Viewing posts categorised under: Trucking Insurance

Should the DOT Impose a Speed Limit on Heavy Duty Trucks?

Posted on September 06, 2016

shutterstock_211095490 - 1920x750The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a proposal August 26, 2016 that would require commercial vehicles to be equipped with speed limiting devices (also known as speed limiters.) The new regulation would apply to trucks weighing more than 26,000 lbs.

The proposal does not include a specific speed to which trucks will be limited. The speed limits that have been suggested include 60, 65 and 68 mph; additional research and analysis needs to be completed before a decision is reached.

The proposal states that a standard will be set and each vehicle will have its device set to that speed limit when it is manufactured and sold. Every vehicle that qualifies under the ruling will be equipped with a device that will read the vehicle’s current speed setting as well as its past settings through its onboard diagnostic connection.

Interstate carriers who operate vehicles that meet the requirement will be required to maintain the speed limiting device for the life of the vehicle.

“Even small increases in speed have a large effect on the force of an impact. Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and environment” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.

According to the DOT, review of data indicates that limiting the speed of heavy vehicles reduces the severity of crashes and reduces fatalities and injuries. In addition to saving lives, the DOT maintains that implementing the speed-limiter devices could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year, making the proposed regulation a win for safety, reducing fuel costs for transportation companies as well as helping the environment.

Many carriers that are already using speed limiter devices voluntarily have experienced an increased level of on-road safety as well as fuel efficiency and equipment lifespan with little or no negativity to productivity.

The DOT is seeking public comment on the rule for 60 days following its official publication in the Federal Register. The DOT is seeking input on two issues:

  1. What should the speed limit for heavy-duty trucks be?
  2. Should the mandate apply to all trucks or only new trucks?

The DOT will use comments submitted by the trucking industry as well as other interested parties when developing the actual mandate. To learn more about trucking regulatory compliance, risk management, and coverages, contact us.

Exclusive New Jersey Intermodal Trucking Coverages Now Available

Posted on August 04, 2016

Intermodal freight transportation plays a crucial role in the safe and secure conveyance of goods around our country and the world. Trucking provides a key element in this process – transporting goods between points of origin/destination and the ports where the goods are transferred to cover distances. But operating as a freight carrier in this context presents its own set of risks and challenges. In light of this, IMCCA now offers an exclusive New Jersey intermodal drayage program with a number of great benefits. These include:

  • $1 million in limits for each policy
  • Trailer interchange limits up to $50,000
  • Commercial Auto Liability with $1 million in limits
  • General liability for trucking exposure as well as garage and warehouse exposure

Additionally, the program includes trained rapid response teams – comprised of legal professionals and engineers – available nationwide in the event of a significant claim. Customized coverage solutions allow local and intermediate motor carriers to obtain an optimum blend of coverages while controlling costs and accounting for specific regional and operational challenges. To learn more about how IMCCA can improve operations and reduce risk for intermodal drayage carriers, contact us.

Recent Horrific Crash Highlights Dramatic Increase in Transportation Settlement Costs

Posted on June 20, 2016

shutterstock_2826279sm - CopyYet another fatal and tragic trucking incident has brought into focus the staggering settlement costs growing increasingly common in industry litigation. Five nursing students from Georgia Southern University died in a recent tractor-trailer incident that has the country and the industry asking a lot of questions, not least of which is how settlement costs could total more than $70 million.

The details of the case are as follows: The driver (John Wayne Johnson) has admitted fault in the accident. Though he has a record of falling asleep at the wheel, he insists he was awake at the time of the crash, and that systems in place to prevent these incidents were not functioning properly (including proximity warning sounds). Johnson and his employer, Total Transportation of Mississippi, have been indicted on numerous counts.

Johnson will be facing five counts of homicide by vehicle in the first degree and serious injury by vehicle, and one count each of reckless driving, failure to exercise due care, and following too closely. These are substantial charges that could keep Johnson behind bars for many years.

Total Transportation is indicted separately, as it is a corporate entity. The charges include one count of serious injury by vehicle in the first degree and one count of criminal responsibility of corporations. A statement from the attorney representing one of the victims’ family members has indicated that said family alone would receive $14 million in a settlement with Total Transportation. Extrapolating this settlement across all five victim families would bring the total cost of legal fees and settlements to over $70 million.

These costs are representative of a dramatic trend in the industry. But are they justified? Insurers and industry experts largely say no – the implications of which are significant. Most transportation businesses don’t have the cash reserves to cover such a settlement, which makes plain the importance of liability coverage. Yet insurers are equally concerned. Several transportation insurance carriers are reducing coverage limits, raising rates, or dropping clients entirely. Many freight carriers will now need two or three insurance policies to procure $10 Million or more in liability coverage. What will the future of trucking legal settlements and damages look like? And how can safety and risk management practices reduce insurance premiums and the likelihood of such tragic and costly events? Contact the trucking insurance experts to learn more.

Webinar: ELD Final Rule Published – Overview & Impact

Posted on February 22, 2016

Interstate Motor Carriers and Sentry Insurance invite you to a complimentary, educational web seminar to learn how the new ELD Final Rule will impact your transportation business. Subject matter expert speaker Daniel Grant, Director of Safety Services at Sentry Insurance, will provide an overview of the ELD mandate, including compliance requirements and implementation timelines. Mr. Grant will also detail how the final rule integrates driver harassment/coercion guidelines. Featured topics:

* Truck InsuranceImpact of ELD Mandate & Adoption Timelines
* Device Specifications & Hardware Requirements
* Roadside Inspections & Supporting Documentation
* Exceptions to New Final Rule
* Implementation Challenges
* Driver Harassment Rule

Date & Time: Thu, Mar 10, 2016 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM EST

Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2927157611217343745

Click here to learn more about Interstate Motor Carriers & Sentry Insurance.

National “SmartPark” System Could Save Industry $4.4 Billion Annually

Posted on October 21, 2015

shutterstock_211095490 - 1920x750Could a national “SmartPark” initiative for the trucking industry become a reality soon?

Pilot programs that give truckers real-time information about parking availability are well underway in Tennessee and Michigan. The goals of the projects are to reduce driver fatigue, better adhere to hours of service requirements, and improve drivers’ work conditions. Commercial truck drivers typically spend 30 minutes or more searching for a place to park their rigs.

Expansion of these “SmartPark” projects into a ubiquitous, multi-state, corridor-focused network is a dream of many in the industry. They hope Congress will make the necessary funding available when it confronts reauthorization of the current surface transportation law, which expires October 29.

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended 15 years ago that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) take steps to provide truckers with real-time information on the location and availability of parking spaces. But it was just two years ago that federal officials felt they had found a workable technology a system that identifies vacant spaces through a combination of Doppler radar and laser scanning and disseminates that information via dynamic electronic message signs, smartphone apps, websites and in-cab messaging.

The FMCSA has been testing the system on northbound Interstate 75 in eastern Tennessee. The Federal Highway Administration is funding a similar system along a 129-mile stretch of southwest Michigan’s I-94 corridor that’s used by 10,000 trucks daily but offers only 158 spaces in its five public rest areas. The corridor’s commercial truck traffic accounts for 23 to 30 percent of all its traffic and represents some of the highest commercial volumes in the Midwest.

The projects are working well, making it easier for drivers to avoid going over hours and saving carriers money because drivers can spend more time driving and less time searching for parking. Truck Smart Parking Services, one of the partners working with FMCSA, estimates that national deployment of the system could save industry $4.4 billion annually. Each driver could save two gallons of diesel and reduce greenhouse emissions by nearly 45 pounds per parking search, more than 3.3 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Interstate Motor Carriers has consistently provided creative solutions and specialized insurance programs to the trucking industry since 1936. Contact us for a fresh look at your insurance options.

Rough Notes Features Two Articles by Trucking Experts IMCCA

Posted on September 02, 2015

September 2, 2015 – Freehold, NJ

Rourough notes 2gh Notes, the nation’s leading source of insurance innovations and trends for over 135 years, recently published two articles about the trucking experts at IMCCA. To read the articles, click on the thumbnails to the right.

The first article, published in the May 2015 edition of Rough Notes, is titled Expertise Key to Trucking and Specialty Trucking Success. The article explores the challenges that transportation businesses face in identifying, acquiring, and implementing new safety technologies. As a trucking specialist for many years, Gary Weindorf, President/CEO of IMCCA, points out those safety devices can increase motor carrier costs, but can lead to significant dividends in terms of reducing accident frequency, severity and ultimate liability, which can translate into lower insurance premiums. While safety regulations are set forth by the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) Program, he points out that the organizations which succeed are those that take a proactive approach to vehicle safety and driver security. A dedicated trucking insurance broker can be an asset in knowing the trucking insurance market and handling unique issues with claims and loss control.

rough notesThe second article, published in the August 2015 edition of Rough Notes, made the front cover of the magazine. An agency profile – Better to Be Lucky… and Good explores the unconventional path that has brought together the pieces that today comprise the highly successful IMCCA. Interstate started as a Trucking Agency in 1936 and merged with Capacity Coverage Corp in 2011. Capacity’s original partners, Robert Lull and Mark Weinraub, started the company in 1990 with a goal to create a motor carrier agency that emphasized professionalism and subject matter expertise. Interstate’s trucking expertise was a perfect fit for their vision and maintains their original offices in Freehold, along with a continuation of the same leadership and experienced employees that ensures their clients of market prowess, dedicated service, and the knowledge to assist with shipper/government regulations in this fast-paced industry.

To learn more about IMCCA, visit the Trucking Insurance Experts.

NTSB Recommends Commercial Vehicle Onboard Video Systems

Posted on May 04, 2015

truckThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a recommendation that drivers of heavy trucks and buses use video system recorder technology to monitor their driving. The recommendation was issued on April 29th, 2015 and included a statement that “these video systems serve as a proactive tool to identify and reduce risky behavior, such as speeding, distracted driving or drowsy driving.” Read the NTSB Press Release here.

The NTSB also indicated that video systems are useful for providing valuable information in post-crash investigations.

In an investigation of two severe commercial vehicle crashes, the NTSB concluded that onboard video systems can provide valuable information about circumstances that lead up to the crash as well as critical “vehicle dynamics and occupant kinematics for assessing crash survivability.”

NTSB further reported that video recording systems, in conjunction with driver behavior modification systems, has been shown to reduce fatal and injury crashes by 20% and 35% respectively.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Trucking Association (ATA) were alerted to the recommendation.

The NTSB further recommended that the ATA encourage its members to ensure that any video recording system that is installed in their vehicles meet the following requirements:

  • visibility of the driver
  • visibility of all occupant seating locations
  • visibility forward of the vehicle
  • optimized frame rate (camera speed), and
  • low-light recording capability.

During a House Transportation subcommittee hearing on April 29th, the CEO of American Central Transport, Tom Kretsinger Jr., said that video system recorders are becoming more popular in the trucking industry.

“Originally, these devices were perceived primarily as a post-crash exoneration tool,” said Kretsinger, who also testified on behalf of ATA. “However, fleets quickly began to realize the benefits of being alerted to risky driving behaviors and the opportunity to provide subsequent driver coaching to prevent future crashes.”

 

DOT Delays Safety Fitness & Speed Limiter Rules

Posted on April 20, 2015

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) delayed two important rules in the April Rulemaking Report. The Carrier Safety Fitness Determination and Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters rules will both have a significant impact on trucking companies, but details will not be finalized until later this year.

Carrier Fitness Safety Determination – The safety fitness rule is now scheduled to be published on August 17, 2015. This rule will revise safety fitness methods used to determine when a driver is fit to operate a vehicle. Determinations will be based on Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) and/or an investigation.

Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters – This rule is being reviewed by both the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and is now schedule to be released on July 27, 2015. This rule would require the installation of speed limiting devices on all trucks over 26,000 pounds.

The DOT April Rulemaking Report is available here: http://www.dot.gov/regulations/report-on-significant-rulemakings

For more information about how these rules could impact your organization, contact the trucking experts at Interstate Motor Carriers.

FMCSA to Increase Fines for Regulatory Violations Effective June 2

Posted on April 06, 2015

On Friday April 3rd, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published inflation adjustments to civil penalties for regulatory violations. This final rule takes effect June 2, 2015 and increases numerous penalties. Examples include a $1,000 increase in the penalty for out of service orders and a $5,000 increase in penalties for loading and unloading violations.

In a Federal Register posting, FMCSA explains that many fines and penalties have not been updated since 2003 or 2007, and certain changes were mandated by MAP-21. FMCSA also indicated that this series of changes was not significant enough to warrant a full regulatory evaluation or public comment.

The Final Rule can be viewed on the Federal Register website here.

A table summarizing the various increases can be found on the Federal Register website here.

For a simplified version of the table, visit CCJ or FleetOwner.

Contact Interstate Motor Carriers for additional information on how these changes will impact your business.

FMCSA Announces How New 34-Hour Restart Study Will be Conducted

Posted on March 23, 2015

On Thursday March 19th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced how the new 34-hour restart study will be conducted. The goal of this study is to compare driver safety and fatigue levels of the following two groups:

  1. Commercial drivers who take at least two nighttime rest periods during the 34-hour restart break
  2. Commercial drivers who take one nighttime rest period during the restart break

The study will be conducted over a five month period and will measure numerous factors related to driver safety. This include accidents, near accidents, fatigue, alertness and more. Drivers will be selected to participate from motor carrier fleets of all sizes and from a wide variety of operations.

Metrics will be monitored and evaluated using several devices and tests: Electronic Logging Devices to measure time on duty, actigraph watches to measure sleep, psychomotor vigilance tests to monitor alertness, and onboard cameras.

After the five month data collection is completed, a review board will assess the data and advise the Department of Transportation of their findings.

Here is a link to the March 19, 2015 FMCSA announcement: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/commercial-motor-vehicle-driver-restart-study