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Once you finish truck driving school and earn your CDL, the next step is finding your first job behind the wheel. When you apply for your first trucking job, it’s easy to feel frustrated, because so many jobs seem to ask for experienced drivers to apply. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your search more effective and efficient, so you connect with the right opportunities. These tips will help you land your first position.

Rely on Your School

A service that truck driving schools provide is helping students find employment opportunities. Look into the resources available at your school and take advantage of all of them. At Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, we have a partnership with DSW to help students get behind the wheel quickly. As soon as you graduate from your program, DSW will be ready to talk to you about opportunities.

Make Up for Experience with References

When you search for job options, filter your results so that you can see opportunities that are intended for new drivers. However, when you see a great position that you really want to go for, you can help to make up for your lack of experience with strong references. Ask your instructors at your truck driving school to provide you with references, and ask any driver you’ve done an apprenticeship training with to back you up as well. When employers see experienced drivers vouching for you, they’re more likely to give you a chance.

Focus on OTR Jobs

Often, local and regional driving jobs are given to truckers with some seniority. New drivers can break into the field by taking OTR jobs. Although your ultimate goal may be to drive locally so that you’re home every night, an OTR job is a great way to build up experience, so you can compete for the jobs you want.

At Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, we help our students find their places behind the wheel with our relationship with DSW and other support services. Talk to a team member at our trucking school in Phoenix today by calling (877) 295-5372.

The post Your Guide to Applying for Your First Trucking Job appeared first on Phoenix Truck Driving Institute.

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Long-haul trucking can be lonely sometimes. There are long days spent behind the wheel, away from family and friends, with just you and the road. Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way, if you bring your dog along with you. Dogs can be great companions for truckers, and with a little planning, your pup will love taking adventures with you. If you’re considering trucking with your dog, these tips will help.

Check with Your Trucking Company

Although most companies will allow truck drivers to take pets with them on the road, you will need to check with your employer to make sure you’re cleared to do so. In some cases, trucking companies want new drivers to wait for a set period of time before they bring pets on the road. Any time you are considering bringing a passenger into your truck, whether they have four legs or two, you will need to clear it with your trucking company.

Prepare Your Truck for Canine Travel

Set up a spot in your cab that is safe and comfortable for your dog. Consider including a dog bed and a blanket for when temperatures dip. It’s important to train your dog to stay away from the driver’s side of the truck, where they could inadvertently touch the wheel, brake, or pedals. A spill-proof water bowl is a great way to keep your dog hydrated between stops without a mess in your cab.

Wait for the Right Time

Puppies aren’t often good driving companions because they have too much energy and will struggle being confined to the truck. As your dog gets older, he or she will have a much better time on the road, because he or she will be more interested in relaxing and lounging next to you.

At Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, we can get you ready for the trucking career you want, whether that means OTR trips with your dog or trucking trips closer to home. Learn more about our truck driving school in Phoenix by calling (877) 295-5372.  

The post Quick Tips for Trucking With Your Dog appeared first on Phoenix Truck Driving Institute.

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Just as most communities are enacting laws preventing people from texting while driving and otherwise using their phones while behind the wheel, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMSCA, has rules that commercial drivers must follow. When you become a truck driver, understanding these rules is essential both for safety reasons and to prevent you from getting a costly fine. Most drivers have questions about the FMSCA’s cellphone rules. Here are the answers you need to know.

Are drivers allowed to use cellphones?

Drivers are never allowed to text under any circumstances. They are not allowed to hold their phones in their hands to talk or to dial numbers. They are allowed to use speakerphone with an earpiece and a phone fixed to the dash. It should be voice operated, or it should dial numbers and perform other operations by only pressing one number. Drivers cannot use a phone that they have to reach for, and their phone must be able to be used while they are wearing their seatbelts.

What happens if drivers are caught texting?

Truck drivers who are caught texting while behind the wheel can face civil penalties of up to $2,750. Drivers may also lose their licenses of they have multiple offenses. The carriers employing drivers who are caught texting may also be fined up to $11,000. Safety Measure System ratings, or SMS ratings, will also be reduced. Being caught texting while driving carries the maximum SMS penalty. These penalties also apply to drivers who are caught talking with phone in their hands.

Why are the rules so strict?

Phone use is part of the job as a trucker, as you communicate with customers and dispatch, but doing so behind the wheel is just too dangerous. According to research, truck drivers who text and drive are 23.3 times more likely to be in an accident, and drivers who use a hand-held phone are six times more likely to have a safety event.

Safe operation is one of the things you will learn in the classroom at Phoenix Truck Driving Institute. Let us help you get ready to succeed as a truck driver and call our CDL school in Phoenix today at (877) 295-5372.

The post Common Questions About FMCSA’s Cellphone Rules appeared first on Phoenix Truck Driving Institute.

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Sleep apnea is an extremely common condition that can leave you with significant daytime drowsiness. One of the risks of having sleep apnea is slow reaction time, which can increase the risk of accidents. This fact leaves many aspiring truck drivers wondering if their sleep apnea diagnosis will keep them off the road. If you have sleep apnea and are considering becoming a truck driver, here is what you need to know.

Sleep Apnea 101

Sleep apnea occurs when breathing is disrupted during sleep. Usually, this occurs when the throat presses on the airway and prevents oxygen from getting through. When this happens, the sufferer will usually wake up, gasp for air, and fall back to sleep. These episodes can happen hundreds of time per night, and often, the sufferer doesn’t even know that they are happening because they happen so fast. However, sufferers do experience crippling daytime drowsiness. Other symptoms include headaches in the morning, irritability, and frequent nightmares. When sleep apnea isn’t treated, it can become life threatening.

Sleep Apnea and Driving

There are two risks for drivers who have sleep apnea. One is falling asleep behind the wheel. The other is becoming less attentive while driving because of fatigue. Attentiveness can be the more dangerous of these issues. You may know when you are about to fall asleep and have the foresight to pull over, but you may not realize when you have become dangerously inattentive.

Driving a Truck with Sleep Apnea

Despite these risks, sleep apnea does not disqualify you from becoming a driver. Although a diagnosis may prevent you from being medically qualified to operate interstate under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines, once you get treatment, you are likely to be cleared to drive. In fact, almost one-third of drivers have sleep apnea.

At Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, we have the classes you need to jumpstart your new career as a truck driver. Call our truck driving school in Phoenix today at (877) 295-5372 for more information about becoming a student.

The post Can I Become a Trucker Despite My Sleep Apnea? appeared first on Phoenix Truck Driving Institute.

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Once you’re officially qualified to be a truck driver, there’s just one step left to take before you can start your new career—finding a job! Having a pre-hire letter in your hand before you graduate from your truck driving program can make that process a lot simpler. Here’s what you need to know about pre-hire letters and how important they are.

What are pre-hire letters?
A pre-hire letter is simply a written statement from a trucking company that verifies that you meet the minimum qualifications to work for them as a truck driver. They also state that you can attend new driver orientation there once you have your commercial driver’s license (CDL) in hand.

Does a pre-hire letter guarantee that you’ll get a job?

No, a pre-hire letter is not the same as an actual contract with a trucking company, and it does not oblige anyone to hire you. It simply means that you will be considered as a candidate for employment at that company. Because of this, it’s smart to apply for as many pre-hire letters from different trucking companies as possible.

How do you get a pre-hire letter?

In order to obtain a pre-hire letter from a trucking company, you will need to formally apply for one. You will need to submit some information about yourself, which may include your employment history and your driving record.

Do I need my CDL in order to get a pre-hire letter?
No, you can apply for a pre-hire letter even before you have received your CDL. You will need your CDL in order to actually work at any trucking company, of course.

Are you interested in pursuing a more fulfilling career as a full-time truck driver? Phoenix Truck Driving Institute can provide you with the skills you require to become a truck driver in our eight-week program. If you have any questions, you can get in touch with us by calling (877) 206-8344.

The post What You Should Know About Pre-Hire Letters appeared first on Phoenix Truck Driving Institute.

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One of the boons of truck driving is the opportunity it provides you to see the entire country—and to sample its different foods! While it’s important to keep up a healthy, balanced diet while you’re on the road, you shouldn’t pass up the chance to check out the local food scene as you pass through different states. Here are just a few of the different regional foods you might want to sample:

Deep-fried cheese curds.

Primarily found in northern states such as Wisconsin and Minnesota, deep-fried cheese curds are just what they sound like: Curds—a mild-tasting food produced during the cheese-making process—that have been fried. As with French fries or onion rings, you can either eat deep-fried cheese curds by themselves or with a dipping sauce. In either case, though, you won’t regret trying them!

Chitlins.

Also known as chitterlings, this classic Southern staple consists of small pig intestines that have been cleaned and then boiled or deep-fried. The food is then cooked with a batter and served with a side such as hot sauce. If you’re passing through the Deep South, this is one unique dish you shouldn’t overlook.

Stuffed clams.

Also called “stuffies,” stuffed clams are a common dish in Rhode Island. They are Quahog clams that have been topped with a mixture of bread crumbs, onion, sausage, herbs, and other ingredients. The exact recipe varies depending on who is making the clams, but if you’re in the New England area, you shouldn’t miss the chance to check them out.

Frito pie.

Passing through Texas? It’s a big state, so you’ve got plenty of time to check out one of the local favorites—this unique casserole made from chili, cheese, and corn chips. Frito pie is usually garnished with the same types of ingredients you would find on a taco, such as shredded cheese, salsa, and sour cream.

If you’ve ever thought about trying out a career as a truck driver, Phoenix Truck Driving Institute can help. We offer the courses you need for your new career, including hourly training, refresher courses, and even financing options for qualified individuals. If you would like to learn more about our truck driving program, call (877) 206-8344.

The post Unique Regional Eats to Try on the Road appeared first on Phoenix Truck Driving Institute.

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A typical truck stop has everything you need for life on the road. You’ll find fuel pumps, dining options, a convenience store, and showers. But some truck stops exceed expectations with incredible amenities like movie theaters and fitness centers. When you graduate from CDL school and land a job with a carrier, you can look forward to checking out the following truck stops.

Iowa 80

Iowa 80 bills itself as the “World’s Largest Truck Stop.” You’ll find it on the eastern edge of Iowa, off I-80 at exit 284. It’s more like an airport (minus the planes) or a small town than a truck stop. It features everything an OTR trucker could want, including a barber shop, chiropractic office, driver’s lounge, library, and laundry facility. It even has a dental clinic, movie theater, and fitness center! You’ll also find an extensive assortment of eateries, including the popular Iowa 80 Kitchen, luxurious private showers, and truck service center with ASE-certified mechanics.

South of the Border

South of the Border isn’t actually located south of the border. You’ll find it in Dillon, South Carolina. Choose from six different restaurants, including a steakhouse. Stop by the gift shops to pick up some souvenirs for the kids back home. Before you hit the road again, stop by the Reptile Lagoon. It’s the largest indoor reptile exhibit in the U.S., featuring everything from crocodiles to turtles to snakes. Say hello to Daisy, the 22-foot long albino Burmese python!

Little America

Little America is located in Flagstaff, Arizona. It’s actually a high-end hotel and convention center that also features a 24-hour travel center for truckers. After you fuel up, head for the private showers, driver lounge, or Little America Grill. The travel center also features a 24-hour convenience store with semi-truck products, books, grocery items, and personal care items.

Are you excited to build a career that lets you travel throughout North America? You can get started at Phoenix Truck Driving Institute. Call (877) 295-5372 to ask about our nationally recognized CDL training programs available in Phoenix.

The post Truck Stops You’ll Want to Mark on Your Map appeared first on Phoenix Truck Driving Institute.

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Truckers who are new to life on the road often try to avoid drinking too many beverages, since it will inevitably lead to the need to pull over for a rest stop. But experienced truckers know that dehydration equals fatigue and drowsiness, and that can be disastrous when you’re driving a semi. Besides coffee and water, there are plenty of healthy options for staying hydrated on the road.

Yerba Mate

Yerba mate is a tea that’s popular in South America. It has about a third of the amount of caffeine as a typical cup of coffee, which makes it an ideal beverage for people who are trying to cut back on caffeine. It’s also loaded with antioxidants, containing even more than green tea. Although research is inconclusive, yerba mate is thought to help boost concentration, energy levels, and immune function.

Coconut Water

Coconut water is one of the latest beverages to explode in popularity during the past few years. One of the reasons why it’s so popular is that it contains lots of electrolytes, just like a sports beverage. This makes it ideal for staying well hydrated on the road.

Probiotic Beverages

Probiotic beverages are any drinks that have been infused with gut-loving probiotics. There are a few brands of probiotic waters, and some juice companies have also started adding probiotics. Probiotic beverages introduce healthy bacteria to the digestive tract, which helps regulate your digestive function and support the immune system.

Kombucha Tea

Kombucha tea is a fermented type of a tea made with yeast. The potential health benefits of kombucha tea haven’t been proven with scientific research, but proponents claim it’s good for supporting digestion and immune function. Note that it can rarely cause allergic reactions and stomach upset. If you’re trying it for the first time, consider waiting until you’re safely parked for the night.

Did you know that Phoenix Truck Driving Institute offers financial assistance? Our CDL school wants to help you afford your training program so that you can land a lucrative trucking job and start earning! Call (877) 295-5372 for more information.

The post Healthy Coffee Alternatives to Sip on the Road appeared first on Phoenix Truck Driving Institute.

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The trucking industry has historically been dominated by male drivers and managers. But increasingly, women have been making their own mark on the transportation industry. These days, there are more female drivers, transportation managers, and trucking company executives and owners than ever. Here’s a quick look at some of the most influential women in trucking.

Angela Eliacostas

For Angela Eliacostas, transportation runs in the family. She joined the trucking industry more than 30 years ago, following in the footsteps of many of her relatives. She worked her way up the corporate ladder and is now a widely recognized industry leader. Eliacostas is an expert in third-party logistics and expedited shipping, and she acts in a liaison capacity between carriers and companies. She is the founder and CEO of AGT Global Logistics, one of the top 50 in Illinois and top 1,000 woman-owned companies in the U.S.

Nozuko Mayeza

Nozuko Mayeza is the Managing Director at Tulsawiz Logistics. In her native South Africa, Mayeza has been instrumental in challenging the glass ceiling in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Mayeza is passionate about mentoring other women in trucking, both in South Africa and in Ghana. She has been named the finalist for the 2018 Women in Africa awards, and she serves as the chairperson of the Black Business Council subcommittee on transportation.

Brooke Willey

Brooke Willey is the Vice President of Human Resources at CRST International—a $1.7 billion transportation conglomerate comprised of seven companies and thousands of employees. She has been publicly recognized for her work nurturing strong leaders and teams. Thanks to her initiatives on leadership development, CRST International was recognized as a Top-10 Best Private Company for Leaders by Chief Executive magazine. Additionally, Kirkwood Community College and Corridor Business Journal named CRST International a “Workforce Leader in Training.”

How will you make your own mark on the trucking industry? Get started by earning your CDL at Phoenix Truck Driving Institute. Call (877) 295-5372 or check out our program details here.

The post Meet Some of the Most Influential Women in Trucking appeared first on Phoenix Truck Driving Institute.

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The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is one of the latest changes in the world of trucking regulations. This mandate is now in effect, which means all truckers must keep an ELD in their cabs to track their driving time. While news of the ELD mandate has been met with a mixed reception, truckers have been warming up to the idea now that they’ve had a chance to experience the benefits of ELDs.

ELDs cut down on the paperwork.

One reason why ELDs make life easier for truckers is the time savings. Before ELDs became standard, drivers estimated they spend well over 20 hours each year filling out hours of service paperwork. They’d then need to send those paper driver logs to their carriers. But with an ELD, this information is recorded automatically and submitted electronically.

ELDs add to the potential drive time each week.

Those old paper logbooks required drivers to round up to the nearest 15 minutes each time they stopped. This was to ensure that drivers didn’t go over their hours of service limits. But the new ELDs automatically round up to the nearest minute at each stop, which means drivers won’t reach their limit as quickly. Depending on how often the trucker stops, this could give him or her another five to 10 hours of driving time each week—and that’s more money in the trucker’s pocket.

ELDs reduce the time needed for inspections.

Inspections can be a hassle. ELDs can expedite them and get drivers back on the road more quickly. There’s no need for inspectors to examine handwritten hours of service logs, since they can just take a quick look at the electronic data.

You can join the modern trucking industry by getting your foot in the door at CDL school. Call Phoenix Truck Driving Institute at (877) 295-5372 to ask about our comprehensive training program. Prospective students are invited to join us for our next open house event in Phoenix!

The post How ELDs Make Life Easier for Truckers appeared first on Phoenix Truck Driving Institute.

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