Showing posts from tagged with: fleet safety

Keeping Truck Brakes Safe Year Round

Posted October 2, 2018 by Administrator

Following the recent Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Brake Safety Week, brake maintenance remains a priority. With colder weather rapidly approaching, truck drivers and fleet managers need to ensure truck brakes are operational before hitting the roads in less than optimal conditions.

Brake Safety for Drivers

Truck drivers can take several steps to improve their brake safety. Some suggestions include:

  • Inspect the vehicle to identify safety risks to the driver and other motor vehicles on the road. Pre-trip inspections should last 10-15 minutes and include the truck, trailer, cab, and all equipment.
  • Go over the CSVA’s Brake Inspection Checklist. Drivers should check for damaged or missing components, worn or cracked brake pads, etc.
  • Check tire pressure regularly. When truck drivers use their brakes, it accelerates wear and tear on tire tread. By making sure tires aren’t over or underinflated, drivers can prolong the life of their brakes.
  • Practice defensive driving. Hard braking tears brakes. Sometimes, it may seem impossible to avoid hard braking when other motorists suddenly hit their brakes. However, if truck drivers maintain a good following distance, they can circumvent the situation. Other ways to avoid hard braking are to follow the speed limit, obey traffic signs, and slow down in work zones.

Brake Safety for Fleet Managers

Managing driver safety is a top priority for fleet managers, but this can be hard to do without being in the trucks with the employees. The following are several ways fleet managers can monitor and control brake safety:

  • Utilize telematics data. This information can inform fleet managers if drivers are braking hard, speeding, or other behaviors that affect brakes.
  • Create a culture of safety. Emphasize the importance of pre- and post-trip inspections to identify potential issues with brakes before they become a major problem.
  • Implement preventative maintenance. Consistent maintenance can prolong the life of brakes as well as increase driver safety.

Brake safety is an issue that concerns drivers and fleet managers alike. By making it a company-wide issue, fleets can extend the lifespan on their brakes as well as reduce the risk of a brake-related accident. To learn other ways to reduce risk in your fleet, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

5 Steps to Improved Tire Safety

Posted July 24, 2018 by Administrator

Commercial vehicles need quality tires to remain on the roads and make deliveries on time. However, several factors can diminish the lifespan of a tire as well as reduce its reliability. That is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collaborated with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) to develop several simple tips for tire safety encompassed by the acronym TIRES.

Commercial Tire Safety Tips

The above U.S. DOT agencies realized several factors increased the likelihood of tire failures such as pushing tires past their speed rating, increased front axle loads, and more. The following suggestions can help drivers eliminate most tire problems.

(T)ire Inspection

Drivers should check their tires every day and report any of the following to a mechanic:

  • Foreign objects (i.e. nails, screws, etc.)
  • Cracks
  • Cuts
  • Bulges
  • Uneven tread wear
  • Insufficient tread depth
  • Other damage

(I)nflation Pressure

Overinflated and underinflated tires cause uneven tread wear. It also reduces fuel efficiency, which adds up and eats into profits over time. That is why drivers must gauge their tires while they’re cold before any trip and make adjustments as needed. Checking tires after driving them can lead to inaccurate results and cause improper inflation.

(R)ims

It’s of critical importance that drivers only pair compatible rims and tires. Mismatched parts can explode, leading to significant injuries or fatalities.

(E)xtreme Loading

Tires can only carry so much before compromising their integrity. Drivers should never overload their vehicles because it causes the tires to overheat and can lead to structural damage and outright failure.

(S)peed

Every tire has a unique speed rating. Drivers need to stay at or under this limit to avoid damaging their tires, which can shorten the tire’s lifespan.

Tires are an expensive component that require proper care and maintenance. Otherwise, drivers will find themselves replacing their tires more often than necessary, costing them more money. Improper tire maintenance also poses a significant safety risk so tire maintenance is an imperative element of transportation safety. To learn more about improving your trucking company’s safety, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

How to Curb Digital Addiction in Your Fleet

Posted July 16, 2018 by Administrator

Driver safety is paramount to a fleet’s success. However, no amount of safety devices can contend with a distracted driver. Over one-third of millennials check their phones at least once per hour compared to 21% of the rest of the population. In fact, most people check their phones upward of 100 times per day.

The Problem with Digital Dependency

Being tied to technology creates a multitude of problems for drivers; however, the greatest is its effect on sleep. One survey found that over half of respondents slept with their phone next to their bed, 13% slept with their phone in their bed, and 3% slept with their phone in their hand. This creates a sense of urgency for every after-hour text, phone call, or email.

New messages disturb sleep and make employees feel like they need to respond right away. Driver fatigue is one of the known leading causes of accidents and fatalities in the transportation industry so it behooves fleets to get serious about how attached drivers are to their phones.

Finding Solutions to Improve Safety

The simplest solution to the reliance on cell phones is to stop multitasking. The vast majority of people who attempt to multitask fail to be effective. For example, drivers know they shouldn’t text and drive or talk on the phone and drive. However, a ping of a new message or phone call is often a tempting lure. Drivers can download apps that prevent non-urgent texts and emails from coming through, but the problem is not just with drivers.

Fleet managers often send the wrong signal when it comes to cell phone usage. For example, if a manager checks his or her phone several times during a conversation with a driver, that individual will likely feel like the manager isn’t paying attention. This can create a negative cycle where employees don’t bring forward problems or concerns due to a perceived lack of interest from management.

Managers should also pay attention to when they send emails. It may be a manager’s preference to send emails after hours, but this practice can make employees feel pressured to respond even though they aren’t on the clock. If this is the case, managers should set clear expectations that they don’t expect employees to read or respond to emails sent after hours until the following workday.

Technology isn’t going to go away or slow down anytime soon. However, how fleets and drivers manage their use of it has a big effect on overall safety. If your fleet is struggling with transportation safety, contact the experts at Cline Wood to learn how we can help.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

The Future of Highway Safety Depends on Massive Data Integration and Connectivity

Posted February 5, 2018 by Administrator

In today’s technology-based world, an increasing number of trucks include smart sensors that send information about location and operating conditions. Truck manufacturers have already connected around 500,000 trucks to the Internet of Things (IoT). This trend is projected to continue to grow; it is estimated that more than 35 million trucks will be connected by 2020. Many fleet owners today believe that connected trucks will be a given in the near future.

Connected trucks do more than communicate with office managers through the internet; they now share data with each other. Connected trucks are now able to form a platoon where multiple trucks are able to follow a “leader” truck through connected technology and information sharing.

Platoons are generating more interest because they offer an incredible cost savings. Truck drivers are able to increase their productivity by resting in semi-autonomous trucks that are communicating with a lead vehicle. Platoons have been shown to be safer because semi-autonomous trucks have a reduced response rate. Wifi-based vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), lane departure assist, adaptive cruise control and active brake assist offer heightened safety and fewer traffic incidences.

Semi-automated connected trucks are already driving in platoons on public roads in the U.S., Europe and Singapore. Manufacturers are working on improving the way connected trucks efficiently communicate and share their data. Various types of devices, including sensors, controllers and software applications are being refined to better share their data seamlessly. Data that is gathered has the capacity to not only improve the safety of commercial trucks but also improve customers service.

The types of data that is currently being shared include:

  • Temperature
  • Moisture
  • Wind
  • Rate of acceleration
  • Braking
  • Location of truck
  • Safety hazard sensors on the truck such as a back door sensor
  • Humidity
  • Diagnostics and service records
  • Checking inventory
  • Placing orders

In addition to data collection, connected technology needs to be protected against cyber attacks. It’s essential to include safeguards that will prevent data loss and cyber hackers from interfering and causing data leaks or accidents. Commercial truck manufacturers are working toward all-inclusive integration platforms that will enable the sharing of information between vehicles, their drivers and the whole logistics network.

The increasing cost of communications, coupled with the increasing amount of data, means that information flows need to be improved to make them more efficient to ensure a seamless flow of information. Data needs to be managed properly to ensure that documentation is maintained for compliance purposes as well as kept secure. Information needs to be scalable in order to manage large volumes of data.

Connected trucks are a reality. It is imperative that data used by commercial trucks is maintained securely and reliably. Finding cost effective ways to collect, share and analyze data will help make semi-autonomous trucks safer and affordable.

Cline Wood represents top trucking and agribusiness insurance carriers across the country. We have access to all types of insurance programs, treating your company as if it were our own. Contact us today to find out how we can help you manage your risk, directly contributing to your bottom line.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

U.S. Senate Subcommittee Hears Testimony on Improving Truck Safety on our Nation’s Highways

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:

  1. Advocacy for fully funding Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and reforms moving forward,
  2. Opposition to legislative reforms by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA), and
  3. 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.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

TMPS for a Safer Fleet

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.

Roadway Hazards Cause Thousands of Crashes Every Year

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:

  • PotholesRoadWork
  • Sinkholes
  • Black ice
  • Water
  • Loose gravel or stones
  • Blind spots
  • Curves
  • Lack of guardrails
  • Animal carcases
  • Winding roads
  • Manhole covers that have been improperly placed

Will Speed Limiters Make Trucks Safer?

Posted June 20, 2016 by Administrator

shutterstock_20471446 - Copy (2)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 2557

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.

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.

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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