Category Archives: Safety

January Safety Snapshot – Distracted Driving

No Distracted Driving Sign, Red stop sign with words Distracted Driving and accident icon with stormy sky background

Of the more than 65,000 people killed in motor vehicle crashes over the past two years, one in ten crashes involved at least one distracted driver, according to police report data analyzed by Erie Insurance in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a nationwide census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA). Erie Insurance consulted the NHTSA in its analysis, which pulled data from 2010 and 2011 police reports. Police listed the majority of drivers who were distracted as “generally distracted” or “lost in thought”.

“Distracted driving is any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off your primary task of driving safely,” explains Doug Smith, senior vice president of personal lines at Erie Insurance.

Based on their analysis, Erie Insurance listed the 10 Deadliest Driving Distractions:

10. Smoking-related, includes lighting up, the act of smoking itself, using the ashtray or putting the cigarette out. When reviewing law enforcements officers’ notes in crash reports involving at least one fatality, Erie found that 1 percent cited smoking as the distraction.

9. Moving objects (pets or insects), dog owners know the perils of an agitated or overexcited Fido all too well. About 1 percent of police reports analyzed by Erie alluded to “moving objects”.

8. Using other device or controls integral to the vehicle, virtually any activity that can take your eyes off the road for even a split-second can put the driver and others in jeopardy. Seemingly innocent behaviors, such as adjusting mirrors, seats, or using an OEM navigation system accounted for another 1 percent of fatal distractions.

7. Adjusting audio or climate controls, Two percent of distracted drivers admitted that switching radio stations or adjusting the volume or vehicle temperature led to a fatal mistake.

6. Eating or drinking, using any vehicle as a moving restaurant is risky business as well. Another two percent of distracted drivers were either eating or drinking when the fatal crash occurred.

5. Using or reaching for a device brought into the vehicle, such as a navigational device, headphones, etc. Drivers who attempted to reach for such devices accounted for another two percent as well.

4. Other vehicle occupants, talking with or looking at other people in the vehicle resulted in five percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.

3. Outside person, object or event (such as rubbernecking), it’s difficult to resist temptation to gawk at off-road drama or post wreck cleanup, but 7 percent of the distracted drivers in Erie’s report should have.

2. Cell phone use (talking, listening, dialing, texting), a slew of legislation has been aimed to deter operating a cell phone while driving. Several states and municipalities have banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. It’s against the law in the city of Missoula to use a hand held device while driving.

Text messaging while driving (TWD) specifically is one of the most dangerous distractions and is illegal in 39 states. Many young adult drivers erroneously believe they can safely TWD but the numbers indicate otherwise. This offense accounted for 12 percent of fatal driving distractions in Erie’s report. The national epidemic has sparked a “driving while intoxicated “public awareness campaign, after studies revealed that TWD is about six times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated. The NHTSA has also likened TWD to “driving after consuming four beers.” Other sobering statistics suggest TWD causes 1,600,000 accidents per year (National Safety Council); 30,000 injuries per year (Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study); and 11 teen deaths in the U.S. each day (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Fatality Facts). 1. Generally distracted or “lost in thought”, detaching from reality can prove useful when recharging creative energies or simply taking

Other sobering statistics suggest TWD causes 1,600,000 accidents per year (National Safety Council); 30,000 injuries per year (Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study); and 11 teen deaths in the U.S. each day (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Fatality Facts). 1. Generally distracted or “lost in thought”, detaching from reality can prove useful when recharging creative energies or simply taking

1. Generally distracted or “lost in thought”, detaching from reality can prove useful when recharging creative energies or simply taking respite from a hectic day. However, doing so while driving can prove to be fatal. Driving “in a fog” or seemingly on autopilot is, above all, the riskiest driving behavior cited in Erie’s report. According to the insurer, daydreamers accounted for a whopping 62 percent of distracted drivers involved in road fatalities.

When we review our crashes, we’re quite sure that a “Distraction” of some type was a contributory factor in every crash. As a Professional Driver there is no place in the cab of your truck for distractions or complacency.

Be Driven By Safety!

CVSA Releases 2016 Brake Safety Week Results

brakeinspectionweekCommercial motor vehicle enforcement members of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducted 18,385 CMV and brake system inspections during Brake Safety Week, Sept. 11-17, 2016. Inspectors reported 13.2% of inspections with out-of-service brake violations and 14.8% of inspections with non-brake related out-of-service violations, each inclusive of some with violations in both categories.

During the week-long annual brake safety campaign, local, state, provincial, territorial and federal inspectors throughout the United States and Canada conducted inspections to identify out-of-adjustment brakes and brake systems violations. Roadside inspections included inspection of brake system components to identify loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; cracked damaged or worn linings, pads, drums or rotors; and other faulty brake system components.

Inspectors also checked anti-lock braking system malfunction indicator lamps for compliance with jurisdictional regulations, an effort that was begun during CVSA’s unannounced Brake Check Day in May. Participating jurisdictions reported the number of trucks and buses with anti-lock braking systems as well as ABS violations observed.

The ABS survey for 2016 Brake Safety Week found the following:

Trucks

  • 93.2% of air-braked trucks (including tractors) inspected and 90.4% of hydraulic brakes trucks inspected required ABS, based on their date of manufacture.
  • 89.4% of air-braked trailers inspected required ABS, based on their date of manufacture.
  • 8.8% of ABS-required, air braked trucks and 8.8 percent ABS-required, hydraulic-braked trucks were found with ABS violations.

Trailers

  • 15.8% of trailers requiring ABS were found with ABS violations.
  • 7.6% of trailers inspected were not air- or hydraulic-braked and therefore not subject to ABS requirements.

“Brakes must be routinely checked and properly maintained to ensure the safety of the commercial motor vehicle, the CMV driver and everyone else on the road,” said Julius Debuschewitz of Yukon Highways and Public Works, CVSA president. “Although brake inspections are a part of the Level I inspections conducted by our hard-working CMV inspectors every day, Brake Safety Week is an opportunity to remind motor carriers and drivers of the importance of brake health and safety, and it provides the opportunity for our inspectors to conduct targeted and focused inspections to identify and remove commercial motor vehicles that have brakes with critical violations from our roadways.”

Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake Program sponsored by CVSA in partnership with FMCSA and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators. The Operation Airbrake Program is an international enforcement activity dedicated to preventing large truck and bus crashes, and saving lives throughout North America. The campaign seeks to highlight the importance of proper brake inspection and maintenance in an effort to reduce the number of brake-related violations discovered during a roadside inspection.

Safe Winter Driving Tips

Wibigstock-snow-calamity-11765876-smnter can be  a dangerous time to be on the roadway even for the most experienced drivers out there. Winter driving crash statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that slippery roads are no joke.  24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy, or icy pavements, 15 % of weather-related vehicle crashes happen during snowfall or sleet, and more than 1,300 people are killed and 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavements each year. To help you avoid being part of one of those statistics here are some tips to help you prepare and stay safe this winter.

  1. Buckle Up!
  2. Make sure your vehicle is in good condition before each trip. Taking a little time before trips and during stops to check your vehicle’s condition can make a big difference:
    • Clean all snow and ice from your vehicle, especially the hood, roof, trunk, lights and windows.
    • Do a hands-on inspection of tires, wiper blades, fluids, and lights.
    • Maintain at least a half tank of gas at all times during the winter season.
  3. Carry a winter driving kit. Keep your winter driving kit close by and stock it with:
    • Proper clothing (loose layers, extra gloves, rain gear)
    • A flashlight and batteries
    • A blanket
    • Non-perishable food and water
    • A first aid kit and any requires prescription medication
    • A bag of sand, salt, or kitty litter
    • Extra washer fluid
    • A windshield scraper and brush for snow removal
    • Jumper cables
    • Tire chains
    • Cell phone and charger
  4. Start a little slower, drive a little slower. Compensate for poor traction by increasing following distance, driving slower, and making all changes gently. A slower speed gives you more time to react if something occurs in the roadway ahead. Extra patience and awareness of other drivers can go a long way this time of year.
  5. Brake and accelerate slowly. Avoid sudden stops and starts in icy or rainy weather. If you need to slow down quickly in slippery conditions, try putting light pressure on your brakes using just the ball of your foot, keeping your heel on the floor. If an ABS is equipped this reduces your chance of locking your tires and losing control of your vehicle.
  6. Take evasive action to avoid road hazards and collisions. You may need to take evasive action to avoid a collision. At speeds above 25 mph, gentle deceleration and steering around obstacles is better than braking alone because less distance is required to steer around an object that to brake to a stop. In slick conditions, sudden braking can lead to loss of control. The additional distance you have been keeping between other vehicles should give you more time to see and maneuver around obstacles and road hazards.
  7. Hold your steering wheel with confidence and control. Sudden, sharp movements can quickly cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Grip your steering wheel steadily and with a strong arm through ruts in the road, heavy wind, and on ice. Snowy or icy surfaces make steering difficult and require smooth, careful, precise movements of the steering wheel. Sudden movements of the steering wheel and excessive acceleration over ruts can cause your vehicle to go into a skid. Watch out for your trailer pushing you on curves and turns.
  8. Watch carefully for black ice. Hazardous icy road conditions can sneak up on you, so when the temperature gets close to freezing watch out for these clues:
    • Ice builds on your outside mirror arms or backs, antenna, or the top corners of your windshield.
    • Water spray from tires of vehicles in front of you suddenly stops, indicating an ice patch
    • Roadside trees and signs have a frosting of ice even though the road surface only looks wet.
  9. Give yourself extra space in front and behind. To give yourself enough room to move out of harm’s way in a sudden emergency, increase the distance between you and other vehicles and avoid driving in packs. The stopping distance required on ice at 0°F is twice the amount required at 32°F. Normal following distance should be increased to 8-10 seconds when driving on icy, slippery surfaces.
  10. Be Extra precaution when driving in mountains. Mountain weather in winter can be severe and can change rapidly. Be ready for wind gusts in exposed positions and be aware of emergency vehicles and snowplows. Watch for melting or hard packed snow and strong side winds as these can also cause loss of control. If at all possible, do not stop in avalanche zones and always obey posted rules. Tire chains or snow tires may be required for certain routes. Local signage should indicate this and most states have transportation radio station you can monitor with traffic and road condition updates in your trip area.
  11. If you find yourself in a skid:
    • Come off the throttle
    • Brake Lightly
    • Attempt to maintain control of the trailer
  12. Don’t ask your truck to do more than it can. If you don’t feel comfortable driving for any reason, Don’t drive. Don’t push your luck if conditions are bad – yours and others’ lives are at the top of the priority list.  Take this time to make a safe stop and wait the storm out. Catch up on some rest to get back on the road when you determine it is safe to do so.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule Leaves OMB

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) received its final rule for DOT Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse back from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on October 31, 2016. The rule, “Commercial Drivers’ License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (MAP-21).” Has been under OMB’s review since May 20,2016.

drug-test-ts-2

This rulemaking, according to the agency abstract, would create a central database for verified positive controlled substance and alcohol test results for CDL holders and refusals by such drivers to submit to testing. The clearinghouse would require carriers to submit positive tests and refusals to the database, and owner-operators must also report to FMCSA the consortium or third-party drug test administrator it uses and authorize it to submit information on any of its drivers, including themselves to the database.

The OMB gave the rule a “consistent with change” ruling, which means the rule is cleared to be published with changes recommended by OMB. Those recommendations were not published, and the final text of the rule won’t be known until it’s published in the Federal Register. FMCSA proposed the rule in February 2014, and it has been long sought after by many in trucking.

Speaking at the 2016 ATA Management Conference and Exhibition last month, Jack Van Steenburg, chief safety officer and assistant administrator for FMCSA, called the rule “a winner for the industry.”

“It really prevents job hopping,” he said. “It’s a tool for all of us.”

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Autonomous Truck Makes First Commercial Delivery

uber-makes-first-autonomous-beer-run-with-self-driving-delivery-truckThe path toward a “driverless truck” is full of firsts many of which have yet to take place. But this week the movement cleared one of its most significant hurdles to date – actually making an autonomous delivery. If you’re in Colorado Springs, you might buy a can of beer that was shipped by a self-driving truck.

Otto, the self-driving truck company acquired by Uber, announced Tuesday, October 25, that one of its heavy-duty self-driving trucks completed a 120-mile delivery for Anheuser-Busch InBev. The Class 8 tractor and its trailer loaded with 51,744 cans of beer, traveled on Interstate 25 from Fort Collins through downtown Denver to Colorado Springs. There was a driver tucked in the sleeper berth who monitored the two-hour voyage.

The truck, a Volvo VNL, used cameras, radar, and LIDAR sensors to see the road. Otto’s system controlled the trucks acceleration, braking and steering to carry the beer exit to exit with no human intervention. Otto co-founder Lior Ron says the truck’s driver was out of the driver’s seat for the entire 120 mile trek down interstate 25 and monitored the system from the sleeper. All the driver had to do was drive the truck onto the interstate and take over as it left the interstate to its final destination at the distributor about two hours later.

“This shipment is the next step towards our vision for a safe and productive future across our highways,” Otto executives wrote in a blog post. “With an Otto-equipped vehicle, truck drivers will have the opportunity to rest during long stretches of highway while the truck continues to drive and make money for them.”

Despite having less than 200 miles and only one delivery of feedback, James Sembrot, senior director of logistics strategy for Anheuser-Busch, says he was thrilled with the results and says he’s confident Otto’s autonomous retrofit will improve safety, will be sustainable and will increase operating efficiency. “We really see that as the model of the future,” he says. “The driver is still there, he’s just safer with those very long hours on the road and he can be more productive because you could [potentially] drive around the clock.” Hours of Service obstacles remain, as does the fact that Level 4 autonomy, the level at which once the system is enabled, driver attention is not required – is still not legal in most states, including Colorado.

In case you’re wondering, the historical significance of this week’s beer run didn’t come with a price premium. Sembrot says Anheuser-Busch paid “the market rate average of what we normally pay on that lane.” Autonomy’s impact on rates won’t be seen for quite some time but Ron says, rates aside, platforms like Otto’s create an environment where everyone can make more money.

“There is a very clear commercial value with the investment because you can drive more hours on the truck and be more cost effective with the assets on the truck because the truck behaves more predictably,” he says. “We think this creates a win-win for both shipper, the carrier and the driver. We are creating a bigger pie.”

“Carriers pass on to shippers the cost of fuel via a fuel surcharge,” Sembrot adds. “We know this technology is going to improve fuel consumption … and we expect to realize a benefit of reduced cost of fuel.”

“As a shipper, we are convinced this is the future,” he adds.

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

FMCSA Issues Safety Advisory For Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phones.

23119The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a safety advisory this week regarding the recently –recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smart phone and its lithium-ion batteries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the lithium- ion battery in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7s can overheat and catch fire, posing a serious burn and fire hazard.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been subject of two major recalls as a result of reports of the smartphone exploding and lighting on fire leading to injuries and damages. After an initial recall failed to solve the problem, Samsung has told retailers globally to stop selling and issuing replacement Galaxy Note 7 phones.  The recall affects nearly two million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones.

Samsung has received 96 reports of batteries in Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones overheating in the United States, including 23 new reports since the original September 15, 2016, recall announcement. Samsung has received 13 reports of burns and 47 reports of property damage associated with Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

The FMCSA is following in the Federal Aviation Administration’s footsteps, which banned the phones from all commercial flights on Oct. 14. While the FMSCA does not have the authority to ban commercial drivers or passengers from carrying the phones they are recommending that all persons who wish to carry these devices on a CMV, including motor coaches, take the following precautions:

  • Turn off the device.
  • Disconnect the device from any charging equipment.
  • Disable all applications that could inadvertently activate the phone (e.g. alarm clock)
  • Protect the power switch to prevent its unintentional activation.
  • Keep the device in carry-on baggage or on your person. Do not store in an inaccessible baggage compartment.

FMCSA adds the phones are subject to the regulatory prohibition in the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations, which states transporting electrical devices, such as batteries and battery-powered devices, likely to create sparks is prohibits, unless they are packaged to prevent sparking . The agency adds the phones can only be transported as cargo with a special permit or approval issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Click here to read the full advisory.

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

CVSA’s 2016 Roadcheck Results

roadcheck-2016-focus-tiresCommercial motor vehicle inspectors throughout North America conducted driver and vehicle safety inspections on large trucks and buses during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 29th annual International Roadcheck, June 7-9, 2016. International Roadcheck is a three-day event when CVSA-certified inspectors conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeted at various elements of motor carrier, vehicle and driver safety.

International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with around 15 trucks or buses inspected, on average, every minute across North America during the 72-hour period. A total of 62,796 inspections were conducted during this year’s International Roadcheck of that 21.5% of trucks inspected were placed out-of-service (OOS), along with 3.4% of drivers.

Each year, International Roadcheck places a special emphasis on a category of violations. The focus this year was tire safety. Tire/wheel violations accounted for 18.5% of the total OOS violations. In the U.S., tire violations represented 13.7% of OOS vehicle violations. As part of the inspection process and focus on tires inspectors measures tire tread depth, checked tire pressure, checked to ensure no solid objects were logged between dual tires, and examined the overall condition of the tire to make sure no deep cuts or bulges were found on tire sidewalls.

Of the 62,796 inspection performed across North America during the event, 42,236 were North American Standard Level I Inspections, the most comprehensive inspection level. CVSA says the number of total inspection and Level I were down in 2016, and the vehicle and driver OOS percentages are at a record low for the annul Roadcheck event.

Brake violations led the way in vehicle OOS orders, accounting for 45.7%, approximately 4,111 trucks, of all OOS orders issued during the three day event. Other vehicle-related violations included tires and wheels, 18.5% of OOS orders, lighting devices, 11.8%, and cargo securement, 6.1%. Suspensions, steering mechanisms, frames, driveshaft, coupling devices, fuel systems and exhaust systems each accounted for less 5% of OOS orders.

For drivers, hours-of-service and false logs accounted for 46.8% and 16.4% of OOS orders, respectively, for a total of approximately 908 drivers out of the 1,436 total drivers that were places OOS. Drivers shut down for drugs and alcohol were down from 2015’s Roadcheck numbers from 2.1% to 1% this year.  Other driver relates violations included improper endorsement, 7.7% of OOS orders, and disqualifies driver, 6.2%.

“International Roadcheck is an annual reminder of the diligence and dedication of law enforcement officials and commercial motor vehicle safety professionals,” said FMCSA Administrator T.F. Scott Darling, III. “While their tireless efforts every day greatly increase the level of safety on our roadways, it is critically important that everyone do their part to promote a national culture of roadway safety.”

For a complete breakdown of Roadcheck 2016 results, see the handy CVSA breakdown here.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Operation Safe Driver Week Oct 16-22

osd-sm-1The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver week will begin this Sunday on October 16 and run through Saturday, October 22. Law enforcement agencies throughout North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and education aimed at combating unsafe driving behaviors by commercial and passenger vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” cites driver behavior as the critical reason for more than 88% of large truck crashes and 93% of passenger vehicle crashes. CVSA’s operation Safe Driver program was created to help to reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries involving large truck, busses, and cars caused by such behaviors.

Law enforcement will be on the lookout for speeding, failure to use a seat belt while operating a commercial vehicle, distracted driving, failure to obey traffic  control devices, traveling too closely, improper lane change, and other unsafe driving conduct.  Last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week pulled over 21,000 commercial and passenger vehicles and conducted 19,480 roadside inspections.  The good news: Last year’s effort resulted in passenger vehicle drivers being cited at a 3 to 1 rate compared to commercial vehicles.  Ultimately, 3,929 warnings were given out to commercial drivers along with 4,062 citations. The top five warnings and citations issued to commercial drivers in 2015 were:

  1. Size and weight
  2. Speeding
  3. Failure to use a seat belt while operating vehicle
  4. Failure to obey traffic control device
  5. Using a hand-held phone

Now is the time to make sure that you’re ready for Operation Safe Driver Week.  A lot of the top warnings and citations are easy things that you can fix yourself. Here are some tips to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Be Ready For a Level 1 Inspection. Ensure that all your paperwork is valid and accessible. One of the most effective ways to stay compliant and to protect yourself from violations is to do a pre-trip inspection.
  • Practice Safe Driving Habits. Always use your seatbelt when operating your vehicle, follow posted speed limits, and drive for the conditions.
  • Avoid Distracted Driving. Answering your phone, sending a quick text message, playing with the radio, eating while driving, etc. are all examples of distracted driving and things you should avoid. Pull over, do what you need to do, and then get back on the road. It might add a couple more minutes to your trip but it could save a life.
  • Obey Hours-of-Service Regulations. HOS violations accounted for nearly half of all driver related violations in 2015. Always ensure that you’re running in compliance with the rules and regulations required for the industry.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Driver Fatigue: Tips On How To Prevent It

Trucking often demands little opportunity for rest due to long irregular work hours, early start times and night shifts, often sacrificing good, quality sleep causing driver fatigue. Fatigue is the result of physical or mental exertion that impairs performance. As stated in 49 CFR 392.3, “No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial vehicle while driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial vehicle.”albany-truck-driver-fatigue-300x200

In the Consensus Statement: Fatigue and Accidents in Transport Operations compiled by Dr. Torbjornakerstedt, states that “fatigue is the largest identifiable and preventable cause of accidents in transport operations, surpassing that of alcohol or drug related incidents in all modes of transportation.” Research from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has confirmed that fatigue was the most frequently cited cause of heavy truck accidents, accounting for 30-40% of them, and was also the cause of 31% of the 182 fatal-to-the-truck-driver accidents studied. Driver fatigue poses a serious risk to public safety and should be prevented in every way possible. In order to reduce fatigue the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends following these tips:

  • Get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel. Be sure to get an adequate amount of sleep each night. If possible, do not drive while your body is naturally drowsy, between the hours of 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Driver drowsiness may impair a driver’s response time to potential hazards, increasing the chances of being in a crash. If you do become drowsy while driving, be sure to choose a safe place to pull over and rest.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Skipping meals or eating at irregular times may lead to fatigue and/or food cravings. Also, going to bed with an empty stomach or immediately after a heavy meal can interfere with sleep. A light snack before bed may help you achieve more restful sleep. Remember that if you are not well-rested, induced fatigue may cause slow reaction time, reduced attention, memory lapses, lack of awareness, mood changes, and reduced judgment ability.
  • Take a nap. If possible, you should take a nap when feeling drowsy or less alert. Naps should last a minimum of 10 minutes, but ideally a nap should last up to 45 minutes. Allow at least 15 minutes after waking to fully recover before starting to drive.
  • Avoid medication that may induce drowsiness. Avoid medications that may make you drowsy if you plan to get behind the wheel. Most drowsiness-inducing medications include a warning label indicating that you should not operate vehicles or machinery during use. Some of the most common medicines that may make you drowsy are: tranquilizers, sleeping pills, allergy medicines and cold medicines.
  • Recognize the signals and dangers of drowsiness. Pay attention: Indicators of drowsiness include: frequent yawning, heavy eyes, and blurred vision.
  • Don’t rely on “alertness tricks” to keep you awake. Behaviors such as smoking, turning up the radio, drinking coffee, opening the window, and other “alertness tricks” are not real cures for drowsiness and may give you a false sense of security.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Wildlife Crossing: Tips To Avoid Animal-Vehicle Collisions

Any good trucker knows that sharing the road is important. This is especially true on the highway, where every vehicle deserves its space. But that awareness doesn’t just extend to fellow drivers – there are other occasional highway travelers that truck drivers should be on the lookout for: animals.

Fall is here, signifying the beginning of deer mating season. Unfortunately, that means more deer crossing roads and more deer-vehicle collisions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimate there are 1.6 million deer collisions in the U.S. every year. Amongst these accidents there have been more than 200 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries and more than $4 billion in property damage.  Deer crossing sign in Idaho.

Deer aren’t the only large four-legged hazard you have to worry about. In some regions elk and moose populations also pose a crash risk. During the autumn months of October, November, and December the likelihood of colliding with a large animal more than doubles, and in the states of West Virginia (1 in 41), Montana (1 in 58), Pennsylvania (1 in 67), Iowa (1 in 68), and South Dakota (1 in 70) the odds are even higher. Chris Mullen, director of technology research at State Farm, reminds us that “we know there is an increased risk of collision with deer around dawn and dusk, and also during the October-December breeding season. However, drivers should be engaged, alert and on the lookout at all times because you never know when you may need to react to a deer or any other obstacle that may suddenly be in your path.”

As such, here are a few ways truckers can avoid hitting animals:

  • Slow down and drive at a safe speed since excessive speed reduces reaction time and increases braking distance. Keep this in mind especially at dusk and dawn as that is when deer and other animals are the most active.
  • Deer typically travel in groups, so if you see one deer be prepare for more deer to cross the road.
  • Pay attention to “deer/animal crossing” signs. Decrease your speed in those areas and drive with caution especially in wooded areas, farmland, and near water.
  • Always buckle up, every trip, every time.
  • When driving at night use your high beams, as much as you safely can, to illuminate the sides of the road where animals may be. Be sure to watch for the glint of light reflected in an animal’s eyes. Also, look for animals’ silhouettes in back-lit conditions.
  • Do not rely on products such as deer whistles, deer fences, or reflectors which are not proven effective. Don’t rely on them to keep you safe.
  • Focus on the road, scanning for hazards, including animals. The sooner an animal is seen on or approaching a roadway, the greater your chance of avoiding a crash.
  • Slow down when approaching a deer or other animal standing on the side of the road. The animal may “bolt” or change direction instantly, possibly onto the road.
  • If a collision with the animal cannot be avoided, then brake firmly and don’t swerve to avoid striking it. Swerving increases the risk of injury by hitting another vehicle or fixed object.
  • If you strike an animal, do not try to touch it. The frightened or injured animal, when attempting to move, could hurt you or further injury itself. The best procedure is to get off the road, and contact the local law enforcement.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.