Online Education – Good for Drivers

As a long time college instructor, both in traditional and on-line settings, I am an advocate for easy and affordable access to education.

There is simply no reason an over-the-road truck driver (or anyone for that matter) should not be able to earn a college degree, certificate, or even just take a class or two for personal interest/knowledge.

On-line education offers the flexibility that over-the-road truck drivers need, thus making it very possible to acquire any education a person might want.

My latest feature in Western Trucking News from Canada’s Woodward Publishing talks a little about online education and how an over-the-road driver might benefit from it.

READ THE STORY HERE

Special thanks to my friends at Selkirk College, GPRC, and Rasmussen College.


Border Crossing By Ferry

What a great way to cross the US – Canadian border if you are a truck driver.

My latest feature in Western Trucking News profiles the M.V. Coho Ferry which connects Vancouver Island (Victoria, BC) to the US (Port Angeles, WA).

Having personally enjoyed the amenities of the ferry, I can vouch for its comfort.  Having spoken with truck drivers and trucking company managers about the ferry, I can say that this is an effective way to go to or from Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Read the full story by clicking here (PDF).


Driving With Tax Freedom

Tax Freedom Day

How sad is it that we have to work nearly 1/3 of the year just to fund the government?  And, this year the date of April 18 is 5 days later than it was last year.  Things don’t look better for next year either, especially with Obama Care fully kicking in.

I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Elizabeth Malm, Economist with the Center for State Tax Policy at the Tax Foundation on my local radio program about Tax Freedom Day and what it really means. Listen by Clicking Here.

Nonetheless, Tax Freedom Day has come and gone, so as you drive down the road the remainder of this year you can now rest easy because you are finally driving for yourself and not the government.


Wrenches, Financial, and Recruiting

Every now and then it is just fun to write about something a little different.  Recently I had the opportunity to do just that when I was asked to write for a new publication called “Civilian Careers.”  This publication essentially helps military personnel transition back to the civilian world.  It is published by the same good folks that put together Truckers Connection and other related publications.

The articles:

Financially Sound
In this one I talk to Dave Ramsey and a financial advisor at USAA about the financial challenges associated with transitioning from military to civilian life.
Click Here to Read the Article

Recruiter to Recruiter
Are the skills of a military recruiter transferrable to those of a driver recruiter?  I talk to an Army recruiter and CR England’s Director of Recruiting for the answer.
Click Here to Read the Article

Working Wrenches
So you are a mechanic in the military and now want a similar job in the civilian world.  I talk to WyoTech and Penske Truck Leasing to learn how you can make this happen.
Click Here to Read the Article


Increasing Fuel Taxes

My latest column for Challenge Magazine discusses state and federal fuel taxes.  While it is apparent there will be an increase in some form of fuel tax, especially at the state level, it’s currently unclear as to what that impact will be on the trucking industry.

In my column, I write, “From my perspective, it’s far easier to accept tax increases from state governments than the federal government.”  And, “Hopefully this will result in improved highway infrastructure, but unfortunately it will also likely result in increased costs to consumers – even those consumers the president has promised not to raise taxes on.”  I also reflect upon Congressman Tom Graves fuel tax devolution proposal from the last Congress – perhaps its time to take a closer look at that.

Click Here to Read the full article here at Challenge Magazine.


Marijuana Legal – Not for Drivers!

USDOT Reminds Drivers Marijuana is Still Illegal

It’s my hope that professional truck drivers really did not need a reminder that marijuana use is not permitted, but with Colorado and Washington voters making recreational use legal it was probably a good idea for the US Department of Transportation to remind drivers of just that.

So, because the November 2012 elections not only elected a President of the United States but also legalized recreational use of marijuana in two states the US DOT issued a clarifying statement about marijuana.

In that statement, issued January 24, 2013, the US DOT says, “We want to make it perfectly clear that the state initiatives will have no bearing on the Department of Transportation’s regulated drug testing program.”  In other words, marijuana – recreational or medical use – remains illegal.  The drug is still illegal on the federal level after all.

Read the text of the full notice here.

While Colorado and Washington were the first two states to legalize recreational use of marijuana, despite the fact that the drug is still illegal at the federal level, other states and local governments are likely to follow suit.  This could be the beginning of a change in how the nation views marijuana, or it could be setting up quite the battle between governments (hang on to your hat federalism).

Regardless, truck drivers should make certain they understand the implications the new laws.

Learn more about FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Programs by clicking here.


Obama: You Need The Government

It was at a campaign even last Friday (July 13) that President Obama let his true feelings about small business be known.  In his speech, Obama said, “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.”  “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

If you are an owner operator or small fleet / large fleet owner, stop right here and think about that – according to the President, it is NOT your hard work, money, and initiative that made your business possible, it’s the government.  WOW!


Many of you have already heard the comments, and there are some out there that defend the President suggesting he was simply saying that it’s because of government programs that individual imitative leads to success.  Well, I take issue with that.  Government only exists because of the personal initiative of our Founding Fathers.  It’s the taxes government collects from those who are successful that allows government to exist.

For trucking, not that he was addressing trucking specifically, Obama said, “Somebody invested in roads and bridges.”  Does he forget that it’s the fuel taxes, tolls, license fees, and other taxes from individuals and corporations that pay for those roads and bridges?

Interestingly, on July 11, FMCSA Deputy Administrator William Bronrott testified before the House Committee on Small Business.  In his remarks, Bronrott comments on how the FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program is impacting small business.  He commented on how cognizant the Administration is of needing to minimize the impact on small businesses – but why does he care, if as Obama suggests, government is the source of all things good?

Whether it’s the large trucking carriers like JB Hunt, Swift, or others that were started by individuals, or the many small fleets and owner operators (FMCSA’s database indicates 85% of registered carriers have 5 or fewer units), Obama wants you to send him a thank you letter and more money to fund the government. 

From my perspective, it’s time for this administration to move out so we can get new leaders who value the American way of life, which includes recognizing the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit that helped found this country.  It’s NOT the government that founded the entrepreneurial spirit.