Revisiting AB 5 for Truckers

In 2019, California passed legislation called AB 5, which reclassifies many independent contractors as employees, including truckers. Signed into law in 2019, the “gig worker bill,” as it has been dubbed, took effect in January 2020. However, the California Trucking Association (CTA) got an injunction and stopped the state from reclassifying truck owner-operators as motor carrier employees under that law – until now.

AB 5 uses a three-part “ABC test” to figure out if a worker is an independent contractor, all of which must be true:

  • The worker is free from the control and direction of the employer (hiring entity) when performing work.
  • The work is outside the typical scope of the employer’s business.
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independent trade, occupation, or business.

This “ABC test” is pretty tough to pass, especially the part about the “work being outside the scope of the employer’s business.” In many other states, independent contractor status is denied only if the worker typically performs work at the employer’s premises. The test in California raises the bar for independent contractor status.

So, what’s happened to put AB 5 back in the spotlight for the trucking industry?

The Supreme Court refused to hear the CTA case, and the injunction was lifted on June 30, 2022. Without the injunction, truck owner-operators can now fall under the gig worker bill’s criteria.

What’s Next?

There are about 70,000 owner-operators in the state. And, according to the CTA, more than 70% of them serve some of the country’s busiest ports, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland. In most cases, AB 5 will govern the owner-operators’ relationships with carriers, brokers, and shippers.

Motor carriers will, in many instances, have to reclassify independent contractors as employees, which costs them more in payroll tax, employee benefits, and insurance. For example, AB 5 extends Workers’ Compensation rights to workers who had previously been classified as independent contractors and could not file claims for work-related injuries against their hiring employers. As employees, they are entitled to Workers’ Comp benefits. Be sure you speak with your insurance broker to fully understand how AB 5 impacts your insurance program.

Also, because AB 5 applies only in California, carriers that operate in and outside the state will need to figure out how to separate their operations for the time being to comply with the state’s regulations. (Note: Similar legislation is being considered in other states, so this may change.)

Additionally, independent contractors who work under contract with a trucking company and for themselves will lose flexibility under the new regulations.

Other legal issues with AB 5 also need to be unpacked, as the law is now in effect.

Some expect lawsuits to begin, and, depending on the political landscape, the outcomes may differ. One thing is for sure: to determine how the law may or may not apply to them, carriers will need a thorough understanding of their business relationships with their drivers. Those working with independent contractors must take action to keep their operations running smoothly.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is an insurance brokerage specializing in commercial truck insurance. We know this stuff and want to make sure you do too. Our clients appreciate our dedication to finding competitive rates and offering unparalleled service beyond excellent insurance options. They also value how our state-of-the-art automation provides lightning-fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more.

Motor Truck Cargo Insurance Coverage

Does your trucking operation utilize a specific location where you bring in freight for ether warehousing, transloading, or just temporary storage in transit? Have you discussed this part of your operations with your insurance broker?

Motor Truck Cargo Insurance

What you may not know is that your motor truck cargo insurance policy likely will NOT provide coverage while freight is on those premises unless that insurance policy has been properly set up for it.

OUCH.

These are the types of surprises a business owner can do without; especially when finding out about it AFTER an event has occurred.

What? You say…

READ your insurance policy…

Is your premise location listed on that motor truck cargo policy? Do you leave loaded trailers detached from power units? What are the actual limits of exposure you really have at risk in your terminal, and has your cargo policy been written to include that terminal exposure?

If you don’t know or aren’t sure, make sure you check with your insurance broker and READ your policy.

Many cargo policies will not even offer terminal coverage. Most have exclusions for detached trailers, unattended vehicles, and freight off of trucks. For those policies that will allow for storage in transit in a specified location (your warehouse), the usual time period is only 72 hours. Is that limitation going to work for you?

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is an insurance brokerage specializing in commercial truck insurance. We know this stuff and want to make sure you do too. Our clients appreciate our dedication to finding competitive rates and offering unparalleled service beyond excellent insurance options. And they value how our state-of-the-art automation provides lightning-fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more.

Insurance for LTL vs TL Operations: Part 1

Freight Capacity and Truckload vs. LTL

Freight capacity is the term shippers use to describe the amount of space secured on trucks and other vehicles to carry their loads. Also known as trucking capacity, it is a critical aspect of managing supply chain deliveries.

In the trucking industry, a shipping service that takes the entire tractor-trailer truck’s capacity with no space to add extra goods is known as a truckload or TL for a full truckload. When shippers only utilize part of a truck’s capacity, which leaves space for additional goods, they use LTL to describe Less than TruckLoad shipments.

LTL freight delivery uses various truck types to ship goods to multiple locations. For example, a box truck with a gross weight below the requirement for a commercial driver’s license is a typical vehicle used by LTL carriers. Although box trucks for parcel deliveries from Amazon shipments, where drivers can make some 40 different deliveries, are a specific example, large tractor-trailers do also make LTL deliveries.

Insurance for LTL operations

Underwriters review LTL insurance operations closely for several reasons. These include delivery time constraints and the extra stress that making many stops puts on drivers who face more unusual situations than long-distance, over-the-road drivers. Additionally, underwriters are concerned because many LTL drivers don’t have and aren’t required to have a commercial driver’s license.

Apprehensions about safety are a significant reason underwriters review LTL operations because they know the LTL industry has fewer regulations and oversight. Insurance companies inspect how freight companies manage their drivers and ensure they comply with federal laws. Should a company fail to meet requirements, underwriting may decline coverage.

 Insurance for Full Truckload (TL)

The term “full truckload” (TL) refers to a shipment requiring full use of cargo space in the truck. TL insurance protects a motor carrier’s operations and pays claims for lost or damaged shipments and applicable legal defense expenses.

A TL carrier’s policy traditionally covers the motor carrier for its’ auto, general, and cargo liability. It also may provide physical damage coverage for the equipment.  

TL carrier policies are more simple to underwrite than LTL carriers. A review of IFTA state mileage reports, DOT inspections, driving records, and loss reports are generally what is used to determine acceptability and rates. 

There are more insurance carriers willing to provide coverage for TL vs. LTL operations.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a well-respected and professionally managed truck and transportation insurance brokerage. Our clients appreciate our dedication to finding competitive rates and offering unparalleled service beyond excellent insurance options. Our clients appreciate our state-of-the-art automation that provides them lightning-fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!

What to Do When Your Semi-Truck Breaks Down on the Side of the Road

Semi-truck breakdowns occur more frequently than passenger vehicles. For example, American Trucking Association‘s (ATA) Technology & Maintenance Council’s survey reported breakdowns to occur about every 10,000 miles.

Semi-truck breakdowns for truckers are costly and potentially dangerous events. Drivers must know how to handle them among the many hazardous scenarios they encounter on the road.

Semi-Truck Safety Tips

Because it is critical to manage roadside breakdowns safely, we put together these tips.

  • Stay calm.
  • Stop driving and pull over immediately.
  • Call 911, then roadside assistance, and notify your company.
  • Use flashing lights and other warning equipment to ensure your truck is visible to drivers.
  • Avoid exiting the cab on the driver’s side, and always be extra careful when leaving either side of the truck.
  • Park your vehicle as far off the road as possible.
  • Stay in the semi-truck if there is no present dangerous circumstance, such as explosions.

Stay Calm to Keep Your Cool

Emotions and frustrations can get the better of anyone. We recognize that telling you to keep calm after a breakdown occurs when you’re already running on very tight deadlines is a hard ask. But such scenarios are when you need your wits to keep yourself, passengers, other motorists, and your cargo safe.

If truckers panic or lose their cool during an emergency, they are more likely to make poor choices in the flurry of immediate decisions. Being calm is a signal of strength, and so is taking a minute to slow down and take a few deep breaths to shake off unnecessary anxiety. Moreover, your ability to stay calm and collected may save your life or the lives of others in the worst cases of roadside breakdowns.

Get to Your Safest Spot

If you notice that your semi-truck is having mechanical issues, you must get off the road or highway immediately. Look around to be aware of vehicles moving toward you, especially if your truck is stuck on the road and you can’t exit. Whenever possible, in such situations, it’s helpful to guide traffic to move around instead of having them stop behind you to prevent being hit from behind and to avoid pile-up accidents behind you.

If you can safely make it to the side of the road, you’ll keep traffic moving and reduce the odds of your breakdown causing an accident. Look for the broadest hard road safe location possible; offramps are always better than roadside.

Call for Help

Dial 911 for help as soon as you have steered your truck to a safe spot. Tell the responder what happened. Answer their questions honestly and provide details about your location. Whenever possible, drivers should limp to repair shops, truck stops, or rest stations, which are all better and safer than waiting on the shoulder of the road.

Owner-operator Roadside Assistance

While you never want it to happen, expecting and preparing for the worst situations affects your outcome. Know who you will call before you need to contact them. Owner-operators are responsible for creating their list of repair facilities and safe stopping locations. A reliable guide to emergency resources provides peace of mind that you will get back on the road sooner.

Company Drivers Instructions

After reporting the problem to 911, company drivers should immediately contact their dispatcher or manager. In addition, your support can provide instructions for handling the breakdown, including what tow truck service is responding to and information on the facility that will repair the truck.

Providing your dispatcher with helpful information or indications about the problem is beneficial. Anything you can do or information you provide that can speed up getting you back on the road is worth sharing. Sometimes, a shop supervisor can advise on relatively simple, safe fixes that don’t require assistance or vehicle towing.

Create a Safety Zone Around the Semi-Truck

In all circumstances, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) require drivers immediately turn on their vehicle’s four-way flashing hazard lights when they must stop on the road for any reason. In addition, the 4-way flashers must be left on until the required emergency warning devices are placed according to FMCSR regulations.

Although regulations state emergency warning devices must be placed within 10 minutes of a semi-truck’s emergency stopping, it’s best to set them in place as soon as the unit is safely parked. Drivers should protect their safety by carrying the flashing devices so oncoming traffic can see them. Options for acceptable warning devices include reflective triangles, lighted lamps, and lighted fuses. When experiencing a roadside emergency, drivers must place three warning devices as follows:

  1. Place one on the traffic side of the vehicle, approximately ten feet or four steps apart, facing approaching traffic.
  2. In the center of the traffic lane or the road shoulder behind the truck, place the second device at 100 feet, approximately 40 paces, in the direction of approaching traffic.
  3. The third warning device goes in the traffic lane center or the road’s shoulder. Place them at 100 feet or 40 paces in front of the vehicle facing oncoming traffic.

Carry an Emergency Toolkit

A semi-truck should have the proper tools and supplies to fix it on the spot if it does break down, including a jack, tire iron, spare tire, jumper cables, flares, and a flashlight. Truckers should also carry standard automotive tools such as wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and sockets. Having spare parts for items known to fail helps get you up and running quickly.

At Western Truck, we help our clients with all their trucking-related insurance needs, including providing best-in-class commercial truck roadside assistance services. Our clients get an array of services to help them get back on the road quickly while saving thousands in out-of-pocket expenses. Learn about our affordable Commercial Truck Roadside Assistance Benefits here.

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 at (800) 937-8785 to talk to our trucking insurance experts!

 

Soaring Prices Leave Owner-Operators with Tough Choices.

Soaring prices across all avenues have left the trucking industry with plenty of decisions to make about cost-cutting. The trucking industry carries the weight of the country’s infrastructure and supply chain. It has traditionally consisted of large transportation companies, logistics businesses, and smaller owner-operators. Unfortunately, the industry is vulnerable to particular challenges, not the least of which is the rising fuel cost.

The Impact of High Prices

With soaring prices, including fuel costs, repair expenses, and the various types of truck insurance needed, these owner-operators may be struggling to make ends meet.

How Inflation Is Affecting the Trucking World

The trucking industry depends on diesel fuel to keep the trucks moving from the loading dock to the destination. Any time oil costs rise, diesel fuel costs rise as well. Additionally, the current inflation has pushed diesel prices to record highs. The higher diesel costs climb, the lower profits become for many trucking companies. These profits affect the owner-operators. Owner-operators are smaller companies that often don’t have the same profit margins or revenue volume as the larger trucking companies. Thus, they are more drastically affected when variables, like fuel costs, increase sharply.

Ideally, drivers would offset those increased fuel costs by being more selective about the loads they transport. It means they could opt for longer runs and higher-paying shipments. Unfortunately, supply chain issues and inflation have led to fewer available loads, smaller loads, and shorter runs. In some cases, drivers have to deadhead or run empty for nearly as many miles as the delivery run to pick up the load. These things prove costly, especially for owner-operators.

Direct Employment With a Carrier

For owner-operators, this is a difficult choice. Direct employment with a carrier means giving up their independent status, but it can save them significantly because the carrier they work for shoulders the fuel costs.  Most  carriers provide  the  truck insurance for their drivers, saving independent operators even more during these challenging times.

Negotiate Contracts That Include Fuel Surcharges

If you have established contracts with certain companies, you may be able to renegotiate those contracts to include a fuel surcharge for each load while diesel prices are so high. When negotiating new partnership contracts, have the surcharge as an automatic component. Some clients may want the option to revisit the surcharge when fuel prices come down.

Ride It Out

Larger trucking corporations, and even some owner-operators who are more financially secure, may decide to simply ride out this troubling period of soaring prices and moderate demand. Companies that have been in the industry for many years may have enough savings from more profitable times to withstand the strain for a while in hopes of improvement. Newer and smaller businesses may not. These companies may end up priced out of the market.

Leave the Industry

For businesses with little savings or no contingency plans, rising costs for diesel fuel, limited diesel supply in some areas, and the reduction of available loads may leave them with no choice but to leave the industry altogether.

Why This Perfect Storm Is Forcing Some Owner-Operators Out of the Industry

Owner-operators may be disproportionately affected by this economic downturn and trucking industry shift. Subsequently, these drivers often have fewer savings to fall back on and are paying their own expenses.

Unlike company drivers, who are often paid a flat rate for days spent down for repairs, owner-operators lose money while down for repairs. With supply chain issues affecting vehicle parts, diesel engine oil, and diesel fuel supplies, these drivers may be down for repairs or maintenance for much longer than they can afford. However, parts take months to arrive, with drivers unable to operate until they do.

Rising diesel fuel costs have already made the industry virtually unsustainable for smaller operators. When supply chain problems add to that challenge, it generates a perfect storm to ultimately force smaller owner-operators out of the trucking industry. It is often more cost-effective for these drivers to sell the truck and pursue other avenues instead of waiting for repairs and dealing with high fuel costs.

What This Means Going Forward

These challenges are changing the face of the trucking industry. The smaller shippers and owner-operator options are becoming scarce as the trucking industry shifts to a new dynamic of corporation-driven shipping with company drivers and fewer shipping options.

The current economic conditions and soaring prices are pushing the smaller operators out of the industry. Thus, it leaves the corporations that can sustain the financial burden in the short term. It isn’t likely that new shippers will enter the market for some time. However, the industry and the associated burdening costs must right themselves first. Larger companies can shoulder the costs, including diesel fuel,  repair and maintenance expenses, fleet safety, and insurance costs.. .

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!

General Advises Supreme Court Reject Review of AB-5

There has been plenty of discussions about a proper review of AB-5 and what the law entails for gig workers. The bill that the legislature passed in 2019 has made plenty of waves throughout the gig industry. You may think of musicians when you hear the word “gig,”.   However, this term describes a type of economic system and business that has become increasingly popular in the last few decades. In this system, called a gig economy, workers with part-time schedules are temporary or classified as independent contractors who work in large numbers. Many industries have turned to gig workers. These industries include standardized testing and editorial services. Also, some others include school districts to niche markets such as long-distance trucking and travel or delivery services such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash.

The Review of AB-5

The rise in the number of gig workers has raised questions that have ended up in court. For example, a case within the trucking industry regarding California’s AB-5 made it to the United States Supreme Court. However, the U.S. Solicitor General recommended to the Supreme Court that it not conduct an AB-5 review. This California Assembly Bill, if enacted, would affect all manner of industries, including long-distance trucking companies and drivers.

What AB-5 Does

California Assembly Bill 5, generally known as AB-5, became effective on Jan. 1, 2020. Also known as the “gig worker” bill, it mandates California companies that hire freelancers or independent contractors to categorize them as employees based on criteria.

With AB-5, companies must present a three-point test, also called the ABC test, to prove that workers are, in fact, independent and are not company employees. The points are:

  • The worker is handling tasks that are outside a company’s expected course and type of business activities
  • A employee can undertake tasks and offer services without company direction or management
  • A worker is routinely and generally involved in tasks and activities that are part of a trade or occupation established independently of a company but that are of the same type of duties on which a company focuses

This bill would significantly impact long-haul drivers and truck insurance as well as many other niche areas such as freelance journalism and mobile computer technicians. California’s AB-5 also affected app-based drivers, such as those who work for Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash. Because of a significant backlash against AB-5, California voters approved Proposition 22 later in 2020, which exempts app-based drivers from AB-5 requirements.

In the case of app-based drivers, they went to court to win employee status, claiming their services are vital to the companies’ success. However, not everyone saw the benefits of AB-5. The issue has proven quite complex.

How AB-5 Affects Workers

Some workers do not relish having to accept employee status. There are pros and cons to this bill.

Pros to AB-5

  • Gives workers the right to employee benefits, a minimum wage, and other perks
  • Creates more equity between employees and independent contractors or gig workers

Cons to AB-5

California’s AB-5 has an apparent direct affect on independent contractors. Now, a reclassified gig worker can no longer choose when and where to work.

Truck insurance would be affected for long-distance truck drivers and trucking companies, as would many aspects of operations, including scheduling and logistics planning. Independent truck drivers reclassified as employees would need to be covered by the company. However, those same drivers might lose some freedom in choosing their driving gigs.

How AB-5 Affects Companies

As AB-5 requires businesses to count independent contractors as employees, companies could be required to spend more money on benefits such as minimum wages, workers compensation,  truck insurance, and other types of coverage. Such a significant reclassification would raise overall costs, which would then pass on to consumers through higher retail prices.

Industry analysts say AB-5 could potentially bankrupt some companies that depend on drivers, especially businesses such as Uber and Lyft, which are now exempt. Furthermore, this law could, in effect, wipe out a gig economy system. This point may be positive as well as negative in multiple ways.

AB-5 Review

Reaction to California’s AB-5 saw many people filing lawsuits in courts, and two made it to the Supreme Court. The case against AB-5 filed by Cal Cartage Transportation Express, a business that services multiple California ports, went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court issued an AB-5 review rejection for this case after the U.S. Solicitor General argued for denial of the writ of certiorari. However, the California Trucking Association also seeks an AB-5 review by the Supreme Court. Furthermore, Cal Cartage could raise its case against AB-5 again in courts in California or regional federal courts. This issue is ongoing, and there is no indication there will be a settlement soon. However, a definitive ruling from the Supreme Court would resolve the issue.

The particular challenge to the trucking industry with AB-5 and its three-point ABC test comes from the point that if gig workers are engaged in the same type of work as the company’s primary business, they are employees. Independent owner-operators are naturally involved in the same business as trucking companies. On the other hand, an independent janitor working for a trucking company would not be subject to AB-5.

The contentiousness of AB-5, with protests from businesses and independent contractor drivers in multiple industries, is continuing. There is another case seeking a review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Thus, the issue will be in the spotlight for a while. Weighing the matter of independence with the need for fair treatment of workers is a serious issue. Companies and gig workers in many industries would be affected, and many are watching to see what the Supreme Court will decide about California’s AB-5.

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!

Limiting the Speed for Truckers

Truck speed is something the trucking industry has dealt with for the longest time, and safety has always been an issue. Safety should always be the first thing a trucker focuses on. Ultimately, speed is indisputably one of the essential components of safety. Research reveals that semi-truck speeding increases the risk of accidents involving severe injuries and even death. For some regulators, the solution is obvious — mandate the installation of speed limiters on all qualifying commercial carrier vehicles. For others, though, this proposal represents an overstep of bounds by federal officials.

Truck Speed Debate

This debate has been renewed once again in light of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s announcement that it would pursue a 2016 measure proposing speed limiters. The effort is supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, too, as the agencies will collaborate to implement the new rule. Find out what you need to know about the progress of this initiative and how it could affect your daily operations.

Why Speed Limiters Are Back on the Table

Many truckers wonder why the FMCSA and NHTSA are revisiting a proposal that initially emerged almost six years ago. Indeed, the time-lapse would indicate that it’s not a significant priority for regulators, but this has seemingly changed. Several events may have prompted the shift, including an apparent increase in accidents involving semi-trucks and increased pressure to address rising road fatality rates.

Another example that has pushed this to the forefront is the tragic incident of a Colorado truck driver who was speeding at 85 MPH before causing an accident that took four lives. Many saw it as unjust when they sentenced him to 110 years in prison. It illuminates the genuine danger from truckers who fail to honor the truck speed limit. Speeding can very easily cost other drivers their lives.

Why Speed Limiters May Be Beneficial

Some people wonder why speed limiters are necessary or beneficial for truckers. There are indeed many benefits that speed limiter devices can provide. It’s not uncommon for truckers to develop a so-called “lead foot,” which tends to drive faster than intended. Cruise control can help prevent this, but there are many instances when it’s not advisable to use cruise control, including the following:

  • Slippery or wet conditions
  • You’re driving in a city area
  • There’s heavy traffic
  • The road is winding

These factors may make it challenging to maintain a low speed without cruise control. A speed limiter would eliminate the possibility of reaching unsafe speeds and ensure that truckers don’t inadvertently drive too fast.

Why Speed Limiters May Be Bad for Business

Though speed limiters offer some clear advantages, some truckers still argue that they will harm business and increase liability. This claim is related to a specific set of questions.

Why do trucks have a lower speed limit, and what speed are semi-trucks governed to? The answer to the first part of this inquiry is simple — trucks typically have a lower speed limit than other vehicles due to the weight of their cargo makes it more difficult to stop. Of course, the answer to the second part varies widely based on what state you’re in.

This inconsistency has led some truckers to argue that a speed limiter couldn’t possibly be effective. For example, if there is a speed limit of 85 MPH, a speed limiter device will need to adjust for this higher limit. Likewise, if you’re driving through an area with a speed limit of 70 MPH, a speed limiter is useless if it caps the speed at 85 MPH.

To be effective, a speed limiter must automatically adjust based on the area you are in. Some so-called intelligent speed limiter units may be able to do so. However, many highways have variable speed limits, making it difficult even for technologically advanced systems. These complications ultimately mean that implementing a speed limiter regulation may be costly to trucking companies and regulatory agencies. Thus, it only displays minimal real improvement in the safety of truckers’ driving habits.

How Speed Limiter Devices Work

There are several different speed limiters, but they generally work by detecting the speed of a vehicle indicated by its sensors. That data then goes to the vehicle’s computer, where an electronic engine control device — the speed limiter unit — is activated. It works by reducing the fuel output to the engine. Thus, it works to prevent the vehicle from increasing speed further. Critics of the proposed mandate have pointed out that

truckers can override this device by maintaining acceleration. Thus, the truck speed still accelerates.

What to Expect From the Proposed Regulation

Many truckers and trucking companies have responded receptively to the proposed regulation. However, others have been resistant. There are valid reasons for both positions. Alternatively, it’s essential to know what to expect no matter where you stand. Regardless of what the FMCSA and NHTSA ultimately rule, you should invest in high quality truck insurance.

The right truck insurance policy can help mitigate the cost associated with accidents and other liabilities. It is essential regardless of whether the truck speed is a factor. If regulators implement the speed limiter, truckers should prepare to comply with and maintain safe driving practices, just like you did before. Safety can save lives when you’re on the road. Consequently, you should be vigilant to avoid speeding even if there’s no speed limiter on your truck.

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!

How To Improve Your Trucking Business Profit Margins Part 1

Your trucking business profit margins often depend on a speedy, efficient, and cost-effective fleet to help you succeed. When supply chain delays or a national trucker shortage slows things down, how can businesses maintain profits — much less increase them?

Trucking Business Profit Margins

Trucking business profit margins are indeed delicate, but several steps can combat revenue instability. With more profit in your pocket, you’ll have the resources to expand further, growing your business even more! If you’re wondering how to make a more significant profit in your trucking business, consider the following tips for increasing trucking profits.

Find a Way to Cut Fuel Costs

One of the costliest expenditures facing trucking companies is gas. You may be wasting money if you’re paying full price for gas. There are plenty of ways trucking companies can save significant money on gas expenses. Your trucking business profit margins can depend on some simple steps. The easiest way to do this is to use fuel cards. Fuel cards allow companies to take advantage of discounts and other benefits to reward loyalty. These cards — also called fleet cards or business gas cards — can save a trucking company thousands of dollars every year if used to their full potential. Companies should look for a card that offers rewards such as cashback and fuel discounts.

Minimize Driver Time Spent Idling

Another primary source of waste — and cause of costs going up — is excessive driver time spent idling. When truck drivers allow their engine to idle for extended periods, it burns through gas far more quickly than most truckers realize. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, idling may be costing you half a gallon of gas per hour. This figure varies depending on the truck’s size, make, and model, but truckers must avoid idle time whenever possible. Contrary to popular belief, starting an engine typically does not use more fuel than idling. Save money by turning off your truck.

Always Plan the Most Efficient Routes

The Global Positioning System has revolutionized truck routing and allowed companies to plan the most efficient routes easily. You can even plan hands-free using a device loaded with routing software. Too many drivers deviate from the directions provided by these devices, though, and increase costs substantially in the process. Look for a routing application that helps you drive fewer miles to reach your destination, and most importantly, be sure that you follow its directions. In some cases, you may even be able to use your Electronic Logging Device (ELD) to optimize your route plan.

Invest in Fuel-Efficient Tires and Accessories

Tires can affect trucking business profit margins. Additionally, some drivers don’t realize that the tires and accessories on their trucks play a significant role in their fuel efficiency. Indeed, some types of tires specifically optimize the fuel efficiency of a truck. These tires typically also feature low resistance to rolling, which uses less energy while you are driving. It has no impact on the performance or speed of the truck, but it massively reduces the fuel usage required to operate the truck. In addition to choosing fuel-efficient tires, drivers should always perform regular maintenance on tires by ensuring that they inflate them properly. If drivers underinflate their tires, your fuel economy will likely suffer. Thus, it will reduce up to 10% in some cases.

Drive-In a Way That Saves Gas

Tires aren’t the only factor that can affect fuel economy. The way that you drive can have a significant impact, too. Most ELD systems track truckers’ driving habits, including habits such as the following:

  • Speeding
  • Sudden braking
  • Use of cruise control
  • Variations in speed
  • Excessive idling

These actions can contribute to the average fuel economy a driver achieves. Speeding, for example, will have an immediate detrimental impact on your gas mileage — as will sudden stops, inconsistent speed, and long periods spent idling. Cruise control can improve fuel efficiency. Truckers can review data collected by their ELD to understand better what driving behaviors contribute to ideal gas mileage.

Recognize the Most Expensive Liabilities

Many trucking companies overlook liabilities as a source of expenses, which can be a significant mistake. There are many disadvantages associated with trucking, and it’s the responsibility of every carrier to anticipate and mitigate these risks. Do this by investing in truck insurance. Truck insurance allows companies to invest in protection against the most common dangers that drivers encounter on the road. It helps with transporting cargo safely. Without the proper insurance, a single incident could wreak havoc.

Improve the Aerodynamics of Your Fleet

One overlooked strategy for improving profit margins is enhancing the aerodynamics of your truck. Some research suggests that installing accessories to reduce drag can save hundreds of gallons of gas per year. It is an impressive figure, and it illustrates just how vital aerodynamics are when it comes to a truck’s fuel economy. Accessories such as underbody side skirts can provide this effect. Invest in performance-improving alterations that can reduce drag, improve aerodynamic performance, and give your company’s profit margin the boost it needs.

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 to Do if Your Truck Breaks Down Mid-Journey

For truck drivers, there are few things more frustrating than going through a breakdown on the road, especially in the winter. What’s more, truck drivers operate on a tight schedule, having to drop off and pick up their cargo, and try to get back home for some much-needed personal and family time. So, any form of breakdown is a huge wrench in their day-to-day.

If a breakdown happens, truck drivers and their cargo are put in a vulnerable and dangerous position. Depending on where they are stranded, they could be open prey for wildlife and thieves, as well as miles away and hours away from receiving any help.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take in order to limit your exposure on the side of the road, get your truck back up and running, and get the right help on time so you can get back on the open road.

Getting in Contact

It’s important to contact dispatch to let them know your location and send help if you need it or give you quick-fix tips to get you back up and on the road temporarily. Common breakdowns are usually related to faulty sending units or emissions equipment, and both require shop repair.

Keep your dispatcher informed of your status throughout the repair process so they can relay information to the customer. The dispatcher will also be able to help out with any instructions on what to do to fix your truck as waiting and repair times may be lengthy.

Another point of contact to reach out to is your truck insurance carrier, like Western Truck Insurance. Western’s roadside assistance coverage is designed to help truck drivers with breakdown problems. This is an inexpensive service option that can help save you thousands of dollars. From towing to flat repair to getting a simple jump-start, Western Truck Insurance’s commercial roadside assistance is a surefire way to get back on the road.

Staying Safe During a Breakdown

Being broken down on the road can be extremely dangerous for a number of reasons. Drivers and their trucks are exposed to speeding traffic in close range among other risks. One distracted driver behind the wheel of any vehicle can create a major hazard.

If you’re broken down on the road, it’s important to stay alert and be aware of the danger that nearby traffic poses and try to stay in your vehicle as much as you can during your waiting time.

If you start to feel your truck fail, pull over on the next off-ramp is possible, which can be much safer than having to wait on the shoulder. If you have to pull over on the shoulder, go for the widest spot possible. Turn flasher on and remember to keep an eye on your mirrors to monitor the traffic coming from behind you. If you’re able to rather than a hard power turn to the side, ease off the road.

When you’ve parked the truck and it’s safe to exit, carefully get out of the truck and set up your flares behind the truck in intervals of fifty feet. It also doesn’t hurt to tilt your hood to indicate more clearly that you’ve broken down.

If you’re able to, try to determine what the issue is and whether or not you can repair it on your own or patch it up until you get it into a nearby location with service. If the problem is something electronic, it will probably mean you need professional assistance to get you back up and running.

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.

California and Other States Aim to Move to Zero-Emission Trucks

California is leading the charge to enhance public health and move forward more quickly with the transition to cleaner transportation. Along with seven other states, California is committing to develop a plan to put hundreds of thousands of zero-emission trucks and public buses on the road throughout the state.

The California Air Resources Board, in charge of coming up with the action plan, is in the beginning stages of meeting to come up with the particulars of how this can be accomplished. For now, the idea of encouraging cleaner driving opportunities is envisioned through a proposed Advanced Clean Trucks regulation that would establish sales and reporting requirements for zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles on the road.

It’s not clear whether or not trucking companies and owner-operators who drive traditional emissions trucks in the state will be hit with fines if they don’t fall under regulation. Regardless of this possibility, it’s important for trucking companies to make sure they keep their commercial truck insurance coverage in force and consider pollution insurance as it might relate to their operations.

Trucks are a major contributor to pollution in the country, and since California is a main artery for road-based trade between Mexico, Canada, and the rest of the United States, it’s no wonder something like this is picking up steam. And with the recent passage of the USMCA deal, which is set to enhance more trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, using California as a main thoroughfare to move commerce, the chance of cutting down on trucks on the road doesn’t look possible. So, the solution is to come up with ways to cut down on emissions.

States joining California in the regulations and efforts are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Vermont. The collaborative effort will also be put in motion and supported by the ZEV Task Force and facilitated by NESCAUM, or the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management. Together, all entities will look to identify and come up with solutions for cost, fueling infrastructure, and other challenges.

California has already invested nearly $1 billion in cap and trade processed into pilot projects to help accelerate the commercialization of zero- and near-zero trucks and buses. Companies like PepsiCo and FedEx are already on board, partnering with stakeholders in the initiatives.

The other states in the effort have offered up incentives for zero-emission freight trucks and transit buses, as well as school buses. Some states have already introduced electric shuttles for public transportation and allocated settlement funds from Volkswagen toward medium- and heavy-duty vehicle electrification.

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.