Showing posts from tagged with: trucking news

Amendment to Delay Commercial Truck Driver ELD Mandate Fails in U.S. House of Representatives

Posted September 18, 2017 by Administrator

An amendment to delay the roll out of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate that is slated to go into effect December 17, 2017 was recently defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives. The amendment would have stalled the EDL enforcement date for ten months.

Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) was sponsored by Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas.) The amendment would have restricted funding for enforcement through the 2018 fiscal year, effectively delaying the mandate until September 30, 2018. The amendment was defeated with a 246-173 final vote.

Babin has also filed a bill in the House that will delay the ELD mandate’s enforcement date by two years to December 2019. This bill has been referred to the House of Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation. The bill is seeking the implementation of the ELD mandate by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) be delayed for two years to give drivers time to make the transition from paper logs to an electronic logging device.

The purpose of the ELD rule is to create a safer work environment for drivers. It will also make it easier and faster to track and share records of duty status (RODS) information. The ELD will synchronize with the engine of the commercial vehicle to automatically record driving time, making sure that Hours of Service (HOS) records are accurate.

There are exceptions to the ELD mandate. The following drivers are not required, by law, to use an ELD, unless they volunteer to do so.

  • Drivers who use traditional logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period
  • So called driveaway-towaway drivers (drivers who transport an empty vehicle for sale, lease or repair)
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before the year 2000

An evaluation by the FMCSA studied the safety benefits for carriers that utilize an ELD. The FMCSA found that there is an 11.7% reduction in crash rates and a 50% reduction in hours-of-service violations; it is estimated that implementation of the ELD mandate will prevent 1,844 large truck crashes and save the lives of at least 26 people each year.

Motor carriers that meet the agricultural exemption or the covered farm vehicle FMCSA exemptions are not subject to the ELD rule while operating under the terms of the exemption. The duty status of the driver may be noted as either “off-duty” or “exempt.” Click here for more information on the agricultural exemption for the ELD mandate.

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Multiple Factors Drive Rise in Refrigerated Commercial Trailer Sales

Posted August 28, 2017 by Administrator

The refrigerated trucking industry is of critical importance to both the trucking industry and the U.S. economy as a whole. The refrigerated trucking industry hauled 520.1 million tons of freight in 2015, which was 5 percent of all truck freight. Refrigerated freight generates $14.3 billion in revenue annually, which is 1.9 percent of all truck revenue ($748.9 billion.)

The demand for refrigerated transportation has increased since 2014, according to ACT Research Co, a commercial vehicle transportation and research company. The growth can be attributed to several factors, including new federal food handling requirements that went into effect in March 2016, as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA.)

The primary driver of the demand, according to the ACT Research study, is the consumer demand for fresh food and eating out. Food service businesses and food carriers are scrambling to keep up with the demand. U.S. refrigerated trailers are scrambling to keep the pipeline full and transportation moving.

In 2014, a record 46,500 refrigerated trailers where shipped by U.S. manufacturers, which is the highest to date. Then, in 2016 46,000 reefer trailers were shipped, making it the second highest in refrigerated trailer sales.

ACT is projecting 43,000 refrigerating trailer units will be sold in 2017. Refrigerated trailer sales are expected to remain solid in the near future. In addition to food, the refrigerated transport market includes electronics, pharmaceuticals and ammunition, which are shipped in refrigerated trailers.

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

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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Is Natural Gas the Future Fuel of the Trucking Industry?

Posted August 3, 2017 by Administrator

The importance of natural gas in the marketplace is growing, especially in the trucking and shipping industry. For the past decade, companies that use large amounts of fuel, such as FedEx, UPS, Southwest Airlines and cruise ship companies have been concerned about the lack of a national energy policy as well as the increasing dependency of the country on imported petroleum.

In 2005, the U.S. Energy Security Leadership Council was formed to develop a long-term, comprehensive policy to reduce U.S. oil dependence and improve national energy security. The Council identified three recommendations for the nation to secure America’s future energy safety.

  1. Produce as much of our own energy in the United States as possible
  2. Reduce energy consumption, and
  3. Develop alternatives to imported petroleum.

The U.S. has a massive supply of natural gas that will meet our needs far into the future. Natural gas has recently received renewed attention as an alternative fuel for the trucking industry.

Natural gas is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture that consists primarily of methane. Natural gas is found in natural rock formations deep underground. About 88 percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is found in the U.S. Most of the rest is found in Canada (10.5 percent). A very small amount (1.5 percent) is imported as liquefied natural gas. Since most of our natural gas resources are domestic, the potential economic impact of converting fleets to natural gas is extremely positive compared with importing millions of barrels of oil from overseas, as is currently the case.

Besides the obvious benefit of improving our economy and increasing national security, there are other benefits of natural gas. The U.S. Department of Energy has found that natural gas vehicles emit lower emissions. Natural gas vehicles produce significantly lower amounts of harmful emissions when compared with vehicles fueled with conventional diesel.

Natural gas fueled vehicles have been shown to have reduced emission rates of:

  • nitrogen oxides
  • particulate matter
  • toxic and carcinogenic pollutants, and
  • greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

Converting even a small percentage of current trucking fleets to natural gas could significantly impact the U.S. in a positive way.

In addition to reducing fewer emissions, natural gas saves money on fuel. Currently, the cost of diesel is above the $4 per gallon mark. Natural gas currently costs about $1.89 per gallon. This is less than half of the cost of diesel. The trucking industry consumes about $53.9 billion gallons of fuel a year. If these trucks all switched to natural gas, they’d save about $108 billion.

Natural gas as fuel for the transportation industry seems too good to be true. It’s inexpensive, and its emissions are significantly lower than those emitted by petroleum. But there is a catch; any methane gas that escapes instead of burning is much more impactful than emissions from petroleum bases fuel. When it comes to air quality, more research needs to be done to understand and find a practical, sustainable solution.

In order to further study and explore solutions, The Environmental Defense Fund is conducting research to measure methane leaks at various stages of refueling as well as operations.

Natural gas is a domestic resource that can reduce fuel costs, decrease our dependence on overseas oil purchases and improve our environment. With continued collaboration and commitment to high performance standards, natural gas will be a win for future generations of shippers and motor vehicle fleets.

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

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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Pros and Cons of Electronic Log Books for Commercial Truck Drivers

Posted May 2, 2017 by Administrator

Many commercial truck drivers that have not started using electronic log books are skeptical, if not worried, about implementing an electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) system in their vehicle. Although most drivers will admit the system is not yet perfected, many have been pleasantly surprised. The general consensus is that there are more good points about e-logs than bad.

Positive aspects often cited by drivers include:

  • the system forces you to get the proper amount of rest. Getting enough rest is important not only from a regulations point of view, but for the health and safety of the trucker and the public.
  • despite having to adhere to the hours-of-service regulations, drivers do not feel they are losing money in the long run. This was a major concern of many drivers. Most drivers report that by having the proper rest and sleep they reduce stress, which actually leads to increased productivity.
  • e-logs prevent drivers from being pushed or pressured by dispatchers requiring unreasonable delivery schedules because the driver’s hours are documented in the log.
  • if a situation arises – such as inclement weather or sleepiness, the log book becomes the driver’s ally because it documents the condition that causes them to pull over, ensuring that they will operate your vehicle safely.
  • upper management of fleets like the e-logging system because records are accurate and legible. The logs can be reviewed at any time by the company’s safety team, which saves money and time.

The major complaint heard by drivers using the EOBR is that there’s no leeway when using an e-logging system. For example, if a driver gets stuck in traffic there’s absolutely nothing they can do to get off the road safely in the time the machine allots. Drivers feel there should be some latitude built into the system for uncontrollable circumstances.

There’s no doubt that the EOBR system is the future of the trucking industry. It appears that this is a good thing because our country’s drivers will be rested and less stressed, and the roads will be safer for both drivers and the general public who share the road with them.

To learn more about the issues that concern truck drivers 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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Weight Limit Exemption for Dairy Truck Drivers

Posted April 25, 2017 by Administrator

A recent federal regulation now allows states to adjust how they treat milk trucks versus other haulers. This amendment to the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act authorizes states to issue special permits to milk truck drivers regarding weight limits as well as treat their dairy cargo as a non-divisible load.

One state, Connecticut, has already taken advantage of this revision. Prior to the change in law, Connecticut milk haulers had to travel with their trucks at 80 percent capacity. This meant it required five trucks to haul four trucks worth of milk. This provides two significant benefits:

  • Small and mid-sized farmers can now use the full capacity of their dairy trucks, which helps them save money
  • More economic use of milk trucks means less traffic on state roads

Exemption Improves Road Safety

While helping dairy farmers save money is a considerable benefit, improving road safety is a much farther-reaching advantage. Traffic congestion is not only aggravating, it is a major source of risk to truck drivers and passenger vehicle alike. Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are harder to maneuver and bring to a complete stop than passenger vehicles. While CMV drivers can do their part to ensure they are following safe driving practices, they cannot account for how other vehicles will drive around them.

Reducing the number of trucks to deliver the same amount of cargo is a necessary step for improving road safety.  It is vital for dairy farmers and milk truck drivers to stay up to date with which states are cashing in on this amendment to the FAST Act. Dairy haulers often cross state lines, so they need to ensure their cargo weight meets each state’s rules. To stay up to date with the latest federal regulations affecting agribusinesses, 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.

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EPA’s Latest Initiative – Phase 2 Heavy-Duty National Program

Posted April 4, 2017 by Administrator

Fuel-efficiency and carbon pollution standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks in America were finalized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last year. These new standards, which will go into effect by the year 2027, will improve the fuel efficiency of commercial motor carriers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thereby bolstering energy security and saving vehicle owners substantial fuel costs.

The program, called the “Final Phase 2 Program” is designed to promote a cleaner, more efficient trucking industry by encouraging the application of currently-available technologies and the development of new technologies that will produce cost-effective remedies by the year 2027. The EPA is projecting that the new imperatives will have a lasting positive effect for the industry, the entire economy and public health.

  • CO2 emissions are expected to be reduced by 1.1 billion metric tons,
  • $170 billion will be saved in fuel costs,
  • oil consumption will be reduced by up to two billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program,
  • the buyer of a new long-haul truck in 2027 is expected to recoup the investment in fuel-efficient technology within two years of purchase,
  • $230 billion in net benefits to society, including benefits to our climate and the public health of Americans.

Heavy-duty trucks generate the most greenhouse gas emissions and use the most energy in the U.S. transportation sector. They currently account for 20 percent of GHG emissions and oil use.

The EPA and NHTSA continue to work on fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for trailers. They are expected to take effect as soon as 2018 for certain trailers, while other trailers will have until 2021 to comply. Credits will be available for those who wish to voluntary participate before the final deadline. Types of technologies that are being considered for the standards include:

  • aerodynamic devices,
  • light-weight construction, and
  • self-inflating tires.

The agencies who were involved in developing the new Final Phase 2 Program are very excited about the new U.S. national standards that were developed with input from a variety of sources including trucking industry, labor and environmental leaders.

To learn more on transportation industry news, trucking coverages, 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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What To Do If Your Trucking Insurance is Non-Renewed

Posted March 28, 2017 by Administrator

Despite popular belief, insurance cancellations are actually more common than you might think. Perhaps you’ve received a notice that reads something like:

“Attention: Your current insurance policy is being non-renewed due to…”

While a non-renewal notice is something you should take seriously, it typically will not negatively impact your ability to find alternate insurance. Here are some facts you should know before securing a new insurance policy and what to do so that you keep your trucking operations running seamlessly.

Why the Non-Renewal?

A non-renewal is not the same as a cancellation. Unlike a cancellation notice, and non-renewal notice is generally issued when there is a change with the insurance carrier. For example, the insurance carrier may no longer write in your state or has left the market completely, which are circumstances outside of your control.

However, if the reason for your non-renewal notice is due to late or non-payment of premiums, an increase in the frequency or severity of claims, or poor inspection reports or compliance issues, your ability to find new insurance may be impacted.

What Should You Do Next?

You’ve received a non-cancellation notice 30-90 days before your renewal date, so use your time wisely. If you’re insured directly through the carrier, finding a new insurance company may be tricky. It is now your responsibility to find and secure new insurance before your current policy is expired.

If you’re insured through an insurance agency, it is likely your agent is already aware of the situation and will be working to find a replacement company that is best suited for your circumstances.

If you were insured through a carrier and will be shopping around for a new carrier, we recommend you have the following information ready.

  • Driver schedule

Name, driver’s license number, date of birth, hire date, number of years of CDL experience for each driver

  • Vehicle schedule

Year and make of each vehicle, VIN numbers, and value of each of your tractor/trailers

  • IFTA

Last four (4) quarters of Fuel Tax Reports (mileage broken down by state)

  • Loss runs

Loss runs for the last three (3) years

  • Financial information

Financials for the most recent year

  • Insurance certificate

Your most recent insurance certificate that shows your current coverage

  • Commodities hauled

List top 3 – 4 commodities hauled

  • Safety information

Safety director’s name and experience, a copy of your safety manual, copy of driver guidelines, and any safety equipment

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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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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Petitioners Ask FMCSA to Reconsider Insufficient Final Rule for Entry-Level Truck Drivers

Posted January 25, 2017 by Administrator

On December 7, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued the Final Rule for Entry-Level Driver requirements. Since then, four groups have petitioned the FMCSA requesting that the new rules be rescinded.

The final rule does not include a behind-the-wheel standard for student drivers. Instead, it only requires a skill test administered by state licensing agencies. Initially, in the proposed rule that was announced last March, FMCSA had included a provision that would require new drivers to undergo 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training. The petitioners are concerned that, without the behind-the-wheel training, new drivers will not be adequately prepared to operate safely on public roadways.

The four petitioners that are asking the FMCSA to reconsider their new driver requirements include the following entities:

  1. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety,
  2. the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association,
  3. the Truck Safety Coalition, and
  4. Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways.

The petition was filed December 21, 2016.

The petitioners cited the following concerns about the Final Rule.

  • It is critical that new drivers spend time actually operating a commercial motor vehicle on public roads with an experienced instructor trained on how to handle safety critical situations.
  • Real-world experience is needed in order to enhance the ability of commercial driver license (CDL) applicants to safely operate a tractor-trailer and avoid crashes and other traffic incidences. More than one body of experts concur with this assertion.
  • CDL applicants need more than rudimentary skill sets to pass maneuvering tests, thus placing the CDL applicant, the public and other drivers at risk for safety violations, injury, and death.

In order to support their claim that the Final Rule is not adequate, the petitioners cited a 1995 Highway Administration report. The report, titled “Assessing the Adequacy of Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Training,” asserts that the minimum criteria on eight key factors of driver training, including time behind the wheel, should be set at “38.5 hours for heavy trucks and motor coaches as well as 9 hours for school buses.”

The petitioners have requested a stay of the effective date of the 2016 Final Rule until the FMCSA can review their concerns and render a decision on their Petition for Reconsideration.

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.

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Rising Insurance Costs to Dramatically Impact Trucking Industry

Posted December 27, 2016 by Administrator

Insurance rates rose substantially for trucking companies in 2016. And while trucking companies as well as independent-operators have felt the sting of rising costs, the consumer will soon feel the pain of increasing transportation prices that show up in higher costs for consumables.

There are several factors that have had an impact on the rising insurance rates in America.

  1. Insurance premiums have increased 10% – 30% as a result of very high legal settlements.
  2. Major companies (like Zurich Insurance Group AG and American International Group Inc.) have eliminated for-hire policies, making it harder for trucking companies to secure adequate coverage.
  3. New food handling transportation requirements instituted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have increased liability for trucking companies.
  4. Lesser settlements – in the $25,000 – $75,000 range – are also having an impact. Even though they are lesser amounts they are often not litigated because the cost of litigation does not make it worth taking them to court, even though many times the trucking company was not at fault.
  5. Frivolous suits are another frustrating factor because they consume resources and needlessly inflate insurance rates.

The negative risk exposure for trucking companies has translated into a renewed emphasis on safety. Safety is no longer just for safety’s sake (although it is extremely important in its own right.) Safety today has a major impact on the bottom line for the company and therefore is a business imperative. Not only are insurance premiums impacted, but safety mitigates risk which is now a significant financial factor for the trucking industry.

Insurance firms today are clear – they want to see motor carriers cultivating a culture of safety. Safety must become a core value of the company, not just a priority. A core value indicates permanency; safety has to be non-negotiable. No matter what conditions are placed on the freight load, it must be safely transported from start to finish no matter what.

Trucking company leaders need to back up the core value of safety with financial supports. For example, one safety feature that companies are installing are in-cab video systems that can provide video proof of driver actions in the case of an accident. That type of information can help drivers improve their safety practices. In-cab video – and other safety technological tools – cost money but are a good investment on the part of the company leadership.

Truck drivers themselves need to be empowered to make safety judgment calls without fear of recrimination. They are on the front lines and need to know they can challenge issues when they see them. Focusing on safety as fundamental to the trucking company or driver will help to mitigate insurance premium increases and will, ultimately, benefit everyone.

Cline Wood is a national commercial property and casualty insurance agency that serves the commercial agribusiness and trucking industries. To learn more about Cline Wood and how we can help your business mitigate your insurance risk, contact us.

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