Top Apps to Help CDL Drivers Stay in Touch with Family and Friends

In a previous post, Bay and Bay Transportation talked about how important it is for you to stay connected to loved ones while on the road. Whether in Minnesota or nationwide, it can be refreshing to catch up after a long day of driving. Remember the days when you had to wait until the next rest stop to use the pay phone? Lucky for us, there are now more ways to stay in touch than ever before.

Our previous earlier blog post gave you some ideas for different ways to reach out to friends and family. Here are the top methods we suggested:

  • Phone calls or video chats
  • Messaging and chat services
  • “Check-in” apps
  • Start your own blog
  • Email
  • Letters, cards, and postcards

Technology has become increasingly helpful for CDL drivers. Advances have improved their quality of life during travel with hands-free calling devices, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), updated safety equipment, fuel measurement, detailed mileage tracking, and so much more.

With smartphones and tablets becoming so popular, we at Bay and Bay, want to give you some ideas for apps that you would find beneficial while on the road. Many are free and all are definitely worth a look.

Finding Wi-Fi Hotspots

Why waste your data when you can easily locate FREE Wi-Fi wherever you go without having to connect to the internet? Wi-Finder for iOS or Android uses your phone’s GPS to locate hotspots near you. You can also filter search results by location type (e.g. hotel, café, restaurant, etc.). Osmino Wi-Fi is a similar app made specifically for Android. Both apps provide the option to display search results as a list or map.

Phone Calls

Several apps have been created that allow for free or very inexpensive calls to landlines and mobiles. Skype is one of the most well-known of these apps. Plans for unlimited landline and mobile calling in the US and Canada start from $2.99/mo. Mobile and landline calling using Google Voice is free within the US and Canada. Viber for iOS or Android costs about 1.9 cents a minute for mobile and landline phones, but Viber-to-Viber calls are free.

Video Calls

Sometimes it’s best to just talk with someone in-person. Unless they ride with you, friends and family are hard to talk to in-person, while in route. However, video calls are the next best thing. Skype, Google Hangouts, Facetime, and Viber all offer free video calling if both individuals use the app. They each offer group or conference calling, but the max number of callers varies depending on the app.

Messaging

Messaging and chat capabilities are available through Skype, Viber, Google Hangouts, and Facebook messenger for iOS or Android. Contacts+ is an electronic address book that keeps your contacts all in one place. It functions with text messaging, WhatsApp,  Facebook and Twitter, so you don’t have to launch each app individually. Other group chat apps to checkout are Telegram and Group Me. Make sure you only use messaging and chat once your rig has been safely parked.

Digital and “Real” Postcards

You won’t always have time for a phone or video call, and messaging can only explain things so far. You can use Instagram to send digital postcards of the many places you visit. You can also upload them to Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr. With Postagram, you can take pictures and then send them as real postcards. This app is free to download but may cost about a buck to mail, depending on how far you are mailing it.

Checking-in

Instead of calling at every stop to keep people updated on your trip, try out a “check-in” app. Swarm was created by Foursquare as a way to share your location with friends. Like photography? MoPho.to is another location-based app where you post a picture and then tag the picture using your location. If you’d rather only share your location with designated friends, try out Rally Up. This app also lets you post to Facebook and send group messages about your location.

Now that we’ve given you some ideas, try some out! Bay and Bay Transportation is a Minnesota-based commercial trucking company that values family, and wants you to stay connected to them while on the road. If you use any of these apps, please let us know how it works for you.

Oh, and we have one more app for you. If you’re not already a member of our team, find out how to get a hold of our app by calling us today at 1-888-801-3026 or emailing us at [email protected].

The Numbers Don’t Lie: It’s a Good Time to Start Your Career as a Truck Driver with Bay & Bay Transportation | Minneapolis, MN

On July 2nd, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest employment data which showed an increase of 223, 000 jobs in June. As usual, the health care and retail industries were two of the strongest contributors, but the transportation and warehousing industry also had a notable expansion in the number of jobs added to the economy. This means that trucking companies like Minneapolis-based Bay and Bay Transportation are currently looking for people who want to make their careers as truck drivers to fill newly created positions.

When looking at the numbers, it’s clear that the transportation industry is growing quickly. An article in TruckerNews stated that the trade, transportation and utilities sector added 49, 000 jobs in June, 7,400 of which were in the for-hire trucking industry alone. It was also noted that this is a new all-time high for employment in the industry, a total of 1.4585 million employees on a seasonally adjusted basis. According to the Wall Street Journal, the 7,400 new trucking jobs raise the past three-month total to 19,000 and, looking back over the past year, 43,000 jobs were added to the trucking industry since June 2014.

Let’s see how job growth in the transportation industry stacks up against other areas of the economy in the latest report:

  • Health Care: +40,000 jobs
  • Retail: +33,000 jobs
  • Financial: +20,000 jobs
  • Mining: -4000 jobs
  • Manufacturing: little to no change
  • Construction: little to no change
  • Government: little to no change

With thousands of new jobs in the last few months and the transportation industry widely acknowledged as a growing part of the national economy, it clear that it’s better than ever to start your career as a truck driver. And if you want to join a trucking company that is committed to customer satisfaction and investing in it’s employees, contact Bay & Bay Transportation today!

Attention Truck Drivers: Contain Your Cargo

Recently we examined the top 20 truck driver cargo securement violations which lead to commercial vehicles being placed out-of-service. Bay and Bay Transportation also challenged you to become a cargo securement superstar and post the top 20 list in the cab of your rig.

So…how did it go?

When you take the extra few minutes to look over the contents of your trailer, you reduce the amount of shifting, tipping, sliding, falling, and unnecessary crushing of trailer goods. Securing your cargo isn’t just about doing it by-the-book (although that’s part of it); it’s about being a professional.

Cargo that is not properly in place and tied down poses greater safety risks to those who unload trailers. It also increases distractions for you as a driver, and can hurt a transportation service’s reputation and safety ratings should they deliver damaged loads.

Let’s take a look at some pointers for containing your cargo:

  • Secure your other equipment, as well as your load. Items such as tarps, chains, spare tires, ratchets, etc. should be placed so that they do not shift around or fall while in route.
  • Use equipment that is in proper condition. Inspect your tie downs regularly for defects such as wear on synthetic webbing, and stripping on steel strapping or anchor points.
  • Check. And check again. Be diligent in ensuring that your load will not leak, fall, shift, spill, or otherwise create damage and instability for the vehicle. When in doubt, get a second opinion for how to transport unique shipments.
  • Do your research. Pick up a free copy of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association’s This outlines the minimum safety standards for safely carrying cargo.
  • Want to go the extra mile? Snag an easy to read handbook on cargo securement from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. It will run you around $35.

If you have some tips for how you pack your rig, let us know! Bay and Bay Transportation values safe, consistent, and quality transportation services for our customers. If you’re a cargo securement superstar, we want to hear from you. Contact us today to learn about our opportunities for professional growth in the transportation service industry.

How to Start Your Career in Truck Driving in Minneapolis with Bay & Bay Transportation

Some careers have a very clear path you must follow in order to qualify to do that job. To be a doctor, you have to go to college, attend medical school, and complete your residency. To be a teacher, you get a bachelor’s degree, apply for licensure, and have a year of student teaching. But how do you become a truck driver with a company like Bay & Bay Transportation? Here are the 5 steps you need to take in order to start your career in truck driving in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

1. Get Your GED or High School Diploma

While only some actually require a high school diploma, many trucking companies prefer that you have it. Also, a high school diploma or GED is the baseline level of education that will help you get a job in most industries. It’s in your best interest to finish your high school education.

2. Keep a Clean Driving Record

Before offering you a position, the transportation company will check your driving record for traffic violations. While having a parking ticket or two may not raise a red flag, several DUIs or crash reports could end your truck driving career before it starts. Having these items on your record makes you an insurance liability and unreliable hire. Many companies also participate in the Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program, which is an additional screening program sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation (DOT).

3. Get Your CDL

Because the vehicle is so much larger and heavier, truck driving is quite different from driving your car or pick-up truck. A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required to become a truck driver and is issued by the Minnesota state government. Getting your CDL can be a long process as it involves obtaining a learner’s permit, practicing behind the wheel with an instructor, plus passing knowledge and skills tests. Many people choose to go to a CDL driving school to get the proper training to receive their license

4. Pass the DOT Medical Exam

Driving a commercial truck is a surprisingly physical job. Being healthy is important for your safety as a truck driver and also to those on the road around you. If you are unable to physically control your vehicle, you can do serious harm to other motorists, which is why you must pass a physical exam conducted by a licensed medical examiner.

5. Apply for Jobs

Once you have your license and all your certifications in place, it’s time to apply for jobs. The easiest way to find open positions for truck driver is by checking transportation company websites or online job boards. Bay & Bay Transportation is looking to hire company drivers and owner-operators, and with an estimated shortage of 20,000 drivers per year, many companies are eager to hire new drivers.

After following these five steps, you will be well on your way to a rewarding career in truck driving. If you are interested in joining the team of truck drivers at Bay & Bay transportation, give a us a call at 888-801-3026 or visit our driver opportunities page.