Truckers Health & Fitness

Truckers Health & Fitness

Truck Drivers Deliver More Than Christmas Cheer

There are those among us who are very fortunate.  We are in the throes of cleaning up the vestiges of the Christmas season.  Many are taking cardboard boxes to the recycling depot, making turkey soup with the leftovers, boxing up an artificial Christmas tree or dragging a once-live one to the curb for pick-up.  It would be interesting to assess how many trappings of Christmas would be missing if it weren’t for the dedicated truck drivers across North America – those men and women who earn their living delivering our stuff.  It seems that it’s truckers who are really at work behind the scenes, not Santa’s elves.

Healthcare Heroes

Not only are truck drivers something of unsung Christmas heroes, they are also healthcare heroes.  While I can’t imagine any truck driver that moonlights as a neurosurgeon, truckers are responsible for potential advances in healthcare in a rather unintentional and roundabout way.

The life of a truck driver has traditionally been a sedentary one.  About a decade ago there were articles and headlines bemoaning the fact that the life expectancy of a truck driver is 10 years less than that of the average male.  The claims have since turned out to be bogus.  A scientist was completely misquoted but the idea has taken on a life of its own and moved into the realm of fact.  If you don’t believe me, just Google it.

Truckers Health & Fitness – The Canaries in the Coalmine

Nonetheless, the truckers of decades past have unwittingly provided scientists with a large sedentary sample population.  Along with the stereotypical overuse of stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, and diets deficient in fresh fruits and vegetables, the inherent sedentary nature of trucking has resulted in some very negative consequences.  It is a common fact that a sedentary lifestyle does have detrimental effects on life expectancy and health in general.   Due to the traditionally sedimentary lifestyle of truck drivers, the profession itself has served as a sort of “canary in the coalmine” for the general population.  Problems that were observed in career truckers are now, several decades later, being observed in the general population.  Why?

Sedentary Leads to Sickly

Our society is now largely computer based and therefore largely sedentary.  According to Moncton University’s Professor Michel Johnson, co-author/researcher of the Healthy Driver Research Project, since the 1980s the average workday has gotten progressively longer.  Our technology-driven society, where many people are glued to a desk for longer and longer periods of time, is wrecking havoc on our health.  According to Professor Johnson there have been no specific longitudinal studies targeting truck drivers per se, but if we apply what has been observed from the lives of career truckers of the 50s, 60s and 70s (and the increased incidence of diabetes and heart disease for example), we can see where our own current sedimentary society is going.  The effects are upon us even now to the point that children are being adversely affected.  This generation’s children tend to be highly prone to inactivity due in part to handheld devices, computers and “online everything”.  Childhood obesity and diabetes rates are soaring.  Professor Johnson predicts that despite the tremendous advances in other areas of healthcare, this is the first generation whose children will have a life expectancy less than the life expectancies of children born in the 1960s.  This is serious cause for alarm.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices, Healthy Truckers, Healthy People

There is hope however.  An entire movement is afoot in the trucking industry which has done a lot to combat the old stereotype of a beer-bellied, cigarette-smoking, coffee-and-coke-swilling, potato-“chipaholic”, heart-attack-waiting-to-happen trucker.  This new generation of road warriors builds health and fitness into their trucking lifestyle.  They run marathons, compete in ironman competitions, do yoga, drink water, eat fruits, vegetables, and yes, even kale and quinoa.  If they are able to honour a commitment to a healthy lifestyle while on the road, how much more should we, who have constant access to a produce section and safe places to walk/run/swim/garden/ski/skate/surf/hike, be inspired to do the same.

As human beings we have the power to choose.  Why not choose to make a few lifestyle changes for the better?  Why not learn from those truckers who have gone before us and paid the price for an overly sedentary lifestyle?  We know better now.  Why not put that knowledge to good use?

Rig Logistics is an asset-based private carrier based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Please contact us if you are interested in driving for a carrier who is in it for the long haul, or if you are in need of reliable supply-chain solutions.

OTR Web Solutions gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Professor Michel Johnson at the University of Moncton who provided inspiration and very helpful information used in the writing of this blog.

Long Combination Vehicles – A Tale of Two Trailers – Part 3

Long Combination Vehicles
A Tale of Two Trailers

Part 3:
Unsure About LCVs?

Other than hazardous waste/tanker trucks, Long Combination Vehicles (LCV’s) are the most highly scrutinized vehicles on our highways. The drivers are held to the highest standards in the trucking industry. The trucking companies that run LCVs are held to higher standards. They must be vigilant to adhere to those standards lest they lose their special licensing. While the industry has done its best to mitigate the potential disadvantages of LCVs, it is naïve to think that all negative possibilities can be eliminated.

Do the pros of LCVs outweigh the cons?

The Cons of LCVs

It doesn’t require an engineering degree to realize that the larger and heavier a vehicle is the longer the time required to bring such a vehicle to a complete stop when it is operating at highway speed. LCVs require more time to get up to speed and more time to slow down and come to a stop.

The extra connections on LCVs allow greater potential for lack of control in the rear trailer. Owing to the greater length and weight, the more subject LCVs are to instability on the road. Logically these disadvantages are amplified in slippery weather conditions.

There are difficulties associated with maneuverability. LCVs are more difficult to park, turn, and back up.

Wear and tear to roads and loading docks is more pronounced with LCVs due to their extra weight.

The Pros of LCVs

Without a doubt one of the greatest advantages of LCVs is the fact that they help reduce the number of trucks on the road. This is good news for trucking companies and the general public. A reduction in traffic density is advantageous for everyone on the road. And for trucking companies the associated reduction in costs for maintenance and wages is great for the bottom line. Transportation companies can only pass extra savings onto their customers when they are being profitable themselves.

There is an element of safety-consciousness with regard to LCVs that doesn’t exist withLong Combination Vehicles other motor vehicles. The routes LCVs have available to them are restricted, and the units themselves are subject to special licensing. Furthermore, only highly experienced drivers can operate LCVs.

LCVs can do more with less. They haul a greater amount of cargo with greater fuel efficiency than a single trailer. While LCVs might not be the best option for heavier loads, they are an excellent choice for light truck loads. Instead of using two trucks and trailers for two loads, one LCV can deliver those same two loads with less fuel.

The Green Factor

Because the environment is such a huge topic, and one of the greatest advantages of LCVs, “the green factor” warrants further discussion. Check out Part 4 of “ Long Combination Vehicles – A Tale of Two Trailers”, where we will tackle the subject of LCVs and environmental impact.

Rig Logistics is an asset-based private carrier based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Please contact us if you are interested in driving for a carrier who is in it for the long haul, or if you are in need of reliable supply-chain solutions.

LCVs – Long Combination Vehicles – A Tale of Two Trailers


Long Combination Vehicles – A Tale of Two Trailers

Part 1:
LCVs, Safety, & Opinions

LCVsAsk anyone who drives North America’s highways and they will likely have an opinion, often a strong one, about Long Combination Vehicles (LCVs). The general public, Transport Canada, truck drivers, trucking companies; everyone has an opinion – informed or otherwise.
At the end of the day, those of us who live, work and drive in this big, beautiful nation of Canada entrust ourselves to the laws of the land. These laws are here to protect us and help maintain law and order. Not everyone agrees with said laws regarding Long Combination Vehicles. Some people think LCVs are downright dangerous.

What constitutes “dangerous”?

Is this opinion subjective or empirical?

How safe are Long Combination Vehicles – really?

Public Perception of LCVs

Long Combination Vehicles have been the subject of much study. There is more statistical analysis available online than the average person could hope to wade through. One such technical report was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and authored by the National Center for Freight & Infrastructure Research & Education, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison (principal investigator: Teresa Adams, PhD). This 2012 report, entitled “Longer Combination Vehicles: An Estimation of their Benefits and Public Perception of their Use”, examines such issues as safety, cost and benefits, public perception, as well as environmental matters.

A detailed questionnaire was sent to various groups, organizations and individuals. Using the results of the survey, the research team was able to compile statistically relevant data upon which to base their report. While the study was conducted in the U.S., there are enough similarities in the geography, culture and highway systems that the content of the report is both relevant and informative for Canadian drivers of passenger vehicles, truck drivers and supply-chain management companies. One outstanding component of this particular report, which many other reports don’t seem to address, surrounds the issue of negative psychology.

Feelings, Fear & LCVs

Chapter 5, “Public Opinion on the Benefits and Impacts of LCVs”, discusses several issues, but the feedback regarding “level of safety” and “chance of auto & LCV crash compared to auto & semi truck crash” was interesting because it strikes at the very heart of the issue with regard to public perception. These categories deal, in part, with the emotion of fear. It is human nature for people to be afraid of that which they don’t understand or have experience with. People in the study were more biased against the LCVs if they lived/drove in an area where LCVs were not allowed (or if drivers surveyed didn’t have experience driving in an area where LCVs were used).

Fear is a very powerful emotion. Marketing firms use fear regularly in their campaigns because it is so effective. And it is important to bear in mind that, one can be afraid of something that isn’t true or real, yet the fear itself is true and real. Negative psychology is highly impactful and can be problematic for “Joe and Jane Commuter” just as much as it can affect transportation companies utilizing LCVs – albeit in a different way. If LCVs are negatively perceived in the eyes of citizens, trucking companies that make use of LCVs have a strike against them based solely on appearances. Neither the actual safety of LCVs, nor the company’s safe driving record has any bearing on the matter. The company must fight negative stigma brought on by negative emotions. And “Joe or Jane’s” driving behaviour may be impaired due to anxiety. Life-controlling phobias aside, we are all capable of overcoming preconceived notions through education and information. In Part 2 of “Long Combination Vehicles – A Tale of Two Trailers”, we will look at how education can create a more informed public and address the “fear factor” sometimes associated with LCVs.

RIG-Logistics-LogoRig Logistics is an asset-based private carrier based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Please contact us if you are interested in driving for a carrier who is in it for the long haul, or if you are in need of reliable supply-chain solutions.


[1] Longer Combination Vehicles: An Estimation of their Benefits and Public Perception of their Use
(National Center for Freight & Infrastructure Research & Education, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison. March 2012. Principal investigator: Teresa Adams, PhD)

Truck Driver Shortage Fact or Fiction Part 2

Truck Driver Shortage – Fact or Fiction?
Part 2

In Part 1 of “Truck Driver Shortage – Fact or Fiction?”, we noted that the conclusions of the 2012 ATC Blue Ribbon Task Force on Tuck Driver Shortage were that a driver shortage is indeed a reality. The report cited several significant reasons as to why the industry isn’t attracting as many new drivers as it is losing. The main reasons came down to compensation and quality-of-life issues. Trucking is a highly competitive industry and in order to be successful a company has to take care of its primary asset – truck drivers. You can have the most up-to-date equipment, technology the envy of NASA, and long-term, stable contracts, but without qualified drivers your company is going to screech to a halt.

Truck Drivers – The Backbone of Transportation

At Rig Logistics, we don’t need a Blue Ribbon Task Force to drive that point home. Becausetruck driver shortage our owner started out as a truck driver himself, the company has a real consciousness when it comes to drivers. We understand what makes our company successful and we do our best to address the issues, large and small, that are important to truck drivers.

It may seem like we are overstating the obvious, but we never lose sight of the fact that truck drivers are human beings deserving of dignity and respect. Furthermore, the job they do is a skilled trade, (regardless of the fact that it is not considered such outside of the industry). If all carriers really took these two issues to heart, many driver retention problems could be solved before they start.

Compensation & Quality of Life for Truckers

Is there an industry-wide driver shortage? No question there is, but at Rig Logistics we have been able to mitigate its effects on our company. By being an attractive place where drivers want to stick around, word gets around. Word spreads, other drivers want to come on board and they want to stick around. No poaching or dishonest tactics are required.

Along with fair pay and benefits, some of the other positive aspects of a driving career with Rig Logistics include:

• Flexibility (full-time & part-time positions)
• Regard for work-life balance
• Ongoing driver education and professional development
• A team environment between & within each department, senior management, & employees
• An open-door policy
• Honest & clear communication
• Extreme safety consciousness & high safety rating
• Low claims ratio
• New equipment, very well maintained & clean
• LCV-PDIC trainer on staff
• High employee retention
• The security of strict inspection protocols
• Mobile maintenance unit
• Maintenance shop on site operational 24/7
• Full service tire agreement & tracking
• National agreement with Pacar & Trailcon for on-road, off-site maintenance

It is the practice of some carriers to promise anything just to get drivers into seats. At Rig Logistics we take a long-term approach to hiring. Revolving door recruiting is not our style. We are honest and upfront. Dishonesty breeds disillusionment which is counterproductive to the long term success of our operation. Because of our recruitment and operational style we have been greatly insulated from the current truck driver shortage. At Rig Logistics the “Sky is NOT Falling” which is good news for our customers and our employees.
RIG-Logistics-LogoRig Logistics is an asset-based private carrier based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Please contact us if you are interested in driving for a carrier who is in it for the long haul, or if you are in need of reliable supply-chain solutions.

Truck Driver Shortage – Fact or Fiction

Truck Driver Shortage – Fact or Fiction?
Part 1

“The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling”

There has been much talk of a looming truck driver shortage in the transportation industry for years. Then there was much talk of a driver shorter being right around the corner. Then there was much talk of the driver shortage being upon us. Then there was further talk of a driver shortage crisis of epic proportions being imminent. It reminds one a bit of the children’s story of Chicken Little who is convinced that the world is coming to an end and goes around trying to convince others that “the sky is falling”. So, is the truck driver shortage a reality? Is it “Chicken Little” hyperbole designed to create panic to justify driving up rates? Is it something in between? More importantly, what does it all mean?

CTA Blue Ribbon Task Force

In the spring of 2012, the Canadian Trucking Alliance compiled a report entitled “CTA Blue truck driver shortageRibbon Task Force on the Driver Shortage in Trucking.” The report’s contributors were made up of people involved in the CTA at the board or executive level, most of whom were actively involved in the operation of a transportation company. The task force concluded that indeed, “The trucking industry in Canada is facing a long-term, chronic shortage of qualified drivers. In some regions of the country (e.g., western Canada) and some sectors of the industry (e.g., irregular route long-haul trucking vs. local/regional operations) this is already in evidence.” Furthermore, the report noted that “most Canadian motor carriers…say that looking ahead the shortage of truck drivers is their number one challenge.”

Where are the Truck Drivers?

According to the report, the trucking industry has the oldest workforce in the country. A large pool of drivers is nearing retirement age. And, for a variety of reasons, the transportation industry has not been attracting the number of new workers needed to replace the drivers who are retiring. Further stressing the situation is the fact that trucking is the dominant mode of transportation for moving goods in North America. The demand grows stronger every day as individual consumers are no longer just going to a location to purchase their goods, the stay-at-home and shop-on-the-go-with-hand-held-mobile-devises shopping trends further increase the demand for transportation; thereby impacting the demand for drivers in seats. Never in the history of trucking has it been more important for a carrier to stay on top of recruitment and retention when it comes to qualified drivers.

To learn more about some of the ways we at Rig Logistics are combating the truck driver shortage see the upcoming Part 2 of our blog, “The Truck Driver Shortage – Fact or Fiction?”

RIG-Logistics-LogoRig Logistics is an asset-based private carrier based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Please contact us if you are interested in driving for a carrier who is in it for the long haul, or if you are in need of reliable supply-chain solutions.

Supply Chain Management & 3PL

Who’s Really Driving Our Trucks?

Consumers & the Supply-Chain Industry

While we have a pool of experienced professionals behind the wheels of our trucks, in reality it is the consumer, who more than ever, drives our trucks and our business. Our lives as citizens of North America have been dramatically altered in a way that has not been seen since the industrial revolution.   While it is true that technology has greatly altered the tools of the supply-chain industry, technology has also changed how the consumer relates to said supply-chain industry.

Technology, Trucking & Customer Service

supply chain managementThe changes that new technology has wrought in the consciousness of consumers has pushed the transportation industry to grow, evolve and up its game.  It is challenging to keep pace with the escalating demands, but technology has cultivated for us an even greater awareness of the importance of customer service.

Technology & Consumer Consciousness

It used to be that a trucking company was something that operated behind the scenes and largely off of the public’s radar; apart from those rare occasions when a civilian might become irritated by a trucker’s “thoughtlessness” or otherwise perceived carelessness on the highway.  Such incidents were often resolved by the offended party displaying a single digit raised in salute at the trucker.  The truly committed might have gone so far as to follow up with the head office by calling to complain or write a letter.

Trucking & Public Perception

Social media has changed the landscape.  It can shape a company’s image and ultimately affect its bottom line.  We are all familiar with the “United Breaks Guitars” phenomenon of 2009.  To date the YouTube video has received more that 15 million views and was a public relations nightmare for United Airlines.  Since that time, technology has progressed to the point that handheld devices can lodge complaints or invective in seconds.  Trucking companies that haven’t been used to being on the front lines of the public eye must be ever vigilant to guard our images and render the highest level of customer service.  Technology has created an added incentive to do so.  And this is not a bad thing.  It pushes us to be better at what we do.

Supply Chain Management & Technology

Instant communication has also meant that the volume and flow of transportation and logistics has greatly increased.  More and more people are shopping online at home and anywhere from their handheld devices.  It falls to us in the transportation business to see that those goods get where they need to go.  Emerging technologies mean our lives are more “instant” than ever and people expect instant results.  As a consequence, an already fast-paced industry has had to find ways to become more adept at keeping pace and doing so with a high degree of accuracy.  Fortunately for us it is a two-way street.  Technology has come to our aid and given us the ability in the supply-chain industry to anticipate and keep pace with these increasing demands.  Nonetheless, it is the consumer who is the real driver.  While technology is a significant player, it is still the consumer who drives our industry.  And they continue to drive us to be better logistics professionals – on and off the road.

RIG-Logistics-LogoRig Logistics is an asset-based trucking company based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  If you have questions or are in need of supply-chain solutions, please contact us a Rig Logistics today.

Giving Back

Giving Back

Owning a trucking company is very challenging and rewarding. As an asset-based, private carrier, Rig Logistics has had the good fortune to be successful in our field. We believe that our success isn’t just about enriching our lives and those of our clients, but about bettering the lives of others as well. Part of our company mandate is that we consider it our responsibility to give and serve others. We think it is important to support local causes, as well as looking beyond our immediate surroundings to help those in need.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) were involved in relief work in Nepal in the wake of a devastating earthquake in April 2015. Our team at Rig Logistics wanted to support this relief effort. You can learn more about the Red Cross and their work in Nepal after this disaster on the Canadian Red Cross’s Red Cross Nepal Earthquake

Children are our future and we feel strongly about the need to care for them and invest in their lives. We all know how upsetting it is when one of our children is sick with a fever or routine illness. How devastating it is for families when a child is struck with something serious or life-threatening. We are grateful to the Calgary Health Region for the wonderful job they do for all of us. Alberta Children’s Hospital is the largest public hospital for sick children in the prairie provinces. When fundraising was going on for a new ward at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Rig Logistics was happy to help out.

At Rig Logistics, we are really bothered by the fact that there are people going hungry in a land of plenty. Regardless of the circumstances that cause someone to be in need of help, we think it’s important for help to be available. We are grateful for what we have and want to be sure that those who are less fortunate have food. Rig Logistics is a regular contributor to the Calgary Food Bank.

Every spring Rig Logistics gets together and helps out at a local community parade by serving food. It gets staff out into a completely different setting. The community is able to put faces to the company whose trucks they see out on the highway every day. We are able to build relationships in the community and give back in a tangible way.

As a company, we think that helping others enriches our lives and gives us purpose. It makes us aware that we are all part of a larger human family. Whether we are drivers, part of the office staff, maintenance shop, or management, giving brings us together as a team. There is a sense of accomplishment that enhances morale and brings a greater sense of purpose to our work together.

Rig Logistics is an asset-based, private carrier based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Please contact us if we can help you with supply-chain management solutions.