What to Know About Prescription Meds and Trucking

Safety is an essential consideration for any driver, and even more so for those who drive professionally. The trucking industry takes safety seriously and truckers have to follow various regulations as part of this commitment. One such requirement is being drug-free. It should go without saying that driving under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol is dangerous. In addition, some prescription medications can make driving unsafe, and thus are prohibited for truckers. It’s important for drivers to be aware of the regulations related to prescription meds and trucking.

Prohibited Prescription Meds for Truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry, including outlining requirements for drug testing.

Per their regulations, a person is unqualified to drive commercially if they take:

  • A controlled substance or prescription medication without a valid prescription from a licensed medical practitioner
  • Using a drug identified in 21 CFR 1308.11 (391.42(b)(12)) (a list of Schedule I drugs), even with a prescription

The reason that even some legally prescribed drugs are prohibited for drivers is that these medications can interfere with a person’s ability to drive safely. Many of the medications on this list have warning labels stating that a person should use caution when driving, so it makes sense that a commercial driver should not use them.

Are There Any Exceptions?

Depending on the medication, it may be possible for truckers to get an exemption. In order to do this, the prescribing physician must certify in writing that taking this medication does not impact your ability to safely drive. It’s important to note that certain types of medication cannot be used under any circumstances while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

As a trucker, you have an important duty to keep yourself and others on the road safe. It’s essential to talk to your doctor and your trucking company’s safety team about any prescription medications before you get behind the wheel. If your doctor prescribes a new medication, be sure to let your company know right away.

Drug Testing and DOT Physicals

If you test positive for a controlled prescription medication on a Department of Transportation (DOT) drug testing panel, it will trigger a review of your medications. A Medical Review Officer (MRO) will give you specific instructions and will reach out to your doctor for more information. In order to protect your license, it’s important to cooperate with this process.

Keep in mind that if the medications are not cleared by your doctor, this will go on your record as a failed drug test and will have serious consequences for your career. Again, the best time to address prescription medications is prior to performing safety-sensitive duties, not once you have to take a drug test.

During your required Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, the physician will also conduct a review of any prescription drugs you are taking. If there are any controlled substances on the list, they will conduct a more thorough review before you can be cleared to drive.

Start Your Trucking Career

If you are a safe driver and are ready to hit the road, DSW is currently hiring for regional and over-the-road (OTR) routes. We are a safety-conscious employer and our management is made up of former drivers who understand the support you need as a trucker. We help you get miles, get paid, and get home regularly.

To learn more about our open positions, contact us today.

The Importance of a Safety-Conscious Trucking Company

Truck drivers have an essential job that keeps our nation’s economy moving forward. They also have a key responsibility to put safety first. As a driver, choosing to work with a safety-conscious trucking company makes it easier for you to ensure you have the tools and support you need to achieve this goal.

The Roles Drivers and Motor Carriers Play in Safety

Ultimately, you are responsible for your own driving. When you become a trucker, you are committed to prioritizing safety. This means not driving while impaired, taking rest when you need it, keeping your truck in good working order, and following all regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Failing to do so can result in disciplinary action, loss of your commercial driver’s license (CDL), fines, and other consequences, not to mention the risk of an accident.

In addition to these day-to-day tasks that fall on the driver, each motor carrier must ensure the company as a whole is compliant. Companies face consequences from the FMCSA if they fail to follow the necessary regulations.

How Drivers Benefit From Working With a Safety-Conscious Company

While drivers are ultimately responsible for their own actions behind the wheel, having a supportive company can make this easier. For example, if you find a problem with your truck during a pre-trip inspection, a support company that cares about safety will help you address it right away. Although there are options if you notice a safety issue that you feel your motor carrier isn’t addressing, it makes your life easier if they are as focused on staying safe as you are.

How To Find a Trucking Company

When you’re considering which trucking company to work for, ask potential employers about their safety policies and how they support drivers. This also helps demonstrate that you are serious about safety, which can make you a more attractive applicant.

In addition to asking the company directly, talk to other drivers. It’s worth noting that you should take these opinions with a grain of salt, as everyone has a unique experience. However, you may notice a pattern of specific positive or negative feedback. If you have concerns about certain safety issues you hear about from multiple sources, it may be worth bringing up to your recruiter.

DSW Supports Our Drivers

At DSW, we understand the importance of safety. Our management is made up of former truckers and we work hard to support our drivers in reaching their goals. This includes a strong focus on safety, as well as competitive pay, benefits, and home time policies. We know our drivers by name, not by truck number.

If you’re interested in working for a safety-conscious trucking company, contact us today.

Getting Better Sleep as a Team Trucker

Sleep is essential to your health, and getting enough rest is also an important safety consideration for truckers. There are some unique challenges that make it harder to get good-quality sleep in a semi-truck, but luckily, there are also tips that can make this easier. We’ve already shared some general trucker sleep advice in our blog “Tips for Sleeping in a Semi-Truck.” However, many of these recommendations are more suited to solo drivers. Team truckers can also take steps to improve their sleep, but since the truck is generally moving while they rest, there are additional factors to keep in mind.

Here are some tips team truckers can use to get more and better sleep:

1. Minimize Movement

One of the factors that can make sleeping as a team trucker more difficult is the movement of the truck. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help minimize the effects of abrupt movements. The top bunk in a sleeper berth will usually move around more while the truck is in motion. When possible, sleep on the lower bunk instead to minimize movement and help improve your sleep. You can also use a long body pillow to help stabilize your position in the bed, even as the truck moves. Additionally, getting a foam memory mattress can reduce movement compared to a mattress with springs.

2. Find Ways to Block Light and Noise

Exposure to light and loud noises makes it more difficult to sleep. Of course, it’s not typically possible to eliminate light and noise in a moving semi-truck. However, there are options to improve your experience. A sleep mask can help you block light, even if you’re sleeping during the day. For noise, try noise-canceling headphones with either white noise or music, or a pair of earplugs.

3. Drive With Someone You Trust

This tip may not be possible for everyone. However, if you do know another commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, driving with them may be easier than driving with someone you don’t know. You can choose someone you already trust and get along with. This has a positive effect on sleep because with team driving, you will typically sleep while your partner drives. If you know that the truck is in good hands, it’s easier to rest than if you’re worried about getting miles effectively, or worse, if you’re worried about your safety.

If you’re driving with someone you didn’t know before, you can still build trust to make it easier to sleep while they’re driving. Make sure that they respect your need for rest by keeping the noise down while they drive, and extend the same courtesy to them. If you have any concerns, try to communicate them openly. Neither you nor your driving partner has complete control over the amount of movement and noise on the road, but there are still steps you both can take to make things a bit easier.

Drive With A Partner or Solo at DSW

Whether you have a team driving partner in mind, want to be matched with someone, or prefer trucking solo, DSW has open positions for you. We are a family-owned trucking company and know our drivers by name, not by truck number.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you get miles, get paid, and get home regularly.

Signs You Should Become a Driver Mentor

Trucking gives you the opportunity to have a rewarding career in an essential industry. As you gain more experience as a driver, you may have the chance to pursue advancement and continue to shape your career to your preferences. One such opportunity is becoming a driver mentor, which may also be called a driver trainer depending on the company. This allows you to use your skills to help new drivers who are just getting started in trucking, while also increasing your pay in many cases.

Here are some signs that you should consider becoming a driver mentor:

1. You’re An Experienced Trucker

Since driver mentors are responsible for supporting and training rookies, it’s important that you have the experience and skills necessary to handle this job. Different companies have different requirements for the specific length of time behind the wheel before you can become a trainer. In addition to looking at the length of your time in trucking, it’s also important to be honest with yourself about your relative experience. If you aren’t confident in your trucking ability, it’s worth taking some more time before considering a mentorship opportunity.

Some qualities experienced drivers should have include:

  • You can drive safely in all conditions. Consider whether you are confident that you can handle city streets, busy traffic, rain, snow, high winds, night driving, mountainous terrain, and other less-than-ideal driving circumstances. In addition, experienced drivers are aware of their limits and know when conditions are too extreme for safe travel.
  • You fully understand hours of service (HOS) regulations and are able to manage your time without violations.
  • You have experience with trip planning and are able to make your deliveries on time. If unexpected circumstances arise, you have a plan for how to handle them and/or can think on your feet to find a solution.
  • Even if things are difficult, you are able to stay calm. This doesn’t mean you have to be a robot with no reactions, but you are able to manage your stress and drive safely even if you are frustrated.
  • You no longer feel stressed about backing into loading docks or parking spots. The skills that felt daunting in trucking school or when you were a rookie are no longer as intimidating.
  • You understand the social side of trucking and are able to communicate effectively with dispatchers, supervisors, loading dock staff, and others you may encounter.

2. You Don’t Mind Sharing Your Truck

As a driver mentor, you’ll go out on the road with a new driver. During part of the training, you’ll be actively supervising their driving and after a certain point, you’ll be trucking as a team. If the idea of sharing your space is uncomfortable, mentorship may not be the best path for you. On the other hand, if you don’t mind the idea of having someone else on your truck and, eventually, driving while you sleep, then training a new driver could work for you.

3. You Enjoy the Idea of Mentoring

It should be fairly self-explanatory that a driver mentor job involves mentoring a new driver. Even if you have a lot of experience and don’t mind team driving, you won’t likely be successful in this role if you don’t like the thought of training someone. Your trainee will expect you to help them and treat them with respect. They are likely going to make mistakes and struggle as they learn, and the best mentors are able to address any issues calmly while still giving trainees valuable information and feedback.

What If Mentorship Isn’t For You?

If you are an experienced trucker but don’t want to be a trainer, there are still opportunities for advancement and higher pay. It’s important to make sure you are truly interested in a training role before pursuing mentorship. The good news is that there are multiple opportunities for growth in trucking and you can find one that matches your unique skills and preferences.

Become a Driver Mentor at DSW

At DSW, we are currently hiring experienced drivers and have a mentorship program you can participate in if you are interested. We also hire new truckers. At every stage of your career, DSW works as hard for you as you work for us.

Contact us today to learn more about our available truck driving jobs.

What Happens If You Get a Speeding Ticket in a Semi-Truck

Receiving a traffic ticket of any kind is not a fun experience. However, getting a speeding ticket in a semi-truck differs from the average violation. Drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) face more serious consequences to their career and the status of their driving privileges. If you are a CDL holder, it is critical to know the basics of speeding violations for commercial drivers.

CDL Speeding Violations vs Personal Vehicle

Speeding Ticket in a Commercial Motor Vehicle

Receiving a speeding ticket in a semi-truck is more serious than a speeding ticket for a regular driver. Each state imposes specific penalties for speeding violations. In Arizona, you can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. Commercial drivers also face fines of up to $2,500, six months of jail time, and points against their CDL if they are convicted of a traffic infraction. 

Speeding Ticket in a Personal Vehicle

Speeding in a personal vehicle is less serious, but it can still affect your CDL. Any traffic violation that results in the revocation of personal driving privileges will revoke commercial driving privileges as well. 

Consequences of Getting a Speeding Ticket as a Trucker

Accumulating points on your CDL from traffic violations and speeding tickets can have serious consequences, including points on your CDL, revocation of your license, and possible employment termination.

The severity of the consequences depend on the severity of the speeding incident and any other circumstances. However, it’s important to keep in mind that, considering the large size of semi-trucks, any speeding has the potential to cause a serious accident. Trucking companies take safety seriously and as a driver, you should too. 


Earning multiple tickets as a truck driver compounds the consequences. Receiving two or more serious violations within three years leads to revocation for 60 days, and a subsequent violation within that same period will earn you a 120-day revocation.

Possible Employment Termination

A conviction for a speeding ticket directly affects your employment status. Your employer has the right to take action against you after any traffic violations regardless of how many points it adds to your driving record. When you get a license disqualification, you can be put on probation or terminated. It is also likely that you will not make it past the recruitment phase with other companies once they receive a copy of your driving record. 

Drive Your Future Forward With DSW

Whether you’ve just passed your CDL skills and written exams or you already have truck driving experience, DSW is the best choice for your career growth. We are committed to providing our drivers with quality equipment, strong miles, competitive pay, and a stable career.

Contact us today for more information about our openings for over-the-road drivers.


Trucking Navigation Tips for New Drivers

As a commercial truck driver, a large portion of your work day is spent on the open road, transporting your cargo to its destination on time. Navigation is a key skill for truckers, taking time and practice to learn the basics. This skill will improve with experience on the road, but for new drivers, there are several steps you can take to help enhance your navigation abilities.

Follow these four trucking navigation tips for new drivers:

1. Make Sure Your Navigation Device is Truck-Specific

A good, truck-specific GPS is a necessity in the trucking industry. This type of GPS does everything a regular device does and more. These navigation systems allow you to input your truck height and weight to reference against bridge restrictions on your route, ensuring that you avoid any issues. It also makes rest areas and truck parking information readily available. This technology optimizes navigation to give you shorter routes, fewer accidents, and improved compliance. 

2. Download Truck Routing Apps

Truck routing apps are another reliable method of navigation. These apps are made specifically for truck drivers and work like a GPS with added features. They provide up-to-date information on road closures and construction, truck stops, fuel prices, repair shops, hotels, vehicle washes, and weigh stations, as well as customized trip planning and searches that work without cell service. Some apps also include voice-guided directions with street name pronunciation. There are a variety of truck routing apps available, each with unique features, so do some research to find one that best suits your preferences.

3. Use a Road Map or Atlas as a Backup

While a GPS and routing app are excellent tools, they also come with the possibility of malfunctions. If you solely rely on them to get you to your destination, you may get lost if they stop working while you’re on the road. Knowing how to read a map is another navigational tool that is essential during times when you can’t depend on digital navigation systems. As a new trucker, invest in a quality road atlas. An atlas supplies you with road directories, state access policies, weight and size limits, on-the-road directories, and much more.

4. Learn to Stay Alert

As a new truck driver, your body will get tired from the long hours you spend on the road. Even with a GPS, app, and road map, you will not effectively navigate your routes if you do not stay alert. Lack of sleep can affect your coordination, judgment, and reaction time while driving, leading to navigation mistakes or even causing you to get into an accident. To keep yourself awake and alert, stick to a consistent sleep schedule, stay hydrated, and consume caffeine sparingly. It is also crucial to listen to your body and take a break when needed.

Navigate Life as a Trucker

If you have passed your commercial driver’s license (CDL) exams and are ready to start navigating life as a trucker, drive with DSW, Tucson’s largest family-owned trucking company. We emphasize the importance of home time, allow you to bring a companion on the road, and offer competitive pay and healthcare benefits

Start your truck driving career by applying to DSW today.

How Driving in a Personal Vehicle Affects Your CDL

After you come home from a haul, there’s a good chance you’ll be driving your personal vehicle for one reason or another. Whether you’re driving your kids around, going out to meet your friends, or simply running errands, your actions have the potential to affect your commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Although you do not have to follow all the same regulations you do when driving a commercial vehicle, you do still have a responsibility to drive safely, as does everyone on the road. Additionally, certain types of traffic violations or offenses can result in a license suspension or even disqualify you from holding a CDL.

CDL Suspensions and Disqualifications

Having two serious traffic violations in three years will result in your CDL being revoked for 60 days. Three serious violations in this amount of time will result in a revocation of 120 days. For the most part, the revocation only applies when these violations are committed while driving a commercial vehicle. However, some states have different moving violations that could qualify, even if you are in a personal vehicle.

Additionally, some offenses will result in a CDL suspension or disqualification whether you are in a commercial or personal motor vehicle. One of these is driving under the influence (DUI). A first-offense DUI will result in a CDL suspension of one year, and any subsequent offenses will result in a lifetime disqualification. Other serious offenses that fall under this category include unlawfully refusing a DUI test, leaving the scene of an accident, or using your vehicle to commit a felony.

State License Suspension

Many states have a demerit system, which assigns a certain number of “points” to any traffic violations. Even if an incident does not meet the qualifications to affect your CDL directly, your personal and commercial driving privileges could still be suspended.

Any citations you get will remain on your motor vehicle record (MVR) for seven years. Trucking companies are required to check your MVR before hiring you and to continue to check it regularly during your employment. This means that even if your license is not suspended due to traffic violations, they will appear on your MVR and could affect your employment depending on the specific policy at your current or future employer.

Most motor carriers have a policy in place requiring you to report any citations or accidents to them, even if these occur in your personal vehicle outside of the scope of your work. It’s important that you know and follow this policy at all times to avoid any issues. Additionally, never lie on applications for new trucking jobs. If your MVR does not match what you report on your application or during your interview, you likely will not get the job.

We Are Hiring Safe Drivers

If you are a safer driver with a CDL, DSW is currently hiring for regional and over-the-road routes. We offer competitive pay, excellent benefits, and the best home time around.

Contact us today to learn more about our available truck driving jobs based in Tucson.

Balancing Freedom and Responsibility in Trucking

One of the biggest motivating factors to join the trucking industry is the sense of freedom it provides: the freedom of the open road, the absence of a boss looking over your shoulder, and the ability to manage your daily schedule. However, there is also a great deal of responsibility in trucking. The best truckers can balance freedom and responsibility to set themselves up for success.

Being Your Own Boss

Owner-operators are truckers that own their semi-trucks and run their own trucking businesses. These drivers are their own bosses in a more traditional sense. However, even company drivers who are technically employees have more similarities with business owners than many other types of workers.

Although truckers typically have supervisors and other individuals they report to, they are in charge of their daily schedule within reason. You’ll be told where/when to pick the freight up and where/when to drop it off, and it’s up to you to get between these two points on time while following hours of service (HOS) regulations. Since long-haul drivers are paid per mile, this also means that you can determine how much you earn.

On the flip side, you are ultimately responsible for making each delivery safely and on time. If you can’t manage your time efficiently, you’ll develop a poor reputation and will earn less over time. If you are consistent, however, you have the opportunity to get more miles and take home more pay.

Safety on the Open Road

Trucking is a lifestyle as much as it is a career. Being an over-the-road trucker often involves waking up in a new place every day and seeing the country from the cab of a semi-truck. People who are interested in a unique and adventurous lifestyle are often drawn to the industry for this reason. Plus, the vehicles have their own appeal. Big trucks, for many people, are just plain cool.

However, as adventurous as trucking can be, it is still a career and not just a vacation. Additionally, while semi-trucks can be cool and exciting, they’re also massive vehicles that take skill and care to operate safely.

This is where balance comes into play again. It’s important to recognize that every time you are behind the wheel, you have a responsibility to yourself, your company, and everyone on the road to be safe. This includes resting regularly so you don’t suffer from fatigue, staying calm even when other drivers frustrate you, driving defensively, and inspecting your vehicle. It’s not always easy to keep up with all of this, especially when you may see four-wheelers neglecting their responsibility to stay safe, but it is essential.

Drive With the Best

Working with a great motor carrier can help you strike the perfect balance between freedom and responsibility in trucking. At DSW, our management is made up of former drivers that know what life on the open road is like. We will work as hard for you as you do for us.

Contact us today to learn how you can get miles, get paid, and get home regularly with DSW.

What to Do If You’re Pulled Over as a Trucker

Seeing a cop car pull up behind you is never a fun experience. However, it’s important to be prepared for what to do if you are pulled over. For truckers, this is even more essential since there are additional regulations you will need to follow.

Here are some tips for what to do if you’re pulled over as a trucker:

1. Keep Your Documents Organized

This is a preventative step that you should take before you are pulled over and it can help you avoid any issues. Make sure that all essential documents are organized and easily accessible from the front seat of your truck. Some documents to be aware of include your commercial driver’s license (CDL), Department of Transportation (DOT) physical certificate, and the bill of lading for your load.

While your essential documents should be easily accessible, you should wait to actually retrieve them until the law enforcement officer asks for you to do so.

2. Pull Over As Soon As You Can Safely Do So

Once you notice the law enforcement officer is pulling you over, you should move your vehicle to the side of the road as soon as you are able to do so safely. Keep in mind your safety and the safety of the officer when stopping, and also avoid impeding the flow of traffic. Due to the large size of semi-trucks, this can be more complicated. If there is an off-ramp or paved area, this is generally the best place to stop. Avoid stopping on a soft shoulder, because your vehicle may get stuck.

3. Keep Your Seatbelt On

Keep your seatbelt on even after you’ve stopped the vehicle. If the officer sees that you are not wearing it, they may give you a ticket. Having additional fines and violations on your record is never a good thing, and this simple step can help you avoid at least one possible issue.

4. Be Polite

This tip is the same whether you are pulled over in a semi-truck or a standard passenger vehicle. It’s important to be polite and courteous to the law enforcement officer throughout the stop. Even if you are annoyed at being stopped, stay calm and remember that the officer is just doing their job.

Avoiding Getting Pulled Over

While it’s helpful to know what to do if you are pulled over, it’s best to avoid this situation in the first place. You can do this by driving safely and following all traffic regulations. Maintain a safe speed and sufficient following distance, and keep up with your pre-trip inspections to avoid citations for mechanical issues.

Become a DSW Trucker

If you’re a safe driver and want to earn competitive pay and benefits, DSW is currently hiring. We have both regional and over-the-road (OTR) routes available.

To learn more about our available truck driving jobs based in Tucson, contact us today.

Tips for Preventing Cargo Theft

Semi-trucks moved 72.5% of freight in the United States in 2020 according to data from the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Simply put, trucks and their drivers keep our nation’s economy moving. Unfortunately, thieves are aware of this fact and target trucks for cargo theft. This is a serious issue and it’s important to be prepared and take steps to keep yourself and your freight safe.

Here are some tips truckers can use to prevent cargo theft:

1. Don’t Talk About Your Freight

At truck stops, you may end up chatting with your fellow truckers or other travelers you pass by. While there’s nothing wrong with swapping stories, be cautious about oversharing. In particular, never share details about the type of freight you are hauling or specifics about your route. The person you are talking to may not have the best intentions or, even if you trust this person, a thief could overhear and decide to target your truck.

2. Don’t Assume Your Cargo Won’t Be Targeted

Many people assume that high-value items or potentially dangerous hauls like hazardous materials would be the main targets for thieves. While organized thieves can often target these hauls and extra precautions are often necessary, any type of cargo can be a target. In fact, lower-value household goods are often more of a target because they can be sold easily. Opportunistic thieves may even steal cargo that seems too specialized to be valuable simply because the truck is vulnerable. With this in mind, it’s best to be too cautious versus not being cautious enough, regardless of the cargo you are hauling.

3. Avoid Stopping in Dangerous Areas

When you’re making your trip plan, it’s important to consider the safety of the areas where you are stopping for your breaks. Research the areas ahead of time so you can avoid parking for the night in an unsafe location, and always have a few back-ups so you don’t get caught in a situation where you aren’t sure where to park. This is not just important for preventing cargo theft, but also for the sake of your personal safety.

Additionally, avoid stopping within the first stretch after picking up a new load. Thieves sometimes “case” distribution centers and loading docks, and may be waiting for you to stop after a pick-up. If you ever feel unsafe or notice suspicious activity, notice the proper authorities.

4. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

At truck stops, fuel stations, or anywhere else you stop, pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid being on your phone while you are walking around and keep an eye on your truck any time you are away from it. This way you’ll be aware if someone is acting strangely. Again, this helps keep your cargo safe, but is also important for your own personal safety.

Now Hiring for OTR and Regional Trucking Jobs

At DSW, we care about our drivers and know you by name, not by truck number. If you are looking for an over-the-road (OTR) or regional trucking job based in Tucson, we are currently hiring.

Contact us today to learn more about our truck driving job openings.