TruckingTruth logo

TruckingTruth's Blog - Over 400 Articles

Sorted By:

Category

Tag

Author

Getting Real About The Trucking Industry and How Things Really Are

by Brett Aquila

I always appreciate hearing from our site's visitors. Always. I especially love the thanks we get for putting up positive, honest, and helpful information for those who are considering becoming a truck driver. None of us at TruckingTruth will ever be found guilty of sugar-coating things, or telling anyone that truck driving is nothing but a bed of roses. I have said on numerous occasions that I absolutely loved my 15 years on the road - not because it was easy, and not because it was always fair - but because it was an exciting, challenging, and constantly-changing lifestyle that allowed me to meet thousands of people, see every inch of this country from coast to coast, make good money, be a vital part of our economy doing a job I could be proud of, and have the freedom to set my own schedule, run my own routes, and make more decisions that affect my life and my career than most jobs give you. But I never said it was easy or always fair.

I've been fired numerous times from truck driving jobs, and it's true - sometimes I did not deserve to be fired. A couple of times it was a matter of miscommunication. One time I thought it was Ok to do something that we normally did, but for one certain customer we weren't allowed to do it. My dispatcher never told me this - he had forgotten. Another time I went home for the weekend because the dispatcher that was filling in for my regular dispatcher told me it was ok to do so. Turns out he just forgot to tell anyone else that I was doing it and the company thought I had quit and abandoned the truck - so both companies fired me. Both times I got my job back after the matter was cleared up.

I've been fired from a couple of trucking jobs because of too many logbook violations. Well, that was my fault. Now, did these trucking companies know I was cheating the book? Yap - I was running too many miles to be legal. Did they let it go because they were profiting from it? Yap - until I got caught by the DOT a few times. Then it was going to come down to the company getting in trouble by the DOT if they didn't fire me and claim they didn't know I was cheating the logbook. So they fired me to protect themselves. Do I think this is fair? Yap - because I understand the trucking industry and how all of this works.

I knew when I was cheating the logbook that all of us would make more money and these particular companies would let me do it if I kept a low profile and didn't get caught by the DOT. Did they actually tell me this? Hell no! They can't say those type of things! I learned it from experience. I also knew they'd throw me under the bus if it came down to one of us getting in trouble. I knew all of this, I accepted the inherent risks, and it worked out in everybody's favor for a long time - but not forever. It pretty much went like I figured it would go, and I walked away and onto new jobs without too much concern. Now I'm not telling you to do this, and I'm not telling you it will work this way at all trucking companies - because it won't. I'm just telling you what I did, how it worked out for me, and how I felt about it - and why.

Truck driving, more than any job I've ever had, is really a "do whatcha gotta do" kinda job. You put in a lot of long hours, you don't always get enough sleep, and you're dealing with a lot of heavy traffic, tough road conditions, bad weather, crazy drivers, time alone away from your home and family and friends, and a myriad of other challenges out on the road. But the key word there is challenges.

Personally, I love to challenge myself. I used to love getting out of the truck, looking back at that monsterous trailer, and laughing to myself about the fact that I drive a small building around - through the mountains, snowstorms, big cities, and back home again - bringing the people of this nation the goods they can so easily pick up from their local grocery stores, malls, and department stores.

I used to love pulling into my destination - snow and salt covering my entire truck and trailer, ice on the wipers, and tires sliding around in the parking lot. I'd back that thing in with only inches to spare while reminiscing over the memories of the past days' travels. Fighting through the cities, climbing over mountains, the heat of the desert, and the endless cornfields of the plains - the snow, the heat, the wind, the traffic - the meals in the truckstops, the nights with the engine rumbling, fueling in the freezing cold (don't lick the fuel tanks in the winter - they're aluminum - your tongue will stick to them!) - all so that I could bring people the things they needed to live the lifestyle we have all come to take for granted in this wonderful country.

I didn't need the thanks - and normally didn't get any - and I understood why. Because most people have never gone through what truck drivers go through - and many wouldn't want to. And that was part of what I loved about it - not many people were cut out for the truck driving lifestyle, but I was. It was challenging, rewarding, exciting, and filled with adventures - you never knew what was going to happen from one moment to the next. At times it was difficult, demanding, frustrating, exhausting, and unfair. And pretty much every night when your head hits the pillow, the alarm clock seems to go off immediately! Yap, it's already time to drag myself out of bed again - God it didn't feel like I had slept for even five minutes! But that's life on the road for ya.

If you're the adventurous type - if you're tough, you're brave, you're independent, you'd love to travel, you love making your own decisions, and you're the type that will do whatever it takes to get the job done safely - or you think you can learn to be these things - then trucking may be perfect for you! If you hate that life isn't fair, if you want to always know what's going to happen next, if you expect to be treated like a king, or you crave attention and appreciation - then I'd say leave trucking to those of us who were cut out to do it. There are a lot of things that trucking is, a lot of things it is not, and a lot of things it should or should not be - but regardless of how any of us feels about it, trucking is what it is. You either accept that because you love the richness that truck driving will bring to your life, or you get out soon after you get in and wind up one of those complainers you see all over the trucking forums of other trucking sites - crying that life isn't fair.

Truck driving is what it is, people. You're not going to change it. Believe me you won't. But no matter who you are, and no matter what you've been through in your life, it will change you. I know it changed me for the better - because I learned from it and I grew rich from it - not financially, but rich in wisdom, memories, and character. Our goal here at TruckingTruth is to let you know the truth about what life is like in the trucking industry - and I hope I've helped you see a little bit more of what it's all about. If you would be so kind, leave me a comment below for my efforts so I know if this has helped in some way.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
by Brett Aquila

Related Articles:

My Truck Driving Career - A 6 Month Review

by TruckerMike

I thought I'd share a few of my initial impressions of my early truck driving career, having experienced it for 6 months now. It's been incredible!

OTR Training- Week 1: Patience And Perseverance

by lucky13

CDL training will test you in so many ways, and it will go far beyond your ability to drive a truck. It will also test your patience and perseverance.

Understanding Rights In The Trucking Industry

by Dave Ashelman

What rights do truck drivers have? Here’s a brief overview of some of the common issues drivers face with their bosses, and the remedies they can seek.

The Unexpected Call

by TruckersWife09

Home time is precious to an over the road driver and their family, and it's painful when it gets cut short by an unexpected call from the company.

Important Truths For Rookie Drivers: Surviving Your First 6 Months

by lucky13

So how does a new driver survive their hectic, stressful, tiring, demanding, and incredibly challenging first 6 months on the job? Here's my advice...

Rites Of Passage On The Highway

by Dave Ashelman

Many folks come into truck driving believing they should be treated like gold without having to prove themselves first. That's simply not how it works.

How To Cut Through The Negativity And Choose The Right Trucking Company To Start Your Career

by Brett Aquila

With all of the negativity surrounding the trucking industry, how do you choose the right company to work for and what do companies look for in a driver?

Your Trainer Will Test You On Far More Than Just Your Driving Skills

by Old School

As a rookie truck driver you're going to face enormous challenges and be tested continuously. I learned a great lesson about how tough CDL training can be.

You Won't Get Anywhere In Trucking If You Can't Get Along With Your Support Personnel

by Brett Aquila

At TruckingTruth we're always telling you that you control your own destiny in trucking. Well a big part of that is getting the right people on your side.

How Do I Know If Truck Driving Is For Me?

by Brett Aquila

We've all pondered becoming a truck driver at some point in our lives. But what is it really like? Would it suit me? Here's a great introduction to truck driving.

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More