CDL Trucking, Collapsed Bridge

A Collapsed Bridge Caused This Semi-Truck to Plunge Into a River

If it’s not already clear enough, there’s never a dull day in the trucking world. In the past couple of months, we’ve had a $100 million jewel heist at a truck stop, a driver smuggling wild animals, and a mysterious man throwing a bicycle under a semi-truck on the highway, to name a few. You guessed it — there’s another bizarre story in the news this week.

This time around, it involves a bridge collapse in Tretton that sent two people into a river in the early morning of August 15th.

Thankfully, everyone was okay. One of the victims of this bridge collapse was able to escape their car and swim to safety, while the truck driver required helicopter assistance. Both were safe.

What exactly transpired that led to this collapsed bridge?

Short answer — nobody knows.

In fact, this wasn’t even the first bridge to collapse in this area. According to the New York Post, another nearby bridge collapsed in 2016, injuring one truck driver. Both bridges were made of glued laminated timber (wood) and neither bridge was particularly old. After this, 11 bridges were closed and checked for safety before being re-opened. This included the bridge we’re speaking about in this article.

Still, the Tretton bridge collapsed, sending a regular vehicle into the water and leaving a semi-truck “nearly vertical” in the river. The bridge, which was built in 2012, was also checked in 2021, leaving many to wonder if these checks are effective at all. At some point, it becomes a big problem.

For now, that’s all the information we have.

CDL Truck Crash

Why Did This Guy Throw a Bike Under a Semi-truck on the Freeway?

People get into the trucking industry for a few reasons. Some drivers are introverted people and enjoy their alone time while some simply like the money associated with it. A large handful, however, are in it for the adventure. Over-the-road drivers are able to take long trips and see all parts of the country.

Sometimes, that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

A few days ago, a clip was uploaded to the r/Truckers subreddit that showed one of the more bizarre moments caught on camera by a driver.

A pedestrian threw a bicycle into a semi-truck, resulting in… well, nothing.

We’ve heard of people throwing eggs, rocks, and pretty much anything that can travel through the air at vehicles. Even if you’re not a CDL driver, you’ve probably seen your fair share of strange things while driving at night. But this one is probably weirder than anything you’ve seen before.

The video, which will be linked below, shows a driver with a dashcam struggling to stay awake on a night drive. The beginning of the video almost makes you think that the driver is going to cause something to go awry, but he manages to pull himself together.

Suddenly, the driver squints and looks ahead in the distance — clearly, something has his attention.

Suddenly, a pedestrian comes into view with a bike by his side. He gives it a quick push, sending it directly into the path of the driver’s 18-wheeler. The truck runs over the bike and continues to drive. Nothing more transpires.

You can either download the video here or watch it on Reddit here.

What was the pedestrian trying to do?

Some believe that the pedestrian was trying to cause the truck to crash, allowing him to move in and steal the driver’s belongings or the truck’s cargo. It could have simply been a sadistic person who wanted to cause a crash for no reason.

Either way, it failed. Miserably.

If you’re a driver, this is a good reminder to keep your eyes peeled — especially if you’re driving at night. You can’t expect something like this to happen but it’s good to always be alert and aware of your surroundings.

Trucking, CDL

3 Industry Secrets for Brand-New CDL Truck Drivers

If you’re reading this article, you probably just earned your Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL. This means you’ve finished your courses, passes your driving tests, and you’re ready to dive head-first into the industry.

First of all, congratulations!

At this point in time, you’re probably at a spot where most new drivers find themselves — the “what now?” phase. Don’t worry – Whiteline has you covered. Here are three industry secrets for brand new CDL truck drivers.

Secret No. 1: The trucking industry is starving for drivers right now, so choose carefully

In most industries, jobs are hard to come by. If you get a job offer anywhere, it’s hard to reject it. The trucking industry tells a different story in the present day.

Right now, there’s a pretty severe driver shortage. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the driver shortage currently sits at around 80,000. That number is expected to double by 2030.

For those reading this article, it’s great news — you’ll get your pick of the litter when it comes to the company you want to drive for. For trucking companies, it’s getting tough to find new drivers.

Secret No. 2: Trucking companies tend to have dishonest position/salary advertising

Okay, so you’ve got a few job offers — how do you know which one to choose?

For starters, this is not a decision to take lightly. While you can leave a company pretty easily, most have signing bonuses and other incentives that don’t kick in until you’ve been there for around a year.

This is also a decision that may not be what it appears to be on the surface. Look for a trucking job and you’ll immediately see salaries as high as $120,000. A salary figure that seems too high is almost always deceptive in some way.

They get you in the fine details.

When you look into the actual salary presented by companies, they require you to do more than you probably want. The “higher-paying” positions will have you taking nasty routes, working long days, and hitting tricky company-specific mileage goals. Sometimes these companies make it physically impossible to actually earn the salary that is being advertised.

Don’t undervalue yourself but remember one thing — almost any experienced truck driver will tell you to go with a company with a good culture that makes you feel at home. Salary is important but secondary.

Secret No. 3: You’re not stuck with your company

In more than a handful of industries, it’s easy to become pigeon-holed into a specific company. That company will promote you, give you pay raises, and give you comfortability in your spot.

This does, at least to an extent, hold true. Companies often give longevity bonuses and you’ll earn more as an experienced driver. Whiteline Express offers experienced drivers higher cent-per-mile rates and increases your earnings based on how long you’re at the company. That said, the industry standard usually involves company-hopping relatively frequently.

If you don’t get along with your dispatcher, aren’t getting the miles you want, or just don’t like the company culture, it’s not a big deal to pack up and find another company. According to Trucking.org, the turnover rate for truckers is a staggering 91%, meaning over nine of ten drivers leave their jobs in under a year.

If you’re not happy with your position, do not be afraid to leave.

Truck Driver, CDL

This Truck Driver Was Snatching up Wild Animals

If you’re a CDL/Truck Driver, you probably keep up with industry news. And if you keep up with industry news, you’re familiar with how wild things can get. In July, we got a perfect example of this phenomenon.

Last month, Ariam Rodriguez Diaz, a truck driver, was charged with 20 counts of illegal wildlife possession. The 30-year-old Naples, Florida native had been transporting animals to his home from places like Ohio and Canada.

The police would eventually discover his farm of animals and report it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC). According to the FWC, the man had two white-tailed deer, 15 migratory birds, two illegal bird traps, and eight Canada geese in his enclosure.

Why did this truck driver take these animals and did he know it was illegal?

Because of how open he was about his crimes, some are theorizing that Diaz was unaware that this was illegal activity. He also asked officers if it was illegal to keep the deer.

According to Naples Daily News, Diaz told officers that he had found the deer at a rest stop and lured them into his truck. They would reside in the cabin of the vehicle, where his bed was located, during their transport down to Florida.

I’m no expert but I’m guessing that doesn’t fall under the guidelines of his company’s pet policy.

On a serious note, Diaz was eventually arrested for his crimes and released on a $21,000 bond a couple of days after his arrest. He will appear in court on August 17th.

Whiteline Express Truck Driver

How Much Money Do Truck Drivers Really Make?

The trucking industry is a lot of things — typical is not one of them. Your typical job doesn’t have you hauling high-tonnage shipments across the country on a daily basis. Your typical job doesn’t have you working 11-hour days.

One of the more notable parts of this job that is considered atypical is how truck drivers are paid. Unlike most full-time jobs, there isn’t a yearly salary. Heck, there isn’t even an hourly salary. There really isn’t a uniform way that drivers are paid at all — it largely depends on your specific role within the industry. This is why, along with other reasons, you can’t really put a “yearly salary” number on any truck driving position, even though some companies will try.

Generally speaking, the numbers that you’ll see for truck driving jobs will come in cents per mile (CPM). CPM usually refers to the salary of an Over-the-road (OTR) driver, who stays in his or her truck overnight. For the sake of this article, that’s the type of salary that we’ll be focused on.

What is a realistic pay range for an over-the-road truck driver?

There is a lot of information to go over on the subject of truck driver earnings but I’ll start by getting straight to the point — a realistic salary range.

40 – 60 CPM

This is the industry standard. It’s lower than many truck drivers will claim and that’s no coincidence. There are very few bad things to say about truck drivers, as they’re usually extremely friendly. That said, they tend to gas themselves up a little bit and will, without fail, exaggerate their salary or what they believe the industry standard is.

That said, 40-60 CPM is a really good range. With most drivers driving between 2,000 and 3,000 miles per week, even the lowest end of both categories will place you at $41,600 per year. The average in that range is over $50,000 per year while the highest end of that will have you over $90,000.

You get out what you put in.

Is $100,000 a truly attainable salary as a truck driver?

A number that you’ll hear floating around this question is $100,000 as a yearly salary. This number is… well, for lack of a better term — unrealistic. There are a few drivers out there who can make $100,000 and an even smaller amount who exceed that. The number was largely popularized by Walmart, which likely only has a very small amount of drivers actually hit the $100,000 yearly number.

According to a Walmart truck driver job posting, drivers start at 62 cents per mile. That’s a very good rate but it won’t get you anywhere near $100,000 unless you’re driving ridiculous mileage with no vacations. The drivers that are reaching that type of yearly number are working the maximum amount of hours and have a ton of experience. They’re also hitting countless bonuses.

This leads me to my next point.

Watch out for deceptive advertising in the trucking industry

As somebody with a background in the advertising industry, advertising a yearly salary would likely be described as “deceptive advertising,” which is largely frowned upon. The truth of the matter is that you have to reach specific difficult goals, hit bonuses, or drive unattractive routes to reach these salaries.

In fact, it’s actually against the law. Unfortunately, the trucking industry is not well monitored and job applications aren’t necessarily considered “advertising.”

Whiteline Express is a company that prides itself on integrity. As a result, you probably won’t see us advertising any sort of yearly salary on our job postings — if you did, it would be riddled with disclaimers and clarifications.

If a pay rate seems too good to be true, it probably is. There are exceptions to this, but it’s important to know what a reasonable pay range looks like.

Truck Heist

This Real-life $100 Million Jewel Heist Involved a Flying J Truck Stop

Sometimes, the trucking industry can be glorified. Films, media, and news outlets have the ability to add some extra flair to the industry when in reality, it’s a pretty simple job — most of it entails driving a vehicle at a capped speed of 70 MPH. In fact, a lot of drivers enjoy the peace and quiet associated with driving a truck for their entire day.

But sometimes, trucking gets exciting. In early July, one of the more bizarre stories of the year came out.

Jewel thieves came away with around $100 million worth of rare jewels

In a story that sounds more like a movie with every new detail, some jewel thieves in Los Angeles have officially made it away scot-free with an estimated $100 million worth of rare jewels in a Brink truck, according to DailyMail.com.

The story begins at a Gem and Jewelry Show in San Mateo, California. After the show, the valuables were loaded into a Brink truck and were ready to be transported to the Pasadena Convention Center roughly six hours away. Unfortunately, the jewels would never make it there.

While parked at a Flying J Truck Stop, a Brink armored truck was completely clean-housed of an estimated $100 million worth of valuables in under a half hour. How? Investigators don’t really know right now. Two things, however, seem obvious: this is the work of a team and this was well-planned. Though there is no confirmed value behind the stolen items, Brink claims it’s under $10 million, which seems unlikely. Here’s what the company said.

“Last week, a loss incident involving a Brink’s vehicle occurred near Los Angeles. According to the information the customers provided to us before they shipped their items, the total value of the missing items is less than $10 million. We are working with law enforcement and we will fully reimburse our customers for the value of their assets that were stolen, in accordance with the terms of our contract.”

Brink

Others claim the goods were worth around $100 million, including International Gem and Jewelry Show President Arnold Duke. Here’s what he said.

We are looking at more than $100 million in documented losses,’ Duke said. ‘This was an absolutely huge crime. One of the largest jewelry heists ever. We are talking gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds and loads of luxury watches.

Arnold Duke

Regardless of the exact value, this is a huge loss for 18 individuals who were victimized by this crime. It’s one of the largest heists in world history and it doesn’t look like the FBI has any useful leads.

Truck Driver/CDL

Why trucking is becoming more difficult in China right now

Generally speaking, the trucking industry is extremely stable. No matter what happens, there will always be a need for logistics — consumers will always need products to get from point A to point B. For a long time, there weren’t many holes in the trucking industry. It was virtually bulletproof.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 came around and proved that the trucking industry was not untouchable. Things slowed down everywhere and small companies began to close as a driver shortage simultaneously continued to hurt companies.

And even though the pandemic is not as prevalent in 2022, it’s still having a huge impact on the trucking industry.

Here’s why trucking routes are taking much longer in China right now

In China, certain regions require drivers to receive a negative COVID-19 test before entering. This, in some cases, can take multiple days — usually at least 24 hours. For obvious reasons, this causes huge delays in the trucking industry.

This testing is specific to Drayage trucking which, according to CNBC, is “the critical piece of logistics where drivers transport raw materials, finished, or semi-finished goods.” The delays that these drivers are experiencing are having a ripple effect in China.

Here’s what Akhil Nair, SVP of SEKO Logistics in Pacific Asia, said about the current delays, according to CNBC.

“What happens is, if a particular district or area goes into a lockdown, the driver has to get a nucleic acid test or a PCR test. And that usually takes between 24 and 72 hours. So normally a truck route that will take a day or two can take as long as up to a week in some cases if you have the misfortune of getting stopped multiple times. That leads to complexity and basically a large amount of uncertainty within the trucking aspects.”

This test does not discriminate, either. Whether you’re showing symptoms or not, you have to take it. Whether you’re positive or negative, you have to wait for the PCR results to return.

Truckers in North America will hope that the same fate does not approach them anytime in the future.

Truck Driver/CDL

How One Company Is Trying to Change Trucking for Women

Historically speaking, women have been underrepresented in trucking. While the lack of representation for women is slowly fading in most industries, the trucking industry continues to struggle to bring women aboard.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 7.9% of truck drivers are women — and most of those CDL-driving-women have some issues with the industry.

Because of this, companies are trying to find a way to put more women behind the wheel of a truck. One organization, in particular, that is trying to accomplish this is ATA (American Trucking Associations).

The ATA is launching a program to encourage women to join the trucking industry

The program is called Women in Motion and, according to TruckingInfo.com, is “working with coalition partners, policymakers, and business leaders, Women in Motion will work to provide a more secure work environment for women in the industry, including advocating for issues like safer truck parking, as well as greater diversity in trucking. The program will also provide support and development opportunities for women in the industry, as well as promoting trucking as a career path to women across the country.”

In reality, it’s unclear what exactly they’ll be doing. Heck, they probably don’t even know exactly what they’ll be doing. That said, every journey starts with a single step and this is a good place to hit the ground running.

Here’s what ATA President Chris Spear said about the development of the program.

The trucking industry relies on women – whether in the boardroom, as a technician, or behind the wheel – and we believe that by highlighting the many contributions the women already in trucking make, we can demonstrate what a rewarding and lucrative career path it can be for millions of others

Chris Spear

Hopefully, this sends the industry in the right direction.