Thursday, June 27, 2013

America Relies on the Trucking Industry

People are always predicting the "End is Near".  Yet, we are still here. 

But what would happen if something were to disrupt America's trucking industry? 

Click here to see a timeline of what would happen. 

Thanks to CCJ Magazine for allowing us to use their link. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Carrier and Driver Safety Performance

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS) measures the on-road safety performance of carriers and drivers to identify candidates for safety interventions, to determine the specific safety problems exhibited by a carrier and its drivers, and to monitor whether safety problems are improving or getting worse.

The SMS uses a motor carrier’s data from roadside inspections, including all safety-based violations, state-reported crashes, and the Federal motor carrier census to quantify performance in the following Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). Below is a list of the BASICs and sample violations:

Unsafe Driving:
Operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by drivers in a dangerous or careless manner. Example of violations: speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention.

Hours-of-Service Compliance:
Operation of CMVs by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in noncompliance with the HOS regulations. The BASICS includes violations of regulations pertaining to log books as they relate to the HOS requirements and the management of CMV driver fatigue. Example violations include: HOS, log book, and operating a CMV while ill or fatigued.

Driver Fitness:
Operation of CMVs by drivers who are unfit to operate a CMV due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications. Example violations: Failure to have a valid and appropriate commercial driver's license and being medically unqualified to operate a CMV.

Controlled Substances/Alcohol:
Operation of CMVs by drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications. Example violations: Use or possession of controlled substances/alcohol.

Vehicle Maintenance:
Failure to properly maintain a CMV and prevent shifting loads. Example violations: Brakes, lights, and other mechanical defects, improper load securement, and failure to make required repairs.

Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance:
Histories or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity. It is based on information from state-reported crashes.

Crash Indicator:
History or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity.  It is based on information from state-reported crashes.

A carrier’s measurement for each BASIC depends on the number of adverse safety events (violations related to the BASIC or crashes), the severity of violations or crashes and when the adverse safety events occurred (more recent events are weighted more heavily).

After a measurement is determined, the carrier is then placed in a safety event group of carriers with similar number of inspections.  Percentiles from 0 – 100 are then determined by comparing the BASIC measurement of the carrier to the measurement of other carriers in the safety event group.  100 indicates the worst performance.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Accident Scene Photography Tips

Semi with damage from accident
The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is especially true when talking about taking photos at the scene of an accident. Over the past years, many motor carriers have been issuing disposable cameras to each driver so they can document evidence from an accident scene. If your company does not already issue a camera, the small investment for a disposable camera with flash is one of the best career decisions you can make. 


Documenting an Accident Scene

Often times, carriers that do issue cameras do not always provide instruction to their drivers on how to properly document an accident scene. Without proper understanding of accident scene photography, the driver runs the risk of not taking the photos needed to document crucial evidence, or he/she may take photos that can be used against the carrier in a court of law.
Use the following tips when photographing an accident scene:
  • Shoot all available pictures on the roll of film at an accident scene—that one extra picture may hold key evidence to protect you and your company.
  • Photograph all damaged areas and undamaged areas of all vehicles. Photograph a close-up of all damages and then take another picture from farther away.
  • Do not forget to photograph the license plates of all vehicles involved in the accident, as well as those that may have been a witness to the crash. Take the photos close enough so that you can read the plate and identify the vehicle associated with it.
  • Photograph the accident scene from all four corners. Be sure to photograph all skid marks and/or gouge marks in the pavement, while also including in the photograph a point of reference such as a light-pole, street signs, buildings, or other permanent landmarks.
  • DO NOT take photos of anyone who has been injured or is deceased as a result of the accident. Do not photograph scene of blood or gore that may occur.

Disposable Cameras

Disposable cameras are available with a variety of film speeds and number of exposures, and can be purchased with or without a flash. It is recommended that you choose a disposable camera with 27 exposures, 1000 speed film, and a flash. This will allow the best quality photos, especially during low-light conditions.

Act Immediately

After you have taken photographs of the accident, attempt to deliver the camera immediately to your safety manager or other management representative for processing.

We hope you never have to use the camera you are carrying, but it could save a driver’s career when necessary!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Tornadoes - Safety First!

A tornado is a violent windstorm characterized by a twisting, funnel-shaped cloud. It is spawned by a thunderstorm or hurricane and develops when cool air overrides a layer of warm air, forcing the warm air to rise rapidly. The damage from a tornado is a result of the high wind velocity and wind-blown debris. Tornado season is generally March through August, but tornadoes can occur at any time of year. In addition, tornadoes can occur in any state, but are most frequent in an area known as “Tornado Alley”, which includes the midwestern states of Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Texas. Tornadoes usually develop in the afternoon and evening - over 80 percent of all tornadoes strike between noon and

The National Weather Service issues weather bulletins when tornadoes seem likely. A tornado watch means that conditions are right for a tornado to develop. Strong thunderstorms may also be predicted. At this time, you should stay alert for changing weather conditions and listen to the radio for further developments. A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted or is indicated by radar. This means the danger is very serious and you should head for a safe place.

Danger Signs:
    .. Tornadoes are formed by powerful thunderstorms, which frequently produce large hail. Tornadoes often emerge from near the hail-producing portion of the storm.
    .. A visible rotating extension of a cloud base is a sign that a tornado may develop.  A tornado is evident when one or more of the clouds turn greenish and a dark funnel descends.
    .. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
    .. An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible.
    .. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.

Safety Tips:
    .. Never try to outrun a tornado in your truck. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or toss a truck through the air.
    .. Get out of your vehicle and take shelter in a nearby building. If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet. Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls.
    .. If there is no time to get indoors, get out of your truck and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle. But be alert because flash floods can also occur in these areas.



Monday, June 3, 2013

Summertime Driver Tips

Dear Driver,

With the summer season in full swing, there are things that drivers need to be aware of in order to be prepared defensively. Summer is the peak time for tourist traffic. Schools are out, and that means kids of all ages are out there, either as drivers or pedestrians. Also, unpredictable summer weather patterns can lead to instantaneous changes in road conditions and unexpected hazards for drivers. Here are a few tips to help ensure safe summer driving:

Watch out for tourists - Whether you’re out on the open road or in a city or town, be prepared for an increased number of drivers who are uncertain of their surroundings. Their sudden strong moves in traffic could involve you in a preventable accident. Also, watch for drivers who suddenly slow down or stop to see something along the road. Signs indicating a nearby tourist attraction are a good indication of when this may happen.

Beat the heat - Hot summer temperatures are especially hard on your truck. Take proper care of your rig by:
..Frequently checking your tires for proper inflation... Strictly following company policy with regard to checking coolant and oil levels during your pretrip inspection.

.. Avoiding excessive speeds.
.. Keeping a close watch on your vehicle’s temperature gauge. Stop in a safe place as soon as possible if you detect any signs of overheating.

School’s out - Remember that with school out, more teen drivers will be out traveling to and from summertime activities, and they may not be as attentive to defensive driving as they should be. Also, in residential areas, you are more likely to encounter children playing in and around the streets. Please pay close attention when traveling in these areas.

By following these tips, you’ll be more prepared for summer driving conditions and, in turn, help make the roads safer for everyone.