Category Archives: Trucks

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!

Trucking Makes Montana Holidays Possible

d000426bb090c4b63f14b39c1e4288b2Written by: Barry Stang

Dining room tables set for a family feast. Storefront displays brimming with gifts to exchange with loved ones. Communities and friends joining together for holiday traditions. Bright lights on downtown trees and wreaths on doors.

These are just some of the images I think about when the holiday season is upon us. And no matter who you are, which holidays you celebrate, or where you’re from, all of these images share something in common – they’re all made possible by trucking.

The fact is, trucking touches every aspect of the holidays – and it goes beyond stocking grocery store shelves or delivering that perfect gift. In Montana, 65 percent of communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods. In addition to providing all those goods and cargo, trucking keeps your family members moving on the roads for that special time together by ensuring our gas stations are amply stocked with fuel.

The trucking industry is proud to deliver the holidays, and we recognize the enormous responsibility that comes with it. When more than 100 million drivers are on the road this season – as AAA forecasted for year-end holidays last year – they’ll be driving alongside nearly 3.5 million professional truck drivers, with 6,210 drivers in Montana alone. That’s why professional truck drivers are trained and dedicated to ensuring the safety of all motorists on the road, and why the industry as a whole invests $9.5 billion each year in safety. The investment spans all facets of trucking safety, including driver training, compliance with safety rules, on-board safety technology, and awards and bonus pay for improved safety performances.

There’s no doubt that the investment is paying off. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that trucks have a crash rate that is 28 percent lower than that of other vehicles. The fatal crash rate has fallen 74 percent since 1980, and that figure has dropped 17 percent in the last decade alone. Further, trucks are principally at fault in only 25 percent of fatal car-truck crashes. This improvement comes even as the trucking industry is expanding, by operating an additional 2.7 million trucks and driving billions of additional miles each year.

In addition to keeping our roads safe – during the holidays and throughout the year – trucking works to better our communities. Many families and organizations answer a call to service during the holiday season, and the trucking industry is no exception.

From safety to service, the trucking industry is dedicated to ensuring the holidays happen for all of us. It’s the only industry that can say it directly ships to every community in America, helping to make this time of the year brighter for all families – snow, sleet, rain or shine. Professional truck drivers sacrifice time with their own families to ensure our gifts are delivered, our tables are set, and our roads are safe – a true embodiment of the holiday spirit.

Barry “Spook” Stang is executive vice president of Motor Carriers of Montana.

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.

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.

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.

Zombies And Trucking And a Video Game? Oh, My!

zombie-1Fleet management systems company Omnitracs unveiled a Halloween-timely PR effort in the form of an online game called Zombie Dispatch. And while it’s meant to be for fun, there are serious undertones. Sure, a zombie apocalypse is the stuff of popular fiction. But real emergencies such as the extensive flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew can reach a similar feel very quickly as you’re cut off from things you need, the powers out and you can’t get through on roadways.

“Whether it’s a natural disaster, day-to-day supplies or a zombie apocalypse, truck drivers are critically important,” said Jim Gardner, vice president of marketing at Omnitracs. “That’s exactly the message we wanted to get out with this game. The public needs to recognize not only the professionalism of the drivers, but the critical role they play in the economy in normal times, let alone during natural disasters and emergencies.”

The game touches on driver shortages and the difficulty many fleets have recruiting and retaining drivers as well. “There aren’t as many truck drivers on the road as there were just a few years ago, and the numbers of those still driving have been thinned by the virus,” the game explains as you get started.

The game also manages to fold in a message about the role of technology and fleet management systems, and how they keep trucks rolling and getting through post-disaster. Playing the game, the user gets an occasional humorous message like “Rest in peace, unsafe and inefficient fleets!”

Regarding the day-to-day importance of trucking, here’s the game’s message: “If trucks stopped rolling, in just 24 hours, gas prices would skyrocket and hospitals would exhaust basic supplies. In 2-3 days, supplies of bottled water and non-perishable goods would be exhausted. By the end of the week, hospitals would run out of critical supplies of oxygen and medicine.”

In short, the country would quickly grind to a halt without trucking.

To check out the game, go to http://playzombiedispatch.com.

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.

FMSCA Eases Requirments On Military Personnel Looking To Obtain A CDL

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announces a final rule (Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0051) on Oct. 12 that simplifies the process of obtaining a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for current and former military personnel. 23085Military members who drove commercial vehicles (CMV) in the service will now have a full year to apply for a skills test waiver instead of just 90 days after they leave the service.  The rule also allows a state to accept applications from active-duty military personnel who are stationed in that state and to administer the written and skills test for a CLP or CDL. FMCSA had been granting states temporary exemptions that extended the time of the waiver since 2014. This action would make the waiver extension permanent. FMCSA said the proposed rule will accomplish the following:

  • Demonstrate FMCSA’s commitment to serving veterans and assist in efforts to attract and retain skilled CMV drivers.
  • Provide military personnel with a time extension to apply for a skills test waiver and also permit active duty military personnel to apply and be tested for their CLP and CDL in the state where they are stationed.
  • Establish a process that allows veteran operators to obtain their DOT medical certification exams from their Department of Veterans Affairs physician.
  • Provide CMV Operator Safety Training grant program that will provide grant funds to commercial driver training schools that train veterans to transition into civilian motor carrier careers.
  • Enable a federal military pilot program that will allow select military personnel between 18-21 years of age to operate a CMV in interstate commerce.

“FMCSA believes that this would give former military personnel a better opportunity to obtain a CDL in a way that will not negatively affect safety,” the agency stated in its proposal. The agency also said it is has concluded that lengthening the waiver period permanently “would ease the transition of service members and veterans to civilian life.” Making CDLs more accessible for veterans has been a priority by many industry trade organizations and is seen as a promising way to recruit more drivers into the industry who can help alleviate the ongoing driver shortage. The FMSCA estimates this change could result in up to $7.7 million in new benefits over the next 10 years.

Additionally, the FAST Act, passed in December, requires FMCSA to (1) exempt certain ex-military form the CDL skills test if they had CMV driving experience in the military, (2) extend the skills test waiver to one year and (3) credit the CMV training military drivers receive in the military toward applicable CDL training and knowledge requirements. This rule would take care of the first two of the three requirements. FMSCA has said the third requirement will need additional rulemaking.

According to the agency, more than 10,000 separated military personnel have taken advantage of the skills-test waiver.

 

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.

DOT Releases Federal Policy For Autonomous Vehicles

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued on Sept. 20 a regulatory framework for vehicle manufacturers, state regulators and other stakeholders regarding the development and deployment of autonomous cars and trucks. The proposed policy initiative comes as both traditional automotive makers and tech giants march increasingly closer to readying such technology for public use.

Scania senior engineer Tom Nysrom watches a film on an iPad while in the driving seat of a moving truck. Tom was demonstrating the self driving truck on the Scania test track near Stockholm in Sweden. The new truck system which, is still in development, was developed by Scania and allows the truck to drive safely, by itself, in slow moving traffic. The system is designed to enable a driver to rest while the truck is moving in heavy traffic at speeds up to 50 km per hour. Pic: Richard Pohle

“Today, we put forward the first federal policy on automated vehicles,” said DOT’s Secretary of Transportation, Anthony R. Foxx. He continued by describing the new regulations as “the most comprehensive national, automated vehicle policy that the world has ever seen.” The highly-anticipated policy for autonomous vehicles focuses on what the department calls “highly automated vehicles,” in which a driver is able to regain control. NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas said the federal policy applies equally to trucks and commercial vehicles.

The 114-page document, which the DOT is accepting public comment on for 60 days, intends to set safety standards for companies developing self-driving vehicles and to establish a unified national policy on vehicle automation. DOT says its Federal Automated Vehicles Policy was developed to help hasten the development of autonomous vehicles while also addressing safety issues “at the front-end of development,” DOT says. Here are some main takeaways:

  • Safety. The DOT guidelines include a “15 Point Safety Assessment” for manufacturers, developers and other organizations for the safe design, development, testing and deployment of automated vehicles. “We are laying out issues to be resolved,” said Foxx.
  • Model state policy. This outlines differences between federal and state “responsibilities for regulation of highly automated vehicles,” giving recommendations for states, in terms of policy, “with a goal of generating a consistent national framework for the testing and deployment of highly automated vehicles.”
  • NHTSA’s current regulatory tools. The DOT guidelines outline current rules “for testing of nontraditional vehicle designs in a more timely fashion,” according to the press release. “We recognize that this is a dynamic environment, and want to be flexible,” Foxx said. “The rulemaking process can take quite some time. We want to set a context where everybody knows the rules of the road.”
  • Modern regulatory tools. This section looks at tools policymakers can use “in the future to aid the safe and efficient deployment of new lifesaving technologies.”

Truck manufacturers said the new federal policy is an important step for the industry. “This kind of collaborative environment between the federal government, state and municipal entities and industry often leads to swift and safe adoption of technologies that are beneficial to society in a way that avoids a nationwide patchwork of varied and potentially conflicting laws,” said Jessica Nigro, spokeswoman for Daimler Trucks, which has been testing a self-driving Freightliner in Nevada and autonomous trucks in Europe.

With the new regulations being released it is no longer a question of if autonomous cars and trucks will be on the road it is now a matter of when.

 

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.