Category Archives: Legal

Safety Initiatives Taking Hold

No matter where you are around the globe, trucking safety initiatives are changing the industry. Trucking advocacy groups and fleets alike are doing everything they can to improve their safety profiles and raise awareness for trucking safety and overall advancement, no matter where they are around the globe.

In one heartwarming trucking story, the Australian Trucking Association has supported a campaign advocated by students from Swinburne University called “Don’t Truck Around.” The university’s Communication Design department completes an annual campaign focused on safe driving measures, from using a cell phone while driving to drinking and driving.

The campaign also aims to teach youth how to interact with large commercial motor vehicles once they finally start driving. Knowing how to react around a large truck is an important part of safely operating a passenger vehicle on any road anywhere in the world.

The numbers of commercial motor vehicles operating on Australian roads is only set to continue increasing over time, leaving that country with an essential choice. The Australian Trucking Association partnered with the school to pick top finalists to pitch their campaign.

In good news for trucking in general, no matter who won the competition, our compatriots down under stated they would use the feedback garnered from everyone who pitched, as well as information gleaned from their annual conference. They expressed interest in integrating it within the future decisions made regarding trucking in Australia.

Large U.S. Outfits Integrate Safety Systems

One of the largest players in trucking, Penske Logistics, has made a decision that will likely push safety technologies in a way that could see greater adoption across the trucking spectrum.

With a fleet of 2,800 heavy-duty commercial motor vehicles, the company has pledged to add video-based safety technologies to the mix. The technologies they have committed to outfitting on their fleet will include event-triggered on-board cameras that face both inside and outside the cab.

They hope to use the inward-facing camera information for truck driver coaching initiatives and bettering of fleet safety initiatives. Their commitment to outfitting these technologies also extends to older fleet vehicles.

Penske had previously run a pilot program within the company using the methodology from the larger idea. Internal company reports pointed to good results from the internal tests. The company reported a reduction in road safety incidents and higher overall safety scores for their truck drivers.

This technology will add to other technologies in use by the company, from backup alarms to collision-avoidance systems and more.

Using the Smith System

The company relies on the Smith System to train its truck drivers on the best way to operate a big rig. The Smith System relies on five key factors designed to reduce collisions, prevent injuries and save lives.

The five common principles of the Smith System of truck driving include aiming high on your steering, always being on the keen lookout for hazards, never get lost in a glare and stare. Always keep your eyes open and leave yourself a way to get out of a hazardous situation.

Always keep aware of the area of space around your tractor-trailer and make sure passenger cars and others on the road can always see you, whether through the use of your signals, lights, horn or other implement.  The Smith System uses a rating system to determine the safety efficacy of the truck drivers under the system’s tutelage.

With so many decisions within the trucking industry focused on safety, expect constant evolution in the sector. No matter the system used, trucking will continue to improve its safety profile the world over for a very long time; a good thing for everyone involved.

Staying Safe On The Job: Essential Tips For Every Professional Truck Driver

If you are a professional truck driver, you know how important it is to take special care on the job. Being a truck driver does not come without on-the-job risks, but if you take special care, you can ensure your health and safety from your first day on the job all the way through to your retirement.

The good news is that safety training and technologies have made it easier than ever for truck drivers to avoid nasty injuries on the job. And as a professional truck driver yourself, you can contribute to this ongoing trend. That’s why we wanted to cover often-overlooked on-the-job safety tips every truck driver should keep in mind.

Move Around

Being a truck driver is a sedentary job, much like many jobs nowadays. This is why it is important to take time to get out of the vehicle and move around. Minimizing your time spent in the cab’s seat helps keep your body healthy and limber. Don’t just sit in the driver’s seat while at rest stops. If your cab is equipped with a bed, you may even want to lie down and stretch, as opposed to sitting in your seat.

Clothing Matters

There is nothing worse than wearing tight or chafing clothing during long hours in the your vehicle. You want to wear loose, comfortable clothing and footwear. A big part of this is blood circulation. Not only does a lack of circulation lead to major health problems down the road, it is also incredibly uncomfortable.

Avoid Long Jumps

One of the most dangerous things a truck driver can do is jump from the cab down to the ground. You want to make sure you step carefully out of your vehicle and take great care in getting to the ground. One foot or hand should always be on a support piece, whether on ascent or descent to and from the vehicle. If you lose your grip or otherwise find yourself in an awkward position, it can lead to injury or worse.

Don’t Be A Hero

Never try to be the toughest guy on the block when handling loads. If possible, use mechanized equipment to handle loads. If you do not have equipment to help you, don’t attempt to lift a load you think may be too heavy for you. Also avoid lifting from your back if you do have to lift a box. If a load is too heavy for you, seek assistance.

Consider Road Vibrations

Whether you are truck driver or fleet manager, consider the effect road vibrations have on the occupant of a vehicle. If the vehicle is an older model, vibrations can have a negative impact on the entire body. When vibrations occur over a long period of time, critical bones and organs can be subject to injury, from the spine to other internal body structures.

Consider The Cab

Relating to road vibrations, it is important to consider a truck’s interior design. From the instrument panel’s layout to insulation and reduction of interior noise, all of these are important factors. Trucking companies and owner operators must pay careful attention to the layout of the cab to ensure both maximum comfort and safety at all times.

Watch For Fatigue

It is critically important for truck drivers to watch for fatigue. If you have been driving for many hours, non-stop, fatigue can be a major problem. If you become inattentive while driving your commercial motor vehicle, it can result in a major accident or worse. You should always practice safety and realize that when fatigue steps in, getting your load there in time should take a back seat.

 

How To Incentivize Better Safety Within Your Fleet

When it comes to training your tuck drivers to operate safer out on the nation’s roads, why not add an element of competition to incentivize behavioral change on a macro scale. We’re here to tell you exactly how to do that.

Take a peer group and set up a competition system, whether your truck drivers are working individually or within a team. Turn safe driving into a competition and offer prizes to truck drivers who play “the game” the best.

First you want to set up the goals for your safety competition.

Using SMART Goals

One of the most effective goal-setting techniques in the modern corporate world is that of SMART goals. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results-focused
  • Time-bound

As one example of how you can use SMART goals to create a better safety paradigm within your fleet is if you want to decrease overall idle time to less than 15 minutes per day. Pick a specific time period and choose your factors. You may want to focus on several goals at a time, and that is fine, but make sure your goals do not overlap or cause confusion. You want your truck drivers to understand and buy-in to the program. It should be more than simple safety window dressing.

Once you have selected your measurable factors and chosen your timeline, you want to establish behavioral patterns you wish to see changed. You can measure behavioral changes through hard baseline data.

Using Data to Reach your Goals

In order to figure out how well your fleet is doing at meeting the goals, it will be important to collect the data and determine a method for analyzing it. You want at least 30 days of control data, regardless of the time frame parameters of your competition. Make sure you do not notify those in the competition pool of the pre-defined parameters so that you don’t tempt them to try and game the system.

Once you have the data collected, use it to determine whether you have set a realistic timeline for the program. Also make sure you are taking outside factors into consideration. If you are trying to set up a competition surrounding idle time, you don’t want to hold bad weather or construction against them within the game.

What Are Your Incentives?

Of course, the only way you will see real results from the program is if there is a winner or group of winners. You could also create specific categories of winners, whether it be “Least Idle Time” or “Most On-Time Deliveries.” With larger groups you may want to have more winners.

Remember, the best way to inventivize real change is to create a realistic program. You could use cash prizes, gift cards, company schwag, more off-hours, or other things you think your truck drivers or employees may find particularly meaningful. Above all, make sure there is a reasonable chance to have a winner every time.

Be Transparent

Transparency is extremely important to ensure you have buy-in for your program. You could place stats or standings in the break room or provide an online portal your truckers can log into to see where they rank.  This helps motivate participants to do better by creating a little open friendly competition among them.

Finally, use the data to provide actionable tips and tricks to your truck drivers. Use the information you find to enhance your overall training endeavors. Whether you use a classroom-type setting, online video, or in-cab prompts, there are many ways you can use the data to increase safety measures.

Of course, in the end, the most important thing is making sure your truck drivers are both safe and happy. Utilizing friendly competition to accomplish these goals is a healthy way to do it.

Do ELD Exemptions And Uneven Enforcement Gut The Rule?

The ELD Mandate, which went into effect on December 18, requires that the majority of interstate commercial truck drivers use ELD devices to ensure they are properly tracking their hours of service so as not to exceed the federal limits. Yet, that majority has been steadily shrinking as exemptions and uneven enforcement potentially neuters the mandate’s effectiveness.

OOIDA Requests A Major Exemption

There are currently many petitions sitting with the FMCSA, from a technical exemption for UPS to petitions from power and communications contractors. Yet, there is one petition that represents a huge question mark in the future and effectiveness of the ELD mandate.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has petitioned the FMCSA to exempt small business trucking companies with operations under $27.5 million in annual revenue. Should this petition be approved, the exemption would in effect exempt 95 percent of all trucking companies.

To be fair, the OOIDA did include some qualifiers in their petition request. One such exemption was for motor carriers who have an unsatisfactory safety rating. The other was that exempt fleets would be required to document and present a proven history of safety performance that includes no at-fault crashes.

Those opposed to this line of reasoning say that there is no specific definition of what constitutes an at-fault crash. With nearly 93 percent of OTR trucking companies currently reporting no DOT-reportable crashes, the number of trucking companies removed from potential exemption is negligible. Should the OOIDA’s request be approved, the number of motor carriers looking at an exemption could stand in the tens of thousands.

While many do not expect the petition to wind up being passed by the FMCSA, it should be noted that 25 members of Congress sent a letter to the FMCSA supporting the petition. On the other side, the Trucking Alliance filed comments opposing the exemption.

What both sides acknowledge is that even if the FMCSA were to approve the petition, the inevitable result would be a trip to court and a legal battle. Why? The ELD Mandate is a Congressional imperative, so any major changes granted by the FMCSA would be subject to lawsuit by either side.

Will the ELD Mandate Have Any Teeth?

With the ELD Mandate suffering under the burden of enforcement issues and constant questions, some wonder if it will have any major impact on trucking safety. Consider that 17 states are waiting for April 1 to begin enforcement, with another 12 allowing the enforcement officer to decide. With the resulting 10 states writing ELD tickets, enforcement has been spotty across the board.

Currently, most of tickets being written are not for specific safety concern but are instead related to either no logs available or spec problems with the device being used. With the ELD enforcement picture so cloudy, is it even possible to determine whether their use is having a positive impact on trucking safety? With the jury still out on the effectiveness of the current HOS rules, no one knows.

Although December was the intended start of enforcement, many operators are waiting until April 1 to get compliant. With enforcement uneven across the board, trucking operators are betting that low enforcement levels will mean they won’t get a ticket, or even if they do, they won’t be put out of service or get a CSA ding. With the incentive to get compliant now taken away, the time between December and January provides a nebulous picture of the mandate’s effectiveness. How this will all play out as trucking advocates and fleets attempt to evaluate crash rates and safety levels is anybody’s guess.

 

Spring Driving Tips Every Professional Truck Driver Should Know

Any professional truck driver will tell you that you need a different set of skills for spring truck driving than you do for winter driving. But how many truck drivers actually know what these tips are? Not being able to tell the difference between a winter road and a spring road can be dangerous to not just the truck driver but to all those on the road around them.

Well, springs almost here. Are you ready for these essential spring truck driving tips? Let’s get started!

Spring Into Safe Driving

When was the last time you had seen a sign telling you to watch for ice on the side of the road while driving in a sunny location in Southern California. Situations like this should make every professional truck driver consider the different truck driving extremes presented by different seasons.

As winter snow melts, be sure to watch for spray kicked up by other road vehicles traveling through the slush. If there is no spray being kicked up and the road appears to be wet, it probably means the roads are icy. Be sure to check you mirrors and antenna as well. When temperatures drop below 35 degrees dampness can freeze if the surface of the road is colder than that.

It only takes a small amount of ice to cause you to lose control of your truck, which could change the trajectory of your entire day. You might also take caution when there are heavy winds. Understandably, lighter trailers are at a higher risk of blowing over, but heavy trucking trailers are at risk as well. Don’t leave anything for granted when it comes to the safety of your vehicle.

Where trucks may not exactly blow over, high winds can result in the truck going off to the side of road or for the truck to lose traction when roads are slick, which can lead to a crash.

Warm Weather Doesn’t Automatically Mean Safe Driving

When the weather begins to warm, wild animals start moving closer to highways. The ground closest to the pavement warms faster than the ground away from pavement, causing vegetation to grow faster in these areas. Wild animals set out toward vegetation when this happens and can make roads more dangerous for both truck drivers and those operating passenger vehicles.

Female deer can give birth as early as February and continue to fawn through July. When deer are pregnant, they need more vegetation and move at a slower pace. If one suddenly appears in front of you, it will be harder for them to move out of the way.

Wild animals are likely to be livelier near the highway around dusk and dawn. There are still plenty of wild animals out during the day and in complete darkness, so be alert.

If an animal jumps in front of your truck while driving down the highway, don’t panic, grip your steering wheel tightly and slow down without slamming on your breaks. This will keep your truck on a forward path making it safer for yourself and others around you. Deviating from the forward path has caused many trucking deaths and even more accidents involving other vehicles around the truck.

Keep an Eye on Four-Legged Friends

Remember deer are much smaller than your truck and hitting one may damage it, but it is much safer than swerving and possibly tipping over your truck and load. Your job will most likely be in tact for hitting a large animal but flipping the truck and ruining the goods in the trailer may cause a different outcome for your safety and the safety of your job.

The beginning of spring is the best time to check your truck’s air conditioning mechanism to ensure it is functioning at full capacity. It is getting warmer out and you’ll need it soon.

Always pay close attention to your truck tires’ condition to ensure they are in good shape for the warmer weather ahead. Examine your tires for deterioration and any indication of tire rot.

Keep these principles in mind and you will be  safe operator no matter the season!

Examining New Trucking Safety Proposals

A new law in Tennessee is addressing truck platooning, but some worry if the authorities have collected enough information to properly determine whether truck platooning increases safety. One way Tennessee authorities aim to address this is through placing a safety device on trucks that operate in platoons.

According to the Tennessee State Highway Patrol, they have lobbied the state legislature to place a light device to alert authorities when trucks are not platooning properly under the new law. It’s no secret that motor carriers have been experimenting with platooning to both increase fuel efficiency and over-the-road safety, yet, the method is still not entirely proven.

The way this works is by linking trucks together using radars and cameras. They follow at a set distance and draft behind one another. Cutting out wind resistance this way can result in cost savings for the motor carriers. Yet other say that this tactic puts profit above truck driver safety.

Those concerned about platooning point to potential obstacles or road hazards that could present themselves unexpectedly and endanger all the vehicles traveling in the platoon. If one of the truck must make a sudden movement because of a road hazard, will the other trucks in the platoon have enough time to respond.

Another concern lies in the fact that some worry platooning could lead to truck drivers driving in a more complacent manner. If they are steadily traveling behind other trucks at a specific rate of speed, it could become easier to succumb to fatigue or not pay attention as much as they otherwise would.

While the matter is still open for debate, states and regulators are moving ahead with their own efforts to manage platooning. How this will all shake out is anyone’s guess.

Australia Wants to Shock Their Truck Drivers

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, the New South Wales Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight has proposed that truck drivers who suffer from fatigue be given electric shocks. They believe that giving truck drivers who are falling asleep on the road a good jolt could significantly improve roadway safety.

Naturally, this has not made truck drivers very happy. Even though regulators state that the technology is extremely advanced and only shocks them when necessary, truckers wonder how much truth there is to that when they will get a jolt if they look away from the windshield for more than two seconds. This could mean they get a shock even when they are not fatigued. By simply glancing somewhere else in the truck, they could find themselves receiving an unwanted jolt.

Meanwhile, the union that represents truck drivers in Australia has come out strongly against the measure, stating that most truck-related accidents are not a result of fatigue, but are instead occurring due to unfair or unsafe working conditions. They also suggest that shocking truck drivers who aren’t fatigued could increase the chances of an accident if the truck driver ends up making a jerking movement while traveling at a high rate of speed.

Medical conditions could also be exacerbated by electric shocks. Still, the New South Wales Minister appears to be attempting to move ahead with the measure. She is positing that the proposal isn’t meant to anger truck drivers, but to begin a debate on available technologies designed to increase roadway safety for truck drivers and those operating on the roads around them.

Still, it is unclear whether the measure will pass, with nearly every trucking industry advocate and motor carrier in Australia lobbying heavily against it. Could we one day see a similar measure in the United States? Truckers hope not.

Your Winter Truck Driving Check-Up

It’s never a bad time during a cold winter season to remind professional truck drivers about the dos and don’ts of safe driving. Operating a heavy-duty Class 8 commercial motor vehicle isn’t an easy task to begin with, but when you add in potentially unsafe weather conditions, it becomes a real problem.

Are you taking extra precautions? If you are a long-haul truck driver operating over windy mountain passes that are susceptible to snow, would you know how to correct if you experienced wheel slippage?

These are the types of questions that any responsible truck driver operating in wintry conditions would ask themselves. It is important not just for personal safety, but for the safety of everyone else on the road. No one likes driving in unsafe conditions, so making it as safe as possible benefits everyone.

Be Adaptable

One of the main problems inexperienced truck drivers find themselves in during winter conditions arise from the operator not altering their driving habits to account for the bad weather. Just as one would alter how they drive their passenger car during a howling blizzard, a truck driver must do double the effort.

Professional truckers must have the knowledge and ability to implement proper preventative safety skills in order to stay safe on potentially unsafe road surfaces. Altering one’s driving behavior starts with how much speed they are sending to the wheels.

Slow Down

Most winter-related accidents  occur because one party was traveling too fast for the conditions. It gets complicated when the allowed speed limit is too fast for the conditions. A truck driver must be able to discern when going below the posted speed limit is necessary for safe operating condition.

Any truck driver who has operated in winter will tell you the importance of taking your time. There is no need to hurry when safety is at stake. Just consider the fact that your cargo won’t matter if you wind up in a collision because you were going to fast.

Stay Back

If there is a number two for what causes the most winter-related accidents, it would have to be following too closely. Truck drivers already know the importance of keeping a safe distance, so when the conditions are snowy or icy, they must also know that more room than they are used to may be called for.

As you are maintaining a safe distance, it is also important to be sure you are not following the tail lights of the vehicle in front of you. You know this already from nighttime truck driving, but it is even more important in low-visibility scenarios. Your first reaction may be to follow those lights because you can see even less. Don’t do it.

Stay Solo

Platooning is a big part of how some truck drivers and trucking companies get the job done. Well, if there is one time for a truck driver to not operate in a pack, it is during unsafe weather conditions. Beyond platoons, avoid traffic clusters.

When you make sure you are a safe distance away from clumps of other drivers, whether truckers or passenger drivers, you are operating safely. Snowy conditions call for solo driving, so make sure you focus on your tractor and where it’s going, rather than where anyone else on the road around you is going.

We could probably fill a four-part series blog on safe winter driving tips. From not stopping on the shoulder to proper braking and steering techniques if you loose control, there is so much to cover.

Fortunately, if you follow this year’s guiding principles, you’ll be starting out safely on those icy, snowy winter roads. Stay safe out there this season, truckers! And happy holidays!

New Moves In Trucking Safety

There are a number of interesting bits of news this week in trucking safety. The first comes out of Utah, where the Federal Highway Administration opened a commenting period for the public to weigh in on a truck-climbing lane in Utah.

The news comes on the back of an announcement by the Utah Department of Transportation that it plans to install a truck-climbing lane on a steep section of Interstate 80 approximately 15 miles from Salt Lake City.

The climbing lane will stretch for around 3 miles, cutting across and over the mountain pass known as Parley’s Summit. You may be wondering, “Well, what’s so special about Utah?”

The main reason this is big news is that Interstate 80 is a major route between San Francisco and New Jersey. Many people who travel cross-country wind up taking this route.

Now, the FHWA plans to seek judicial review on the matter before March 5 of 2018. According to a UDOT spokesman, the purpose of the project is to reduce the amount of truck congestion currently on the highway. It is also meant to limit accidents that involve other motorists or wildlife.

The wildlife problem will be addressed with the installation of a wildlife crossing over the I-80. Since there a lot of deer and elk in the area, this bypass should help alleviate accident risk and save wildlife.

Ian Peterson, who is the COO for a Utah-based trucking company, was quoted as saying “I don’t see a downside to that. It’s a pretty heavily traveled canyon.  There’s a lot of truck traffic in that canyon, but then there’s also a lot of commuter traffic.”

A big problem with the area is that commuter traffic has exploded as people have moved to the area in droves. According to the U.S. Cencus Bureau, Utah is the fastest-growing state by population. Surrounding communities, from Jeremy Ranch to Park and Heber City are seeing exponential growth. Unfortunately, this expansion is crowding out the route, which runs three lands in each direction. ‘

Again, Ian Peterson. “That’s really added to the number of cars on the road, especially during peak driving hours. I think it’ll make it safer because there is a lot of traffic. I think it’s a positive thing.”

New Low-Cost Safety Solution 

On another safety front, a company out of Anaheim, California is addressing a problem truck drivers face during drop and hook operations. Many believe this to be a completely overlooked cause of worker compensation costs and lost productivity within trucking.

The company, UltraLift Technologies, aims to help reduce the number of repetitive stress injuries truck drivers face.  The low-power tool they have developed represents a safer alternative to hand-cranking whenever a truck driver needs to raise or lower the trailer’s landing gear.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety, “upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders are one of the four most common types of workplace injury. They can also be some of the most costly.

Still, far too few trucking companies pay close enough attention to these types of injuries. Instead, so much effort has been put into distracted driving and reducing traffic accidents, that many forget there are plenty of safety concerns at stake when a truck is parked, as well.

UltraLift enters the market claiming that their tool is the first of its kind and can be used on any trailer type, whether hydraulic, pneumatic or electrical. All that is required is around 5- 10 minutes of installation time.

Since fleets have the option of quickly and easily retrofitting their fleet with this technology, with very little downtime, UltraLift is aiming to see its technology reach widespread adoption across the trucking industry.

With fleets continually trying to cut costs and add more to their bottom line, minimizing costs, injuries and workplace safety issues can go a long way. Is your motor carrier taking these problems seriously? We operate in a new age of safety. It’s time to get prepared.

 

Why Preventative Maintenance Should Be Part Of Your Safety Program

Why does preventative maintenance matter? Because it could be the major mitigating factor when it comes to the safe operation of your fleet’s heavy-duty commercial motor vehicles.

The fact is, fleet vehicles need to be inspected and maintained on a regular basis. Without proper preventative maintenance, your operation could be spending wasted dollars on reactive maintenance, which does nothing to help your bottom line.

For professional truck drivers, preventative maintenance should be a constant fact of life. When one works with a vehicle day-in and day-out, they need assurances that the safe operation of that vehicle is paramount.

Avoiding Unscheduled Maintenance

Routine vehicle servicing shouldn’t be in question. It is unscheduled maintenance that can cause problems on the road. What if a tire blows out because it wasn’t noticed that a lug was at risk for blowing out?

If that tire blows while on the road, the truck driver could be at a greater risk for accident. The last thing your fleet needs is a safety issue because you weren’t able to discern when a tire needed to be replaced.

The Department of Transportation regulates preventative maintenance under Section 3496.3 of the FMCSRs. This means that you are required to have a preventative maintenance program in place at all times.

The Key Steps to Road Safety

For every fleet or motor carrier in operation, road safety is the number one priority. Road safety includes everything from frequent maintenance to scheduled services and vehicles repairs and inspections.

Trucking companies make significant and valuable investments into their fleets. Investing similarly in preventative maintenance saves a fleet from paying costly regulation violation fees. As a result, preventative maintenance should be an integral part of every fleet truck driver training program.

A scheduled fleet maintenance program will focus on ensuring that the vehicles in the fleet are in good condition 100% of the time. Although your maintenance schedule may vary, a calendar or checklist will help you keep track of which vehicles are in need of attention, whatever the kind.

What to Tell Your Truck Drivers

But how do you train a truck driver to take preventative maintenance seriously? It starts with the senses. When you explain to your truck operators the incentives behind operating their truck at peak operational efficiency, it isn’t hard to get their buy-in on the program.

Tell them to consider the following questions:

  • Do you smell something strange coming from inside or outside the vehicle?
  • Is there water trapped underneath the carpet?
  • Does their appear to be an electrical malfunction?
  • Are you hearing any strange sounds coming from underneath the hood or within the cab?
  • Are there any fluids leaking out from underneath the vehicle?
  • Do you hear any rhythmic clicks or taps at any point during vehicle operations?

What is most important is that your fleet implements a road safety program as soon as possible. However you address the individual needs of your fleet, make sure safety is at the top of the list. Ensure you are keeping adequate records and that you put a capable person in charge of the program.

Are you wondering how to take your safety initiatives to another level? Consider preventative maintenance as an essential key in this process. By ensuring your trucks are in good working condition and your truck drivers are trained, you’ll ensure safe marks for your fleet for some time to come.

 

An Update To The Apnea Rule And How To Spot The Condition

The Trump administration recently withdrew a proposed FMCSA requirement put to paper a year ago that railroad and trucking companies test employees for obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder believed to be at the heart of a great number of truck and rail crashes over the decades.

In announcing that they were withdrawing the proposal, the FMCSA, along with the Federal Railroad Administration, said they would rather trucking companies voluntarily screen their employees, rather than being mandated to do so.

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition. Those who suffer from it rarely get a good, quality night’s sleep. This can result in daytime drowsiness and fatigue. As reported by the National Institutes of Health, sleep apnea is a condition that rarely winds up getting diagnosed.

Those that suffer from sleep apnea could find themselves having unintended sleep episodes. They could also suffer from decreased situational awareness and responsiveness, resulting in a reduced capacity to respond to hazards or safely operate something like a heavy-duty Classs 8 motor vehicle.

The proposed rule was part of a requirement instigated by the December 2013 derailment of a Metro-North train in New York. The train jumped the tracks on a curve designed for 30 mph travel. It was going 82 mph when it derailed, killing four people and injuring many others.

When the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the crash, they determined that the train engineer had undiagnosed sleep apnea. There is also some belief that sleep apnea may have played a part in the New Jersey Transit commuter train crash that killed one person when it hit the end-of-track barrier going twice the speed it should have been going.

Still, this doesn’t mean that sleep apnea is totally to blame. The NTSB also reported that both crashes could have easily been prevented by using a Positive Train Control system, which automated the process of slowing or stopping the train when the situation requires it.

How to Uncover if You Have Sleep Apnea

There are a number of ways to spot if you might have sleep apnea. The problem is, most people are sleeping when the signs exhibit themselves, so they may have no idea they have it.

If you find yourself waking up in the morning with a headache, feel lethargic throughout the day, or wake periodically throughout the night?

If so, you may have what is technically called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). People who suffer from OSA find their airways closed off and breathing interrupted, thus depriving you of oxygen periodically throughout the night. Usually, an individual’s partner will be the first person to spot the signs of OSA.

If you are being witnessed waking up repeatedly during the night, even if you have no recollection of it, this may be a sign of OSA. For someone who has severe OSA, this can happen repeatedly up to hundred times or more throughout a given night.

According to some estimates, OSA impacts more than 18 million Americans. If you feel you may suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep study can help you firmly make that determination. Snoring or loud breathing during sleep is often the most common sign of OSA.

Still, that majority of people who snore don’t necessarily have OSA.

No matter who is in the White House or what regulations may or may not be in play tomorrow or today, it is important to take a good measure of your own health and ensure you are properly diagnosed if you may be suffering from a condition that could impact your ability to safely operate a heavy-duty Class 8 commercial motor vehicle.

Safety is always paramount, and there’s no reason your motor carrier wouldn’t work with you if you think you may suffer from OSA.