Truckers: CDC-Recommended Guidance for Safety

As cities and states continue to take measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 this summer, CDC guidelines for truckers have been released.

Since the virus hit, the roads and highways around us have stayed relatively quiet. Normally gridlocked roads in places like Chicago, D.C., and Los Angeles have seen much better traffic in recent months as residents in these cities have stayed home from work and from going out for dining and entertainment.

However, stay-at-home orders don’t really apply to our nation’s truck drivers who spend most of their time behind the wheel, driving hundreds of miles per day to move the emergency supplies that have kept our country running during the time of the coronavirus. The virus has laid a blow to our nation’s supply chain, but emergency medical supplies, such as masks, ventilators, and soap need to be transported from manufacturers to medical locations, and grocery shelves need to continue to be restocked with toilet paper, food, paper towels, and other essentials.

Trucker Safety in Light of COVID-19

So, what does this mean for employee safety in the trucking industry? Trucking social distancing may be hard to maintain when it comes to loading and unloading shipments or eating at a rest stop. However, new CDC Safety Guidelines have been released to help boost the safety and well-being of trucking professionals.

Here’s a better look at what those guidelines are and how they’re helping to keep truckers safe on the road.

Physical Distancing

According to the CDC, truckers should limit time spent outside the truck cab, keep their truck well-ventilated, and use paperless invoicing when available. When speaking with clients, truck drivers should always wear gloves and masks and do their best to keep at least six feet in distance and avoid shaking hands.

Cleaning & Disinfecting

Truck drivers can end up spending multiple days in their cabs. Thus, making sure it’s as clean and safe as possible is key. Truckers should clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the cab and the sleeper berth on a regular basis. If a third party is allowed inside the truck, request that they clean and disinfect the truck before turning it back over. 


Sometimes, truckers share the road by sharing their cabs. When team driving is mandatory or ride-alongs are required, like in training purposes, it’s important to wear cloth face coverings inside the truck and avoid sharing bedding in the sleeper berth.

Hand Hygiene

The coronavirus has acted as a complete refresh course on basic hygiene, including washing our hands. Truck drivers should practice proper hand hygiene by washing their hands regularly and keeping hand sanitizer with them at all times, including in their cabs. Drivers should wash for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitizer that’s made from at least 60% alcohol. The best times to clean hands include before entering and leaving the cab, loading and unloading of cargo, rest breaks, fueling, eating, and deliveries.

Furthermore, the CDC’s guidelines also include information on how employers in the trucking industry can protect their drivers. This comes in the form of virtual training methods, in-vehicle monitoring systems, limiting ride-alongs, and much more. While not all risks can be completely avoided, it’s important to be proactive and diligent about these measures in order to keep truck drivers as healthy and safe as possible.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck, and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!

What the Trucking Industry Should Know About OSHA Inspections

The trucking industry has seen major changes in a number of ways recently. Whether it’s systematic changes to legislation, like with California’s AB-5 legislation, or through unprecedented disruptions to supply chains, like with COVID-19, truck drivers and trucking companies have needed to adapt to the evolving industry. But while these changes have seemed abrupt, causing trucking companies to rethink how they approach everything from Truck insurance to operating hours, some industry updates can be prepared for, like with the recent OSHA updates meant to protect workers in the industry.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the right to inspect any workplace. There are many different things that might trigger an inspection, but the ultimate goal is to make sure a business is compliant with rules and taking the right precautions to keep its employees safe.

Here are some things that the trucking industry should know about OSHA inspections.

What Are Some Reasons an OSHA Inspection Takes Place?

As noted above, OSHA has the right to inspect any company at any time to look for any discrepancies when it comes to workplace safety. OSHA prioritizes inspections, according to the most hazardous workplace, which puts the trucking industry front and center since it’s repeatedly referenced as a dangerous work environment for all involved. Here are some reasons why an inspection might be carried out:

  • Imminent Danger: These are hazardous scenarios that can end up causing death or serious injury to people.
  • Severe Injuries: The employer must report any major injury or illness promptly to OSHA, which then carries out an inspection.
  • Employee Complaints: OSHA encourages employees to speak up and report any health and safety hazards or violations.
  • Referrals: This kind of inspection occurs when a government agency, other organization or individual has reported a possible hazard at a worksite.

Typically, OSHA does not give employers a warning before it conducts their inspections. Exceptions to this rule might include imminent danger scenarios and inspections that can effectively be conducted following regular business hours.

How Can Trucking Companies Handle an Inspection?

Businesses that are covered by the OSHA Act should already have a course of action in place for handling potential inspections. Since these inspections can happen at a moment’s notice, preparation is key. Doing this will increase preparedness and limit the chances of panic should an OSHA inspector show up at a trucking company’s worksite or operations center.

When an OSHA inspector arrives, it’s important for trucking company supervisors to obtain their credentials and be cooperative. While volunteering information isn’t the right choice upfront, it still helps to be cooperative and not try to obstruct an inspection. The last thing a trucking company would want is to get in an inspector’s way or give up information that was not asked for in the first place.

What Are the Penalties of Noncompliance?

Not all companies are prepared for an inspection, or at least not thrilled to see an inspector come onto their site. If OSHA gives out a de minimis violation, meaning it’s a technical violation that has no direct effect on the health and safety of truck drivers, then OSHA will not issue a citation. However, there are serious penalties that OSHA can give out, such as:

  • Serious violations: this means there’s a significant chance that death or serious physical harm may occur, and the employer should have been made aware.
  • Willful or repeated violation: An employer intentionally and knowingly violated OSHA’s rules.
  • Failure to Abate: The employer failed to correct a previously cited violation. Money penalties for these violations are adjusted each year, but a serious violation can exceed $12,000.

What Should Trucking Companies Know About New OSHA Regulations?

OSHA spent most of last year increasing its number of employer inspections and pursuing new rulemakings and programs. In 2019, it conducted more than 33,000 inspections addressing workplace violations related to falls, chemical exposure, silica exposure, and other hazards.

OSHA also recently issued a proposed rule that would amend parts of the cranes and derricks in construction standard, as well as those that have to do with industrial trucks. The proposed amendments will include correcting references to power line voltage, broadening for forklifts carrying loads under the forks.

This also encompasses trucking companies that operate on commercial sites. Trucking companies should be aware of the violations listed above and avoid any potential fallout or legal ramifications that may come. This will help to keep employees safe and the entire work environment compliant with any updates OSHA may have.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!

Improving Sleep Schedules for Truckers

With a surge in online shopping and e-commerce in the past decade, the trucking industry has seen major growth. But with more work and more trucks on the road, the potential for more accidents, injuries, and deaths has also seen a rise. As online orders need to be fulfilled and a day’s work can extend into the night or weekend, truckers are running on empty themselves, disrupting their sleep schedules and growing more tired behind the wheel.

In fact, 13% of all large truck crashes are due to driver fatigue and tiredness, leading to major payouts from truck insurance carriers, and highlighting the need for such coverage. Not only is driving when you’re tired dangerous, especially when driving a large truck, but it will start to negatively impact a driver’s mood and morale over time. And with the latest FMCSA Updates impacting the trucking industry’s overall schedule, stepping up efforts to haul medical equipment and supplies to combat the spread and response to COVID-19, truckers need to be rested now more than ever.

Here are some helpful tips when it comes to improving sleep schedules for truckers.

The Power of a Power Nap

Fitting a nap into your schedule may not be possible every day, but if you find yourself becoming drowsy and there is enough time, consider pulling over and taking a quick power nap. Anywhere between 15-45 minutes can help recharge a driver, and while it may delay a trip slightly, it’s better to be a little behind than to fall asleep at the wheel.

Keep Regular Hours

You’re already working long hours hauling products across the country or the state, so why make matters worse by staying up through the night? A trucker’s body needs regular hours and predictability to get into a cycle. Try to avoid swapping between day shifts and night shifts too much because the more regular your sleeping times are, the easier it will be to fall asleep effectively and be well-rested when you wake up.

Eat Healthier

If a driver eats nothing but junk food, they are more likely to develop health issues, especially after years of driving on the road. While it may be more difficult to meal prep or find a salad at a desert truck stop, there are still ways drivers can choose healthier options, or at least find ways to not go all-out on greasy or fatty foods.

From lean jerky to fruits and vegetables, chicken breast to cutting out carbs, drivers can find ways to eat as healthy as possible. This will help them feel more alert and rested, while also improving their overall health.

Get into A Routine

As mentioned above, a truck driver’s body loves a routine and predictability. When it’s time to call it a night and head to sleep, whether you’re on the road or back at home, try to keep a regular schedule with a bedtime routine. This will help drivers fall asleep in comfortable and familiar conditions on a nightly basis. From watching your favorite show to reading a book or turning on a white noise machine, there are many different ways you can keep a regular sleep schedule and routine to help you fall asleep and wake up rested.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!

The Benefits of Roadside Assistance

As a trucking professional, you have a lot on your schedule every day. From picking up hauls and dropping them off on time to taking care of your mind and body while on the road, the last thing you want to worry about is the potential breakdown or dead battery. Even the slightest hiccup in the road can sideline your truck until help comes. But if you don’t have commercial truck insurance that focuses on roadside assistance, you could be in major trouble.

Getting stranded on the side of the road as a commercial truck driver is expensive and if you don’t have the right commercial truck insurance protection, it can sideline you for good. Protect your business and your truck with the right roadside commercial truck insurance program to help keep risks around breakdowns and flat tires low.

Here’s are the benefits of roadside assistance you should be looking for in a commercial truck insurance plan.

Vehicle Towing

When a covered vehicle breaks down en route to its drop off destination, vehicle towing will come in and provide the resources to get you the best towing option available in your area. Typically, this coverage provides towing services up to 50 miles away or the nearest qualified service facility.

Mobile Mechanic

At Western Truck Insurance, we offer the expertise and relief of our mobile mechanic services. When a vehicle’s disablement can be resolved on the side of the road, a mobile mechanic can come out, assess the issue, and help you avoid getting a tow so you can get back on the road.

Lock-Out Help

Locking your keys in your cabin is the type of risk no one wants to think about. Something so simple can completely shut down your schedule. No keys means no driving. With this help, Western Insurance ensures you’ll get the right assistance to get your keys and get back behind the wheel.

Fluid Delivery

From overheating to running out of fuel or needing an oil change, there are times when fluids need to be replenished. This coverage comes standard with Western Truck Insurance, so drivers who suffer an avoidable but easy-to-fix breakdown can get the relief they need.

Here are some other benefits to having roadside assistance with Western:

●      Flat Tire Assistance

●      Tire Replacement Assistance – up to $100 per disablement

●      Vehicle Winching / Extricating

●      Custom Trip Routing / Navigation Assistance

●      Vehicle Jump start

●      Hotel and Travel Discounts

●      Fuel Delivery Service – up to 30 gallons of fuel

●      Concierge Service – restaurants, lodging, truck stops, fuel stops, etc.

●      Road America’s Savings Connection Program – save on prescriptions, car rentals, theme parks and more

●      Truck Rental Assistance

Trucking professionals need to be looking for a well-rounded program that can help them out in any potential situation. While no one wants to think about how things could possibly go wrong, it helps to know that there’s coverage out there that serves even the rarest of issues.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes.

What Truck Drivers Can Do to Improve Their Sleeping Habits

Being a truck driver comes with a lot of perks. From being your own boss to hitting the open road and seeing the country from a unique perspective, being a trucking professional can be ideal for someone looking for a little freedom. But it’s not without its own unique issues, like having to operate a heavy machine for hours on end.

Hauling big loads of cargo across the country means that drivers are sitting behind the wheel for up to 12 hours a day, which can be physically draining and affect their attention. Trucking while tired is especially dangerous for these professionals and opens the door to potential hazards related to their safety and the safety of those around them.

Getting a good night’s sleep is a must for truckers, but may be hard to attain when sticking to a schedule. Here’s a look at the dangers of tired driving and how truckers can instill some better sleeping habits in their everyday drives.

Dangers of Driving Tired

Driving becomes a challenge for anyone when they’re tired. But for truck drivers who have to haul heavy loads across a state or the country, driving while tired becomes even more of a challenge. By being tired, the likelihood of confusion and distraction taking hold and resulting in health and safety hazards grows.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, more than 1,600 deaths occur every year due to sleepiness at the wheel. Dangers of bad sleeping habits include veering off the road, increasing the chance of insomnia, and causing a wreck. While having truck insurance in place can help with the legal and financial part of trucking accidents, but being aware of the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, even on the road, can help limit exposure to risks.

Getting a Good Night’s Rest

Here are some healthy trucking practices to put to use during off-hours as a trucking professional:

  • Cut Down Screen Time: From streaming services like Netflix to Disney + to hopping online for a bit before bed, screens can disrupt the ability to fall asleep easier. One alternative is to limit screen time and opt to read a book before you go to bed instead. Artificial lights and blue light from screens trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, something that leads to wanting to stay up past a healthy time.
  • Eat Smaller Meals: After a long day on the road it might be tempting to eat a heavy meal to help you sleep better. This should actually be avoided as fatty foods will take a longer time to digest, which means you may have a harder time getting comfortable in bed. Stick with vegetables and lean proteins instead.
  • Take Cat Naps at Truck Stops: If you find yourself getting a little sleepy behind the wheel, it doesn’t hurt to close your eyes for 10-15 minutes–if you can spare it–while you’re at a rest stop. This can help you rest up and cut down grogginess, and tide you over until you get to your final destination for the day.

Tired Trucking: How to Combat Driver Fatigue

With the rise of e-commerce platforms like Amazon and a huge shift in how we as a society shop for and ship items, the trucking industry has seen a huge boom in activity in recent years. More than 15 million commercial trucks drive along American highways, transporting more than 70% of all goods in the U.S. While this may be a good sign of consumer confidence, it also shows the built-in rise of risk behind the wheel.

According to a survey conducted by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), the main reason behind commercial truck crashes are fatigued and overworked drivers. Given the nature of the size of vehicle, these crashes ultimately result in serious injury and even death. While it’s important for truck drivers and the transportation companies they work for to invest in Commercial Truck Insurance as a safe precaution, it’s even more important to understand how driver fatigue can be avoided. Here are some ways to combat it:

Get Enough Sleep

This may seem like a simple idea, but more often than not truck drivers find themselves climbing behind the wheel without the proper amount of sleep. It’s important to get a full night’s sleep every night and try to avoid driving when you’re feeling drowsy. Drowsiness may impair the response time of a driver and increase the chances of being involved in a crash.

Have a Healthy Diet

Long hauls on highways may make it hard to maintain a healthy and consistent diet, but it’s a vital component to driver health overall. Going to bed on an empty stomach, skipping meals, or eating foods that don’t contain adequate nutritional value can all lead to interrupted sleep. Not being well-rested due to lack of nutrition and lack of refueling can impair awareness and reaction time.

Stop for a Nap

Even though driver’s like to stick to a schedule, if it gets to a point where you find yourself constantly sleepy behind the wheel, especially during the day, it would help to pull over and nap for a short period of time. A quick stop to recharge or even just rest your eyes without falling asleep for 30-45 minutes will rejuvenate drivers in the middle of a long haul.

Be Aware of Drowsiness

Keep paying attention to indicators of drowsiness such as frequent yawning, heavy eyes blurred vision, and hearing issues. Being awake for 18 hours is relative to having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent, the legal level of intoxication. Be sure to recognize when it’s getting too hard to keep your attention focused, as this indicates drowsiness beyond a good limit.

Don’t Use Tricks to Stay Awake

From slapping yourself in the face to rolling the window down to let cold air in to chewing sunflower seeds, there are many different tricks that people have used to stay awake. These actually give you a false sense of security, making you feel like your gaming sleepiness. What they’re doing is actually making things potentially worse as you’re exerting more effort to stay awake when it’s easier and more sensical to pull over and rest.

What’s more, while caffeine may be good to get the day started, depending on caffeine to keep you awake will lead to insomnia, headaches and nervousness, a powerful combination that can lead to mistakes behind the wheel.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates and coverage changes.

The Biggest Problems Facing the Trucking Industry Today

No matter the type of business, no matter the economy, there are high times and tough times for each major industry. And with the advent of smarter and more efficient technology many industries are seeing the speed of change pose new issues.

One major industry feeling the pressure of too much change, too fast, is the trucking industry. From driver shortages to more tech-based opponents, traditional trucking companies are having to change course. One step to protecting the overall future of the industry is to invest in truck insurance, and another is to invest in the actual future: drivers. Here are some ways in which the trucking industry is feeling some pain today.

1. Driver Shortage

Even with an average pay of around $80,000, many news outlets are reporting that the trucking industry is seeing a huge challenge meeting it employment needs. A driver shortage is causing trucking companies to find new ways to attract tomorrow’s drivers. This has been a concern for years in the industry and with companies like Tesla and Uber testing out self-driving trucks, traditional truck drivers are feeling like they’re being replaced.

According to ATRI research, nearly 57 percent of the trucking workforce is at least 45 years old. If this continues, the shortage will reach more than 175,000 drivers by 2026.

2. Hours of Service

Flexible hours or service rules are now more emphasized by companies for their drivers. Many of those who hold stake in the industry believe that drivers should split their hours of operation, while some stress eight hours of straight driving. Employees could get an opportunity to rest when tired and adjust their schedules to avoid everything from traffic congestion to health risks.

3. Cash Flow

Trucking fleets may see a wait time as long as 60 to 90 days to get paid by brokers and shippers. With an extended cycle, a fleet’s cash flow can be drained and growth could be limited. Accounts receivable financing turns fleets’ invoices into cash in under a day, which results in building their working capital.

4. Driver Health

Truck drivers face a number of health obstacles, especially the longer they’re behind the wheel. These drivers are twice as likely as other workers in any industry to be obese, have diabetes and not have any type of health insurance. The job is demanding, and with such stress put on it, drivers are seeing a rapid decline in health, another component of making the job less enticing to new crops of drivers. There are new initiatives in place, like Rolling Strong, which aim to invest in drivers’ health and wellness with better fitness.

5. Safety

Accidents and fatalities behind the wheel happen and have always posed a risk for drivers. But beyond these risks, drivers face overall safety at their truck stops or where ever they park their trucks. There is new sensing technology that has come out that helps trucks avoid collisions and helps reduce the number of accidents, with numbers expected to reduce in the coming years.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and \ transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates and coverage changes.

How Truck Drivers Can Stay Safe in the Summer Heat

Now that the sweltering months of summer have arrived, many truck drivers find themselves facing some unique safety challenges behind-the-wheel. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips all truck drivers can follow to keep themselves and other motorists safer this summer.

Save Yourself From Sunburn

Exposure to UVA and UVB rays is a risk for truck drivers year-round, but this is especially true during the summer months, when truck drivers are less likely to be wearing protective layers that would otherwise limit their exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. While driving during daylight hours, make sure you apply (and re-apply) a quality sunscreen at least every few hours. Wearing sunglasses and/or a hat with a brim while driving can also protect your eyes from sun damage while allowing you to avoid dangerous glare and other obstructions.

Keep Your Truck Maintained

When was the last time you had the tire pressure checked on your truck? If it’s been more than a week or two, be sure to have this done; this is an important maintenance task year-round, but especially during the hotter months of summer, when truck tires are more susceptible to blow-outs. The same goes for checking and servicing your brakes, as hotter temperatures can make it easier for your brakes to overheat and create a major safety hazard while driving.

Load Up on Hydrating Fluids

Drinking plenty of water while behind the wheel is one of the best decisions you can make to avoid dehydration and the side effects (such as fatigue) that can come along with it. While it may be tempting to choose an iced coffee, soda, or other caffeinated beverage over plain water, it’s important to stay well hydrated during the sweltering months of summer. To make sure you’re drinking enough water, consider investing in a quality insulated water bottle that you make an effort to fill up at least a few times a day during your travels.

Be Alert on Crowded Roadways

Highways and roadways tend to be more crowded during the summer months, especially as children are out of school and families are taking more vacations and road trips. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to stay alert on the road, especially during times of heavy traffic. Above all else, try to maintain your patience and remember your safety training when navigating busy roads.

Summer time can be a more dangerous time for truck drivers—and for a number of reasons. By following these practical safety tips and making sure you’re protected by the right commercial truck insurance, however, you can keep yourself and other motorists safe. Reach out to the Western Truck insurance team today for more information.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is much more than a commercial truck insurance agency. With roots dating back to 1954, we have provided our clients with unparalleled service for truck insurance quotes, customer service, coverage charges, insurance certificates, and more. We are committed to providing our clients with the service to keep their costs to the minimum and their opportunities to the maximum. For more information about our products and services, give us a call at (800) 937-8785 to speak with one of our experts.

What to Discuss During a Trucking Safety Meeting

Letting your drivers know that safety is key to success is imperative when running a large or small fleet. One of the most common ways to do this is to hold regular safety meetings where instruction, safety talks, innovative ideas, discussion and policies may all be reviewed

Professional drivers are, in actuality, some of the safest on the roads when compared mile for mile to drivers of automobiles. Not only do they know how to evaluate traffic, control their speed and yield repeatedly, they know that their safety, and that of other drivers on the road may depend on how well they can do their job. Introducing safety videos and holding regular driver safety meetings can reinforce policy, provide new and innovative ideas and remind drivers of required industry standards.

Fleet Policy

Without a stated fleet policy, it is impossible to have a continued company commitment to that policy. A fleet policy should be more than just a set of rules. Instead, it should be written to encourage drivers to engage in a safer driving culture.  Some items in many fleet policies include:

  • Company commitment to safe driver training
  • Driver seat belt policy
  • Definition of driver personal use allowance
  • Expectations for MVR reviews
  • Committee set up to review accidents

Having such safety policies such as these in place is only a small part of making it part of your fleet culture. To do this, management must communicate frequently and positively about each facet of the policy being sure to follow the policy when drivers face both negative and positive consequences.

Ongoing Communication

Driving a semi can be a long and lonely job. Communicating with your drivers can help them feel as if they are truly part of your team. These communications can include tips on getting enough sleep or drinking enough water, a truck related joke of the day, a shout-out to drivers who have exceeded expectations and reminders about safety.  Attaching a safety-related email signature can also ensure that the drivers get the safety message without feeling overwhelmed by it.

Conference calls are another way to communicate with over the road drivers about safety items. Though drivers are not legally allowed to manipulate a cell phone while operating a vehicle, a good Bluetooth headset can make such conference calls easy to attend while on the road.

Many drivers thrive on competition, so company-wide contests that recognize a driver’s commitment to safety are a great idea. The fact that they might increase a driver’s awareness of safety is even better.

Safe Trucks

Let your truck drivers know that the vehicles they are driving are safe. For instance, letting each driver in the fleet know about the tire review and replacement policy may help to put their minds at ease. Nothing is worse for a professional driver as having to wonder when a tire will blow on the freeway, and how far the pieces will fly. By letting your drivers know that you understand their safety concerns about tire wear and tear, you will help your drivers feel safer.

Along with tires, each vehicle in the fleet should undergo routine maintenance, and each driver should be familiar with the schedule. By updating your drivers on this type of maintenance, they will know that they need not worry about the next safety inspection or oil change because you have their vehicle covered.

Insistence on Safe Habits

A fleet policy should always include a discussion about the importance of safe trucking habits. Not only do these fleet safety talks show that managers value the truck and the load, but also the safety of each and every driver. One habit that many drivers forgo is wearing a seatbelt. Managers can use many different reminders, safe driving videos, incentives and tabulations to help drivers remember the real importance of seatbelts in a truck and in a personal vehicle. Managers may also want to remind drivers that seatbelts help everyone on the road, not just the truck driver.

Recognize Safety

Making sure to recognize safe drivers and reward their efforts publicly can help to increase the overall safety of the fleet. Such rewards might include having no traffic violations, no accidents or now insurance claims. Ongoing records of safety such as many years with no accidents or violations should be recognized and rewarded with larger rewards such as paid time off or short paid vacations.

Having a stated safety policy is the most important item on the list for encouraging safety. Making time for regular truck safety meetings runs a close second. Let your drivers know that it is worth the time to learn about how all can be safer as they cross the byways and highways of the United States.

Preventing Rollovers- What Can You Do?

This summer the NHTSA issued a new rule requiring electronic stability control systems (ESC) on new commercial heavy trucks and large buses starting in 2017. It is believed that the new rule will prevent as many as 1,759 crashes, 649 injuries, and 49 deaths each year. In the meantime, what can you do to protect yourself? Many trucks currently have ESC, but for those that don’t (and even those that do), these tips could be lifesaving.

What Causes Rollovers?

The standard answer when it comes to rollovers is that the crashes are caused by driving too fast. This is a factor, but it is so much complicated than that. To prevent rollover, drive a safe speed of course, but also try some other strategies.

  • Pay Attention to Your Center of Gravity- The center of gravity is important in keeping things from toppling over. When driving a car, your center of gravity is almost always the same, but when driving a tractor-trailer, it can change depending on what you’re hauling and how it is loaded onto your trailer. Pay attention to your loads and drive carefully until you’re familiar with how a particular load is situated. Strap and secure properly. If a load isn’t fully secured it can shift as you drive, changing the center of gravity and potentially leading to a rollover. Drivers of cargo tanks should be especially cautious as liquids inside of the tank move as you do and can topple the tank rather easily.
  • Focus on the Road– Many drivers believe that rollovers are most common when entering and exiting the highway. While these are certainly times to be cautious, rollovers can happen at any time and are actually more likely on the roadway itself. Maintain focus at all times and look for hazards (sharp curves, soft shoulders, steep grades, hard berms, curbs, narrow driveways, limited visibility, etc.).
  • Watch Out for Vehicle Tripping– Vehicle tripping is a primary cause (95%) of single car rollovers, but is also a major contributing factor to tractor-trailer rollovers. This occurs when the tires strike a curb or fall into a soft shoulder. It often occurs during turns. To reduce your risk of tripping allow 3-4 feet between the tractor tires and the curb, giving room to the trailer’s tires should it shift a little during the turn.
  • Survey Before You Go- You can prevent rollovers before you ever get behind the wheel. Look at your expected route in detail before you head out. Look for hazards and areas where you’ll need to be extra vigilant. If you can, talk with others that have recently been on those roads and in the area for up to date advice on road conditions, weather, etc. Use your dispatcher and fellow drivers as valuable resources for knowing what’s ahead.
  • Don’t Get Complacent– Whether you’ve been driving for 1 year or 20, accidents can happen. Don’t let your familiarity with a particular route or your experience driving lull you into complacency. Driving a big truck is always dangerous and needs your full attention. Vigilance can prevent many rollovers.
  • Turn Left– When available and safe, left hand turns into a driveway are much safer than right hand turns. Turning left gives the rear tandem more room to track the tractor’s path.
  • Don’t Let Pre-Trip Inspections Slide– They take just a few minutes, but are so important. Always perform a thorough pre-trip inspection and don’t start driving until you’re confident that your truck is road-worthy and safe.
  • Speed Matters- Finally, remember that speed is an important factor in many rollovers. Speed limits aren’t always a safe speed to drive. Determine your speed based on road conditions and the weather and never exceed the maximum speed limit for an area. When approaching a turn, drive slower than the posted recommendations on the yellow safety signs. Safety experts recommend at least 10 mph less than the recommended speed for tractor/trailer combos. When going downhill, look at your speedometer rather than relying on feel. The bigger the vehicle, the slower it feels.

For more great tips on avoiding rollovers, watch this video from the FMCSA. It was created with cargo tanks in mind, but is packed with valuable tips for any tractor-trailer driver. Travel with care.