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Entries related to: operations

Trucking Safety 101: Back to Basics

In the frenzied pace of motor carrier operations, it is easy to get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of fundamentals. For any business, three key elements are crucial to success: communication, teamwork, and planning. Revisiting each of these elements periodically is healthy for the entire organization and can help the company achieve its objectives. However, one area that motor carriers tend to ignore in varying degrees is safety. In the Spring 2019 issue of Safety Talk, we discussed how practical drift, an employee’s gradual deviation from established policies and procedures, can erode the effectiveness of a company’s safety efforts, and if allowed to continue unchecked, can negatively define the company’s culture. Senior management at a trucking company can contribute to this erosion as well. Here is an example: A motor carrier may become complacent or resistant to change because it hasn’t recently experienced a crash or injury. Management then adopts a mentality of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This type of mentality introduces risk into what may otherwise be a healthy organization. If management cannot attribute the company’s success to effective loss-prevention practices, it is essentially saying pure luck is responsible for the company’s performance. Regardless of past loss performance, no company can afford to rest on its laurels if it expects to remain competitive. A periodic review of basic safety practices is essential because new risks may be present that have not been accounted for. Whether a change in customers, equipment, commodities, or personnel, motor carriers should have a process in place to continually assess their risks and determine if current safety practices are sufficient. Below are some assessment methods.
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Practical Drift: How Human Nature Causes Policy Failure

Policies and procedures are necessary for high-hazard industries like trucking. They add structure and consistency to operations to ensure the highest quality product or service is being delivered. Unfortunately, a lack of oversight by senior management can cause the company’s policies and procedures to deteriorate over time and lead to a phenomenon known as practical drift.
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Is Accident Reporting Your Achilles Heel?

There is a misguided belief by some motor carriers that delaying or failing to report claims to their insurers will work in their favor. On the contrary, it can have the opposite effect and cost a motor carrier more in the long run. Regardless of perceived fault, other parties involved in an incident have a legal right to assert a claim. For this reason, delaying or failing to notify your insurer of an incident can hinder its ability to proactively manage a claim and settle it in a fair and timely manner.
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The Financial Impact of Losses

Measuring the financial impact of a loss cannot be underestimated by motor carriers, especially those with narrow profit margins. Typically in the trucking industry, each motor carrier relies on the loss runs provided by the insurer to gauge the severity of claims, but these numbers do not paint a complete picture of the loss impact on operations or the company’s bottom line.
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Ask the Safety Rep: What is Required for Accident Recordkeeping?

Great question! According to Part 390.15(b)(1) of CFR Title 49 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) “For accidents that occur after April 29, 2003, motor carriers must maintain an accident register for three years after the date of each accident. For accidents that occurred on or prior to April 29, 2003, motor carriers must maintain an accident register for a period of one year after the date of each accident.”
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Ask the Underwriter: What About a Driver Without an Acceptable MVR?

Good drivers are hard to find; can I get an exception for a driver who doesn't have an acceptable MVR? With concerns about the driver shortage, to get a truck moving again, it can be tempting to consider younger, less-experienced drivers or those with a history of crashes or violations. However, hiring at-risk drivers puts a motor carrier in a bad position. Not only can hiring at-risk drivers negatively affect a motor carrier’s insurance premiums and overall insurability, but also, if such a driver were to be involved in a crash, the motor carrier could face claims of negligent hiring or negligent retention. Exceptions are not the norm, and they depend heavily on the motor carrier’s ability to demonstrate it has the management controls in place to effectively supervise the driver and the added risk.
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2017 Analysis: ATRI Operational Costs of Trucking

Every year since 2008, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has published “An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking.” Last year’s report is now available; it contains helpful analysis in two areas of particular interest: high-level benchmarking of interest to motor carriers, and potential transportation impact assessments, of interest to public sector agencies.
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Cargo: Don't Break the Seal

One of the most frustrating cargo claims for any motor carrier is the rejection of an entire shipment of product because the trailer arrived without the seal or with a broken seal. Most of the time, the cargo itself is in pristine condition—still in its packaging, shrink-wrapped, and palletized. Furthermore, the trailer is loaded in such a way that no one is able to reach beyond the rear pallets. Many times, the cargo is not even touched. Still, the shipper or consignee insists that the entire load must be rejected or destroyed. They may allege a chain of custody issue, a safety issue, or their own internal policy. With the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food (STHAF) regulations drafted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), claimants may now allege it is a “food safety violation under the new regulations,” or say “we cannot accept it under the new food transportation regulations.”
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Real-Time Industry Apps Alleviate Driver Parking Woes

For many over-the-road drivers, finding an available place to stop or rest for the night after an 11 to 14-hour shift can be cumbersome. In their study, titled "Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry,” the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found that the lack of “available, safe parking for truck drivers,” ranked as the fourth overall issue impacting the industry in 2016.
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Ask the Safety Rep: Drug Testing For Motor Carriers Who Lease Drivers

What is the new drug and alcohol testing rule for motor carriers who lease drivers from a staffing agency?
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