What Truckers Need to Know About Operation Safe Driver Week

Operation safe driver week is almost here, and it will be an informative event about commercial truck safety. Large trucks contributed to 107,000 crashes that resulted in injuries in 2020, with 4,842 deaths. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance created Operation Safe Driver Week to improve the driving behaviors of commercial and passenger vehicle drivers. The program accomplishes its goals through education, outreach, awareness, and interactions with law enforcement.

Safer drivers mean fewer worker injuries, lower costs for truck insurance, less vehicle downtime, a better reputation for your trucking operations, minor damage to client property, and more on-time deliveries. Participation in Operation Safe Driver Week benefits your driver’s health and bottom line. 

What To Know About Operation Safe Driver Week

This program presents both opportunities and risks for drivers. The more your drivers know, the better equipped they will be to take advantage of opportunities and avoid risks.

When Operation Safe Driver Week Takes Place

The 2022 event occurs July 10 through July 16 in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Drivers should prepare for more road law enforcement activity during this time.

Who the Operation Impacts

The operation impacts all drivers. Law enforcement will target unsafe driving practices by both commercial and passenger vehicle drivers during this time.

Behaviors Law Enforcement Will Target

Law enforcement officers will look for drivers engaging in risky behaviors, such as following too closely. Other dangerous factors include distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and changing lanes improperly. Additionally, there will be a particular focus on speeding. Instruct your drivers to be extra vigilant about driving the posted speed limit during this operation to avoid citations.

Increased Risk of Citations and Traffic Stops

Law enforcement officers stopped 17,910 passenger and 28,148 commercial vehicles during the 2021 operation. Likewise, they issued 16,863 citations and 10,486 warnings. Drivers should expect more traffic stops and plan potential delays into their schedules.

Purpose of Operation Safe Driver Week

The operation’s purpose is to increase roadways’ safety by reducing the number of crashes. Reduce risky behaviors to reduce dangerous situations.

Why the CVSA Launched the Program

Statistics show that the actions or inactions of drivers contribute to 94% of crashes. The CVSA launched this initiative because data indicates more interactions with law enforcement reduce risky driving behaviors. The 2022 program focuses on speeding because data shows that excess speed is a factor in over 25% of crash deaths and is the most common driver-related cause of crashes for both commercial and passenger vehicles. 

The program also targets other risky driving behaviors that frequently contribute to deaths and injuries on the roads, such as distracted driving, not wearing seatbelts, and driving under the influence. In 2019, distracted driving killed 3,142 people. 47% of the people who died in traffic accidents were not wearing seat belts, and drunk drivers caused crashes that killed 10,142 people. 

4 Tips for Improving Trucker Safety

Your drivers can avoid traffic citations, reduce truck insurance costs, and cause fewer accidents by engaging in safe driving practices:

Check Blind Spots

Drivers should check their mirrors every 8-10 seconds to see if any vehicles are in their blind spots. Scanning for about a quarter-mile will help drivers be aware of work zones, traffic congestion, and other hazards.

Proceed Through Wide Turns Cautiously

Larger trucks will usually have a wider turning radius than passenger vehicles. If a truck cuts a corner, it can result in property damage or cause an accident with another car. Passenger vehicle drivers may not always give commercial trucks the extra space to make turns. Drivers must be aware of this potential hazard.

Do Not Drive While Distracted

Driving while texting is illegal for commercial drivers and is a common cause of accidents. Additionally, drivers who use mobile phones should use hands-free devices. Drivers should avoid drinking, eating, operating a navigational device, or reading a map while driving. Likewise, they should not drive while feeling ill, exhausted, or using medications that cause drowsiness or dizziness.

Maintain a Safe Speed

Excess speed is the most common cause of accidents. Driving too fast is also likely to result in a citation during the operation. Drivers should obey posted speed limits and reduce speed when necessary due to the weight and size of the vehicle or the road conditions.

Safe driving behaviors benefit everyone involved in trucking operations. Encourage your team to drive safely not only during times of increased law enforcement but year-round.

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!

Fatality Wrecks with Big Rigs Up 13%

An accident is the worst possible outcome for a truck driver, and fatality wrecks are every trucker’s nightmare. Unfortunately, research reveals that big rig collisions that result in death have risen sharply in recent years. Specifically, the National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration reports that semi-truck fatality wrecks are up by 13%. This alarming statistic reveals the dire need for new safety measures, but with big-rig wrecks increasing in fatality numbers, it may not be clear where to start. Trucking companies can combat this deadly problem by understanding its root cause, identifying risk factors, and implementing more stringent safety standards.

Understanding the Cause of Increased Fatalities

Such a dramatic uptick in deaths would seemingly be attributable to a specific cause. It doesn’t seem to be the case, though, as experts blame different issues, and there’s no single clear culprit. Instead, a range of problems appears to be contributing to the topic. Trucking companies that want to fight against fatalities should start by understanding the following three possible causes of the increase.

National Trucker Shortage

When considering the reasons for the increase in fatalities, it’s impossible to overlook the nationwide shortage of truck drivers that occurred in the wake of COVID-19. Although there’s evidence to suggest that the shortage may end, its impact will undoubtedly continue to have consequences. The increase in enormous rig collision fatalities may be among these consequences. With fewer drivers available, many truckers faced an increased workload and intensified pressure to meet tight deadlines. Together, these factors may encourage unsafe behaviors such as speeding and sleepy driving.

Return to the Road

A shortage of truckers isn’t the only consequence of COVID-19. The pandemic also ushered in a widespread period of quarantine, during which many people stayed home instead of driving. Now, people are rushing at the opportunity to get back on the road. Thus, the sudden increase in traffic has also resulted in a sudden spike in deaths. It may be due to a deterioration of driving skills during the lockdown.

Inconsistent State Laws

Any interstate driver who travels through multiple states in a day may find it challenging to keep track of the speed limits and other standards as they can change regularly. To complicate matters further, some states have even raised their speed limits, which some reasonably interpret as disregarding roadways fatalities. It may encourage other motorists to engage in unsafe driving behaviors that increase the likelihood of collisions and fatalities.

Forming Solutions to Minimize Fatalities

How can trucking companies combat the problem? Likewise, truckers should understand the impact an accident can have on truck insurance rates. To save lives and keep truck insurance rates low, carriers should consider the following potential solutions.

Recruiting Safe Truck Drivers

Recruiting more truckers is important in lightening the load of those currently on the road. More importantly, though, trucking companies should focus on hiring truckers who can drive safely on the road. Promising predictors of driver safety include their civilian driving record and background check results.

Investing in Training Programs

Truck drivers need to complete training and onboarding that will familiarize them with the exceptional standards of your company. As you develop your training program, it’s essential to incorporate thorough coverage of safety protocol. It should include a discussion of your company’s safety principles, individual state traffic laws, and the variance in those laws.

Switching Priorities to Incentivize Safety

It’s essential, too, to ask what kind of behavior your company is incentivizing. If your company offers drivers bonuses for meeting tight deadlines, you may unintentionally incentivize unsafe driving behaviors. Conversely, if your company provides rewards for adherence to safety laws, you’re motivating drivers to follow the rules and drive with safety in mind.

Trucking Companies Can Save Lives With Safety

Trucking companies can play an important part in either encouraging or discouraging the unsafe driving behaviors that may cause these collisions. It should motivate every trucking company to recruit safe truckers, implement better safety training, and incentivize safe driving. Following these steps may be the best approach to lowering the truck accident fatality rate.

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 2

Many factors can influence a trucking company’s profit margins and what expenses they can afford on a daily basis. There are certain factors to consider, especially what truckers can control.

You can’t control the weather, the whims of a client, or a supply chain disruption — but you can manage your maintenance practices, recruiting methods, and cost management strategies. Still, it may seem like challenges outweigh advantages, and in times like these, how do trucking businesses make money?

Trucking Company’s Profit Margins 

Learn about effective strategies for improving trucking business profits and gaining control over your company’s bottom line. You can boost revenue with the right approach while enhancing your drivers’ work conditions and ensuring your clients are satisfied.

Invest in Preventative Maintenance

One of the best ways to mitigate expenses and predict costs is to invest in preventative maintenance for your fleet. Repairs and replacements are a common source of unexpected costs. It is especially true when a truck’s stranded on the side of the road. According to Fleet Equipment Magazine, the cost of such a repair is $407 on average, which represents an increase of 24% from prior years. Multiply this cost by the number of trucks in your fleet. Then, consider how frequently you have to perform impromptu repairs — and it’s clear how quickly the costs add up. Preventative maintenance such as monitoring fluids, checking tires, and replacing filters can go a long way in preventing unnecessary breakdowns, thus minimizing costs.

Improve Your Recruiting Methods

Another high cost for trucking companies is continuously recruiting, hiring, and training new drivers. The high departure and turnover rate impacting the industry enhances this. Despite this issue, some dedicated drivers want to put their skills to use, and they want to find a long-term employer just as much as you want to see long-term employees. Finding these candidates is a critical component of minimizing your company’s expenses. Thus, you may need to renovate your recruitment strategies. Rather than casting a too-wide net, you should focus on seeking out experienced truckers who bring professionalism and commitment to the table.

Monitor Your Cost Per Mile (CPM)

Cost per mile is one of the most important metrics for tracking your corporate expenses, but it’s a frequently overlooked number. This figure is imperative if you want to gain an accurate overview of just how much you spend in general operating costs. You can calculate it by assessing your fixed costs — costs such as commericial truck insurance premiums, staff wages, permits, and license — and adding these expenses to variables such as gas, maintenance, and unexpected repairs. Then find the total number of miles your fleet drives and divide the costs by this number. Determining your cumulative CPM is a great way to understand your company’s financial standing — and work to improve it.

Pursue New Contracts and New Clients

A trucking company’s profit margins can fluctuate, and based on their marketing strategy. Many trucking companies adopt a passive marketing strategy and wait for clients to find them. It’s true that eventually, new clients will seek out your services. However, it would help if you actively pursued new contracts and clients. You might have to hire new staff or expand your fleet to accommodate more business, but this is an excellent problem to have. You can start by looking for additional loads on load boards. It can introduce you to new partners who could eventually become long-term clients. You may also be able to scope out new business by looking at broker networks that connect truckers with high-paying transport opportunities.

Invest in Customer Satisfaction

The only figure more critical than your trucking company’s revenue is your company’s customer satisfaction rate. Do you have relationships with repeat clients who continuously hire your drivers — or are you reliant upon a steady stream of new customers who may or may not come back? If the latter sounds more familiar, there’s a good chance you need to work on your customer satisfaction skills. How happy your clients are directly correlated to how profitable your business is. You can boost both by actively seeking feedback from customers, asking what you can do better, and offering to resolve issues before they can escalate.

Explore All Sources for Funding

Even if you follow all of these tips, it’s possible to run into financial difficulties. The trucking industry can be a volatile business, but you can see big profits when you invest in your company. To weather a period of slow revenue, you should explore all funding sources. You might need to apply for a company credit card or seek a loan from a family member or friend. These options often aren’t ideal, but an extra boost of funding might give you the padding you need to overcome obstacles.

Invoice Your Clients Promptly

Finally, you must invoice your clients as soon as possible. Your truck insurance provider won’t wait for payment, so why should you? You have expenses to cover and drivers to pay. Don’t allow clients to interrupt your revenue by waiting to pay. If you encounter a client who doesn’t pay promptly, it’s essential to handle the situation with patience. Rather than reacting with anger, you should extend understanding and provide them with various options to submit payment.

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!

Trucker Work Environment & Sustainability Initiatives for 2022 (Part 1)

Trucker work environment and sustainability initiatives are on the table, and the industry is adapting in 2022. Many industries have faced pressure to improve sustainability, reduce carbon emissions, and adopt eco-friendly practices in the last few decades. Likewise, the trucking industry is no exception, and there’s been increased scrutiny directed toward its role in climate change. Indeed, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the freight industry majorly contributes to issues such as smog, reduced air quality, and pollution.

Trucker Work Environment & Sustainability Initiatives for 2022

It has led many trucking companies to promote sustainability within their company culture. Likewise, a healthy work environment and better environmental practices go hand in hand. The trucker work environment and sustainability initiatives for 2022 will set the precedent for how the industry conducts business going forward.

Improving Work Conditions for Truckers

What are the first steps toward setting beneficial trucker work environment and sustainability initiatives? Let’s start with sustainability and what that entails. Sustainability isn’t just about the environment. Additionally, it’s about truckers, too, and their ability to drive safely. Many trucking companies have realized that efforts to improve environmental impact are more successful when drivers enjoy better working conditions. Thus, it’s no surprise that employers are pouring effort into this endeavor. It includes initiatives to improve driving conditions and offer truckers the resources to succeed.

The link between sustainability and working conditions has become clear in recent years as truckers who enjoy better pay and benefits are typically healthier and more invested in their jobs. It, in turn, motivates drivers to engage with initiatives to improve their companies’ sustainability and work to mitigate environmental impact.

There are many ways that trucking companies can improve the working conditions experienced by drivers. In addition to offering competitive compensation packages, freight providers have launched initiatives such as the following:

  • Better routes with shorter daily hours
  • Mandated rest to prevent fatigue
  • On-demand healthcare services
  • Mental health care and counseling

These improvements can go a long way in establishing a supportive culture that serves as the foundation of sustainability efforts. With a fleet of happier and healthier truckers, companies can begin making strides toward environmentally-conscious practices with the full support of drivers to ensure these efforts take root. In addition to implementing sustainable practices, trucking companies should invest in truck insurance. A comprehensive truck insurance policy can shield a company from many of the common liabilities in the trucking industry.

Cultivating a Culture of Sustainability

With the foundation provided by a positive work environment, trucking companies can build sustainable practices that reduce environmental impact and improve business outcomes. Cultivating a culture that values the environment and seeks out innovation is key to minimizing the effects of air pollution from the trucking industry. Achieving a major cultural shift isn’t a simple task, and it requires cooperation from every sector of a trucking company.

Sustainability initiatives should start with assessing the most harmful practices to the environment. One of the most troublesome tasks negatively impacting sustainability is so-called “deadheading,” Truckers drive an empty trailer between destinations after unloading cargo. This practice was previously a common solution when no additional cargo was available at the time of delivery, but its dangers have become apparent. In addition to the unnecessary expenditure of fuel and emission of air pollutants, this practice poses a considerable risk if a collision were to occur. An empty trailer increases the likelihood of fuel spillage, which can create a massive environmental cleanup crisis.

Trucking companies can move towards a culture of sustainability by eliminating practices like “deadheading” and improving overall operational efficiency. It isn’t just beneficial to the environment — it’s advantageous to a trucking company’s bottom line. Inefficient practices often harm the environment and cause fiscal waste, but implementing sustainable strategies can mitigate the problem.

Investing in Eco-Friendly Technology

The need for sustainable policies in the trucking industry is clear, but what do those policies look like in practice? In addition to eliminating inefficient operational standards, trucking companies can invest in eco-friendly innovations that can radically improve the industry’s overall sustainability. Luckily, there are many of these innovations on the horizon, offering hope that truckers will minimize the environmental impact of their work.

One such innovation, automatic start-stop functions that reduce idle time, allows truckers to put fuel conservation on autopilot. This tool works by keeping the engine warm and batteries charged while the motor seems off. It massively cuts down on unnecessary fuel costs and minimizes the release of air pollutants produced by idling. This technology is becoming increasingly popular throughout the trucking industry, and if it becomes widespread, it could reduce air pollution substantially.

Technology to improve aerodynamic drag is another promising innovation that may make trucking more sustainable. Some of the accessories that can achieve this include the following:

  • Bug deflectors
  • Varying tire sizing
  • Cargo nets
  • Tonneau covers
  • Non-standard bumpers
  • Raised tailgates

Improving aerodynamic performance can improve fuel efficiency, which can minimize air pollution. It can also shorten the drive time to your destination.

Building Better Practices for Truckers

Trucking is a difficult job, but many strategies can make it easier and better for the environment. It all starts with ensuring that drivers have access to the tools they need to be healthy. Trucking companies can achieve this by improving the work conditions of their drivers and implementing sustainable technology to mitigate environmental impact. When used in tandem, these initiatives can revolutionize the trucking industry and reduce air pollution in the process.

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!

Caltrans Freight Mobility Plan Trucking Initiatives

Caltrans, California’s Department of Transportation, recently released its Freight Mobility Plan detailing it’s short- and long-term policies, strategies, and investments. The main focus of the Freight Mobility Plan points to the trucking industry, including parking, truck-only lanes, tolling, and the rise of autonomous trucking.

The trucking industry fuels the state’s economy and is in the middle of a five-percent economic growth. Even with COVID-19 spreading throughout the United States this spring before heavily impacting California this summer in the pandemic’s second wave, the California trucking industry has been operating an increased capacity. If anything, truck drivers have had more opportunities to get on the road and deliver much-needed goods to grocery stores and healthcare organizations.

The California Freight Mobility Plan highlights seven main goals. They include:

  • Economic prosperity
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Healthy communities
  • Safety and resiliency
  • Asset management
  • Connectivity and accessibility
  • Multimodal mobility

Let’s break down some of these goals for a better understanding of what Caltrans is trying to achieve.

Multimodal Mobility

Multimodal mobility focuses on maintaining, enhancing, and modernizing the multimodal freight transportation system by updating and improving network efficiency in the trucking industry. The plan calls for a study dedicated to truck-only lanes and includes a possible truck-only toll or truck bypass lanes.

If California chooses to use a truck-only toll lane, it will use the funds for infrastructure overhaul and mass transit systems.

Environmental Stewardship
Another target goal in the Freight Mobility Plan is to support strategies that minimize or mitigate environmental impacts from the trucking industry. The plan suggests a strong parking pricing program in denser areas to limit competition for curbside commercial freight parking. The goal highlights a reduction in truck vehicle miles traveled and emissions generated by looking for parking.

Safety & Resiliency
California’s highways and byways have been plagued with infrastructure issues for decades. From potholes to obstructions, the state’s roads are in significant need of repair as they have led to many trucking accidents and safety concerns. In the past decade, California has averaged more than 250 truck accident fatalities per year, underscored by the fact that the national average has continued to increase year over year.

While this has put a new emphasis on the need for trucking companies to invest in comprehensive Trucking insurance, it also points out the need for better roads and better safety measures, including parking.

Again, truck parking is addressed in this section. Rather than call out the need for more studies, Caltrans wants to execute the recommendation from the state’s 2020-2021 Parking Study and expand existing parking facilities solely meant for trucking.

Keeping Healthy Communities in Mind
The Freight Mobility Plan also looks at enhancing the overall health of the communities the trucking industry is most engaged in. The goal is defined as improving community health and well-being by reducing the negative impacts of the freight and supply chain movement across the state’s highways and surrounding communities.

One way this may end up affecting truck drivers is by losing specific routes. The plan suggests diverting trucking traffic from heavily used routes to alternative ones that are further removed from neighborhoods.

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-FMCSA Updates to Drug Screening

On June 5, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a Grant of Waiver regarding drug screening for truckers. This was done in response to furloughed truck drivers who found themselves out of work due to the coronavirus’s spread, which caused significant disruption to the industry and the employees it served.

As trucking employers begin to recall drivers who were laid off or otherwise not working for the company for more than 30 days, the cost and logistical barriers of testing many truck drivers in a short window of time are high FMCSA explained. This comes at a time when the trucking industry is facing economic challenges like never before.

This problem is further complicated by the reduced availability of controlled substances testing resources due to facility closures that continue to occur on account of the spread of COVID-19.

Granting an Extension

The FMCSA also noted that the waiver would extend from 30 days to 90 days, a period of time which drivers would qualify for the pre-employment testing exception currently held under 49 CFR 382.301(b). This would help employers out by allowing drivers to forego pre-employment testing who have participated in a controlled substance testing program that meets the requirements of 49 CFR within the previous 90 days of hire.

Allowing employers to push back pre-employment drug testing for drivers who were already tested within the previous 90 days will let employers see relief in the administrative burdens and costs related to administering tests. In turn, trucking companies can allow their drivers to get back on the road in a shorter time, thus promoting job growth and economic progress.

Moving Forward

The FMCSA’s waiver clarifies that it doesn’t change any of the remaining controlled substance and alcohol use testing requirements for a truck driver who performs safety-sensitive functions. Additionally, the motor carrier employers subject to the FMCSA waiver have instant and free access to driver-specific drug and alcohol violation information through the FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse.

The waiver applies to both re-hires and new hires as long as they were in a program in the past 90 days. This is a reasonable response to the pandemic still making its way through the United States, affecting the commercial trucking industry, and the subsequent return to work process the country is experiencing.

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!

AB-5 Legislation Update

The state of California has asked a federal court to begin lifting the preliminary junction against imposing AB-5 on the state’s trucking industry. The requests to the Court of Appeals for the state’s 9th Circuit is part of the appeal of the attempt by the California Trucking Association (CTA) to be granted an injunction against the position that AB-5 has put the trucking industry in.

The state’s AB-5 Legislation has been a topic of controversy for over a year now. What it does is move 2018’s Dynamex California Supreme Court decision into law, which established an ABC test to determine the status of an independent contractor that could essentially eliminate the owner-operator model in California, and disrupting everything from investing in commercial truck insurance, such as general liability insurance, and the sharing economy.

According to the appeal by the attorney general’s office, the law set in place by the FAA in the early 90s “preempts state and local regulation that has a significant effect on the prices, routes or services of motor carriers.” This has been the position of the CTA as well and a case they have been trying to make since AB-5 began picking up steam last year.

The state’s appeal is mostly looking at the prices, routes, and services, as mentioned above, in the preliminary injunction. The state cited legal precedents that it said should be looked at as meaning that state labor regulations are not preempted by the Federal Aviation’s act.

Independent Contractors and Trucking Companies

If the argument that AB-5 doesn’t entirely ban the hiring of independent contractors as truck drivers by a company, the state’s argument stays focused on prices, routes, and services. The test brought on by AB-5, the ABC test, and the earlier standard used to decide if someone is a full-time employee or a contractor do not define the rights or benefits that a trucking carrier has to provide its drivers.

The state went on to argue that the decision to grant the injunction then offers no “substantive analysis on what impact labeling motor carriers’ drivers to be ‘employees’ will have on prices, routes, and services”. The state argues that what might be seen as a hurried nature of the CTA action is reason enough to overturn the injunction.

The state’s filing says the ABC test became a reality for trucking companies and their drivers with the Dynamex decision, which was put into place in April of 2018. However, the injunction wasn’t put into motion until December of 2019, plenty of time for the plaintiffs to seek injunctive relief during that time period.

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!

Judge Blocks AB5 from California Trucking

For those working as independent contractors in California, a lot of news has been swirling around in regards to their worker classification with their clients. From graphic designers to business consultants, a lot of professionals have had to rethink the way they operate under the new AB5 regulation passed at the end of 2019.

But quite possibly the biggest industry impacted by the new bill is the trucking industry, which is literally driven by independent trucking professionals who take one-off jobs delivering payloads from one destination to the next throughout the state. And since California’s economy is fueled by trade and commerce trucked along its highways, AB5 brought plenty of controversy with it.

Now, trucking companies and professionals in the industry can breathe a little easier as a federal judge has extended a temporary restraining order keeping officials from enforcing the terms of AB5.

Truckers Find Support

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez listened to arguments but didn’t issue a full decision in regards to how AB5 will impact those in the industry. Instead, Benitez extended the temporary restraining order that was put in motion on December 31 and will be in effect until he makes a full-on decision on the preliminary injunction, which could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Some who oppose AB5 say it unfairly hinders trucking professionals and the companies they work for, affecting everything from tax classification to benefits to commercial truck insurance. Some go even further, pointing out that it may have major constitutional issues in terms of how it impacts goods moved not only throughout California but the entire country.

The ABCs of AB5

The California Trucking Association filed a lawsuit challenging AB5 back in November. The new law put into motion a strict ABC test in order to determine the validity of independent contractors and their relationships with clients, such as trucking companies who hire out truckers. One of the requirements prohibited companies from using independent contractors unless the worker was performing work outside the usual course of the hiring company’s business.

CTA stated that AB5 is preempted by the commerce clauses in the U.S. Constitution and comes in conflict with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act as well as the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994, which bans states from enacting laws that have an effect on a motor carrier’s prices or services.

However, while this may be a small victory for trucking professionals and organizations like the CTA, the state government is making efforts to enforce AB5. Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2020 budget includes $20 million in additional funding to make sure AB5 is enforced.

But Newsom and other lawmakers are fighting adversity on multiple fronts as the Western States Trucking Association also filed a complementary suit focused on Ab5 and how it treats motor carriers that provide trucking services. And creative professionals, including freelance writers and photographers, filed their own suit in December, alleging that the new bill restricts the media.

And in a state where technology is not only born (i.e. Silicon Valley startup culture) but fuels the economy, it’s no surprise that app-based tech companies such as Uber and Postmates, which run on the efforts of independent contractors, have filed a similar suit of their own.

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 Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is Now in Play: What to Know

Beginning Monday, January 6, the federal government has begun overseeing how fleets perform background checks on prospective employees and owner-operators within the trucking industry. Under the banner of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a database of drivers who have failed or refused a drug test at some point in their job search in the industry will be stored and curated. 

Fleets of all sizes will be required to input this information into the database for all new driver hires as well as on a yearly basis for existing drivers.

The Clearinghouse was set up to help trucking companies be safe from hiring employees who have been hit with fines and violations in the past related to drug and alcohol offenses. While having resources to tap into, such as commercial truck insurance to provide the funds needed for legal coverage and settlements, is important, it’s even more important to avoid major fees and violations by staying true to the law at hand.

If trucking companies violate these terms and regulations, it can spell major legal trouble for them as well as reputationally.

Here’s a better look at what to expect from the new Clearinghouse requirements.

Current Requirements

Fleets currently are required to call prospective drivers’ prior fleets in order to perform thorough background checks. The fleets are required by law to perform this contact to inquire about failed drug tests. However, there have been some discrepancies in the past that have left the door open for drivers with checkered pasts to get back behind the wheel and possibly cause more trouble.

Fleets can skip over making this kind of inquiry and not be held accountable. What’s more, a prior employer might not provide truthful information regarding the driver in question.

Beginning on January 6, information on drivers will be available, showing drivers who have been cited for violating alcohol laws specific to trucking. There will also be information and resources available on whether a driver has completed the correct return-to-duty process after a positive drug test.

One-Truck Contractors

Independent owner-operators have always been required to participate in a drug-testing program or another third-party administrator program. With the new Clearinghouse rules, these operators will need to register as a company instead, and need to designate a consortium to handle the annual queries required by all CDL holders.

Drug testers will be responsible for inputting any positive drug tests into the new system.

Leased Owner-Operators

These professionals will need to create a clearinghouse account, although it’s not required. But any truck driver will need an account to switch between fleets due to the new fleet needing to inquire about that record specifically. Having an account will help the driver ensure there’s no mistakes or inaccurate information on their record.

When switching between carriers, leased owner-operators will need to authorize fleets to run a query on their CDL within the clearinghouse database.

Small-Fleet

Full compliance with clearinghouse regulations is mandatory, no matter the size of the fleet. Even small, two-truck fleets will have to comply by performing a full query on every new driver. Small fleets will have to register as an employer in the database and purchase queries at $1.25 apiece. These small carriers can take care of the administrative duties either in-house or through third-party outsourced drug screenings.

By the beginning of the new rules on January 6, fleet policies must post that any positive drug tests, refusals, and alcohol violations will be submitted into the clearinghouse database.

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.