Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Driver's Legal Plan

Hello Drivers,
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some potential good news from the FMCSA. If you have not heard, the FMCSA announced some changes in the process for handling dismissed or adjudicated citations and violations.

In the very near future the FMCSA will allow a citation that is challenged in court in which the case is either dismissed or adjudicated to a lesser charge to result in a change to the drivers SMS and PSP.

If the charge is dismissed then with a DATA Q challenge the violation and points associated with it will be removed from your CSA score.

If the charge is amended to a lesser charge, that violation is flagged and the point value is lowered to the lowest point value in that Basic.

This is great news for you the driver and for every carrier, what this means is that now more than ever it will benefit you the driver to take advantage of PTL’s DRIVERS LEGAL program and allow their staff of attorneys’ to help you protect your good driving record.

If you are not a member, then contact me at the training center my number is 270-753-1717, ext 101. Try to be near a fax machine when you call and I will fax the application to you right away. Or if you are in Murray then come by the training center and pick one up.

The charge per week is only $2.98 to become a member. This is a small price to pay. In the event you need an attorney to fight a simple moving violation, there is an additional charge which is a flat rate and will not change no matter how long the case takes.

Bob Walker

Monday, April 14, 2014

Profiles of Success - Alan Davis

We continue our "Profiles of Success" series this month with Alan Davis in 16426.

Alan had been with PTL for six months when he was asked to become a trainer. He had never been a trainer before, but the reminder of how tight money was at home convinced him to give it a try. "I needed a little extra money," Davis said. "I have two teenage boys that eat you out of house and home."
Over two dozen trainees later, Davis is one of the most successful trainers at PTL. "I try to be open and communicative and make the driver feel at ease," Davis said. After meeting a trainee, he immediately sits down and talks to them about the job. "I explain to him that you hear all this stuff in school and orientation, but this is the real deal." He says he doesn’t candy-coat the job either.

Davis attributes some of his success to communication. He tells each driver that communication is key. "If you have a problem, please talk to me," Davis said. "I can’t read your mind. If you have a problem, ask, if you don’t understand something, ask." He said he doesn’t want to leave anyone behind because they didn’t understand what they were supposed to be doing.

He said that it is natural for everyone to be nervous when driving with a new person in the vehicle. "I don’t know him, I’m supposed to be the experienced person, but it is a little nerve-wracking until you get to know each other."

Another way Davis is successful is his approach to making the trainee feel more at ease with him in the truck. "When we get our first load and leave here, if we’re going south on 641, I usually drive first until we reach the interstate," Davis said. "Then when we are on the interstate, I let them drive. This way they can concentrate on learning the truck and the controls and not worry about stop-and-go traffic in the beginning."

Davis enjoys the new experience of being a trainer. "You can get burned out doing the same thing over and over by yourself," he said. "When you have someone else in the truck, you can establish a rapport with them." He isn’t able to connect with all drivers, but he still tries his best to teach them what he can and congratulates them at the end of the program.
"Some guys I’m still able to keep in touch with. I have a handful of trainees I still call on a regular basis and they still call me." Davis said with a sense of pride that he also knows of two of his trainees that became trainers after completing the program. During their time with him, they saw that it’s not as scary as it seems and that they can do this too.

Davis said that no matter how many years of experience a driver has, he should always realize that there is more to learn. "I learn something new every day," he said. "I’m not perfect, I make my own mistakes, but I try to do the best I can and look out for the company because I feel like they’re looking out for me."  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

March Safety Awards

Congratulations to the following drivers for earning Safety Awards during the month of
March 2014:

3,600,000 Miles Award
William G. Ford

1,600,000 Miles Award
William M. Steffey

500,000 Miles Award
James D. Shelley
Glenda I. Willis

400,000 Miles Award
Paul D. Adams
Jose A. Ruiz
Regeil O. Staples

300,000 Miles Award
William M. Logsdon
Angela L. Wood

200,000 Miles Award
John L. Broyles
Pink T. Chambers
Norman O. Cosden
Lambrecht J. Evers
Paul A. Fafard
Danny L. Smith, Jr.
Dexter Wingate, Jr.

100,000 Miles Award
Moses O. Beachy
Kenneth L. Cash
Bennie R. Coots
Daryl W. Creamer
Robert M. Davis
Melvin Dembo, Jr.
Michael E. Dennis
Charles L. Edwards
Rodney J. Gillespie
Javier A. Gonzalez
Ricky A. Hall
Leroy G. Lawrence
Kenneth R. Maxwell
Shelbert M. Merrick
Michael R. Otten
Curtis W. Popejoy, Sr.
Jessie J. Pressley
Lee R. Roberts
Troy L. Sealy
Billy J. Taylor
Barry J. Wachter
Nicholes W. Ward

Monday, March 31, 2014

Easing Tax Time Jitters with Often-Overlooked Deductions

by Dennis Bridges, CPA, eTruckerTax

As a long-haul driver, you’ve already got enough on your mind: getting the load delivered on time, saving money to pay for that transmission overhaul, and now keeping up with when you have to “take a nap.” As if that’s not enough, now it’s tax time!

Did you pay enough in estimated payments? Do you remember which box is for those repair receipts? Will you spend the rest of 2014—and maybe longer—paying your tax bill for 2013?

Whether you normally owe the IRS at tax time or you hope for a nice little refund to pay for some work on your pickup truck, there are ways to amp up your trucking deductions without throwing up red flags everywhere. You know all the obvious deductions: fuel, repairs, tires, permits—stuff like that.

The fun during tax time is finding ways to pad your wallet with perfectly legal, but often overlooked
deductions for your business—expenses that you either forgot about or didn’t even realize were
deductible. So let’s get down to business!

Here are six of the most overlooked deductions that we see whenever tax time rolls around:
  • Supplies. Whether purchased at home or on the road, everything from tarps and tie downs to logbooks and linens are considered supplies. If you don’t have receipts, at least write it down in your logbook.
  • Mileage at home. Work-related miles you drive to buy supplies, check on parts or repairs, etc., as well as work-related miles driven by your spouse or dependent for supplies or any other work-related miles, are tax deductible.
  • Road Expenses. These are often paid with cash. Again, if no receipt, write them in your logbook.
    • Hotels
    • Truck Supplies
    • Laundry
    • Weigh fees/scales
    • Parking
    • Prepass
    • Showers
    • Rental Car
    • Tolls
    • Airfare
  • Business Furnishings. This includes furnishings both in your sleeper or at home:
    • File Cabinets
    • Desk
    • Furniture
    • Chairs
    • Technology (laptop, phone, etc.)
  • Fuel. Every driver has fuel expenses. It’s the single largest expense for every owner operator. Yet, one out of two drivers understates their fuel expense simply because of lost receipts. If you have at least three consecutive months of consistent usage, the IRS will allow some breaks in recordkeeping.
  • Repairs. Probably the second most understated expense. This should include the following–again, whether purchased on the road or at home:
    • Parts
    • Washes
    • Maintenance
    • Tires

A simple system can help you capture all your expenses whether paid by check, cash, credit card, or
comcheck. Even a minor improvement can easily cut your tax bill by thousands of dollars, year after year.

This question may be worth at least $1,000 to you: What expenses are you paying by cash on a weekly or monthly basis that you are not claiming at all?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Employees with anniversary dates in March

Shelia Brown 10
Juan Castro 13
Cassandra Coker 11
Talina Cruz 7
Greg Cunningham 15
Samuel Echols 14
Dennis Grugett 17
Larry Harvell 7
Kimberly Kimbro 18
Brooks Long 20
Chelsie McCustion 9
Danny McElya 27
Michael Mills 22
Michelle Morris 12
Lynne Ochoa 14
John Poynor 9
Dennis Pryor 27
Donna Ravellette 15
part time
David Robert 25
Lisa Robertson 9
Daniel Sanders 5
Maria Turner 10
Melanie Waller 16
Gary Walters 6
Stacey Yarbrough 11
Spencer Baldwin 1
part time
Rex Bradley 1
Andrew Butler 1
Grant Clark 1
Jake Cokely 1
Sophia Conrad 1
Walter Costilow 3
Daryl Creamer 1
Charles Farrington II 3
Orlando Guevara 3
Clarence Hall 2
Paul Hamill 3
Francisco Hernandez 4
Nicholas Hite 1
Karl Houston 1
Samantha Holler 4
Christopher Kendall 1
part time
Weldon King 4
Gerlad Lawson 1
Christopher Mannoia 2
Tisha Morris 3
part time
Dana Morrison 1
Sabrina Mott 3
Kimberly Osbron 3
part time
Christopher Peck 1
Ernest Reasons II 1
Lee Roberts 1
Douglas Rowe 3
Lee Ryon 1
Thomas Sawyers 1
part time
Scott Schmucker 1
Alan Sherman 1
James Sistrunk 4
William Streb Jr 1

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Fuel Bonus Structure

PTL is pleased to announce our new Fuel Bonus Program structure effective April 1, 2014:

To qualify, a driver must:
1.    Driver must have an Out of Route % of 10% or less.
2.    Driver must have at least 24,000 paid miles.
3.    Driver must have NO accidents and NO service failures.
4.    Driver must be employed with PTL the day the bonus is paid to receive the bonus

How it works:
If you achieve an MPG of 6 or above you will be paid per mile based upon the schedule below:

MPG                          Bonus             

6-6.49                        $.005/paid mile
6.5 - 6.99                   $.01/paid mile
7+                              $.02/paid mile

If you have any questions about the program, please contact PTL’s Fuel Efficiency
Department at (800) 626-3374 Ext 712, 714, or 272.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Profiles of Success - Gerald Benton

We continue our “Profiles of Success” series this month with Gerald Benton in 16232. Gerald is the epitome of the PTL success story. He began as a trainee, became a solo driver and is now a trainer.

Benton has prior military experience. After leaving the Air Force, he decided to use the GI Bill to obtain his CDL. Accustomed to being away from home, he thought trucking would be a good opportunity and provide a good paying career. His family was used to him being away in the military, so he had support from home in his decision.

Benton chose PTL for a couple of different reasons. “The company allowed me to come in without a lot of verifiable experience. They took a chance on me and allowed me to come in.” He said that he sees a lot of PTL trucks on the road, and that means something to him. “I can grow with this company, and a lot of companies didn’t offer that.”

After completing the training program, Benton drove solo. He began thinking about growth opportunities at PTL and decided to become a trainer. He enjoys working with people and thought he would be good at teaching. “I saw how other trainers did it, and thought that I could relate better to the trainees than many of them because I came through the training program.” Benton felt he could break down directions better where trainees could understand them. He tries to give directions calmly, without yelling and keep the trainees calm in tense situations. He also tries to make it fun to learn. “It’s not like the military at all with me.”

Benton said that he keeps in touch with all of his trainees. He has also met newer drivers out over the road, and has created a relationship with them as well. “Even if they aren’t my trainees, they are free to call me when they need help.” He has also started a trainer network. “I keep in touch with other trainers and we feed off each other and help each other become better trainers.” They talk about better ways to teach the trainees and try to work through problems together.

Benton says he enjoys PTL because his efforts here do not go unnoticed. He says that the company treats him well. “Every company has issues, but issues here are solved quickly and there are always answers for you. They don’t leave you out to dry—they help you.”