FMCSA grant helps veterans get driver jobs

October 22nd, 2014

A million dollar grant awarded by the the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will go to nine community colleges to help train returning military veterans for jobs as commercial bus and truck  driver jobs.

The 2014 FMCSA grants announced today will provide training for nearly 400 new students.  The awards were made to the following organizations:

Florida – South Florida State College, Avon Park, Fla., $58,003

Illinois – Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Ill., $165,800

Minnesota – Century College in White Bear Lake, Minn., $91,080

Missouri – Crowder College, Neosho, Mo., $72,160

Nebraska – Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, Ne., $47,614

Pennsylvania – Northampton County Area Community College, Bethlehem, Pa., $134,400

Pennsylvania – The Sage Corporation, Camp Hill, Pa., $249,968

Texas – Lone Star College-North Harris, Houston, Texas, $73,704

Virginia – Tidewater Community College, Norfolk, Va., $107,271

In July 2014, FMCSA announced that the Military Skills Test Waiver Program had been expanded to include all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Under this program, state licensing agencies have authority to waive the skills test portion of the CDL application for active duty or recently separated veterans who possess at least two years of safe driving experience operating a military truck or bus. Waiving the skills test expedites the civilian commercial drivers licensing application process and reduces expenses for qualified individuals and operating costs to state licensing agencies.

“Those that we entrust to protect and serve our nation deserve opportunities that utilize the skills and training they received on the job on military bases overseas and at home,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “We can think of none more appropriate to safeguard our highways as commercial vehicle drivers than the thousands of veterans who have already proven they can safely handle large vehicles under extremely stressful circumstances.”

“These unique grants are designed to help recruit, train and place veterans and their spouses in good jobs that are in high demand and in an industry that is vitally important in keeping our national economy moving forward,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “Graduates of these training programs are continuing to serve our nation by ensuring that the goods and products we depend on are delivered professionally, efficiently and, most importantly, safely.”

The funding is provided through FMCSA’s Commercial Motor Vehicle – Operator Safety Training (CMV-OST) grant program.

Program helps others get driver jobs

October 5th, 2014

A waiver program from U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is helping veterans obtain driver jobs.

The program helps experienced veterans and active duty personnel transition into civilian jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers has been expanded to all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Last summer Alaska became the 50th state to participate in the FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Program.  Begun in 2011, the Program grants state licensing agencies, including the District of Columbia, the authority to waive the skills test portion of the commercial driver’s license application for active duty or recently separated veterans who possess at least two years of safe driving experience operating a military truck or bus.

Waiving the skills test expedites the civilian commercial drivers licensing application process and reduces expenses for qualified individuals and operating costs to state licensing agencies.

Returning military service personnel who possess a state-issued Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificate due to a limb impairment will automatically be recognized as equivalent to an FMCSA-issued SPE certificate and allowed to obtain an interstate commercial driver’s license (CDL).  FMCSA encourages other state licensing agencies to establish comparable equivalency SPE programs.

“Commercial drivers fulfill a vital role ensuring that America’s economy continually moves forward,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro.  “Service members who have clocked countless miles safely working behind the wheel of a military vehicle will now have more time and opportunity to find long-term employment in the commercial driving industry.  Reducing the burden of finding civilian jobs is one of the best ways we can thank members of our military and their families for their service to our nation.”

Trucker challenges influences those with driver jobs

October 5th, 2014

A group of trucking industry executives and members of America’s Road Team are taking on an activity challenge to improve the health of those with driver jobs.

The activity challenge, called the Healthy Trucker Challenge allows participants to track the the steps – walking, running, jogging – of Byrd; incoming chairman Duane Long, Longistics; Pat Thomas, UPS Inc.; Kevin Burch, Jet Express and Dave Manning, Tennessee Express and comparing them to the steps of America’s Road Team Captains Don Logan, FedEx Freight; Eddie Weeks, AAA Cooper; Jeff Halford, Con-way Freight; Don Biggerstaff, ABF Freight System and Nate Wick, UPS Freight.

Daily updates on the progress of the two teams will be posted in the ATA MC&E Exhibit Hall, and at the end of MC&E, the winning team will be awarded 10 FitBits.

“The Healthy Trucker Challenge is a tremendous way to promote healthy habits and wellness in our industry,” said outgoing ATA Chairman Phil Byrd, president of Bulldog Hiway Express, Charleston, S.C., “and I’m confident that I – and my fellow ATA executives – will more than keep up with America’s Road Team over the next few days.”

Trucking freight increases to affect trucking jobs

September 25th, 2014

The newest freight numbers show that trucking freight North American freight increased 8.5%, an increase that will affect trucking jobs.

Overall, freight totaled $101.1 billion in July 2014 as all five major transportation modes – air, vessel, pipeline, rail, and trucks – carried more U.S.-NAFTA freight than in July 2013, according to the TransBorder Freight Data.

In July, the value of commodities moving by pipeline grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 10.8 percent. Rail freight increased 10.0 percent followed by a truck increase of 8.5 percent, vessel increase of 5.6 percent, and an air increase of 1.2 percent.

Of the $7.9 billion increase in the value of US-NAFTA freight from July 2013, truck freight contributed the most, $4.7 billion, followed by rail, $1.4 billion.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 59.2 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight in July 2014, accounting for $30.5 billion of exports and $29.3 billion of imports.

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 14.8 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel at 9.1 percent, pipeline at 8.5 percent, and air at 3.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.4 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows.

Trucks carried 52.7 percent of the $55.2 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 15.2 percent, pipeline at 14.8 percent, vessel at 6.3 percent and air at 4.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.8 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

Freight numbers who the effects of driver jobs

September 5th, 2014

The June freight numbers show that truck freight contributed the most, which boosts the importance of driver jobs.

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $103.0 billion in June 2014 as all five major transportation modes – air, vessel, pipeline, rail, and trucks – carried more freight by value in June 2014 than in June 2013, according to the TransBorder Freight Data.

Of the $9.5 billion, or 10.2 percent, increase in US-NAFTA freight from June 2013, truck freight contributed the most, $4.4 billion, followed by pipeline, $2.1 billion. The trucking increase was predominately due to an increase in the value of U.S.-Mexico truck freight, which was up $2.9 billion, or 64.8 percent, of the total trucking increase.

Commodities moving by pipeline grew in value by the largest percentage of any mode, 35.2 percent. This increase is due, in part, to exports of crude oil by pipeline from the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana. Vessel freight increased 19.3 percent followed by a truck increase of 7.8 percent, an air increase of 6.5 percent, and a rail increase of 4.5 percent.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 59.5 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight in June 2014, accounting for $29.8 billion of imports and $31.4 billion of exports.

Year-to-year, the value of U.S.-Canada freight by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 35.1 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline freight was valued at $7.7 billion, 94.2 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline freight in June.  Freight by vessel increased by 24.7 percent, air by 9.5 percent, truck by 5.3 percent and rail by 1.4 percent.

Highway Angel Blog

August 26th, 2014

It seems like every time we turn on the news something bad has happened. All this negativity can be very disheartening. Fortunately, there are still good people out there. People that aim to help with no expected return. These kind of selfless people are an inspiration to all.

Harry Welker, a driver for Melton Truck Lines, is one of these completely selfless people. One morning while on a route in October 2013, Welker and his trainee stopped at a rest area on I-70 in Kannapolis, Kansas. As they headed into the rest stop, they noticed a highway patrolman had a van pulled over. Welker thought nothing of it and proceeded to head into the rest area.

While Welker was in the rest stop, the officer asked for the driver’s identification. At that point the driver of the van became hostile and attacked the officer. As Welker was walking back to his truck he saw the officer and the man fighting on the ground. The main forced himself on top of the officer and began to reach for the officers’ firearm.

Welker, a former U.S. Marine immediately sprung into action. With no regard to his own safety, he ran to aid the trooper. Having special training, Welker was able to subdue the resisting man. Welker’s special training helped him detain the man without any unnecessarily violent force.

After the man was identified, the officer found that he was wanted for parole violations in another state.

Welker was recently recognized by the Truckload Carriers Association as a Highway Angel. The Highway Angel Program is an organization created to recognize professional drivers that go above and beyond the line of duty to help people whom they share the road with.

Harry Welker’s quick response and brave action could have saved the patrolman’s life. It is people like Welker and his courage acts that help make this world a better place. Welker is truly a hero and is an example of a shining light of goodness in a sometimes bleak world.

Melton Truck Lines, Inc. Raises Driver Pay

August 18th, 2014

TULSA, Okla – August, 15, 2014 – Melton Truck Lines, a premier air-ride flatbed carrier based in Tulsa, OK, is pleased to announce a driver pay increase.  All company drivers will receive at least 2 cents per mile increase in pay. Melton’s pay scale still varies depending on experience and tenure. This increase will start student drivers at 37 CPM and will give the most experienced drivers 50 CPM. These increases can boost a drivers annual pay by $2,400 or more. We also have many ways to earn additional pay. We pay $40 for tarping, 8 cpm for over-dimensional loads, 6 cpm for Canada and Hazmat loads, plus many more opportunities for bonuses.

We conduct industry pay studies and subscribe to independent annual surveys and have determined that our total package – mileage pay, bonuses, extra pay, profit sharing, and benefits — position Melton Truck Lines in the top 1% among North American for-hire trucking companies.

President Bob Peterson states, “I promise my drivers if they work hard and smart, they will be well compensated. This raise is well-deserved and just the first of many. We know that base pay is just a part of a terrific package.  Drivers want affordable healthcare coverage and an opportunity to retire comfortably.   They also want to share in the financial success of their company.  For this reason, I am committed to providing quality insurance, free onsite clinics and dentists, a 401K with a generous match, and profit sharing opportunities.”

Angie Buchanan, Vice President of Safety & Human Resources, says, “We know that our professionals drive for more than just money.  It’s about independence, adventure, and fulfilling the dream of driving a “big truck”.   Our drivers strive for excellence.  We developed a career path for those professionals who want to grow within our business, and recognize our high quality drivers with programs like the President’s Clubs, ICARE Plus Wellness Program, Driver (and Rookie) of the Month and Year, Safety Rewards Programs, Top Fuel Recognition and Top Fleets.  We challenge ourselves every day to develop and maintain programs that make drivers and their family members feel like the most important parts of our team.  We know that professional drivers have choices and we want them to choose Melton.”

Company Information

Headquartered in Tulsa, OK, Melton Truck Lines Inc. is an award-winning leader in the air-ride flatbed industry and services the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  In business for over 60 years, Melton has offices and terminals in Tulsa, Dallas, Laredo, El Paso, Birmingham and Masury, OH.  For more information, please visit

Transportation bill to help those with driver jobs

August 6th, 2014

The huge transportation bill that will help with road repairs in 21 states has just been announced, and it is sure to help those with driver jobs.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said $333.9 million in emergency funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The funds make repairs to roads and bridges damaged by storms, floods and other unexpected events.

Washington will receive $35 million for repairs to a section of S.R. 530 severely damaged by a heavy mudslide in March. Minnesota and Colorado will also receive funding to fix substantial damage to roads and bridges caused by unusually heavy rains within the last year. In addition, tens of millions in emergency relief funds will address a backlog of damages made prior to 2012.

FHWA’s Emergency Relief program reimburses states for expenses associated with damage from natural disasters or other emergency situations. The funds, which come from the U.S. Treasury’s General Fund and not the Highway Trust Fund, help to pay for reconstruction or replacement of damaged highways and bridges, to establish detours and replace guardrails or other damaged safety devices.

“These funds will help states restore their transportation networks,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Getting life back to normal in these areas is our top priority and safe, functional transportation is at the heart of that.”

A decline in tonnage affects driver jobs

July 28th, 2014

American Trucking Association reports that advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 0.8% in June, following a revised 0.9% gain the previous month, which will certainly affect those who have driver jobs.

In June, the index equaled 128.6 (2000=100) versus 129.6 in May. The index is off 1.9% from the all-time high in November 2013.

“June was one of those months where the data doesn’t quite match up with the anecdotal reports from fleets,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “We had heard the freight volumes were good.”

Costello added that tonnage had increased for four consecutive months prior to June totaling 4.4%.

“Despite the small reprieve in June, the second quarter was much better than the first quarter,” he said. “Tonnage increased 2.3% from the first quarter, which was the largest quarter to quarter gain since the first quarter in 2013. Compared with the second quarter in 2013, tonnage increased 3.2%, a percentage point better than the first quarter year-over-year increase.”

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 69.1% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9.7 billion tons of freight in 2013. Motor carriers collected $681.7 billion, or 81.2% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

Compared with June 2013, the SA index increased 2.3%, down from May’s 3.3% year-over-year gain. This year-over-year increase was the second smallest in 2014, following a 1% gain in January. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage is up 2.8%.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 132.3 in June which was 0.5% below the previous month.

Freight report focuses on truck driver jobs

July 23rd, 2014

The latest freight report highlighting the efforts of truck driver jobs shows that truck driver jobs have a big impact on freight and the economy.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI).

The May increase in the freight index was led by trucking, which grew rapidly for the fourth month in a row, as well as by increases in pipeline and waterborne. Growth in trucking occurred across different segments of the trucking sector, including dry van trucks as well as flatbed and tank trucks. Rail intermodal declined after three months of increases.

The freight index has now risen for four consecutive months following a bottom in January that was largely weather-related and affected the entire economy, as measured by the GDP decline in the January-to-March period.

The May 2014 index level (120.0) was 26.9 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

With four consecutive monthly increases, the index rose 3.4 percent following the weather-related low in January. In May, the index reached an all-time level (120.0), exceeding the previous all-time high (119.4) set in November before the winter decline. After dipping to 94.6 in April 2009, the index rose by 26.9 percent in the succeeding 61 months.