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Overdrive Radio


The Overdrive Radio podcast is produced by Overdrive magazine, the Voice of the American Trucker for 60-plus years. Host Todd Dills -- with a supporting cast among Overdrive editors, contributors and others -- presents owner-operator business leading lights, interviews with extraordinary independent truckers and small fleet owners, and plenty in the way of trucking business and regulatory news and views. Access an archive of all episodes of Overdrive Radio going back more than a decade via this link: http://overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio


Tuscaloosa, AL


The Overdrive Radio podcast is produced by Overdrive magazine, the Voice of the American Trucker for 60-plus years. Host Todd Dills -- with a supporting cast among Overdrive editors, contributors and others -- presents owner-operator business leading lights, interviews with extraordinary independent truckers and small fleet owners, and plenty in the way of trucking business and regulatory news and views. Access an archive of all episodes of Overdrive Radio going back more than a decade via this link: http://overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio





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Trucker of the Month Alec Costerus' odyssey to 10+ mpg and two-truck Alpha Drivers Transportation

"The power demand, the power that's required to pull a truck down the highway ... the idea is to match the power that's produced by the engine to the power that's required." --Overdrive's May Trucker of the Month Alec Costerus on the bedrock principal behind achieving the best fuel economy Alpha Drivers Transportation two-truck fleet owner and operator Alec Costerus launched the company just a couple of years ago from his Denver, Colorado, home base following about eight years trucking as an owner-operator leased to Landstar. The ADT company runs with authority two trucks today, with cofounder Joel Morrow behind the wheel of one of them out of Ohio, the other piloted by Travis Lauer, an operator Morrow trained himself on driving for max efficiency. ADT's the result of Costerus and Morrow becoming fast friends after "geeking out" for years over how to achieve better trucking efficiency, both when it comes to the equipment and the business itself, for certain. Longtime Overdrive Radio listeners have heard Morrow on the podcast, when he was part of panel including past Trucker of the Year Henry Albert, among others, at the 2022 MATS, all about spec’ing and driver practice toward getting to 10 miles per gallon and beyond: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15383454/paths-to-10plus-mpg-in-a-class-8-diesel-truck Alec Costerus himself turned heads among those in Overdrive’s audience about a month ago, detailing how he and Morrow did just that, a big part of the success of what they’ve built with Alpha Drivers: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-extra/article/15670289/controlling-fuel-costs-for-small-trucking-businesses Principal reason for the head-turning? A 10.5-mpg average for their 2023 Volvo VNL760, spec’d to Morrow’s liking with what Volvo’s calling the i-Torque spec. Morrow had a lot to do with that spec, and today, we’ll hear more of that story from Costerus directly, and how Costerus’ efforts in concert with Morrow have resulted in what’s certainly one of the most efficient owner-operator businesses around. Costerus, with 15 years or so in trucking now himself, is certainly unique among Overdrive's Trucker of the Year monthly semi-finalists for plenty reasons. Another: He’s mostly managing the now-two-truck business outside the bounds of a truck cab, by and large, though he does jump back behind the wheel moving mostly power-only loads when Morrow is called away to trade shows or the fleet’s other principal operator is down, and in other situations. Overdrive News Editor Matt Cole, who you’ll hear asking the questions throughout the podcast, remarked early in his conversation with Costerus about the unique nature of the operation. "A lot of people can drive and 'be a trucker' that way," he noted. Alternately, stick around a while, grow and learn and "you can take that experience and leverage it for the greater good, so to speak." Costerus hopes to do that with Alpha Drivers, with a push to show just what can be done and bring the next generation up with him -- not to mention other owner-operators of his own generation who may not realize what can be achieved. His long experience over-the-road helps mightily. Critical for any trucking company owner, he believes: "that you actually know how the freight is moved, what the drivers endure, familiarity with hours of service, all of that. I think it makes us more efficient." It’s a fine balancing act whether you're behind the wheel or not most days, running a trucking business in pursuit of not only efficiency to contain costs but the demands of revenue, time, playing guardian of the bedrock safety of the motoring public around you. Costerus is managing it well with Alpha Drivers. Enter Overdrive's Trucker of the Year contest: https://overdriveonline.com/toptrucker


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What marijuana as a Schedule III controlled substance could mean for truckers

The Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration on May 20 officially published its notice of proposed rulemaking that, if finalized, would reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I controlled substance to Schedule III: https://www.regulations.gov/document/DEA-2024-0059-0001 The Biden Administration signaled its intent to move forward with such a proposal earlier this month, and the NPRM’s publication formalized that effort. The DEA’s proposal said moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act would be “consistent with the view of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that marijuana has a currently accepted medical use, as well as HHS's views about marijuana's abuse potential and level of physical or psychological dependence.” That, ultimately, is the difference between the two scheduling levels, as previously reported. Schedule I drugs are defined in the Act as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Those include heroin, LSD, ecstasy and, at least for now, marijuana. Schedule II drugs, in the terms of the legislation, show “high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence,” and are considered dangerous. These include combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, fentanyl and more. Drugs classified under Schedule III, how DEA is looking to classify marijuana, are those “with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence,” and have a lower abuse potential than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs. Currently, these include products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit, like Tylenol with codeine, as well as ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone and more. Typically, according to Brandon Wiseman, attorney and president of Trucksafe Consulting and guest for this week's Overdrive Radio podcast, Schedule III drugs “are still controlled in the sense that they require a prescription.” As such, having a Schedule III drug in your system is not necessarily a disqualifying factor in DOT drug testing. The driver must have a valid medical prescription for that drug, and the medical review officer (MRO) that validates the results of the drug test has to be comfortable that the use of that drug won’t impact the driver’s ability to safely operate a truck. “Some prescription drugs will inhibit a driver's ability to safely operate a truck,” Wiseman said in the podcast. “And so we just weed those drivers out. Those drivers aren't going to be physically qualified. They're not going to be able to get a med card, for example, to be able to operate.” Hear much more from Wiseman in the podcast, and read Matt Cole and Alex Lockie's reporting on the rescheduling subject via these links: Cole: https://www.overdriveonline.com/15676307 Lockie's early two-part feature: **https://www.overdriveonline.com/15670141 **https://www.overdriveonline.com/regulations/article/15670542/marijuana-legalization-trucking-and-the-future-of-drug-testing


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A pair of custom 2024 Peterbilt 589s, and one standout owner's advice for the next generation

As promised two weeks back, here's Part 2 of our talk with May Trucker of the Month Gary Schloo, longtime owner-operator leased to Long Haul Trucking for the last three decades of a five-decade trucking career. Schloo here tells a can't-miss story about how he and his wife and business partner, Terri, met. It' the "classic trucker-and-the-waitress thing" at a late-night diner early in Schloo's time as an owner-operator. And as most listeners are well aware, a big part of the Trucker of the Year competition, featuring owner-operator semi-finalist candidates throughout the year (including Schloo), hopes to lend useful perspective to all of you, ways to sharpen the operation, button up the business for long-term success. Owner-operator Schloo’s answer to a question I’ve asked most of our Trucker of the Month candidates – namely what their advice to any new or prospective truck owner might be – in many ways comes back to insurance. Build the nest egg early for the down cycles. Put a disability/income-replacement insurance policy in your back pocket for the things that happen to all of us -- whether illness or injury, a crash... The list could well go on. It's saved him over 50 years over-the-road more times than he can count. Hear much more on that score in this episode, likewise a special treat: A rundown with the Semi Casual custom shop's Brian Bourke detailing the work put into two custom-built 2024 Peterbilt Model 589s the shop showed at MATS and on the scene of the Large Cars & Guitars truck show in Tennessee, where we caught up with Bourke. Catch the Semi Casual video mentioned in the podcast here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOrbebJWQsI Also mentioned -- enter yourself or another deserving owner-operator (up to three trucks) in the Bostrom Seating-sponsored Overdrive's Trucker of the Year program via this link: https://overdriveonline.com/toptrucker Finally, a big happy birthday to Gary Schloo on May 26! We hope it's a great one.


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Roadcheck chicken-house wrap with the Mustang | Running the High Road with tour-haul small fleet

After years of scheduling needed preventive maintenance and sitting out the Roadcheck blitz, last year Mike "Mustang" Crawford hauled through his first Roadcheck in years. As we did after last year's 72-hour inspection blitz, we’ll be riding along again in this Overdrive Radio edition through three days’ worth of scale reports from our friendly on-highway chicken-house correspondent. Regular listeners may well recall that last year on runs from the Midwest all the way down to Florida, Mustang didn’t cross a single open scale. Can’t say that’s the case this year, though. And, for the balance of the episode, shift into high gear with our talk with Sharon Lee, owner of the High Road small fleet headquartered between Nashville, Tennessee, and Boston, and making a name for themselves in the concert tour-trucking world. Lee jumped on our radar after her involvement with the Academy of Country Music’s "ACM Lifting Lives" program, through which she partnered with the Mechanics on a Mission organization as well to surprise a touring professional with the gift of an automobile at a TCW event early this year -- TCW's the Touring Career Workshop, and small fleet owner Lee serves as a board member for the organization. Since founding High Road in 2016, she’s made big inroads with customers in the music industry here in Nashville, but it turns out her trucking history is just as deep, stretching all the way back to childhood, when her father was an owner-operator in New York State and involved in tour trucking himself. Working with one-man, one-truck operations holds a special place in her approach to this day. More about High Road: https://highroadusa.com More about concert/show tour trucking in Overdrive: **Mobile TV production: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15634571/a-unique-beast-behind-the-scenes-in-mobile-tv-production-trucking **Events-haul in general: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/14894405/how-event-hauling-stands-out-in-the-trucking-industry **Clark Transfer's Broadway show hauling: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15294151/guaranteed-revenue-for-owneroperators-clark-transfer-commits


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What is your time worth? Re-engage with owner-operator business fundamentals to know the answer

"Time is money," as the old saying goes, and as such "time management is money management." That was how the great Red Eye Radio host Eric Harley put it near the beginning of this our last in a series of Partners in Business short podcasts on Overdrive Radio, talks excerpted from a long roundtable conducted at the Mid-America Trucking Show this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khKP2WHZjfg&list=PLc1lg9rs1dUBRbJKjvc7UUcJRRd4iI2v3 Time should be a factor in your analysis of any load to truly assess the potential for profit. Overdrive released a bit of a tool to help in that process -- it's a custom spreadsheet that was made available for download around the time of MATS and the big update to this year's Partners in Business owner-operator handbook: https://www.overdriveonline.com/partners-in-business/document/15666632/evaluate-any-loads-cost-in-relation-to-time-not-just-miles The tool clearly illustrates how added time within any load's schedule dilutes revenue and adds costs per mile as fixed costs continue to mount with any delay. It offers a way for you to calculate that impact more or less at a glance, with the input of just a few of your own numbers. The tool was developed by Overdrive contributor Gary Buchs in his efforts coaching individual owner-operators through business decisions large and small. In this episode, voices you’ll hear, in order of appearance, are that of our moderator Eric Harley, setting us up for discussion of time management, followed by myself, then ATBS Vice President Mike Hosted expanding with some market timing insight, and Overdrive contributor and now longtime business coach Gary Buchs, previously mentioned. Through to the end, all stress, too, the fundamental value of re-engagement with business fundamentals possible with the PIB program. Here’s hope the talk and broader program both give you plenty to chew as you assess prospects and performance of your own business throughout the remainder of the year. The educational program this year is sponsored by the great folks at the Rush Truck Centers dealer network, who share our vision for your success: https://rushtrkctr.com/4bLxbR4 As mentioned in the talk, Matthew Mickenberg's story of valuable timing: he saved $50K on the price of a new truck purchase on account of it: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-extra/article/15659622/its-a-deal-50k-saved-on-a-new-truck


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A short leash on long-term success: Trucker of the Month Gary Schloo

This week's Overdrive Radio podcast edition features primarily the voice of Overdrive April Trucker of the Month, owner-operator Gary Schloo. The three-decade-plus owner's headquartered in Austin, Minnesota, leased to Long Haul Trucking out of relatively nearby Albertville. Today, Schloo runs dedicated to a particular customer in Long Haul Trucking’s network and can make a regular round in a day’s time, keeping him not far from his two-acre property throughout his week. It’s been his bread and butter now for nearly two decades, hauled since 2014 behind a Peterbilt 386 glider powered by a 12.7 Detroit Series 60 he bought new at the time. Ever with an eye on ways to save, the owner-operator adjusted his physical damage insurance shortly after the purchase, limiting the radius of his coverage to 500 miles with Great West Casualty, outside the policy he'd previously purchased through LHT. That's just one example of moves made and routines built through the years that have delivered long-term stability and profits for Schloo. Current LHT CEO Jason Michels, in Overdrive's prior story about the owner-operator, told of meeting Schloo early in his own trucking career, when he was just getting started with LHT as an owner-operator himself: https://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-of-the-year/article/15669324/effective-insurance-exacting-analysis-deliver-gary-schloos-success Schloo and Michels met in West Virginia as both owners loaded there for a run back to Minnesota, then talking along the way. Schloo's generous with his time with young owners, Michels noted, and certainly was on that run where the pair met. Schloo schooled him on the importance of paying taxes so as not to get behind the eight ball with penalties and other wasted money, tracking and analyzing cost and revenue performance closely, and saving plenty as insurance against the rainy days. A lot of Schloo’s success comes back to insurance, in fact, building the business nest egg and other practices to guard against the unexpected: https://www.overdriveonline.com/partners-in-business/video/15667833/stock-your-trucking-pantry-against-famine-before-any-feast-ends That extends to health and disability. He’s carried a disability insurance policy for decades, and it’s proven plenty effective, particularly when 15 years ago now he had a heart attack that threw everything he’d built into question. Take a run through Schloo's story for more in this week's podcast. Owner-operator Gary Schloo is in the running for Overdrive's 2024 Trucker of the Year award, sponsor by Bostrom Seating. You can enter your own or another worthy owner-operator business for a chance at a new Bostrom seat among other prizes and recognitions, via https://overdriveonline.com/toptrucker


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Trucker Josh Giesbrecht building a legacy for family, fellow truckers, people all around the world

Today on the podcast, a brief look back into a little bit of Overdrive’s recent history, as you'll hear Canada-headquartered owner-operator Josh Giesbrecht intimate up top. Giesbrecht notes Overdrive gave him his "first big break" on the road to expanded influence around the world for his daily/near-daily series of video blogs he's hosted for nigh on a decade and a half at this point. His "Trucker Josh" Youtube channel to this day continues to bring the bedrock in-cab reality of Canadian and U.S. hauling to the masses all around the world: https://www.youtube.com/@Trucker_Josh Turns out Overdrive was among the first outlets to cover what he was doing way back near the start of it, as he tells it, and set the video blog off on a run toward a much bigger audience. The "Trucker Josh" channel's history is certainly a living one, though, as it continues to be a repository of everything to landscapes and tarping tutorials, to mini rants and safety outreach, and so much more. Josh Giesbrecht is the latest well-deserving honoree in a Hall of Fame hosted by a company regular listeners will no doubt be well aware of. You can find the fine folks behind the Howes Hall of Fame at https://howesproducts.com/hof -- and find our initial reporting on Giesbrecht's induction via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/life/article/15666875/trucker-josh-giesbrecht-new-howes-hall-of-fame-member Overdrive Editor Todd Dills sat down with owner-operator Giesbrecht and Howes Executive Vice President Rob Howes II at the Mid-America Trucking Show, where the Howes company announced the Hall of Fame induction. In the podcast today, the results of that talk, in which Giesbrecht ultimately centers on this central reason for his continued, dogged pursuit of sharing the life of the over-the-road driver and truck owner day-in, day-out: "I want this to go throughout my life," he said of his daily chronicling, to be "the thing that I leave behind to my kids, my grandkids. Hopefully it's something that can earn their respect. 'He started from here, he ended here, and he did good.'" For the trucking community, then, Giesbrecht's will be a legacy of improvement in public appreciation of the brass-tacks work of hauling. Said Overdrive Radio host Todd Dills, "It’s somewhat easy to underestimate the impact video blogs like Trucker Josh’s have had on the better appreciation of the work of trucking by the general public. Geisbrecht’s was certainly among the first, and now with a subscription base in the six figures, it’s continuing to strike a nerve, or strike a chord, as it were, with a worldwide audience." Other talks with Howes Hall of Fame inductee owner-operators: Kate Whiting: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15542803/cherry-pie-owners-road-to-trucking-with-a-custom-1973-w900a Angelique Temple: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15304180/hazmattank-veteran-driver-now-on-her-own-meet-angelique-temple


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How to transform OTR 'work/life' division into real balance, unity with customers

Here find 2024's third mid-week special edition in Overdrive Radio's series of Partners in Business shorts culled from a long owner-operator business-focused talk at the Mid-America Trucking Show last month with Eric Harley of Red Eye Radio. This episode extends from the first couple, expanding on the necessity of close business analysis in near-real-time to keep tabs on costs and profits, the start-up necessity of stocking that pantry and doubling down on saving when markets are hot for the lean times. We’ve been in one of those, by some estimates, going on two years at this point. Voices we'll hear: **The great Eric Harley of Red Eye Radio. Find the full talk in an episode of Red Eye's Extra Mile podcast here: https://www.redeyeradioshow.com/the-extra-mile-podcast/ **Overdrive Editor Todd Dills **ATBS Vice President Mike Hosted **Overdrive contributor and now longtime business coach Gary Buchs The subject here is "work-life balance," of a fashion, though that term doesn’t do a whole lot for a small business owner, for whom those two elements – work, life – are virtually inseparable. Nonetheless, there’s plenty owners can do to set themselves up for life at home with the work, particularly as it relates to building long-term business with solid customer relationships. For more on that subject, catch Part 2 of Overdrive Radio's talk with Surinder Gill: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15669640/small-fleet-owner-determined-to-sharpen-value-to-direct-customers Likewise, Jason Cowan's MATS talk about nurturing and maintaining relationships: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15668024/how-to-leave-trucking-better-than-you-found-it-with-jason-cowan Garnering respect from customers over time, solidifying those relationships so that you don’t have to turn to dime-a-dozen brokered loads on the boards so often: It’s the little things described in this episode, pursued day-in, day-out, that serve the best chance of getting you there. Track back the Partners in Business series from the Red Eye Radio roundtables this year at MATS, and last, via this Youtube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcMsOnx-zFs&list=PLc1lg9rs1dUBRbJKjvc7UUcJRRd4iI2v3 This special edition in the long-running Partners in Business program is sponsored by Rush Truck Centers, the 140-plus dealer location network for sales service and so much more. Find them via this link: https://rushtrkctr.com/4bLxbR4 You can visit https://OverdriveOnline.com/pib to download the 2024 updated Partners in Business book and learn plenty more from our online series there, too, about so many topics germane to trucking as an owner-operator.


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Hey shippers, we're out here: Small fleet resolved to sharpen biz on long haul for change

Last week we heard Part 1 of a long talk with Gill Freightlines small fleet owner Surinder Gill, with four trucks owned and headquartered out of Manteca, California, where Gill’s following in the draft of his owner-operator father’s 60-year trucking legacy. (As you can see in the cover image for this week's Part 2 of that talk, the long legacy is honored on the back of Gill Freightlines’ dry vans.) The Convoy brokerage's quick collapse last Fall nearly spelled out a death sentence for the small fleet, as it was mostly built around dedicated hauling for Convoy's shipper customers. Gill’s still owed around $35,000 for loads hauled just prior to the collapse, and the collapse of his fleet's work soured relationships with a small group of owner-operators whom he previously worked with. The difficulties, in part at least, extend from what he acknowledges as a classic mistake in business. "I guess it goes back to the age-old saying of 'don't put all your eggs into one basket,'" as he put it. Yet as detailed in Part 1 of the talk, he profferred the notion that, given how many carriers' work went unpaid in the Convoy collapse and the company’s tech platform’s quick sale to another brokerage/forwarder, bigger brokerages ought to be required to have larger bonds in place based on the amount of business they do: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15669109/should-freight-brokers-bond-vary-according-to-company-size In Part 2 here, you'll get a window into what Gill’s doing in the aftermath, pivots he’s making toward more direct business, and his hope that so many shippers’ attitudes toward working with small carriers in their immediate physical vicinity, regardless of size, might change for the better. He's got a distribution center he can physically lay eyes on with nothing more than a step out the door to his office, for instance. "I can see them, phyiscally, they can see me physically," he said, "yet where it confuses me is they would rather give work to these kids right out of college who work for [INSERT BIG BROKER NAME HERE] in Chicago or Atlanta or wherever their office is and trust these kids to go vet these carriers who might be carriers or chameleon carriers. ... But they won't give it to me," with just a few trucks. That's even though, of course, Gill's "right down the street." Though load boards and brokers themselves rose out of the need of owner-operators and small carriers to connect to freight they otherwise might not have access to, Gill feels the entire culture around brokerage has devolved with Wolf of Wall Street-type tactics now so dominant that independents become essentially "bottom feeders" in a market like the current one. Volumes have been down in a big post-pandemic readjustment, and demand has sunk back to pre-2020 levels and below, some would say, for an extended period. Yet he's in it for the long run. He's fully invested in driving change in his own approach to customers. He recognizes his and other independents’ shortcomings, and is committed to being part of a change to re-engage direct customers, really put in the work on building relationships toward better long-term opportunity outside of this or that fancy new brokerage network’s app. "It's going to drive a change" around trucking, he feels, "and I want to be there for it." Mentioned in the podcast: Past Overdrive Small Fleet Champ Jason Cowan's recent talk on building relationships, with customers or otherwise: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15668024/how-to-leave-trucking-better-than-you-found-it-with-jason-cowan Enter the 2024 Small Fleet Championship via this link: https://overdriveonline.com/2024SFC


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Should freight brokers' required bond amount vary according to company size?

Manteca, California, Gill Freightlines small fleet owner Surinder Gill's family's trucking lineage traces back through 60 years of OTR work done by his father, Gurmail Singh Gill, over more than one continent. The elder Gill hauled first in his native India, some in the Middle East, and finished out his career in the United States. Surinder Gill had dipped his feet in trucking as a dispatcher by the time his father passed in 2018. "I wanted to do something to honor my father," Gill said. "How do I honor my father and his legacy? So we purchased a truck and got a trailer, and I put his photo on the back." His trailers to this day feature that photo and the "In loving memory" text for Gurmail Singh Gill. "He'll always be on the road, in a way," as his son puts it in this edition of Overdrive Radio, telling that story but much else besides. Small fleet owner Gill was in part the subject of Overdrive Executive Editor Alex Lockie's reporting on the now-infamous collapse of the Convoy company as a going brokerage concern this past Fall. That reporting told the tale of a variety of owner-operators and small fleet owners just like 28-year-old Surinder Gill who, months following the abrupt shuttering of Convoy in October, remained unpaid for in some cases thousands’ worth of work hauling: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15666087/convoys-unpaid-carriers-signing-back-up-to-haul-loads In Gill’s case, unpaid invoices were to the tune of around $35,000 in dedicated contract loads his several company drivers and a larger number of owner-operators pulled for big names in canning and food generally, like the Post company. Convoy's debt to Gill alone is nearly half of the worth of the required $75,000 bond any broker is required to have to cover claims. As you'll hear in the podcast, Gill believes that bond amount shouldn't but a static number but rather dependent on the amount of business a broker handles. Larger the broker, larger the bond. Convoy, readers will recall, had a valuation in the billions, according to pre-collapse reports. Given the volume of freight -- and money -- that flowed through the broker, Gill asks, shouldn't they be required to hold a bond much, much higher than $75,000? By the time he got to the bond company with his own claim, the full amount in the surety had already been kicked to court deliberation on just who would get paid, and how much. As of this past week, Gill remained entirely unpaid for those final loads, though the small fleet owner offered up a bit of information he'd learned since the conversation featured in this podcast. Contact made with the Hercules Capital company, responsible for business debt incurred by Convoy, yielded a name there for everything having to do with the shuttered brokerage. “I have reached out to Hercules Capital,” Gill said, “and was given the contact of a Greg Peterson” for everything Convoy-related with the company, a venture funding company that took control of all of the imploded company but for the technology platform. That platform, also previously reported, was sold to Flexport and rebooted for freight brokered through them, a fact that frustrates Gill and others among the unpaid carriers who’d worked with Convoy for years, as you'll hear.


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Staying choosy about brokers -- 'too many scammers out there': Trucker of the Month Candace Marley

In today’s world, the kind of choosiness with brokers owner-operator Candace Marley practices is an absolute must for many independents. "I don't jump in with just any broker out there," she said. "There's too many scammers out there, too many double brokers, too many frauds." In this edition of Overdrive Radio, Marley details the relationship-building strategy for freight in her Iowa-based one-truck business -- Calliope, LLC. The independent business takes its name from a muse in Greek Mythology and a species of hummingbird well-known for its nimble nature in flight, a quality that owner-operator Marley herself has shown in spades over the course of her time with authority, even just a few years in after being leased to Don Hummer Trucking. Today we’re running through Marley’s conversation with Overdrive News Editor Matt Cole, whose feature about the owner-operator also detailed her tenacity to thrive under the most challenging of circumstances: https://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-of-the-year/article/15667438/independent-owneroperator-candace-marley-thrives-on-challenge Overdrive’s Trucker of the Month for March, owner-operator Marley’s in the running for the 2024 Trucker of the Year honor, this year sponsored by Bostrom Seating with a new seat the ultimate prize for whoever comes out on top among 10 semi-finalists we’ll profile this year. Put your own business in the running via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/page/toptrucker For Candace Marley, it all comes after a year that's been a tough one, it's sure. As was the case for so many owner-operators, lower rates and high fuel (along with generally soft freight markets) had her trucking along fairly flat compared to the previous year. Then, six months out from finishing the note on her 2017 Kenworth T680, a major mechanical failure took the truck out from under her, necessitating a two-month transition to a 2020 Peterbilt 579 late in the year. She’s inherently optimistic, though, and it was just the kind of challenge maybe she even needed, as you’ll hear, to keep her on her toes and motivated to sharpen all aspects of the business. Just about six months after that big mechanical failure, she’s working her way back with the 579 delivering better fuel mileage than her previous unit. She’s closely monitoring costs and what she needs to meet profitability targets, and looking ahead to better freight markets where she’ll really make hay. The owner’s journey through trucking behind the wheel starts in 2009, when her then-husband had to come off the road due to an illness, and it’s a story she tells in full in the podcast. Nominate your own business or that of another owner-operator for Overdrive's Trucker of the Year award: https://overdriveonline.com/toptrucker As mentioned in the podcast, 2023 Trucker of the Year Jay Hosty's acceptance of prizes at MATS with the award, including a custom model replica of his 2006 Western Star 4900EX: https://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-of-the-year/article/15666987/new-seat-custom-replica-trucker-of-the-year-jay-hosty-recognized


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'You're the business owner, so be the boss': Engage your own trucking numbers to take control

Here find 2024's second mid-week special edition in Overdrive Radio's series of Partners in Business shorts culled from a long owner-operator business-focused talk at the Mid-America Trucking Show last month with Eric Harley of Red Eye Radio. This one digs into more of the routine business analysis practice participants in the discussion began to touch on in the last edition, about the importance of stocking the pantry when markets are hot to weather inevitable soft-freight downturns like what we’ve been experiencing nigh on, if not more than, a year now: https://www.overdriveonline.com/partners-in-business/video/15667833/stock-your-trucking-pantry-against-famine-before-any-feast-ends Eric Harley teeing the topics up with a question about profit and loss statements and any owner-operator's necessary routine engagement with their own numbers. For ATBS clients, that's aided by the online hub where those owners can access monthly P&Ls with the simple push of a button. The P&L itself, though it can be voluminous in its detail, Harley noted, is “less intimidating” as a document “when you develop those good habits [and] those routines” and you’re “watching it at every step.” The best owner-operators take it farther, noted ATBS Vice President Mike Hosted. “At least a few times a year, they look at their budget next to their P&L and say, ‘I’ve a roadmap in this budget. Now I’ve got a scorecard’” with real results in a P&L. The best assess performance in relation to achievement of profit goals that way. “Are my costs per mile changing?” Hosted asked. “Are my fixed costs changing? Are my home costs changing, and what do I need to do to make adjustments” in service of meeting/exceeding the goals and enabling the ability to save in the war chest for the next down cycle. Overdrive contributor Gary Buchs invoked the "Crucial Conversations" book and its subtitle: “Tools for Talking when Stakes are High” Take control of what you can control and "decide to decide" to get better at touching your own numbers regularly, Buchs paraphrased a central message of the book. It can be primary in wresting control of the business from market whims. Need help in that regard? Track back through our series of Partners in Business shorts form the Red Eye Radio roundtables this year and last at MATS: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLc1lg9rs1dUBRbJKjvc7UUcJRRd4iI2v3 Keep tuned, too, for the next one wherever you’re listening: https://overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio This special edition in the long-running Partners in Business program is sponsored by Rush Truck Centers, the 140-plus dealer network for sales, service and so much more. Find them at https://rushtrkctr.com/4bLxbR4 Visit https://OverdriveOnline.com/pib to download the 2024 updated Partners in Business book and learn plenty more from our online series there, too, about so many topics germane to trucking as an owner-operator.


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How to leave trucking better than you found it, with Small Fleet Champ Jason Cowan

“Like a lot of young boys, I grew up in a farming and trucking environment, and as I stood on the stage a couple of years ago as our company accepted the 2021 Small Fleet Champion of the year award, it hit me that I had hit a pinnacle in my career. Because all I had ever wanted as a young boy was to get my own truck into Overdrive magazine.” --Silver Creek Transportation owner Jason Cowan Yet Silver Creek Transportation owner and Overdrive 2021 Small Fleet Champ Jason Cowan’s story doesn’t end there, of course. Flanked by images of two 1970s Overdrive covers on the Mid-America Trucking Show's East Hall stage March 22 this year, Cowan invoked a new appreciation for all that had come before, which he grabbed hold of that night in Nashville as he and his tight-knit Silver Creek office staff accepted the National Association of Small Trucking Companies-sponsored Small Fleet Champ award. “What I began to learn that night was that wasn’t just the end,” he said. “That was the beginning.” What followed was a rousing talk we're sharing in full here in today's edition of Overdrive Radio. It's guaranteed to make you think, part tale of his early-years fascination with all things trucks and trucking as a young boy, part homily on how to approach life and business to leave those around you, and the trucking business itself, better than you found them. "I'm going to ask you, 'Who are you bringing along behind you?'', Cowan said to the assembled, "so that when they get to be in their career they can say, 'That person invested time in me.'" Cowan shared pictures of two idols from his boyhood on the MATS stage. Owner-operator John Baker, who ran to "California and back" from Kentucky, "every week," he said. Likewise Donald Stone, another owner Cowan who gave his time to the young man. Cowan probably no substantive introduction here. His Henderson, Kentucky, Silver Creek Transportation serves as a bulwark to many an aspiring small fleet owner and is a pillar of his community. Take a long listen to Cowan’s veritable sermon on the importance of relationships. With customers, sure. But also, and most importantly, the biggest relationship you have -- the one with that person you see looking back at you in the mirror every morning. Here's hoping it takes you off to a great weekend. For the rest of you this coming Monday, here’s hoping the solar eclipse traffic doesn’t waylay you on the road to deliver. As noted in the podcast, here's Overdrive’s News Editor Matt Cole’s report on the eclipse’s path from Texas to Maine: https://www.overdriveonline.com/life/article/15667515/total-solar-eclipse-safety-travel-advisories-in-the-path-more More from Silver Creek owner Jason Cowan: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15291067/a-vision-for-growth-jason-cowan-silver-creek-transportation


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Trucking's feast-or-famine cycles: Stock the pantry against 'panic mode' as an owner-operator

In this special-edition Overdrive Radio short, Red Eye Radio host Eric Harley relays an anecdote from a family relation, an owner-operator who lamented the difficulty coping with the hunger-sticken parts of the feast-or-famine business cycles in trucking. That's most certainly where the business has been for at least the last year -- some would say close to two years at this point in the game -- after post-pandemic highs. "Dollars and cents matter right now," said ATBS Vice President Mike Hosted, underscoring the point. "Decisions matter." It's been a year where fixed costs are up 8%, variable costs are down 10%, and freight rates have continued their fall in the broader markets. Without clear insight to truly understand your costs, "you're running in the dark" on what you need to be profitable, Hosted said. And while a seasoned owner-operator may have a gut feeling about their business performance -- and they may be right 8 to 9 times out of 10 -- prevention practices with finances (not just mechanical prevention) will pay off when the famine is on, noted Gary Buchs, Overdrive contributor and longtime owner-operator business coach. With a good backstop of money in a reserve account, or a line of credit opened during one of the feast cycles, you can avoid falling into "panic mode" when cycles turn, Buchs said -- a recipe for "unwise decisions" you can't take back like one too many unprofitable loads. "In a time like we're dealing with now, if you run into the necessity of a large repair bill, and if you don't have the cash on hand to pay that, it can be a killer," said Overdrive Editor Todd Dills, rounding out the four-person panel discussion featured here. It's the first in a special midweek series of short excerpts from a special talk Overdrive and ATBS had with Harley at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The talk was attendant to the March 22 release of the 2024-updated edition of our Partners in Business handbook for owner-operator business, start to finish, with our seminar at the big show: https://www.overdriveonline.com/partners-in-business/article/15667166/poor-ratesdemand-outweigh-lower-trucking-costs-this-cycle This year sponsored by the Rush Truck Centers national dealer network, the new PIB book is available for download via this link: https://register.overdriveonline.com/pib-manual/ This short introduces the PIB program and digs further into perspective on building your owner-operator business pantry to insure against those feast-or-famine dynamics and the whims of the business cycles. The talk is aired in full also via Red Eye Radio's Extra Mile podcast at this link: https://www.redeyeradioshow.com/the-extra-mile-podcast/ Visit Partners in Business sponsor Rush Truck Centers, the premier solutions provider to the commercial vehicle industry with 150-plus full-service dealership locations in the United States and Canada, via https://rushtrkctr.com/4bLxbR4


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FMCSA moves on carrier/broker-registration overhaul to tamp down fraud: Detail, potential problems

"We're going to clean up the bad actors that are in our system now." FMCSA registration office director Ken Riddle. Ken Riddle's office handles applications for authority, updates to carrier and other entity data, third-party access to the system, BOC3 filers’ access, and more. In this podcast for April Fool’s Day, we’re not fooling around -- big changes to how carriers interact with the FMCSA’s registration system are on the way, aimed at rooting out bad actors FMCSA now at the least fully acknowledges are registered in the system today: https://www.overdriveonline.com/regulations/article/15666936/fmcsa-to-overhaul-registration-system-to-stamp-out-fraud We’re talking all those organized double brokers and affiliated carrier entities, identity fraudsters and others. Today hear Riddle’s full talk from the Mid-America Trucking Show with an eye to give you at least some clarity on what to expect, particularly when identity and business verification tools come into play for what Rddle described as a clean-up of the entire population of currently registered carriers, brokers, forwarders and others. Part of what he had to say at MATS caught the ear of more than one Overdrive reader, too, with potential problems for sole-proprietor owner-operators. To wit, as Alex Lockie's report on the session summed up what Riddle had to say: "FMCSA plans, in short order, to implement identification and business verification tools into the registration system, not allowing registrants to proceed until they've proven their identity and that their business exists and is registered with the IRS or the state." It's not 100% the case that every state requires sole proprietors in self-employed situations (such as many owners) to formally register, as noted W. Joel Baker, longtime owner-operator and insurance agent and a regular contributor to our Overdrive Extra series. As sole proprietors, formal registrations outside the payment of self-employment taxes and/or other business taxes, whether with the state or IRS, aren’t always in play, Baker pointed. “We 'sole proprietors,'" he said, often “do not have, nor are we required to have, a business that is 'registered' with the IRS" for an EIN or with the state in some cases. If business verification procedures within FMCSA’s registrations aren't implemented with a consideration made for such businesses, Baker added, “it will have a massive negative impact on the industry,” not to mention for any individual owner “cleaned up” through the process with authority revocation or other outcome. Riddle had more to add about business verification, too, though, noting that the agency is looking for a third-party contractor to help with the verifications and that it’s fairly early days for the process. Overdrive also queried FMCSA directly about the situation Baker brought up. A rep there stressed the agency is still researching what data is available to validate businesses against, and hopes "all business scenarios can be accommodated. ... We believe the data is available, but we are still gathering details.” Keep tuned on that front. And mark your calendars for May 29 for the agency’s next public engagement session, too, where you can bring your own ideas for ways to root out double brokers and other fraudsters who’ve been taking advantage of gaps in the system for many years now. Find information about the session via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/regulations/article/15667504/fmcsa-planning-stakeholder-day-on-registration-changes Also mentioned in the podcast, Lockie's report from attorney Hank Seaton and Dale Prax's presentation centered around registered-entity fraud: https://www.overdriveonline.com/regulations/article/15667297/fighting-the-trucking-fraud-networks-in-fmcsas-registration-system


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Long legacy, good humor of LNL Trucking owner Larry Limp: From a '79 White COE to fleet of 12

"As I get older, I like electronic logbooks a lot better than I would have in my 20s. Now that I'm 63, I like that 10 hours off. My work ethic really started to wane when I found out that feed mills are open at noon. You didn't have to be there at 7 o'clock in the morning. You can get there at noon and still unload." --LNL Trucking small fleet owner Larry Limp, reflecting on big changes in trucking over his four-plus decades in the business Good humor? Yep, LNL Trucking small fleet owner Larry Limp’s got plenty of that. Overdrive’s 2023 Small Fleet Champ in the 11-30-truck division, LNL’s built a solid direct customer business specializing mostly in animal fats pulled in 6,800- and 7,000-gallon stainless tanks to supply businesses in various production chains -- gear lubes, cutting oils, you name it. Based on Bedford, Indiana, Larry Limp’s sense of humor’s probably served him well in decidedly less humorous endeavors than contemplating his own psychology and the shift to electronic logs in 2017, that’s sure. He’s served as Chairman of the Indiana Motor Truck Association, participates annually in the IMTA’s trips to Washington to visit with reps and Senators, and generally keeps his nose to the grindstone building business -- "hanging on" to business might be the better phrase in the current environment -- with a strong do-it-yourself ethic borne of 40-some years trucking. Almost all of that has been as an owner-operator and, now, small fleet owner. Ahead of the Mid-America Trucking Shown in Louisville, Overdrive ventured about an hour and a half’s drive north and west of the Kentucky town to Bedford, Indiana, to LNL's shop and world headquarters on a beautiful parcel of land on U.S. 50 east of the center of town. Limp, who still runs one of the rigs in the fleet of mostly Peterbilt 579s, was headed back from St. Louis after a delivery Tuesday morning pulled behind the longest-serving Pete in the fleet. It’s not a 579, but rather a 2000 Peterbilt 379 Limp’s partial to for a variety of reasons we’ll hear about in this Overdrive Radio edition. He’d picked up Monday evening, hauled out to St. Louis the same night to stage for morning unload. We sat down for a talk through the history of that 2000 379 – ELD-exempt, it turns out, though he’s running an e-log in it as in the rest of the fleet. Likewise: His history trucking, marking time by major engine work, by truck model years and big moves, and more besides. Keep tuned for more from Limp in future podcasts, and read more about his business via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15637786/butterfly-xpress-lnl-trucking-overdrives-2023-small-fleet-champs


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On-highway toward MATS with the 'Sisters of the Road' book tour and its pilot, Debbie Desiderato

Independent owner-operator Debbie Desiderato, long hauling with her authority as Walkabout Transport, probably needs no introduction to regular Overdrive readers. Her insight around customer relationships and so much more has featured in Overdrive multiple times through the years, and last year she was one of our Truckers of the Month in the Trucker of the Year program: https://www.overdriveonline.com/15541324 At the top of the podcast, Desiderato describes the seven years that have elapsed since she first met photographer/author Anne-Marie Michel. The owner-operator's one of 40 female truck drivers and owner-operators in America interviewed for the Britain-based Michel’s “Sisters of the Road” book. Long in the making, as owner-operator Desiderato made clear, yet it’s been out a couple of years now, and making something of a splash around the country right now with a photo-exhibit trailer being pulled behind Desiderato’s Western Star. She's run with the exhibit clear across the country from an origin point in San Francisco to start Women’s History Month on the way to the Mid-American Trucking Show, coming up here shortly, March 21-23 in Louisville, Kentucky. Preview MATS happenings, and access coverage in the aftermath, via this collection: https://www.overdriveonline.com/t/4372607 Overdrive Radio spoke with Debbie about the experience thus far on the tour, which to date has offered up no shortage of opportunity to school the uninitiated on the ins and outs, the struggles and triumphs, of truck drivers of all stripes. Plenty share-the-road talk, too. "The blind spots," Desiderato offered. "and how I've got a hood on this truck. They can see now if they're by my passenger steer tire how I couldn't see them if they're driving a small car. They got a big education." She was referring mostly to 100s of international and otherwise trucking-uninitiated attendees of FotoFest in Houston, where her Western Star was parked up with the exhibit trailer for plenty public interaction through Wednesday, March 13, this week. She's due to arrive in Louisville March 18 for MATS, with stops along the way in Arkansas at Uber Freight headquarters and Saturday, March 16, at the Idella Hansen Petro in Little Rock. All in all, she notes, the tour and her inclusion in the "Sisters of the Road" book has been an opportunity to sit right at the intersection between the business and work of trucking, and the wider U.S. and world cultures. Read more about "Sisters of the Road" via Long Haul Paul's 2022 review of the book: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-extra/article/15296897/iconographic-fiercely-resilient-portraits-sisters-of-the-road Also in the podcast: Owner-operators Lee and Lisa Schmitt detail recent similar share-the-road opportunities the pair of founding members of CDL Drivers Unlimited got with the entire Mudflap app staff. Revisit recent talks with the Schmitts about CDLDU's Driver Advocacy Network at this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15665521/truckers-new-chance-at-affordable-health-insurance


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How owner-operator Doug Viaille persevered through 30-plus years trucking: 'Expensive wisdom'

In this edition of Overdrive Radio highlighting February Trucker of the Month Doug Viaille, listeners get a clear sense for the understated, homespun sense of humor of the owner-operator today hauling as Goat’s Transport. Viaille’s been in business for himself as an owner-operator for most of his 30-plus years in trucking thus far, and was nominated for the Trucker of the Year award by a fellow owner who calls him "Mr. Overdrive," in fact, after we called on Viaille’s experience in years past in a couple of different features. Owner-operator Viaille’s seen success particularly these last years leased to Oakley Trucking -- that’d be the Bruce Oakley bulk hauler based in Arkansas, where Viaille pulls a company hopper on a back-and-forth dedicated run loaded with industrial product for healthy profits. He's banked plenty in the way of wisdom, too, enough to recognize his own shortcomings and lean into the areas where he’s top-notch, as was illustrated to an extent in the feature about him published last week: https://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-of-the-year/article/15665049/trucker-of-the-month-banks-expensive-wisdom-profits-in-bulk It can be "expensive wisdom," as he notes, learning from mistakes made, yet it's a hallmark of the best among owner-operators. Doug’s bounced back and learned plenty from more than a few, yet always with that dry sense of humor at the ready. Join us for this run through Viaille’s history going back to his pre-CDL Texas commercial license test in the late 1970s/early 1980s behind the wheel of a one-ton Chevrolet. And: here’s welcome to a new sponsor for our Trucker of the Year award for 2024. It’s Commercial Vehicle Group, well-known amongst owner-operators for the Bostrom Seating brand, among many others. Contenders this year are in the running for a variety of prizes, including one of those seats to go to the winner. Put your own owner-operator business in the running via this link: https://overdriveonline.com/toptrucker


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A shot at health insurance, and the new Driver Advocacy Network, with CDLDU grassroots group

Indiana-headquartered owner-operator, and father of five, Dan Koors invokes a big number at the top of the podcast this week -- 27%, the approximate percentage of drivers running without health insurance. That's inclusive of company drivers, many with ready access to carrier benefits packages. Among owner-operators, the percentage is certainly higher than 27%. Overdrive’s most recent estimate with polling of the owner-operator audience this past month put the number at 40%. While that’s not the absolute highest percentage we’ve ever seen, it’s a good measure above the rough third that was once a reliable poll result for the question of whether an owner was running with health insurance a decade ago: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/14885028/tough-health-care-choices This week on Overdrive Radio, we dive into a new resource for health insurance that is something of a new variation on an old theme. Like groups such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the National Association of Independent Truckers, both of whom have health-insurance resources for members of varying types, the young CDL Drivers Unlimited group has dipped its toe, or sunk a whole foot into, the area with a new partnership with the Benefits Management Team, or BMT. They’re a health insurance consultant and broker who can work with a potential insured in any state and with knowledge of what’s available in the health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, how available premium subsidies work for individuals, and much more. The company does quite a lot to really vet health-care bills, too, to be an advocate for patients through its MediShield service, examining itemized invoices for unnecessary charges in further efforts to save on costs. And it’s the long rising cost of health care, of course, that is a primary reason for the increasing numbers of those opting out of the health insurance system entirely, and a critical reason among small-business owner-operators. Yet owner-operator Dan Koors is not one of them. He views the necessity of insurance as a business decision, ultimately, and crucial to protect the business from catastrophe. So with a family of seven, including himself, to insure, how’s he done it? In this edition of Overdrive Radio we’ll hear that story, and another one. How the BMT company’s knowledge of the insurance markets and the Affordable Care Act exchanges, and how they work in tandem with available subsidies, led Koors to a strange realization. He’s now paying a little more in taxes than he might otherwise as a result, but he’s netting nearly $7,000 with a dramatic reduction in insurance premiums. CDL Drivers Unlimited is making other strides, too, with what they’re calling the Driver Advocacy Network, aimed to, as Koors sees it, boost the efforts of men and women behind the wheel to make headway influencing local, state and national policy and law to the benefit of truckers. We’ll also hear from CDL Drivers Unlimited founding members Lee and Lisa Schmitt, headquartered in Wisconsin, on that score, and the group's plans for MATS. Other health-related resources from past coverage: **Biz risk of failing health: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-extra/article/15302424/owneroperators-who-recognize-the-risk-of-failing-health **Medicare: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-extra/article/15302142/nows-the-time-to-understand-medicare-if-getting-close-to-65 **Owner-op health-insurance gain in COVID-relief law: https://www.overdriveonline.com/life/article/15064881/health-insurance-savings-via-aca-exchanges-expanded **Health-share plans: https://www.overdriveonline.com/life/article/14972980/healthshare-plans-offer-insurance-alternative-for-ownerops As mentioned in the podcast, Rudy Yakym Jr.'s reckoning with time pressures post-ELD mandate: https://www.overdriveonline.com/electronic-logging-devices/article/14895603/operational-challenges-to-ownerops-after-the-eld-mandate


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(Don't) inspect me! With Roadcheck on the horizon, ways to avoid trouble at the scale house

"So we're going down the road, we've got a mudflap missing, and we've got an ABS lamp on the trailer lit up. What does that mean?" This edition of Overdrive Radio starts with that question, leading to just a small bit of the wisdom of the many years of experience of former truck operator and longtime compliance consultant Jeff Davis. With his Fleet Safety Services business, operating out of a home base in Ohio, Davis has been a regular presenter at the National Association of Small Trucking Companies' annual conference now for years. At the NASTC show this past November he addressed a packed house of owner-operators and other small fleet owners on the topic of practical steps to take to avoid inspections. The answer to his question, as duly, immediately noted by one of the owners in attendance: "Inspect me." Regular listeners will recall those trailer malfunction indicators were a focus of the Roadcheck 2023 inspection blitz, and leading into the event Overdrive found that warning-light systems on trailers accounted for well more than half of all air-brake-related ABS violations: https://www.overdriveonline.com/csas-data-trail/article/15447541/toughest-states-for-securement-violations-get-roadcheck-ready There’s a reason for that, as Davis noted. When something’s awry, that light comes on, giving an easy visual cue for an officer to inspect. And if you’re inspected, well, there’s a likelihood of violations, and issues then can compound for you or your small fleet. The downstream ramifications of any individual inspection were well evident in Warren McCurdy’s story from a couple weeks back here on the podcast: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15663474/truck-inspections-safety-scores-should-be-preventive-not-punitive Any adverse roadside inspection will negatively impact all manner of things as it flows through the federal CSA Safety Measurement System and into the federal compliance review program and owner-operators and small fleets’ insurance rates, prospects for business and more. Davis further emphasizes all kinds of ways you can minimize the likelihood of getting sideways with auditors and roadside officers, without just bypassing the scale houses altogether. More on getting Roadcheck-ready (the annual inspection blitz is upcoming in mid-May), and generally ready for any inspection that might come your way: **Roadcheck 2024: https://www.overdriveonline.com/regulations/article/15664708/roadcheck-2024-inspectors-guidance-on-drugs-and-alcohol **Roadcheck 2023 -- how to avoid/ace inspections: https://www.overdriveonline.com/regulations/article/15383460/how-ownerops-can-avoid-or-ace-inspections-at-roadcheck **Overdrive long-running CSA's Data Trail series: https://overdriveonline.com/csas-data-trail