Posts

Why Trucking is a Safe Bet for Military Veterans

Safety isn’t just a buzzword in the trucking industry — it’s a lifestyle. It has to be, for a reason more than familiar to military veterans: neglecting safety comes with consequences. Fortunately, veterans transitioning into trucking will find a familiar — and enduring — commitment to safety. The statistics prove it.

According to the American Trucking Associations, the number of truck-involved fatalities fell 21% between 2002 and 2012 (the most recent range data is available for). The number of truck-involved injuries fell 20% during the same period. Altogether, trucks have overall crash rates almost half that of other vehicles.

The numbers are even more impressive considering in 2012 there were nearly 3 million more registered large trucks on the road than in 2002. Every day, the drivers of those trucks travel millions of miles, facing challenges like careless motorists and fluctuating weather conditions.

A combination of factors contributes to safety progress made in the industry, including better equipment and technology. Ultimately, it comes down to each driver making safety a top priority, and working for a company that never compromises that commitment.

For example, Schneider, an industry leader for 80 years and the number eight G.I. Jobs Military Friendly employer, has a core value of “safety first and always.” No freight matches the value of a human life, and Schneider’s policies reflect that.

Learn more about Schneider’s commitment to safety, see why those with a military background choose Schneider and apply to join the team by visiting schneiderjobs.com or calling 800-44-PRIDE.

Congress Rolls Back Federal Trucking Rule

A regulation which trucking companies claimed was far too restrictive for drivers is now being eased.

According to federal rules, the restriction would have required a drivers’ 34-hour restart to include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods and would limit the use of a 34-hour restart to once per week.

The two provisions of the 2013 changes to hours-of-service regulations for truck operators will be suspended at least until Sept. 30, 2015, and FMCSA will be required to further study the rules and their impact before the rules can take effect again.

Both the House and the Senate passed a new provision to suspend the Hours of Service rule. U.S. Representative Richard Hanna, who led the suspension effort, believed the mandated 34-hour restart rule would negatively impact trucking businesses in the Southern Tier.

Representative Hanna also believed the rule would hurt small businesses who relied on the trucking services.

Interested in a career in trucking? Apply to Progressive Truck School!

Daimler’s Future Truck 2025 is Up and Running

In an amazing feat of trucking technology, Daimler has released its Future Truck 2025, a truck that can drive itself while allowing its driver can be much more productive and safer behind the wheel.

The truck is designed to constantly communicate with surrounding vehicles and objects to allow multiple vehicles to travel closely together. The truck is even smart enough to anticipate necessary maintenance and repairs.

The world premiere of the self-driving truck was recently made on a new section of the Autobahn near Magdeburg, Germany. The tractor trailer combination was put through a series of real-world driving situations including interspersed traffic and multiple speed tests and test including getting out of the way of emergency vehicles. The vehicle passed the tests, responding smoothly to the tests without requiring any driver interaction.

The truck features many significant advances in trucking technology, including the artificial intelligence-like Highway Pilot assistance system, which operates very much like an auto-pilot system in airplanes. In addition to this technology, the truck also features an innovative computer and sensor system including advanced onboard data processing and communication tools and advanced driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance, and blind spot monitoring.

Especially interesting for our Progressive Truck School graduates might be the improved driver’s experience including the ability to relax and switch to autonomous mode, accessible through a button on the armrest. The actual driver’s seat moves backwards and pivots up to 45 degrees for an optimal seating position, which allows enough room to stretch out like you’re sitting in a recliner.

The driver will always be in total control of the cab, as any manual steering, braking, or accelerating will override the auto-drive technology to give control back to the driver.

Now is a great time to join the trucking industry as a driver!  Apply here.

4 Tips for Choosing a Chicago CDL School

There are multiple CDL schools in Chicago, so how do you find the right one for you? When choosing a CDL school in Chicago, there are a few key factors that you should take into account:

1. Look at their track record.

First and foremost, look at the track record of the school. How many commercial driver’s licenses have they issued? A school that advertises that they’re the “best driving school in Chicago”, but doesn’t have an establish track record of helping students to graduate and find jobs is a school to avoid. At Progressive Truck School, we’ve graduated over 50,000 students since 1974 – those are the types of numbers you should be looking for when selecting a school.

Also, look at the testimonials on the school’s website and social media. Look carefully at what students say about the training and professionalism of the staff. Avoid schools where you aren’t able to find feedback from former students.

2. Check out the equipment they offer to students.

Does the school offer late-model conventional and cab-over tractors, day cabs and sleepers, with single and double axles and various transmissions, as well as different brands of vehicle, so you get an all-around training experience?

Also, what does their training terminal/lot look like? A school without a dedicated, large training terminal and parking lot is typically a CDL school to avoid. Also, look for a school that offers on-the-road training, so that you can get real-life experience.

3. Find out if they offer job placement assistance.

Does the school you’re considering offer Job Placement assistance? The last thing you want to be is a CDL graduate without a great job to jump-start your career.

Look for schools that have experience placing students with top companies. At Progressive Truck School, we assist students to get jobs at companies like Schneider National, Werner Enterprises, FedEx, Roehl, and Con-Way.  Also, look for CDL schools that offer job placement assistance free of charge!

4. Find out if they offer PTDI-accredited courses.

PTDI is the first nonprofit organization to develop uniform skill performance, curriculum, and certification standards for the trucking industry and to award course certification to entry-level truck driver training courses and motor carrier driver-finishing programs.

Look for a school that offers classes that are certified by PTDI. PTDI is a great indication that the trucking school is recognized on the national level for meeting the PTDI’s high performance standards.

By taking these four factors into consideration, you are well on your way to finding a great truck school for your CDL certification! To apply to Progressive Truck Diving School, complete this form.

Weigh My Truck App Now Available for iPhone, iPad

New technology in trucking is often put towards improving equipment and process. Now, a new iPhone app is looking to put new technology into the hands, or should we say iPhones, of drivers.

Cat Scale Co. has announced that its popular Weigh My Truck app is now available on iPhone and iPad. The app allows drivers to weigh their truck, have weights displayed on their smartphone, and pay for the transaction within the app via PayPal, all without ever having to leave their vehicle.

Using the app is simple: drivers create an account that stores their basic information and email preferences, along with a record of past weigh transactions.

The app also includes the ability to email a PDF copy scale ticket or weight information as a text file to up to 5 email addresses that the driver specifies. In the event that a driver still needs a hard copy scale ticket, they can opt to pick up a printed CAT scale ticket at the fuel desk after weighing in with the Weigh My Truck app.

As of this posting, Weight My Truck is now available on the Google Play Store as well as the Apple App Store.

To learn more about joining the fast-moving trucking industry, contact a Progressive Admissions Adviser: 773.736.5522

5 Great Blogs for Truckers

5. Heavy Duty Trucking

This content-rich, but ad-heavy blog offers a variety of posts regarding new trucking technology, news, equipment, fleet management, safety and compliance, driving, and maintenance. They offer award-winning articles written for executives of fleets from five trucks to thousands. They also offer a variety of content, including videos.

4. LifeAsATrucker.com

This blog is exactly what it sounds like: a blog written by truckers, for truckers. This trucking life blog is updated with questions and posts about trucking lifestyle, trucking jobs, trucking schools, relationship challenges and other truck driving related information. The nice thing about this blog is there aren’t a ton of ads or distractions, just information about trucking, the industry, and real-life trucking stories.

3. Transport Topics

This “Newspaper of Trucking and Freight Transportation” feature up-to-date news on fuel prices, classifieds, news, and an excellent list of the Top 100 For-Hire Carriers. They also feature webinars and video education, as well as an updated calendar of industry-events.

2. Overdrive Magazine

Overdrive features multiple blogs by industry experts along with a TON of content related to life as a trucker, customer rigs, the trucking industry, equipment and regulations. Checking out their “Editor’s Picks” articles is a good way to start. Their “Gear” section is also great for trucking looking to check out the latest trucking tech and equipment.

1. The Progressive Truck Driving School Blog

Of course we have to rate our blog #1! We feature the latest trucking news, life-as-a-trucker pieces, CDL Info, and just plain fun articles to read! Check out our post on the 5 Classic Movies Featuring Truckers. We also keep you updated with the latest news about hiring spikes, employer benefits, and compensation for truckers.

Did you like this article?  Share this with your friends!

Trucking Companies are Upping Driver Pay to Attract New Drivers (Again).

Wal-Mart, one of the countries’ largest retailer, has begun releasing radio ads in hopes of attracting drivers with a new compensation structure: Wal-Mart is offering qualified drivers with CDLs, like those obtainable through Progressive Truck Driving School, a $76,000 salary plus benefits.

According to a Wal-Mart spokesperson, the company currently has 7,200 drivers, but needs even more.

According to The American Trucking Associations, the US currently has 750,000 “for hire” drivers but needs at least 30,000 more right now. They estimate that the industry must hire 100,000 drivers every year for 10 years if it hopes to keep up with retirements, turnover and industry growth. This will no doubt lead to increased compensation packages and benefits to attract new drivers.

Average annual pay for drivers was under $50,000 last year, up roughly 28 percent from around $39,000 in 2000, according to data from ATA and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With Wal-Mart offering compensation of $70,000+, it is estimated that other companies will join suit to remain competitive, so increases in salary for 2015 are expected.

With pay on the rise, now is a great time to obtain your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and be on your way to a lucrative career in a fast-growing industry.

Contact us to talk to an admissions advisor about earning your CDL:  (773) 736-5522.

 

5 Classic Movies Featuring Truckers

Here are 5 classic movies featuring truckers and (often action-packed) life on the road, some so bad that they’re good.

 

1big trouble. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

This irreverent 1986 Comedy features Kurt Russell as a trucker who helps rescue his friend’s fiancé from the Chinatown underworld in San Francisco. Crazy action scenes, hilariously bad Kurt Russell one-liners, and one of the wildest trucker protagonists in a feature film.

 

 

 

 

 

black dog2. Black Dog (1998)

Patrick Swayze is an ex-con who takes a new job driving long-haul. What he doesn’t know is that his truck is filled with illegal weapons, leading to a fight to survive and save his family in this 1998 action extravaganza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

white line3. White Line Fever (1975)

In this 1975 action flick starring Jan-Michael Vincent and a cast of little-known actors, Carrol Jo Hummer borrows money to buy a truck after returning from a stint in the Air Force. He’s hoping to make enough money hauling produce to marry Jerri Kane and set up housekeeping. In the world of White Line Fever,  he discovers that his long-haul business is run by racketeers and decides to fight the corrupt forces that control the trucking business.

 

 

 

 

smokey4. Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Burt Reynolds, The Bandit, is hired on the run a tractor trailer full of beer over county lines, only to find himself in hot pursuit by a pesky sheriff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ovr the top5. Over the Top (1987)

Sylvester Stallone plays Lincoln Hawk, a struggling trucker who arm wrestles on the side to make extra cash while trying to rebuild his life. After the death of his wife, he tries to make amends with his son who he left behind 10 years earlier. Hawk enters the World Arm Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas hoping is to receive the grand prize of $100,000 and an expensive current custom semi-truck and thus start his own trucking company.

3 Things to Consider Before Forming a Husband and Wife Trucking Team

Husband and wife trucking teams allow couples to share in the experience of OTR/Long Haul trucking: spending time together, traveling around the country, and making great money. There are a few things to consider before making the decision to form a husband and wife trucking team:

1. You can make excellent money.

A husband and wife can drive double the amount of time as a single person in one day, as long as one rests while the other is behind the wheel. With double the miles driven, one of the primary reasons couples team up to drive is the monetary incentive.

2. Husband and wife trucking works best when both people enjoy the work.

Team trucking might be a bad idea if one person doesn’t enjoy driving or the experience of a career in trucking. It’s best to be on the same page with the skill involved, shared responsibilities, and avoiding back-seat driving. Keep in mind that you will be together 24/7, you have to both enjoy the work.

3. Spend time planning what you’ll pack and what you don’t need.

Sleepers do not offer a ton of storage. It’s best to pack light in both clothing, food, and personal items. You won’t have a walk-in closet; planning and packing appropriately for long-hauls allows you to relieve the stress of an over-crowded sleeper. Organize well and make sure that all items are in their proper place.

Are you interested in teaming up with your significant other to drive? Contact us at 773.736.5522 to learn more.

Password Protected Trucks Now Part of Peterbilt Line

In an attempt to decrease theft of Peterbilt trucks, Peterbilt Motors Co. is now offering a new system that requires drivers to enter a password to start the truck.

At Progressive Truck School, we’re excited to see that new technology is helping to decrease theft in our industry.

Truckers enter the password into a 5-inch screen on the instrument panel, within the driver information center. After the code is entered, the engine must be started within six minutes, or the code will need to be re-entered.

To ensure that drivers won’t be locked out of their system, passwords can be changed and the Peterbilt service department can activate or deactivate the system.

The system is available on Models 579 and 567 equipped with Paccar MX-13 Engines.  The anti-theft system is now available for order.

To learn more about CDL certification, contact a Progressive Truck School admissions adviser at: 773.736.5522