On the bright side, at least they didn't try to send me to an orientation I can't afford.
I don't think anything like this goes on, but I figured I'd ask around anyway to see if anyone knew of someone doing this.
Who else here has a smartphone (Android, Blackberry, iPhone, etc)? I'm curious what apps everyone uses related to trucking. I have an LG Optimus S Android phone and these are what I have, listing the actual app name:
Screen Filter: Uses an "overlay" to simulate backlight dimming down to zero. Works great and useful at night if your backlight's dimmest option is still too bright and causes a glare.
Alarm Clock Extreme: Unlike my built in alarm, it has a HUGE snooze button and tiny dismiss button so you don't accidentally turn it off. Has various other ways to prevent accidental dismissal such as requiring you to complete a math problem. You can select the difficulty, so you can make sure you're really awake.
Google Navigation: Not truck specific, but if you know where you're going and just wanting stuff like eta and distances, it's cool. Really shines by showing you a street level pic of the address you're going to so you know what to look for when you arrive. Wish it would show said pic BEFORE you get right on top of it though.
Scanner Radio: Police scanner app that connects to online scanner feeds from around the world and can show scanners near you via gps tracking or search by state/county. Can give immediate info should something happen along your route. That, and the Chicago station seems to be pretty entertaining. Probably why it's the most popular. Also fun during a snow storm as you hear about all the people putting themselves into the ditches.
Weather Channel widget (not just the bookmark): Pretty obvious here. Instant current location weather display too with gps tracking. Also can give you severe weather alerts.
I also have bookmarks to CAT Scale's mobile site http://www.catscale.mobi
My Fuel Gauges http://www.mygauges.com/ with a mobile version too and allows you to track your fuel milage free, tank to tank, and to put in notes so you can see how different conditions affect your milage. Can track current and previous week, month, year, maintance, and other trucks in the system that you can compare against. You can also search other trucks based on specs like year, make, model, engine, tires, and gearing to see how you stack up to them. Just having all that info there at hand has me changing my driving habits without even noticing, like challenging myself to see how high I can get.
All of these are free in the Android market, but some have paid versions too if you don't want ads. I've also seen a couple of truckstop locators but I don't have much use for something like that on my dedicated run. And a bit off topic, I've seen a couple of furry related apps too.
[/feeble attempt at stirring up conversations]
( TrainingCollapse )
( Phase 1Collapse )
( Phase 2Collapse )
( ”Lease”Collapse )
Had 17 pointless days of refresher training since I already had my CDL. Then had 2.5 months of time with company“trainers” over-the-road. Then I leased.
Two months into my lease I’m making it, but barely. At least I’m not in the hole. It’s winter and everyone I’ve talked to says that’s a slow time of year. So I dunno if it’s because I’m solo or because of the season. In Nov I was getting 2500-3000 miles/wk. Since Dec I’ve been getting 2000-2300 a week.
My 6mo Demo-lease is up at the end of April. Have to give them 30 days notice if I want out of my lease. I will endevor to endure. And see if things pick up in the next few months. It's working for me since I don't have rent or family to support. And I like being solo because I'm able to make my truck my own. And to bring extras like my guitar and fursuit along for if I visit people or furry cons.
I haven’t encountered any stories with this company shorting miles for those wanting to buy their truck at the end of the lease. But if I last the whole 20 months then I guess I’ll see. I do want to buy my truck, or a new one when this lease is up. Been putting away 1 cent per mile towards the down payment. If I stay with the company and stay accident-free I can get a waiver on a credit check and/or up to $6000 off the down payment or the total cost of the loan. Purchasing the truck you’ve been leasing cuts the cost in half. For this 2010 Century the loan would be $40,000. If it’s still in good condition I’m sure that’d be at least $20,000 off the list price of a used one. But I’ll decide when the time comes and I have all the information. Things can change in 18 months….
A note about C.R. England. They push being a trainer pretty hard. You make more money because they pay trainees very little. Phase 1 gets $64/day. Phase 2 students gets 12 cents a mile, which is about the same as Phase 1 if you devide by 500mi/day. That means the trainer is making the extra off them. Which is about 18-20 cents per mile that the student runs, and then the whole 28-30 cents (after expenses) that the trainer runs. Lease/Op teams get first priority for loads. Lease/Op solos get second priority. Then it goes Company teams, then the 36 or so company solo drivers. So yeah, teams get more miles and more pay. Which is something I'd like to do, but only with someone I'd like to share not just the truck with, but my life with as well. Who knows if I'll ever find that! ...
For those that may not have been following, the FMCSA has been working on a new hours of service proposal. They released the proposed changes finally and as one news report called it, gave truckers 3 lumps of coal for Christmas. You can find the new changes at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/hos-proposed/hos-proposed.aspx
Keep in mind, this isn't in the books yet. Starting on the 29th of this month, they will open the proposal to public comment for 60 days and then (hopefully) revise it so it isn't so complicated and restrictive. At least I hope so. Once it opens for comments, all of us should write in and voice our opinions on this proposal.
The two changes affecting me most are the 7 hours "consecutive" rule and the 34 hour reset change. I'm on a dedicated account where we do several drops within our route, delivering to grocery stores that take 15-20 min each on average. So this would cause us to take extra time somewhere along the route, which considering how we are, could really result in a significant milage cut. The other being the 34hrs reset requiring two midnight to 6am periods. We run a lot of overnight stuff. So during a 34, we often shut down early in the day. Instead of being able to run the following night, we would have to wait until the morning after. But since the dc doesn't even start sending loads out until 6, we'd then have to wait longer until our run is assigned and ready. That can take us into early afternoon, turning a 34 hrs rest into a 48+hrs shut down. The 7 day at a time limit wouldn't affect us too much, but I see it being able to hurt the long haul guys.
Are they trying to turn trucking and freight shipping into a 9-5 job? I don't know, but as is usual, leave it to government to make a change "for the better" that ends up not only hurting the driver, but creating a need for more drivers to take up the slack for the extra down time and more of us needing to be parked at any given time when there aren't enough parking places as it is.
That's just my views on the thing. I'm not blindly ranting like I'm sure some truckers have been. I've got pretty legit reasons on how this will impact my particular run. Your milage may vary. Like it or not, let the FMCSA know your stance. Just please be respectful and don't go on a blind rant in your comments, as that will make them less likely to listen to you.
Hope to see at least some of you there!