Monday, April 21, 2014

Congratulations to These Drivers Drawn For 1st Quarter 2014 Fuel Bonus

16437
PAUL ADAMS
15939
JERRY ADEE
16546
DOUGLAS APATO
16199
DOLLINE BANKS
16554
STEPHEN BLACKWELL
16606
CLIFTON BOYD
19521
MICHAEL CARROLL
16279
EDWIN CARTER
16438
JUAN CASTRO
15999
PINK CHAMBERS
16065
RICHARD COOLEY
16018
JUAN DELOSREYES
19559
RANDY DILL
16027
BRUCE DONAHUE
16543
SAMUEL ECHOLS
16596
JEFFERY FISHER
16210
JOHN FOIT
16545
ALFRED FRANKLIN
16575
RHONDA GATES
16511
HAROLD GRIFFIN
16524
WILLIAM HARGROVE
16433
CARL KAHLEY
16568
DELL LANGLEY
16210
JAMES LASHLEY
16440
GUADALUPE MACIAS
16434
ANTHONY NEALY
15935
JEFFREY NEAL
19590
JAMES NORTON
16462
DANIEL PARKS
16135
CARRIE PROPER
19421
EDNA PRUDE
16453
LOYD REYNOLDS
16427
DENNIS SALISBURY
16449
DANIEL SANDERS
16584
TRAVIS SANDIFORD
16566
KIMBERLY STACY
16592
WILLIAM STEFFEY
15860
BILLY TAYLOR
16429
DAVID THOMPSON
16301
MARTIN TOLVER
19461
JOHN TONER
16306
SANTIAGO TREVINO
19467
HANS WEGER
16564
GLENDA WILLIS
16481
LARRY WILLIAMS
16452
JOSEPH WILKINS
16315
LINDA WINGLER
16474
ANGELA WOOD
19449
NEAL YOUNG
16588
CHARLES ZEIGLER

Friday, April 18, 2014

Battery Powered APUs

Speaking of Maintenance...
By David Graham, VP of Maintenance

PTL made a commitment several years ago to provide each of our drivers with a key-off cab comfort system commonly referred to as an APU.  We made this decision to become a more environmentally friendly company, provide life-style for our drivers, and to lower operating costs by lowering idle fuel burn and engine wear and tear. 

There are two major types of APUs in the market place, the diesel powered and the battery powered.  Our early experience was gained through the use of diesel powered APUs.  We have tried different brands, but the Thermo King TriPak proved to be our APU of choice.  During the first two years of operation, the unit is reliable and maintenance costs in the range of expectation.  However, once we move into the 27th month and older, the unit becomes more temperamental; experiences more down time; and maintenance cost soar.
 
Our success with installing the TriPak had been satisfactory, but if we could deliver close to the same results without the down time and maintenance cost, we might be able to better serve our drivers with key off energy savings.  While we have continued to monitor developments with all APUs brands, progress in reliability and technology over the last couple of years in the battery based systems led us to re-consider them as an alternative to the diesel powered units. 
 
We purchased our first battery powered APUs and installed them on the trucks 16600 and above.  In addition, we have included the battery systems on the next 200 trucks we will be taking delivery on beginning in August.  We will monitor both systems to determine which better serves the needs of our drivers and meets our cost expectations.
 
Inherently, there are some basic difference between the diesel units and the battery units.  The most obvious difference is the power source, one being a stand-alone small diesel engine, and the other powered by an auxiliary bank of 4 additional batteries.  Both are operated by controllers that monitor the bunk area temperature, state of battery charge, and engine coolant temperature.  Both will crank an engine when a pre-set parameter is reached.

In the case of the diesel powered unit, the small APU engine will crank to cool the cab or charge the batteries.  We have been disappointed with the engine coolant feature in that it is not keeping the engine as warn as we want.  That means we still encounter cold start conditions requiring outside help from a vendor to get the truck started on extremely cold morning.
 
The battery powered system draws all its power from the battery bank of 4 AGM batteries.

These batteries are used to power an electric air conditioning system.  When these batteries get weak or at a low state of charge, the controller will crank the truck engine and idle until the charge level of the batteries returns to an acceptable level.  The controller also monitors the coolant temperature of the engine and will automatically crank it when it becomes too cold. 

The heat in the system is provided by a diesel fired heater which heats the engine coolant.  The coolant is then circulated throughout the cab heater system and engine.  I am told the engine block should maintain a temperature of over 100 degrees when the coolant heater is working.  This means the cold starts we talked about earlier, should be a thing of the past.

There is one major difference between the two systems drivers will need to be aware of to get the most of out their APU air conditioner.  The BTUs (cooling capacity) of the diesel powered unit is greater than the battery based system.  The reason for this difference is power management.  The diesel engine will run as long as it has diesel fuel going to it.  With its extra power and BTUs, it has some ability to lower the bunk area temperature even with a key off situation. 
 
The battery based system is limited in BTU capacity because the batteries are limited to the amount of power they can hold.  Because they have a lower level of BTUs available, the electric APU will not lower the bunk area temperature.  However, it will maintain the temperature you came off the road with.  On the battery systems of just a couple of years ago, when you ran out of battery power, you ran out of air conditioning.  Since then, the technology has been added to automatically start the truck’s engine and recharge the batteries while you sleep.  Ideally, after a few days, you will not even realize the main engine has been cranked.

As we move forward with introduction of battery powered APUs, we want to know the problems you encounter with them.  We will also be watching main engine idle time to make sure it is doing its job to keep the batteries charged to an acceptable state of charge.  Finally we want to know what steps you are taking to manage the APU run time and control the bunk area temperature.  By giving us feedback, we can learn from your experiences and pass those on to other drivers that may not have figured out all the ins and outs of electric
APUs. 
 
Thanks for reading.  Our entire PTL Maintenance team wishes you a safe and maintenance free trip.

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.

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