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.

Beefing Up Security at Your Warehouse or Terminal

Cargo theft is big business and happens everywhere throughout the supply chain – including on trucks, warehouses, terminals, and storage facilities. In 2021, there were 1,285 thefts reported with a total loss value of nearly $58 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to a report by Verisk’s CargoNet, which keeps track of cargo thefts. Data from CargoNet also shows cargo theft losses soared to $19 million in the first quarter of 2022 – a 73% increase over the same period in 2021.

The top targeted commodity stolen? You guessed it – electronics (computers and accessories) – followed by household goods and food. 

California takes the lead in reported cargo thefts, followed by Texas and Florida. 

Warehouses, Terminals Increasingly Targeted by Criminals

While cargo thefts continue to occur in transit and at truck stops, there has been a spike in thefts at warehouses and storage facilities, according to separate reports by Verisk and BSI Supply Chain Services and Solutions, a global provider of supply chain intelligence. The spike in part can be attributed to supply-chain congestion, where trailers are sitting idly at a terminal waiting to be picked up, or cargo is temporarily being stored at the warehouse before delivery. 

Who is responsible for the theft of cargo? Your trucking firm, of course, is responsible for the loss if the theft occurred at the terminal or your warehouse. And, without the right insurance coverage, you would have to cover the loss out of pocket.

As we discussed in an earlier article, Motor Truck Cargo insurance won’t cover theft unless your premises location is added to the policy. You need to know your exposure at the terminal or warehouse and ensure your policy is written to address your risk. You also need to know the window in which coverage is available in the event of a loss and any policy exclusions. Go over all of these details with your insurance broker. 

Help Stop Cargo Thefts

Beyond having coverage to step up in the event of cargo theft at your warehouse or terminal, nothing beats having robust security in place to help stop criminals in their tracks. What type of security should you make sure is in place? Here are some reminders:

  • Implement layered security. This starts with your people. This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you run background checks on all drivers and new employees.
  • Educate your staff on your security processes and protocols. And ensure everyone follows them. 
  • See if the processes and protocols work by performing some surprise checks. Fix what’s broken. 
  • Conduct regular internal audits, reviewing all records and looking for anything fishy.
  • If possible, reduce cargo resting time at warehouses. 
  • Install special locks for the cargo and invest in a tracking system to keep tabs on it.
  • Install security cameras or remote video surveillance at your location. Cameras can watch over the cargo, parking areas, trucks, and loading docks and inside the facility. 
  • Consider securing the perimeter of the warehouse with guards as an extra layer of deterrent.

Again, we can’t stress this enough: ensure your cargo is properly insured, whether in transit or at your warehouse or terminal. 

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.

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!

When You Need Commercial Equipment Insurance

Commercial equipment insurance is also known as contractors equipment insurance. It pays for theft or damage to contractors’ tools and equipment.

Commercial and residential property owners who own or lease equipment for construction projects need commercial equipment insurance.

A typical commercial equipment policy covers hand tools, power tools, and construction-related vehicles. Mobile items such as forklifts, backhoes, tools, padding, dollies, etc., are covered under a commercial equipment policy. The policy’s protection can extend beyond a contractor’s equipment to include employees’ tools, clothing, and borrowed equipment. Depending on the policy details, additional gear, including mobile offices and trailers, may also be included in the coverage or can be added at a later date.

Commercial Equipment Is Different from Commercial Property Insurance

It’s essential to know a commercial equipment policy is similar but different  in its coverage from standard commercial property insurance. For example, commercial property policies exclude coverage for contractors’ tools, which creates the need for commercial equipment insurance.

The conditions and needs for coverage of contractors’ equipment are varied and unique, which requires a specific and separate underwriting process than in a standard commercial property policy. Understanding these differences is why using a brokerage like Western Truck Insurance who are dedicated to your business model is advantageous to your business and bottom line.

Commercial equipment policies typically  cover:

Forklifts,  pallet jacks,  various handtools, freight packaging protections

Construction machinery like backhoes, graders,  dozers and conveyor systems.

The coverage may also include :

  • Total Loss due to theft or fire.

Theft-deterrent devices that prevent the unauthorized use of covered equipment.

  • Loss control services such as locksmiths and security guards.
  • Replacement cost coverage.
  • Coverage for replacement parts and labor costs for repairs.
  • A deductible for each item of covered equipment.

Western Truck Insurance is here to help you determine how to protect your business loss exposures. However, we know getting the right coverage is essential to you, which can be unclear because insurance policies use many similar terms to describe similar coverages.

 Western Truck Insurance Solutions

Our mission is to provide comprehensive coverage at competitive rates, including commercial property and commercial equipment insurance and other appropriate trucking business insurance policies.

Western Truck Insurance operates to the highest ethical standards. It seeks to earn your trust with clear communication and full disclosure, sharing and receiving helpful information, and maintaining a genuine interest in your concerns.

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!

 

The Significance of Trucking Bonds

Trucking bonds are essential tools motor carriers and shippers need to safeguard against potential risks associated with transporting goods. As such, they play a critical role in the trucking industry. Any business that uses trucks to transport goods or provide services needs trucking bonds to finance operations safely.

Trucking bonds provide a guaranteed third-party assurance that truckers will perform the service, deliver the goods or repay their obligations. When a claimant demands payment against your bond, the insurer attempts to have you reimburse legitimate claims and will pay off if you fail to comply. However, since bonds operate like a loan, you need to understand that it takes a good business reputation and solid credit to obtain them.

How Trucking Bonds Impact Your Business

Trucking bonds safeguard your business and finances while boosting your company’s reputation because they support your business and help you fulfill contractual obligations. Remember, other than your collections and credit score, delivering as promised is the key to lowering the costs of your trucking bonds and maintaining a good standing with government regulators.

Types of Trucking Bonds

Business operations determine the type of trucking bonds you need. Among various trucking bonds, these are the most popular types:

Freight Broker Bond

US Customs Bond

Fuel Tax License Bond

COD Delivery Bond

What Is a Freight Broker Bond?

A freight broker bond provides a guarantee that motor carrier truckers contracted by the freight broker will be paid by the broker. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a $75,000 surety bond in order to be a licensed Freight Broker of Property. The bonds ensure brokers follow through on their contracts with shippers and carriers.

Freight Broker Bonds are also known as:

  • BMC-84 surety bond. This is the FMCSA required form.
  • Trucking surety bond.
  • Transportation broker surety bond.

When Do Truckers Need a US Customs Bond?

A trucker may apply for, and receive, permission to transport imported goods that have not yet cleared Customs.  This is typical when the transportation involves container freight from the Port.  The bond is required by US Customs, as a guarantee of payment to US Customs,  in the event that fines and penalties are imposed due to the trucker not following the required protocol in the transportation.  Transportation of In-Bond freight, prior to Customs clearance is necessary to keep the freight moving off the ships and into bonded warehouses.

What Is a Fuel Tax License Bond?

Truckers that travel out of state are required to pay their share of taxes for the use of the highways in each state.  Ultimately, those taxes are generally collected based upon the mileage and fuel used in the state.  Most of these taxes are handled by the IRP registration process but there are some states, and circumstances, where the state will require the trucker post a bond for that state’s taxes.  Oregon is one such state. This bond is usually for a very small amount ($2500), is very easy to obtain, and cost very little.

What Is a COD Delivery Bond?

Collect on Delivery bonds assure the faithful remittance of sums collected by the Trucker for  deliveries requiring cash payment. Subsequently, the Trucker receives cash for the delivery and then must pay the shipper the amount they collected. This bond guarantees that the Trucker will pay the shipper.

Western Truck Insurance has a 30-year history of delivering top-notch coverage for commercial vehicle owners and drivers. We respect your business’s importance to your family, employees, and clients. Our mission is to safeguard you and your business with the best protection and competitive rates. Our staff uses our industry expertise and independent agent status to shop the marketplace to find affordable, comprehensive coverage for your trucking bonds and insurance needs.

 

Why Investing in Dump Truck Insurance Can Be Good

Owning a dump truck can provide great benefits, as well as significant challenges when determining usability and safety. Significant investments in United States infrastructure continue to drive demand for dump trucks and their operations, with Grandview Research noting an 8.6% potential growth. Without a doubt, it’s an excellent time to be in or enter the dump truck industry.

Dump Truck Necessities

Many owners question the need for and the specific details of Dump Truck Insurance. This seemingly unessential item becomes essential by offering needed, and required, protection. Invest, but do so wisely, understanding which insurance policies work best for your operation.

What Kind of Insurance To Get for a Dump Truck?

Accidents happen, even when people work carefully. Dump truck drivers operate under various conditions, navigating challenging terrain and carrying heavy loads. Furthermore, most work occurs within construction sites and high-risk locations because of the tasks, equipment, and area. Liability Insurance is a minimum requirement to operate.

In addition, finding dump truck insurance may prove challenging, with many insurers choosing not to provide any coverage for those operations; therefore, search for insurance brokers that specialize in your industry. Their knowledgeable agents work to tailor a plan to your design. Expect them to ask about the following details:

  • Current and previous driver records
  • Fleet size
  • Fleet models and age
  • Typical jobs

With this information, agents can determine specific risks and customize policies to address issues including physical damage. In addition, by evaluating your fleet’s age and condition, they can determine a reliable amount of protection.

Dump Truck Considerations

Dump trucks’ high center of gravity makes them prone to topples. Drivers lift the load and are ready to release; however, as the back goes up, the truck itself may lean to one side. For instance, in 2018, the United States Department of Transportation reported 383 fatalities, 5,829 injury crashes, and 8,881 towaway incidents involving dump trucks within the United States. These events totaled approximately 8% of significant truck accidents that year.

Without good insurance coverage, operators face costs of repair and loss on their own. These bills add up quickly and cost upwards of thousands of dollars. Owners must consider what they would do if they lost a vehicle or faced an injury lawsuit. Financing remains critical to repairing or replacing vehicles and returning to jobs with little downtime or loss.

Construction continues to boom, and the industry needs dump truck operators. Build your company today and protect it from future issues. After all, mistakes shouldn’t hit you hard; they shouldn’t cripple the work you’ve created. Invest in Dump Truck Insurance to alleviate the strain of claims and provide a safeguard for the unexpected.

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 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!

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!