What Students in Dispatcher Schools Should Know About Deadhead

dispatch schools

So many foods and products we use in our everyday lives get to us by way of trucks. Dispatchers are an important part of the transport operations industry that delivers us those products. The professionals in this role keep goods moving from place to place in all kinds of transport trucks and trailers. Among the many different positions available in this industry, trained and experienced people who can fill dispatcher positions are in demand.   

Deadhead or “empty miles” is a trucking term referring to a situation in which a truck driver has to drive an empty trailer. Because deadheading is wasteful in terms of time, money, and fuel, it is important for dispatchers to know how to manage it. While some deadhead is unavoidable, it can be controlled.

As a dispatcher, there are few things to know about deadhead that will help you understand how to approach this situation on the job.

Who Pays for the Deadhead?

While there are rules for whether or not deadheading, or “empty mile charges,” can be taxed, there are no regulations in place for companies to follow in terms of pay rates for deadhead. Some companies have policies that pay for deadheading after a certain number of miles. If a driver works for a company it is likely they will still get paid for deadhead mileage, but owner-operators often have to negotiate these terms with clients to figure out if the deadhead rate is worthwhile.

For anyone considering dispatch schools, learning about the ways this situation plays out for the truck drivers will give you ideas about how to improve the conditions of deadheading. By learning how to minimize deadhead, you will help keep truckers paid properly for their hard work.

Deadhead Has its Limits

It’s obvious and almost always true: the more you haul, the more you get paid. This is why deadheading might be unappealing to truck drivers in general. Some independent truckers may consider taking a low-paying load just to avoid it, although most will not. Similarly, companies also don’t want to be shelling out for too many empty miles.

Dispatchers help get drivers from point A to B while minimizing deadhead

Dispatchers help get drivers from point A to B while minimizing deadhead

The ideal situation is to set up loads for trucks in a way that minimizes deadhead as much as possible. Experience in dispatcher schools will prepare you to do this. One key element to deadhead reduction is to know your dispatch areas like the back of your hand. On some highway routes, the loads to and from certain locations may not change much and on others it will change season to season.

Reduce Danger for Truck Drivers After Your Dispatch Course

An empty trailer may seem like a matter of dollars and cents, but there are also safety concerns. The weight of a truck hauling an empty trailer can be as low as half as much as a full one. For example, weather forces like strong winds can cause serious risks for trucking deadhead. The other potential dangers of deadheading include more difficulty in controlling the trailer and the possibility that it will flip open.

Empty trailers can be more difficult to control in windy conditions

Empty trailers can be more difficult to control in windy conditions

After you complete a dispatch course or two, you will have a full tank of ideas on how you will fit into the transport industry. Dispatchers help keep the roads safe and work with carriers to keep their trucks full to reduce the instances of dangerous deadhead routes for truck drivers.

Ready to learn more about dispatcher schools?

Automotive Training Centres has you covered.

Categories: ATC News, Dispatch, Dispatching & Transportation Operations, Dispatching & Transportation Operations, Surrey
Tags: Dispatch course, dispatch schools, Dispatcher schools

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