Category Archives: Legal

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.

The Roadcheck Is Coming! Is Your Fleet Ready?

Now in its 30th year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual International Roadcheck will be running June 6 – 8. Will your truck drivers be ready for it?

During the Roadcheck, authorities will be conducting around 17 Level I inspections PER MINUTE across the United States, Canada and Mexico. That’s a lot of inspections.

As we mentioned in a prior blog, this year they will be paying special attention to cargo securement, although they will have their eyes peeled for other potential violations, as well.

Don’t be fooled by the misconception that only flatbed trailers require cargo inspections. In fact, inspections will be required on all vehicles with the exception of sealed cargo or cargo that is a logistical challenge to inspect.

It might be a good idea to enroll your fleet in a cargo securement training program. Truck drivers typically respond well to these types of programs and appreciate the extra effort the fleet is putting into ensuring they don’t receive any hits during the annual roadside inspection or any others.

What Are the Inspectors Looking For?

The last time Roadcheck focused on cargo, which was in 2015, they issued 2,439 violations for load securement, no small number indeed. Most common of all the load securement violations was the truck driver’s failure to prevent shifting/loss of load.

Failure to secure truck equipment, damaged, insufficient or loose tie-downs rounded out the top for violations.

As with any load securement check, the first thing they will be looking for is to ensure the proper amount of load securement is in place. They will be checking the condition of the straps, making sure they aren’t overly worn out and looking for things like nicks or cuts.

They will also be looking to make sure there is edge protection, that way they can ensure the straps won’t be cut or compromised by the load itself.

You’ll also want to ensure your spare tire is secure. This one is often overlooked, but winds up being a common violation due to how easy it is to overlook.

Although this may not seem immediately related, if there is dirt, gravel or other loose material on the deck, inspectors will consider that loose or blowing cargo. If you don’t ensure you’ve swept your deck of any loose material after hauling a piece of machinery or other piece of cargo that could leave something behind, make sure you sweep it up lest you want to be at the wrong end of a ticket.

Also pay attention to load length. It’s not just weight and cargo securement that you have to consider, but also the number of linear footage on the load. Inspectors will want to ensure it matches up not only with the load you are carrying, but the paperwork involved.

For someone who has never dealt with linear length before, this area can be confusing, which is why training is so important.

Knowing the Trick to Tie Downs

We did a recent piece on cargo securement, which you can find here, but the one thing to remember is this: To meet the safety requirements, you must use at least 50% load securement of the total weight of the cargo you are carrying.

Put simply, if you were carrying a 10,000-pounds piece of steel, you would need a 5,000-pound working load limit in place. There are even tie-down calculator apps out there to help you determine what proper load bearing securement should be.

More than anything, ensure your truck drivers know that the inspection is almost here and they will have to be ready for it. Proper training always helps.

How Company Habits Impact Safety Culture

How Company Habits Impact Safety Culture

There are a few different companies to look to when talking about effective safety culture. One of those is the world’s largest aluminum manufacturer Alcoa. What’s their lesson?

If you want to run a fleet that not only turns a profit, but operates safely, it’s vital that it starts with your company culture. Sure, this sounds like a simplistic solution, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

The fact is, once a bad habit has seeped its way into your company culture, it’s extremely hard to change. In these cases, the challenges lie in ensuring cultural bad habits are replaced with good ones and then embedded within the safety culture of your organization.

But where do you start? Surely, there’s a method to establishing a safety culture to be proud of. Indeed, there is, and we can help.

Giving A Cue

When you give a cue, you are providing your people with a tip that starts a habit. One example here could be a pre-trip safety check. Perhaps a warning light is on. Have they noticed it?

Safety managers should be out there in the field, testing and re-testing the safety culture of the fleet’s organizational competency. What if there’s a last-minute change to the makeup of a load? Will the truck driver or other employees involved be prepared?

When you provide a cue, you are alerting your people to the potential for a spot inspection at any time. You are cueing them in on your alertness, letting them know that you are paying attention. This is vital to ensuring the next step in the process is set in stone.

Setting up a Routine

Once you have provided your cue, you want your employees’ and truck drivers’ actions in response to that cue to become a routine. Has your truck driver established a routine composed of safety measures?

If you’re truck driver is running through a standard safety checklist, does that mean you can say to yourself, “Well, I know this already, he knows this already, so I’m just going to go back to my office.”

No.

The point of his exercise is to standardize the routine not only in your truck drivers but in yourself as well. Whatever your largest safety concerns are, focus on them during that safety check. If a safety check doesn’t include the challenges sitting atop the list, then it isn’t a proper safety check.

Providing a Reward

All of the above steps will make your people feel like you are micro managing them, when in fact, you are doing the opposite. You are preparing them for freedom. Therefore you need to reward the routine.

You want your truckers to feel as though they will be rewarded for discovering a safety issue and reporting it. The reward portion comes at the end of a loop

  • The Cue: The trucker discovering a safety issue
  • The Routine: The trucker reporting or correcting the issue
  • The Reward: The trucker being rewarded for correcting or reporting the issue as quickly as possible.

Changing the safety culture within your fleet is not impossible. In some cases, it may be quite necessary. And while there are many different ways to approach it, perhaps you needed a fresh set of eyes to look at it from another angle.

Take Alcoa as the example. Read up more on how they used this method to become one of the safest heavy manufacturing and commodities retrieval companies on the planet. Think you can’t emulate their success at the fleet level? Think again. After all, what have you got to lose in trying?

Putting Advanced Video-Based Safety Systems To Work For You

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

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

Why Safety Management is so Important

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

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

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

It’s About More than Just Video

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

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

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

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

Who’s at Fault?

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

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

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

Clarity and Integration

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

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

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

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

Keys To Maximizing The ELD Mandate And Trucking Safety

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

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

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

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

So what should your top 10 ELD safety list include?

Saving Lives

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

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

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

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

Decreasing Fatigued Driving

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

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

Impacting Truck Driver Health

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

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

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

Reducing Crash Risk

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The specific rules in question will govern things like:

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

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

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

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

Working Load Limit

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

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

Use Multiple Methods

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

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

Complete a Thorough Pre-Trip Inspection

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

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

Don’t Rely on Synthetics Alone

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

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

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

 

Small Trucking Companies Can Now Afford Better Integrated Safety Technologies

When it comes to safety, it doesn’t really matter what size your company is, maintaining a proper safety culture is critical and process improvement should include safety as a mandatory practice.

This could be true no more than businesses running small trucking fleets. The large players have the resources, technology and employees they require for adequate supervision of truck drivers, technicians, dispatchers and everyone else on down the line.

That’s where fleet management tools come in. Is your fleet prepared for the future? The fact is, these technologies have sufficiently dropped in price that small fleets now have the ability to monitor truck driver behavior, vehicle performance, and other operational aspects in ways they couldn’t even ten years ago.

What this means is that the capabilities of the big guys are now in the hands of the small guys. Imagine a fleet of 5 – 10 tractors running the same kind of well-managed and safe fleet of vehicles as some of their largest competitors.

New systems allow small trucking companies to leverage billions of data points collected through fleet management software. Utilizing these technologies can have a definite impact on fleet safety goals.

Evaluating Vehicle and Business Type
Sure, many driving the roads nowadays may see a lot of tractor-trailers on the road, but they probably don’t know that heavy-duty commercial motor vehicles account for far less fleet traffic than they may initially imagine.

Consider that there are 27.6 million service-based vehicles registered nationwide. This whopping number accounts for one in ten of all vehicles currently on the roads today.

These commercial fleets comprise everything from Class 1 – 5 vehicles. Typically, you can expect these vehicles to make up plumbing, heating, construction, pest control and other vehicles of the type.

Now consider that there are a mere 5.6 million heavy-duty commercial motor vehicles on the road, and suddenly everything comes into perspective. This means there are around five service-based vehicles for every one big rig.

What Does It Mean
So, what does this all mean for a small fleet with truckers on the road and employees at home office? It means that, outside the most obvious concern of human safety and well – being – utilizing technology to improve safety measures has not only become practical, it’s become a necessary part of doing business.

Having a hardwired safety control device, whether passive or active, not only helps you improve truck driver behavior, it increases the safety of said truck driver and those in passenger vehicles around him or her on the road.

Prior to responsive technologies, fleet managers employed a ‘hit or miss’ approach to addressing or improving fleet safety measures. Or perhaps they were reacting to an incident, rather than proactively preventing it?

Whatever the case, there’s a real business case for small fleets to invest in technologies that allow them to monitor their fleet in real time, rather than waiting for vehicle downtime or a potential accident lawsuit.

Dropping Costs
The main driver of this new potential for small fleets is the consistent drop in price for such technologies. Components from across industry are now being cross-pollinated, which allows for better price drops.

According to some estimates, costs for technologies of the same abilities and built-in processes constructed ten years ago are now on the order of 50 percent cheaper today. This opens new avenues and potential for fleets of all shapes and sizes.

Think your fleet isn’t ready? Imagine the long-term investment gain as your safety numbers improve, truck drivers and customers are happier, and the feds are potentially off your case.

With prices dropping, you’ve got no excuse to jump on the trucker safety technology bandwagon. Hop on today!

The Keys To Proper Cargo Securement

Not only is properly securing our cargo a matter of good business, it is a crucial safety matter as well. If a piece of cargo is damaged due to a shift or a fall, not only will the carrier not get paid and load not delivered, but someone could get seriously injured – or even killed – should the incident be particularly severe.

This is why the aim of Part 393 of federal regulations pinpoint specific aspects of cargo securement, from how items are blocked or braced to how they are tied down, whether it be on a flatbed, in a van or reefer. When the vehicle is in motion, will the load shift around or stay put? During moments of a sudden stop, can the cargo be relied on to remain immobile?

Also, it is important to consider what inspectors look for when they are addressing safety violations. As an example, if you don’t have enough securement straps to handle the weight of the load, you could get hit with a hefty fine.

Tie-down Rating Specifications

Have you heard of belly strapping? Depending on the size and weight of the load, it is important to ensure there are enough straps in place to properly secure the load. A belly strap refers to an instance where a strap is placed on the first tier of the load, then more placed atop the load as it climbs.

In total, the combined ratings of the straps or chains used to secure the load must equal at least one-half the load’s total weight. As an example, if the load is 40,000 pounds, then the combined weight of whatever tie-downs are used must equal 20,000 pounds. If the cargo is especially dense, more rules govern how it should be blocked.

There is no difference in weight requirements between straps and chains. Chains must also equal at least one-half the weight of the cargo. For a heavy equipment hauler carrying anything in excess of 10,000 pounds, direct tie-downs must be applied, at a minimum of four, although most fleets will opt to use more than the minimum for added safety.

Strap Emplacement

If a tractor is hauling a flatbed trailer with no header board, or they are pulling a lighter cargo, two straps must be utilized within the first ten feet of the front of the load.

Although weight and friction will often keep loads from moving across a trailer deck, it is important to butt together the first and second stacks of cargo. When they are butted together, regulations dictate that a strap every 10 feet should keep it in place. If the stacks are not butted together, the second will need straps too.

If there are loose metal pieces or other various articles, such as those with a lumber load, those sections are sometimes inserted into gaps in the load for greater stability. There must always be downward pressure on whatever is being hauled, keeping it snugged firmly to the deck, otherwise the vehicle will not be cleared to hit the road.

Other Applications

In cargo hauled in vans and reefers, the freight must be kept from shifting around when the vehicle is either stopped or in motion. Loading the freight to the walls of the van is great, but some vans flex. In this case, load-lock poles can be used.

Depending on the jurisdiction and type of cargo being hauled, inspectors may or may not decide to open the doors. Regardless, it is up to whomever locked and loaded the freight to ensure it is secure.

In the end, all parties are responsible for the safety of the load, whether it be in regards to the truck driver or those around them on the road. In the end, for freight’s sake, cargo safety is key.

Why Increased Safety Isn’t Following Insurance Premiums

Ask anyone, or look at any number of trucking-related data sets, and you will see that safety technology has drastically reduced crash rates, injuries and fatalities over the last ten years. Yet if you look at the average cost for insurance – including settlements – you will see that rates have been on the rise for some time.

The main reason for this is that fleets are not doing anything with the data produced by the safety technologies they employ. In many cases a fleet safety manager may be utilizing an advanced technology, but have no idea how to diagnose or address specific issues related to the data said technology produces.

Know the Technology

Take, for example, a truck driver who hears an incessant beep coming from the dash, but has no idea why the beep is occurring. This could be a truck driver with a stellar safety record, yet by running a report, the safety manager could glean that the truck driver routinely leaves less than two seconds stopping distance between them and the vehicle in front of them.

In this situation, it could be that only the truck driver knew the beeping was occurring. If no alerts are sent to the safety crew, no one knows there is a problem. Instead the eye stays on the worst truck drivers, rather than realizing even million-mile truck drivers are human and can make costly mistakes.

While many safety managers might have a plan in place for those with the worst record, many overlook the fact that safety issues could arise anywhere down the line, from the worst operator to the best.

So, what’s an intrepid fleet safety manager to do?

  1. First, make sure you train your truck drivers on new systems that are installed. Equipment and the safety expectations related to said equipment must be set before the truck driver is expected to use them and know what they mean.
  2. Second, make sure to inspect everyone, no matter how great their record may be. Don’t focus on just a few truck drivers. The entire fleet must be evaluated.
  3. Third, ensure you have comprehensive corrective action plans in place for potential problems. How will you address actionable data? Make a plan and stick to it.

Utilizing Proper Training

Fleets are on the right path quickly adopting collision-mitigation, lane-departure warning and other advanced safety systems, but if the truck drivers behind the wheel don’t know how to respond correctly these systems provide no value.

How do you address this disconnect? Through proper training. One cannot assume that these technologies will just magically make sense to the truck drivers who must understand what they are saying and act on the information.

Here’s what you need to know to ensure you are staying on top of the problem, fleet-wide:

  1. Never assume that your truck drivers simply know how to change duty status and edit their logs on a touchscreen, especially if all they’ve known previously are paper logs.
  2. While these systems are useful, they can send signals that can be distracting. A truck driver must be aware of where the sound is coming from and why to avoid potential safety issues.
  3. The time for a truck driver to learn how a collision-mitigation system works is not when a collusion is about to occur. Truck drivers must have the knowledge before-hand, that way their reactions are appropriate and timely.

The fact is this: You can’t create a paper manual out of YouTube video. You’ve got to have a comprehensive training program in place to ensure your truck drivers are on top of the systems they are using. Only by following these principles will you ensure that as your safety numbers rise, your insurance premiums drop.

The Best – And Safest – Cities For Truck Drivers​

We wanted to take a moment to examine the best – and safest – cities for truck drivers. The fact is, sometimes you may get some grief as a truck driver, depending on the city you are in. Perhaps you need to park your rig at home and it’s a problem.
Where you live matters. In some cases, you may live in a city that has the best trucking job opportunities, but they may also be some of the most expensive cities. From Los Angeles to New York, there’s a lot to consider in a city. Let’s take a look at the first – and most important aspect – of most people’s lives and that’s their financial situation.
No Income Tax States
If you ask a truck driver which city they think is the best to live in, you’ll get all kinds of answers. From Oregon to South Carolina, people’s opinions run the gamut. Of course, you know the actual answer: The best state is the one that leads you home.
Still, if you are looking to put your roots down in a new state, you may want to consider one where you won’t have to pay any state income taxes. For a self-employed truck driver, whether you are an owner-operator or small carrier, can benefit hugely from living in a state with no income tax.
Here’s your list:
• South Dakota
• Florida
• Nevada
• Alaska
• Texas
• Wyoming
• Washington
• Tennessee
• New Hampshire
Beyond what city you live in, you also want to take care to decide what address is on that that envelope.
Urban or Rural Address?
Once you have narrowed down the state you want to move to, it’s time to evaluate the cities. Do you want to live in a rural or urban environment?
One of most important considerations is where the best trucking jobs are. Also, how is the transportation and the type of truckloads available.
Take Seattle as an example. Moving there will expose you to things like terrible traffic, seafood deliveries, some crime and a 3,000+ elevation of the Snoqualmie pass.
Conversely, if you choose a rural area in Washington, say Lake Moses, you can count on a laid-back, safe environment where lake tourism is the largest source of truckloads and local income.
Certainly, rural areas will offer a lower level of creature comforts than the city, but certainly there are benefits. If you are a trucker with a family at home, of course good school districts, attractions, and safe neighborhoods are the priority.
The Safest Cities
So, what are the safest cities in the U.S.? One of the main things you want to look for when you move somewhere is how safe it is, not just for you and your family, but for your rig.
Some of the safest cities in the U.S. may surprise you, and include:
• Sunnyvale, California
• Cary, North Carolina
• McAllen, Texas
• Bellevue, Washington
Of course, all cities have neighborhoods, so you’ll want to make sure you investigate the specific area you will be moving to before taking the plunge.
Where Will You Park?
A final consideration should be truck parking. A big issue for truck drivers in dense urban areas is where they can park, both for convenience and for safety.
Make sure your neighborhood doesn’t have a vehicle weight limit or a negative viewpoint on truckers and where they can park. If you can’t park your truck, it will be hard to develop an income driving route plan.
In the end, there are a number of factors that govern what city you live in, with safety being at or near the top of the list. Take careful consideration, and you’ll be sure to find the right place to land in no time at all.