Rider Programs - Should You Bring Kids Along?
Being away from your family working for long periods of time is tough, so many long-haul drivers choose companies that allow them to bring riders on the road with them. Most companies only allow immediate family members to ride around on the open road, and some companies don't allow children at all. Drivers may be forced to pay hundreds of dollars each month in extra insurance for the privilege of taking their family on the road with them.
There are lots of great reasons to take your kids on the road with you. You won't have to miss them while you're gone and they get to see many new places that they wouldn't normally have the opportunity to visit. Spending long hours in the truck together gives you plenty of time to talk to your kids and learn more about their personalities and the things that fascinate them. You may even be able to visit a tourist attraction or two while you are stopped for the weekend.
Kids get bored easily and keeping them entertained on the road is one of the biggest challenges facing parents who bring their kids with them in their truck. Another challenge is that your kids may have to go to the bathroom more often than you do and finding a place to stop that will accommodate your big rig is often difficult. Driving in heavy traffic is stressful, and having kids along usually compounds the stress, especially if they become agitated and start whining while you are fighting traffic or trying to find an address.
Most companies allow their drivers to have their spouse ride with them as long as the spouse does not have a CDL. Some companies charge a fee for insurance, but most consider their rider policy to be part of their employee benefits package. It is important for every driver who wants to take their kids on the road with them to talk to the companies they are applying to immediately about their rider policy. Some companies allow riders immediately, while others require the driver to be employed with them for at least three consecutive months before they are allowed to have another person in the truck with them. It is imperative that drivers follow the rider policy set by their company because most companies will immediately terminate drivers who are found to be in violation of their rider policy.
Shaffer Trucking from Lincoln, NE employs drivers in all 48 of the continuous United States. They have one of the most liberal rider policies in the industry, allowing one child, step-child, grandchild or foster child aged four or younger to ride along as long as the driver's non-driving spouse is also in the truck. One child aged five through 18 may accompany their parent or grandparent whether or not a non-driving spouse is in the truck. They do not charge the driver for extra insurance to cover their rider. You should check with your company or any potential companies you plan on working for details on their rider policies.
It is important to note that many shippers don't allow anyone except the driver to be on their premises while loading or unloading is taking place, so riders may be required to wait outside a gate until the loading or unloading process is complete.