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!

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!

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 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!

Trucking by the Numbers: Cargo Theft, Operational Costs, and More

The trucking industry has seen a seismic change in everything from day-to-day operations, technology, and operational costs, causing operators in the industry to have to review their goals, needs, and finances. With a new year upon us, it’s important to look at the outlook of the industry and see how companies need to adjust heading into a new year and new quarter.

Here’s a closer look at the trucking industry and how everything is stacking up.

Operational Costs

According to ATRI’s newest Ops Costs report, operational costs in the trucking industry haven’t changed too much from the prior year. The average marginal cost per mile incurred by motor carriers in 2018 increased by a 7.7-percent mark to $1.82. Costs rose in every cost center, save for tires, with fuel costs experiencing the highest year-over-year growth at 17.7 percent.

In the truck insurance industry, insurance costs saw the second-fastest yearly growth at 12 percent. But even with this increase, trucking companies are needing to fit this expense in their monthly budgets to protect against costly claims on the road or to even protect them from roadside incidents, such as accidents or lost or stolen merchandise.

Repair and maintenance costs have increased by 24 percent since 2012, hovering around 17 cents per mile, even with an increase in sales of new trucks and trailers. Altogether, motor carrier operational costs have jumped up by more than 11.6 percent.

Roadway Incidents and Deadly Jobs

Transportation incidents have continued to rise in the industry, representing the most common fatal workplace injury. Roadway incidents involving motorized vehicles are the leading fatal cause, followed by pedestrian vehicular incidents. Increased efforts in the industry are in motion to provide drivers with the tools to drive defensively even with a higher rate of traffic congestion.

In 2018, the industry saw a two-percent increase from 2017 in fatal work injuries in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The fatal work injury rate remained the same at 3.5 per 100,000 full-time workers. Truck drivers had the most fatalities of any broad occupation group in 2018, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had the second-most fatalities.

Cargo Theft

The holidays have just passed, and numbers out of the season in terms of cargo theft are expected to be high, as usual. The Christmas season is usually the busiest time of year when it comes to cargo theft, and with a rise in e-commerce causing more trucks to be on the road, it’s no secret that cargo theft is something to be concerned about at a growing rate.

It’s estimated that about two thefts take place every day during the holiday shopping season, a 20-percent increase compared to the remainder of the year with electronics being the main target.

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.

Federal Independent Contractor Model Up for Further Debate in Congress

With the air of the recently passed AB5 hanging over California like a smog, and with executives from ride-sharing tech giants Uber and Lyft failing to appear at a Congressional hearing over lax safety oversight, lawmakers are turning their focus to independent contractor classification in the country.

Debates in Congress have been spurred on by regulations out west in California where legislation was passed by the State Assembly in May and the state Senate in September, outlining a way to determine the work status of independent contractors, such as truck drivers or ride-sharing drivers.

The hearing, which was overseen by the Highways and Transit subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee in October, honed in on the need for driver background checks for transportation network companies. This has all happened in the wake of homicides and assaults committed by people posing as ride-sharing drivers.

“It’s hard to imagine that Uber and Lyft didn’t actually show up here today – it’s really disrespectful to the committee and a bad play on their part,” said Thomas Suozzi (D-New York).

The Democrat from New York and his Republican colleague from New Jersey, Chris Smith, threw their support of laws requiring enhanced vehicle identification to make it more difficult to impersonate an actual ride-sharing driver.

Beyond addressing public safety issues surrounding independent contractors, whether in ride-sharing or trucking, Congressional members also debated the topic of worker classification, a big issue coming out of California, as mentioned above. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2020, and will lower the threshold in California for classifying a worker as an employee. This is projected to have major cost implications for everyone from ride-sharing companies to freight companies who hire truck drivers on a daily basis.

Certain Congressional members have shown support for the AB5 legislation, detailing its goal of identifying the difference between independent and permanent employees. This will surely have freight companies rethink the way they hire employees and classify them in their truck insurance options. This issue is gaining attention for its effects on Uber and Lyft in a state where ride-sharing arguably got its start or at least its growth.

The debate around whether or not to elevate stricter tests on independent contractor status outside of California, using the state as a jumping-off point, was also brought up with Republicans on the Hill shooting it down and Democrats wanting to push it along.

“I don’t necessarily think that this committee should blindly follow the state of California,” said Pete Stauber (R-Minnesota). My state is much different than the state of California. It’s much more rural, and I think we have to have a broader look at this issue the transportation network companies, and how we can serve not only urban but rural communities.”

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.

Ways to Improve Your Fleet

Managing a trucking fleet comes with a host of challenges for owners and individuals in the industry. From evolving technology to changes in legislation from state to state, trucking fleets have more than just the day-to-day to take care of.

There is a major amount of pressure that comes with maintaining a successful and efficient fleet. A fleet manager is responsible for purchasing vehicles, driver management, record keeping, and vehicle maintenance, among other things. While this can be a grind, there are a number of things that can be done to enhance the efficiency of a fleet.

Here are some things to consider when looking for ways to improve your fleet.

1. Insurance

First, it’s always important to make sure your fleet is running under the right truck insurance coverage. Having coverage such as truck liability policy and physical damage will keep your fleet covered during the time of a claim. Truck insurance is the first step to ensuring your company, employees, finances, and daily operations are protected moving forward. Not having insurance will open you up to major financial and reputational losses that could have devastating consequences.

2. Maintenance Strategy

Fleet managers need to be sure to strategize and create plans to make sure their vehicles are running in excellent condition. Larger truck fleets carry their own in-house service centers for maintenance to be conducted on a regular basis on their premises. If your fleet is a smaller business, it is more practical to hire out a company to keep your trucks serviced. No matter who’s taking care of your trucks, it’s important to get them taken care of on a regular schedule to keep efficiency up.

3. Manage Your Drivers Effectively

Fleet managers need to be able to communicate with their drivers effectively. Communication in the trucking industry is crucial for any fleet. Truck drivers need to be able to reach out to their managers easily and the flow of information needs to remain open and efficient. One way this is being done is by installing electronic logging devices (ELD’s) that monitor driver behavior; tracking if a driver is frequently speeding or breaking excessively.

Through ELD’s and regular communication with drivers, fleet managers can keep everything running smoothly.

4. Evaluate Your Assets

Fleet managers and vehicle technicians should be aware of the status of their assets. Beyond knowing your vehicle’s conditions and current service parts inventory levels, it’s also crucial to completely have a grasp on how every vehicle is used as well as how its components work. For this, it’s important to evaluate your fleet’s assets on a regular periodic basis, which can help you make adjustments to current business demands.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Servicesis 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.