Category Archives: Legal

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.

Speeding Rule Among Other Safety Rules Suspended

Whatever the reason was, in September of last year, U.S. officials proposed requiring speed-limiters be mandated on all heavy-duty commercial motor vehicles. Then, as politics is known to do, with a swipe of the pen, President Donald Trump put that and a number of other trucking safety regulations on hold.

The main driver of this remains the executive order that for every regulation created, two must be removed – even if they are backed by industry, Congress and the public at large.

One such example of this is at the Department of Transportation, where the regulatory process on a number of measures that have been years in the making have been thrown into limbo, whether supported by the industry or not.

The speed limiter rule, CSA program, and even certain aspects of the hours of service regulation have come under increasing question. It remains to be seen whether these efforts will result in meaningful change or not.

What Congress Mandates

One huge consideration is that nearly half of all pending regulations are required, whether wholly or in part, by Congress. Any significant moves to halt or stall those efforts would likely have to come through Congress in order to be amended or removed.

There are a number of specific provisions, from rollover enhancements to motor coaches to safety upgrades for public transportation systems across the country. The question now lies in where the public benefit comes into play.

According to Bloomberg Review, of the 43 proposed rules subject to review under the executive order, 34 directly relate to safety.

The interesting thing is that some of these rules have nothing to do with trucking specifically. Two would impact operations of oil trains another two are aimed at improving airline pilot performance. A majority of the actions were in response to recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Will There Be Any Impact?

Considering almost half of the regulations set to come up for review are required by Congress in some way, shape or form, there isn’t a huge amount that the new administration or transportation secretary can do.

The fact is, it isn’t only trucking-related measures that remain stuck in regulatory limbo. Whether it be finalizing rules or moving forward with new ones, there’s been a bit of a logjam.

We aren’t taking a specific side here, but are merely reporting on what’s going on within the industry. In many cases the slowdown has vexed even industry insiders themselves.

Take lobbying groups related to drone usage. They are advocating quick action regarding how drones are regulated when it comes to operating them in the air, whether over the job site or in any other capacity.

Still, there are plenty who advocate that the regulatory backlog isn’t an attempt to block safety measures that would benefit the public.

Instead, they point out that it has been far too long since anyone has evaluated the best way to relieve onerous paperwork and processes that are not at all streamlined. If regulations can be removed and fine-tuned, then the thinking goes that job growth will follow, even while these technologies are adapted.

Could it be that these changes will force agencies and companies alike to become more efficient and streamlined in regards to how they do business? Major technological change is never easy, but no matter where you stand on a number of these issues, it’s going to come no matter what.

Will the trucking industry, government regulators and other industry players be prepared for new ideas germinating on the horizon? With safety in mind, we certainly hope so. Everything should be built around the safety of truck drivers and those on the road with them.


An Industry Panel Discusses Safety Technology In Trucking

The conversation has been ongoing. Truck manufacturers, regulators and technology firms are increasingly looking to technology to improve their safety measures. Whether it be advanced driver-assistance systems or rollover-sending technology, the push for “safety through technology” is ongoing.

Although technology companies looking to change how trucking gets done are ever-increasingly raising more capital, the view behind whether or not the answer is technological isn’t universally-held.

On one side of the argument you have those who think technology will slow increases in traffic deaths, while those who advocate a slower roll towards full adoption due to increased regulatory, training and cyber-security concerns.

On July 24th, the National Transportation Safety Board alongside the National Safety Council convened a meeting.

This meeting included a panel of everyone from the regulators themselves to insurance, manufacturing and technology providers. The meeting was designed as a brainstorming session on how to better incorporate advanced driver assistance technology into today’s heavy-duty commercial motor vehicles.

While some have advocated waiting on semi-autonomous trucks and smart roads and highways to solve the safety puzzle, others within the industry advocate tackling it today, stating that the technology is there.

Did you know that motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of preventable deaths in America? According to government data, big CMVs are increasingly involved in crashes, rising year-over-year since 2015.

By ensuring advanced driver assistance technology on CMVs at an ever-increasing rate, fleets can answer safety questions while modernizing their fleet at the same time.

So, where’s the problem?

The Small/Big Divide
It’s no secret that the lobbying groups for small trucking companies often find themselves on the opposite end of a debate with their larger competitors. We’ve seen it play out in the ELD debate and more.

The same holds true for adoption of these advanced safety technologies. Small fleets often don’t quite know or understand all the intricacies and interdependent aspects of advanced driver assistance technology.

The disconnect lies in helping those who don’t understand how the technology works to get a better handle on it. Anti-collision systems are not surveillance systems, nor are they intended to go down the road of a “driverless” CMV. No, they are merely software systems that work in concert with the vehicle to ensure optimal safe operation.

The other problem lies with that these technologies often vary from developer to developer, which causes confusion, both among truck drivers and decision-makers, those purchasing the technology.

The fact is, manufacturers are going to have to come to an agreement on some type of standardization model for the new technologies being deployed. If you have a button with a different color for a specific function across multiple devices, that could be a problem.

Explaining the Difference

Smaller fleets go through a certain level of intimidation when it comes to these technologies, and having an inconsistent approach helps no one. Trucking companies also need to know when one type of technology is appropriate and when it isn’t.

If you’ve got sensors on the front of a tractor, putting a snowplow or some other obstruction on the front of it negates the system you’ve put time and money into.

A lot of smaller fleets also still utilize older vehicles in day-to-day operations. Retrofitting these vehicles can be a challenge, considering many of them don’t have the internal infrastructure to handle the added load of the technology itself.

Still, as the panel discussed, they stated that evolving vehicle design and the changing demographics of the buyer signal a shift on the horizon. Eventually, the only trucks on the road will be the trucks rolling out onto dealership floors today.

Increased safety through technology is never a bad thing, something that all on the panel agree to. How it is implemented and adopted are more difficult questions.

The CSA Recommended Overhaul

Well, the time has come and is no surprise to anyone. And now the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has come out stating it. While they reported that the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, is structurally sound, they have recommended that pieces of the law be brought back to the drawing board.

As the industry had hoped would happen, carrier “scores” will remain private in several states. It all came down to an impact study that would need to be carried out before they came forward with that recommendation.

From trucking advocacy organizations to shippers and freight brokers, pretty much everyone was unhappy about some portion or another of the CSA program. Indeed, it came to a head when the information was pulled from public view for fear of being too damaging or even inaccurate. It brought up claims of targeting.

But what does this all mean?

What’s Next?

What this essentially signals is that there will begin a lengthy overhaul of the work the Obama administration did to change how trucking regulations were enforced. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) tested CSA in various states before a national rollout, which was met by backlash from all corners.

Still, the Academy still reported the program as being “sound.” But what does this mean for its future? The Academy went on to specifically state that, “for the most part, that the current SMS implementation is defendable as being fair and not overtly biased against various types of carriers, to the extent that data on MCMIS [Motor Carrier Management Information System] can be used for this purpose.”

The questions surround this MCMIS, which houses a lot of data. Many want to know how that data will be used. Data from several sources, whether they be inspections data, carrier registrations or otherwise, it will all be stored there, and motor carriers want assurances their data is both safe and won’t be used for nefarious purposes.

One thing the Academy acknowledged was that in most cases many factors contribute to a crash. Many of these factors cannot be currently found in the MCMIS, so the crashes can sometimes be improperly logged.

Because of their findings, the Academy went on to advise that the FMCSA should “develop a more statistically principled approach for the task, based on an item response theory model, an approach that has been applied successfully in informing policy decisions in other areas such as hospital rankings,” the NAS said. If that new statistical model performs well in identifying unsafe carriers, “FMCSA should use it to replace SMS.”

Used as an Enforcement Mechanism

When viewed through the lens of enforcement, there are many principles of CSA that are quite appropriate and do come with good intent. Trucking companies do acknowledge it serves as a valuable enforcement tool, but is not without its problems.

Enforcement mechanism or no, the push to keep the scores out of the public domain remains in full force. The main problem is with data reporting and accuracy. Many industry trade groups openly question how accurate the data is.

Some argue that everything to this point as been done on ad hoc basis, specifically when It comes to fleet crash data. As we work through the system, they argue that there is a risk to exposing incorrect data and the Academy researchers essentially agreed.

Specifically, they pointed to problems with the quality of the data and asked that the FMCSA look to even more data points, such as data on miles traveled, truck driver employment rates, and more, since such data could shed light on the overall problem.

Proper Health And Trucking Safety Go Hand-In-Hand

Sure, you may wonder what eating a balanced diet must do with trucker safety? A lot.

Truck drivers who do not take what they eat seriously enough, may suffer from other health afflictions that can cause potential safety problems while behind the wheel. From falling asleep to the actual long-term well-being of the trucker themselves, trucker health and trucker safety go together.

Look, while not getting into a bad accident is very important, ensuring truck drivers are healthy enough that such a danger doesn’t even present itself in the first place is most important.

According to the most recent numbers, 7 in 10 truck drivers are obese. This means they likely struggle with things like heart or cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea or other health conditions that could impair their driving.

The fact is, driving a big rig is as fun and rewarding as any career. A great many make trucking their final career and there’s a reason for that. Still, it requires that the person behind the wheel, much like the person who sits at a desk for the entirety of their career try and live a healthy lifestyle.

It takes a lot of work to stay in shape and stay healthy when your job requires that you sit in a chair or big rig seat for prolonged periods of time.

But what’s a trucker to do today to ensure they stay healthy while remaining efficient and being the best they can always be? Whether it be for themselves in their own business or for their employer in theirs, keeping on top of one’s health is of utmost importance.

Fortunately, it isn’t hard and it starts with both the trucker and those supplying the trucker with what they need to get them through the day.

Going Beyond the Donut

The major problem facing almost every trucker is easy access to healthy, inexpensive food. The key word there is healthy. Inexpensive, yet also healthy food isn’t easy to come by, though some say larger games are at play when Amazon decided to make a bid for Whole Foods. That’s another topic altogether.

Still, when a truck driver goes to a convenience store or gas station designed for passenger cars, they might often see fresh fruit or chopped fruit in a container, even if it may not be of the best quality.

At many – but not all – truck stops? Giant candy bars and corn dogs, if anything at all.

Still, truck drivers are getting creative in how they deal with the issue. There are ovens available the size of tackle boxes that can be plugged into a cigarette lighter.

Meals can be prepared ahead of time at home, then put on ice and cooked at whim on the portable oven, which can easily be stored in the cab either behind or on the seat next to you.

By using tools like these, you not only save yourself both time and money, but you are living a healthier life on the road.

Bring Back the Brown Bag

The other option is to bring the meal. Why not make something healthy at home? And while we understand it may not sound appealing, give a kale salad a chance!

The point is getting into the habit of getting what you need from the grocery store so that you can plan out your meals and have them ready for the road. Spend some time at the store when you get home getting and prepping the ingredients. This could even translate into more integrated family time if you are preparing meals together.

While to some this may seem like a lot of tasks after you’ve been on the road, trust us. You don’t want to come off sitting in your cab seat straight into sitting down on the couch. Preparing your meals is a great way to stay active, save money and be ready for the road.

Maybe your family is what you need to stay busy, maybe it’s grocery shopping to prep for your next road time. Whatever it is, you got this. Hit those online recipe books and get started!

Are Guard Rails The Answer To Trucking-Related Accident Injuries?

There’s a new debate happening between trucking industry groups and trucking safety advocates. This time it has to do with tractor-trailers equipped with side guard rails, which auto safety groups say mitigate serious crashes when a passenger vehicle collides with a tractor or trailer.

On the other side, the trucking industry asserts that there is already technology in place to prevent such situations and that resources can be better used elsewhere.

As it stands, federal law requires that if you are operating a heavy-duty Class 8 big rig, you’ve got to have rear underride guards already installed. These are designed to prevent passenger cars from winding up beneath the truck in the event of an accident.

Citing passenger death figures from 2015, safety groups reported that 301 passenger occupants were killed when they struck the side of a trailer in the car they were riding in. But are guard rails the answer, or are groups trying to find an answer merely for the sake of doing so? Obviously, 301 deaths is a terrible number, but a measured approach must be taken.

Testing Current Technologies

The good news is that there are plenty of options to choose from where this type of equipment is concerned. In a recent test using a device consisting of a steel rail covered with fiberglass mounted onto the trailer resulted in a dummy surviving impact at 35 miles per hour in a mid-size car.

Without the guard rail? The crash sheared off the roof of the vehicle and wound up wedged underneath the trailer. This type of scenario would most-certainly have been fatal had it been a real-life crash.

While some guard rails consist of steel beams with fiberglass overlays, others offer inflatable options tied to sensors designed to inflate when a crash seems imminent. Still, the trucking industry itself continues to have an internal conversation regarding the merit of these devices.

According to the American Trucking Associations, there hasn’t yet been any industry-wide consensus regarding guard rails because there are other aspects to consider when installing the technology, from weight to aerodynamic flow, never mind any other add-ons that may be presently installed.

Avoiding Crashes to Begin With

The most ideal scenario would be to employ the guard rails in situations where the cost and application merits it, but in the meantime support industry-wide safety efforts.

From automatic braking systems to forward-collision alerts, there are a number of both budding and mature technologies to choose from.  These technologies are designed to prevent a passenger car from ever having to worry about whether a guard rail is installed or not.

Of course, all crashes are tragedies, and here at the Trucking Safety Blog, we would never want to insinuate that an applicable safety technology NOT be installed for the purpose of financial efficiency, however some methods may be better for some fleets to invest in than others.

While guard rails are great at preventing vehicles from sliding under the trailer, the overarching goal should always be to prevent the crash in the first place.

Still, is your fleet considering side guards? Always remember that there are specific federal regulations that need to be adhered to when installing such equipment.

While the equipment OEM, dealer or shop it is being installed at should be able to properly handle installation instructions and verify the correct dimensions for the guard rail’s application, follow this link to get more information on how guard rails work, the different types and how they can be implemented, both in the United States or in other markets across the world.