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Top 5 Personal Challenges Faced by CDL Holders

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The top five personal challenges faced by CDL holders on a near-daily basis include finding family time, healthy food, a place to sleep, healthcare, and the pressure of too much work for too little pay. 

#1 — Finding Family Face Time

Finding family time is particularly challenging for over-the-road truckers. They might have a day or two off here and there, but those days are typically spent far from home. The first few years as a driver are the worst. Novice drivers have no idea how to get local routes, and most of those get taken by truckers that have more experience. What’s more, dispatchers are going to give the good loads to their friends; it’s just a fact of life.

Typically, better, local loads go to experienced drivers. The first year of two, it is crucial to budget your spending on the road. You might feel you deserve a night at a hotel to take a bath and relax, but it might not be feasible as often as you would like. 

One way to ensure more face time with the family is to video-chat often. There are plenty of free platforms that will allow you to get face time. It’s not like the old days when you had to save up your quarters and get to a payphone to talk to the family. 

#2 — Finding Healthy Foods on the Road

Most of the food along the highways are fast foods full of grease. Drivers often have to get off the highway to find a decent diner. Their daily “meals” while driving consist of sugar and sodium-laced snacks because it takes too long to stop. When they get a decent meal, it is usually late at night before they sleep, and the calories just sit in their stomachs all night.

Statistics show that due to their sedentary lifestyle, only 14 percent of the nearly three million drivers are not obese. Health insurance is rare among owner-operators, and doctor’s appointments are even more limited. Who has the time they ask? Truckers make their money one mile at a time. Therefore, taking a day off to see a doctor is uncommon.  

#3 — Finding a Place to Sleep for CDL Holders

CDL holders find it difficult to find a safe place to park to sleep at night. Statistics show, nearly 170,000 parking spaces out of 185,000 get taken nightly. That only leaves between 15 and 20, 000 places to park for the night. Parking spaces along frequently traveled routes like I-5, 10, and 15 fill up quickly with drivers looking for space.

This parking crunch makes it even more difficult for drivers to get a spot before their 11th hour of driving. HOS violations can lead to termination by fleet managers who have high percentiles under the Safety Measurement System (SMS). Upper percentiles lead to more inspections and interventions by the FMCSA. However, not finding a safe place to park can lead to truckers parking in a deserted mall or other areas without the benefit of other drivers to keep an eye on them.    

#4 — Driver Health

Truckers and other CDL holders are more than 200 percent more inclined to suffer diabetes and be obese than their counterparts in an already obese society. These issues are due in large part to their sedentary lifestyle, and the need to ingest fast-food, which they can do little to fix. What’s more, independent truckers and owner-operators are significantly less likely to have health insurance. Many overuse caffeine, which contributes to their poor health and sleeping habits.

Truckers and carriers should look at some of the programs developed by Rolling Strong to address fitness and better nutrition.

#5 — Too Much Work, Not Enough Pay

Although all of us can probably complain about not getting paid enough, few of us can match the hours CDL holders spend at work. The first year can be the worst — no, it will be the worst, no question. Don’t let it get you down or deter you from what could be an excellent career.

However, if the proposed changes to the Hours of Service (HOS) Rules go through, drivers could be forced to work up to 17 hours a day instead of the previous 14-hour limit to get paid for 11 hours. 

Who Can Handle Tickets for CDL Holders in Riverside County?

When you have a traffic ticket in Riverside County, call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We handle traffic tickets for CDL holders who were caught at roadside inspections, weight stations, and on the freeway. We understand the limits and restrictions placed on drivers. Because we practice only traffic law, we know the judges, law enforcement, and court clerks who can assist with traffic infractions. 

Sometimes, all it takes is a correctly worded request for dismissal or reduced charge to get a moving violation downgraded by the judge to a no-point violation. You might still have to pay a fine, but no points mean no negative information goes on your motor vehicle driving record in CA or your Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) in DataQs.

Send us an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.  

References:

The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

The Smart-trucking.com article7 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR FIRST YEAR AS A NEW TRUCK DRIVER

The R & J Trucker BlogThe Top 5 Challenges Being a Truck Driver

The CDL-101 articleDisadvantages of being a truck driver