Showing posts from tagged with: transportation safety

Increasingly Sophisticated Weather Forecasting Technology a Boon to Trucking Industry

Posted September 26, 2017 by Administrator

Sophisticated weather forecasting technology applications help trucking fleets navigate adverse weather conditions that could pose freight delivery delays or safety risks.

New technologies provide drivers in the contintental U.S. with weather-related information to improve safety and efficiency. With these new applications, drivers can view:

  • current radar
  • precipitation on roadways
  • wind speed
  • current and extended forecasts, helping them be aware of the weather ahead.

Weather prediction resources have significantly improved since the days when the Farmers’ Almanac was the best weather forecaster source.

Rapidly improving technology has put weather forecasting and radar capabilities into the hands of those who need this information the most, which includes truck drivers. Weather technology continues to improve, current technologies are able to predict the disruptive impact of weather events and suggest actions that can be taken to mitigate the effects of the disruption.

This ability to foresee the weather and make adjustments as needed is especially useful for trucking fleets, whose daily operations can be disrupted, sometimes for days or weeks, from the effects of a hurricane, flash flood or blizzard.

According to PeopleNet, a provider of fleet management technology, weather has accounted for $3.5 billion in mobility costs and $14 billion in accident costs. Amazingly, 93% of those disasters can now be predicted using the new, cutting-edge predictive applications.

The new weather technology may be the catalyst for change for today’s competitive trucking firms, who must deal with disruptive weather events. A large-scale weather event, such as Hurricane Harvey that recently swept through the Houston, TX region, can have a disastrous effect on the transportation supply chain.

Weather is one of the biggest causes of market volatility in both the short term as well as the long term. These new technologies can help mitigate the impact such events can have throughout the supply chain. Companies are starting to use trading platforms that enable independents, fleets and third-party logistics firms to lock in rates ahead of major weather events like earthquakes.

Weather forecasting has been used to predict market price volatility for commodities since the 1980’s and is already commonly used by oil, gas and grain traders.

Enhanced notifications of road and cargo hazards can help carriers minimize losses and reduce down times. The new technology will enable drivers and equipment to maximize their potential while improving delivery efficiency during harsh weather seasons. For more on transportation safety, news, and risk, contact Cline Wood.

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How to Prepare Your Drivers for a DOT Motor Vehicle Audit

Posted June 27, 2017 by Administrator

The Department of Transportation (DOT) regularly conducts motor vehicle audits to ensure that carriers are in compliance with applicable regulations. Audits are conducted without prior notice. The types of audits that are conducted include the following:

  • Compliance Review

Checks the vehicle to determine if the equipment meets safety standards. All areas of compliance are covered.

  • Security Review

Reviews the safety plan, training of the driver and other security-related measures.

  • Hazardous Materials Reviews

Comprehensive review that covers all aspects of transporting hazardous materials, such as policies, training, shipping documentation and labeling of containers.

  • New Driver Entrants

Within 3-6 months of the issuance of a USDOT number, a new driver safety audit will be conducted.

Paying attention to details and maintaining thorough records are important keys to passing the audit. It is imperative that you keep a copy of the DOT Compliance Checklist, Level 1 DOT Commercial Vehicle Inspection as well as a current North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria publication issued by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance on board your rigs so that drivers can refer to them as needed.

Here are 4 tips to help your company fleet stay in compliance and be prepared for a DOT audit.

  1. Talk with your drivers

As a fleet owner, it is vitally important for you to build rapport with your drivers so that there is a trust relationship. If you perceive the driver is making mistakes, you need to understand why the mistakes are happening and have enough of a relationship for there to be honest dialog with the goal of resolving the issues. Your drivers are the life of your business; they are the people that move your loads. They will be the ones that either make or break your business.

The inspection officer will begin the audit by interviewing the driver. During the interview, the officer will be inspecting the interior of the cab to ensure the cab and dash instruments are in good repair. The officer will also be looking for evidence of drug and/or alcohol usage during the cab inspection.

  1. Make Sure Your Equipment is in Good Repair

Use the Level 1 DOT Commercial Vehicle Inspection Checklist to determine if your vehicle is in compliance. Pay careful attention to the seat belts, windshield wipers, emergency lights, brake lights, lighting devices of all types, emergency exits, electrical cables, braking systems, fuel systems, exhaust systems, electrical cables, etc.

  1. Keep Your Paperwork and Logs Organized and Up-to-Date

It’s vitally important that your driver’s record keeping is organized and current so that he or she can easily demonstrate to an inspector that everything is in order. Make sure they know where their fire extinguisher and triangles are, and their documents are in order. Make sure they keep their information in a place that is easy to access and that everything is complete.

  1. The Attitude of the Driver is Important

Help your drivers understand how to maintain a respectful, cooperative attitude. If a driver is argumentative, sullen or uncooperative, the inspector is likely to demand a Level 1 Inspection. A driver with a cooperative, positive attitude will have a smoother experience and the inspection will go much quicker.

Your drivers should expect an inspection at any time. Work with them to help them understand the importance of passing their inspections, and support them in developing the systems they need to keep things organized and up-to-date. Maintain a positive relationship with them and model courtesy, respect and a professional attitude at all times.

Following these general guidelines will help your drivers pass their DOT inspections in a timely, efficient manner, helping them get back on the job working for your company.

Cline Wood represents top trucking insurance carriers across the country. To learn more about the issues that concern commercial truck companies today, trucking coverage and risk management, contact us.

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.

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Webinar: Keeping Your Focus on the Road Ahead

Posted April 11, 2017 by Administrator

Truck InsuranceJoin Cline Wood University and industry expert Mike Bohon from Great West Casualty Company as we discuss factors that contribute to rear end crashes. These include (but are not limited to) following distance, vehicle speed, driver distractions, and improper reaction by the driver. We’ll cover a variety of important strategies to combat these issues – improving safety and reducing risk. Topics include:

* Calculating stopping distance
* Gauging proper following distance
* Reducing/eliminating distractions
* Mentally practicing reactions to road hazards
* Preventing/mitigating rear-end crashes

Date & Time: Wed, Apr 19, 2017 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM CDT
To register for the complimentary webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8878248911594592771

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.

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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.

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Impact of the Highway Bill, “FAST Act 2015”, on the Trucking Industry

Posted December 21, 2015 by Erin

RoadWork
Article written by Lesley Hall, JD, MBA, associate attorney at Roberts Perryman PC. Originally published on the Roberts Perryman Blog, you can visit them here.

 

On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act highway bill (dubbed the “FAST Act 2015”). The five – year, $305 billion dollar highway funding bill includes several important trucking regulatory reforms and also represents the longest termed highway bill in decades. The Act mandates a series of long-term homework projects for the FMCSA with the goal of clearing the smoke and mirrors effect from certain issues such as CSA scores, driver detention issues, and insurance matters. To save you the trouble of perusing the approximately 1,300 pages of Act (unless you’ve been eagerly anticipating the read, then consider this a spoiler alert) we’ve highlighted some important changes that directly impact our industry:

• The infamous CSA scores are no more for the time being. Much of the information contained on the FMCSA website that was previously available and that related to carriers’ performance is no longer on display. Carriers’ percentile rankings and the seven SMS BASICS are among the bulk of the data that has been temporarily removed. The bill requires the FMCSA to perform in-depth studies on issues like carriers’ crash risk and the correlation between CSA scores and the carriers’ likelihood of crashes. This study is due to be produced to Congress within 18 months of the bill becoming law. Congress has required that the FMCSA implement a “corrective action plan” before it can allow public view of the carrier information previously contained on its website.
• The FMCSA must study and provide Congress with a report on how driver detention at shippers and receivers’ facilities impede the efficiency of US freight movement, as well as the impact the detention might have on drivers’ schedules or wages.
• The FMCSA must also provide a report to Congress concerning carrier liability insurance minimums and whether they should be raised from their current values. Liability for general freight carriers is $750,000.00.
• The Act allows carriers to use drivers’ hair as a source of material for drug testing, in lieu of urine tests, but only after the Department of Health and Human Services establishes a clear guideline for hair testing. The DHHS is expected to report to Congress with some guidelines within one year.
• The rulemaking process for the FMCSA has undergone new regulations, and the FMCSA must include a “regulatory impact analysis” for each new rule it institutes, which must show the effect the rule might have on carriers of various sizes. The Act requires the analysis to utilize data that represents the commercial motor carrier industry that would be impacted by the rule.
• The FMCSA must change the rules to allow military veterans with experience driving equipment that is similar to heavy-duty trucks to more easily obtain a CDL and drive a truck as a civilian. Specifically, the FMCSA must allow their military driving experience to count towards driving skills and tests and their medical certifications could be obtained from VA doctors rather than those in the FMCSA’s registry.

For as many things as the bill included, there exists a list of things notably absent from the final, signed draft:

• The final version does not contain a measure to permit 18-21 year old CDL holders to drive interstate. The preliminary House and Senate bills included measures to let states enter into a compact to allow 18-21 years olds to cross state lines. The final version, however, sets up a “controlled study” to be performed by the FMCSA to collect data on under-21 year old drivers who are former military members and study the benefits and safety issues.
• There is no provision allowing for an increase in federal weight limits. Trucking lobbyist groups pushed for an increase from the current 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds and increasing the maximum allowed length of tandem trailers to 33 feet from the current 28 feet.
• The Act provides no “hiring standards” provision (thankfully). The original House highway bill had criteria that encouraged shippers and brokers to hire only carriers with “satisfactory” safety ratings. Critics of the House highway bill balked, stating that the provision would wreak havoc on a majority of small trucking companies who are “unrated” by the FMCSA.
• The Denham Amendment, promulgated by Representative Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), sought to clarify a recent court ruling issued by a federal appellate court. The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAA) prohibits states from enacting laws that interfere with motor carrier prices, routes, or service. However, the federal ruling last year held that a California law mandating meal and rest break for workers in the states superseded FAA. The Denham Amendment would have explicitly provided that states cannot regulate truckers who fall under federal Hours of Service regulations.
• The final bill also eliminated the provision in the Senate’s original bill that allowed tolling on existing interstate lanes and the use of toll money for use outside of the US interstate system.

Overall, the Act shows promise in paving a way for a better future for those of us in the transportation industry. We are all painfully aware of the FMCSA’s need to take the CSA score concept back to the proverbial drawing board. Hopefully the new system will provide a less harsh view of some of the more (relatively speaking) benign issues that blemish some of our reports. Improvements in CSA reporting may also help defend trucking companies sued in litigation, as plaintiffs’ attorneys often exaggerate what would otherwise be seen as relatively minor disclosures. Of course the impact of this Act may hit more forcefully once the FMCSA generates the numerous reports it has been assigned to prepare and provide and that concern very important aspects of the transportation industry. The agency has been given a hefty homework assignment and it remains to be seen whether the curve is in its favor.

This article was written by Lesley Hall, JD, MBA, associate attorney at Roberts Perryman PC. Lesley focuses her practice on Transportation and Logistics as well as Trucking Litigation. Additionally, Lesley is third generation of a trucking family.

Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL. http://www.robertsperryman.com

 

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Top 10 States for hours-of-service violations

Posted September 9, 2015 by Erin

ViolationMap

As a primer for some more in-depth reporting on FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program set to be published later this month, here’s a look at the 10 states with the most hours-of-service violations:

http://www.ccjdigital.com/top-10-states-for-hours-of-service-violations/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=09-09-2015&utm_campaign=Commercial%20Carrier%20Journal&ust_id=b97fba2504&

 

 

 

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FMCSA Future Enhancements to SMS Causing Carrier Concerns

Posted August 20, 2015 by Erin

Commercial vehicle associations are weighing in with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on the Agency’s intent to incorporate several enhancements to the Safety Measurement System (SMS). Most notably, the changes will affect the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) scores which would be publicly available on the FMCSA/SMS website and used by the Agency to prioritize and intervene with motor carriers that pose the greatest safety risk. The American Bus Association (ABA) and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) have submitted detailed accounts of their positions on the changes FMCSA is proposing to affect, both positive and negative, and express concern for some of the methods prescribed, especially in light of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finding that due to data and methodology issues, SMS scores are often unreliable indicators of future crash risk. The associations are in agreement that while many of the proposed changes are consistent with the goals of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, FMCSA needs to focus on refining crash data to more accurately reflect carriers’ safety performance and better crash risk connection.

 

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MCS-150 and Other Updates Available Through URS

Posted August 20, 2015 by Erin

URSlogoFederal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires all entities under its jurisdiction to update their information every two years. You are required to provide this update every two years even if your company has not changed its information, has ceased interstate operations since the last update, or is no longer in business and you did not notify FMCSA.

http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/unified-registration-system

 

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CVSA’s 2015 Annual Brake Safety Week is September 6-12

Posted August 20, 2015 by Erin

During the week of Sept. 6-12, 2015, law enforcement agencies across North America will conduct brake system inspections on large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Brake Safety Week.

Read more about CVSA’s inspection procedures at http://cvsa.org/programs/nas.php

Brake-related violations comprised the largest percentage (representing 46.2 percent) of all out-of-service violations cited during Operation Airbrake’s companion International Roadcheck campaign in 2014.

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Top 5 Best Practices for Highway Breakdowns

Posted August 18, 2015 by Administrator

shutterstock_118561318 - CopyHighway breakdowns occur every day, across the country. Observing safety best practices can save time, money, and even lives. It’s crucial for all drivers in your organization to familiarize themselves with safety practices, and to always employ them when experiencing a breakdown. Here are our top 5:

  1. Look for the safest spot on the shoulder and pull over. Wider breakdown areas are generally safer, and corners should be avoided. Stay calm and focused.
  2. Call for help. This can include roadside assistance, emergency personnel, or your corporate response team. Ascertaining your location will make this call more productive.
  3. Increase visibility beyond your hazard lights. If you can safely exit your vehicle and have roadside flares available, place them approximately 50 feet behind your car. You can also raise your hood to alert motorists that your vehicle is inoperative.
  4. Stay with your vehicle. If you’ve called for roadside service, you must be present when help arrives. If you exit your vehicle, stay away from the traffic flow. Walking along a highway is dangerous. Many people are killed each year while walking beside busy roads.
  5. Don’t try to be a mechanic. If you have insufficient experience with diagnosing engine issues or executing a tire change, proceed with extreme caution. It can be challenging to change a tire in your driveway – doing so beside a busy highway is significantly more difficult and dangerous. Before considering this, it’s best to wait for the police to arrive. They will help you determine if it’s safe to change your tire and can slow down traffic if you decide to do this.

To learn more about driver safety best practices, transportation safety, and related issues, contact us.

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