced bid thing doesn’t work out for me, I may have to delete this post altogether and disavow any knowledge of it… which would really suck because this sucker took me about 10 hours to write. Yes… seriously.

 Podcast show notes:

Well, there’s been a 2-month hiatus while I switched jobs, but it brought up a good main topic for today’s show; comparing OTR to LTL trucking.

We’ve got not one, but two good places to eat for the Trucker Grub segment.

Plenty of listener feedback too, including more information on the facial recognition system being used at the Canadian border, an audio comment with an oopsie from a driver (and one from myself), and of course I’m going to include some listener comments saying nice things about the podcast. Why wouldn’t I?

And obviously, there’s been lots of news over the past couple of months. I couldn’t hit everything, but it might seem like it. We cover the April 12 slow roll protest, more equipment recalls, and some past and upcoming safety blitzes.

Speaking of upcoming things, how about new Hours of Service, new emissions standards (oh boy), 18 year old interstate truckers, a drug & alcohol clearinghouse, and a couple of studies on ELD usage, truck parking, and the Eisenhower Tunnel in the Colorado mountains.

We also have some good news for diabetic truckers, an attorney’s advice on things you should do after accident, and imagine this; contradicting articles on the driver shortage issue. Who knew?

Listen to the podcast version or read the full article and the podcast show notes on

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

  • Volvo Trucks – Check out the new VNL series and all it’s awesome features

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Protestors reckon with minimal ‘shutdown’ and protest participation from

Volvo recalls 11,000 trucks over sleeper bunk window issue from

Mack recalls nearly 4,000 trucks over mirror issue, Carrier recalls nearly 4,000 APUs from

Next emissions deadline will ban more trucks from

Inspection Blitz Alert! Road check 2019 Announced from

Truckers Made To Climb Onto Trailers To Remove Snow During Enforcement Blitz from

Virginia increases registration fees, diesel taxes to fund I-81 improvements from

It’s Official: FMCSA Plans To Overhaul Hours Of Service Rules For Truckers from

Interstate Trucking Will Be Open To Drivers 18+ Under New Bill from

Federal Govt: The ‘Truck Driver Shortage’ Doesn’t Exist from

ATA Insists Driver Shortage Is Real Despite Govt. Report Saying It Isn’t from

From within or without? — pressure to run over hours in the wake of the ELD mandate from

Drivers will need to register in Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to change jobs, ensure accuracy from

Truckers Can Find Safe Parking Even After Hours Are Up Says FMCSA Official from

FMCSA Ends the Diabetic Driver Exemption Program from

TD116: Diabetes And Truckers

Colorado DOT to study allowing hazmat trucks to travel through I-70’s Eisenhower Tunnel from

Trucking Law: Things to consider after an accident from

35-year trucker Joe Bartlett got a seatbelt ticket — until this video got it thrown out from

Trucking law: Your gun rights on private property from

Missouri Miller Boy gives us two restaurants for the Trucker Grub:

TD136: The Emotions Of Changing Truck Driving Jobs from

Eight Reasons to Thank Unions from

Links in the feedback section:

Rod from read TD134: 3 Free Trucking Apps Every Trucker Should Have and enjoyed it. Thanks man!

Eddie Child is the winner of the Trucker Dump tee shirt for taking the Trucker Dump Listener Survey.

Lindsay had a chuckle about something I said in TD134: 3 Free Trucking Apps Every Trucker Should Have and passed the word along to her husband, who drives truck and works at Bartholomew Pressure Washing out of the Raleigh NC area.

Jeff Hardy listened to TD135: Trucking Recruiters: Friend Or Foe? and wants to help us understand how facial recognition works at the Canadian border. He also quotes The Red Green Show, which apparently is a Canadian thing.

Nick Mack tells a story of when he was complacent about 6 months into his new driving career and I follow up with my own similar story. I also mention two podcasts I’ve done on this important subject, TD97: A Trucker’s Worst Nemesis: Complacency and TD104: Complacency Strikes.

Photos of my recent incident on Flickr.

Glenn wrote the shortest email in history to tell me the term I was looking for was A-Pillar. Thanks, Glenn!

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