Safety Tips for Truckers

Statistically speaking, the roads are the most dangerous place to be in the United States. Truckers face more road hazards than anyone else on the road, and as CDL license holders they are held to a higher standard of responsibility. Road safety is a basic component of CDL training, but when tempers run high and traffic runs slow it can be easy to forget the rules of the road after several 11-hour shifts. Keep yourself and others safe with these quick tips.

Share the Road

When you’re behind the wheel of a 70-foot 18-wheeler, the stakes of even a minor accident are significantly higher. When it comes to other drivers, chances are the last thing on their minds is your cargo; it can be frustrating to deal with heavy traffic—especially in construction zones during rush hour—but one of your duties as a CDL license holder is to always be aware of your “no-zones” and to respond accordingly. Approximately one-third of all crashes take place in the “no-zone,” so signal early and often and keep your ears open for car horns.

Maintain Your Vehicle

Carriers handle maintenance for fleet vehicles, but plenty of things can wrong on the open highways. Lights can short, tire tread can become shredded (especially during Arizona summers), and an inexperienced driver can quickly destroy the brake pads without caution. Stick to company policy and always do a thorough walkaround and maintenance log before hitting the road.

Plan Ahead

Take advantage of your extra driving height to look ahead and anticipate lane changes, heavier traffic, and other road hazards. Be aware that driving fatigued can actually be just asdangerous as driving intoxicated, so always give yourself enough time to rest in between long hauls—just avoid parking on roadways with speed limits over 30 mph.

HDL Truck Driving Institute has been provided superior CDL training in Tucson since 1991. To learn more about tuition, program schedules, and financial aid availability, contact us online or call (877) 205-2141 today.

A Closer Look at HDS Truck Driving Institute Programs

As a nationally recognized CDL school in Tucson, HDS Truck Driving Institute is focused on providing students with a full scope of driver training and education. Our programs are flexible enough to fit around the needs of working professionals while providing real-world experience from seasoned drivers. Learn more about your career opportunities from HDL below.

Program Scheduling

We understand that not everybody has the time to dedicate to a full course schedule, which is why we offer both day and night classes, as well as weekend courses and training by the hour. Depending on your professional goals, our programs are designed to provide both the training and the necessary amount of clock hours to receive a Class A or Class B CDL license. To jumpstart your driving career, we also offer a comprehensive six-month Professional Truck Driver program, which includes four months of on-site instruction and two months’ on-the-job training.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Our CDL program can be completed in as little as four weeks at a cost of approximately $3,600, including all fees to obtain a CDL license. Tuition for the Professional Truck Driver program is approximately $7,600. As a fully accredited educational institution, financial aid may available for those who qualify. We also offer other forms of financial assistance such as pre-hires and paid training, as well as lifetime job placement assistance.

Professional Opportunities

We work with both regional and local companies, as well as many of the nation’s top over-the-road carriers to provide graduates with reliable career opportunities immediately after graduation. The job placement rate for graduates of the 2012-2013 program year is approximately 92%.

The HDL Truck Driving Institute has proudly served Tucson and the rest of Southern Arizona since 1991, and we are recognized by both the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division and the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Follow the link to see what some of our past graduates have to say, or call (877) 205-2141 to request more information about our CDL programs, admission requirements, and financial aid opportunities.

Three Things Every New Truck Driver Needs to Know

Only a small percentage of auto accidents involve large commercial trucks, but their considerable size means that even minor accidents can have serious consequences. Some safety skills can only be learned through on-the-job experience and CDL training, but there are a few tips that can help you minimize risks on the road.

Avoid Distractions

Taking your eyes off of the road for just 5 seconds at 70 miles an hour means that you have travelled a distance of more than 500 feet, blind. Longer drives often require drivers to live out of their trucks, which can be problematic when it comes to handling a radio, checking routes, grabbing a bite to eat, andlistening for traffic updates all at the same time. Also keep in mind that speeding usually doesn’t provide significant time savings—speeding 85 mph going from Tucson to Phoenix would only save you about 10 to 15 minutes under optimal conditions than driving the 75 mph speed limit.

Remember Your CDL Training

CDL training is more than just a means to an end. Much of road safety can only be learned through over-the-road experience and instruction from seasoned drivers—for example, how to navigate a steep grade without destroying your brakes. Drivers average hundreds of miles each day, and they have to be able to anticipate and respond to traffic hazards and accidents. Other drivers on the road often assume that CDL license holders are always aware of what’s going on around them, even if they are clearly in the “no-zone” and out of sight from the mirrors.

Prioritize Your Time

The Department of Transportation and many carriers have strict regulations about how long a driver can actively be on the road, and forgetting to abide by the time clock can have serious ramifications. Drivers often feel pressured to cover as many miles as possible within a limited timeframe, but you’re only at your safest and most efficient when you get enough sleep.

HDL Truck Driving Institute is a nationally recognized CDL training facility in Tucson, and we offer flexible program schedules. Contact us at (877) 205-2141 to request more information, or follow the link to see our next scheduled Open House!

For More Trucking Industry Trends And Tips Visit These Websites

In our recent posts, we discussed the most classic songs about truck driving and industry standards for drug and alcohol screening. Read more about these topics below. To begin your career as a commercial driver, contact HDS Truck Driving Institute in Tucson (520) 622-0419 or Phoenix (602) 484-7901.

·         The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) offers a helpful brochure about drug and alcohol regulations and testing for commercial drivers.

·         Here is an article providing a brief overview of drug testing requirements for truck drivers.

·         Visit The Bureau of Labor Statistics to view national data about employment rates and average wages for commercial drivers.

·         Add more great music to your playlist with this countdown of country songs about trucking.

·         The Department of Transportation (DOT) shares an employee handbook covering what drivers need to know about drug and alcohol screening.

Top 5 Country “Trucker” Songs

The commercial truck driving industry celebrates its sense of community and the trucking lifestyle through CB radio slang and trucking-inspired music. We’ve covered both of these topics in our recent blog posts. Now get the top five country trucking songs as selected by Haleigh T, a regular host for Country Music News Blog.

Haleigh’s picks include the classic 1975 tune “Convoy,” by C.W. McCall, which hit No. 1 on the country and popular music charts. One of her more recent picks is Garth Brook’s “Papa Loved Mama.” This 1992 single made it to No. 3 on the country charts. Brooks sings about the tragic story of life on the road and a love lost. Watch the full video to hear Haleigh’s other picks.

Get on the road to a career as a professional truck driver. HDS Truck Driving Institute offers the preparation and career placement you need to be successful. Call us today at (602) 484-7901 in Phoenix and (520) 622-0419 in Tucson.


Drug Testing in the Transportation Industry

To maintain high standards of safety and professionalism, commercial drivers are subject to federal regulations outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

One component of maintaining your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), is complying with the FMCSA’s drug testing regulations via your carrier or employer. Below is an overview of how and why carriers in the trucking industry may use drug and alcohol screening to ensure safety.

When Are Drivers Tested?

The federal government requires a driver test negative for drugs prior to employment. If a driver is involved in a certain type of accident, the carrier must screen the driver for drugs and alcohol. FMCSA requires random testing throughout the year and when a carrier has a reasonable suspicion that driver is using drugs or alcohol. If a driver tests positive or refuses testing, there are federal requirements for follow-up or return-to-duty tests.

What Substances Are Carriers Testing For?

In addition to alcohol, carriers are testing for the following controlled substances: marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and methamphetamines, and Phencyclidine.

How is Testing Conducted?

DOT offers this handbook to explain drug screening in more detail. Basically, when a driver is notified of testing, he or she must report immediately to the designated testing or collection site. The collector will perform a test or take a sample from the driver. Urine testing is used for detecting controlled substances, and breath and saliva swab tests are used to detect alcohol.

The test or sample will be analyzed in a lab and reviewed by a Medical Review Officer to ensure the results are accurate and the sample is not adulterated. The employee will receive their confidential results and have a 72-hour time frame to request that a sample be retested if necessary.

To learn more about the requirements for becoming a commercial truck driver, contact HDS Truck Driving Institute. We help drivers obtain their CDLs and prepare for a career in trucking. Contact our Phoenix location by calling (602) 484-7901 or our Tucson location at (520) 622-0419.

Landmarks of the Southwest

The American Southwest is one of the most spectacular areas of the world. With its rich heritage, famously spicy food, and the some of the most breathtaking landmarks in the country, it’s the perfect place for everything from weekends to road trips to lengthy vacations.

Grand Canyon
Located in northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is both a national treasure and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park contains over a million acres and each year receives more than four million visitors eager to experience its two billion years of geologic history. The canyon itself is over a mile deep and has no equal.

Widely recognized as one of the most beautiful areas of Arizona, Sedona is set in the spectacular Red Rocks and boasts a vibrant art scene with almost a hundred galleries as well as many internationally recognized arts events per year. The city is famous for its counterculture new-age approach to Americana. In addition to the cultural side of the city, Sedona is a great base for outdoor adventures like mountain biking and hiking.

The Alamo
While other parts of Texas isn’t considered to be properly Southwestern, the Alamo is one of the key historical sites of the region. Despite its surprisingly small stature, the old mission is often called the Shrine of Texas Liberty. If you have any interest in the history of the area, it’s worth it to go see the site of the famous Battle of the Alamo.

Monument Valley
Monument Valley is one of the best places to experience the full Southwestern landscape for yourself. It is located in the Navajo Nation on the border between Utah and Arizona and has been the location for a variety of films ranging from John Wayne classics to Back to the Future 3. With its rock formations, classic Southwestern flora and fauna, and ancient Anasazi ruins, Monument Valley is definitely worth a stop.

These are just a few of the breathtaking landmarks of the American Southwest. To enjoy these sights and more, contact to become a truck driver today!