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.


Success With Social Media

There’s little doubt that social media has had a significant impact on the way we communicate.  In another aspect of what I do I have given presentations to and trained small and large groups on the basic use of social media, so I know the value.  But, it’s more than just a basic means of keeping in touch – it is an effective advocacy tool as well.

My latest feature in Woodward Publishing’s Western Trucking News (and also published in the June 2013 editions of Ontario Trucking News and Eastern Trucking News – all Canadian publications) highlights two social media successes in the trucking industry.

While the brevity of the feature does not do these efforts the justice they deserve it is my hope that my readers will take the opportunity to learn more on their own.  I have sincere respect and admiration for both Hope Rivenburg and Kylla Leeburg!

Read the feature by clicking here.

Learn more about Jason’s Law and Truckers Against Trafficking.

Special thanks to Allen Smith, AskTheTrucker.com and Trucking Social Media Convention, for his contributions to the article.

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).


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


Random Tolling

How do you pay for a bridge that was constructed before funding was secured?  You toll an entirely different road of course!

The 520 bridge in the Seattle area is just this project.  One plan to pay for the bridge, which also has experienced $100 million in engineering snafu’s, is to toll Interstate 90 to help pay for the $1.4 billion shortfall.

This proposal, and how we arrived at this point, is just too outlandish to write about…..so why not listen….

Learn more about this “fundamentally flawed” proposal, as well as other disturbing and related issues with this project by listening to my interview with Paul Guppy, VP of Research for the Washington Policy Center (originally aired on my local radio program, In The Booth).

Click Here to Listen: Bad Tolling Plan

I’ve long been an opponent of toll roads in most cases.  Proponents of toll roads generally argue tolls are nothing more than a “user fee,” while I argue the gas tax is that “user fee” – unfortunately states and the federal government generally don’t use the gas tax entirely for what I believe it’s intended purpose is, to fund highways.  This proposal, however, takes the idea of tolling to an entirely new disturbing level.

Driver Shortage In Canada?

Driver Training at Saferway
Driver Training at Saferway Driver Training School in British Columbia, Photo Courtesy of Randy Eckert

In the US we have heard for years about the driver shortage.  But, what about in Canada – are they experiencing the same issues?  That’s the topic of one of my latest columns for Western Trucking News.

Is the story really in different on either side of the border?

Article Highlights:

    • A new report (February 2013)  by the Conference Board of Canada (CBC) suggests that due to aging in the driver workforce and a growing demand from trucking services, “the for hire trucking industry can expect to face a driver supply and demand gap of nearly 25,000 drivers by 2020 in a business-as-usual scenario.” But, it could become worse if labor productivity is lower in future years.
    • A 2012 report by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Driver Shortage identified truck drivers as the most important asset of the industry and that respect would go a long way in helping with recruitment and tenure.
    • Randy Eckert, President of Saferway Driver Training School in British Columbia says the demand for new truck drivers is palpable.
    • Eckert suggests that the standards are too low, the testing at the Drivers Service Centers is too low, and the training standards are too low.
    • North America has known of the driver shortage problem for many years, yet it is as if the governments have had their heads shoved in the sand

READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE


Diesel Price Outlook

My latest article in Canada’s Western Trucking News (March 2013) addresses the outlook for diesel prices.




The good news – barring any major global events affecting oil supply, diesel prices should remain fairly steady with only moderate increases over time.  There are some indications diesel fuel prices could even decrease in the short term (though I would not hold my breath for that to happen).

Read the column by clicking here.

 

 

Coping with Tragedy

Unfortunately, tragedies occur on a regular basis.  Some are well publicized and some are not.  The horrific tragedy of Newton, Connecticut, once again brings the attention of the nation and the world to how we deal with tragedy as a community and as an individual……… Whether it’s one of the horrific tragedies of 2012 (Aurora, Connecticut) or a less publicized tragedy, how we cope is always important.

Read the entire article at Layover.com for information on how the unique job of OTR drivers can make it challenging to deal with tragedies.

Also in the article, Dr. David Reiss, a practicing psychiatrist for 25 years who specializes in “front line” adult and adolescent psychiatric care and has spent time working with truck drivers as they cope with individual tragedies, offers suggestions on how to best cope with tragedies.

Michael HoweYou can also listen to a PodCast of a Dr. Reiss talking to Michael Howe about how OTR Drivers can cope with tragic circumstances and being alone.  Listen by clicking here:  Coping With Tragedy

Learn more about Dr. Reiss by visiting his web site.