Before the Drive: Vehicle Inspection for Trucking Operations

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States. Of these, approximately 5,000 trucking accidents result in death. What’s more, one out of every eight traffic fatalities involve a trucking accident.

While not every accident can be avoided, there are ways in which trucking professionals can limit their chances of being involved in one by conducting a vehicle inspection on their truck thoroughly before they hit the road.

Trucking Safety Checklist

Safety should be the number one priority of every trucker behind the wheel and trucking operations should be sure to make safety a priority when hiring and onboarding new drivers.

Here are some pre-inspection duties all trucking professionals can implement daily.

Always Review Your Insurance

Trucking companies and professionals need to always be operating with the most up-to-date truck insurance program. From general liability to physical damage protection, truck insurance can come in many different forms to adequately protect truckers, their vehicles, the company they work for, and their cargo.

Be sure to keep an updated truck insurance program year-round and always review your limits and options to ensure you are carrying comprehensive coverage.

Focus on the Inspection

When it’s about time to head out, start the vehicle inspection by looking under the hood of the truck and start in the driver’s side upper left-hand corner. Start by looking at the engine for things like leaks, loose belts, and more. Work your way over and keep a lookout for cracks and deterioration as well.

After the inspection is completed under the hood, work your way outside the engine and along the truck. Inspect all tires for flat spots which can indicate potential wear and tear and look for cracks and holes in the brake drums.

Drivers should also inspect the kingpin of a hook-up to ensure that the trailer is securely locked to the truck itself. Inside the trailer, look for holes in the trailer where debris could get into the trailer and create potential damage.

Lastly, inside your cab, check that your wipers, lights, turn signals, and gauges are all in good working order.

Identify Potential Tampering

Before a driver heads back out on the road after taking some time off at a rest stop, they shouldn’t be hasty. Drivers should give the truck a quick, mini inspection to make sure everything is up to speed. But besides tires and leaks, drivers should look for any signs of tampering, such as missing placards. Some truck drivers may try to sabotage other driver operations at rest stops, and it only takes a quick minute to flip a kingpin or hide a placard.

Beat the Weather

While it’s technically spring, winter weather has not yet subsided in the northern parts of the country. In fact, this year’s rain, sleet, and snowstorms have been monumental. Drivers who have to brave the winter weather should take extra precaution before they get out on the highway.

First, if the driving conditions are wintry and tire chains are recommended, drivers should pull over as chains should be avoided at all costs.

Lastly, drivers should make sure their wipers and heat are all working properly to ensure that windows can stay clear, keeping frost and fog away as much as possible during cold mornings. These simple steps make for a helpful vehicle inspection and can prevent accidents on the road.

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!

Trucking Insurance – How does it Work?

Most people don’t understand trucking insurance and haven’t done enough research before buying insurance. When it comes to trucking insurance, business owners have even more options. Let’s discuss the different types of insurance so that when you are ready to buy or renew your business insurance, you will have an idea of what types of insurance will fit into your business plan and goals.

Four main types of commercial truck insurance:

  • Liability insurance (Auto & General) pays for damages you cause. This insurance is usually required by law and is not an option.
  • Bobtail insurance, which is sometimes referred to as non-trucking liability, is a voluntary type of insurance that covers your truck when you’re not under dispatch.
  • Motor truck cargo covers the freight you are pulling. Although this insurance is not required by law, the shipping company may require it.
  • Physical damage coverage bases the premium on the value of the equipment. Your lienholder may require it, but generally it is not required by law. This type of coverage protects your truck against fire, theft and other types of damage. Ask your agent what is allowed and what is excluded. Always understand your policy.

Your business may want to consider these other types of trucking-related insurance coverage:

  • Non-owned trailer liability and physical damage are policies that protect the trailer if it belongs to someone else.
  • Terminal coverage protects freight which is stored at specified terminals for a specified time frame, generally 48 to 72 hours.
  • Warehouse legal protects goods that are stored for a longer time at that the terminal coverage and for which a storage is charge is made. The amount of coverage you want is based on the amount of goods stored. Workers Compensation and/or Occupational Accident Injury Coverage to protect the individuals employed or contracted with.

Obviously, if you never store goods or you own your own trailer, you won’t necessarily be concerned about some of these types of insurance. However, it is good to know that these policies are available to protect your risk exposure. Western Truck Insurance Services is always happy to answer any of your questions about insurance to give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

Saving Money on Your Trucking Insurance

Unfortunately, trucking insurance is one of the largest fixed costs of any trucking business. It’s a very important aspect of your business plan. It makes sense to work with your agent or broker to find the best coverage at the best rates to protect the future of your business and family. Although insurance can seem very costly each year, consider how much it would cost to replace your truck or cover the medical bills of a family injured in an accident. Here are some ways to get the best deals on your insurance:

  • Ask for fixed premiums.
  • Pay your insurance up front instead of in installments.
  • Ask if the insurance company has various discounts for various situations.
  • Talk to your insurer about a safety program. Many times, your insurer will help you put policies and procedures to help you run a better program.
  • Your insurer may also give a discount if your company has a written maintenance plan and a good history of looking after your vehicles.
  • Don’t overstate the value of your truck, hoping to get a better deal if it’s damaged in an accident.
  • It may not be cost-effective to have physical damage coverage on older, low value, vehicles.
  • You may also keep your premiums lower by watching your driving records closely. Make sure drivers obey traffic laws to prevent having traffic offences from accruing.
  • Talk to your insurer about where you keep your trucks, especially when parked overnight. A riskier area of the community may mean higher premiums.
  • As your vehicles get older, you may want to look at upgrading to safer and newer equipment.

Trucking insurance might be expensive, but it’s because trucks are expensive and accidents can be very costly;  especially in today’s litigious society. Trucks often carry valuable cargo which are also  subject to expensive losses.

Now that you understand the types of coverage and some of the factors that go into the costs associated with insurance, you can make better decisions about your own policies to cover your business.