Posted on December 13, 2016
You 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Park with your tractor and trailer straight. It reduces the area others have to hit while backing.
- 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”.
Posted on September 06, 2016
The 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:
- What should the speed limit for heavy-duty trucks be?
- 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.
Posted on August 09, 2016
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate began to go into effect on February 16 of this year. But we’re still in phase 1 of the three-phase implementation process. Currently compliance is voluntary, as the FMCSA encourages motor carriers to prepare for their upcoming compliance requirements. Phase 2 begins on December 18, 2017. In this phase, carriers will be permitted to use only AOBRDs (Automatic On-Board Recording Devices) installed prior to this date, or ELDs certified and registered after the inception of phase 1.
In the third and final phase beginning December 16, 2019, all applicable carriers must enlist certified and registered ELDs in their transportation efforts. Currently ELD manufacturers certify their own devices for compliance with federal guidelines. Increasingly widespread use of ELDs is intended to help protect drivers from excessive road-time, reduce the likelihood of falsified logs, and standardize data across the industry. The mandate applies to most commercial vehicles with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds.
There have been legal challenges filed by some businesses and organizations – perhaps most notably the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which has claimed that the FMCSA has failed in proving the cost-benefit ratio of the new regulations are beneficial to the industry. This transitional period in the industry is likely to provoke a number of challenges, both legal and logistical, but many carriers have already initiated compliance efforts with the forthcoming regulatory phases. To learn more about the ELD mandate and how your organization can comply and benefit, contact us.
Posted on July 19, 2016
The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) have announced a Brake Safety Week starting September 11, 2016. Commercial vehicle inspectors will be conducting thorough and widespread examinations as part of the annual enforcement campaign to emphasize the importance of brake maintenance and safety procedures. Brake issues can cause widespread damage and fatalities. And although the brakes used in commercial motor vehicles are built to be exceedingly durable, a number of factors can contribute to their suboptimal performance, including:
- Improper Installation
- Lacking Maintenance
- Disuse or Corrosive Exposure
- Multiple Emergency Stops
- Compromised Fluid Lines
Inspectors will be evaluating the brakes on multiple criteria, including ABS functionality, loose or missing parts, fluid leaks, worn components, and other factors as applicable. Over 2,000 power units were placed out of service last year. To learn more about how you can avoid joining them, contact us.
Posted on May 09, 2016
Sufficient tread depth will be the primary emphasis of the upcoming CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) annual RoadCheck on June 7-9. NHTSA officials have identified a number of reasons for the growing importance of this safety practice, including increased axle loads, increased speed limits, and increased power unit uptime, among others. Inspections and out-of-service orders in this area have declined over the last three years, leading to a drop in compliance and an uptick in accidents and liability suits. Do you know your tread compliance requirements?
- No tread/sidewall separation
- No exposure of body-ply or belt material
- No inflation/air containment breaches
- Minimum depth of 4/32 inch for steer tires
- Minimum depth of 2/32 inch for all other tires
What practices does your organization have in place to ensure safety and compliance with regard to tire tread wear? What liability coverages do you possess in case of tread-related motor vehicle incidents?
Contact us about regulations, risks, and what you can do to stay safe and compliant.
Posted on March 16, 2016
Several potentially significant transportation regulatory items have recently surfaced in the news causing much discussion and preparation for motor carriers across the country. These include:
- CSA raw data once again available to public
- Highway safety improvement reporting requirement for states removed
- High risk rural roads provision removed
- Greenhouse gas regulatory documents released
- EPA & NHTSA legal policy memo & engine test results
CSA raw data was originally legislated to exist in the public eye, but was pulled from view almost immediately after being signed into law. FMCSA claims that their analytics represent a fair, accurate, and important picture of safety culture and records throughout the transportation industry.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has released revisions to its Highway Safety Improvement Program, which could have numerous effects on transportation professionals across the country. These revisions stem from MAP-21 and the FAST Act, and include a removal of reporting requirements as well as the high risk rural roads provision. This reduced transparency could alter the efficacy of the program.
Private meetings with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have resulted in the release of a variety of documents by federal regulators regarding greenhouse gas emissions. These include memos on the legality of the greenhouse gas policy, selective enforcement and inspection of aerodynamic compliance among transportation power units, effects of tire rolling resistance on stopping distance for Class 8 vehicles, and more.
Is your transportation business prepared for these and other regulatory changes? Do you know the potential cost savings or increase associated with each policy change? To learn more about the impact these and other regulatory changes could have on your business, contact us.
Posted on October 21, 2015
Could 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.
Posted on October 19, 2015
Today, there are too many driver positions open within the trucking industry. In fact, the Driver Shortage category rose to second place in the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) annual “Top Industry Issues” research, and it is estimated that by 2017 there will be a driver shortfall of close to 400,000.
One of the primary issues facing the trucking industry is filling open positions with younger candidates. As of 2014, there are more truck drivers age 65 or older (6.1%) than there are drivers in the 20 to 24 year old range (4.9%). This trend, alarmingly, is not present in other workforce categories.
Age restrictions are partially to blame. For instance, an individual must be 21 years or older to obtain a commercial driver’s license, which results in a three-year post-high school gap. Therefore, those choosing to not obtain a higher education are oftentimes recruited by other industries, thus made unavailable to the trucking industry once they are of age to obtain the appropriate license.
Now the trucking industry is left wondering, will there be enough experienced 25-34 year olds to take the place of the larger 45-54 age cohort retirement rolls around in 10 to 20 years?
One solution is already being utilized by many companies. Trucking companies see females as a large untapped labor pool that may help ease the expected driver shortfall in 2017.
According to a Bloomberg Business article, Derek Leathers, CEO of Werner Enterprises, Inc., expects female drivers to make up about 10 percent of his company’s 9,000 drivers by the end of 2015—almost twice the national average. Not only has bringing more females on as drivers relieved some of the shortage stress on the company, but Werner Enterprises is also seeing benefits in terms of performance. According to Leathers, female drivers are actually outperforming the males.
However, convincing a female to join an industry that has been catered almost solely to males in the past is not easy. The first couple of steps have been take though as the industry as a whole is working on improving the cleanliness of terminals, promoting schedules that guarantee home time, promoting the automatic transmission of today’s freight haulers and ensuring safer truck stops.
To learn more about hiring practices and other trucking-related business strategies, contact us.
Posted on September 02, 2015
September 2, 2015 – Freehold, NJ
Rough 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.
The 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.
Posted on June 26, 2015
Despite strong democratic opposition, the United States Senate passed a provision to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies bill that allows the nationwide use of twin 33-foot motor carrier trailers.
The provision passed on June 25, 2015 by a 16-14 vote that drew strong party lines. Republican Senator Richard Shelby, sponsor of the bill, argued the law would improve safety on the nation’s highways. Democratic opponents, including Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), urged the panel to reject the bill due to safety concerns.
The bill was approved by the House of Representatives June 9, 2015. The bill was strongly supported by the American Trucking Association, whose representative made a statement that the provisions of the bill “are critical for improving the safety and efficiency of the trucking industry.”
The provision was introduced as an amendment to the transportation bill and would allow state governors and state departments to request an exemption if they are not able to meet the safety requirements for accommodating a commercial truck with twin 33-foot trailers.
The provision includes evaluation measures as well. After 3 years the Secretary of Transportation is required to update Congress with a crash analysis that compares twin 28-foot trailers and twin 33-foot trailers. The report is required to include technological recommendations for collision avoidance and stability control in order to improve safety of the vehicles.
The $55.6 billion draft funding measure would provide $572 million for the Federal Carrier Safety Administration and $500 million for a high-profile infrastructure grants program.