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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Driver Shortage: Where to Find New Truckers

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Driver Shortage
Driver Shortage
You hear it all the time - there’s a driver shortage. Yet you look around, and there are still plenty of trucks out there.

Well, it’s not just that there is a shortage, it’s that the shortage is only going to increase as the industry ages.

Unfortunately, the industry needs around 48,000 drivers, and that number will only increase as the main working force continues to age.

So what is the best solution? Some experts are calling for a focus on recruiting younger hires and women drivers.

Women in Trucking


Admittedly, there are some physical differences between men and women that can prove challenging, according to Ellen Voie, President of the Women in Trucking Association.

But when you think about it, women make up 47% of the labor force, yet only 6% of truckers are women. This is what drives the Women in Trucking Association.

As it stands, your standard truck might be designed only with the male trucker in mind. But Voie is lobbying for changes, going as far as to meet with Peterbilt engineers earlier this year.

Voie also addressed the Future Truck Committee this year, where she said that the one-size-fits-all approach for trucks is likely costing companies the drivers they are in need of.

Young Truckers


In North America, the average truck driver age is over 47. More distressing is that this number has just been going up, and over 30% of the driving force is over 55.

Some think that the lifestyle just doesn't attract the younger generation. Being on the road definitely limits you from friends and family, which can be a shock for the younger, more intertwined generation.

Which is why some drivers consider trucking a passion more than your standard job. You can’t deny, it definitely carries it's own atmosphere and lifestyle ramifications.

As new truckers do come into the industry, let’s do them a favor and let them know the easiest way to get your stamped Schedule 1 is to e-file your HVUT 2290s with ExpressTruckTax.

How do you think the industry can attract new drivers? Let us know on Facebook (or) Twitter!


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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

7 Ways Truckers Can Prevent Accidents

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Prevent Truck Accidents
Prevent Truck Accidents
There’s nothing worse than a close call on the highway. Well, except for an actual incident!

So what’s the cause of the many trucking accidents? It’s hard to pick one thing, but we know there are a few key factors that always come up.

How can you prevent accidents on the road? By starting with yourself!

We've listened to truckers and health experts to put together these 7 tips for accident prevention.

Get More Sleep


Nothing is more dangerous than falling asleep behind the wheel of a 70,000 lb truck speeding down the highway. Which is why you hear so many people in the industry discussing the sleeping patterns, health, and practices of drivers. Federal regulations do not allow more than 12 consecutive hours of road time, but there are many drivers who do more than this.

How can you avoid sleep deprivation? Rest for short intervals and take breaks when you’re tired. With small amounts of recharge time, you can prevent sleep related accidents.

Sit with Proper Posture


Over at TruckLogics blog, we told you about how you need to watch your back while you drive. And it’s true! When you sit comfortably and don’t damage your back, you reduce the likelihood of personal injury and even roadside incidents.

Related Blog: Is Your Truck Destroying Your Back?

Keep Your Distance


Always be aware of your lane distance as you cross the highways. Knowing your stopping and starting distance, break distance, and proper speeds will be essential for proper safety on the roads.

Stay Healthy


You know what sounds dangerous? Having a heart attack as you zoom down I-95, or any local highway.

That’s why we constantly tell drivers to eat healthy and exercise. Sure, exhaustion is dangerous enough, but your heart will be all the better with proper nutrition and regular exercise. With that one-two punch, you can reduce your excess weight

Bet you’d improve your sleep, too!

Watch for Blind Spots


Depending on what truck you’re driving, your blind spot is gonna be different. Make sure you know what your blind spot distance is, so you will know how far away a car or a person really is from your truck.

This will prevent major accidents on the road, when backing up, and even when removing items from your truck during a delivery.

Maintain Your Truck


Sure, maybe your employer is “responsible” for truck maintenance as a whole, but you should always implement pre-trip inspections and keep an eye on your truck out there on the road. These checks not only reduce the possibilities for something to go wrong, they also keep you secure in your work and your driving.

Manage Your Time & Profession


Time is money. Trucking is money. Instead of reacting to what happens on the road, plan ahead and document frequently. What we’re saying is, use a trucking software like TruckLogics to stay ahead of the game.

Sure, it might not prevent an accident as well as keeping the proper distance, but having access to all of your receipts, bills of lading, and invoices in one handy phone app will reduce a lot of the stress of your life.

Don’t forget, we’re only a few months away from your 2290 deadline - be sure to keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest HVUT e-filing updates!


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Friday, May 20, 2016

Logging Vehicles & Form 2290

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Logging Vehicles
Logging Vehicles
We hear it all the time — what exactly is a logging vehicle?

A lot of our 2290 filers see the option asking if their taxable vehicles are used for logging. This gets misunderstood, and they think that means logs that track mileage or fuel.

But logging vehicle really refers to hauling logs... as in felled trees and other products from the forest.

Now, according to the IRS a vehicle qualifies as a logging vehicle if:


  • It is used exclusively for the transportation of products harvested from the forested site, or it exclusively transports the products harvested from the forested site to and from locations on a forested site (public highways may be used between the forested site locations), -
-AND-
  • It is registered (under the laws of the state or states in which the vehicle is required to be registered) as a highway motor vehicle used exclusively in the transportation of harvested forest products. A vehicle will be considered to be registered under the laws of a state as a highway motor vehicle used exclusively in the transportation of harvested forest products if the vehicle is so registered under a state statute or legally valid regulations. In addition, no special tag or license plate identifying a vehicle as being used in the transportation of harvested forest products is required.


What do they mean by “products harvested from the forested site?”


Products harvested from the forested site

Do ents count as harvested products?


Well, that basically means they include timber that has been processed for commercial use, as well as any other sawed, chipped, or milled product that occurred before transportation from the forested site.

The two types of commonly used logging trucks include those used on rough ground and forested trails, and those used for transport on normal highways and roads.

Trucks designed for forested (often temporary) roads are configured with emphasis on suspension and tires. Sometimes, you might see as many as nine axles in use to provide low ground pressure and solid traction.

These trucks are designed to climb a significant gradient, since timber is commonly grown in hilly landscapes.

While the logs are usually loaded with winches and cranes, they’re usually unloaded by letting them roll off sideways.

So if you have a logging vehicle, then you can check the box that says “Used for Logging” when you e-file your form 2290.

Congratulations, you just got yourself a lower tax rate on your 2290!




If you have any questions about the status of your taxable vehicle when you e-file your 2290 this year, ask the dedicated support team at ExpressTruckTax! They provide 24/7 support via email, so you know we’re always ready to help you out.


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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tire Safety: Getting Ready for Roadcheck

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It’s official — the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced this year’s International Roadcheck will focus on tire safety! Taking place from June 7-9, this event is a joint effort of the CVSA and the FMCSA (and a few others).

So what all will Roadcheck focus on with tire safety? We’re going to break this down so that your wheels start turning.

Under Pressure


A tire which has too much or too little pressure could overheat, or it could be vulnerable to a dangerous blowout.

So how can you avoid dangerous vulnerabilities from low tire pressure?

Ideally, you want to make sure you have an accurate pressure gauge to detect under inflation. If they’re legal in your neck of the woods, you can also use a tire thumper to hear if your tires sound inflated.

Now a thumper won’t give you a precise measurement, but will let you know if you’re a wide margin off.

Tire Condition


Don’t ever underestimate the value of a visual evaluation, truckers.

What should you look for? Mainly anything that is visually wrong with your tires. Obviously, any bubbles and bumps are a sign of an impending blowout. Especially if you were to hit road debris. Speaking of, you want to also see if there is any debris between tires!

Tread Carefully


An often overlooked aspect of tire inspection is tire tread! Not just the treads themselves, but the depth and condition of the treads. Treads with a low depth can have uneven wear, and risk your exposure to blowouts and worse.

Tire Placement


Tires just go in their spots, right? It’s like building a LEGO set, isn’t it?

Well, not exactly. You need to make sure your tires aren’t mismatched. Matching tires are important! It’ll balance out your wear and tear.

And with dual tires, you need to make sure there is no contact between them. While that sounds obvious, it’s these little checks that can make a big difference.

It’s the Details


Overall, just look for little things that’ll set you back. Things to look out for include: damaged rims, missing valve stems, rusty/loose nuts, as well as oil and grease buildup/leaks.

With Roadcheck coming up, it’s a good idea to treat every pre-trip inspection like a big deal. With your tires in great condition, you’ll be able to knockout your trucking route.

As we roll closer to the HVUT 2290 and 2nd Quarter IFTA deadline, the helpful folks at ExpressTruckTax will be here to help you! Reach out to us at any time by email or by phone at 704.234.6005.

Are you ready for Roadcheck 2016?


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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

5 Reasons Truckers Get Burned Out

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Let’s face it, few things are worse than getting burned out on the job.

We hear about it all the time in the trucking industry, too. Maybe it’s the driver shortage, or maybe it’s the stress of the job.

But why do people get burned out? What challenges do truckers face that lead to burnout?

Not Enough Money


Nothing can demotivate a driver more than stagnating wages. It’s important to offer competitive rates in the industry, because people will need to be attracted into the profession. Or else labor will dry up over time.

Yet, money isn’t the biggest reason people leave the profession. In fact, money issues rarely account for more than 20% of exits from the industry.

Not Happy with Dispatching


When workers become dissatisfied with their supervisors, they will look for new opportunities elsewhere. We know that tension tends to exist between drivers and dispatchers/managers.

That’s why some companies have started initiatives to better profile and match drivers to dispatchers. This is a step in the right direction, but dispatching can still frustrate drivers.

Whether it’s unpaid wait time, being stranded far from home without a load, or bad directions—truckers have plenty to deal with between hauls.

Understandable how they might feel unappreciated.

No Appreciation


When a driver feels like they matter, they will put more effort and care into their work.

While truckers are used to hearing about their errors, receiving feedback on what they did right could help alleviate the frustrations that come with the job. Plus positive reinforcement from customers can help drivers set their own goals and improve relations.

Whether it's more customer feedback or initiatives taken to show drivers appreciation, something needs to give. Maybe even more me-time can help out!

No Home Time


Come on, who doesn’t want more time at home? Of course, the problem isn’t always just how much time at home.

But some drivers dislike the infrequency of time home, or the unpredictability of time off. Sometimes it's just how long each stay is.

Regardless, there should be efforts to maximize the recharging time drivers face when they get to go home. Whether that means routes closer to home or new scheduling efforts, there has to be a way.

Not What They Expected


But after everything is all said and done, a driver might realize this is not what they expected.

And if a driver is told they can earn a certain amount during recruitment, they may start to resent the company if the outcome is different. That results in recruiters looking shady and drivers feeling paranoid.

Maybe the problem isn’t money as much as it is the details of the job — the stress, the diet, or the schedule. Open communication will alleviate a lot of these issues.

One thing drivers won’t have to worry about is e-filing their IRS HVUT 2290 forms, because ExpressTruckTax has your back. Feel free to send us any questions you have at Support@ExpressTruckTax.com or by phone at 704.234.6005.

How do you think we can avoid driver burnout?


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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Working Together in the Trucking Industry

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You hear of it all the time—truckers dealing with nightmare dispatchers, pushing them to their limits and making the job dangerous.

And from the dispatcher’s desk you’d probably hear a slew of bad trucker stories.

But we’re not here to point fingers!

We’re actually here to discuss communication between the many facets of the trucking industry.

Start from the Top


Truckers take the freight where it needs to go. Everybody knows that!

But business plans, shipment orders, and staffing requirements come from the top half of the industry. Sure, sometimes it's fun to dog on the suits in the offices, but they do play a vital role in the industry.

With support staff including managers, sales teams, dispatchers, communications professionals, and mechanics, truckers aren’t the only hats in the business.

But they sure are the most important! Much like an assembly line or a rowing team, everyone needs to play their part, but the truckers are your star athletes.

With the right people at the top watching out for drivers, we’ll be in a good spot as an industry.

People Are People


Sometimes it's easy for both sides of the industry to forget they’re dealing with people.

As a trucker, you KNOW you’re a person, but it's sometimes hard to get along with someone when your dispatcher sees you just as a number they’re tracking.

You represent a set of statistics, yes, but you’re still a person.

And you know more than anyone that electronic devices shooting out numbers can’t match up to human intuition.

On the flip side, the dispatchers, managers, and clients you deal with are also trying to do a job.

Just like you sometimes have a bad day, they do, too. And they also have to deal with all of their drivers’ bad days, too.

So above all else, make sure both sides use people skills and we can make working together a lot easier for the whole industry.

The Rig vs. The Office


You might know how we feel about offices already.

That job works for some, but it's a different ballgame altogether. An office is a field where employees need to work together, day to day.

There are lots of spoken and unspoken rules about how coworkers can act and speak to each other.

Yet as a trucker, you are more frank with your thoughts and feedback, like a warrior-poet strapped to 18 wheels of philosophy. You’ll share your thoughts with whoever you please!

This might come as a shock to anyone who is new to the industry, or has minimal contact with truckers on a daily basis.

That’s not your fault, by any means. But with a little understanding, both sides can communicate better.

Let's Work Together


But when it comes down to it, the best thing you can do as a driver, a dispatcher, or a manager is to keep the people in your industry on your good side.

A positive attitude, some kindness, and mutual respect will go far.

There are always going to be people who grind your gears, but with some honest effort and respect, there can be plenty of personal friendships and professional alliances you rely on in this job.

When it comes to working together, let us work with you on your HVUT 2290s this next truck tax season. If you have questions about filing Form 2290, reach out to our support experts at Support@ExpressTruckTax.com and by phone at 704.234.6005.

How do you think we can improve communication between players in the trucking industry?


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E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.