Monthly Archives: May 2017

Putting Advanced Video-Based Safety Systems To Work For You

If you are running a modern fleet, it’s the call you dread. One of your most reliable truck drivers was just involved in an accident. If you own a fleet, you know collisions happen, but the question is why, and what can you do about it?

Sure, you may have access to data from an on-board computer, and you may be able to make certain determinations, but without eyes in – or on – the vehicle, when something bad happens, it could wind up in a web of unknown data and unanswerable questions.

Why Safety Management is so Important

As a fleet manager or owner-operator, safety management is likely at the top of your mind. You’re looking for solutions designed to provide insight and utilize data in reducing collisions or other problems.

When an event occurs, so many questions follow. What is the damage? How much will this cost you in repairs and/or downtime? Will this impact your CSA scores (although the CSA program is currently in doubt)? Who was at fault?

Without a proper safety management system in place – perhaps one that includes a video-based element – you may wind up with few answers to your most pressing questions.

It’s About More than Just Video

When it comes to truck driver safety and safe motor carrier operation, fleets are increasingly turning to on-board video-based systems. Still, is video enough? You want to go with a solution that offers more than just a “camera in the cab.”

You want to go with a solution that also provides managed services and specific analytical insights. These systems provide a crucial missing link where tracking truck driver performance is concerned.

A video-based safety system certainly brings clarity to these situations, but you’ll also want to use it to identify a broad spectrum of risks, hazards, training opportunities or even providing recognition for a job well-done.

Integrating your fleet training initiatives with video-based safety ensures you’ll be able to take truck driver performance to the next level. Who is providing an expert review of what is being seen on the video screen? Is your training staff ready to deliver on this promise?

Who’s at Fault?

Did you know that 80 percent of all fatalities involving an accident with a large Class 8 commercial motor vehicle were not the truck driver’s fault? These are terrible situations, but it is vitally important that you are able to determine cause.

This isn’t only about litigation, it’s about protecting your truck drivers. Video-based safety systems exonerate truck drivers who are not at fault in these situations.

With demand for qualified truck drivers higher than it’s ever been before, you can use systems like these to entice experienced truckers to join your fleet. These systems provide a level of accountability and foster a closer relationship between fleet managers and their operators.

Clarity and Integration

As commercial motor vehicles become increasingly more sophisticated over time, outfitting your fleet with devices that provide information regarding critical events becomes key to operating a safe fleet.

Choosing the right video-based safety system provides a level of clarity and data integration from a variety of inputs. This way you can create performance metrics, reports, dashboard information and more.

And since most of these systems can alert fleet managers in real time, critical events can be prioritized. You can spot risky or unsafe driving much faster when you are able to plug into what’s going on the moment it is happening.

The fact is, video-based safety systems can help take your fleet safety initiatives to the next level. So, what are you waiting for? The technology is there and the time is now.

Keys To Maximizing The ELD Mandate And Trucking Safety

As you know, on December 18, fleets across the United States will be required to switch from paper logs to electronic logging devices. The switch is all about hours of service and recording on-duty statuses, but more than that, there’s also a safety element involved.

How can these devices be used to improve trucking safety and compliance? Furthermore, can they help reduce the crash risk for both truck drivers and trucking companies? What should a fleet focus on in managing their safety program in concert with the ELD mandate? Finally, how can ELDs boost your safety efforts?

The fact is, truck drivers should be a key component of your efforts. As the focus on technology grows, it should become easier to proactively use the devices to identify and address unsafe behaviors.

Consider that ELD usage also greatly increases a carrier’s ability to achieve 100 percent compliance with Hours of Service and are a crucial part to combating truck driver fatigue. These devices are effective tools in limiting fleet liabilities.

So what should your top 10 ELD safety list include?

Saving Lives

According to FMCSA research, increased ELD usage is expected to save 26 lives and prevent over 1,800 accidents involving large commercial motor vehicles on a per-annual basis.

Some point to the fact that the number of truck fatalities are relatively small compared to the overall road vehicle fatalities.

In fact, the overall motor vehicle crash picture in the United States is way worse than what is caused by large commercial motor vehicles.

So, imagine if ELD usage could further decrease that number.

Decreasing Fatigued Driving

According to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, data shows that fatigued driving accounts for over 72,000 crashes per year. Still a study done by the FMCSA in 2010 showed that a mere 1.4% of truck driving accidents could be attributed to fatigue.

Yet, truck drivers who are on the road for more than eight hours have twice the risk other drivers do of getting into a major accident. Since ELD usage rigidly enforces driving time, the risk of a truck driver going beyond the mandated limit and suffering fatigue is greatly reduced.

Impacting Truck Driver Health

ELD usage is also expected to have a big impact on truck driver health. As we have discussed before when talking about trucker wellness and sleep apnea, truckers are more susceptible to conditions that threaten their health and safety on the road.

Whether it be diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, truckers who face such health problems are more likely to be involved in a crash than those who don’t suffer from such ailments.

But how can ELD usage help? Quite frankly, by keeping truckers to specific schedule and ensuring they are getting the time off the road they require, ELD usage can have a big impact on their health, which is only a good thing for everyone involved.

Reducing Crash Risk

The fact is this, according to a number of studies, when a trucker uses an ELD device, their risk of crashing is reduced by over 11 percent. This compared those using ELDs to those using paper logs.

Consider who pays for the tab when one of your trucks gets into an accident. Never mind insurance expenses, you’ve also got potential litigation expenses to consider.

The fact is, while some consider the ELD mandate to be another example of government overreach, it can have a significant impact on the safety of your fleet and those on the roads among your truck drivers.

Whether or not you think the ELD mandate is a good thing, it can surely be used to increase safety measures fleet-wide, so why not embrace it and use it for just that?


Manage Safety Ensuring Your Truck Drivers Are Fully Knowledgeable On Roadside Inspections

When it comes to trucking safety, any professional truck driver will tell you that cargo securement is one of the items at the top of their list. Well, guess what? Cargo securement is also going to be at the top of every roadside inspector’s list this summer.

Get ready for the North American Standard Out of Service Criteria book to be used to keep trucks on the road during inspection season. This will especially be the case when it comes to how well commercial motor vehicles have secured their cargo.

With the annual 72-hour roadside inspection blitz set to happen for two days between June 6th and 8th, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will use the aforementioned criteria book to suggest a specific focus be paid to cargo securement.

This will be especially true where commodity haulers are concerned. It’s a fact that all fleets and owner-operating truck drivers should be aware of as they gear up for this years inspection.

The fact is, if you are a commodity-specific hauler, then there are some extremely specific rules you need to pay attention to, lest you find your big rig placed out of service for unsafe securement procedures.

The specific rules in question will govern things like:

  • Metal coils
  • Lumber
  • Paper rolls
  • Piping (concrete or metal)
  • Intermodal containers
  • Crushed vehicles
  • Passenger car haulers
  • Roll off containers
  • Hazmat loads
  • Boulder haulers

For those shipping under categories not listed here, the truck operator will be inspected by general cargo rules, as outlined in the manual.

Sure, everyone is aware the check is coming up, but what is important is that you know the specifics regarding what is going to be checked. With this year’s focus being road securement, inspectors have safety on the mind.

Want the inside scoop on what to look for to wind up on the right side of an inspection? Here’s what you need to know.

Working Load Limit

Remember you must use enough weight rated tie downs to equal at least half the weight of the load. This requires you to know the length, weight and whether or not the object you are hauling is commodity-specific.

As an example, if you are hauling a 20,000 pound object or series of objects, you need to ensure it is weighted down using a securement method that weighs in at half the actual load weight once tied down.

Use Multiple Methods

If you wind up with one tie-down that either breaks or isn’t functioning properly, it won’t hurt to come prepared with multiple methods.

Consider that you will be put out-of-service if you are using a tie down only as strong as its weakest point. Don’t go below the minimum required amount and you won’t risk being side-lined.

Complete a Thorough Pre-Trip Inspection

Nothing is more important than ensuring your pre-trip inspection is done thoroughly by-the-numbers. Of course, inspecting basic elements like tires, lights and the like, you must also make sure load securement is at the top of your list.

Depending on what the load is, roadside inspectors will be paying special attention to securement methods. Make sure to double check your methods and cross reference weight-to-securement ratios.

Don’t Rely on Synthetics Alone

Consider that synthetic straps can easily get ripped or torn. If you are using synthetic straps, it’s even more important to check them for cuts or abrasions.

The fact is, you won’t see half as many issues with chains as you might with synthetic straps. Try going with what you know rather than relying on cargo securement methods that may be likely to put you out-of-service if you just so happen to miss a tear.

Finally, consider everything from the ten-foot rule to truck driver training as was to avoid inspector ire. Keep these rules in mind and you’re sure to keep your truck on the road.


A Global And Corporate Look At Trucking Safety

It’s no secret, a slew of new trucking safety regulations is set to hit the roads, from electronic logging devices to hair testing, to speed limiters and other options and features regulators say are designed to save lives and prevent accidents on the roads.

Many of these regulations were supported by the Trucking Alliance in a recent letter sent to the Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. According to its website, this alliance represents a selection of freight transportation carriers.

The alliance is calling for industry-wide adoption of five specific safety regulations recently put forth by the FMCSA.

They include:

  • E-Logs – Come December, E-logs will be a requirement in all interstate commercial trucks. Say goodbye to paper logs.
  • Hair Testing – The FMCSA is currently evaluating a rulemaking that would allow hair testing in place of urine testing for commercial drug testing purposes when hiring or evaluating an employee.
  • Speed Limiters – This one has been a contumacious one, but this Trucking Alliance supports a maximum speed for commercial motor vehicles of 65 mph. This goes hand-in-hand with a proposed rule already put forth by the FMCSA.
  • Screening – Where the Trucking Alliance is in alignment with most other trucking industry groups is in the belief that a $10 fee per pre-employment screening could present a problem for many motor carriers. They believe this should be renegotiated by the FMCSA.
  • Insurance Requirements – Did you know that the minimum insurance requirement for a motor carrier was set at $750,000… in 1980? That’s right, it hasn’t been raised since, and the Trucking Alliance thinks it should be.

But does the Trucking Alliance take the same stand as other trucking industry groups? Not necessarily. And an even more interesting question is: What are trucking safety groups in other countries proposing to their own governments and regulatory agencies.

To the Southern Hemisphere

Ironically names like the large trucking association here in America, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has teamed up with Cummins to initiate a competition designed to find new ideas to improve safety and business operations.

To enter the contest, trucking operators or individual employees must tell the group – in 100 words or less – what they think could be done to improve safety and business viability within the trucking industry.

Keep in mind, this is a countrywide competition. The three best entries will receive a trip to the Trucking Australia 2017 convention to talk more about their ideas. The price will also include a full delegate registration, three nights’ accommodations and return economy air fare from any Australian capital city.

Trucking as a Corporate and Media Endeavor

What is particularly fascinating about both stories is that, although they are quite different, there is a global push underway to not only improve trucking profitability and viability in this new age of technology and a reshaped supply chain, but to – most of all – increase trucking safety measures.

Even corporate players are getting in on the game, with telematics and software provider Omnitracs sponsoring a safety and compliance award designed to recognize industry leaders in safety and design.

The award will be handed out at this year’s Fleet Safety Conference, which is set to take place from July 24 – 26 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel in Schaumburg, Ill. The three-day safety event is put on by several different trucking publications and is designed to bring awareness to trucking safety issues.

For more information regarding this event, follow this link, and always remember, safety in trucking does not exist in a bubble, it is something that all industry players, from fleets to software providers to engine manufacturers all have an equal say in.