Updates to Trucker Drug Testing Slated for Change

While all mandatory drug testing for truck drivers is conducted through urinalysis, there may be a change coming in the form of oral fluids or hair clippings. According to a recent study from the University of Central Arkansas, if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates hair follicle testing, nearly 300,000 truck drivers would be out of a job.

Since federal drug testing of truck drivers began nearly 30 years ago, the Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) set the protocol for drug tests that are still used today. Individual agencies with the Department of Transportation (DOT), including FMCSA, need to approve this kind of drug screening for truckers through rulemaking. That rulemaking would determine the drug testing process, including who can collect hair follicles and under what conditions, required training, and sample retention.

Why the Change?

Collecting hair follicles and oral fluids are easier and less intrusive than obtaining a urine sample. Oral fluids samples are less likely to be faked or contaminated because drug testing lab technicians collect them in an open environment. That means sample collection during drug screenings for truckers streamlines the entire process by cutting out the need for sending a driver to a clinic for a urine sample.

The technical standards for hair testing are currently under review. Agency rulemaking for hair testing standards can start after the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approves and considers any required adjustments. When approved, employers and federal regulators would have an effective tool in their toolbelt in weeding out casual drug users who get behind the wheel.

The Impact of Hair Testing

Several trucking companies use hair testing on top of mandated urine tests to get a more accurate reading of past drug use; hair follicle testing shows drug use up to 90 days before a test. However, those trucking carriers do so at their expense. But if everything is approved, this testing is included in a package and cuts down on the overall price. Until FMCSA rulemaking allows hair testing, trucking companies cannot legally share the test results with other employers.

The Goal of Expanding Drug Screenings for Truckers

Expansion of drug screening for truckers conforms with the way things are moving for the FMCSA in strengthening drug and alcohol testing for safety-sensitive roles, such as driving cross country.

The FMCSA has:

  • Added certain synthetic opioids to the drug panel checked by tests.
  • Increased the random drug screening rate.
  • Warned drivers about the use of CBD oil.
  • Unveiled the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to capture positive test results and violations and share them with employers and enforcement agencies.
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.

Involved in a Trucking Accident? Follow These Steps

Every 15 minutes in the United States, someone is killed or seriously injured due to a trucking accident. In fact, according to trucking accident statistics, around 500,000 trucking incidents occur each year in the United States, with about 5,000 per year resulting in death.

Step-by-Step After a Truck Accident

For truck drivers involved in an accident, it’s essential to take the right steps to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being following the event. There are things the driver can do to preserve the rights and legal options following a crash.

Call the Authorities

In most trucking accident situations, a call to 911 is essential. If you’re on a highway, the 911 dispatcher will route your call to local law enforcement and emergency responders. Let the dispatcher know how many people and vehicles are involved in the accident to ensure they send out the necessary emergency services. Even if the crash seems minor, complete a police report as this is the best way to have immediate documentation of the accident.

Medical Attention

Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, get a medical evaluation as soon as possible. You may have suffered internal injuries that don’t show immediate symptoms. If you end up requiring medical attention later for an injury, it may be hard to prove that it was related to the trucking accident.

Document Any Evidence

Documenting the scene is something truck drivers should only do if they’re uninjured and it’s safe to be out of their vehicle and walking around. If you’re on a busy highway and the police aren’t yet there to direct traffic, you wouldn’t want to be out on the road.

Documentation should include photos, contact information for others involved in the trucking accident, and other notes about road and weather conditions. Documentation also includes gathering information from other involved parties such as the driver’s name, address, email contact, insurance information, and license number.

Contact Truck Insurance Provider

After a trucking accident, a driver should get in touch with the company they’re driving for and their insurance provider. Having trucking liability insurance is essential to keeping trucks, inventory, drivers, the company, and others affected by a trucking accident safe. This kind of coverage helps to pay out damages, legal fees, medical payments, and job interruption. A truck driver should contact the truck insurance provider right away so they can start their processing.

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!

DOT Promotes Flexibility in Trucking Hours to Maintain Trucker Safety

In a recently released memo, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) detailed final rules updating the hours of service to increase safety on roadways by updating existing regulations for commercial truck drivers.

The need for this change has come about due to the disruption in the nation’s trucking supply chain as a result of COVID-19. The outbreak of the virus this last spring upended everything from logistics to international shipping, which then trickled down to trucking companies, altering their service hours. In turn, this increased demand has affected trucker’s overall safety.

The solution from the FMCSA was implemented to bring more flexibility to new hours of operation, thus encouraging more rest and support for truck drivers.

Hours of Service Rules: A Closer Look

First adopted in 1937, FMCSA’s hours of service rules specify the permitted hours of operation for commercial truck drivers. In 2018, FMCSA penned an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to receive public comments on the HOS rules to limit unnecessary burdens placed on truck drivers while upholding Trucker safety on highways and roads. In 2019, the Agency published a detailed proposed rule which received plenty of public commentary.

Based on these comments and input, FMCSA’s final rule on hours of service offers some revisions to the existing rules.

First, the FMCSA will increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after eight hours of consecutive driving and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status.

Secondly, the FMCSA will modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow truck drivers to split their required 10 hours of off duty time into two periods. Also, the FMCSA will modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending the maximum window of time during which truck driving is allowed by two hours.

Lastly, the FMCSA will change the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the truck drivers’ maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the truck driver may work from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

This change in hours of service rules is estimated to provide nearly $274 million in cost savings on an annual basis for the U.S. economy and American consumers. The trucking industry, although it has seen some disruption in recent years due to fewer available drivers and automation in driving technology, is still a major component of the national economy. The industry employs more than seven million people and moves nearly 75% of the nation’s domestic freight.

Since the onset of COVID-19, truck drivers have played a key role in getting the country through by driving supplies from state to state. FMCSA has provided relief to commercial truck drivers to get medical supplies, food, and household goods to Americans in need during these unprecedented times.

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!

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. 

Ride-Alongs

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!

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.