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Important Tips for Beginning Drivers

Making a name for yourself as a professional and safe driver will make you more valuable to fleets over the course of your career as most fleets have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to unsafe driving habits.  For starters, always keep your eyes on the road and give yourself plenty of stopping distance.  Here are some other tips to remember as you start out:

Your CDL isn’t a free pass  While getting your CDL takes a lot of studying and hard work, it simply means you have the basic skills to operate a commercial vehicle safely.  Experience, judgement, patience, and maturity come with time.  Your experience and expertise will grow with each year.

Be in the right frame of mind  When you’re behind the wheel of someone else’s truck, hauling someone else’s cargo, it’s important to maintain a professional attitude at all times.  Consider yourself on the job from the moment you turn the key until you climb out at the end of the day.

Be safe, even when no one is looking  Most truckers enjoy the freedom they get out on the road.  With no one looking over your shoulder, it can be easy to slack off a bit.  Get your job done safely and on time.  And avoid all the little things we do in our own vehicles, such as speeding, rolling through stop signs, running yellow lights, etc.  You’re a professional at all times, no exceptions.

Even when no one is looking, you’re not really alone  Fleets can, and do, check up on drivers.  IF you’re handling things safely at all times, you’ll generally be left alone and may even get a second chance in the case of an accident.  However, if your truck is sending safety alerts, your headquarters knows about it.

Think a career in commercial trucking is for you?  Visit our website at to fill out an application.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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Increasing Parking to Increase Productivity

According to research done by the American Transportation Research Institute, nearly 50% of all truck drivers report using undesignated or unauthorized parking at least three times per week. This means that the vast majority of drivers have parked their company truck in an unauthorized spot on a regular basis. Therefore, it is imperative for the industry to actively seek out better solutions. On January 13, the Transportation Research Board held a meeting to discuss what can  be done to assuage the problem. Currently the trucks stop industry funds nearly 90% of parking solutions. Some proposed ideas include transferring some of the cost to other parts of the industry.

If more parking options were added, drivers could become more productive. For example, a driver might have to begin searching for parking earlier than anticipated which would cut into their drive time. A speaker at the conference stated that nearly half of drivers begin looking for parking over an hour earlier than their end time. This means, that if more legal options were added, truckers would not have to worry about parking and could utilize their time more efficiently.

Further, with project increases in freight volumes over the coming years, parking will become even more scarce. Even more drivers will be fighting for a limited commodity. Parking must be increased in order to increase productivity. Some solutions include creating larger rest areas, extending time limits on existing spaces, and improved locations for stopping areas. Another solution, that Carbon Express has implemented for years, is the use of hotel rooms for drivers. If companies are willing to put their drivers in hotels overnight, they could alleviate some stress and heighten their drivers’ morale and productivity.

The board is planning to collaborate with drivers themselves to learn more about the real-life details of the problem and how to create an effective solution. The goal is to make legal parking or alternative arrangements accessible whenever and wherever drivers need it to increase productivity.

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Winter Driving Tips

Driving in bad weather is challenging for even the most experienced of drivers.  Snow and ice are especially due to the increased stop time required, poor visibility, and poor road traction.  Here are some tips to make sure you stay safe this season:

Stay Back – It may seem obvious, but leaving plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you can save you from a collision in poor road conditions and poor visibility.  In low visibility conditions, if you can see the taillights of the vehicle in front of you, you’re following too closely.

Know Your Limits – And the limits of your vehicle.  Knowing what your equipment can handle is a great way to stay safe.

Carry Cat Litter – Tires warmed from a drive can turn slush to ice once you’re parked.  Throw litter under your tires to help keep give you some extra traction.

Bring a Hammer & Putty Knife – Air tanks can freeze in extremely low temperatures.  Make sure there’s no snow or ice packed around your air tanks.  Any snow that melts from your engine heat can turn to ice from the cold metal.

Check Your Tires – Watch your tires often and make sure the wheels are turning.  In the event your brakes are frozen, check for a frozen valve or if the shoes are frozen to the drums.

The best safety against poor conditions is staying vigilant.  It’s okay to stop and pull over if the weather or visibility warrants.  We’d always rather our drivers arrive safely than quickly.

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In general, truck drivers spend a lot of time alone on the road, away from home and their families. Some studies report nearly a quarter of truckers report their relationships were negatively affected by time spent on the road, while nearly 30% report feelings of loneliness. In addition, approximately 13% of drivers report inadequate sleep, siting a need to stay awake for long periods of time.

Sleep deprivation, loneliness, and too much alone time can lead to overthinking, which can cause anxiety and depression. Even when drivers are able to spend time at home with family, it can often seem rushed and short, with the driver sleeping, repacking, and leaving again and not much quality time with loved ones.

At Carbon Express, we are a family-oriented company. Our drivers either return home at night or sleep in a hotel room. We don’t use sleeper cabs and don’t expect you to stay in truck stops. We take our road loads and relay them with other drivers, giving everyone more precious time with family. No one wants to be away from the people who matter most to them, especially during the holiday season.

If you or someone you know someone who may be suffering from depression, we urge you to seek help. There is no shame in treatment.

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Mileage Pay vs Hourly Pay

When it comes to hourly pay versus mileage pay, there really is no correct answer. There are several factors to consider for each pay scale.

Drivers receiving hourly pay are guaranteed as long as the job is completed. Hourly rates also tend to factor in cost of living increases, and generally offer health insurance. You’ll have more time at home and can likely stay local. On the other hand, hourly pay drivers may miss out on layover and inconvenience pay.

Drivers on a per mile pay scale often find it easier to track their expected pay. Avoiding traffic delays to meet mileage goals and quotas comes into play here. You may be offered incentives or bonuses for being a top mileage producer.

Conversely, those traffic delays can impede the money you’re able to earn. City streets are a much slower pace so consider your area as well. Weather conditions, breakdowns, and other unforeseeable circumstances will negatively impact your wages.

At Carbon Express, we pay our drives both hourly and pre-mileage based on their unique circumstances. This ensures each of our drivers gets the most beneficial income package. We have been fortunate enough to offer a pay raise or bonus each quarter since January of 2017.

The happiness and loyalty of our drivers is our top priority. If you’re interested in joining our team, give our Driver Recruiting Hotline a call at 862-244-4761. Let’s get you started in your new career.

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Benefits of Hotels for Overnight Drivers

In addition to the benefits of nightly showers, a comfortable bed, and the space to spread out a little, putting drivers in hotels for overnight hauls is good for everyone involved. Aside from free continental breakfasts and accumulating hotel points, this also gives us a solution to problems having a trainee of the opposite sex may present.

Companies who have made the switch report:

• Happier drivers and increased driver retention
• Financial savings in purchasing day cabs over sleepers
• Fuel saving due to no idling
• Less wear on tractors
• Ability to carry heavier cargo compared to sleepers

Perhaps most importantly, drivers report feeling a deeper connection to their company and an increased sense of loyalty.

At Carbon Express, we made the move to Day Cab trucks in 2009 and it has been a win-win ever since. We’ve experienced a steady decrease in safety incidents since moving to day cabs, and we attribute that to our drivers being better rested and alert.

In addition to safety, eliminating sleepers allows us to haul 21% more weight than our competitors and allows us to fulfill our corporate responsibility to protect the environment.

As our own Steve Rush says, “The improvement in efficiency is there and always has been, but it has been ignored by this industry in favor of keeping the driver in the sleeper.”

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Optimal Truck Fleet Age

It’s long been known that the Commercial Trucking industry is facing a driver shortage.  Research shows the average age of North American Truck Drivers is now in the range of 46-50 years of age.

In an effort to increase driver retention and entice younger drivers in this age of prioritizing health and wellness, fleets are choosing technologies that offer reduced barriers, lower physical and mental stress, and increase comfort and convenience with better seating, 360-degree visibility, intuitive dashboards, and human/machine interface.

Truck manufacturers have also started collaborating with healthcare providers to integrate electronics that monitor blood pressure, pulse, heart rate, perspiration, and more in an effort to predict health issues and offer guidance to drivers.

At Carbon Express, we take driver health seriously.  We offer hotel accommodation for long-haul trips, in addition to using electric logs to ensure you never run over your hours of service.  We’ve also implemented a relay system to limit the number of drivers doing long-haul trips.

If you’re interested in a career with Carbon Express, give our Driver Recruiting Hotline a call at 862-244-4761.  We look orward to welcoming you to our family.

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Technology is everywhere, and Artificial Intelligence is certainly on the rise from analyzing dash-cam footage to improving safety. How will this impact commercial trucking?
Soon, AI can be paired with vision technology to ensure pallets are loaded properly and in the right order. With predictive maintenance, we will be able to analyze driver behaviors in real time, which will allow forecasting of accurate shipping volumes and planning for future performance.

We’re all familiar with Alexa and Cortana and the ways they help automate our homes. Voice-activated technologies will be put to use in the trucking arena as well. I.D. Systems has created Lucy, a voice-activated system that allows users to get information from the fleet’s asset and cargo database without manually pulling reports. She is able to access detailed in-transit reporting and real-time status and analytics.

Last year Geodis launched Neptune, which uses real-time coordination of transport activity, reporting and analysis, and document archiving. This allows haulers and customers to manage activities from a single platform in minutes.

There’s no telling how technology will advance in the future, but we do know that staying current and on top of new developments is the only way to stay ahead.

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Thinking Green – The Future of Electric Commercial Trucking

While it won’t be mainstream for several years, electric-powered commercial trucks are in our future. They’ll be cleaner and easier to operate and maintain than the current diesel models we see everywhere today.

Electrification will significantly reduce fuel and maintenance costs, making it the logical next step. One current drawback is the weight of the batteries in an industry where load weight matters greatly. Operating cost saving paired with steadily decreasing prices of electric batteries will be an important factor. Europe is expected to adapt to these changes faster than the US as they have stricter environmental regulations and higher fuel costs.

Volvo, DAF, VDL Group, Cummins, Freightliner, and Peterbilt have already taken steps to electrify their smaller commercial trucks. For 2019, Interact estimates global sales of 163,000 light-duty electrified trucks, 12,250 medium-duty trucks, and just over 3,500 heavy-duty trucks.

There will need to be heavy advances in range and recharging before electric can take over the commercial trucking market, but with continued advances in cleaner energy, we will get there.
We at Carbon Express take steps to Think Green with our Green Fleet. We’ve worked hard to reduce the weight of our trucks, allowing us to haul more products with fewer trucks, less fuel, and lower emissions.

If you’re interested in joining our team, give us a call at 973.328.0050 or visit our website to download an application.


Employee Spotlight – Todd Stine In His Own Words

I have been a professional driver for 19 years now, and have been driving for Carbon Express for the last 9 years. With ten years of experience pulling flatbed trailers over the road, I decided I wanted to try a new challenge in my career. When the flatbed company LJ Kennedy closed their doors as a result of the recession of 2008, I had the opportunity to try a different segment of the trucking industry.

I worked at 2 different companies pulling 53′ van trailers for a few months, but I didn’t like sitting in the seat waiting on loading and unloading. I like to be more physically involved and active when I’m not behind the wheel, so I decided to give tanks a try. After a few weeks at Carbon Express, I loved the tank work as well as working for a smaller company where everybody knows everybody. I enjoy being involved in the loading and unloading by using pumps, hoses, and compressed air, I like being active between long periods of driving, and I especially love that Carbon Express puts us in hotels on the nights we don’t make it home. Also, they are great with giving me the time off I need when I’m volunteering as a coach for Special Olympics.

Pulling tanks is better than flatbeds because there is no worry of loads shifting, moisture damaged loads, tarping in the wind, nor the incredible loading detention delays at steel mills. My famous quote I mentioned at a NTTC conference is “Once a tanker yanker, always a tanker yanker.”

After several great years with the company with a flawless safety record, my safety director encouraged me to try out for the America’s Road Team. I was skeptical at first, but I’m very glad I took the time to do the lengthy application process and video. I was picked as a finalist and won the selection process on my first try, which is very rare. Most road team captains make it after several application submissions. As an America’s Road Team Captain, I serve as an ambassador to the trucking industry by going to trucking events and speaking in public sharing my experiences in the trucking industry. I also take a tractor trailer into schools and teach students about blind spots and the dangers of distracted driving. One of my most memorable experiences with America’s Road Team is when we took two tractor trailers onto the south lawn of the White House and got the opportunity to meet President Donald Trump.

Carbon Express encourages, and I enjoy taking part in, the Truck Driving Championships. I’ve competed twice in Pennsylvania in the tank truck division, of course, and took home trophies both times.

I was named as NTTC Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year. It took several attempts to win this and I was chosen as one of 8 finalists twice for this prestigious award. After 9 years and nearly a million accident free miles with Carbon Express, I found a great company to stay with until retirement.