All posts by trucxzdw

Top Tips For Backing Up Your Tractor Trailer – Part I

Ask just about any professional truck driver and they will tell you how difficult it is to back up a tractor trailer. Reversing a vehicle and its load can be incredibly tricky, especially for new truck drivers. That is why it is critical that truckers don’t let bad backing skills make or break their career.

Out of all the truck maneuvers a truck driver must learn, backing up is one of the most difficult to master. Some might even say that no one actually ever masters backing up. It is a constant effort of practicing and doing that helps truck drivers get more confident in the task. There must be a level of comfort to backing up a big rig in order to do it safely and successfully every time.

That’s why we wanted to devote some time to providing the basic tips required for any truck driver to successfully back up their tractor trailer. Whether you are a newbie, or an experienced truck driver with over a million safe miles under your belt, tips like these will never get old.

Pull Your Vehicle Up

Never hesitate to pull up or pull back around if you don’t get it right the first time. The fact is this: There isn’t a truck driver alive who has a 100% perfect record on backing up their truck. Yet, the smart truck driver will recognize when they have not gotten it right and take the necessary steps to correct it. Eventually they will get it right and each time they practice the maneuver they will get progressively better at it.

Speaking of Practice

The best way to ace a trucking maneuver is to spend plenty of time practicing it. Truck drivers must get a good feel for how their trailer moves and reacts to their driving skill. No two truck drivers operate a big rig in the same way, so figuring out the idiosyncrasies of a truck will require plenty of practice.

Empty Lots Are Your Friend

If you are wondering where you will practice your skills, if it isn’t in your home yard, then find an empty lot or empty truck stop to test your skills. Of course, it is important to check with whomever is managing the lot before you start driving around it and practicing maneuvers, but generally, if the lot is empty, you should be able to practice in it.

Check the Steering Wheel

Far too few truck drivers remember that when backing up, they can use their steering wheel as a marker for how they’re doing. New truck drivers would be wise to learn and practice this skill. Imagine the top of the steering wheel as the truck and the bottom as the trailer. As you back up, if you turn the steering wheel to the right, the bottom goes right, which means the trailer will go right. Turning it to the left causes the bottom to go left, so this is also what the trailer will do.

Have a GOAL

If there is one idiom that every truck driver should follow, it is to have a GOAL. In other words, to Get Out And Look! Never hesitate to get out of your vehicle and have a look if you are unsure about whether you are going to hit something or the position of your trailer. There is no harm in being extra cautious for the sake of safety.

Fortunately, this isn’t all we have for you. Join us next week when we dive deeper into what it takes to safely back up a tractor trailer.

Trucking Safely Through Construction Zones

Construction delays resulting from construction zones often create major headaches for truck drivers, especially those paid by the mile. Even more, construction zones serve as major safety problems for truck and passenger car drivers. In fact, according to the FHWA, over the past five years, over 4,400 people have been killed and over 200,000 injured in work zones, whether involving a large truck or not.

Furthermore, approximately every three days a fatal work zone crash involving a large truck occurs in the United States. That represents 133 truck-involved work zone crashes per year involving a large heavy-duty commercial motor vehicle. Rural interstates account for 47% of fatal work zone crashes. Nearly half of the time those crashes occurred because a large truck hit something or someone that was in front of the vehicle.

While the numbers from the FHWA bear out that work zones are dangerous for anyone traveling the nation’s roads or highways, they are particularly difficult for trucks, who must operate within the confines of either narrowed lanes or lanes that are diverted, merging, or requiring a major reduction in speed. The fact is, even the most professional, accident-free truck drivers must pay extra attention and take great care when traveling through construction or work zones.

Fortunately, there are specific actions truck drivers can take to ensure they get through work zones safely. With proper care and diligence, these sections of road need not be potential death traps for passenger car operators or truck drivers.

Pay Attention to Signage

Work zone signs tell those traversing the work zone everything they need to know. By reading the signs and taking proper care to follow their instructions, you will quickly understand the changes in road conditions or traffic patterns. Not paying attention to the signs can be a matter of life and death if not paid attention to. And considering that truck driver distraction is a factor in a third of all work zone crashes, it is especially important to pay close attention to the signs that are telling you what to expect.

Leave Plenty of Distance

Leaving enough space between your truck and the vehicle in front of you is always important, but it is especially important in work zones. In some cases, the signage may either not be correct or may have been blown over by wind. By paying extra attention to the taillights in front of your truck, you can know what is happening ahead of time. Keeping a good visual horizon, paying attention to road and traffic patterns, and quick preparation for slowing down or stopping can be the critical factor in preventing an accident from occurring.

Reduce Your Speed

When it comes to sudden stopping, high rates of speed can be extremely dangerous. Not only should truck drivers obey reduced speed signs, it doesn’t hurt to knock off a fraction more. Work zones change quickly and if you can’t quickly adjust your driving scenario to account for changing conditions within a work zone, you may find yourself in an unsafe situation. Keep your speed in check and always be ready to slow or stop when the situation merits.

Exercise Excessive Patience

Truck drivers must always be patient. Never let the need to get to a shipper or receiver on time cause you to try barreling through a work zone. You must always be on the look out for construction workers, signal to others what you plan to do and merge safely and early, no matter what your time constraint. Safe and professional truck drivers practice these tips with zealous frequency. Do you?

Technological Advances In Trucking Safety

Advances in driver-less and electric technology have been making all the headlines recently. Yet innovations in trucking go far beyond autonomous and sustainable technologies. There is another evolution underway, and it may have even greater implications for the trucking industry. The new frontier is in safety technology.

From data, monitoring, and analytics, the landscape for truck drivers and trucking companies is safer than ever. While the change in safety technology in the last 10 years can seem overwhelming, the change represents a lot of good news for the industry. First, it is important to start simple.

Don’t Dive In

In order to prevent yourself from getting your eyes crossed with all the safety changes and technologies available today, start simple. Simple things like backup alarms and collision-mitigation technologies like automatic braking can make all the difference without making you go crazy in implementation.

Features like stability and traction control also allow for a minor investment without breaking the bank or creating too much confusion. Timing is also important. Rather than adding a ton of technologies all at once, doing a staggered implementation lets truck drivers and fleet managers learn the new technology without a huge learning curve.

Make It Standard

Many fleets now standardize many safety technologies that were once considered options. From adaptive cruise control to stationary object detection and lane-departure warnings, truck drivers who move between fleets are no longer surprised by these technologies.

These add-ons are not annoying to truck drivers or overly intrusive. If anything, experienced truckers now expect these technologies. Ensuring these safety technologies come standard will keep your truckers safe and mitigate any financial damage from litigation.

Entertainment As Safety

Although it may seem counterintuitive, many fleet managers are learning that entertainment technology can also help with overall safety measures. Whether it be Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio or Apple Car Play integration, these technologies do more than make truck drivers happy.

Consider that wireless technologies allow truck drivers to focus on the road ahead rather than fiddling with dash controls or trying to make a call while they are operating a commercial motor vehicle. It is important that fleets do not view these technologies as a distraction, but rather as a safety-enhancer.

Maintenance And Safety

Not only is some of this newer technology helping safety professionals ensure their truck drivers operate safer out on the nation’s roads, it also provides a window into maintenance issues that could turn into safety issues. Whether it be a potential blow-out or a vital under-the-hood component, providing a solution to address maintenance from a safety perspective is critical.

Technologies exist that allow shop technicians to receive alerts when something is about to go wrong on a commercial motor vehicle. There is simply far too much at stake to leave such things to the whims of chance. Invest in smart maintenance technologies today.

Video To Start

Video-monitoring technology collects data and video related to incidents and is one of the easiest safety technologies to adopt. Many fleets today have already outfitted their vehicles with video-capture technology to help them coach their truck drivers and improve their overall safety profile.

Event-triggered cameras immediately jump into action when a risk event occurs, whether it be a hard brake or near collision. These are great coaching tools because they allow truck drivers to view things they could never view before. The video can be used almost like a game film to help show the truck driver how to improve their performance.

A Truck Driver’s Thanksgiving Safety Recipe

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at the Trucking Safety Blog. With the holidays here, we wanted to take a moment to talk about safety during the high season on our nation’s roads and highways. The fact is, truck drivers are making all the best and happiest deliveries, from turkeys to cranberries and all the fixin’s, but the most important delivery is the one that is made safely.

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year and it is incumbent on both truck drivers and motorists to take extra care during this time of year. There is a lot to be thankful for this year, with a booming economy and plenty of prosperity to go around, which is why it is important to pay extra attention to basic safe driving skills.

Did you know that AAA estimates that over 54 million people will travel in excess of 50 miles this Thanksgiving? This represents the highest Thanksgiving travel number in over a decade. With the roads so crowded, it is advised that professional truck drivers exercise patience when heading down their routes.

A particularly helpful resource for both truck drivers and motorists is the American Transportation Research Institute’s Top 100 Truck Bottleneck List. This list provides average speed by time for many different areas around the country. Motorists traveling through unfamiliar regions and truck drivers looking to avoid the worst traffic snarls would find this list quite helpful.

Yet, congestion is not the only challenge that truck drivers and motorists face over the Thanksgiving holiday. Many areas around the country are likely to experience signification snow or rainfall. Winter driving conditions provide unique challenges for truck drivers. Extreme winter weather necessitates safe following distances, reduced speeds, and proper truck maintenance.

There are several critical factors that professional truck drivers must keep in mind as they traverse a wintery landscape. By following tried-and-true methods, truck drivers and motorists can ensure they remain safe on our nation’s roads and highways, no matter the conditions. The fact is, safe driving tips for anyone can be potentially life-saving. With reduced visibility and adverse conditions, paying close attention and thinking critically at the right times can make the difference between life and death.

Even professional truck drivers will be hitting the road in their passenger cars this Thanksgiving. For many, it may be easy to take for granted that they are no longer driving a big rig. Safety behind the wheel of a passenger car is just as important. Truck drivers who have the day off and are on their way to the family’s house for Thanksgiving should always make sure they:

  • Buckle up: Seat belts will not prevent a collision, but they will save a life.
  • Remove ice and snow: Just because you are in a passenger car, windows covered in snow and ice are still very dangerous.
  • Slow down: After being behind the wheel of a semi, a lead foot comes easy behind the wheel of a passenger car. Don’t do it.
  • Stay sober: Don’t let the joy of Thanksgiving turn into a sad story because you chose to get behind the wheel instead of sober up on the couch.

The fact is, Thanksgiving should be a joyous time for everyone. Whether you are a professional truck driver behind the wheel of your rig or you have the day off to spend time with your family, always keep safe driving tips in mind. Stay safe out there and have a wonderful Thanksgiving and happy start to your holiday season!

A New Study Looks At Truck Driver Health And Wellness

Just north of the border, the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Health has just started a study specifically looking at the health, safety and wellness of long-haul truck drivers. This study is different from others in that it looks at several factors related to a truck driver’s behavior. The spectrum of data points it encompasses includes stress, fatigue, environmental risks, and road hazards. Out of the many studies completed on this topic, this takes a holistic look at truck driver safety and health.

The study was carried out through the creation of two online surveys. One survey was geared towards truck drivers and the second towards trucking companies. The questions in the surveys were designed to learn more about truck drivers’ behaviors and what kind of initiatives trucking companies are implementing to support a healthier lifestyle for truck drivers.

The university will be running the surveys through January of 2019. They are hoping to generate approximately 1,000 responses from both truck drivers and fleets by the time the study completed. Currently, the university is going through the process of aggregating the data and will begin analysis once it has been collected.

Formerly, the university completed a pilot study to determine the efficacy of a full study. The results from their pilot study revealed that health issues ranging from unhealthy eating and drinking to stress and other physiological problems are having a negative impact on truck driver health and wellness. The pilot study also uncovered that trucking companies can and should be doing more to provide a supportive environment for their truck drivers. Whether it be through flexible working hours, better health and wellness policies, or specific programs targeting employee health, the options are out there.

The data gathered through the study, once analyzed, will be used to set up a Best Practices manual or series of guidelines that can be shared with employers and managers within trucking companies. The university took up the study for obvious reasons related to long-haul trucker health.

Professional over-the-road truckers are at risk for elevated illnesses simply due to the nature of their job. Just as an office worker must spend many, many hours a day in a single position, not moving or exercising, a truck driver must operate in similar circumstances. The question surrounding the debate now is: What can be done to change this paradigm?

As technological solutions emerge, trucking companies are better poised to facilitate programs that specifically address the health and wellness of their employees and operators. While many within the industry point to ELD compliance as a major pain point, the health and safety of our nation’s truck drivers should take center stage as we move into the future. Certainly, the growth of innovation in the industry will help.

Truck drivers may be at greater risk for suffering health issues, but as the trucking industry expands and fleets reap the benefits of a heady trucking environment, there is no reason why truck driver health and safety should not take center stage. By delving into the data provided by studies like the one being done by the University of Saskatchewan, trucking companies will be better positioned to do just that. Will we see measurable improvements in trucker health over time? Hopefully so.

Identifying Risk And Providing Timely Coaching

We are going to give you an example and then follow it up with recommendations on how you would handle such a situation, as an enterprising fleet manager. We are going to call this case study: When Good Drivers Are At Risk.

Take a good truck driver who is flagged as at risk. Perhaps the fleet manager thinks highly of this individual, mainly because he has a long safe driving record. Yet, as time went on, perhaps this truck driver’s score deteriorated to a level where he was suddenly identified as someone who may need proactive intervention. What if the fleet manager had a way to prevent the accident?

Fleets must be well aware of predictive factors that could shine a light on potentially unsafe behavior or life factors. What if the fleet manager had noticed that the truck driver had been leaving his house later every night? Perhaps the truck driver even had speeding events. Without being able to identify these factors, the fleet will be at a disadvantage when it comes to preventing an accident before it even happens.

Now imagine that the truck driver has a history of driving aggressively. After speaking to him or her, the manager finds out that the driver’s home was damaged in a storm and they are trying to rush home to fix the damage before it gets worse. So, he left the house later and drove faster. Speaking to the truck driver is important, but an action plan must be put in place to assist the employee in eliminating the stress of the situation and getting back to a level where an unsafe pattern can be modified. This is where coaching comes in.

Planning a Coaching Intervention

Being able to predict a potential crash based on bad behavior means nothing if no action is taken to handle the matter. Intervention, education, and effective coaching must be implemented to reverse the potential risk. Fleet managers must be trained on proper intervention techniques that allow for frank conversations when they uncover data that denotes an elevated crash risk.

Common coaching between a fleet manager and a truck driver should involve conversations about critical events or remedial training. Even more, these conversations need to be objective and relational so that truck drivers understand they are merely taking an active interest in safe operation of the fleet’s equipment. This is the only way the fleet manager will understand the stresses the truck driver is dealing with and be able to speak to them in a compassionate and understanding manner.

When a truck driver is dealing with issues related to health, family, finances, pay, hours, or work conditions, they may be at an increased risk for an accident. Fleet managers must be having proactive and positive conversations to uncover any underlying issues that may be contributing to said risk. They must be able to find a way to help lest a severe accident occur as a result of their inaction.

Consider that a 2017 study in Transportation Journal shows that truck driver stress extends beyond health, family, finances, or work conditions. Other factors stressing truck drivers include feelings of isolation or a lack of respect from managers and/or colleagues. These are factors that fleet managers should be able to address.

Don’t let at-risk behaviors or other factors lead to a potential accident. Isolate the cause through a productive conversation and work with your truck drivers and others within your organization to provide relief and ensure compliance and safe operation.

The Keys To Predicting And Preventing Severe Accidents – Part I

Today, we are going to bring you our multi-Part article series on what your fleet can do to predict and prevent severe accidents. And while you may initially think, “But that’s impossible,” in fact it can be done. Of course, every fleet wants to increase safety and mitigate crash risk, but they just don’t know how. By properly using data, sleep education and effective truck driver coaching, fleets can improve their overall level of safety and prevent horrible accidents.

Of course, the most significant aspect of a severe accident is the human toll. People can become injured or even die. Lives can be ruined. Beyond how it impacts people and their families, accidents can be substantial and leave little room for unbudgeted costs, whether they be from insurance claims, litigation, repairs, or service level damages. Consider that a single severe collision could cost your fleet millions of dollars, and you can see the problem. Numbers like that could cripple a small fleet.

One of the major problems in dealing with severe accidents lies in the fact that they are typically infrequent and largely happen at random… or do they? Could it be that, contrary to popular belief, large truck accidents are not random at all? Indeed, they may very well be a natural culmination of information, a set of subtle data points that can be isolated and analyzed. With the right information, motor carriers may very well be able to detect or prevent an accident before it ever occurs.

The key is understanding what issues the data points to. One of the most common causes of road accidents involving large trucks is that of fatigue. And while most conventional safety programs deal with specific truck diver behaviors, such as not checking mirrors or proper speed control, something like loss of control is generally a physiological problem. When a truck driver is suffering from fatigue or sleep abnormalities, they may feel awake even when their mind is asleep.

Consider this scary fact: A truck driver technically can be 100% in compliant with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations while still being asleep at the wheel. When truck drivers are tired and become distracted from operating the vehicle, accidents occur. Most severe accidents occur when truck drivers lose control of the vehicle and are not responsive at the point of contact.

When a truck driver has been exposed to:

  • Disrupted sleep
  • Truncated sleep
  • Sleeping during the day
  • Cumulative fatigue
  • New sleep patterns and times

They may be at risk for a severe accident. Additionally, there are six major accident types that fall into the “severe” category and can be attributed to fatigue and loss of control:

  • Roll-overs
  • Run-off-road
  • Head-on
  • Jack-knife
  • Side-swipe
  • Rear-end

Each of these accident types could be potentially fatal for anyone else on the road as well as the truck operator. These types of loss of control accidents happen when the operator is disconnected or distracted from the truck driving task at hand. In these situations, they may not take any action, but had they been awake, would have seen the point of impact at least five to seven seconds before the accident occurs.

This is where the data gleaned from electronic logs can be used to the benefit of the truck driver and the fleet. Although the ELD rollout has not been without its fair share of confusion and complaint, it does provide a rich data set that can be used to do more than ensure compliance, it can save lives. Join us in Part II of our series where we examine exactly how that can be done.

Creating A Safety Culture On A Budget

Not every fleet has the budget to spend huge amounts of money on safety initiatives. In fact, more than half of all fleets in the country are considered small-size motor carriers. So, instead of worrying about where they will come up with the necessary capital to invest in an expensive safety program, they should approach safety from a two-pronged approach.

Small fleets need to focus on the hiring and onboarding process in two ways. One, they need to create a company safety culture that promotes truck driver practices that reinforce safety. Two, they need to utilize a training system that matches the company’s needs.

Consider this: Annual truck driver turnover rate at small trucking fleets hit 80% in 2017. The fact is, small fleets have a much harder time recovering from attrition and turnover. It simply costs them more since they are working twice as hard with far less resources. This is why ensuring their workers receive adequate training, remain compliant with the organization’s safety values, and – above all – don’t quit.

If your truck drivers are compliant, yet have pride in the organization, and are passionate about what they do, it won’t be hard to ensure a great safety culture without having to invest tens of thousands of dollars in equipment and coaching.

Simplify Your Structure

Small fleets need to simplify their fleet management structure with programs that focus on safety, training, and follow-up. In many cases, fleet and/or safety managers can create simple programs, in-house, that keep these factors in mind.

One idea is to set up a safety group coupled with an in-house online training system. New truck drivers get two-to-five days of hands-on training followed up by a web-based test. This way they get the opportunity to work with a fellow truck driver, ask appropriate questions, and create a relationship they may not have with a direct manager, simply due to the chain of command.

Follow up tests would be designed to ensure the truck driver has retained the necessary information to succeed within the fleet. If for some reason they were unable to pass a basic proficiency, follow-up training can be assigned. The most important thing is to ensure that every truck driver has received the training they need to effectively, but most of all, safely, operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Consider these simple, cost-effective solutions:

  • Certified truck driver training programs;
  • In-house created instructional technology solutions;
  • Constructive feedback documented by trainers and company stakeholders, and;
  • Safety scorecards used to measure safety incidents and created by an in-house safety committee.

Compliance is important because if you have operators who are safe, but are not operating in a compliant manner, it does nothing to help the safety goals of your organization.

Inexpensive Online Solutions

Online solutions exist for small fleets who are looking for inexpensive options. Small fleet managers could employ training mechanisms that track and verify truck driver compliance and safety, all in one.

Fleets with limited resources could forego creating their own in-house programs for customized solutions and online training tools and dashboards that provide metrics and guidance. Customized online tools provide data that fleet safety managers can use to identify how operators are performing.

Even better, the National Safety Council provides an online course resource that small fleets can use at minimal cost. Whichever your fleet chooses, truck drivers feel empowered to practice safe driving behavior when they know the company they work for is investing in their future, even if that investment must be minimal.

In the end, you do not need to spend a small fortune, no matter your size, to enhance the safety culture within your organization. Find online tools or build in-house, then tap into the resource you already have: experienced truck drivers who can help train and retain.

Key Tips To Improving Your CSA Scores – Part III

Welcome to our final installment where we look at how to improve your CSA scores. Even though we are facing a wholesale change as CSA scores transform into the IRT model, trucking companies must still live and die by the current model, so we want to cover everything we can to help you make sure your fleet is prepared.

Today, we are going to finish out our look at how you can ensure your CSA scores are in tip-top shape. Let’s first dive into preventative maintenance, pre-trip inspections, and your DVIR. As any fleet manager knows, it is absolutely critical that a systematic maintenance on all vehicles and trailers in the fleet are completed, but what more should they know?

Looking at Inspections

A motor carrier’s truck drivers should be well-trained on how to do pre-trip inspections. The best way to train a truck driver is to provide an example and show them examples of how to do it. Are you properly watching how long your truck drivers spend on an inspection? This should be a matter of company policy and should provide a standard by which all your operators live by.

Note that Federal regulation 396.13 state that the truck driver needs to do the following before hopping in the cab and operating the commercial motor vehicle:

  • They must be satisfied that the motor vehicle is in safe operating condition.
  • They must review the last driver vehicle inspection report.
  • They must sign the duty report and note any defects or deficiencies.

Are you performing simple tests to ensure your truck drivers are performing their pre-trip inspection properly? How many of them should have noticed issues that were not picked up during the inspection? Furthermore, how are they properly ensuring the cargo they are carrying is secured?

Consider that things falling off the truck could not only harm CSA scores, it could cause potential injury or death to other drivers on the road. When a truck driver puts something on the vehicle, they have got to ensure it does not move, is blocked, braced, and tied down.

There are two pre-trip schedules. Schedule A is a pre-trip inspection performed by a mechanic or shop technician. Schedule B is an inspection that generally refers to keeping oil healthy. Annual inspections should be standard operating procedure. Is your fleet ensuring they are completed?

HazMat Compliance

There is something very important to consider. If your fleet transports hazardous materials, you need to make sure your truck drivers are thoroughly familiar with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). Fleets that carry HazMat freight are required to have a higher CSA score than regular motor carriers. Common issues that HazMat carriers must be trained in include:

  • Ensuring HazMat goods are classified and packaged correctly.
  • Ensuring shipping papers are correct.
  • Ensuring correct markings, labels, and placards are present.
  • Ensuring an emergency response kit is readily available within the vehicle.

Another thing to consider is the route. HazMat drivers operating on restricted routes can receive a CSA violation. Are you operating with a commercial-grade navigation system that complies with truck-legal routes?

Effective Safety Committee

Not all motor carriers have a safety committee, but yours should. Implementing a safety committee ensures your fleet is safety-conscious. Even more, as CSA moves towards the IRT model, the FMCSA is going to be looking at safety culture as barometer for fleet performance.

A safety committee is designed to learn the root cause of safety issues, as well as how to fix them. Even more, a safety committee cannot be just for show. It must have the authority to implement changes as it sees fit.

In the end, even though CSA is changing, to win the business your fleet is deserved, you need to make sure you have safety on the mind. CSA scores and your bottom line stand to benefit from this mindset.

Key Tips To Improving Your CSA Score – Part II

Welcome back to Part II in our series taking a look at how you can improve your CSA scores. In our last post we examined exactly what a CSA score is and how it is weighted. This week, we will begin diving into key ways that you can ensure your CSA score remains as sparkly clean as possible.

Consider this: It takes around 20 good inspection to offset one bad inspection. There are many reasons to pay close attention to your CSA scores, but this one should really give you pause. There are essential tips every truck driver or fleet manager should know, so let’s get started.

Data Verification

Ensuring your inspection data is verified is critical to avoiding a bad inspection on your record. You need to make sure your inspection data is valid, accurate, and warranted. If you see bad inspection data, make sure to get it corrected.

You can always challenge bad information through an RDR, or request for data review process. Just bear in mind that before you do so, you will need to make sure you have clear, factual evidence for why the data is incorrect. You will also need to clearly list issues, whether they are missing records, incorrect or duplicate information.

It is also critical that you use neutral language. The review officer is very much likely a peer of the officer who made the original notation. If you have ELD records, photos, eyewitness accounts, or otherwise, all of this will be good for your cause. Also remember that you have up to two years to challenge inspection data.

When it comes to ensuring proper data trails, make sure your carrier registration is kept up-to-date. Motor carriers are required to complete an MCS-150 form at least once every two years. Ensure truck and truck driver numbers and mileage data are all up-to-date.

Ensuring Control

Does your management team have adequate safety controls in place? The Safety Management Cycle put forth by the DOT was done so to ensure there are controls in place. The operations team must establish clearly-defined roles and responsibilities, as well as hiring and training standards.

When a truck driver or other member of the team is not performing up to standard, it is on the management team to do something about it. Some fleets use a three-strike process. It might help to establish thresholds for events such as speeding, swerving, or harsh braking.

Whatever process your fleet uses, you must make sure your management controls are properly documented and make sense. Otherwise you could find yourself on the wrong end of a DOT audit.

Dispatch Limitations

Always remember that staying CSA compliant is not just the responsibility of your truck drivers. Dispatch operators and managers also have a big job to do. Consider dispatch limits as defined in regulation 395.3 of the HOS rules. These rules are not up for debate.

Dispatchers must make sure that they are not overloading the fleet truck drivers to such an extent that it forces them to violate HOS rules. If the home office is not doing a good enough job helping truck drivers stay compliant with HOS rules, you may find a CSA violation is not far behind.

With the ELD mandate here, it is far easier to eliminate what used to be one of the largest HOS violations, problem with logbooks. Have you already outfitted your fleet with electronic logging devices? If not, you may be on the unfortunate receiving end of a violation.

Join us next week in our final installment of this series!