Viewing posts from: May 2015

Federal Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs for Truck Drivers

Posted May 26, 2015 by Administrator

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) require drug and alcohol testing for people with a commercial driver’s license that meet certain criteria. The drug and alcohol testing rules include specific instructions for testing, frequency of tests and the substances for which drivers will be tested.

Who needs to be tested? Here are the rules for who must be tested:man and truck

  • Anyone employing CDL drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) on public roads
  • CDL drivers who operate CMVs on public roads
  • Interstate motor carriers
  • Intrastate motor carriers
  • Federal, State, and local governments
  • Civic organizations (disabled veteran transport, boy/girl scouts, etc.)
  • Faith-based organizations

If you are a CDL driver you are encouraged to educate yourself with information on drug and alcohol testing programs. While it is your employer’s responsibility to provide you with this type of information, ultimately it is your responsibility to be in compliance with the law. Here are some excellent resources for learning more about the rules as they relate to drug and alcohol testing, types of test required and your rights, responsibilities and requirements. Resources for CDL Driver Drug & Alcohol Testing

If you are an employer of CDL drivers, it is your responsibility to implement and conduct drug and alcohol testing programs. Here are resources designed for employers regarding DOT drug & alcohol testing programs.

If you are a service agent that administers drug and alcohol tests you can find general information and resources here. Service Agent Resources for CDL Driver Drug & Alcohol Testing

Are you a supervisor of someone who has a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and operates a commercial vehicle? Have you ever received a notice stating your company is out of compliance with DOT drug & alcohol testing regulations? Be sure to read the U.S. Department of Transportation Drug and Alcohol Supervisor Training Guide here.

Anyone who is a commercial driver has an extremely important responsibility to the public; it is vital that they not let their performance be compromised by drugs or alcohol. Ensuring that transportation employees are drug and alcohol free is an important safety issue. Everyone involved needs to do their part to comply with the rules and procedures required to continue to reduce the number of crashes and accidents linked to drug and alcohol use by those in the transportation industry.

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The Future of America May Lie at the Intersection of Fuel and Food Production

Posted May 19, 2015 by Administrator

food or fuelPhotocredit: ResourceMedia

There is a heightened awareness of the need for a sustainable economy in America. It may seem obvious, but there is a very strong connection between food production and energy consumption in our country. Of course, you need gas for farm equipment like tractors, trailers, combines and other farm machinery, but sustainability goes much deeper than that.

The most important element of the impact of fuel on farming is production costs. This varies greatly depending on the type of crop, but fertilizer costs are often significantly higher than direct fuel costs. Fertilizers are synthesized from oil. Energy prices, whether increasing or decreasing, have a major effect on agricultural production. This may be from direct fuel and electricity prices or indirectly from changing prices of the oil feedstock.

The consumption of food and fuel are mutually linked. As the global population surges from 7 billion to an estimated 9 billion (UN), the amount of food needed will grow by 25% by the year 2035. Already we are seeing a strain on the food system and an increase in food prices here in the United States. High food prices put a particular strain on lower income groups, which now must spend approximately 37% of their income to food and fuel purchases. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010.)

To the American consumer, the linkage of oil and food will result in higher food and fuel prices, especially when there is a corn shortage. This is because the ethanol production in this country is dependent on the corn crop. Now 45% of the corn crop is used to produce ethanol – more than is now used to directly feed animals, seed and other uses. Ethanol is now a must-run fuel in an industry that is critical to daily American life. Today, 10% of each gallon of gasoline contains ethanol.

Sustainable America, a new advocacy group, has been formed to address the growing concerns of sustainability as it relates to food and fuel. Sustainable America is working to increase food production, triple food produced via alternative farming methods, and decrease food waste. To learn more about the dependency of our food production on energy and the increase in sustainable approaches to both energy and food production in the United States, visit www.SustainableAmerica.org.

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How to Reduce Cargo Truck Rollovers

Posted May 12, 2015 by Administrator

truck crashA tank truck rollover can occur anywhere; they are especially dangerous when the vehicle is transporting hazardous materials. Most drivers think that cargo truck rollovers happen at entrance and exit ramps because the driver misjudges the curve and takes it too fast. But in reality, rollovers actually occur more often on straight roadways.

Over 78% of rollovers involve driver error. (FMCSA) Truck drivers are the primary element in preventing rollovers. Why is this? Most likely, it has to do with driver focus. When a driver is approaching an exit or entrance, their awareness of the road is heightened.

What causes a rollover? Here are the primary risk factors involved in most rollover vehicle accidents.

  • Vehicle design
  • Load effects
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Highway factors
  • Driver factors

Potential problems can be mitigated by making sure to anticipate the curve and speed of the vehicle as you approach a turn. Slowing down properly before applying the brakes is another important safety maneuver. Being aware of shifting loads and keeping the travel speed slow enough that liquids or other contents do not “slosh” or “surge” will help to reduce rollover risk.

It’s important for the driver to inspect and carefully see to the maintenance of the vehicle. Before each trip, the vehicle needs to be inspected for the following:

  • brake performance,
  • suspension damage,
  • tire pressure, and
  • load dynamics.

Finally, remaining alert and attentive behind the wheel, controlling speed and maintaining proper “speed cushions” are all best driving practices that can save your life and the life of others by preventing cargo truck rollovers.

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University Webinar – How Video Technology Improves Driver Performance & Reduces Claim Exposures

Posted May 6, 2015 by Administrator

Join Cline Wood University for this complimentary and educational web seminar to learn how video technology is improving driver performance and reducing exposure to claims for trucking companies. On-board cameras provide an objective witness to accidents and near misses. This allows transportation companies to closely monitor drivers and provide defense against frivolous claims. Webinar topics include:

  • How Video Technology Enhances Driver Performance
  • Why Onboard Cameras Provide Critical Defense Against Suits & Claims
  • Recommended Camera Features & Capabilities
  • How to Create Driver Buy In for Onboard Cameras

Date & Time: Wed, May 6, 2015 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM CDT

 

Register Now: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5164817698973285121

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Cell Phone Usage While Driving Important Safety Concern for Truck Drivers

Posted May 6, 2015 by Administrator

There’s no doubt – texting while driving is a major issue, not just for the regular motorist, but for professional truck drivers as well. Looking away from the road can be deadly for any motorist, but is especially dangerous when a truck that is driving a semi becomes distracted.

Even though there is a federal law that prohibits commercial drivers from holding a phone while they drive, Congress has yet to mandate hands-free devices in all commercial vehicles. Headsets or Bluetooth devices are the two types of hands-free technology currently available on the market.

The National Transportation Safety Board is calling for legislation that will require truck manufacturers to install technology that would not allow any cell phone to be used in the vehicle at any speed, but right now this issue is not on any lawmaker’s agenda.

shutterstock_2826279smThis is surprising, even after four North Central Texas College softball players were killed in an Oklahoma bus crash last year. The driver of the 18-wheeler, who failed to apply the brakes or take evasive action before his truck crossed the median and struck the side of the bus, admitted he was distracted by his cell phone.

Even though the penalties for texting while driving are steep (drivers face a $2,700 fine plus a $233 fine from the state when caught) drivers admit they see it and that it “happens frequently.”

Local law enforcement officials have found it difficult to enforce the federal cell phone ban. This is because the commercial driver sits up higher than the highway patrolman in his or her vehicle. Some areas have built special enforcement lanes on bridges so law enforcement can view the truck cabs. But even then it can be difficult for the officer to tell if the driver is using a cell phone.

Manufacturers are not likely to implement the “no cell while driving” technology until it is required by law. The Federal Motor Carrier’s Association is in support of the anti-cell phone technology for moving semi-trucks.

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