Showing posts from tagged with: trucking best practices

What Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Need to Know about Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Posted July 19, 2017 by Administrator

In 2007, semi truck and engine manufacturers began installing DEF fuel tanks in order to meet federal emissions regulations that went into effect in 2010. The new technology, called selective catalytic reduction (SCR), is an aftertreatment that is injected in small amounts into a diesel engine’s exhaust stream. DEF stands for Diesel Exhaust Fluid. The exhaust stream, which is hot, vaporizes the DEF to form ammonia and carbon dioxide, which is passed over a catalyst and converted into nitrogen and water, which is harmless.

DEF is kept in a separate reservoir tank. DEF is composed of 32.5% high-purity urea and water. Urea is a compound of organic nitrogen that is used commonly in agriculture for fertilizer.

The SCR technology not only reduces pollution, but also saves on fuel. Since the engine no longer has to be tuned to reduce the toxic NOx, it can be adjusted for better fuel economy.

The fuel tank on your truck that has the blue cap is called the DEF fuel tank. When you remove the blue cap, you will notice there is a smaller opening than what’s on the diesel fuel tank. If at all possible, when you go into the commercial card lock or the truck stop try to get bulk DEF fuel. You don’t want to have to deal with the small jugs or containers. The smaller jugs require a funnel and are not as convenient as purchasing it in bulk. Some truck stops will only carry it in the smaller containers, but if at all possible it is best to purchase in bulk.

Once full, a DEF fuel tank will last for about six fills on diesel fuel. So you don’t have to fill it every time you refuel. Just make sure you check it regularly to ensure you don’t get stuck and end up having to use the messy jug system.

There are two fuel gauges on the dash of your rig. One is for the diesel fuel and the other one is for the DEF tank. Keep an eye on your dash gauges so you don’t run into a situation where you get too low.

The biggest concern when it comes to storing DEF is the possibility of contamination. Although DEF is non-toxic, non-polluting and non-flammable, it has to be kept in a plastic container to avoid corrosion. It also has to be kept in a temperature-controlled location and out of direct sunlight. It can be kept for years when stored properly.

If you need to store DEF, here are a few tips to safeguard it from contamination.

  1. Do not refill previously used containers.
  2. Be sure to insert the DEF nozzle into the tank’s inlet to avoid contaminating the spout.
  3. Use only dedicated DEF equipment for storing and dispensing. Do not use funnels or containers that have been used for other purposes.
  4. Do NOT use tap water if you need to rinse the fueling equipment. You must use de-mineralized water.
  5. Keep DEF away from substances such as oil, grease, water, dust, fuel, dirt, metal or detergent.

Diesel engines and systems operate better using SCR technology and fleets appreciate the fuel cost savings the DEF system offers. Cline Wood represents top trucking insurance carriers across the U.S. 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.

Rule to require e-logs pushed back: Here’s latest projected date

Posted September 28, 2015 by Erin

A Final Rule to require truck operators to use electronic logging devices has been delayed a month, according to a report released this week by the Department of Transportation. The rule is now forecasted to be published Oct. 30.

The rule will take effect two years following its publication, the date by which fleets, owner-operators and drivers must be using electronic logging devices that satisfy the rule’s requirements.

See more at:

Top 10 States for hours-of-service violations

Posted September 9, 2015 by Erin


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:




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.


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.


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

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.

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.

Bridge Strikes a Serious Hazard for Commercial Trucks

Posted August 11, 2015 by Administrator

bridge strikesA bridge strike is where a vehicle crashes into a bridge that has a railway on it or into a bridge that is built over the railway. Bridge strikes are a crucial problem. In the U.S. there are over 1,500 strikes of bridges per year. It causes a significant problem because after the strike, trains are unable to travel over it until it is repaired and inspected. Often trains have to be diverted, trips cancelled, and travelers delayed for significant amounts of time.

Bridge strikes are a serious safety hazard. Bridge strikes have cause injuries, death, damage to the infrastructure, interruption of carrier transportation and delays in travel time.

Bridge strikes can be avoided. Better awareness of route restrictions can be communicated through highly noticeable road signs and industry-standard electronic navigation systems.

There is a penalty for failing to comply with a posted route restriction along a roadway. The maximum penalty is $11,000 for a company, $2,750 for a driver. Source: Appendix B to 49 CFR part 386, paragraphs (a)(3) and (a)(4). (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is working to address the issue of bridge strikes. They have offered the following information to help interested parties recognize the work being done to eliminate bridge strikes.

  • The FMCSA will work with its State and local partners to ensure they understand their enforcement authority against motor carriers and drivers that fail to abide by roadway signs
  • The FMCSA will work with its State partners and the truck and bus industries to distribute the Agency’s visor card “GPS Selection Guide for CMVs
  • The Agency will also work with commercial driver training school associations to encourage them to include electronic navigation system selection information in their training programs.

FMCSA’s information systems do not have crash statistics associated with the use of electronic navigation systems. However, even one truck or bus striking an overpass is one too many, which is why the Agency is taking action to ensure professional truck and bus drivers know the importance of selecting the right navigation system.

To learn more about transportation safety, risk reduction, and best practices, contact us.

Popular Trucking Insurance & Best Practices Blogs

Posted March 27, 2015 by Administrator

Cline Wood specializes in a wide variety of coverages to suit the needs of the transportation industry, from independent owner operators to large nationwide fleets. Beyond coverages, we understand the needs, concerns, and challenges of commercial vehicle operation in 2015. To gain some useful knowledge, check out some of our popular blogs on the subject, including:

For more on these and other important topics related to transportation safety and insurance coverages, visit our blog again soon or contact us today.

Protect Your Transportation Business from Negligent Hiring Claims

Posted February 26, 2015 by Administrator

Frequent regulatory changes have brought about a consistent rise in negligent hiring and retention claims. Yet many carriers do not fully understand the concept of negligent hiring. If you don’t understand it, how can you be sure to avoid it?

Negligent hiring is claimed by an injured party against an employer based on the premise that the employer knew or should have known about the employee’s background, and that the employee’s background would indicate dangerous or untrustworthy character. Examples of negative background information include high accident frequency, multiple major moving violations, and even substance abuse. These claims are recognized in almost every state and have resulted in payouts averaging more than $1 million dollars each.

Your trucking business can avoid these potentially costly claims by engaging in hiring practices that mitigate your exposure to liability. Improving hiring practices , but here are the basics:

  • Hire based on many factors – the more information, the better
  • Consider all aspects of hiring liability and their potential impact
  • Leverage MVRs and PSPs to ascertain the following:
    • Safety-orientation
    • Customer focus
    • Integrity
    • Independence
    • Compliance

Many steps are necessary to establish liability-oriented hiring protocols that will stand up to strict scrutiny in a court of law. To avoid spending your time and money in court, contact us.

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