Posted March 21, 2017 by Administrator
On March 14, 2017, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security featured panelists for a hearing on continuing to improve safety for truckers on our country’s highways. Advancements in truck safety and potential future reforms as well as a full range of perspectives on implementation of safety programs were primary focal points. Other opportunities and challenges facing the trucking industry were also expected.
Here is a list of the panelists included at this hearing.
- Christopher A Hart, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board
- Paul P. Jovanis, Professor Emeritus, Pennsylvania State University; Chair, Transportation Research Board Committee
- Jerry Moyes, Chairman Emeritus, Swift Transportation
- Adrian Lund, President, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The hearing was held in the Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements and a recorded video of the hearing is available here.
The testimony given by panelists from government, academia and industry focused on the following 3 issues:
- Advocacy for fully funding Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and reforms moving forward,
- Opposition to legislative reforms by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA), and
- Asking for congressional action to improve motor coach safety.
Committee members were presented with an overview of the challenges facing local and state law enforcement in an uncertain funding environment. Captain Christopher Turner of the Kansas Highway Patrol and Vice President of the CVSA, testified about his concerns related to the potential consequences of job loss and cuts to outreach and educational programs that would occur if the states lose Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program Basic and Incentive Grants this year.
Cline Wood represents top trucking and agribusiness insurance carriers across the country. We have access to all types of insurance programs. We treat your company as if it were our own. Contact us today to find out how we can help you manage your risk, which directly contributes to your bottom line.
Posted February 16, 2017 by Administrator
Maintaining proper tire pressure is a major component of vehicle maintenance for many commercial truck drivers. However, frigid winter temperatures can make some drivers prone to taking shortcuts while manually checking their tire pressure. For example, they may opt to check only the outer tire of a dual tire set up. It can be difficult to access the inner tire, and many drivers assume the pressure is about the same as the outer tire.
Having a tire pressure monitoring system (TMPS) can provide data for all tires, inner and outer, with much higher precision than a manual check. This will make life on the road easier for many truck drivers. TMPSs can also reduce safety risks related to inadequate tire pressure monitoring such as blowouts and longer stopping distances.
In addition to improving transportation safety, TMPSs provide the following benefits:
- Reduced fuel consumption and emissions. Underinflated tires reduce fuel efficiency and increase emission output. Fuel costs are one of the greatest expenses of operating a fleet, which is why improving fuel efficiency is a common concern among fleet managers.
- Improved lifespan of tires and tread. Underinflated tires have irregular wear patterns and can affect re-treading. Ensuring tires have the appropriate pressure can improve the duration of any given set of tires.
- Reduced frequency of broken down trucks. About two-thirds of road calls relate to tires. The costs associated with these kinds of calls include servicing the vehicle, replacing the tire casings if necessary, and lost productivity/business.
Making use of TMPS can save fleets a considerable amount of money. However, ensuring driver safety is the paramount benefit. Reducing transportation risks is an excellent way to reduce insurance costs as well. As a national commercial property and casualty insurance agency that serves the commercial trucking industries, Cline Wood can help fleet owners manage their risk to improve their bottom line. Contact us today to learn more.
Posted August 17, 2016 by Administrator
Roadway hazards of all types cause motor vehicle accidents involving long-haul trucks every year. In a study released by the American Automobile Association the dangers of roadway debris was highlighted.
The study reviewed data from 2011 through 2014 and found that, during that 3 year span, road debris was responsible for causing 200,000 crashes. Road debris also accounted for 39,000 injuries and over 500 deaths during that time period.
Roadway debris includes substances, materials and objects that don’t belong on the road. Debris can come from passing vehicles, the environment and from natural disasters and weather. Wind, storms, tornadoes and hurricanes all can cause dangerous debris to be swept into the paths of vehicles on the road. Accidents have been caused by dust, dirt, sand, mud, asphalt, concrete, stones, pebbles, rocks, ice, snow, water, grease, engine oil, glass, nails, screws, auto parts, food, furniture, mattresses, garbage, luggage, animal corpses, construction supplies, leaves, twigs, seeds and more. Basically, anything that is foreign to the normal roadway surface can be a culprit.
Most crashes from road debris – about 66% of crashes – happen because an item fell off of a truck or vehicle. In one-third of the fatal accidents that can be attributed to road debris the driver swerved to avoid an object in the highway.
Sadly, most of the crashes that resulted in injury or death were avoidable. A lot of crashes are easily preventable if drivers take the necessary precautions to maintain their vehicles properly as well as secure their loads.”
All 50 states impose penalties on drivers found at fault for debris on the road. Other types of roadway hazards that can cause crashes include:
- Black ice
- Loose gravel or stones
- Blind spots
- Lack of guardrails
- Animal carcases
- Winding roads
- Manhole covers that have been improperly placed
Posted June 20, 2016 by Administrator
The FMCSA and the DOT have been searching for different ways to make commercial trucks and their drivers safer in order to reduce highway accidents and fatalities. One proposal that is currently in the Senate would make it necessary for heavy trucks to be equipped with speed limiters. There is some debate whether this regulation would increase highway safety or cause more problems.
HR 2577 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Agencies Appropriations Act 2016 is currently in the Senate. One of the items in this appropriations bill is a DOT final rule requiring that all heavy trucks have speed limiters installed within six months after approval. These speed limiters would prevent heavy trucks from traveling above 65 mph.
Do Speed Limiters Help?
Supporters of speed limiters say that prohibiting heavy trucks from traveling faster than 65 mph will improve highway safety and reduce crashes. They believe this because some crashes have occurred due to truck drivers driving too fast for conditions or speeding and then losing control of their vehicle, which has led to collisions and in some cases fatalities.
However, studies that have been conducted to date, including one done by the FMCSA, showed no significant reduction in highway crashes when speed limiters are installed.
Are Speed Limiters Safe?
Opponents of speed limiters state that not only do speed limiters not reduce highway crashes, but that they will make highways more dangerous due to issues with the car-truck speed differential.
If heavy trucks can’t go faster than 65 mph they may cause congestion on the highways. Impatient motorists may take risks to get around the slower vehicles, which may cause crashes.
Whether you are for or against the idea of speed limiters, it is important to make sure your commercial fleet is safe and you reduce your company’s liability. Contact the experts at Cline Wood to determine how you can improve the safety of your fleet and reduce your insurance costs.
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:
- 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.
Posted May 12, 2015 by Administrator
A 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.
Posted April 7, 2015 by Administrator
April is National Distracted Driving Month – a crucial issue for drivers of all kinds. In the transportation industry, safety is paramount. While many traditional aspects of safety and compliance are now widely discussed and recognized (collision mitigation, adaptive driving for inclement weather, rollaway avoidance, etc), driving distractions are on the rise. Many operators and executives alike do not fully appreciate the extent of the dangers surrounding issues including texting, eating, talking (even with a hands-free device), navigation input, and more. According to the NHTSA:
- Texting makes the average driver 20 times as likely to be involved in an accident
- Talking on a cellphone (even hands-free) reduces brain activity dedicated to driving by 37%
- Over 3000 people were killed last year in distraction-related accidents
- Nearly half a million people were injured last year in distraction-related accidents
- 45 States & DC have banned texting while driving – and fines and penalties are increasing to match
Distracted driving comes in many forms, and often without realizing that it’s even happening. Transportation businesses should see the month of April as an opportunity to drill down on distracted driving, improving fleet safety and operational excellence in the process. To learn more about Distracted Driving Month, fleet safety, and trucking best practices, contact us.
Posted February 5, 2015 by Administrator
- Using high beams when appropriate
- Maintaining the reflective tape around the truck and trailer
- Keeping lights and reflectors clean and well-maintained
- Ensuring other drivers see you – make eye contact or use your horn
- Speeding in densely populated areas
- Merging or change lanes aggressively
- Attempting to pass another truck until other drivers have done so
- Driving close enough to other vehicles that it makes drivers uncomfortable
Posted January 13, 2015 by Administrator
Winter driving presents a variety of challenges for transportation professionals in many parts of the country. Whether facing snowdrifts, torrentials rains, ice patches, or even just shortened days, the likelihood of an accident increases. Fleet safety should always be a high priority, but this is especially true in winter. There are, however, a number of steps that can be taken to avoid commonly contributing factors, mitigating your overall loss exposure. These include:
- Checking the regional weather forecasts – don’t let a storm take you by surprise
- Increased following distance – longer stopping distance in bad weather is critical in avoiding accidents
- Allow extra time for weather delays – make sure to set expectations realistic to the road conditions
- Winterize equipment – tires, belts, chains, defrosters, wipers, and other equipment should be ready for inclement weather
- Decreased speed – in all areas, decreasing speed as appropriate will ultimately benefit everyone, reducing accidents can save time
Additionally, winter is an important time to sharpen your skills. Review your comfort level with smooth shifting, gradual and anticipated braking, curve handling, route planning, and other related behaviors. To learn more, contact us.
Posted January 6, 2015 by Administrator
Commercial drivers know that distractions while driving increase the likelihood of an accident. But many overlook some of the more mundane distractions they might encounter while on the road. Additionally, specific distractions now carry substantially increased fines and penalties in many states, with more on the way. Avoiding accidents, as well as large fines and court appearances, may mean redifining what operators consider distracting. These distractions include:
- Eating – requires operators to remove one hand from the wheel, and usually to make eye contact with the food, shifting visual focus away from the road.
- Drinking – requires operators to remove one hand from the wheel. Additionally, beverages can be hotter or colder than expected, or spill, any of which can cause significant distraction.
- Radio – audio entertainment and/or nonessential communications should be minimized, so as to maintain focus on the roadway conditions, traffic, etc.
- Texting – highly visually distracting, and now carries heavy fines and penalties in many states, including mandatory court appearance.
- Navigation System – adjusting navigational information can draw one’s attention away from the road for far too long – pull over to make changes to your navigation.
- Cell Phones – talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device means one hand off the wheel and/or the abnormal positioning of other body parts (chin on shoulder, knee on wheel, etc) which can lead to significant and unnecessary risk.
To learn more about reducing driver distractions in your fleet, contact us.