Category Archives: Legal

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.

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.