A look at the benefits of team driving in the trucking world.
November 27, 2019
Team driving is a term that applies in the trucking industry when two people take turns driving a large truck to transport goods from one place to another. It often happens that the two people in this arrangement are husband and wife, but there’s certainly no requirement for it to be that way.
It probably happens that way more frequently because team driving means spending a great deal of time with the other driver, and it’s important to get along with the other person. There are many advantages that accrue to team drivers, especially economic advantages because team drivers will almost always make more money than solo drivers. This article will consider what it’s like to be a team driver, and why it would be beneficial to consider driving with another person most of the time.
What is team driving?
The advantage to the two partners involved in team driving is that with two drivers in a truck, one can always be driving while the other is taking a break. Not only does this keep the freight moving, but it also helps both drivers stay in compliance with FMCSA regulations regarding how long drivers can be on the job before taking a break.
All solo drivers partaking in these specialized hauling services would be required to make stops along the way in order to stay in compliance with these regulations before they can get behind the wheel and resume driving. Team driving completely resolves that issue, and both drivers would then be paid for their efforts. In most cases, the combined mileage driven by both operators is totaled up and split between them, and serves as the basis for their pay.
It often happens that carriers will agree to pay for the schooling necessary for drivers if they agree to operate as a team driver. It’s a big advantage to the carrier, and it’s an even bigger advantage to the team drivers, who can both usually earn double what they would as a solo driver. It’s not uncommon to see team drivers earning between $100,000 and $150,000 per year and even being given a $10,000 bonus just for signing on with the carrier.
Given these facts, you might think that everyone would want to be a team driver so that they could begin earning that very appealing annual salary. However, this is not the case, because spending that much time with another driver in the same truck is not the easiest thing in the world to do. In actual practice, it involves sharing a lot more than just space up in the truck.
Both drivers will have to agree on food breaks, relief breaks, radio station choices, and a whole lot of other factors that come up. The team driving partners will also have to be able to either share meaningful conversation or agree to avoid conversation most of the time. In essence, what’s at stake is compatibility between the two drivers, and this is often why husband and wife partners make the best team drivers.
What are the benefits of team driving?
As mentioned above, one of the biggest benefits of team driving is that you are eligible to earn much more money. You’ll also be given priority for the most attractive truckloads and the most worthwhile trucking runs, simply because when you have two people sharing the driving, you’ll be able to average more miles every day, and that means trips will be finished faster.
Accomplishing your trips in a faster time period is very beneficial for the carrier and they will even offer incentives to team drivers because of it. Another major benefit of team driving is that it’s much easier to comply with FMCSA hours of service regulations. Drivers can go on and off duty much easier with a partner right next to them, far fewer breaks are necessary, and they can be of shorter duration because there’s always a fresh driver in the truck cab.
With two fresh drivers in the truck, it’s always a lot easier to meet driving deadlines and make deliveries on time. Also, when you complete your trips faster, you will be available to pick up more loads and accumulate more miles, and of course more mileage means additional cash in your pocket. Since both drivers earn money even while the other person is driving, the net result is that you can make a whole lot more money than a solo driver would, especially when off-duty hours have to be factored in to stay in compliance with regulations.
Another advantage of team driving that you might not immediately think of involves being stuck in the cab with another person for all those hours. It might sound more like a disadvantage, and if two people are somewhat incompatible it can, of course, end up being a problem for both. However, if the two driving partners get along, it can be a major advantage to both, because it eliminates all the lonely hours of being a solo driver on the road.
Two drivers who are relatively friendly toward each other will always have someone to talk to and will also have someone who can help when adverse driving conditions pop up. In an emergency, it’s always nice to have another person nearby to help manage the situation. To overcome the uncertainty of matching up individuals as team drivers, some carriers use a process that seeks to match up individuals based on their common interests.
Are there any disadvantages to team driving?
Just as there are benefits to team driving, there are also some disadvantages that apply. Your partner may be someone that you don’t get along with all that well, which means there’s always the possibility of confrontations on any given trip. Whenever things like this happen, it will inevitably lead to a period of silence afterward, and that can negate some of the positive aspects of team driving.
It’s also possible that you will have to make additional stops to accommodate your partner, especially if their needs are out of sync with your own. You can’t simply ignore your partner when they are hungry or when they require a bathroom break, even if you aren’t interested in either one. Whenever two people are involved in a project together there’s always the possibility of a power struggle between them, wherein both seek to be the dominant player. In many cases, the person in charge is the one who is driving at the moment, but there is generally an undercurrent of striving to be in power and one driver might feel he/she is being taken advantage of.
One last disadvantage of team driving is that there are seldom times in the truck cab where it’s completely free of noise. That means when you’re ready to get some shut-eye, your partner may not be inclined to turn the radio off to help you doze off. This, of course, boils down to consideration compatibility. If you have a partner that you get along with well, they should extend that kind of consideration to you, so you can get the needed rest. On the other hand, while you are sleeping, it would pretty much prohibit your partner from making any noise, and for some drivers, that’s a problem. It all depends on the person you’re driving with.
Benefits of logistics and transportation management systems
One of the best examples of how a logistics and transportation management system can be beneficial to a carrier is the model that has been installed at Osage Specialized Transport, in Denver Colorado. The system completely coordinates, tracks, and adapts all logistical needs so they can be planned and monitored in a transportation management system.
In this model, there is always a dedicated internal dispatcher and logistics agent assigned to a client to ensure that freight is being handled expeditiously. From the time a load is picked up all the way until it’s delivered, all activities in between are managed and monitored by the logistics and transportation management system.
Most customers are extremely interested in tracking their loads, and a system like this can provide up-to-the-minute information on the whereabouts of any particular load. Since the system integrates with other processes very well, it provides an end-to-end solution that benefits the client and the carrier, since invoices can also be generated from the system.
It also provides access to several load boards, so that drivers can be kept on schedule and in compliance with all necessary regulations. This avoids the possibility of wasted runs and wasted time on the road. With a robust logistics and transportation management system in place, all roadway activities are completely monitored and supported, so that drivers, customers, and carriers can all benefit.