Category Archives: Service

Trucking Makes Montana Holidays Possible

d000426bb090c4b63f14b39c1e4288b2Written by: Barry Stang

Dining room tables set for a family feast. Storefront displays brimming with gifts to exchange with loved ones. Communities and friends joining together for holiday traditions. Bright lights on downtown trees and wreaths on doors.

These are just some of the images I think about when the holiday season is upon us. And no matter who you are, which holidays you celebrate, or where you’re from, all of these images share something in common – they’re all made possible by trucking.

The fact is, trucking touches every aspect of the holidays – and it goes beyond stocking grocery store shelves or delivering that perfect gift. In Montana, 65 percent of communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods. In addition to providing all those goods and cargo, trucking keeps your family members moving on the roads for that special time together by ensuring our gas stations are amply stocked with fuel.

The trucking industry is proud to deliver the holidays, and we recognize the enormous responsibility that comes with it. When more than 100 million drivers are on the road this season – as AAA forecasted for year-end holidays last year – they’ll be driving alongside nearly 3.5 million professional truck drivers, with 6,210 drivers in Montana alone. That’s why professional truck drivers are trained and dedicated to ensuring the safety of all motorists on the road, and why the industry as a whole invests $9.5 billion each year in safety. The investment spans all facets of trucking safety, including driver training, compliance with safety rules, on-board safety technology, and awards and bonus pay for improved safety performances.

There’s no doubt that the investment is paying off. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that trucks have a crash rate that is 28 percent lower than that of other vehicles. The fatal crash rate has fallen 74 percent since 1980, and that figure has dropped 17 percent in the last decade alone. Further, trucks are principally at fault in only 25 percent of fatal car-truck crashes. This improvement comes even as the trucking industry is expanding, by operating an additional 2.7 million trucks and driving billions of additional miles each year.

In addition to keeping our roads safe – during the holidays and throughout the year – trucking works to better our communities. Many families and organizations answer a call to service during the holiday season, and the trucking industry is no exception.

From safety to service, the trucking industry is dedicated to ensuring the holidays happen for all of us. It’s the only industry that can say it directly ships to every community in America, helping to make this time of the year brighter for all families – snow, sleet, rain or shine. Professional truck drivers sacrifice time with their own families to ensure our gifts are delivered, our tables are set, and our roads are safe – a true embodiment of the holiday spirit.

Barry “Spook” Stang is executive vice president of Motor Carriers of Montana.

Meals For 18 Wheels Is Gearing Up For The Holidays

1511703_560839657339537_503948183_nWith the holiday season at our doors, Meals for 18 wheels has been busy gearing up for the rush. Meals for 18 Wheels, an organization that serves hot meals to truck drivers in need, is preparing for its fourth holiday season.  Crystal Schoonmaker, who started Meals for 18 Wheels, said the organization served 395 home-cooked meals to truck drivers last Thanksgiving and anticipates similar numbers this year.

Schoonmaker is well aware of the sacrifices drivers make as her husband, father, aunt, two uncles and brother have all been trucker drivers. “If a driver finds themselves stranded because they’re broke down or they don’t have access to food where they’re at or they have a financial setback, they can message the page and we will access our volunteers that we already have information for in the drivers’ area and we’ll make contact with them and exchange information so the drivers can get fed that day,” Schoonmaker said. “If not, we’ll put a post on our Facebook page and hopefully someone will come through.” The group consists of 1,500 volunteers across the United States.

“We’re setting aside Thanksgiving and the Friday (Nov. 24-25) for the holiday sharing, “Schoonmaker said. “For the rest of the weekend, we’re going to play that by ear. If something arises during the weekend, we’ll definitely be available to try and get a driver a home-cooked meal.”

While Thanksgiving and Christmas are the group’s busiest times of the year, Meals for 18 Wheels is a year-round operation. The group typically provides meals to several drivers each week.

“The past year has been busy,” she said. “At the beginning of the year, we were really busy. We were getting drivers that needed help almost every day. Recently, it’s slowed down a bunch. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m leaning toward that it’s a good thing.

“We’re thankful that there may be less of a need, but some new drivers might not know we’re here. Hopefully, we can get the word out to everyone. We definitely want everyone to know that we’re still here, we’re still active, and we’re still doing this.”

Drivers in need of a meal can contact Meals for 18 Wheels on its Facebook page or by emailing MealsFor18Wheels@gmail.com. Individuals who’d like to volunteer can apply here. The group is thin on volunteers in Nebraska, Kansas, Washington and Nevada.

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

FMSCA Eases Requirments On Military Personnel Looking To Obtain A CDL

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announces a final rule (Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0051) on Oct. 12 that simplifies the process of obtaining a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for current and former military personnel. 23085Military members who drove commercial vehicles (CMV) in the service will now have a full year to apply for a skills test waiver instead of just 90 days after they leave the service.  The rule also allows a state to accept applications from active-duty military personnel who are stationed in that state and to administer the written and skills test for a CLP or CDL. FMCSA had been granting states temporary exemptions that extended the time of the waiver since 2014. This action would make the waiver extension permanent. FMCSA said the proposed rule will accomplish the following:

  • Demonstrate FMCSA’s commitment to serving veterans and assist in efforts to attract and retain skilled CMV drivers.
  • Provide military personnel with a time extension to apply for a skills test waiver and also permit active duty military personnel to apply and be tested for their CLP and CDL in the state where they are stationed.
  • Establish a process that allows veteran operators to obtain their DOT medical certification exams from their Department of Veterans Affairs physician.
  • Provide CMV Operator Safety Training grant program that will provide grant funds to commercial driver training schools that train veterans to transition into civilian motor carrier careers.
  • Enable a federal military pilot program that will allow select military personnel between 18-21 years of age to operate a CMV in interstate commerce.

“FMCSA believes that this would give former military personnel a better opportunity to obtain a CDL in a way that will not negatively affect safety,” the agency stated in its proposal. The agency also said it is has concluded that lengthening the waiver period permanently “would ease the transition of service members and veterans to civilian life.” Making CDLs more accessible for veterans has been a priority by many industry trade organizations and is seen as a promising way to recruit more drivers into the industry who can help alleviate the ongoing driver shortage. The FMSCA estimates this change could result in up to $7.7 million in new benefits over the next 10 years.

Additionally, the FAST Act, passed in December, requires FMCSA to (1) exempt certain ex-military form the CDL skills test if they had CMV driving experience in the military, (2) extend the skills test waiver to one year and (3) credit the CMV training military drivers receive in the military toward applicable CDL training and knowledge requirements. This rule would take care of the first two of the three requirements. FMSCA has said the third requirement will need additional rulemaking.

According to the agency, more than 10,000 separated military personnel have taken advantage of the skills-test waiver.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Davis Transport Now Offers A Discount Program

abenityDavis has teamed with Abenity to provide our office staff, company drivers and owner operators with an elite collection of local and national discounts from thousands of hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, retailers, florists, car dealers, theme parks, national attractions, concerts, and events – all powered online by Abenity.

Vendors include Costco, Sprint, Firestone, DirecTV, T-Mobile, Dell, Target.com, PODS, LifeLock, Verizon Wireless, Overstock.com, Brooks Brothers, Bally Total Fitness, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Outback Steakhouse. Offers are also available from over 150 national attractions and theme parks including the Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Studios®, SeaWorld, Cirque du Soleil, and Six Flags!

Some features of the program are:

  • 300,000+ discounts in for hotels, dining, movie tickets and more.
  • Free mobile app for IPhone, Android and Windows devices, with “Near me” offers.
  • Mobile coupons that do not require access to a printer, simple “Show and Save”.
  • Health and wellness savings.
  • 24/7/365 phone help desk support and weekly perks 101 webinars.

Discount offers are redeemable in-store through printable and mobile coupons, online, and over the phone.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Can’t Find Parking? There Is An App For That

huhuhuA new resource was made available Monday for truck drivers looking for available truck parking with the launch of the Park My Truck mobile app.  Park My Truck, which was created with the support of the National Association of Truck Stop Operators and its foundation (NATSO), the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), covers some 150,000 truck parking spaces across the country.  With the app, public and private truck parking providers, including truck stops, rest areas and more, can update the number of available parking spaces available at any time to help drivers determine if there are open spaces at a given location.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations prohibit nonemergency stops along side of the road because of the severe hazard they present to commercial motor vehicle drivers and other motorists. But Truckers often park roadside when they need a nap or have hit the mandatory limit on the number of hours behind the wheel because they are unaware of the nearest rest area or truck stop. Now, with the use of Park My Truck the user has the option to search for parking spaces within a certain distance of their current location, up to 250 miles or to search by state or along the interstate.

Commercial drivers ranked truck parking as their No. 4 concern in the “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry” report for 2016, which was released this week by the ATRI. Complying with the electronic logging devices rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; the hours-of-service rules; and the cumulative economic effects of trucking regulations ranked above finding a place to park, according to the report.

“Finding a safe place to park is a consistent issue for drivers in our industry,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “While we would love to see the number of spaces increase, tightening state and federal highway budgets will limit the opportunity to expand parking capacity for the foreseeable future. It is important we have ways to let drivers know where the spaces currently exist, which is why this app, developed in cooperation with ATRI and NATSO, is so important. Directing drivers to safe parking spaces will give them opportunity to get the rest they need and the off-duty time they are required to have.”

The app is free to download on both iPhone and Google Play.

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

3 Ways To Save On Tires At Davis Transport

At Davis Transport we are constantly looking for ways to make our driving team more successful.  At Davis Transport we have an exceptional tire program that maximizes casing value and allows owner-operators to save significant money on their tire purchases.  On top of saving money on the tires and consistently having casing credits to use we save owner-operators money on the install of tires as we do that in our own shop.

3 Ways to Save on Tires

March 2016, TruckingInfo.com – Department

by Jim Park, Equipment Editor

Everybody knows tires can eat up a big chunk of a fleet’s operating budget. Keeping costs in line isn’t impossible, but you have to work at it. And there’s one important thing to remember: You can’t simply copy another fleet’s approach in your own operation. There are just too many factors at play to make that work. Ambient temperatures, pavement condition, axle loads, exposure to damage and the skill and diligence (or lack thereof) of the maintenance department will determine how your tires wear and thus, how much they will cost you.

Here are three suggestions that can help you get a handle on tire costs and keep them under control.

Analyze your scrap tires

A good place to begin is where the previous tire left off. If something is robbing your tires of life, you need to find out what’s wrong. Analyzing every tire you take out of service is a bit like doing a post-mortem to determine the cause of death.

Gary Schroeder, director of commercial vehicle and OEM sales for Cooper Tire’s Roadmaster brand, suggests using the ATA Technology & Maintenance Council’s Radial Tire Conditions Analysis Guide as a resource.

“The guide provides photos of tire conditions for steer, drive and trailer tires, which are very helpful if you’re not an experienced scrap tire inspector,” he says. “It also outlines a list of possible causes for the condition, in addition to suggestions for what might need to be done to the vehicle and what to do in operations.”

If those conditions point to a maintenance- or service-related item, the tires will continue to hit the scrap tire pile until the problem is corrected.

Typical maintenance-related causes could be alignment, lack of adequate inflation, improperly matched tires, suspension issues or improper bearing adjustment. Once identified, these can be corrected.

Service-related conditions could include improper repairs, mounting damage with torn beads, and load/inflation issues. The age of the casings and the number of retreads also need to be looked at.

“If you find a condition that can’t be traced to a cause, your tire dealer or tire manufacturer should be brought in for help,” Schroeder says.

Scrap tire analysis also might reveal some recoverable dollars from possible warranty issues. If nothing else, if a host of service issues show up in the examination, you’ll know that your tire program needs rehabilitation. That could be a big money saver, too.

Retreading can extend casing life two, three or even four times, significantly lowering the life-cycle cost of the tire. While retread costs vary with the type of tread, the quality of the casing and the contract arrangement you have with the retreader, prices are roughly a third to half that of a new tire.

If you keep an eye on casing value, you’ll know that casings sold seem to fetch a fraction of what they are truly worth. You might get $90 to $125 for a good casing in a tight market, but retreading the casing gives you a “new” tire with a couple of hundred thousand miles of life – often several times. Which is more valuable?

“A casing is a terrible thing to waste, since at least 75% of the cost of a tire is in the casing,” says Ron Elliott, marketing and communications manager, Marangoni Tread North America.

Plus, there’s a significant environmental benefit to retreading.

“Retreading a truck tire requires significantly less oil and 70% less energy to produce, contains 75% post-consumer material and keeps tires out of landfills,” says Matt Loos, director of truck and bus tire marketing at Bridgestone.

There are three key factors in a successful retreading program:

  • Start with new tires that have a good history of retreadability
  • Protect the value of the casing through good tire management
  • Maximize the casing usage through strategic deployment in less demanding applications.

According to Loos, it’s no coincidence that fleets that use retreaded tires successfully are good at tire management.

“Besides achieving the lowest cost per mile, retreading encourages fleets to better manage their tire assets overall,” he says. “In general, fleets that use retreaded tires often do a better job of protecting and caring for tire casings to ensure they can be retreaded. Greater attention to good tire care practices helps to improve wear-out performance and fuel economy for the fleet, and it can help reduce costly road calls.”

Proper inflation and regular inflation checks will keep all tires in service longer — including retreads. While several tire debris studies have disproven the notion that modern retreads suffer from failing more often than new tires, doubts linger.

“Proper tire pressure is one of the simplest aspects of daily truck upkeep, but it can have major short- and long-term effects on tire life and performance, fuel economy, and maintenance costs,” says Jon Intagliata, product manager of tire pressure monitoring systems at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems. “Underinflation by 20% results in a 30% reduction in tire life. We see this across the industry. Nearly half of all emergency service road calls are tire related, and underinflation – along with excessive heat, which is an additional consequence of low tire pressure – is responsible for 90% of tire failures.”

You won’t get far with retreads if you buy lower-quality tires in the first place and then neglect them. If retreads get a bum rap, this may be part of the reason.

“Most casings are designed and manufactured to be highly repairable and retreadable to last more than one life,” Elliott says. “A proper tire management program will help ensure the very lowest total running cost.”

Compare tire cost to tire value

On the other hand, price alone is not always a sure indicator of quality, says Cooper Tire’s Schroeder.You could easily reduce your upfront tire costs by buying cheap tires, but that decision may come back to bite you.

“Tires are far from a commodity item, and tire price points don’t always tell you the ‘life’ you should expect to get from them,” he says. “Just because you pay more for a tire doesn’t mean you will get higher mileage and more retreads.”

Schroeder believes that in order to get the most out of your tires, it is important to find a brand that provides long miles to removal, as well as one that takes into account the casing quality and belt package.

In today’s tire market, fleet managers can be tempted by the lure of low-priced tires over retreading higher quality value tires. According to Patrick Gunn, director of sales and marketing for commercial tires at Giti Tire (USA), “These budget tires are designed for single use, with poor retreadability, resulting in a shortened product lifecycle.”

Gunn suggests fleet managers do a head-to-head comparison of the tires they are considering, focusing on certain characteristics as well as the tire’s construction and the materials used to build the tire:

Footprint and ground contact pressure area: Rectangles are good, ovals bad. The closer to a rectangular shape the contact area is, the more durable the tire. If the contact area resembles an oval shape, the wear life is compromised due to different rolling circumferences across the tread width. A rectangular shaped contact patch has pressure distributed evenly for longer even wear.

Under-tread rubber depth: Seek an under-tread rubber depth that is deeper than most budget or inexpensive tires. Thick under-tread rubber promotes long tire life when the tread is worn out and protects the casing from damage, which enhances retreadability.

Belt layout: Belt design optimizes tread rigidity, which improves contact pressure (makes it more rectangular in shape) and wear performance. Uniform belt layouts provide higher mileage, fuel savings and positive environmental impact.

Bead construction: As a force and contact bearing point, the bead acts as support to pass force from tire to rim. Bead contact area with the rim edge has 10 times the pressure on the interface compared to other parts of the tire.

“Ask tire dealers and manufacturers for specifics on these tire attributes,” Gunn suggests. “Spending some additional time to separate tires with quality materials, construction and design from the inexpensive, lesser quality tires on the market will reduce your overall tire operating costs.”

One final note on lowering tire costs; it can be easy to step over a dollar to pick up a dime. Lloyd Hair, direct of maintenance at heavy-hauler Keen Transport of New Kingstown, Penn., will only run brand new tires on any load over 55 tons. Despite having a very advanced tire program, Hair says tire problems can be mission-crippling when you have to run daylight hours only under permit with those big loads.

“We just can’t afford to stop those trucks,” he says. “To lessen the chance of a problem, we run only new tires on those loads. It’s not that older tires or even retreads aren’t up to it, it’s really just managing risk.”

In such cases, scrimping a little on a tire, or pushing tires a little too far, could have some downstream consequences.

Ignoring tires when trying to save on maintenance almost never ends well, nor does having inexpert people servicing your tires and wheels. Some money-saving strategies are worth exploring, but going cheap almost never works.

Davis Transport, Inc. is a leading flatbed transportation company. Davis Transport, Inc. only works with the best flatbed truckers who put safety and customer service above all. We are currently recruiting for flatbed independent contractors to join our fleet. Whether you are a veteran flatbed owner operator or a trucker looking to start your own business through Davis’ flatbed lease purchase program, give us a call today. All of our independent contractors enjoy the same benefits, as well as one of the highest levels of compensation in the industry for semi-tractor-flatbed combinations.

Big Sky Canvas Flatbed Tarp Coupon Code

At Davis Transport, Inc we are constantly working to provide ways to make others in the transportation industry more successful. Recently we reached out to a local company in Montana called Big Sky Canvas to see if we could put together a tarp deal for anyone that receives this email.

Big Sky Canvas has agreed to provide a 10% discount to everyone that provides the coupon code below and free shipping to anywhere in the Continental United States.  If you pick the tarp up yourself they will deduct another 5%. They have offered the deal for the entire month of March 2016.  Orders have to be placed by the end of March 2016 to receive the deal.

You can reach Big Sky Canvas by calling: 406.543.8303. You can also reach out to them via email at info@bigskycanvas.com

Visit their website at www.bigskycanvas.com

COUPON CODE: MONT2016

All orders are made directly with Big Sky Canvas and not Davis Transport, Inc

Again, make sure to call and order your tarp before the end of March 2016 to receive the deal. Their design team will assist in creating the best longest lasting tarp you’ve ever purchased.

Davis Transport, Inc. is a leading flatbed transportation company. Davis Transport, Inc. only works with the best flatbed truckers who put safety and customer service above all. We are currently recruiting for flatbed independent contractors to join our fleet. Whether you are a veteran flatbed owner operator or a trucker looking to start your own business through Davis’ flatbed lease purchase program, give us a call today. All of our independent contractors enjoy the same benefits, as well as one of the highest levels of compensation in the industry for semi-tractor-flatbed combinations.