Viewing posts categorised under: Trucking Safety

Surviving the Summer Heat

Posted on July 10, 2017

 

Summer heat can be more than uncomfortable—it can be a threat to your health, especially for older adults and children. Whatever your age, don’t let the summer heat get the best of you.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when a person cannot sweat enough to cool the body, usually the result of not drinking enough fluids during hot weather. It generally develops when a person is playing, working, or exercising outside in extreme heat. Symptoms include:

  • Dizziness, weakness, nausea, headache and vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Body temperature rising to 101°F
  • Sweaty skin
  • Feeling hot and thirsty
  • Difficulty speaking

A person suffering from heat exhaustion must move to a cool place and drink plenty of water.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the result of untreated heat exhaustion. Symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Unawareness of heat and thirst
  • Body temperature rising rapidly to above 101°F
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Loss of consciousness or seizure

Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency that must be treated quickly by a trained professional. Until help arrives, cool the person down by placing ice on the neck, armpits and groin. If the person is awake and able to swallow, give him or her fluids.

Tips for Staying Cool

Below are some tips for staying safe in the heat:

  • Drink plenty of water—In hot weather, drink enough to quench your thirst. The average adult needs eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day—more during heat spells.
  • Dress for the weather—When outside, wear lightweight clothing made of natural fabrics and a well-ventilated hat.
  • Stay inside if possible—Do errands and outside chores early or late in the day.
  • Eat light—Replace heavy or hot meals with lighter, refreshing foods.
  • Think cool! Take a cool shower or apply a cold compress to your pulse points. Or, try spending time indoors at an air-conditioned mall or movie theater.

 

 

 

 

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The Road to Healthy Drivers

Posted on March 10, 2017

Being a truck driver can pave the way for an unhealthy life style. It may seem like sleeping less or stopping at fast food restaurants is an efficient lifestyle for someone who essentially live on the road, but this is not the case.

Getting adequate sleep is the first step in becoming a healthier trucker, being a fatigued driver puts you and others on the road in danger. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night is imperative for a healthy lifestyle, but sleeping well is not enough to remain healthy. The next tip to becoming healthier on the road is to stretch and exercise daily. As a driver you are sitting and focusing on the road for more than half of your waking hours, try to stretch at every stop to prevent your muscles from becoming stiff and achy. It may seem impossible to exercise daily when you’re on the job, but exercising doesn’t have to mean lifting weights for two hours. Try walking 30-45 minutes once a day at rest stops, maybe try walking for 10 minutes at four different stops!

As you are beginning to create a healthier body on the outside it is important remember that cliché saying’ “you are what you eat”. Staying alert and focused is a huge part of a truck driver’s job and by fueling your body with healthy food you are help your body to do so! Try packing a cooler with fruits and vegetables, if this isn’t an option try shopping smart at gas stations by buying nuts or head to the fridge and look for some fruits and vegetables there! Fueling your body so that it works the best that it can means drinking more water and less caffeine, try to not drink caffeine an hour or two before bed time to ensure the first step of a good night’s sleep.

Although these are all essential ways to stay physically healthy on the road it is extremely important to stay mentally healthy as well. Listen to your favorite music while you drive, chat with family and friends as you’re walking at those rest stops, and put some time aside to do something for yourself (read, relax, play a game). Taking care of yourself is especially important on the road because the alternative could mean you are putting people’s lives in danger. Start one step at a time so you can be the healthiest person, driver, and self that you possibly can.

 

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Cyber Security for Truckers is an Emerging Issue

Posted on December 27, 2016

shutterstock_42770536 - CopyDigital security is a growing concern for the trucking industry, which is not surprising, considering it is gaining importance for most businesses in the country. Cyber security is a cost of doing business in the U.S. as there are cyber hackers waiting to attack at any time.

Many truckers now conduct both professional and personal business from their truck cab making their truck a target. It’s important for truckers to recognize that they need to consider cost-effective risk management practices that will protect them from cyber attacks.

Most truckers are aware of the need for and may have put into place protection for their hardware systems, including separate safety systems to shield their entertainment/information systems and vehicle-based technology. But software-based security systems have been slower to be adopted.

Here are some best practices that truckers may want to consider when it comes to digital security.

  1. Security-based design procedures
  2. Frequency and severity analysis
  3. Audit and monitoring policies
  4. Detection of vulnerabilities through self-testing

Many automotive manufacturers are now integrating security systems into the design of the vehicle and add-on features that include technology. As computers and cloud solutions become standard in vehicle systems used for everything from navigation to safety monitoring, cyber security is an issue rising to the top.

The issue of digital security in the trucking industry is a serious one. It is possible for cyber hackers to do almost anything to your vehicle, including controlling steering, brakes and lights. Right now cyber attackers are mostly pranksters, but in the future hackers may become more serious and could access financial information (such as credit card numbers) that are stored on computers in the trucks.

Vulnerable systems in a truck include adaptive cruise control, parking assist and pre-crash braking, as well as telematics. Truck manufacturers, government and industry groups need to take cyber security threats seriously and develop security systems. to protect truckers and the public. To learn more about protecting your transportation business, contact us.

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Enhanced Investigative Techniques Increase Audit Criteria for High Risk Drivers

Posted on December 20, 2016

slide3The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is cracking down on drivers by holding them accountable to audit requirements instigated in 2013 under “Operation Quick Strike.” The initial phase of Operation Quick Strike targeted bus and motorcoach companies and was successful at shutting down companies it found to be out of compliance. Today’s model is a performance-based program that is being rolled out to trucking companies, including fleets, and focuses more on current problems rather than following up on prior out-of-compliance ratings.

Here are some of the changes in the way the FMCSA is doing audits.

  1. Audits include a broader range of fleet personnel, including accounting, sales, and drivers as well as checking social media.
  2. Ranking in the unsafe driving, hours of service compliance or crash indicator basic must be 90 or higher, a change from a rating of 85.
  3. The FMCSA has added a “Part C” to the audit, reserved for the auditor’s notes, the method of operation of the audit and other details of the audit not listed in Parts A or B. Parts A and B are routinely released to the driver, but drivers need to request Part C, citing the Freedom of Information Act.
  4. Unsafe Driving criteria are being added to the audit for the first time. This includes speeding ticket information, following too close, or other minor driving violations will be used in the new rating system.
  5. E-logs will also be included in the audit. An explosion of information and data. E-logs will be used to request other documents that support the audit.
  6. While not currently included in the audit, the FMCSA is considering including a “Safety Fitness Determination” criteria in the future.

If a driver is deemed “high-risk”, they will be rated “Conditional.” Under the new criteria, the FMCSA has increased the investigation, intervention and “out-of-service” orders. And, since shippers and brokers have access to a driver’s rating, a Conditional designation could have a major financial impact on a trucking company. For more on transportation news and risk management, contact us.

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8 Tips for Safe Parking at Rest Stops and Truck Stops

Posted on December 13, 2016

Fotolia_62084411_XL - CopyYou are finally off the traffic-congested roadway and safely parked at a truck stop. But you may not be as safe as you think. A large percentage of truck-trailer accidents occur at truck stops which should be the safest place to park. Drivers can never let their guard down when behind the wheel. Trucking accidents are expensive to both the employer and to the driver. Below are a few tips to help reduce a trucking accident/incident at a truck stop:

  1. Pre-plan your route so you know you will be stopping at a location with plenty of room and that is well lit. Choose your stops, don’t let them choose you.
  2. Never underestimate the usefulness of a rest area. Not only do rest areas offer easy access, but they are setup to allow trucks to pull through a parking spot versus the higher risk of backing into a spot. Statistics indicate that more accidents happen in truck stops than rest areas.
  3. Avoid parking on the end of a row. Not only is there traffic crossing next to you but most people park on the end because they are tired and after a long day the end is the closest spot. Avoiding the end of a parking lot helps you avoid drivers who are parking when they are tired. Removing yourself from high traffic areas can only help.
  4. Avoid a spot that will force you to back out when you leave. Choose a spot you can either pull through (the best option) or back into (second best option).
  5. Avoiding parking in a location where the trucks across from you will be required to back out of their spots. Being behind a vehicle that will be blindly backing toward you is a recipe for disaster.
  6. If the truck next to you looks close, is over the line, or parked odd (for example the cab is angled to the trailer for some reason) then move on to a new spot. If you have to take that spot don’t be afraid to write down the name and DOT number on the truck. You may be glad you did when you wake up in the morning.
  7. Park with your tractor and trailer straight. It reduces the area others have to hit while backing.
  8. Use your four-ways when pulling through the lot and backing up. People in truck stops, or even other parking lots, are usually tired or distracted. Four-ways activate peripheral vision and increase the chance of someone seeing you. And if required use your horn gently when needed to tell someone “Hey, I’m here”.
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OMB Completes Review of CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Final Rule

Posted on November 29, 2016

shutterstock_211095490 - 1920x750The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completed its review of the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse final rule. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can proceed with the rule so long as they follow OMB’s recommended changes. OMB did not make these recommendations public.

The trucking industry has long sought this ruling. After years of lobbying, the FMCSA proposed the rule in 2014. OMB received the final rule in May of this year. The problem with the current setup is there is no way for trucking companies to check drug and alcohol background information on drivers who tested positive or refuse to submit to testing.

The new ruling would make a central database of these individuals. Carriers would then be able to reference the database before hiring an individual. Industry professionals believe it will help curb job-hopping and the number of truckers operating vehicles while under the influence.

While OMB’s recommendations are unknown, motor carriers should expect this ruling to become federal regulation soon. Driver drug and alcohol testing should be a priority for all trucking companies. The results of these tests affect driver safety as well as your company’s risk. To stay up to date with federal regulations and improve your transportation risk management, contact us.

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Trailer Interchange Insurance Coverage Explained

Posted on October 18, 2016

trailer-interchangeTruckers and motor carriers need a variety of insurance types to ensure they have full coverage. Understanding trailer interchange insurance can be confusing. Find out more about what it is, who needs it, and other important details below.

What is Trailer Interchange Insurance?

This is a type of coverage available to truckers and motor carriers. It provides coverage in the event that the insured damages a trailer that belongs to another individual. It is not uncommon for truckers and motor carriers to transport trailers that belong to a different motor carrier. This is how drivers can trade trailers en route to maintain scheduling demands. This type of arrangement is known as a trailer interchange agreement. The trailer interchange insurance labels the trailer possessor as the responsible party. It provides coverage in the event of an accident, fire, theft, and other types of physical damage.

Who Needs It?

If you make use of trailer interchange agreements, then you need trailer interchange insurance. The purpose is to protect you while you are moving cargo or a trailer that is not yours. The truck driver or motor carrier moving the trailer is almost always responsible for paying for damages should they occur.

Things to Know

Like other types of insurance, trailer interchange insurance has limits and deductibles. Limits and deductibles go hand-in-hand. The limit is the max amount of coverage an insurance provider will provide for a claim. Another way of looking at it is it is the max value of the trailer. The deductible is the amount the driver or motor carrier pays out of pocket in the event of a claim.

Select your limit and deductible wisely. Lower limits and high deductibles often cost less, but they can come back to haunt the insured. For example, let’s say the insured has a $15,000 limit with a $5000 deductible and the trailer they’re driving gets stolen. The driver would pay the $5000 up front and their insurance provider would pay up to $15,000 to replace it.

However, if the trailer was worth more than $15,000, that difference in cost is up to the driver to pay. High deductibles can be a burden as well. The insured should be certain they can pay the deductible at any given time if necessary.

Through an exclusive arrangement we are also able to provide coverage for any Trailer or Container in the insured’s care, custody and control, as most policies require a trailer interchange agreement in order for coverage to apply. This is a much broader application and prevents any issues of coverage for the driver and motor carrier/steamship line.

For more information on trailer interchange coverage and other transportation policies, contact us.

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How to Eat Healthy While on the Road

Posted on October 04, 2016

appleMaintaining your health as a commercial driver should be a high priority. Unfortunately, eating healthy while on the road is not always convenient and can even seem impossible at times. However, proper planning and smart diet choices can help you avoid weight gain while traveling. Here are some tips to help you maintain your waistline while on the road.

Invest in a Crockpot

Many crockpots can plug into low voltage cigarette lighters or other standard vehicle outlets. Opt for a smaller crockpot that functions on less voltage such as a 12 V crockpot. It should not indicate it is for household use only. Invest in crockpot liners to reduce clean up time. It may also be wise to use crockpot lid clips to ensure the lid stays on as you drive over bumps.

By preparing your meals in advance, you can avoid last minute food decisions. If you wait until you are starving to eat, the likelihood of eating a healthy meal diminishes. Plus, with a crockpot you also get to choose the ingredients yourself. This allows you to control your fat intake and ensure you are eating a nutritious meal.

Eat Small and Frequent Meals

If you gorge yourself on sumptuous meals two or three times per day, you will eat more than you intended to. By eating more often throughout the day, you are less likely to binge eat. To help avoid this, be sure to eat breakfast every day. If you eat smaller, nutrient-dense meals every two to three hours over a twelve hour period you can better control your food intake.

Snacking: Know Yourself

It is easy to tell yourself to stop snacking throughout the day. It is another matter to follow through with the advice. If you know that you are a frequent snacker, take steps to diminish their weight gain effects. For example, instead of eating chips and cookies keep healthy options on hand such as granola, nuts, and fruit.

The S Word

It’s a devious four letter word that adds inches to your waistline: soda. Reduce your soda intake or cut it from your diet altogether if at all possible. You should also try to cut juice and energy drinks as well. Water is the best choice for your health. Plus, sometimes individuals mistake dehydration as hunger. If you stay hydrated, you can reduce the frequency you feel the urge to snack. To learn more about healthy and safety practices for trucking professionals, contact us.

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Hours of Service Exemptions

Posted on September 27, 2016

shutterstock_50164954 - Copy (2)It’s important for every commercial operator to understand the Hours of Service rules. But knowing when you’re exempt from these rules can also prove very useful. A brief review of the core rules:

  • 30 Minute Break: A non-passenger-carrying commercial operator must take a break of at least 30 minutes from driving after an 8 hour period of driving. Non-driving work related activities can be performed during this time.
  • 14 Hour Rule: A non-passenger-carrying commercial operator must stop driving after being on-duty for 14 consecutive hours.
  • 11 Hour Rule: Within the aforementioned 14 hour window, a commercial operator may drive a maximum of 11 hours.

So now let’s take a look at some of the exemptions:

  • Providing Emergency Assistance: Providing direct assistance to an emergency as defined by the FMCSA suspends all Hours of Service regulations.
  • 16 Hour Extension: The 14 Hour Rule is extended to 16 hours for those who qualify for the 100 air mile provision or 150 air mile provision as defined by the FMCSA.
  • Adverse Driving Conditions: Unanticipated adverse weather conditions extend the 11 Hour Rule to a 13 hour limit.
  • 3o Minute Break Exemption: All drivers who qualify for 100 air mile provision status are exempt from the 30 minute break rule.

Understand when and how these exemptions apply can make you safer and more efficient as an owner operator or as a large fleet. To learn more about transportation news, compliance, and coverages, contact us.

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Massive Increase in Traffic Fatalities for 2015

Posted on September 13, 2016

truck-driver-distracted-textingThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the final data on car crash fatalities from 2015 and the numbers are not good. For the past five decades, traffic-related deaths have been on the decline. This past year saw a 7.2% increase in traffic fatalities compared to the previous year—the highest it’s been since 2008. The nation hasn’t seen a one-year increase of this size since 1966.

In just a decade, safety programs and vehicle improvements helped reduce traffic-related deaths by nearly 25%. This dramatic increase in traffic fatalities spurred the White House into action. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and NHTSA are conducting an investigation to try and determine the cause of the rising traffic deaths. Even without the completed report, they have some preliminary thoughts behind the increase in fatalities.

More jobs and cheaper fuel. Both of these factors correlate to an increased number of drivers on the roadways. This includes driving for leisure (e.g. vacations and day trips) and young people driving. Total vehicle miles traveled in 2015 rose by more than 3.5%. That is the largest surge in almost 25 years.

Poor safety habits. Driving safety campaigns seem to have lost their edge in 2015. Almost half of the passenger vehicle fatalities involved the occupant not wearing a seat belt. Nearly one third of the fatalities involved drunk driving or speeding. One in ten involved distracted driving.

In essence, there are more drivers making poor safety decisions. The data shows that driving drunk, distracted driving, speeding, and not wearing a seat belt all contribute to an increase in traffic-related deaths. Drivers can reduce their risk by making safe choices such as wearing their seat belts, following the speed limit, and staying focused on the road. This increase in passenger vehicles and poor safety habits poses a serious risk to truck drivers. To learn more about reducing trucking risks, contact us.

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