Posted on June 28, 2018
School is out for the summer! The long winter has finally ended and kids & teens across the country are free from school days. For the trucking industry summer means the opposite of freedom, for this is the busy season. There are many variables to be concerned with whilst driving in the summer, especially as a trucker. Below we have listed some of the most important tips and precautions to prepare for this season:
- Be Properly Equipped – Summer driving means heat, sun glare, and longer days. Be sure to pack a hat, sun glasses, extra water, and plenty of snacks. Did we mention you should pack water? Hydration is key to staying focused and healthy during the summer months!
- Be Aware of the Extra Drivers – With summer in full swing, teenagers and college drivers will be on the roads more than any other season. In addition to students, families will be hitting the road for vacation making road congestion a big concern. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings by always checking your mirrors and properly signaling before changing lanes.
- Construction is Being Done – Be wary of road work! The summer is when most construction is typically going to be done, especially on roads. Be conscious of all signs as you drive, and respond accordingly. Slow down and be prepared to stop when driving through construction zones.
Of course, these are only a few conditions that drivers must be aware of while driving in the summer. We urge you to stay safe, healthy and cautious this summer (and every season)!
Posted on June 13, 2017
Fleet fraud is costly. A staged accident or injury claim by an employee can mean expensive payouts and increased insurance premiums, so it is essential that your business take steps to prevent and detect employee fraud. Anti-fraud measures and internal controls can and should be designed and customized for each individual organization based on its unique characteristics. In addition, stay alert for these red flags:
- Driver with a history of prior accidents of similar circumstances
- Driver with multiple past claims with the same attorney
- Driver that demonstrates familiarity with claims process and claim evaluation
- An overly enthusiastic witness present at the accident scene
Fleet management programs that include a fleet safety policy are most successful at preventing fraud when they cover the following areas:
- Management commitment: Clearly define management’s role and commitment to preventing and detecting fraudulent claims. Most perpetrators of fraud engage in illegal conduct only when they perceive that they will not be caught.
- Written policies and procedures: All permitted and prohibited driver behavior, along with proper procedures to follow in the event of an accident, should be clearly listed in a written policy.
- Driver agreements: Documenting a driver’s commitment to conform to all policies and procedures can help deter aberrant behavior. If an organization increases in its employees’ minds the perception that the illegal acts will be detected, it deters occupational fraud.
- Motor vehicle record checks: Conducting a motor vehicle record check in addition to a standard background check can expose any suspicious driving or claims patterns before hire or before permitting an employee to use a company vehicle.
- Crash reporting and investigation: Conduct thorough investigations of each claim. Provide forms for employees to complete in the event of an accident.
- Vehicle selection, maintenance and inspection: Conduct regular inspections to demonstrate ’s commitment to preventing accidents and fleet fraud.
- Disciplinary action system: Make the serious repercussions of fraud clear, including legal action and termination. Adopting concealed internal controls may assist in detecting fraud, but it generally does not prevent it because employees are unaware of their presence and potential detective ability.
- Reward and incentive program: Reward employees for good driving habits and lack of accidents and claims. For any business operating vehicles under a fleet motor insurance policy, it is important to demonstrate to an insurer that adequate fleet procedures are in place to minimize costly risks—including occupational fraud.
For more information about controlling insurance costs, contact the professionals at Interstate Motor Carriers today.
Posted on March 23, 2017
Driver retention is a constant struggle for many transportation companies throughout the country. The industry continues to learn more about why retaining drivers is a problem and how to fix it. For a business owner, it is important to try to understand how driver retention impacts your business and to move forward making a valiant effort to retain your drivers!
In-cab satellite TV provider EpicVue recently conducted one-on-one informal conversations with 138 drivers at truck stops across North America as to why pay is the most important compensation for truck drivers. Lance Platt, EpicVue’s CEO, noted that “perks” ranging from health care benefits to vacation time and larger sleeper cabs are becoming more important, especially to younger drivers.
Gemini Motor Transport is a fleet that began rewarding drivers for driving safely. Credits are awarded to Gemini’s drivers on an annual basis; to earn one credit the driver must have no accidents, tickets or fuel-related incidents over the period of one year. They must also pass all U.S. Department of Transportation and Gemini inspections. Once drivers accumulate five credits, they are eligible for a bonus which can range from $25,000 to $35,000. Since this program began, turnover rates significantly dropped and is extremely low for the industry.
Bonuses and rewards can be highly effective, but there are other ways to improve your driver retention!
- Establish a driver council made up of new and veteran drivers who give insights to fleet managers of the view from the driver’s seat
- Speak to all drivers regularly to set expectations and troubleshoot issues
- Perform management ride-alongs
- Create a consistent driver on-boarding experience
- Hold monthly driver meetings
- Implement driver recognition programs
These tips help communication within the fleet, show that you as an employer care about your employees, and generate respect and loyalty throughout the company. When employees feel proud of the company they work for, the company is doing something (a lot of something) right. The higher the opinion your driver has of your company, the more likely it is that they will continue driving for you! The key to retaining drivers is to set goals, have conversation, and obtain mutual respect.
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.
Posted on November 21, 2016
A bill of lading (BOL) is a document truckers need to move a cargo shipment. It functions as a receipt of services as well as a contract between the carrier and the shipper. Both the carrier and shipper need this legal document. Otherwise, they cannot process the shipment or invoice it accurately.
What Information Does a BOL Contain?
BOLs contain a wide variety of information. Some information includes:
- Names and addresses of the shipper and receiver
- Account numbers businesses use to track the shipments
- Packaging used for the shipment
- Value of the shipment
- Number of units shipped
- Shipment date
- Description of shipment items
This multipart document contains necessary information to process a freight shipment. The BOL functions as a contract in the absence of a shipper-carrier agreement. Less than truckload shippers (LTL) make the most frequent use of BOLs. They transport small freight and are often more cost effective than full truckload services (FTL). Two of the best known LTL carriers are FedEx Freight and UPS Freight.
Recent Changes to BOL Standards
Controversy is brewing between the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC) and the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). The NMFTA made changes to the uniform BOL to bring its provisions up to date and provide more clarity. NASSTRAC disagree citing the new terms and conditions for proving carrier negligence.
NASSTRAC and other shipper groups claim that these changes violate the Carmack Amendment, which established liability standards for cargo. Legal representation for NMFTA countered that the updated BOL standards do not change the laws for showing burden of proof.
For now, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) is siding with the NMFTA. It denied a petition asking to suspend the BOL changes. However, STB is willing to consider further pleadings before deciding whether to investigate the changes.
Further muddying the waters though is the fact that the STB cannot suspend the changes to the uniform BOL. They can only investigate and make suggestions. If the STB decides to investigate, their decision may bring NASSTRAC and NMFTA together in court to battle over terms.
Posted on November 10, 2016
Many motor carriers looking for ways to reduce cost often turn to fuel efficiency. There are numerous ways to save fuel such as driving at slower speeds or taking the most direct route with the least amount of traffic. However, drivers hauling empty containers waste massive amounts of fuel. To reduce this, some companies are synchronizing import and export needs.
Matching Imports and Exports
Drayage operations run into this issue on a regular basis. Drayage drivers will receive an import, deliver it to its destination, and then drive back with an empty container. However, by doing some research, managers can find nearby companies that need to export their product. That way, their driver can deliver their import, pick up the export, and then drive back to the port. This saves an additional trip and eliminates drivers with empty containers.
While the idea is great in theory, it can be complicated in practice. Some companies only want to use certain types of shipping containers to move their cargo. However, the bigger issue is a lack of technology to match import and export needs. Managers who attempt to match imports with exports must do so manually.
This creates an opportunity in the transportation industry to develop a major piece of tech to improve productivity. Some managers believe no one has jumped at the chance simply because the industry has always operated in this fashion. Many are hesitant to change existing operations even if it meant improved efficiency. However, as more manager tackle the issue of load matching the opportunity will not likely be set aside for long.
Posted on October 11, 2016
Join Interstate Motor Carriers for this educational webinar to learn how effective pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspection practices reduce costs and DOT penalties. Expert speaker Rob Dowling, Transportation Safety & Loss Control Director at The Capacity Group, will review the key components of pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspections, and explain the consequences of failing to comply. Topics include:
* Pre-Trip Inspection Requirements
* Post-Trip Inspection Requirements
* Driver Vehicle Inspection Reporting & Responsibilities
* Recordkeeping, Compliance & Audits
Date & Time: Wed, Oct 26, 2016 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM EDT
Posted on October 04, 2016
Maintaining 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.
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:
* Impact 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.
Posted on November 30, 2015
Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) missed its October 30 deadline for issuing its final rule on Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), the new regulation should be out soon.
Dave Osiecki, senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs for American Trucking Associations (ATA), told attendees at a recent conference he’s “pretty confident” the rule will be published this month. It has already passed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Aiming to hold businesses accountable for higher safety standards, Congress mandated ELDs in the transportation reauthorization bill of 2012. The law called for a rule requiring commercial motor vehicles to use ELDs to record hours of service (HOS), replacing the current rule that requires drivers to maintain paper logs.
As many as 3.1 million trucks and 3.4 million drivers will be affected by the new rule. ATA anticipates a two-year window to comply with the new rule, along with a four-year “grandfather” window to allow current electronic logging systems to be brought up to the new specification.
But there are good reasons to start planning now to implement a solution.
Monitoring a truck’s engine to capture a wide range of data such as engine hours, miles driven, power and motion status, and authenticated user identification data, ELDs promise to reduce paperwork and reduce accidents by keeping fatigued drivers off the road.
They also will:
- reduce your office administrative costs by eliminating manual auditing of paper logbooks;
- prevent paperwork mistakes and reduce fines, penalties, and fees associated with them;
- enable management and dispatchers to better ensure HOS compliance and plan driver assignments more effectively.
To meet the requirements of the law, fleets should find the onboard technology partner best suited to meet their goals and ROI. Options will range from low-cost, single-function systems that simply meet the requirements of the new regulations to comprehensive systems that provide a wide range of benefits to management and drivers.
ELDs can potentially reduce your insurance premiums by reducing risk and proving that your fleet is HOS compliant. To learn how ELDs might reduce what you pay for trucking insurance, contact us.